I basically spent 2 years in fetal position on my bedroom floor, I had been hit by such a tragedy in my personal life.
Once I finally emerged and began my life again, I eventually attended a family wedding. I had forgotten that long ago I had loved to dance. I felt SO GOOD dancing at the wedding, I knew I needed to put dance back into my life. I had also done yoga a few years before and wanted to do it again.
So Dance and yoga were in my head as I drove to the airport for a trip to visit my friend, Sue, in California. I stopped at a shop in airport and picked up a magazine. As I flipped through it on plane, the words “dance” and “yoga” jumped out. It was an article about Nia. Nia?!?
When I got to Sue’s house, I googled Nia to see whether there was a class in my town of Palmer, Alaska. No. Wasilla? No. Anchorage? No. I made an immediate decision to go for a Nia training in Portland so I could start my own Nia class. Eight months later, I attended White Belt having no prior Nia experience.
As a result of dancing Nia, I have: emerged more fully from tragedy to Joy. As it turns out, the first principle of Nia is The Joy of Movement.
I’ve learned to be awake and aware in my body, and that my body loves any kind of physical activity (especially dance!) and that it loves, loves, being barefoot – which we are in Nia.
As suggested by young woman working in StudioNia boutique in Portland, I’m wearing one size smaller in Nia Wear than I normally would have chosen! I’ve evidently become more comfortable in my body.
My Green Belt and Blue Belt Nia trainer Winalee Zeeb taught me playfulness in Nia.
A recent 5-wk Ecstatic Dance workshop showed me how I draw from my Nia experiences to be playful and free, while dancing my body in a variety of ways. I couldn’t help but notice that many other dancers at the workshop moved in the same way all the time. With Nia, we have lots of variety to choose from: moves from the dance arts, martial arts and yoga are all rolled into our practice.
I continue to grow more comfortable in my instructor role. With very few Nia teachers in Alaska, I appreciate my Nia sisters from around the world whom I’ve stayed closely connected with since my White, Green and Blue Belt trainings. Nia keeps bringing me Joy.
I love the staff, the environment, the learning opportunities from a wide variety of teachers and Sunday Satsang. Still and Moving Center attracts the most beautiful souls on the island and from all over the world. We come together for classes and we grow together and learn from each other. Still and Moving Center is a community center with diversity, integrity, hawaiian culture, history and magic. I will forever cherish my times at Still and Moving.
I attended an excellent Feldenkrais class conducted by BB Kawakami last week (Mahalo BB!). This was my first time for the class and the Center. I was very impressed by both. I now understand the benefits and how it needs to be a future priority. I have already told at least a dozen people about this great class!
Mahalo and aloha,
May Del Rosario and I first met when my husband joined the weight management program Kulana Hawaii in November of 2013. He has type-2 diabetes, and his doctor had recommended the program as a way to increase his exercise level. May met with him and assessed his willingness, his ability, and his overall attitude about exercise. We started with a once a week, one-hour class, Tai Chair. I was there to support him in his journey. However, I remember struggling with standing and sitting using my legs, not my knees and struggling with various poses for balance even though I had the chair to support me. I know May quickly assessed my ability, my balance, and my attitude, and recognized that she could help me, too.
My husband gained flexibility, strength, and balance. He was able to attend more weekday classes when I was working. He appreciated the safe feeling of exercising with a group of people, at various stages of life and fitness. May was able to prescribe appropriate exercise for each of them. I was so excited to join the classes beyond Tai Chair when I retired. Starting in January of 2015, I participated in Gentle Impact twice a week and the Training Group 2 class once a week in addition to Tai Chair. I was able to start training with light weights with May’s guidance. However, I realized after several months of training four days a week that I was most looking forward to the dance fitness which May had introduced during the Gentle Impact classes. For me, this was my challenge, coordination of my hands, feet, and body to whatever rhythm May picked for the day. The music and dancing brings me such joy. I had tried Zumba, but I had learned that it is much too strenuous on my joints. May is able to use Latin music, popular music, and hip hop combined with her dance background to choreograph routines for the young and fit and for those who wish to be fit again.
When Rene Tillotson offered May an exciting opportunity to increase her range of healing through fitness at Still & Moving Center in September, 2015, I knew that no other “exercise” program was going to come close to what I had experienced with May. I left our group of exercise friends to grow in mind, body, and spirit at Still & Moving Center. In October, 2015 I joined as a Golden Circle member participating all six days a week that May teaches.
I continue to grow in the aerobic Dance Fitness classes twice a week, loosening up those hip flexors, wiggling those fingers, rotating those shoulders. I participate in the Gentle Impact Training (GIT) class with just a little heavier weights and a few dance moves. Saturday is still Tai Chair, but May has added lessons on breathing and an introduction to mediation which has empowered me to take control of my body in ways I never would have thought I could, and to relax completely.
May often remarks that she won’t let us get too comfortable; she’s always going to challenge us. The truth is she is an extremely skilled instructor with a deep knowledge of the human anatomy. She is able to immediately assess when she is pushing too hard, or not hard enough. She is quick to modify dance, stretches, and exercise when she sees one’s individual needs and abilities. Sometimes, she will suggest someone push themselves a little more; sometimes, she will insist someone not push it too hard.
May challenged me to join the Pilates with Ball and Mat class twice a week. I have progressed to a level of fitness far beyond what I could have imagined two and half years ago when I could barely balance holding on to the chair. Now, I’m learning to balance ON THE BALL!
As a former soccer player, as a former teacher, I have had coaches throughout my life. I know May Del Rosario is the most valuable coach I have had because she in coaching me into a long and healthy life.
(Age 63 and not ashamed to be getting fit)
April 14, 2016
This is more my style….Working out with the ball was definitely a challenge for me. This was my first time doing pilates and boy was it a workout! I loved it……This class helped me to focus on balance and coordination which was great because I am uncoordinated at times. Haha! You are always using good body mechanics and it is so safe for your body.May del Rosario is a high energy instructor who really knows how to motivate you! Her enthusiasm and warm, welcoming personality make class FUN…..Pilates is great for toning up! It helps you to condition your core with slow, moderate movement with a fun, motivating teacher. Each week May will offer a different focus for class, to progressively teach you effective body mechanics. This class helps use isometrics for stabilization as well as your whole body for core balance on the ball. Pilates will increase your range of strength and mobility.She showed us how to get into positions and explained how it helps our body. She does give us alternatives if we aren’t able to get into the position which is equally beneficial but safer for you. At the end of class we focus on relaxing each part of our body and it’s nice to cool down too. It felt so good to move and stretch! I was energized when I left and am excited to attend my next class………Melaca Canela, President of the Sjögren’s & Lupus Foundation of Hawaii
I just wanted to stop in to tell you in person what an incredible difference to my life these Feldenkrais classes have made. I’ve been in pain that was so debilitating. I’ve had to miss up to a month of work. Feldenkrais has really relieved my pain. Now I’m moving again in ways that I haven’t been able to move for decades…since my twenties! I tried EVERYTHING before: hot needles, physical therapy, Pilates, yoga, Rolfing – you name it – and they’ve each contributed something. But nothing has worked like Feldenkrais has worked. Our teacher Eve is amazing. And I’ve benefited from Eva’s Feldenkrais workshops as well.
It seems unbelievable that something that’s almost effortless can make such a difference. I’m so used to pushing hard to get better. Now I’m just rolling around a little on the floor, and I come out of Feldenkrais with my body feeling completely different and better. I’m much more in touch with my body – I’m more intuitive now about how I can move to feel better.
I really can’t thank you enough for having this great place and offering these wonderful classes. I keep telling all my friends about it! And I just had to come by and tell you.
A few years ago, my chiropractor told me that if I didn’t do SOMETHING, I was going to end up in a wheelchair. I was falling a lot. When someone just approached me from the other direction, I’d almost fall off the sidewalk. My vertigo was so bad, I had to walk hanging onto the wall. My back was a real problem and I was in pain all the time. I was also really depressed as well, grieving for my husband of 42 years.
Now after a couple years of doing Tai Chi with Jerry five times a week, I’m a different person, mentally, spiritually and physically. My doctors can’t believe the changes they’ve seen in me. My health has increased exponentially. I have no trouble walking and my balance is great. My back pain is gone. My cloud of depression has lifted. I feel good!
Although I started Tai Chi about 7 years ago, I didn’t start to practice in this new way until I took Jerry Punzal’s class a couple of years ago. My experience with him is so different. He is so encouraging. Jerry saw in me what I didn’t see in myself. Pretty soon, he encouraged me to start leading class. Today I enjoy taking Jerry’s class as a student and also being able to lead his class when Jerry needs me to. I enjoy showing new folks how to get started in Tai Chi because I love to take care of people.
I’ve had my friends regularly join our Tai Chi class because they, like me, realize that as long as you’re “up and moving” it’s great for your health. Eugene is another one student who was in a lot of pain. He also does Tai Chi and Feldenkrais back-to-back on Mondays, and he enjoys it like I do. He is someone I’ve been able to guide through Tai Chi, which is very satisfying.
I love this facility for its beauty, the staff’s friendliness and the schedule. I love to take Feldenkrais right after the Tai Chi class on Mondays; it works perfectly for me. I’ve become an annual member at Still & Moving Center!
It’s not that things don’t happen to me any more; I’m 70 years old. It’s just that now I take them in stride. I got a heel spur, and I just worked through it. I had my gall bladder removed and was back in class in just two weeks.
Jerry is my sensei. By taking Tai Chi with him on a regular, frequent basis, I’m a stronger person in many ways and so much more confident!
Wow! What a fabulous way to start the new year! I wore my Queen of Hearts teal outfit to Nia on Thursday and every single woman in the class commented on how fabulous it is. The majority thought it was so beautiful I should wear it out on a hot date with my husband. I don’t recall receiving that many compliments on anything in a long, long time.
Calming and valuable integration of body, mind and spirit. Still & Moving Center is more than a spa will ever be. The Nia classes are fantastic. All sorts of healing and meditation. The events and activities are fascinating along with organic veggie food. The Hawaiian culture is thriving there. Clothes and accessories in gift shop, too. Thank you Renee for creating a home away from home for me.
Looking back over the past very busy week, I can see I was so fortunate to be included in some extraordinary events at your Center. The Tai Ji Meets Hula workshop with Chungliang ‘Al’ Huang and Malia Helela was beyond expectation! Roger Epstein did a superb job as MC. I thoroughly enjoyed that workshop and learned so much, and it has deepened my appreciation for both art forms (both of which I have studied for a number of years). The similarities lie so deep – the movements are born out of the same womb of the infinite, defined by each heart and translated into individual expression. It was a thrill to watch Malia and Al blending their movements, yet each respecting the inherently unique art of the other. Malia was a heavenly vision of fluid beauty as she danced and sang. I thought I appreciated hula a lot, but I found improvement just by watching Al as he was watching Malia in her hula. He was sitting next to me, and it seemed impossible for Al to sit still for even a second – Malia’s every movement was echoed in him, even as he was seated on the chair. He could not keep still! His appreciation of hula and Malia was total and absolute. I learned so much just from watching Al watching Malia! Then we all got a chance to join these masters and do some free form dancing all together. It was a totally amazing evening…
A few days later I had the blessing of joining the Valentine’s/B-day party for Mrs. Jean Erdman Campbell. That was wonderful fun, and I saw so many wonderful people I had met at other places, all converged on that special night. Mrs. Campbell danced for almost 2 hours without a break, and at 98, she must hold some kind of world record. I told her I hope I can be like her when I am in my 70s, to say nothing of my 90s! What a woman!
Thank you again for providing such a beautiful space to gather together all these amazing souls, talents, minds, and hearts. I am deeply appreciative.