Qoya is based on the idea that through movement, we remember. We remember our essence as being inherently wise, wild and free. We remember our connection to something greater than ourselves, and we trust it. More than the calories we burn, the strength and flexibility we develop or the pleasurable physical sensations from moving our body, is the feeling when we can truly follow our heart, our soul.
I had just finished a course on Seduction as a Spiritual Practice with Qoya teacher Kitty Cavalier and had a gorgeous yellow rose in my hand. I told my friend that I would do a ceremony and honor his friend's life with the rose. As the snow was falling, I was dressed in high heels, tights, a silk dress and not enough warm clothes, but I decided instead of taking a cab, I would do the 20-30 minute walk through the cold New York City streets and pull one petal of the rose off at a time honoring this young man's life. With each petal, I chose to honor an aspect of his life: his mother, father, ancestors, siblings, friends, his blessings, his challenges. I hadn't done this ritual before, I was just following my gut instinct, my inner guide. All ritual and ceremony is most importantly aligned with intention vs. form. During my walk, I passed by one of my favorite images of Mary in the city on Houston Street and left the stem of the rose at the base of her statue. The song "Behind that Locked Door" by George Harrison came in and I sang it to this man's soul like a lullaby. As I did, I felt a heart opening as expansive as the ocean wide. The ceremony felt complete.
A moment later, I crossed paths with a homeless man who was rolling a suitcase in the cold and had a big smile full of crooked teeth. He asked me if I'd be willing to look at his art work and showed me a beautiful drawing full of joy and celebration on one side of the paper. On the other side, there was a drawing of a man walking and the words street walker on it. He said, "I was wondering if you might want to share anything with me. I'm a street walker, where I follow my heart and walk the streets of this world." I started to cry, because that's what I do too. I reached in my purse and handed him a large bill. He beamed with gratitude and said, "Thank you for sharing love with me." I replied, "Thank you for sharing love with me."
This has been an incredible year and a half of traveling and planting seeds for Qoya because it is the best way I know to follow my heart. Because I believe for so many of us, our invitation in this life is to take what we have learned and experienced and share it. Because, my relationship to life always expands in depth and heights and width through my connection to the infinite as I tune into my body, that I am so inspired to share that through movement, we can remember. The message from the shamans I received was just that; go on a journey in this world, and draw the map so you can help others find it too. (Hint: the best maps are the ones that point you to go within.)
As I tell this story, it's important to remember, the reason we do Qoya is to be able to access the wisdom, wildness and freedom in our body so that we can better access moments that transcend the body. It's not just about "exercising", it's about experiencing the fullest possibility that life can offer us each day, learning ways we can build our strength: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Ways we can be flexible: not only in our hamstrings, but in the flow of our day. Ways we can be agile: like a child who falls down and gets right back up. Ways we can savor: an exhale that takes us into a hip circle of remembering the gift of being a woman. Ways we can love and honor: what is- as it is- and still dare to dream bigger dreams. Ways we can yes to this experience of life.
Every part of this sacred evening was guided by the intuitive knowing of my body. So much beauty, connection, honoring and truth could have been lost if I had not listened to the gentle urges from within.
Qoya becomes a safe and joyful way to explore the depth of inner knowing that is truly there to process the past, revel in the present and navigate the future. Through different movements, each woman learns how to go into the heart of her soul's wisdom. It's deeper than you think. And it's more fun than you can imagine. In Qoya, we learn to listen for the subtle guidance of your wisest self that comes through the nudging and knowing of your own body and soul.
To find a Qoya class near you, click here. To do Qoya anytime, anywhere, click here. Two months from today is the beginning of the 4th Annual Qoya Costa Rica Retreat April 6-13, 2013, If any of you are in Australia or New Zealand, please join us in March as well.
Sending blessings for every situation to serve the highest good of all involved and may many movements inspire a dance break to remember. Here is a gentle five minute video to move and align with your heart.