Qoya at Hanu Yoga a Moving Experience

By Victoria Ford | Oct 02, 2019
Photo by: Victoria Ford

Barnegat — Qoya means “queen consciousness.” It means moving your body to music in intentional ways. It means dancing your truth.

Led by shaman and sound healer Deborah Kehoe of Toms River, five women gathered inside Hanu Yoga studio in Barnegat on Friday night to slow down, tune in, and discover or rediscover the sensual and liberating playfulness of dance. Two more sessions are scheduled on third Fridays, Oct. 18 and Nov. 15, 7 to 8 p.m., with a cost of $20 to drop in.

Combined with traditions from yoga, Qoya classes include 13 core components, centering on a theme that supports participants’ feminine essence (“wise, wild and free”) and tying in ritual, pilgrimage and community connections to open the heart, mind and spirit.

This past Friday’s theme was self-love. Accordingly, all the songs in the playlist were anthems to that end: Mariah Carey’s “Hero,” The Weeknd’s “Earned It,” Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” and Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.”

“The only structure is the order in which we do it,” Kehoe told the class, “and the only rule is you can’t do it wrong.” The way to know when you’re doing it right? When it feels good.

After a series of inhalations and exhalations, Kehoe invited the dancers to set an intention and plant it, like a seed, in the heart, and then in the ground. Then “circling” loosened up the head, shoulders, arms and body; from there, heart-leading, hip-opening, partnered sharing, yoga as prayer, shadow dancing, shaking and free expression were on the menu.

“Tonight is about using the body as medicine,” Kehoe said.

The movement system known as Qoya was developed 10 years ago by a fitness trainer/massage therapist/energy healer named Rochelle Schieck.

Hanu studio owner Kirsten Askins said she could feel her inner child respond to the dynamic nature of Qoya, which is so counter to the static nature of yoga.

Chris LeFevre, a brand new resident of Whiting, had signed up for the class in order to meet and connect with other women. The lesson she learned from the experience was: “Joy is always there, but you must go looking for it.”

— Victoria Ford


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