WHAT IS QOYA DANCE?
Qoya is a movement practice developed by Rochelle Schieck. It is based on the idea that through movement, through dance, through gathering we remember that our true essence is wise, wild and free. Qoya is an exploration into how a woman’s body wants to move. Through the journey of simple guided movement patterns, yoga, feminine movement, free dance, meditation and breathing, Qoya gives a woman the map to access her own wisdom. It leads her to authentically express herself and her creativity through dance and invites her to expand the capacity to enjoy her body, gifting the connection, confidence and clarity that’s been longed for. Qoya is based on the idea that through movement, we are able to tap into our essence, the sacred pulse of life. We learn how to cultivate this sense of the sacred not only in our dance, but in our lives.
The vision for Qoya is to give a woman the map of movements that open her feminine mind, heart, body, and soul. The part what I love a lot about Qoya is that anyone who wants to experience body movement can do Qoya – there is no need for any previous skills or knowledge. More on Qoya: www.qoya.love
HOW DID IT COME ABOUT?
Rochelle’s love of movement and the desire to explore life’s meaning compelled her to spend the last 15+ years traveling around the world as a student and teacher. She began instructing various yoga styles, several dance modalities and NIA. Her passion to explore the emerging essence of the feminine in her own life, and then in movement, coupled with her experience as a personal trainer, certified massage therapist, shamanic energy healer and her degree in Interdisciplinary Fine Arts have all influenced her creation of the movement system, Qoya, nine years ago.
WHAT DOES THE WORD ‘QOYA’ MEAN?
The first time Rochelle heard the word Qoya, she was traveling in Peru studying energy medicine and the healing wisdom traditions there. Qoya translates as Queen from Quechan language. Queen as embodied wisdom, the women who rememberes. Queen as a free co-creator in her own life.
WHAT DOES ONE ACHIEVE WITH THE PRACTICE OF QOYA DANCE?
In Qoya we often say, “Come as you are. Leave as more of who you are.” Qoya trains women to use movement as the way into their bodies to access their inner wisdom, to express their creativity, to embrace their self-love and to feel the freedom to revel in pleasure not only in their bodies, but in their lives. In every Qoya class, a woman is constantly guided to go inward to access answers, inward to access creativity, inward to access self-love, inward to feel their pleasure. Everything is within. In Qoya class, a woman is guided to trust herself.
Qoya classes combine the traditional benefits of fitness, including strength, flexibility and balance, with a unique, empowering approach that is feminine, expressive, and most importantly, fun. Qoya is different in that it offers a shift in consciousness that evolves the way we have a shift in consciousness through movement:
If we dwell on our body movements throughout the day, we notice that they are very stiff. It is said that we follow the social norms for linear movement. We also know that when we dance with gay abandon, we feel free and un restrained.
Qoya dance is something that helps women to really dance and allows unrestrained for uninhibited navigation of the body to discover the wisdom within. Jurate Bendziute tells Viki Shah more about this emerging women-only workout…been taught to move our bodies as women. Drawn from the wisdom of yoga, creative expression in dance, and the pleasure found in feminine movement, Qoya helps women enjoy and revel in their feminine bodies.
In other words, the focus becomes more on the enjoyment of the experience in the present moment vs. all the traditional motivation factors of exercise (losing weight, toning, etc). All those become pleasurable by-products, but not the reason we go. The reason we go is joy. Qoya addresses the totality of a woman: mind, body, emotions, energetics, spirit, and soul – honouring her as both human and divine.Imagine a whole world where that’s how we relate to one another, seeing the human and divine aspectsin each woman!
WHAT DOES ONE EXPERIENCE DURING A CLASS?
In Qoya class, we focus on three essences: Focus less on how it looks and more on how it feels. Everything is within. Enjoy the Dance of Life. Qoya class is a safe and sacred space for women to go deep into their experience and be held with the vibration and understanding that life itself is a dance. Imagine going through a really hard time and being able to show up exactly as you are. Pretending that life is all sunshine is exhausting. Keeping it real is a sigh of relief when you are able to be authentic around others who honour the blessings and challenges of this journey called life.
Through movement, we remember the eternal truth and love at the heart of everything we experience. The sacred pulse of life is dancing through us, and through Qoya, we remember to dance with it. Beyond shadow/ light and right/wrong, we evolve our consciousness to see the many layers of life. By trusting our instincts and embodying our feminine power, we dance. No longer collapsing into our old wounds like a child, we start to stand as women, strong and ready to open for love.
In Qoya class, we dance to amazing music from around the world. We reach out to our community, empower ourselves physically, clarify our intentions, and dance with our desires. We stand for the embodiment and feeling of more feminine ways of being that include deep transcendent love, intuition, transparency, selfexpression, radiance and much more. We encourage one another to shine confidently as a woman who knows she is wise, wild, and free.
HOW DOES ONE FEEL AFTER THE CLASS?
Qoya is a potent instrument for connecting to the innate wisdom and self-love, gifting a woman trust in her inner knowledge. A woman gets tools how to access her inner self so to lead her daily life more radiant, healthy, abundant and, most important, more connected. She feels joyful, relaxed and lighter because movement brings release from old stories and beliefs and from the accumulated stress and tension. Adding music, fun, play and sharing to all of the above, brings the feelings of elevation, flow, ease, trust and laughter.
WHAT ARE THE PILLARS OF A QOYA CLASS AND HOW DO THEY HELP YOU IN YOUR WELL-BEING?
There are 13 pillars of a Qoya class:
*creation of a sacred and safe space where women are free to connect with themselves;
*breathing and meditation;
*circling of a body to release tension and rigidity;
*Hip Opening through feminine movement; *Dancing Yoga as Prayer;
*Shadow Contrast Dance to explore the opposite of the theme as a gateway to honour our wholeness and the challenges in our lives;
*Shaking each part of the body;
*A Choreographed Dance; *Free Dance to have a full, embodied experience of the theme;
*Final Stretching and Relaxation to integrate and honour the body’s movements, calm the nervous system, and create an opportunity to soften from doing into being.
WHO SHOULD UNDERTAKE A QOYA CLASS AND WHY?
If I could write a prescription, I would write Qoya to all and everyone. That’s a part of self-care routine. I can talk hours about the philosophy of Qoya, but nothing compares to even a onetime experience. Qoya welcomes all – the ones who does not dance at all and everyone who enjoys themselves moving and connecting.
Qoya for me is a sacred date with myself, with my body, with my innate wisdom and my divine feminine. Why? Because everything starts from within. If we make an effort to connect via movement to ourselves, our self-love; to cleanse and release what is being held in our body; to allow ourselves to play and experience, then we are ready for the world with open hearts, healthy body and mind. Then we make a change. For ourselves and for the world. How does movement help us tap into our body’s wisdom?
Movement is one of the most potent medicine in the world. It heals the whole person – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Our body is a reflection of our subconscious mind – old beliefs and stories, memories, feelings, traumas and emotions are all stored in our bones, organs, connective tissue – in all our body. Furthermore, it carries DNA, the wisdom of our parents and ancestors. Many of us grew up in disconnection from the wisdom kept in our bodies, living our lives in our heads. Contemplating upon past, worrying about future, suppressing feelings, trying to fit in, to be comfortable for others, looking for external validation and running away from the present moment, present feelings. Literally, running form our lives because only the present moment is what we really have.
With this disconnection from body wisdom, lots of people feel constant stress, tension, and pain. Here is the moment where dis-ease steps in. Dis-ease – being not at ease. The movement brings you back to the present moment and pushes you to go from your head into your body, to feel the sensations, to feel the life force running through you. There are times when you feel nothing after the class and there are times when you feel that a new world has just opened inside of you.
Consistency is the key with the movement. It’s like having a shower to keep your physical and energetic body clean – the movement is a shower for your innate world that brings you to remembering that you are and always have been wild, wise, and free.
JURATE BENDZIUTE is a mentor and facilitator who passionately works with women through body movement, somatic body practice, dance, sound, breath, connection, meditation and holding the space for the feminine essence to emerge. Jurate is a certified Sound Healing Practitioner who experiences the sound, music, and self-awareness to be the components on the self-growth journey. She plays Tibetan Singing Bowls, Gongs and other instruments. Jurate is an unapologetic believer in the Body and the Embodiment, Sovereignty and Integrity, Pleasure and Experience that all leads to coming back home where Heart – Soul and Mind move in a balanced and abundant dance.