I loved to move before kindergarten.
When kindergarten started, though, I quickly realized I was slower and less coordinated than other kids. I never played sports or took dance lessons, and was always the last person picked in gym class (dodgeball…the word still terrifies me).
My discomfort with movement continued through high school and college. I loved twirling a flag in marching band in high school, since that required only movement of my arms and enough coordination to catch an object as large as my own body. I also loved that I was barely visible behind the enormous flag. I danced in musicals, but often tripped and fell and was able to mask my discomfort behind whatever character I was playing.
I took some dance classes in college, craving movement, but still felt awkward and like I was doing it wrong.
After college, I joined a gym, but again, I hated being seen while moving. Yoga rarely felt good either, since it still felt connected to my worst enemy – gym class.
It wasn’t until I attended Rochelle’s very first Qoya classes in New York City in 2009 that I connected moving my body to something you do for reasons other than to control your weight.
“In Qoya, there’s no way you can do it wrong, and the way you know you’re doing it right is that it feels good.”
In those words, I found freedom in my body. To look messy. Crazy even. To free my arms and legs to shake. To open my hips to take up space. To do yoga not in an attempt to be thin, but as a form of prayer.
The more Qoya classes I took, the less self-conscious I felt in my body. Rochelle’s instruction, “Imagine your body is the speaker the music is coming out of,” became the only thing I focus on when dancing.
And something shifted – after a few classes, I didn’t mind so much when people saw me move. Not only did I feel less self-conscious moving, but I started to make the transition into feeling MORE LIKE MYSELF when dancing, like my body is more of a true home for my soul here on this earth, rather than an obstacle my soul must overcome in order to be loved and accepted.
I use movement as a tool to learn about myself, and have come to honor my body as the most reliable source of information I’ve got. I regularly use Qoya movement and rituals to make decisions both big and small, and have more trust in my body and myself than ever before.
It is from this place of trust that I share these classes with you. I feel called to lead others where I have gone and invite you to experience this movement, because it has changed my life.
I will have lived my life feeling good in my body, which is something I couldn’t have said before Qoya.