Once I was done with my little herd of paintings, I could breathe more easily.
I felt a lot of spaciousness, but there was one more shadowy granule, heavy with doubt, unworthiness, and "unfinished business" stuck in my lungs. I had one last seed to cough up and plant in the world.
I needed to teach a Qoya class.
Qoya is a style of meditative dance, engaging our bodies through movement as a portal to remembering.
Qoya teaches us to find our way back into our bodies as sacred space. Through Qoya, we can tap into the wisdom our bodies have to share with us, and the truth that we can access there at any time.
Qoya has become one of my greatest tools for discovering change and healing within myself. For more information about Qoya, click the button below and explore the official Qoya website.
The first time I ever danced Qoya was in October of 2016. I was playing one of Rochelle’s videos, from the website above, in my bedroom.
At the time, I was harboring a lot of grief: for an outworn version of my self; for a failing romantic relationship; for all that I have yet to bring into the world and was worried I never might.
As I danced, my bodied guided me into allowance and non-resistance. Dancing helped me find a way to welcome in challenging feelings, instead of pushing them away from me.
I allowed myself to hear them, too.
My body guided me into a powerful experience of revelation and release.
When the class ended, I didn’t feel necessarily “fixed”, but I felt newly aware of what I was actually coming up against emotionally, by journeying somatically into those places.
I felt empowered by the tool I had just discovered for accessing that truth, with wild ease and radical freedom.
I felt a confidence in knowing that I could travel into those difficult feelings, and come out the other side as a fresher version of myself.
I could hold space for them and then move through them, not just shove them away, or sit inside of them with no way out.
I signed up for the Qoya Collective Retreat and Initiation Training in Costa Rica that same night, no second thoughts, which happened to fall on my 26th birthday.
I awakened to a lot over the course of that week, dancing for hours every day.
I made the choice, along with 40 other women, to go inward, to feel, to hold space for whatever came up, and to be in community and support each other while we did that.
My body revealed to me what I was unwilling to let go of, where I feel unworthy, and where I limit myself without realizing it.
But my body also taught me how deeply I can love, how joyful I can be, how truthfully I can feel, how much bravery I can embody, and how authentically I can express.
Some of my most supportive relationships are among women I have met in this space.
The tattoo on my back bonds me to three of my Qoya sisters, reminding us to open up the back of our hearts; to the moon and to the shadow; to bring forward and honor equally all that we have hidden in the dark in order to move through it.
It reminds us of the powerful connectivity that dancing with other women, creating and holding space for one another, fosters. It anchors us to the authentic sisterhood that we feel because of this, even at a distance.
To me, dancing Qoya is divine medicine. The movement of Qoya helps me to access the sacred connection within myself, and is my greatest tool for discovering a deep knowing of my Self.
Mirroring my education in massage therapy, and my education in general, I thrived in the learning process of my initiation training. It was once I was done learning, and it was time for me to teach Qoya in the current of my daily life, that the doubt swept in.
Could I do this?
Could I hold space for other women as so many women have held space for me?
Could I create a container where other women felt safe enough to journey into themselves? Was I ready for that? Was I worthy of that? Had I healed enough? Learned enough?
There was fear, and there was anxiety, and there was the laziness and procrastination that plagues me when I feel the voice of “I can’t”.
It has been over a year since I received my initation training, but finishing my paintings had given me new courage.
They taught me I could do these things that seemed hard and overwhelming to push through, it is just a matter of setting a deadline and committing.
I set my bar very low.
I was going to teach ONE Qoya class this moon cycle. Just one. Whether it be to one person or to five. I was going to do it.
It was vulnerable for me to teach a Qoya class to people who had never practiced Qoya before. There was fear in sharing something so close to my heart, without knowing if the women I was sharing Qoya with would connect with it as I do.
Before this class, as I set sacred space, I prayed to give it all up. I offered up my fear, my anxiety, my feelings of unworthiness, and my desire to control the outcomes and experiences of others.
I put my trust in the support I was calling upon, and in the sacred container I was invoking. I made the choice to trust. I resolved to rest in, and be supported by the Knowing that Qoya, for me, is real and true.
And that is enough.
In this first class, as I called in my intention, I danced to remember what it feels like in my body when I trust in the present unfolding, unconditionally.
I have two new Qoya sisters because I found the strength to have faith in this space. I was able to introduce two more women to the power of Qoya as a tool for remembering our truths, and coming home to our bodies.
Class ended with expressions of excitement, connectivity, and desires to do this all again sometime soon.
I was humbled and grateful to be able to extend this gift to other women as it has been, and continues to be extended to me time, and time again.