Showing posts from 2017

January Playshop: Dance Wild -- Reflexive Conditioning

On the first Sunday of 2018, January 7, JAG is going to throw a "Wild" party at Balance Studio in Fremont. We'll meet at 9:00am and go through all of the moves of the routine.

First we'll Learn them and then Move them. This will all be done without music so that we can take our time and really appreciate the structure of each move and kata. We will also be having a conversation about reflexive conditioning as we go through the routine.

And then, at 10:30 we'll do the Wild routine all the way through with music and enjoy the opportunity to Energize all of the movements. The focus of the routine is on Reflexive Conditioning.

Reflexive Conditioning is one of the four types of conditioning that Nia offers and one that is often overlooked. Nia encourages us to exercise with fluid ease, softness and gentleness, but it's also just as valuable and important to engage the nervous system with suddenness, surprise, sharpness and intensity. Life isn't always gentle a…

December Playshop: Martial Arts of Nia

Nia draws from the influence of several Martial Arts, Healing Arts and Dance Arts.  For the December Playshop of the Month, JAG will focus on the three Martial Arts that Nia borrows from:

Tai Chi - "The Slow Dance"

Tae Kwon Do - "The Dance of Precision"

Aikido - "Harmonious, Spherical Action"

If you think that the Martial Arts is just about throwing blocks and kicks, then you will definitely benefit from this playshop that discusses and explores how we get the power of moving slowly, shifting our weight, traveling in directions, stabilizing, grounding, centering, conditioning and healing our bodies form the Martial Arts.

In addition to a brief overview of proper body mechanics, we will also have a visceral experience of many aspects that make Nia such a unique and powerful practice.

The first 90 minutes of class will focus on each of the three Martial Arts, and the final hour will be a class in which we can appreciate all of the Slowness, Precision and Ha…

November Playshop: How to FreeDance

Have you ever felt lost when the teacher calls out "FreeDance!" in the middle of a Nia class?  Are you one of those that escape by getting a sip of water or hiding in the the back corner of the room until the choreography returns? Then you need this playshop. JAG has gone into the mind of a FreeDancer and will break down, step by step, what happens inside someone to allow them to FreeDance creatively for hours.
Learning these very simple tools will transform anyone into a passionate, creative, unstoppable FreeDancer. After this morning, you will no longer wonder what to do when the only direction is "FreeDance Everybody!" You will no longer run out of ideas and you will relish the opportunity to break into spontaneous FreeDance once you've learned these 'secrets'. This is not the 8 Stages of FreeDance (which is for creating choreography) and it's not the Nia FreeDance class format which rellies on your ability to pull moves out of your back pocket. …

What is the Real Problem?

Pardon me while I rant for a bit: If I meet violence with violence, then I've solved nothing but have simply continued the problem. When someone insults me, and my first reaction is to top them with a better, sharper barb, I stop and remind myself that I want to return love to them as they are showing me how much pain and conflict they have inside. Any retaliation would only make everything worse. I just got called a despicable apologist (and worse) for suggesting that to kill a Nazi makes one no better than the Nazi. I wish they could hear themselves saying "Killing Nazis? Count me in!" (Just substitute the word 'jew' or 'fag' for Nazi and you can start to hear yourself how I hear you.) One person was so deaf to his own rants that when he said that Nazis "deserved to die" because "they killed my people" he could not appreciate the reality that I pointed out, "by your logic, once you kill a Nazi, their families are completely just…

Day Off in The Valley

First thing I did when I woke up was chase the cockroaches out of the kitchen.  It warmed my heart as this was a tradition during the several years I was a valley guy.  It's something I learned to live with.  They seem to have an agreement that once day breaks, they all go back to their hiding places. And any food that I've left out overnight is fair game.

I had spilled a tiny drop of chili on the counter and there was one particularly persistent critter that kept feasting, even after I turned the light on and got my face really close to him so I could watch the fascinating creature. It almost seemed like he was so involved in his meal that he didn't notice me.  Until he did. And then suddenly, he bolted away and hid between the wall and the cabinets.

After having my coffee and walking River, I went into the office to pay for two more nights here. I had reserved my stay here several months earlier so I locked in what turned out to be an old rate. Last night was a last minu…

Needles to Van Nuys

We took our time getting out of Needles and pretty much drove straight through to Van Nuys. I stopped once to break up the monotony and another time to refuel, but other than that I tore up the Interstate.

When I stopped for gas, I was following CA-18, and I didn't realize it until after I gassed up and was getting back on the highway but I was at the junction with US-395, another one of my favorite highways. I didn't go off course, though. I only drove on US 395 for about 100 yards in between the gas station and CA-18. One day I still want to take 395 from one end to the other.

The main thing on my mind today was incredible tooth pain. It started mildly yesterday. So mild that I quickly forgot about it. But today it wasn't so easy to ignore and forget about. I thought I had something lodged in my teeth, so I fussed with it with my tongue and swished water around in my mouth, but nothing helped.

I've had my suspicions about this one spot in my upper right back molars. …

Santa Fe to Flagstaff

It was a beautiful day as I left Santa Fe, but by the time I hit Prewitt, NM the sky was filled with dark clouds. It was a beautiful sight.

It was raining as I crossed the state line into Arizona, but almost immediately cleared up and stayed pleasant; dry and windy in Arizona.

As I passed through Chambers, as I drove past the exit for Pinta Rd, my trip odometer read 8888.8.
And later on, as I was near Winslow, AZ my trip hit the 9000 mile mark.

The room at the Motel 6 in Flagstaff smelled so strongly of bleach that I could barely walk in. I turned on the two fans and left the door open before moving any of my stuff in from the car. I took River for a walk for an hour. I didn't walk for an hour; we hung out in the parking lot, exploring the grassy area and walked clockwise and then counter clockwise around the whole property.

It was tolerable by the time I got back into the room again. I sprayed all over with essential oils diluted in water and left the fans on. As I sat there, my…

Men of Nia at StudioNia in Santa Fe

The festivities kicked off with Adelle and Todd team teaching a Nia FreeDance class. That's always a good time as they really leave the student to do their own thing with minimal, unobtrusive guidance. I love to get lost and go on a journey in the music when there is no one pulling my attention away. Adelle is an adept veteran and master at guiding, and Todd is a tyro under her tutelage. Truth be told, he doesn't need to do much. His natural effervescent personality and the charming way he trots around the room dancing, connecting and sharing his joy with the class is enough to make us all want to dance. I felt so good afterward, like I had just meditated and gotten a massage and a workout all at the same time. 
They put us on the second floor, but with my new two crate system, and River's new calmness, it didn't really matter. I could park at the bottom of the stairs and the room was the first door at the top of the stairs. We flew …

Farmington to Santa Fe - Nia in Albuquerque

After publishing my blog entry last night, I took a walk to the water dispenser and River kept stopping to scratch himself on the way back. He doesn't scratch himself often, so it was really odd that he did it several times in the course of one block. 
So when we got back to the motel room, I decided we needed a spa day and gave us both a coconut oil rubdown and vinegar rinse. 
I got the lion's share of the coconut oil. I put it all over my skin and in my nose and I ate a spoonful of it and pulled another spoonful through my teeth. I fed River a big blob of it from my hand and then rubbed the residue all on his body, rubbing it down onto his skin as best I could. He doesn't care for being oiled. I love it!
I filled the ice bucket with warm water and dropped a quarter cup of vinegar into it and lifted it by the handful onto River's fur and rubbed it in all over. He doesn't mind that as much as the coconut oil, though I think he'd still prefer I didn't do an…

Shopping in Farmington and Navajo Lake State Park

Today is another day without obligation and no relocating. I started the day by stocking up again at Natural Grocers and then coming back to the room to eat breakfast.

Through experimentation, I learned that if you add Italian sausage to tomato bisque, you get something akin to pizza soup.  Yum!

Then, the plan for today was to visit Navajo Lake State Park. I'm not sure the place we ended up going was technically allowed.  The hill we climbed down to reach the beach was very steep and rocky and we both lost our footing a few times on the way down. It wasn't until we were finished thoroughly exploring the lakeshore that we noticed the staircase, which would have been a much easy way to get down, though not nearly as fun. 

Yesterday, I thought I heard Babe give me the sound she gives when I'm low on gas. But I wasn't low on gas, so I thought maybe I had imagined it.  But then I heard it again today and couldn't tell why.  Both times it occurred just as I was starting th…

Nia in Durango - Dolores River Trail Park

It is a luxury on these trips when I can stay in a motel room for more than one night. I appreciate and relish not having to pack up the car and check in to a new room.  So this week, I'm living like a king while I stay in the Motel 6 in Farmington, NM for four nights!!
The main reason I'm staying here is that I'm teaching Nia in Durango on Monday morning. 
Nia at Interplay Studio Smiley Building;  It was about an hour drive to Durango, so I got an early start. It was cold! This high desert weather... I forget how much the temperature drops when the sun goes down.  I was shivering as I parked in front of the studio and walked River on the dewey wet grass.
The class was delightful. The gang at Durango Nia are strong and playful and willing to try new things. Evonne has a strong group of devoted students and many of them remembered me from the three or four past times I had taught there. 
In the room, before class started, and also during the first few songs, the sun was st…