Imagine a movement practice where you can connect to the deepest sense of your soul, learn the essence of your body’s wisdom and be guided by her intuition, as well as joining together in a sacred circle of woman who are all blossoming, shifting and growing in their truth and beauty around you. Sounds pretty good right?
Well, meet Qoya.
The explanation of Qoya, by the Qoya founder Rochelle Schiek is this:
“Through movement, we remember. We remember our essence is wise, wild, and free. Wise, wild and free also draw reference to the movement forms that we practice: Wise: the wisdom of yoga. Wild: the creative expression in dance. Free: expanding our capacity to enjoy our bodies through sensual movement. In Qoya, imagine there is no way you can do it wrong and the way you know you're doing it right is when it feels good.”
But Qoya is so much more than that. Qoya creates community, it embraces everyone who practices together in a warm glow that is felt long after the dancing has finished. Qoya & her community are pure magic.
Qoya meaning Queen & the female manifestation of consciousness. As women we get to revel in the feminine way we move our bodies & how this reflects in our lives.
The Qoya movement has been steadily growing across the globe. The queens are rising to dance with all the sensual beauty that abounds when women reconnect to their essence and come together to lift each other up. It’s a powerful, powerful thing.
The Qoya UK Collective so far Jayne Goldheart, Melanie Murphy De Vicente and Kate Taylor have all made a pilgrimage of heart and soul to train in teaching Qoya and lead the dance with Qoya events now taking place regularly in the UK.
To mark the launch of Rochelle’s powerful new book, Qoya; A Compass for Navigating an Embodied Life that is Wise, Wild and Free Jayne, Melanie and Kate will be leading a special collective session On Saturday 27th February in London. Join us as we will be dancing in celebration of all that is wise, wild and free. Every woman who attends will get a copy of the book. You can find out more about the event and book tickets here.
Below Jayne, Melanie and Kate share their stories on how Qoya called to them and what it has meant in their lives:
Sitting on the plane with a whole row of seats to myself it suddenly dawned on me that I was heading to Costa Rica. I had literally booked the trip 6 weeks prior by emptying my bank account to pay a deposit. It was blind faith, a voice inside, a call to follow my heart’s desire and there I was, on the plane.
When we stop being busy and start reconnecting with ourselves our true desires are given space to breathe. I’d recently gone back to a regular yoga & meditation practice after falling off the mat. There are so many amazing reasons to meditate, people who meditate are less stressed, healthier, they sleep better, and they have a more positive outlook on life. Simply put, meditation makes you a happier person and of course it allows your intuition to shine through and be heard loud and clear.
As I sat in meditation each day my intuition was screaming for me to dance, who would have thought it would take stillness to make me move, so I started to search for places to dance and then Qoya appeared.
Qoya is a shift in consciousness that evolves the way we have been taught to move our bodies as women. Drawn from the wisdom of yoga, creative expression in dance, and the pleasure found in sensual movement, Qoya helps women enjoy and revel in their feminine bodies. Classes combine benefits of fitness — including strength, flexibility, balance, and agility — with a unique empowering approach that is feminine, expressive, and, most importantly, FUN! We unite our body and mind, honour the interconnectedness in ourselves and our world, consciously create community, give rise to our intentions, encourage our desires to dance through us — and, thereby, nourish our soul.
Qoya was created by the radiant Rochelle Shieck who was running a week long retreat in Costa Rica, a place I had been longing to go for the past year. It was 22 hours since I pulled my little case down the stairs of my building and out into the cold fresh air of 5am and I had arrived into the dark night of 30 degree heat. Still feeling a little uneasy; ‘What the hell was I doing?’ ‘How the hell did I manage to pull this off? This is a trip of a lifetime and somehow I’d made it happen in 6 short weeks.’ (HOW I DID IT : I believed that I could, I asked for help, I over-delivered, and I hustled.)
My first experience of Qoya was on the Sunday morning in a gorgeous room overlooking the ocean, the theme of the day was just simply arriving, slowing down. I will admit I was a little nervous about the whole ‘sensual movement part’. Like, I know where my hips are but I saved that for behind closed doors. And here I was with women I’d only met the day before moving my body any which way that it wanted and it felt amazing. The pace of a Qoya class shifts from slow to flow, it mirrors life. At any given moment we have to be ready to change, we don’t know what’s around the corner and then there is the permission that we need from no one but ourselves to slow down, like really slow down, feel every breath & enjoy the way our body moves, letting our essence shine through.
I’m 41 years old, I’ve been teaching yoga for 5 years & I love to dance but the experience of Qoya is something that I didn’t know existed. I am starting to reclaim myself, I have more appreciation for my body , I’ve started to wear earrings and lipstick again like I did in my 20s & I’ll show you my sensual movement anytime, it’s fun and of course I did the teacher training whilst in Costa Rica so I can share this amazingness with anyone who cares to join me.
Returning to London the women around me somehow looked different, I want to grab them and say come, come with me, experience Qoya, you don’t know you want it yet but you do.
At the beginning of 2015 I received an amazing bit of advice from Rebecca Campbell, she said that I should do what I love everyday. I love dancing, so even though I had no idea how this was going to help me I did it anyway.
A month or so later I came across Qoya on a blog post, I was so curious to find out more about it but I couldn't find any where to do it in the UK. I eventually ended up on the Qoya website, I couldn't stop reading, I just knew that I needed to know more and I just knew that I needed to do it, but not just take part in a class I knew I had to teach it.
So a few months later I was in Costa Rica with a wonderful group of women dancing to our own beat. Everything about Qoya rocked my world, the community, the freedom to dance any way I wanted to but most of all there was no way I could do it wrong. How freeing is that???
During that time in Costa Rica I met Jayne, she was supposed to leave Costa Rica the day I arrived but as fate would have it, she had an opportunity that she couldn't say no to and she stayed. This I am so grateful for, we have formed a beautiful friendship. I feel so blessed to have Jayne in my life and I'm not sure what I'd do without her.
Before Qoya I wasn't a part of a community, I didn't have a group of women that I could call friends. Creating and being part of a community is one of the important aspects of Qoya, and I am so humbled by all of the wonderful friends I have made through her. It feels so amazing to be part of such a wonderful community who I feel that I could turn to if I ever needed any support.
There was a huge BOOM in my heart the first time I danced Qoya with Jayne at a #HigherSelfie salon organised by Lucy and Jo. It was a defibrillator shocking life back into my body. The opening, the release, the air under my arms as I accepted joy into myself once again. The sheer pleasure of weightless expression of your inner flow. In that very moment I knew that I was in love, and I wanted more. Signing up for as much as I could to dance more, to feel more I became entrenched in what I knew was going to be a new way of living for me.
So, like Jayne, and like Melanie too, I found myself heading off for a lone adventure to the tropics of Costa Rica to be amongst other souls who had also be called to remember their wild, wise and free essence. When I arrived, my head was in denial of any of that happening; it had decided that I wasn’t going to make friends, I was only there to learn to teach and that I had a book to get started, there was no space for anything else. But, that was the problem; my heart and my flow were trapped in what felt like a heavy cast iron box, and I just couldn’t find access to any feelings other than feeling numb, which had been my go-to for so long..
But, something inside of me had other plans - with every dance, every oracle card pulled, every ritual, song, smile, stretch, conversation, lesson from Rochelle, and with every opportunity we gave myself to start listening to the wisdom of our bodies we rose to meet ourselves. I felt gentle and pulsating shifts; my healing heart started unfurling petal by petal, and I connected to the woman who lives inside of me that I had long ago lost touch with. And she is beautiful. As we danced with both light and shadow, we allowed myself the gift of re-discovery through our own movements, and the sways and dances of the energy of the community of women brought together in this place to raise their vibrations high. I explored my essence and its colours in all their beauty and luminescence; like jewels of the most perfect clarity they shine as they connect with the hearts and souls of our communities.
As the week progressed my heart cracked wide opened, my love for myself and the world around me blossomed and my creativity started to fizz like never before. I have been able to connect to nature in a way where I truly feel part of it. I take the time to listen to her important call and how I can reflect her importance back to the world through my work. I am more in tune with myself and how I can be of help to other women as we all dance together in this world.
Needless to say bonds of love and friendship were forged that week, as they have been every time I’ve danced. I look forward to many years of creating more love, friendship and sisterhood as we come together to embody all that is wild, wise and free.
"To be creative means to be in love with life. You can be creative only if you love life enough that you want to enhance its beauty, you want to bring a little more music to it, a little more poetry to it, a little more dance to it.”
You can find out more about the book launch event and other Qoya related events on the Qoya UK Collective Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/Qoya-Collective-UK-1695855264033174 and by visiting the Qoya website www.qoya.love