Thursday, October 14, 2010
"We are born in joy. We are sustained in joy. We return to joy. This is the highest teaching. This is the highest teaching." Upishand
A few years ago I took several weeks of training in a type of exercise called Nia. Nia combines dance, yoga and martial arts. It's slogan is "Through movement we find health." During the training we talked about and played with the concept of generating and sustaining joy through many different kinds of movement and great music. The premise was that joy has a high vibration for our cells and that when we create that for ourselves it will contribute to better health. Soul Stew " the best soul band in the land" played to a sold out crowd at the Logging Museum at the Haliburton Forest in August. They played a combination of R&B, funk and jazz inspired by the classic sounds of Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Sly and the Family Stone. The joy in the room was palatable. The performers were on fire. They were so talented and it was obvious that they were having a lot of fun making the music. Together with the audience they were generating and sustaining joy for the entire concert. People were tapping their feet and smiling. Others were dancing quietly, and some were dancing with abandon. Everybody was in joy in their own way.
The songs that Soul Stew played were uplifting. With lyrics like "you're a shining star, no matter who you are" or " today is gonna be a lovely day" you couldn't help but feel happy. We each find joy in different ways. The important thing is to know what you need and then generate it in your life. If you are someone who likes music, it can be a great way to get yourself up off the couch and moving. Put on your favourite tunes and just start moving in whatever way feels right for you. It might be small and simple, it might be more active and bold. I did a qigong class in Toronto where the instructor had us shake each limb one at a time for 3-5 minutes. The idea was to keep the arm (wrist, elbow, shoulder, fingers) totally relaxed and simply shake - wake up the inside of the arm. After doing each limb separately, we did full body shaking for what seemed like forever (probably 5 minutes). We had fun music playing, but the whole time I thought the exercise was silly. I was amazed to find at the end that I felt wide awake and full of life. It was simple, silly and yet it had an effect. So, if you can't dance perhaps you can shake! And if you want to join a group and dance, Suzanne Haedicke leads Zumba three times a weeks at Blue Sky Yoga Studio and it is a lot of fun! There are so many possibilities for exercise in this community! Happy dancing.