Qoya classes are based on the idea that
through movement we remember.
We remember our essence is wise, wild and free.
Wise: calling on the wisdom of yoga
Wild: the creative expression in dance
Free: expanding our capacity to enjoy being in our bodies through feminine movement
Each Qoya Class has the following core components and a unique theme:
1. The teacher prepares for class with her own rituals to create sacred space.
2. The class theme is introduced, and everyone is invited to pull an oracle card for guidance for the day's class.
3. Breathing to integrate mind, body, and spirit into the present moment and intention setting to initiate a co-creative relationship with the divine.
4. Circle through each part of the body to release tension or rigidity, and begin to shift the focus from how it looks to how it feels.
5. Heart Opening to connect to the the rhythm of the music and the rhythm of your own heart, and begin the longest journey we ever take - six inches from the head to the heart.
6. Hip Opening through sensual movement to release shame and shyness and replace it with bold reveling in pleasure.
7. Sun Salutations/Dancing Warrior Sequence to access the gifts of yoga by experiencing movement as prayer and bringing our awareness of mind, body, spirit, and energetics into alignment.
8. Shadow Dance to honor the challenges in our lives and dance with them rather than pretending that they are not there.
9. Shaking each part of the body to intentionally release what no longer serves us and reclaim our vibrant nature and zing!
10. Choreographed Dance to create more mind/body connection and to have fun!
11. Free Dance to move into our full authentic creative expression and feel our spirit/soul embodied and dancing.
12. Community Connection to use language to anchor any healing or epiphanies and also be a witness to another woman as she shares.
13. Final strengthening, stretching and relaxation to integrate all the benefits of class.
Qoya is based on a simple idea that through movement, we remember. We remember, as women, that our essence is wise, wild and free. Wise, wild and free also draw reference to the movement forms that we practice. Wise evokes the wisdom of yoga, wild the creative expression in dance and free invites us to expand our capacity for pleasure in the body. In Qoya, we focus less on how it looks and more on how it feels. There's no beginner, intermediate or advanced levels because there's just one level and that is when it feels good you're doing it right. Qoya encourages a shift from seeking external validation on how you move and the tendency of waiting for correction or praise to see if you are "doing it right" to a place where you reclaim the innate ability to move the way that you want to move and feel a sense of inner validation that the fact that it feels good in your body is enough.
More than feeling good, what if the movement you did felt true? The intention of a Qoya class is to remember the physical sensation of truth in your body. Can you remember a time when you just knew something was true in your body? You knew it like you knew the sun would rise tomorrow. You could feel it in your bones. Once you feel that connection to yourself through your body, the invitation is to set that feeling as North on your compass. You practice this feeling, this sensation of authenticity and resonance, not just for an hour long experience in a Qoya class, but so that you can deeply trust yourself, and the feeling of truth in your body, as you navigate the journey that is your life. The actual class is done while having an amazing time dancing, sweating, stretching, yoga-ing and connecting to other women with some good tunes to help guide the journey along.
Every class is different, and done to a soundtrack that takes you from the joy of Bollywood to ragas from India to the magic of Mali. From the beats of the Lower East Side, up to the heights of Heaven and back down to the dance floor of Soul Train.
Qoya means Queen in Quechuan. Not an emotionally distant, bejeweled figure who holds a position of inherited power, but Queen in Quechuan translates as a female manifestation of higher consciousness. Quechan is an indigenous language used by the shamans in the Andean region of South America. When Rochelle visited Peru to study energy medicine with The Four Winds, she heard a tour guide say the word Qoya, and immediately felt a zing in her body. Once hearing the meaning, she loved how powerful and magical the word feels, and this feeling is at the heart of Qoya Movement: loving how your body feels. The image of a Queen also embodies the vision of empowered women confidently seated on the throne of their lives, feeling wise, wild, and free.
The magic of Qoya is in its ability to evoke the essence of each of these movement forms:
Yoga = Wise
Dance = Wild
Sensual Movement = Free
Wise: "I am a wise woman who knows what path to take, who trusts herself and sees the truth through the eyes of love. So are you."
There exists a wellspring of wisdom in all of us. Through yoga and movement, your body provides one of the easiest ways to access your own inner wisdom.
As your body opens after you do one of the yoga-inspired movement sequences, so does your awareness, creativity, authenticity, vision, consciousness, compassion, gratitude, and wisdom.
Yoga is a system of human development. Its Sanskrit root is “yuj” — to yoke, to unite, to integrate a person’s individual consciousness with universal consciousness. This is done through various yogic practices like physical and mental training (hatha and raja yoga), intellectual study (jnana yoga), selfless service to others (karma yoga), and through loving devotion (bhakti yoga). Yoga is a time-tested practice that enhances one’s well being on all levels: mental, emotional, spiritual, physical, and energetic. The benefits of yoga-inspired movements include an increased awareness of one’s self, which leads to greater access to your own inner wisdom.
Wild: "I am a wild woman who thrives as she creatively expresses herself, offering her unique gifts to the world. So are you."
Our vision of a wild woman is a feminine creature with a strong life force. She knows what she loves and makes it a priority. She can light up a room with her sense of humor, wears clothes that radiate her own self-expression, and is always the first person on the dance floor. Or maybe her wildness lingers on the sidelines, coy and calm, waiting for the perfect moment to emerge. Either way, she is wild in a way that breaks past the invisible force fields of expectations. She no longer needs to be “nice.” She parties in the proverbial box, and invites others to venture out of it. She stirs your sense of adventure and encourages your curiosity. She is the most fun person you know. She is you.
Dance offers an opportunity to wildly liberate oneself from the habits and expectations of our body to find more connected and creative ways to move in a feminine body. Many times in our lives, we overvalue structure, strategy, linear thinking, predictability, and our return on investment. The cost of that is we undervalue our intuition, room to play, creative expression, big desires to do what truly nourishes us, and our ability to revel in the joys of being alive. The consequence is feeling unfulfilled by too much structure and then feeling guilty if there’s too much pleasure.
Free: "I am a free woman, unbound and limitless in my capacity to revel in and receive pleasure. So are you."
"Sensual movement” means moving the way your female body wants to move. Sensual movement gives us permission to slow down, to indulge in circular, swirling, non-linear motion. To move sensually is to sway from side to side, to roll around on the floor, to circle your hips and feel the freedom of your own body.
When a woman moves naturally in her body with fluidity and power, it can appear “sexy” – and it is. But, in Qoya, we don’t do it to look good for an observer. We move this way to enjoy our own bodies. With movement, we create safe space for women to explore how good it can feel to move in their bodies.