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Archive for the ‘Integrative Health’ Category

eye-of-immortality

Make your way to a Nia Moving to Heal class, and you never know what new mind-body healing tools you will walk away with! Recently, I introduced a technique called, “The Eraser”, where students were invited to reflect on the words and thoughts that run through their mind that limit their potential. All of the…

“I can’t”s
“my body won’t”s
“my body used to be able to”

As if these words were written in chalk on a chalkboard, we imagined an eraser, and began to erase our minds clean, emptying our minds of the limiting messages, replacing them with positive words of hope, healing, and potential.

In Nia, we call this clearing of the mind, “Beginner’s Mind”. A state where we operate from the place of knowing nothing, present and clear in the now, experiencing everything, as if for the first time.

Feel free to try it now! Go ahead, and start erasing all of those limiting thoughts that hold you back from actualizing your healing and set your SELF free with ‘beginner’s mind’!

Here’s what student, Teresa Mallott, had to say about her experience:
“Walking into a recent Nia Moving To Heal class, I felt burdened by the heaviness of the self-doubt and self-recrimination that had arisen for me the night before. “Why can’t I get this? What’s wrong with me? When will I learn?” echoed in my mind. The process of learning new interpersonal skills isn’t always easy for me. I had come to the Moving To Heal class a reluctant student, hoping I would find some relief from this negative thought loop, yet fearing I would not. My teacher met me that day with an invitation to move into beginner’s mind. Part of this invitation was a guided imagery/meditation that involved imagining all of the thoughts and beliefs held in my mind and taking an eraser and erasing each one in order to empty the mind. As I allowed myself to do this, I gradually felt the downward pull ease and was able to glimpse the space of possibility I enter when I let go of all I think I know. I carried this image as I danced that day, me and my beginner’s mind forging an alliance that is still with me. What a difference the eraser made! What a difference this practice makes! Nia is helping me to heal from the inside out and I am so grateful!” —Teresa Mallott
Find  healing tools to amplify YOUR body and life! Find my Nia and Nia Moving to Heal class schedule and trainings at http://juleinthelotus.com.

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I was invited by Debbie Rosas, Founder of Nia Technique, Inc., to engage in “The Compassion Games” , sharing acts of kindness and compassion in my community. As a life-long helper + healer in my early career as a hospice counselor, through 20 years of sharing compassionate self-care through Nia, working with clients in my mind-body psychotherapy practice, and contributing to the work of alleviating Compassion Fatigue for thousands of professional caregivers in Ed-U-Care’s annual Compassion Fatigue Symposium, I have many stories to tell!  The one that yearned to be told is the one I currently practice going in and out of the hospital-based wellness facility at Baylor Hospital where I teach Nia and Nia Moving to Heal classes each week.

My story is called, #FlowerPower

jule-flower-powerEvery Tuesday and Thursday when I teach my Nia and Nia Moving to Heal classes at Baylor Tom Landry Wellness Center, my student, Sopana, gives me flowers, handpicked from her garden.

I used to keep them for myself, but I recently noticed as I passed through the exit, several people with chronic, debilitating illnesses waiting for their doctors appointment, and thought to myself…I can SHARE THE LOVE…and so I selected 2 people waiting and offered my flowers to them as a way to  bring beauty, light, love, generosity, and human connection to people who are distressed, isolated, and suffering.

Their smile says it all….and I walk away with my spirit expanded knowing that this very small gesture of passing on the gift, made a big difference to the person who received it.

This has become my weekly ritual. Today, it was a man in a wheelchair with an amputated leg and deformed arm. The flower brought beauty, and I brought human connection, he brought smiles.

I love the idea that I leave beauty, light, and kindness in my wake as I journey the world.

How does COMPASSION show up in your body + life? 

The place to begin, ALWAYS, is with YOU!!!  I have some offerings that will put YOU front and center of your compassion practice…then, with your well full, you have what you need to then go out and be an agent of compassion with the world!  check out my upcoming Nia White Belt Training in Dallas, TX, where you will experience phenomenal tools to GET IN your body, and make choices for your body and life from a place of compassion!  Or perhaps the Nia Moving to Heal program speaks to you! Check out my next training or BRING THE TRAINING to YOUR community!!!!

**Learn more about The Compassion Games at http://www.compassiongames.org

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I am sharing this testimonial from Nia Student and theologian, Teresa Mallott, to inspire and encourage anyone who feels frozen from the pain of grief and loss, that there is medicine for the heart and soul through movement. I applaud Teresa’s insight and wisdom, after more than a month of grieving the loss of her mother, of recognizing patterns that freeze her up emotionally, and having the courage to step out the door, and step in to this powerfully therapeutic movement experience called, Nia Moving to Heal.

THIS is what COURAGE + HEALING looks like:

“This morning I returned to my Nia Moving to Heal class. It was my first time back since Dec 26. It was good to be back. To be embraced in a space that allows me the freedom to be however I am and to do whatever feels right.

My habitual tendency when experiencing intense emotions is to hunker down and to move as little as possible. For when I engage physical movement, I am even more aware of my feelings than when I am still. So it was a big step for me to step out on the dance floor this morning. It was an experience of feeling and knowing I am here and I am alive. This brought a mixture of emotions as my grief surfaced in the midst of this knowing.

I worked gently with myself throughout the experience, giving my body, my mind, and my spirit the space needed to just “be with it – to be with me.” And at the end of class, I was blessed by this song. A song of gratitude from me to me, from me to all that is beyond me, that is supporting me. And now it is a song from me to my wonderful teacher, Jule, and my fellow Moving to Heal artists. Thank you for being part of my returning and turning to life from a new space. Thank you body, mind, and spirit – I am healing.”     –Teresa Mallott. Connect with Teresa: https://www.facebook.com/teresa.mallott

 

 

thank you, Teresa, for this beautiful dedication of Sinnéad O’Connor’s, Thank You for Hearing Me. I am touched and honored.

 

Nia Moving to Heal is ‘Movement as Medicine’ and is for anybody seeking a gentler movement practice to compliment and facilitate healing of body, mind, emotions, and spirit. “Healing” as defined by Nia is defined simply by “I feel better.” Students learn how to personalize movement to adapt to their comfort and health needs. Chairs are even made available for students to utilize for maximum stability, pleasure, and comfort. learn more about The Nia Technique + Nia Moving to Heal Training at http://www.nianow.com.

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You may be moving in your fitness program….but are you “Being Moved”?  Taking your fitness to the next level requires you to bring more of YOU to the experience!  While most exercise programs have you pushing your body with more reps, more resistance, more speed, more duration…being a purely physical experience, you are left feeling dry, stagnant, bored, forced, and watching the clock for it to be over.   Without stealth willpower, this workout regime is not sustainable.

But what if…what if your movement practice was FUN?!! …more embodied with ‘You”?!!  What if, in addition to pumping your heart, strengthening your muscles, burning calories, trimming your waistline…you felt ALIVE?!! THIS is how we roll in Nia! 

Nia post 2Nia is a LIVING, INTEGRATIVE-WHOLE-BEING experience!  When you bring the dynamic of expression to your workout, movement, and LIFE, you exponentially amp EVERYTHING ..making every movement more real, more authentic…using more dynamic force, burning more calories, breathing harder, sweating more, and feeling more vibrant!

By employing emotional expression to your movement practice, you create uniquely personalized, whole-body engagement!  Try it now!

  • Make a fist and punch forward.
  • Now, make a fist, punch forward, and dynamically  express a Jackie Chan, “Hai!”  Feel the difference?  Notice how  MORE of you and your body was engaged?
  • Now, thrust your fist to the sky.  Do it again and proclaim to the world, “YES!”  Wow!  Now how would you like to be able to consciously bring more “YES!” into your body and life?

Expressing yourself seems like a really simple concept…and it is…but so many people have stopped ‘getting emotional’!  Logic, propriety, ‘not making a scene’, has taken over ever since we stepped in to our first grade school class where we were told to sit still, be quiet, speak when spoken to, etc.  But all emotions live inside us and their only way out is through expression!  When we stifle them, the emotions become energetic blocks that create imbalance and sometimes even disease!

Nia 12-6-13 take a cue from Nia Technique and express yourself to gain, not only a more vigorous workout, but to experiment, explore, and experience YOU fully embodying YOU through emotional expression (not only on the mat, but in your life too)!

Here are 8 ways to activate emotional expression into your fitness and life practice!

  1. Test your emotional vocabulary.  At any given moment, ask yourself, “what am I feeling right now?”  Tag it.  Name it….and move on (or in my world…put on some music and dance it out!).  Being present enough to be able to identify your emotions at any given moment is a strong indicator that you are in touch with your relationship to your feelings and emotions.  Your ability to express your feelings creates intimacy…you with yourself…and you with those around you.
  2. But what if you get stuck in one, two, or just a handful of emotions with vary little variety….or are not able to even identify how you feel?  Worry not, my friend!  This happens to many people!  The way we condition our relationship to our emotions is to play with them!  Try using an Emotions Chart like this one shown on Pinterest. Use this chart to either identify your feelings…or simply choose an emotion from the chart and ‘play’ with trying it on and expressing it.  Try this… walk across the room, or dance, using the emotion of ‘anxious’.  Now try on ‘bashful’.  How about ‘confident’ or ‘excited’?  Do you sense how infusing your movement with emotional expression really amplifies the energy dynamics of the experience?  Notice how you are able to use just the movement quality to express the emotion…and other times you use vocalization!  This practice helps you to condition what we call, “emotional pliability”….the ability to access, activate, and express a wide range of emotions without getting stuck on a single one.  Children are naturals with emotional pliability…being able to go effortlessly from happy, to sad, to agitated, to curious very naturally.
  3. Consciously know that there are no “bad” emotions.  All emotions represent vital life-force energy  and should be expressed, not repressed, to instill a healthy body, authentic movement, and emotional well-beingness.
  4. Nia Man your arms, hands, and fingers to express.  (In fact, try NOT using your arms, hands, and fingers to express and notice how challenging it is!)  This is one of the gifts of our upper extremities.  They are designed to communicate feelings, emotions, and expression!  Say, “I love you” without using your arms and hands.  It’s flat, isn’t it?  Now say, “I love you” and use your arms and hands to express what you are feeling.  Much better, right?  Now try, “I won!” without using your extremities.  Now again, WITH your arms, hands, and finger expressions!  Totally authentic, yes?  Integrating this kind of expression within your movement practice will prolifically condition your upper body, authenticate your movement to reflect what is real with in you, and instill integrated health in the physical and emotional realms.
  5. Pair vocalizations such as, “yes”, “no”, “ahhhhhh”, “hai!”, etc. with your movement to engage and integrate both the physical and the emotional body.
  6. LAUGH out loud for 60 seconds.  Sense the physical engagement of the core of the body (yes your abs)…and, likewise, know that the act of laughing also releases neurochemistry that literally makes you feel good!   So the next time you sit down and get ready to do 100 crunches…instead, just LAUGH OUT LOUD for a minute…you’ll have more fun….and feel GREAT!
  7. Pay attention to your physical posture…it ‘speaks’ of your emotional status.  For example, slumped shoulders are indicative of a depressed mood….a barrel chest communicates over(false)-confidence…eyes down, shy….shoulders scrunched to ears, fear…  Consciously choose your body posture to express how you want to share yourself with the world.
  8. FEEL to HEAL.  Having a healthy relationship to your emotions is THE JUICE of living fully and authentically in your body and life.  You are here, now, on this earth to live totally and completely into your greatness.  Part of what makes you, uniquely ‘YOU’ is your authenticity, your emotional expression, your essence!  Recognize, feel, and express all that is in you as a means to be free…to be full-on YOU…to not hold back your multidimensional, kaleidoscopic  life force…and to fully express the authenticity of each and every moment…on the dance floor…and off…

So there you have it!  Eight ‘toys’ to play with to enhance your emotional expression, pump more ‘juice’ into your life, and going from just ‘moving’…to ‘Being Moved’!.

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**As with any new activity, or if you are having joint or bleeding problems, make sure you check with your physician or therapist to be sure you are ready to get started.

Want more? Bring Jule to your community for experiential workshops and masterclasses…or consider taking the Nia White Belt Training to actualize the Nia Practice into your body and life!   Learn more! 

Find Nia Technique classes near you!

*Jule presented The Nia Technique at HFA’s Symposium in Dallas, Texas!  Check us out next year at the 2014 Symposium in Tampa, Fla!

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About the Author

Jule A - headshot

Jule Aguirre, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, is a member of the International Nia Training Faculty as Black Belt Somatic Educator + Trainer. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Jule MOVES body-mind integrators, urban athletes & adventurers in wellness with her unique approach to blending conscious movement, body-mind awareness, and integrative psychotherapy to dynamically stimulate change and transformation through her trainings, classes, workshops and private sessions!

As a Licensed & Nationally Certified Psychotherapist, Jule’s gift is being able to integrate the wisdom of Nia with her counseling techniques to form an integrative, therapeutic program of wellness, healing & personal power for participants of her work. Jule works privately with individuals seeking personal growth, self-actualization, transformation & integration of all parts of the self.

 

reblogged from Jule’s contribution to the Dec. 2013 FitFactor/Hemophilia Federation of America Blog:http://www.hemophiliafed.org/news-stories/2013/12/want-take-fitness-next-level-express/

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Last month, I presented a ‘user’s manual’ for taking care of your body the Nia way!  But The Nia Technique conditions MORE than just your body!  This holistic, integrated movement practice also conditions and stimulates your MIND by engaging conscious awareness, directed focus, mind/body synchronized actions and neurological cross patterning, imagery, meta-perception (how one perceives oneself), etc.

ImageMany in Western societies, with our constant connection to TV, smart phones, iPads, and laptops, are training their brains to constantly be ‘entertained’, seeking stimulation outside of our SELF, rarely taking time away to ‘unplug’ from digital media and ‘plug IN’ to our own inner landscape.   We see it all the time!  Runners, cyclists, gym-goers mentally “check out” during their exercise activities with TV’s, texting on smartphones, rocking out to music or being taken on a mental journey via digital books on their iPods to distract them from the act of working out…detaching from their body and the multitude of sensations that happen as the body exerts, conditions, and trains itself.  In other words, many people go into “monkey-mind” mode, or as Deepak Chopra calls it, ‘baseline brain’ ..where mind is unsettled, unfocused, and unconscious, merely fulfilling the tasks of everyday life.

Nia offers a better way of moving, living, and truly BEing in a body!  With buzzwords like “neuroplasticity”,”Super-Brain”, ‘integrative’, ‘holistic’, etc, Nia is THE wellness program that delivers health and balance to both your physical brain and your conscious mind!

 But much like the credo, “use it or lose it”,  our brains are designed to ‘think’, be aware, focused, and engaged.  When we fail to exercise those abilities, we lose it.

Here are 9 ways that Nia conditions the mind and develops the body-mind connection: 

1.     AWARENESS:  Nia invites, engages, and stimulates conscious awareness of being IN one’s body by paying attention to body sensations…not just in class, but ALL the time!

ImageLet’s do it now!  Right now, as you read this blog post, direct your attention to your feet.  Sense your feet and notice what you notice!  What sensations are you aware of in your feet? (ex. I sense my feet inside my shoes; I sense pressure as my feet stand on the floor; I sense my toes wiggling; etc.)  Now, sense your spine…How about your hands…breathe….elbows…and so on.  This feedback loop between body (sensation) and mind (awareness) communicates to your 75+trillion cells that you are ‘in there’, consciously aware of your body.  Awareness trains the mind towards ‘presence’…being HERE now.

2.   Sharyn 2013 DMN Article5    VISUALIZATION, IMAGERY, and IMAGINATION:  Nia stimulates the mind by pairing suggested visual images with movement to trigger authentic, functional movement and conditioning the imagination.  Notice the difference in lifting your arms out to the sides and above your head as you inhale, and lower your arms as you exhale.  Now, imagine your arms as wings..lift and lower your ‘wings’…do you notice a difference in the quality and sensation of the movement?  Now, walk around the room…then, imagine ‘stepping stones’, or a HOT FLOOR… did the quality of your movement change as you engaged this imagery?  This pairing of visual imagery with physical movement engages MORE of your body…and has you moving from ‘the inside-out”!  It resembles the way children move and play, stimulating creativity, functionality, and authenticity.

3.     brain rt lt graphicRIGHT/LEFT BRAIN ACTIVATION:  The human brain has two hemispheres, the right and the left, each with different capacities and functions.  The left brain, manages language, logic, critical thinking, numbers, reasoning, linear/forceful/precise movements while the right brain governs creativity, intuition, imagery, color, expression and interpretation of emotions, fluid/continuous movements, etc.  Nia engages BOTH the right and left brain by utilizing both linear and fluid movements, choreographed patterns and freeform/creative movements, cross-patterning left and right sides of the body, and more to balance and optimize the functioning and performance of the two hemispheres towards “Super-Brain” status.

4.     highres_1768639WITNESS:  Nia encourages participants to ‘witness’/observe themselves, noticing (without judgement) their thoughts, choices, actions, habits/tendencies, etc.  This practice conditions insight, self-acceptance, and non-judgement, igniting a different way to perceive self and others with respect, compassion, and love.  Do you witness what you tell yourself about your body?  What are the messages you give it?  Do you focus on your self-perceived ‘flaws’ or do you celebrate your body and self?  Do you focus on what your body can’t do…or do you celebrate what your body CAN do?  These meta-perceptions are important in training your mind for optimal, whole-being functioning!

5.     NEUROPLASTICITY and TRAINING YOUR BRAIN:  Nia shakes things up…breaking up the ‘ruts’ of neuropathways, creating NEW paths for maximized usage of the brain and conscious mind.  As we witness our thoughts, choices, actions, etc., noticing certain tendencies…Nia invites us to ‘CHANGE!!”

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If I notice that I always lead with my right foot when I move…I can choose to change and lead with my left!  If I tend to dance to the rhythm of music, I can choose to experiment with dancing to the melody!  If I set the table a certain way, I can choose to change it to a different way!  Every time I choose a different way of doing things, I condition the neuroplasticity of my brain, thereby staving off brain degenerative diseases like dementia and altzheimers!

6.     FOCUS:  Every Nia class begins with a focus…something you will be aware of, observe, experiment with…as you move your body!    Having a set focus throughout the Nia class experience, ensures that you are IN your body, consciously aware, and purposefully directing all of your movement choices and actions, thereby keeping you safe, diminishing the chances for injury, as you move.

7.     MOVING MEDITATION:  Nia’s way of using directed focus, breath-work, consciousness, and mindful presence in the NOW, gives every Nia experience the sensation of being a ‘movement meditation’, achieving an alpha-state relaxation response, sensed as a calmer, saner way to move, live, and BE in the body, while countering the fight/flight stress response that gorges the body with streams of cortizol,inflammation, and stress.

8.     SelfHealingMENTAL HEALTH:  It is a well-documented fact that exercise helps to balance brain chemistry, positively impacting mental health.   The Nia Technique delivers MORE than just ‘exercise’…Nia’s holistic approach to addressing the body AND mind with awareness, insight, positive messaging, presence, healing music, gratitude, self-direction, meaningfulness, and many other tools for transformation…positively impacts mental health, balanced brain chemistry, and overall positive regard for self and others.

9.     CURIOSITY + BEGINNER’S MIND:  Nia encourages every participant to enter the experience with ‘beginner’s mind’…a state of consciousness to become fully present in the moment, leaving behind past learning, as well as expectation towards outcomes, entering the current experience with ‘new eyes’ and empty, readiness to experience, practice, learn and grow, creating a sense of relaxation, consciousness, and curiosity about the experience.

So, there you have it!  Nine tools that The Nia Technique delivers to ensure, not only a heathy, vital body…but a razor-sharp, calm mind and ‘Super Brain”!

Want more? Bring Jule to YOUR community for experiential workshops and masterclasses…or consider taking the Nia White Belt Training to actualize the Nia Practice into your body and life!   Learn more at http://www.juleinthelotus.com

find Nia Technique classes near you at http://www.nianow.com/find/classes

resources:  

The Nia Technique:  The High-Powered, Energizing Workout that Gives You a New Body and a New Life by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas (2004).

Super-Brain by Deepak Chopra, M.D., and Rudolph E. Tanzi, Ph.D. (2013)

**As with any new activity, or if you are having joint or bleeding problems, make sure you check with your physician or therapist to be sure you are ready to get started.

This is a Reblog of Jule’s recurring blog contribution to The Hemophilia Federation of America:  http://www.hemophiliafed.org/news-stories/2013/11/go-monkey-mind-super-brain-nia/#.UnsStigGZYI.facebook

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