Dearly Beloved, I met with an entrepreneurial muse of mine, Laura Roeder,  in Venice the other day for a cup of tea and a catch up.  It had been almost a year since our last rendezvous and she told me about her getting married, the honeymoon, her business (she is one of the most amazing Social Media Mavens to walk this earth) and she also mentioned she was thinking about coming to the Costa Rica Qoya Retreat, but she had never done a Qoya class before.

I assured her that in terms of liking it- she would love it.  I promise.  As I was telling her that all were welcome and no experience is necessary, I realized one of the truly unique parts of Qoya and how it is different than the way other forms of exercise are taught. There are no levels in Qoya- no level 1, level 2, level 3. The only level is your intention and exploration into how good you can feel in your body.

The first essence of Qoya is focusing less on how it looks and more on how it feels and when it feels good, that is how you know you are doing it right.  This idea surfaced out of noticing my inner psyche as I was practicing yoga, and I felt myself in a state of anticipation for praise or correction, waiting for external validation.  For those of us who have had enough life experience or done enough personal growth work, we know that the only truly fulfilling and sustainable validation is that which comes from within.  Qoya is a movement practice that gives you the opportunity and experience to strengthen your instinctual knowing by following it and trusting it to lead you in the way you move your body in class, but most importantly, when you truly feel that connection, you can use that feeling to navigate you through your life as north on your compass. To me, this is feminine power.  To become so confident in your own thoughts, feelings and intuitions, that when you get a strong message, you can follow it.

How do you turn this feminine power into feminine leadership? The old paradigm of leadership is of a hierarchy, where one person leads and others imitate or follow.  The leader takes up all the space.  My take on a new paradigm of feminine leadership is that the leader is the one who can inspire and excite, but in essence, creates space for others to rise, knowing deeply that her own strength is in the strength of the circle she is in.  Feminine value based leadership is deeply rooted in our interconnectedness that takes us out of the limitations, isolation and competition of the ego and into the creativity, joy and true connection with community sourced in spirit.  Every Qoya class and retreat is always set up in this way- to strengthen the circle.

I'd like to introduce to you one of the most inspiring women in my circle.  Colleen Lasota has created an amazing Qoya community and health and wellness community with her husband Christian Doten and adorable son in their movement studio in Minneapolis, MN called Four Gates Physical and Energetic Culture.  As an entrepreneur, mom, wife, acupuncturist, Qoya teacher and lover of life, she is a busy woman and I'm so grateful she could take the time to answer some of the questions here.  Colleen teaches Qoya every Tuesday night in Minneapolis at her studio and will be in Costa Rica in April.

(This picture is Colleen, her son and I singing communal karaoke at the Minnesota State Fair!)

How do you describe Qoya in your words?

 An experiential path in the form of a ridiculously fun dance party that leads to profound energetic shifts!

How does Qoya tap you into your wisdom in your life?

 My analytical skills and external experience dominated my perception until a year or so of regular Qoya classes sank in. The consistent practice of moving in a way that feels good has shifted this, guided me to slow down enough to feel and experience the wisdom held in my body and allow it influence my life. This happens in a wide range of ways--  a few examples would be getting clear messages in the form of  physical sensations, making perfect split second decisions without a thought, or having much much less fear of the unknown.

How does Qoya evoke your wildness in your life?

It feels so good to be wild- in the most natural sense.  I love to be in touch with my human nature, and I believe we were all born to dance.  The women with whom I dance wildly with at Qoya validate this for me, and sharing the movement in sacred space with them makes it so easy to share the wild open spirit with others outside of the class. 

How does Qoya help you revel in your choice to be free in your life?

Here I have to come back to the simple and profound practice of moving in a way that feels good. This is the best way I have ever attempted and/or experienced the state of being present, connected to my power. Soon it became natural to live most moments aware of my freedom to choose how it feels best to move through them. Qoya is a place to celebrate this and have fun with it! And it connects me to the power behind dancing and moving solely for the sake of experiencing pleasure. I have read that a million times that everything we want really is already in us and sure I understood it, but it never lead to me feeling that or really living like I understood it. Viva the experiential nature of Qoya!

Qoya is based on the idea that through movement, we remember.  What do you remember in Qoya?

I remember that we are all in this together. I remember my deep connection to every being ever in existence. I remember how much I love life.

Thank you Colleen! 

And thank you to all of you who are part of the Qoya Community and read these blog posts and dance your own unique dance.  I honor your courage and your decision to shine and I know how hard it can be sometimes, like when you are cozy in bed, but you know it's time to get up and go into the day.  Here is a gift of a free 7 minute video to help you transition from horizontal to vertical.  These are the stretches I do every morning when I wake up.  I'm talking in the video, but when you don't need the video anymore- I say gratitudes to myself and vision how my dream day would go in the postures and invite you to try it as well.


Bed Yoga from Rochelle Schieck on Vimeo.

Enjoy all your dancing adventures- horizontal and vertical, inner and outer, here and there and everywhere~



P.S. Today is Qoya's 4th Birthday!  I taught my very first class March 1st, 2009 in New York.  What a beautiful adventure it has been.

P. S. S. There are still some spaces for Costa Rica April 6-13, 2013.  If you're feeling called to join us- please do!



QOYA RETREAT - Costa Rica April 6th - 13th 2013 from jodi jones on Vimeo.