Maria Skinner

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Archive for May, 2011

Micro the Move Research

It takes me a long time to integrate anything.  On the one hand, I “get it” with my mind. I am quick that way. But to truly be able to make something mine, to get it with my body, it takes me time and earnest practice. I feel that double taskmaster of time and space telling me that there are no shortcuts other than the shortcut of being truly present for the practice.

So here I am, teaching a movement form that encompasses many practices that are meant to be embodied one by one and then integrated to create the Music~Movement~Magic that is Nia. Each practice is part of a foundation and the wholeness of a teacher who embodies these practices can be felt. I know this, no magic tricks but only true magic is allowed into my world.

I have found that even within each practice, I have had to break it down again and again to get to the essence. To embody the essence and then build upon it, I am constantly breaking it down. Letting go of what I know to discover something new.

I have been doing this lately with each of the 52 Moves of the Nia Technique. I have written before about bringing just one move, finger extensions or  foot directions, for instance  into class and making that Move the focus the sole focus. Using other Moves, of course, but always in relation to the ONE. This practice has helped me integrate the essence of each Move like nothing else. For those of you who practice Nia, I highly recommend it.

If at first read, the potential for boredom enters your mind, I assure you, doing this has only made my relationship with each Move far more exciting. Like monogamy, there have been moments of wanting to break out, but overall, the more I stay and ask myself and the Move for MORE, the more I get and the more I want to stay with it.

Last week I had a rash of one Move only foci:

Wednesday: Stepping Back Onto the Ball of the Foot

Thursday: Cross Behind

Sunday: Bow Stance

All three are actually a variation on the theme of exploring the relationship to the space behind the body. We do this by stepping into the back space, by finding support from behind and by allowing the back space to propel us forward.

Aligning the body from behind and underneath also calls in the relationship to the smile line in Nia. The smile line relates to the journey of the hara as we shift weight to locomote.  By going deeper, we can go higher and by playing with range of motion we can create exciting dance experiences. We also have the opportunity to condition the legs and the core of the body using gravity and strength as our body weights travel that deeper smile line.

Settling into the back space before the shift happens also brought to body and mind the energy of receiving. As I step back onto the ball of my foot, cross behind or step back into a bow stance, I find my back foot and receive the support from the ground and underneath. I settle into myself, maybe for a long time or maybe just for a moment as I prepare to push down to shift or kick or jump. However, that moment when I am purely receiving, aligning into the back space, filling my body with breath, is delicious.

I found myself being so relaxed after these classes. In their wake, I noticed how much more anxious I feel when I align myself with a forward and up orientation. The stallion at the gate sensation is familiar to me. Life as a race. However these three moves gave me an opportunity to realign and ask, what’s the rush?  Why not be here now? Now is where the power is.

Nutrient Dense – Guest Blogging by Chad Skinner

Alchemy Farm and Apiary is Chad Skinner’s project in sustainable lifestyle. Recently he has taken on growing food and plants with Nutrient Dense practices. Here is the scoop on what nutrient dense is. To contact Chad, you can reach him at chad.skinner@msn.com.

THE NUTRIENT DENSE STORY

Hundreds of years of agriculture have depleted the soil’s trace minerals.  Each year plants take up the minerals that they need to build and maintain their cellular structure.  We harvest the food for consumption, and the trace elements are removed from the land.  Farm lands that are depleted of the nutrients to support crop production are not a new thing.  The answer that was developed by the US Agricultural department during the great depression era, and into WW2 was to pump the soil full of Nitrogen, Phosphate, and Potassium.  It’s the NPK ratio that you will see on the side of any fertilizer bag.  What this has lead to is food that has less nutritional value, and crops that are grown in a weakened state requiring more water and pesticides.  This agricultural practice has left fields so devoid of the microbial, and fungal elements that play a major role in plant development that when turned under, corn stubble does not decompose.  The soil is drained of the building blocks of life.

Interestingly, at about the same time that the US Agricultural department was turning to NPK and pesticide, an agronomist by the name of Albrecht was developing another theory and method.  By measuring the amount of the different elements in the soil, and seeing the effects of each element on plant life Albrecht began to realize that the very same minerals that were important for human cellular development were also need by the plants.  Look on the back of any multi vitamin bottle you will find the following trace elements listed: Zinc, Copper, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Molybdenum, Potassium, Boron, Selenium, Manganese, Nickel, Silicon.  These are the very same trace elements that soil is measured for in the nutrient dense practice.  What Albrecht realized was that by balancing out the soil with the trace elements required, and boosting the biological components the plants were much stronger.

Today what has been developed based on Albrecht’s model is called nutrient dense farming, or re-mineralization.  It’s a combination of Albrechts work, the Organic/sustainable movement, and bio-dynamic farming.  The nutritional value of the plants grown in a nutrient dense environment are measured with a unit called Brix.  You may have heard of this recently. Some upscale restaurants in Manhattan are on the nutrient dense band wagon.  Essentially, brix are measured using a refractometer to determine the density of the sap within the plant.  The denser the sap the more the nutrients.  The refractometer is also used to determine what is needed by the plant on a real time basis.  Rather than scratching your head and wondering why your plants are not growing quite right the refractometer can help to determine what is out of balance.  Large scale operations are doing the very same by sending certain parts of the plants into be tested, and amending accordingly using drip irrigation.  In addition to balancing the soil, Nutrient Dense farming also includes adding the right biological elements to the soil, and to the plants.  These are the micro organisms that help facilitate the uptake of nutrients to the plants, and aid in over all soil health.

Not only do these plants and veggies look better, they are better for you. Enjoy and may these plants add to your thriving good health.

ONEONEONEZERO: The vision

My friend, Carrie Forman, recently created a new company called Oneoneonezero. Her website is: http://www.oneoneonezero.com

On her opening page are the words: We are created to create…words have power…make a mindful choice.

Ideally, we use our power to create consciously. Ideally. I am not sure how many times I am truly conscious as I make choices. In the blur that sometimes feels like my life, there are many things that appear as if from nowhere. In moments of deeper introspection, I can see when I initiated the thought that created the word that created the thing that seems so implausible.

Carrie and I were talking about this one day, about words…and about Dr. Emoto’s  words on water. About how the energy of the words written on the bottle can affect the vibrations in the water that we drink which in turn affects our inner water. Since we are made up of quite a lot of H2O, the idea of wearing something with high vibration words on it became very appealing.

When Carrie began creating these shirts, I was really eager to get them on my body.  I have three shirts now.

One has the words I am an infinite possibility”. This one reminds me to always be aware of my attitude, choices and decisions.

Then there is the chakra shirt. one word for each of the the 7 main chakras to activate and tone me: root, flow, power, love, voice, see, source. They are at once inspiration, reminders and instructions to these seven parts of me.

The third says: Ease, Grace, Fluidity. These three words have helped me through some jagged moments in my life recently.

Simplicity.  Lovely earth-loving colors. Water based inks. Next best thing to having the words tattooed on my body. And I love it because I can switch them out depending on what my day holds for me.

Check out these shirts. Contemplate simplicity. Invite consciousness.