Qoya is a shift in consciousness that evolves the way we have been taught to move our bodies, and live in our bodies, as women. Drawn from the wisdom of yoga, creative expression in dance, and the pleasure found in feminine movement, Qoya helps women embody, enjoy and revel in their feminine bodies. Classes combine benefits of fitness — including strength, flexibility, balance, and agility training — with a unique empowering approach that is feminine, expressive, and FUN!
We unite our body and mind, honor the interconnectedness of ourselves and our world, consciously create community, honor our intentions, encourage our desires to dance through us — and, thereby, nourish our soul.
In this video, the founder of Qoya, Rochelle Schieck, introduces this powerful practice and how it came to be:
My love affair with Qoya began in April 2015. Just like the spring flowers blooming around every corner, Qoya started showing up everywhere-- a friend mentioned it over lunch, a healing practitioner recommended it-- "You have to go Jaime!" she declared, and an acquaintance on Facebook shared a link to the book Rochelle (Qoya's founder) was writing at the time. When the universe starts sending multiple messages, I do my best to pay attention.
I checked out a few of Rochelle's videos online and loved not only the words she spoke but how she conveyed the essence of who she was -- integrity, love, and passion embodied. I jumped on her Kickstarter page, where she was raising money to publish her first book, and donated without hesitation. I didn't know her. I'd never taken a Qoya class. But I knew that her message and her essence was something I could whole-heartedly support. As it works in life, the very same day, a local Qoya teacher (I was then living in Minnesota) offered a free private class for anyone who donated at a certain level to the book campaign. I booked my first Qoya class.
Now mind you, I would never in my life have considered myself a dancer. I was a 4-year-old ballet drop out, never made the cheerleading squad in high school, and only danced after a sufficient amount of alcohol and encouragement at parties and weddings. When dancing, I felt abundantly awkward and stupidly self-conscious while simultaneously hoping to garner others' approval. I wasn't comfortable in my body and was used to movement modalities, like the rest of the world, telling me just what to do.
But I was waist-deep in a massive healing crisis and knew I needed to change my relationship to my body. Since becoming a mother, I'd developed serious reproductive health problems that threatened (and ultimately ended) my fertility, was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition, adrenal burnout, digestive problems, and more. I knew things needed to radically change on so many levels. Every fiber of my being called out for healing. I'd been trying everything that came my way.
I was excited and nervous to take my first Qoya class-- a private class where it was just me and another woman dancing in a room. Weird. This was definitely pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. But I deeply trusted Qoya from the start. My very bones ached for this medicine I was just now putting a name to. It helped that Colleen, my teacher and now dear friend, was so warm, welcoming, and authentic. Like all the Qoya teachers I've met, she put my mind and body at ease. I felt completely held, safe, seen, accepted and respected.
At one point during our session, Colleen put a blindfold on me (which I laugh about when I tell this story, because it sounds like such a wild thing to do to someone you barely know!) But the most amazing thing happened. That blindfold helped me tune out the world OUTSIDE so a whole new world INSIDE could open up.
She put on the perfect song and I FELT it. I felt IN MY BODY, for the FIRST time in my life, what I had been trying to reach through my mind for over a decade:
The direct experience of my own power, my own beauty, my own strength, my own resiliency, my own divinity. It felt as if I were dancing by the ancient fire. A feeling so ancient, so strong, and so free came over me. It reorganized me.
I came to Qoya every single week from then on.
Richer, deeper and more nourishing has my practice become. I've never felt more connected to myself, to other women, to my SOUL. I've never met more authentic, brave, wise, caring, loving women than are found in the Qoya community. I feel like I have finally come home. HOME to myself, home to my body, home to a transnational tribe of women who are remembering their essence, reclaiming their BODIES as whole, holy, trustworthy, wise, and wonderful, championing ancient and progressive notions of the DIVINE FEMININE, and leading the charge for embodied LOVE on this planet today.
It is a great soul calling and deep deep honor to teach this practice. It's like I can't NOT teach Qoya, every cell in my body leaps around the room whenever I even think about sharing Qoya. That's how I know I am in the right place.
If you're new to Qoya, know this: there is no way you can do Qoya wrong. And the way you know you are doing it right, is if it feels GOOD, if it feels TRUE in your body. In Qoya, your body is the highest authority and your soul is the only one in the room to which you need to answer.
If you're familiar with Qoya, welcome back and welcome here. I am delighted and deeply honored to be dancing with you.
To all, thank you for being here.
To be at Qoya with Jaime is to be in love and acceptance, because Jaime is love and acceptance. Her spirit is at once ancient in wisdom and childlike in joy. She taught the first Qoya class I ever attended; as a person who hadn't danced in ages and hadn't danced comfortably ever, I was apprehensive going in. But within moments of being in the space Jaime had cultivated, I melted into the moment and found myself dancing with abandon. I wanted every woman I know to come with me next time. -- Kelsey S., Minneapolis
Each Qoya class has a theme, with which we dance throughout our shared experience. In addition, each woman is invited to set her own intention for class -- perhaps something related to what is happening in her life, someone she wants to dance for, or something she is releasing or calling in.
All Qoya classes follow 13 pillars
1. We set sacred space. This is done by the teacher before class begins and together in the beginning as we each bring our voices into the circle and share our truths to the level of our comfort.
2. We anchor in our time together with a brief introduction of qoya, our theme for class, and an opportunity to connect with each other in a relaxed way.
3. We take a moment to connect to our breath, come into the present moment, and set an intention.
4. We begin to warm up by circling through each part of the body. This helps release tension, moves us from more linear movements into more feminine, flowing movements, and connects us with the sensations in our body.
5. Using movement as metaphor, we connect to the music and explore simple movements to open our hearts and explore what it's like to let our hearts lead.
6. We bring awareness and movement into the hips through sensual movement, slowing down to feel more, and exploring how we might release shame and shyness and invite in more pleasure and enjoyment.
7. Through simple flowing yoga movements, we dance our yoga as prayer, connecting to our intentions and letting our movement be an opportunity to both ask for and open to receive that which we desire.
8. We dance with the shadow of our theme, honoring the challenges in our lives and dancing with them (instead of pretending they are not there). Dancing with the shadow invites us to embrace our wholeness, not just the "pretty" parts, and offers us a way to become more comfortable with all of our emotions.
9. We shake. We shake through each part of the body to release any emotions or energies that have been brought up from the shadow that we wish to clear and/or anything that no longer serves us. We shake to reclaim our vibrant resilient nature.
10. Through a simple, easy-to-learn choreographed dance, we have FUN and fortify our mind-body connection through collective movement.
11. We free dance with the full embodiment of the theme, moving into our full creative expression.
12. Community connection offers each woman a chance to use language to anchor in any experiences or insights from class and to witness another woman as she shares.
13. Final integration through stretching and relaxation of the body, and sealing in our practice with a return to our intention.
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