Showing posts from December, 2012

PRANA practice

One of my favorite old Nia routines created by Debbie Rosas was Prana.

I have always felt connected to the culture of the Native Americans. I resonate very strongly with their natural connection to the earth and to their beliefs that nature is sacred.  The music of Prana is a blend of traditional Native American music and chants with modern dance beats and languid string instrumentation.  The result is something so musically unique and powerful.

The focus of the routine is on the breath and breathing and finding power, relaxation, grounding and centering all through the use of our breath. It can be a scary thing for many people to explore, but this routine gives a safe place for exploring and experimenting.

I recently decided to take this routine out of my closet, dust it off and present it to other Nia teachers. Many new teachers have come onto the scene since Prana has been officially discontinued by Nia.  And I feel like it is a valuable addition to any teachers repertoire.


Routines from the Vault: PRANA

Many years ago, Debbie Rosas created a delicious routine called Prana. The focus was on using the breath and the music was all from a single album called Sacred Spirits. I learned this routine at the time and have learned SO much about using breath as a means to access stability, strength, balance and ease. 

The music is a gorgeous blend of Native American music, string instrumentation and modern techno beats. And the movements are simple, graceful and powerful.  The used CD can be purchased on for less than $5. 
In the movements, a lot of attention is given to balancing on one leg and using the exhale to find support. I love how this routine can really amp up but then it really slows down right in the middle to offer a truly dynamic experience of being connected to our center.
The routine was retired to the vault many years ago and is no longer available as an option for teachers, but it is still enjoyed immensely by those teachers who were around back then, and their lucky s…

Routines From the Vault

I’ve been teaching Nia for 16 years now. And most of those years, I’ve gotten four new routines from Nia. That comes out to over 60 routines over the years. I’ve also created quite a few of my own routines. And along the way, certain routines have fallen out of favor for one reason or another. 
For example, a great routine called Commitments, which uses the music from the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, is one of my first ones. I learned that routine so long ago that I have the music on cassette tape and I watched the routine on VHS. It has been retired “To the Vault” for many years. Ditto for routines called Genesis, Roots and Adagio.
Some routines have been taken apart and used to build other routines. For example I took all of the Angelique Kidjo songs from the classic, Agolo, and put together a routine using only songs from her album, Aye (which means "LIFE" and is the name of the routine as well.)  I split up the songs from the repetitive routine Firedance (musi…

Meet Thumper

For about a year I’ve been toying with the idea of buying or renting an RV, or buying  or renting a towing vehicle and buying or renting a trailer, or buying or renting a car that I can sleep in, or buying or renting a small, fun car and staying in hotels or campsites. Obviously, that’s a lot of options to weigh and balance and choose from.

Well, it has all finally come to a temporary end.  Meet Thumper.

I recently inherited part of my Uncle Dickie’s estate, since my father is dead and Dickie was never married. I always felt very connected to him. In some ways I felt more akin to him than my own father, who I didn’t relate to easily. Dickie was a silk screen artist and sign maker by trade. And he raised chinchillas on the side. And he loved racing speedboats. He enjoyed life and its adventure and didn’t feel tied to anything. At one point, he was in the Guinness Book of World Records holding the land-speed record on water. He owned and crashed and bought and sold many speedboats, and …

The Long Trek Home

I stayed up late last night. Partially because I was packing up the car to prepare for a quick getaway in the morning, but also partially because I was so excited about the events I had planned. 

I woke up early and took River out for his morning constitutional. I skipped my coffee, and headed for the Reach Center. We had a killer group of Rockin Nia students and we started off the day in one of the best ways I know how: with a high-spirited, fun-filled, energetic Nia workout.

Eugene was so welcoming and enthusiastic about my work. It was a thrill to present it to them. And we’re already talking about my return. (In fact, I’m putting together great big ideas for a full west coast tour this spring)
After class Amy Palatnick treated me to breakfast at a dog friendly cafe with outdoor seating. This made me realize I’ve been missing out on a whole experience of the towns I visit. I just happened to find a cafe in Anacortes where River could lie on the ground as I ate, but it didn’t dawn on…

Willamette National Forest and Rockin in Eugene

We slept in to after ten this morning. Am I reverting to my teenage years?

After breakfast and a stroll, I made my makeshift coffee again. The maid came by while we were eating, but I told her not to come in today. I didn’t want her to see the purple towels. (I actually told them about it at the front desk, and they didn’t seem to care. They told me they bleach them to death anyway.)
I wanted to take River on another road trip. We went south yesterday and tomorrow we’ll head for home via the coast, so today we headed east.  My vague plan was to see how far we could get into the Willamette National Forest. 
Highway 126 goes right from the business district of Eugene up into the forest, so we took that road all the way. I wish I could describe the beauty of this drive. I couldn’t even capture in with my camera. But there were so many different shades of green trees and a copper/rust blanket of foliage on the ground. And certain points, I could see trees at higher elevations that were still…

Hiking and Rockin' in Oregon

I feel asleep to the sounds of I-5 traffic, and woke up to the same, but it didn’t hinder my sleep in the slightest. 
We woke up and took a morning walk, and got to the lobby in enough time for my cup of Motel 6 coffee. I also had an idea: I took a cup of hot water (for tea) and when I got back to the room, I filled it with a tablespoon of coffee grounds. I held the coffee filter over my mug and poured it all into the filter. It dripped into the mug and made me a delicious cup of dark roasted, organic, fair trade coffee. I compared it with the Motel 6 brew, which stood up remarkably well. In all fairness, I didn’t use enough of my beans to make it how I like. I’ll do the same thing tomorrow, but add twice as much coffee to the water. 
Last night, Katie Strong reminded me how easy and important it is to soak raw almonds overnight before eating them. So I put a handful in some water before going to bed, and this morning, I slid the skins off and ate about ten of them with my hard boiled e…

Crossing the Columbia

Today was a driving day. We plan to drive over the Columbia River, which is the border between Washington and Oregon. It would mark River's very first time in the state of Oregon, so it was quite an auspicious occasion.

We got up early so we could take our time on the road and get to our destination before dark. I also got my free cup of Motel 6 coffee on our morning walk.

River was excited because a gorgeous golden was checking in as I was getting my coffee in the lobby. It seems the word is out about Motel 6 being the dog friendly motel. There were dogs everywhere. It wasn't the first dog he met in the lobby. But with this Golden, River made fast friends.

And it turns out, they were checking into the room two doors down from ours, so while we were loading out, taking trips from the room to the car, they were loading in. River was loving it.
It took me about an hour to get everything packed and out of the room, into the car. And it was about noon when we finally pushed off. …

A Day in Olympia

As was the case in the RV, River doesn’t seem to want to stay in his crate over night. He jumps up on the bed with me pretty much as soon as I turn out the lights. I’m sure I could demand that he get down and go back into his crate, but the truth is, I sort of like having him there. 

When he did it in the RV, I was worried that he’d carry the habit home with him, but when we got home, he didn’t even hint that he wanted to come up on the bed. So I’m hoping again that he understands this is just road rules.
The shade on the windows in the Motel 6 does an excellent job at keeping out the light. I slept until about ten am and the room was still dark. 
I ate an egg. We took a nice, long morning walk. So long, in fact, that when I swung by the lobby to get my free cup of mediocre coffee, it was gone! So I put River in the car and drove to the Starbucks drive thru to get my morning fix. 
I spent most of the day in the hotel room. I was writing and going over my music and notes for the afternoon’…

Day Trip to Port Townsend

Today I woke up early. The plan was to get in a quick road trip in the morning and get back in time to feed River at a decent hour.

Waking up early, sometimes, isn’t enough... I had to shower and eat and pack up the car and clean up the motel room enough so that the maid could come in and not be shocked. I also took River on his morning stroll to relieve himself. On the way back we stopped in the Motel 6 lobby to pick up my complimentary cup of coffee. 
I had taken the time to grind out enough of my special, incredibly dark roasted, organic, fair trade coffee beans to last me a week. But, alas, there is no coffee maker in the room. Almost all of the budget hotels usually just put a coffee maker in the room and some packets of terrible coffee grounds. I was prepared to have a rich, dark delicious cup of my witches brew. The Motel 6 lobby coffee, though, wasn’t that bad.  And I’m a big coffee snob, so I’d say so if I didn’t think it was up to snuff. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t organic, th…

Rockin with River - A Road Trip through Washington and Oregon

Today is the day I take River on a week-long road trip. I have reserved a cheap car rental and have reservations at Motel 6 in Olympia, WA and Eugene, OR. I’ve also got some classes and workshops set up along the way.
My goal is to find a way to travel all over the country and teach my classes and see my clients without leaving River at home. He’s a medium sized dog (45 pounds) so he’s not going to fit under the seat in front of me in an airplane. I suppose some people put their dogs in the cargo area of an airplane. But so much can go wrong, and the dog can be fairly well traumatized by the experience, so I’m not considering that an option. Likewise with train travel.
A few months ago I experimented with traveling in a motor home. It was awesome and so much fun, but in the end, I determined that it was more like a vacation and less like a lifestyle. It was far too expensive and the vehicle itself was so cumbersome that it didn’t make sense for a long-term solution.
So this time I’ve got…