A couple years back at the beginning of Qoya's creation I was at a spiritual retreat center in
Maui called the Kahua Institute. I connected with the owners, one of which was Rafael who is
an amazing musician who had spent many years making music for Gabrielle Roth and the five
rhythms, which is another amazing liberating form of movement. When I told him my intention
for Qoya, he took me aside and told me the following, "For some reason, I feel compelled to tell you something and the main reason I feel compelled to do this is I believe you will share this information with lots of people. If I share this with you and you find it to be as powerful as I
think you will, I just ask that you promise to share it in every class you teach so as many people
as possible will learn this technique." I nod in acceptance. He continues, "After 40+ years of
experience in music, movement and transformation, the most powerful tool I have come across
to release what no longer serves you and tap back into the infinite potential of spirit is shaking.
Shake each part of your body for 10-30 seconds. Scan through the body as you shake to
rhythmic upbeat music. Let yourself go and then move anyway your body wants to. Notice how
the shaking movement is like a portal back to your spirit."
Then...we shook. And...he was right. It totally works.
I teach the shaking technique in every class in Qoya and ask that you do too!
Since my conversation with him, I've also come across many validating reasons to teach
shaking in Qoya, specifically learning about animals who shake in nature and about several
indigenous cultures and shamanic healing shaking techniques. Who knew everyone was
shaking it out? It's interesting how these simple truths also get built into our language. For
example, the expression- shake it off.
Imagine... a Gazelle who is running through the grasslands and a lion spots it and starts to run
after the gazelle. The gazelle is running, running, running and gets away. The gazelle doesnʼt
go to therapy for the next 10 years talking about how she almost died and how scary it was.
No. What a gazelle does is start to shake and shake and shake, which resets her body and
then goes back to being a gazelle. Get it? The gazelle intuitively knows how to release the
fear response in her body. Weʼre going to do the same thing. Releasing the fear to reclaim our
connection to the life-giving feeling of love.
There are many somatic therapy techniques that affirm that we hold trauma in our bodies and
our experiences from our past inform our present time. We shake with the intention of releasing
all that we no longer need with ease and grace. Releasing all that no longer serves us and then
consciously tapping into and reclaiming our true nature, which is bliss, joy and being free.
Let's do a quick experiment:
Shake your right hand only as much as you can for about 30 seconds. Shake rigorously. Shake
intensely. Shake like you mean it. Keep shaking...a little bit more. Shake 10 more seconds,
with more enthusiasm at the end and then stop and gently cup both hands in front of you, as if
you were holding a globe, and feel the difference between your right and left hand. Feel how one
hand is stronger and at the same time lighter. Notice how you feel increased energy, vitality,
and mental clarity after shaking your right hand for 30 seconds.
The quickest way to feel happiness is to feel. Feeling exists in the present moment, where
emotions refer to the past and fear ! lurks in anticipation of the future.
How do you learn how to feel more? Through the body.
If you introduce Shaking with the story of the gazelle or by doing a little demo first, people tend to be
more often to shake more enthusiastically!
Shaking is also a great way to segue into free dance. Scan through the body shaking each part
once with the intention of releasing and letting go of what no longer serves you. Go through the
body a 2nd time with the intention of embodying the radiance and vibrancy that is always there.
Once everyone is all shook out, invite the body to start to move anyway that it wants! Know
your music well enough so there is time for women to soak up this sensation of freedom. Be
mindful that many people may be new to this, so you can keep guiding them by telling them to
close their eyes and just focus on finding a place where it feels good to move.
The order in which to lead the shaking is by doing a body scan from the bottom up in this order:
● Experiment with shaking one hand and then feeling the difference between the two.
● Then shake:
● Right leg, Left Leg
● Both legs (fast feet like a football player)
● Laying down on your back and shaking both feet in the air (VERY GOOD for health and
agility to be able to get up and down easily)
● Come back up and shake hips side to side
● Wag your tail like a happy puppy
● Belly shake
● Torso/Chest loosen up
● Shoulder shrug up and down, exhaling on the down making ha sound Shoulders alternate
front and back
● Shoulder Shimmy!!!
● Arms Shake
● Hands Shake
● Fingers Shake
● Gentle through head and neck