Dancehall Daze

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Dancehall Daze

Our rockstar dance teacher Libby Miga brings a wide variety experience and tastes that we’re so excited to share with students at EmBODYment Maui Retreat. Libby has trained in lots of styles, but her current favorite is dancehall, a popular club dance that comes from Jamaica—different part of the world, but perfect for the tropical island feel of our weeklong dance party.

Dancehall music first started developing in the 1980s in Jamaican cities, as electronic influence began overtaking the roots reggae style that had been popular in the previous decade. Today, you can hear dancehall all over Jamaica and other Caribbean countries, in clubs and street parties. It’s also become a major cultural export as the Jamaican diaspora has spread throughout North American and Europe. Some of the best-known artists that have had crossover success in the U.S. include Beenie Man (the “King of Dancehall”), Sean Paul, and Vybz Kartel.

Libby trained in Jamaica primarily with international dance teacher Latonya Style, who started a school and style called (appropriately) Stylish Moves. Libby combines Latonya’s dancehall movements with her own background in hip hop and West African dance for an incredibly unique, high-energy choreography that we can’t wait to play with.

 

See some of Latonya’s dancing here:

 

And one more from our amazing Libby Miga here:

 

If you’re ready to start pre-partying island-style, here’s a Pitchfork list of the 50 Best Dancehall Songs of All Time, or learn some dancehall lingo.

 

Come join us on the dancefloor at our EmBODYment Maui Retreat!

 

 

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There are no “bad voices”: Chelsea Kirby in her own words

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There are no “bad voices”: Chelsea Kirby in her own words

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We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the multi-talented Chelsea Kirby this fall. Hailing from San Francisco, Chelsea brings a variety of experience and ideas to EmBODYment Maui Retreat, and describes herself as a “musician, sound-healer, aerial arts enthusiast, dance junkie, fervent yogi, and fitness mentor.”

At EmBODYment, we’re delighted to have Chelsea teaching expressive vinyasa yoga classes as well as her unique Expressive Voice Workshop: a method that combines meditation, movement, breath work and toning to bring out the unique beauty and confidence of our own voices. You can hear Chelsea’s music here.

What are you most looking forward to on the retreat?

Connecting with other creative beings on the breathtaking land that is Hale Akua. I'm looking forward to holding space for the healing of others by through my offerings of yoga and music and I'm also looking forward to partaking in all of the amazing classes and workshops. 

Oh, and the hot tubs! and Kyra's food of course! I'm pretty much excited about all aspects of this retreat.

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What do you want students to take away from your yoga classes?

I really hope that everyone who steps into the yoga studio is able to find presence and transformation in their experience, that we each learn a bit more about ourselves. Right now is such an important time in humanity for us to do some self-work and heal. My intention is to offer mediums that empower others to feel comfortable and free, to be expressive, and encourage their own self-healing.

How about your Expressive Voice Workshop? It sounds so unique and intriguing.

I'm super excited to be offering the Expressive Voice workshop. To share this with others comes from a very personal and vulnerable place for me. I feel called to share this because there was certainly a time in my life where I was not feeling fully comfortable in my voice and in my truth, to feel open rather than restricted is such a gift and it's something we all deserve. Society tells us that there is such thing as a "good voice" or "not so good", this limits our ability to share a primal part of ourselves. As a species we supposedly sang before we spoke, to utilize and tap into our sonar is sacred and can provide deep healing. This has absolutely been the case for me and I can't wait to share some accessible approaches and tools with our Maui tribe!

As the Maui tribe, we’re delighted to welcome Chelsea. Find out how you can join the party too! 

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Introducing Our Bodyworker, Ben Murphy

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Introducing Our Bodyworker, Ben Murphy

We’d like to give a warm “Aloha!” to our retreat massage therapist, Ben Murphy. Ben is a Neuro-Structural Bodywork specialist who emphasizes breath and mindfulness in his work. He calls it Somato-Emotional Integration. He’ll be joining us from Portland, Oregon, and will be available for private sessions during our week together.

What is Neuro-Structural Bodywork?

Ben explains it as “not a particular modality, but a synthesis of different modalities.” He combines techniques like trigger points, myofascial massage, craniosacral therapy, active and passive stretching, deep tissue, and Swedish massage “to facilitate shifts in bone and muscle alignment.”

And Somato-Emotional Integration?

Ben merges mindfulness techniques and breathwork to bring a more holistic healing approach.

“This work is integrative in many different ways,” he says. “It’s an integration of different styles and it re-integrates structural elements into the receiver’s conscious awareness. In other words, the client will gain a greater sense of feeling and control of movement throughout their body. This is the primary intent of neurostructural bodywork."

“With the right balance of depth and safety, the body and mind will process otherwise repressed experiences. They could be emotional, physical, or psychological.” He explains, “The body knows what it needs to heal itself. My job is to listen, follow where it leads, and bring the receiver’s awareness along for the ride, so they can bring the experience with them, when they get up off the table.” 

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We asked Ben…

What are you most looking forward to during the EmBODYment Maui Retreat?

I'm looking forward to supporting Mikka's vision for this retreat, which aligns deeply with the way I practice bodywork. We both view the connection one has to the body, as the foundation for deepening one's awareness of self and subsequently deepening one's capacity to connect with other. I hope to provide each individual that gets on my table an opportunity to feel fully present and in alignment with their depth.

What are you passionate about besides massage?

I am studying Music Composition at Portland State University. I love music. Learning to express myself has been a big part of my journey and expression through music is becoming one of the most satisfying experiences I've had so far in my 29 years.

I'm also studying a mystic tradition called Ankhar Muse. I'm fascinated by myth, story, spirituality, philosophy, human relationships, and of course moving my body in all sorts of entertaining ways: dance, yoga, qigong, climbing. 

Don’t miss your chance to meet Ben and experience his unique style of bodywork at the Maui Retreat this November!

If you will be in Portland this weekend, Mikka and Ben are offering a free therapeutic acroyoga class and party in Portland THIS FRIDAY October 6th!

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Welcome Libby Miga to Maui Retreat Lineup!

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Welcome Libby Miga to Maui Retreat Lineup!

Aloha, Libby Miga!

An Oakland, Calif.-based performer and choreographer, Libby Miga will be joining us on our EmBODYment Maui Retreat as a dance instructor. Taking dance classes can feel goofy and intimidating to adult beginners, but Libby will bring out the playful expressiveness in anyone. Here’s why we’re so excited to welcome her to our party, and can’t wait to try her classes:

She teaches dancehall inspired classes!

Libby started with more common Western dance forms — ballet, modern, and hip hop — and later expanded her interests into more international forms. “In college I fell absolutely in love with West African dance and traveled to Ghana to study it. After college I got into hula hooping and discovered dancehall,” she says. “I love exploring a wide range of styles, but my spirit responds the most strongly to dancehall right now.”

She says it’s not only her favorite style to perform, but also to teach:

“It’s hard to put into words but it feels like magic. There is a technique and there is a vibe. A swag but also an organic essence to it that makes it challenging and enjoyable.”

Libby started her dance career later than most professional dancers and encourages anyone who feels inspired or excited by dance to explore their natural desire for movement and joy. She says it’s never too late to start dancing:

“My advice is to stay loose, get what you can and let the rest go. You have to start somewhere! The key is to get out of your head and into your body. If it feels hard, know that you’re building neural pathways and expanding physically and mentally.”

She believes in dance as a language of love.

Libby says her favorite thing about teaching is making people feel joy, and sharing it feels like a blessing.

“If I can inspire people to move their bodies and feel empowered, I feel successful,” she says. “Dance is the language I use to spread love and empowerment. I teach to make people feel more connected to their higher selves and to feel, simply put, badass.“
“My movement classes at the retreat will be fun, energetic and soul centered. I want the dancers to learn movement, get a sweat on and have a blast doing so.”

If you found yourself saying “Yes! This is awesome!” We highly recommend considering a week in paradise with this badass chick and the entire crew on the EmBODYment Maui Retreat. There are still a few spots left, what are you waiting for?!

Take me there!!!

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More Pleaze!

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More Pleaze!

We are so excited to have our amazing chef, Kyra, preparing delicious food on the Maui retreat again this year!

More Pleaze: Kyra Bramble’s Philosophy on Food

“To me, food is a way to share my art while nourishing those around me. What other form of artistic expression literally feeds those that you love? Through food I have found a way to share my soul with the world. Through food we learn about science, history, spirituality, and our own unique bodies.”
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Organic chef Kyra Bramble is bringing her unique talent and caring touch to our table at Maui Unbound, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome her. Between Kyra’s creative and lovingly prepared recipes, and the lush organic fruit and veggie gardens surrounding us, we know the food will be one of the most memorable parts of our week.

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Kyra describes herself as a “health food ninja,” in addition to a plant-based chef, wild crafter, holistic nutritionist in training, and all around lover of all things edible.” She also holds a Le Cordon Bleu degree from California Culinary Academy, a 1000+ hour SFHN certification from Hawthorn University, and a Wildcrafter Certification from Earth Medicine Institute. Her company, More Pleaze, caters yoga retreats and other spiritual gatherings, offers cooking classes and workshops, and offers recipe development, all with a focus on healthy, organic, plant-based cuisine.

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To get a taste of Kyra’s talents, you can try one of her recipes at home. Macadamia nuts are native to Australia but grow abundantly in Maui and the other Hawaiian islands. Kyra put together a simple Macadamia Nut “Raw-Cotta” Cheese recipe —a healthy, raw vegan alternative to ricotta cheese. Or try her Turmeric Coconut Passionfruit Smoothie recipe, which combines some of our favorite local Hawaiian ingredients and flavors (a great teaser for what we can look forward to on the island).

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For more delicious inspiration, you can follow Kyra on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

For a seat at our dinner table, sign up for our EmBODYment Maui Retreat and join us for some meals you’ll never forget!

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