Letter from the Director, by Renée Tillotson

As a kid, I always loved big ideas. Maybe all kids do. Did you? I recall coming across our rambunctious 5-year-old son sitting still, alone in the middle of a play day, on top of his bunk bed. “Whatja thinkin’ about, Shankar?” I asked. “Infinity,’ he startlingly replied. For me, Still & Moving Center is becoming a place, more and more, where large-hearted, deep thinking takes place, as well as fabulous physical activities..

Imagine ideas giving the mind a workout, just as play, calisthenics, dance, etc. exercise the body. Little Renée also adored her time on the playground. Pumping back and forth on a swing, to the very top of each arc, is akin to viewing the world from a broad sweep of perspectives, from the top extreme to the opposite extreme. Hopscotch requires a light-footed agility, similar to mental agility in the face of new facts. Swinging from ring to ring on the monkey bars involves a shoulder motion called brachiation, suggesting the looseness with which we can release fixed points of view and move onward. Jumping rope strengthens our base – feet, ankles, knees, legs and hips – requiring steadiness, timing, and repeated grounding. The see-saw challenges our sense of balance. The metal push merry-go-round teaches us that going to the center gives us the still point, while going to the edge whirls us wildly through space. Down the slide requires letting go, enjoying the ride!

So, to me, exercising the mind goes hand in hand with exercising the body for whole health as a human being. I’ve been on a quest to find both.

As a bird longs to be on the wing in the open sky, I crave to live in the wide world of thought. From my earliest times, I’d quietly hang on the outskirts of adult conversations, listening for ideas that would carry my mind to broader perspectives. And I read a lot. I mean, I ate up books. One of my favorites was a big book on World Religions. That fascinated me with many ways of explaining how the world began and why we were here. 

Of course every child loves stories. A story drew me in like a spider wrapping up a fly. Why is that? I think stories help us make sense of the world. We can see how the causes people set into motion play out into logical – even if surprising – results. Look how Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol comes to see how his life so far has damaged others, and finally chooses to utterly redeem himself from his tight, mean, miserly life to one of full-hearted generosity. Such stories teach that transformation is possible!

Watching sad news on black and white television made me deeply wonder how such terrible things could happen, and how we could make the world a more livable place for everyone. Surely you had events in your childhood that led you to similar questions. Remember?

My parents were part of the World Federalist movement, and I especially liked listening to their discussions with those friends. I’m just learning now that famous advocates of World Federalism include Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Albert Camus and Winston Churchill. Wow! No wonder I was interested in THOSE conversations! World Federalism started during and after World War II, as a way a way to avoid future wars.

I devoured fantasy and science fiction books that envisioned worlds that COULD BE. “A Wrinkle in Time” captivated my imagination: three youngsters “on a journey through space and time, from universe to universe, as they endeavor to save [their] father and the world…. The novel wrestles with questions of spirituality and purpose, as the characters are often thrown into conflicts of love, divinity, and goodness,” per Wikipedia. Yep, that’s my kind of book!

One day, probably when I was home buried in a book and all the other kids on the block were outside playing – my mom suggested that I might want to make some more friends. I responded, “My books are my friends, and when I want more people friends, I’ll go out and make some.”

By 7th grade I left my bookworm habits behind, but you know, I didn’t really know who I was looking for. I could not have put into words, “I’m looking for friends with big ideas for the world.”  By the time I got to college, I was finally able to find people like that, including my now husband Cliff.

At UC Santa Barbara. I heard about a Professor Raghavan Iyer, as an amazing speaker who always wore a red or orange or gold colored shirt to class. I recall sitting in the big lecture hall next to Cliff, waiting for the professor, when suddenly a small-statured Indian man, wearing – yes – a deep orange shirt under his dark jacket, came striding down the aisle. As he began speaking, I was transfixed.

The ideas that streamed non-stop out of Professor Iyer’s mouth for the next hour filled every nook and cranny of my mind… and then kept pushing it out farther and farther. The topic was something about politics, religions and literature… I can no longer recall the subject matter – only that these were stupendous ideas about the human race, its problems and its possibilities. My note-taking hand cramped trying to keep up with his full flood of remarkable notions from East and West, ancient times and modern headlines. But my hand cramp was nothing compared to the panting satisfaction that my mind and heart felt bathing in his colossal vision of a possible world that we – those of us sitting there in that very hall – could bring into being.

When Professor Iyer’s soaring lecture finally touched down and came to a close, a breathless pause ensued, then every person in the hall sprang to their feet and burst into a long, standing ovation. And for the next three years that I took Professor Iyer’s classes, I experienced all of our eyes brighten, our hearts swell, and our minds sail on the winds of his ideas for a more intelligent, compassionate world. 

Soon Cliff found out that Professor Iyer, with a number of his students, were restoring an old Victorian house in downtown Santa Barbara to create something called the Institute of World Culture. Danson from Kenya, Ingrid from Germany, Carl from Quaker country in Pennsylvania, and all manner of other idealistic people worked through the weeknights and over their weekends to restore the house to the stately beauty the Institute deserved. 

On July 4, 1976, the Institute of World Culture opened with the Declaration of INTERdependence! I include that Declaration below in Word to the Wise. From then on, Cliff and I feasted on endless programs devoted to lifelong learning, from Mozart’s music, to Ramunagen’s mathematics, to Vandanava Shiva’s seed banking, to Shakespeare’s play the Tempest, to how saving the wolves transformed Yellowstone National Park. And most of the programs were put on by the members themselves, learning about and presenting the subject matter. We also received remarkable visiting presenters, such as His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Moving to the islands in 2002, I missed the Institute’s programs and conversations – my life of the mind. However, Cliff and I found so much richness in the Hawaiian culture, it hugely helped the transition. Cliff dove into paddling Hawaiian canoes, encountering the legendary Hawaiian kupuna (elder) Nappy Napoleon. And thank my lucky stars, I met kumu Mālia Helelā, who so graciously shares her tradition through hula, ōlelo (language), history, love of the ‘aina (land), and the generous heart of aloha.

Fortunately, too, I became better acquainted with a vast range of movement practices from around the world through Still & Moving Center. In addition to hula from the islands, we had Bharata Natyam dancing, Bollywood and yoga all from India. Tai Chi came from China and Qigong came from Korea. Israel gave us Feldenkrais, and we got belly dance from both Egypt and Turkey… and the list just keeps growing – like the new ELDOA from France. We are essentially creating a world university of mindful movement. And we have always kept conversation going through our weekly Satsang centered on our Still & Moving Center Almanac of inspirational quotes from around the globe.

I still keenly missed our wide-ranging programs and conversations at the Institute of World Culture. 

With the pandemic came a pause, a pivotal turning point, and something shifted. Suddenly, at the time of our 9th birthday, Still & Moving Center went online, and went global. Overnight, our friends from across the map could join our classes without flying to Hawaii. I realized, “This is our chance at Still & Moving Center to cultivate the life of the mind!”

Our banquet table for the mind grew more plentiful. All our meditative offerings are free of charge and online. We now provide two seated meditation sessions a week. Our Sunday Satsang gathering is now frequented by off-island participants for a fuller diversity of viewpoints. On Fathers Day, for example, we talked about how the living practice of fatherhood has evolved over the generations in Japan, the Philippines and the U.S.

Our ‘Gems from the Wisdom Tradition – a Conversation Circle’, an online weekly gathering, launched in April with 14 participants from various islands, states and countries, all talking about fascinating, make-a-difference ideas. Some of our friends from the Institute of World Culture attended, too! Yay!  Last week at Gems, kumu Maliā approached the Buddhist topic of Right Speech by addressing the Hawaiian proverb:“I ka ʻŌlelo no ke Ola” – In the Language there is Life, complete with chanting in Hawaiian. And I loved hearing the ancient Greek story of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods on Mount Olympus for humanity – hearing that fire in fact represents the light of the mind, which, like a candle, can be shared over and over, illuminating the darkness, without ever being diminished itself. Wonderful stuff. My body and mind are now both satisfied now!

Ironically, I spent a quarter century after college pursuing the life of the mind without much physical exercise at all, until I started practicing Nia and moved to Hawaii in 2002. Through Nia and the moving practices at Still & Moving Center, I had learned an important lesson. So I had slated myself in 2020 to go to San Diego, Brazil and the Ukraine to give talks on the Joy of movement, I wanted to convince some rather sedentary, philosophical groups to get up and move their bodies if they really wanted to have healthy minds.

And instead I’m finding myself bringing more of the life of the mind to a place where people love to move. Don’t you just love it?!?

And there’s more to come! AHHHHHH…………

with Winalee Zeeb, Nia Trainer

You may register for a Green Belt Training at any time after graduating from a White Belt Training.

Register here

About the Nia Green Belt

Nia Green Belt is an optional training, which focuses entirely on developing and embodying the skills to effectively teach Nia. All belt levels who teach or desire to teach are strongly encouraged to attend this training.

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The Nia Promise and Delivering the Nia Experience are phrases we use to express the transformative power of Nia; to a Nia Teacher’s ability to deeply move and touch people within the classroom environment. As a teacher, your role is to guide people through a meaningful journey of physical conditioning and self-discovery. Teaching Nia is all about sharing your personal experience – your physical and emotional sensations, visual images and feelings. To do so, you must have a solid understanding of the form, objective curriculum and communication techniques.

Green Belt comprehensively explores all mechanics of delivering the work, including embodying the choreography, cueing, creating intentional silences, dancing to the music and helping people achieve their personal fitness goals. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned teacher, Green Belt will further your teaching skills. New teachers develop confidence, craft and skill by learning and practicing the foundations of teaching. Seasoned teachers refine and deepen their understanding, building on their craft and receiving feedback from peers to deliver the most powerful experience possible.

The Green Belt training includes a pre-training course based on the 13 White Belt principles. As part of the training, you will learn and work with the routine, Passion.

winaleeAbout Winalee Zeeb:

I began teaching in the fitness industry in 1981. I had a passion for exercise, and teaching aquatics courses, water exercise and aerobics filled that passion. These traditional fitness practices and my unconscious movement patterning ultimately led me to exhaustion, burnout, and physical pain. In 1984, I severely injured both my knees. I had numbed myself to my body’s voice of pain and I required surgery.

In July of 1991, I was on the edge of quitting teaching. I attended the IDEA Fitness Conference and I saw a sign that read, “Body, Mind, Spirit Workout.” I had not seen the word ‘spirit’ used in any other courses offered. Immediately, my curiosity drew me to take the workshop. It was a Nia workshop, and I clearly recall watching Debbie and Carlos enter the room. Every cell of my being recognized their radiance. They took the stage and did something unheard of at that time in the fitness industry – they invited us to take off our shoes. Those first barefoot seconds of conscious movement had my wounded knees saying, “Ahhhhhhh” as they experienced healing through movement. After tearfully dancing a profound healing awakening, I registered for their next White Belt Intensive. I sensed a deep knowing within myself that Nia had much to teach me. I eagerly attended the Blue, Brown, Black, and First Degree Black Belt trainings in succession.

In February of 1997, after years of practicing Nia and many hours of teaching, I was blessed with the honor of becoming a Nia Trainer. Words cannot express the infinite gifts my heart receives from the privilege of sharing the Nia Belts. I travel internationally teaching Nia, and I am passionately in love with what I am privileged to share. I sing professionally. I am a motivational keynote speaker, and a yoga teacher. On February 14, 2009, I opened Heartdance Studio – a magical space. The teachings of Nia have brought me my ability to balance all I am passionate about, and I am so very grateful.

I am honored to joyfully dance in the sea of life with all of you!

with Renee Tillotson, 1st Degree Nia Black Belt

The 5 Principles of the Body’s Way and the 5 Sensations

Sundays, Sept 13 – Dec 13 (no session Nov 29)

9:15 – 10:25 am 

$130 for all 13 sessions

$17 drop-ins 

Offered ON LINE and IN PERSON!

Sign Up Now!

 

renee niaThis stimulating Nia mentorship series dives deeper into the Nia practice that we were introduced to in White Belt. We enjoy time for check-in and sharing about our individual Nia practices, time for experimenting with our Nia toolbox of skills, time for decoding the music, and time for moving with the music. We convey teaching tips and explore applications of the Nia practice to daily life.

We turn to the fantastically danceable routine, “Aya”, created at the apex of his Nia career by Co-Founder Carlos Rosas. The focus of the routine Stability, one of the 5 Sensations of movement that make for an excellent workout. The 5 Principles of the Body’s Way convey the time to move with the music, and the body’s organic demands for healthy movement, based on its inherent structure and functioning.

The series is conducted in person at Still & Moving Center as well as online via GoToMeeting, on which all participants can be seen and heard, live time.

Music by Eric Abdul Aziz on tabla & Naike Swai on bamboo flute

Movement with Nia Black Belts: Renée Tillotson, Sharlene Bliss, Krista Hiser and Nadia Fairlamb

Sign Up Now!

 

krista niaAn exotic journey into the unknown! Let Nia and the rhythm of the ragas seep into your pores, slowly energize your body, lift you into an exuberant dance of Joy, settle into your soul, and leave you deeply satisfied.

All 4 of Oahu’s Nia Blacks will dive into the river of the unknown, leading you through original, spontaneous choreography on this special occasion. Derived from dance, yoga and martial arts, Nia heals the body – mind – spirit connection.

The talking hand drums and bamboo flute will weave their magical rhythms and melodies from the musical tradition of India. Like jazz, Indian ragas are an improvised elaboration upon a musical theme. The ancient rhythms of the ragas are designed to benefit the spirit and body.

Light refreshments provided

Eric Abdul Aziz Always an avid percussionist, Eric Abdul Aziz began the journey of table fourteen years ago at the renowned Ali Akbar College of Music, San Rafael, California under the expert tutelage of table maestro Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri. Eric continued his tabla training with Ustad Rashid Jamal Bhartiya ofthe Delhi Gharana (musical tradition) in Boulder, Colorado. In 2004, Eric embarked upon the study of the sur bahar under the tutelage of Rashid’s brother, Ustad Roshan Jaragamal Bhartiya, international adjunctprofessor to Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.

Naike Swai, L.Ac Naike: is originally from Tanzania and studied Indian Bamboo flute, also known as Bansuri with maestro Pandit Harsh Wardhan in New Delhi, India. As Hawaii State Licensed Acupuncturist and practitioner of the healing arts, she believes that sound powerfully integrates our lives. She is honored to share the Bansuri with you!

 

with Nia Black Belts, Krista Hiser, Renee Tillotson and Nadia Fairlamb

krista nia

Join us for one of Honolulu’s most popular monthly happenings. Three Nia Black Belts (Renée, Krista and Nadia) will be leading Nia to some of our most popular, upbeat music out in the museum courtyard. Enjoy the museum’s gorgeousl art and great food beside an exceptional movement opportunity while you are there!

Let’s move the masses! We are counting on our loyal Nia students to serve as sort of a flash mob support system, to help get the crowd moving and grooving to the Nia vibe! No practice needed – as usual, we’ll be leading you through every step of the way. it’s Nia under the stars!

The cost is $25, which will also enable you to get a year’s admission to the museum!

For more information

Friday, August 28, 5:50-7:50 pm.

Come share your love and dance with us!

Step into the joy of Nia, a body-mind-spirit fitness practice to soul-stirring music with the motto “Through movement we find health.” Nia fuses the energies of the dance arts, martial arts and healing arts with a large scoop of fun! The choreography gives guidance, the freedom allows us to adapt the moves to our own bodies’ needs.No prior experience required.

with Oahu Nia Teachers

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niapark

Join the Oahu Nia teachers in the park! This Nia class is FUN, fused with marital arts, dance and yoga. Cooled by the island breezes, the class will offer a physical workout in the great outdoors, connect you to nature, movement and music. Meet outside on the grass at the makai end of the Magic Island parting lot. Please wear shoes and bring water.

with Renée Tillotson, 1st Degree Black Belt

Sundays, July 26 – August 30

Sign Up Now!

 

Nia graduates of all belt levels welcome. The mentoring session is followed by a 10:30 Nia class by Renée at Still & Moving Center.

This Nia mentorship series provides an experience in global community for you to continue to Learn, Embody and Share Nia. While some students meet locally, at Still & Moving Center, other join us live online for a highly interactive session each week.

This series take up Carlos’ classic routine Sexi, with focus on “The Spine”. This series will explore the 9 Movement Forms of Nia, with each week taking up one of the Martial Arts, Dance Arts or Healing Arts.

renee niaYour mentor is Renée Tillotson, a 1st Degree Black Belt with 13 years of Nia experience who has been teaching movement since age 15. Nia Brown Belt Nancy Hanlon joins us online from Nova Scotia Canada to lend her extensive Nia and dance experience as well. She will support you in your journey towards mastering the music and choreography using your tools of listening, the 52 Moves, Zorro, the 8BC’s and the Art of Sensation.

Participants will experience great support in the joys and occasional frustrations of learning to teach Nia. Here are some of the accomplishments made by participants in the recent Nia Mentorship series:

• At least one job offer to teach Nia

• Possibly finding a venue for a new Nia studio

• Co-teaching classes with Nia teachers in their local communities

• Leading professional groups in songs from a Nia routine

• Teaching their first songs ever at Still & Moving Center in our Nia classes

• Leading their family members in Nia

• Feeling comfortable with music bars after being slightly or completely confused by them

• Learning how to break choreography down into manageable chunks

• Taking class to a whole new level – as students – thanks to a new understanding of the music, the choreography and the 52 moves

• Developing an encouraging support group on their new Nia path

 

with Debbie Rosas, Co-Founder of the Nia Technique

REGISTER HERE

Join Nia movement arts founder Debbie Rosas and take your movement and choreography skills to the next level. Students and teachers alike will benefit from this powerful movement, music, creative experience. All levels welcome! Nianow.com

“FAB Choreography is so much fun. Hawaii will be the fourth group to collaborate with me, creating choreography with music that will show up in a Nia routine. Just think, you’ll be listed as one of the choreographers on this 2015 routine. One of my favorite forms of collaboration, FAB brings together Nia teachers and students in a fun, amazing, movement, music, and magic experience that comes from creating choreography that delivers the Nia experience and promise”. – Debbie Rosas

What you can expect: 2 days of creative movement

What you’ll learn:

· The basic keys to unlocking movement creativity

· How to blend music and movement to deliver the Nia experience and promise

· The ins and outs of body-centered choreography

· The basic steps needed to create, decode and embody choreography

Saturday, Feb 7  @6:00 – 9:00 pm

Sunday, Feb 8  @9:00 am – 6:00 pm

COST $199 & $149 Hawaii White Belt Graduates 

Debbie Rosas, Co-Founder of the Nia Technique, will be on Oahu leading a week long Nia White Belt Training Jan 31- Feb 6 at the Still & Moving Center. She will hold daily public classes from Jan 31 – Feb 5.

debbiedance1-e1366308311858Debbie Rosas brings you the original flavor and inspiration of Nia, and ever-evolving movement form that blends dance, martial arts and healing arts, such as yoga and Feldenkrais. Nia is soft on the joints, warming up with smooth, usually slower movements, then working up to full cardio-aerobic exercise for participants who want to push their fitness envelope. The cool down offers opportunities to strengthen, stretch and balance. Debbie sends you out the door feeling regenerated, uplifted, ready to take on life with vim!

Credited with establishing the mind-body fitness category, she is a leading fitness innovator, teacher, author, choreographer, performer, healer and artist whose work greatly influences the lives of thousands of women and men worldwide.

Debbie has co-authored two books – “Non-Impact Aerobics” and “The Nia Technique.” She also collaborated with Carlos Aya Rosas to write the Holistic Fitness section of the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Instructor Training Manual. Debbie has served on the Mind-Body Committee for the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, and has presented at numerous IDEA World and Inner IDEA fitness conventions.

She is particularly proud to have played a key role in developing programs at The Naturopathic School of Medicine, Shriners Hospital and Oregon Health and Sciences University. These programs continue to positively impact students, women, teens, and those diagnosed with arthritis and autism.

PUBLIC NIA CLASSES

with Debbie Rosas

All levels of fitness welcome

Saturday, Jan 31 @4:00 – 5:00 pm 

Sunday, Feb 1 @11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Monday – Thursday, Feb 2 – 5 @5:45 – 6:45 pm

Individual class $25

3 class package $65

5 class package $95

10% off for Golden Circle Members – 20% off for Nia Belts

Sign Up Now!

Don’t miss this opportunity to dance with the dynamic Debbie Rosas! She’ll knock your socks off!

Debbie Rosas, Co-Founder of the Nia Technique, will be on Oahu leading a week long Nia White Belt Training Jan 31- Feb 6 at the Still & Moving Center. She will hold daily public classes from Jan 31 – Feb 5.

debbiedance2Debbie Rosas brings you the original flavor and inspiration of Nia, and ever-evolving movement form that blends dance, martial arts and healing arts, such as yoga and Feldenkrais. Nia is soft on the joints, warming up with smooth, usually slower movements, then working up to full cardio-aerobic exercise for participants who want to push their fitness envelope. The cool down offers opportunities to strengthen, stretch and balance. Debbie sends you out the door feeling regenerated, uplifted, ready to take on life with vim!

Credited with establishing the mind-body fitness category, she is a leading fitness innovator, teacher, author, choreographer, performer, healer and artist whose work greatly influences the lives of thousands of women and men worldwide.

Debbie has co-authored two books – “Non-Impact Aerobics” and “The Nia Technique.” She also collaborated with Carlos Aya Rosas to write the Holistic Fitness section of the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Instructor Training Manual. Debbie has served on the Mind-Body Committee for the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, and has presented at numerous IDEA World and Inner IDEA fitness conventions.

She is particularly proud to have played a key role in developing programs at The Naturopathic School of Medicine, Shriners Hospital and Oregon Health and Sciences University. These programs continue to positively impact students, women, teens, and those diagnosed with arthritis and autism.

PUBLIC NIA CLASSES

with Debbie Rosas

All levels of fitness welcome

Saturday, Jan 31 @4:00 – 5:00 pm

Sunday, Feb 1 @11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Monday – Thursday, Feb 2 – 5 @5:45 – 6:45 pm

Individual class $25

3 class package $65

5 class package $95

10% off for Golden Circle Members – 20% off for Nia Belts

Sign Up Now!

Don’t miss this opportunity to dance with the dynamic Debbie Rosas! She’ll knock your socks off!

Debbie Rosas, Co-Founder of the Nia Technique, will be on Oahu leading a week long Nia White Belt Training Jan 31- Feb 6 at the Still & Moving Center. She will hold daily public classes from Jan 31 – Feb 5.

debbiedance2Debbie Rosas brings you the original flavor and inspiration of Nia, and ever-evolving movement form that blends dance, martial arts and healing arts, such as yoga and Feldenkrais. Nia is soft on the joints, warming up with smooth, usually slower movements, then working up to full cardio-aerobic exercise for participants who want to push their fitness envelope. The cool down offers opportunities to strengthen, stretch and balance. Debbie sends you out the door feeling regenerated, uplifted, ready to take on life with vim!

Credited with establishing the mind-body fitness category, she is a leading fitness innovator, teacher, author, choreographer, performer, healer and artist whose work greatly influences the lives of thousands of women and men worldwide.

Debbie has co-authored two books – “Non-Impact Aerobics” and “The Nia Technique.” She also collaborated with Carlos Aya Rosas to write the Holistic Fitness section of the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America Instructor Training Manual. Debbie has served on the Mind-Body Committee for the IDEA Health and Fitness Association, and has presented at numerous IDEA World and Inner IDEA fitness conventions.

She is particularly proud to have played a key role in developing programs at The Naturopathic School of Medicine, Shriners Hospital and Oregon Health and Sciences University. These programs continue to positively impact students, women, teens, and those diagnosed with arthritis and autism.


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