Pow Wow Yoga


Where traditional dance meets contemporary healing


I am a First Nations woman on a healing journey. Although, before acknowledging I was on a healing journey, I operated in survival mode. I used to spend my days on the defensive, only able to look outward. Intergenerational trauma, coupled with my own personal traumas, created a defense mechanism that was, to put it mildly, self-destructive. This all changed when I returned to live in my home community after 18 years being away. I returned to my roots, and returned to myself.

Lisa teaching yoga 1

In this return, this change, this new chapter, I was able to see something different in the one thing I had done my entire life - dance. After reconnecting with myself while working at a healing lodge, I found a deeper connection to my dancing. I began to use this new tool to help me through my healing, which I didn’t even know I needed. After acknowledging how I felt after dancing, I began to explore various types of movement therapy. I discovered yoga in a karate dojo in Detroit when I was about 18. I later began to use yoga as a warm up to my dancing. It became a grand tool to assist in grounding and re-centering myself. It was then that I developed a Movement Infusion methodology that would change my life.

Lisa powwow 1

Movement has helped me through, among other things, grieving the loss of my mother. Movement helped me find myself after an abusive relationship, and movement helps me everyday to clear my soul. Dance is my healing. Yoga is my healing. I am free. I am one with creation. I lose myself in the songs that I dance to. The ‘feel good’ chemicals and energy within that is created when I dance stays with me for the entire day. An infusion of yoga and dance is where I reside on a daily basis.

What is Movement Infusion?

Lisa Hill_splash of color yogi

This yoga and dance infusion begins with deep breathing exercises. Cleansing breaths allow for us to make space within as we exhale that which no longer serves us, to begin to let go. This also serves as a way to ground and create a space to start our movement practice. We then slowly start to move our bodies, stretching by using yoga poses that are not invasive, but will assist in getting us used to moving our bodies and begin to experience the energy force that flows through us when we move.

Then we dance. As we listen to the sounds of pow wow music, we feel the drum beats as we mimic them by clapping. The sound of the drum is the heartbeat of Mother Earth. We connect with this beat, reminded that one of the first sounds we hear while we are still in the womb is the heartbeat of our own Mother. Upon re-establishing this connection, we begin to move. Slowly moving in a step – step motion as we feel our bodies move to the beat of the drum. Simple pow wow dance movements are shared as we continue to connect with the music and with self. Ultimately, the idea is to get our bodies moving to the point where the endorphins begin to flow. We explore the connection of the songs and drums to our bodies, to creation, acknowledging how they are connected. We become aware of how the energy is flowing through our bodies.

Lisa teaching kids 1

This infusion of movement allows us to experience an energy transition that leaves us feeling free, light, and rejuvenated. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being finds greater balance from the movement practice. Health benefits can include greater flexibility, greater heart health, reduced stress, weight loss and increased memory strength, to name a few. It can also help us move through emotional, mental and spiritual blockages. The energy we produce by moving starts firing through all of our centers, allowing us to clear our pathways for healing.
Our own personal healing journeys are as unique as we are as individuals. They will take us to places both familiar and unknown. Using Movement has allowed me to find a greater sense of well-being by reconnecting with Creation, Mother Earth and Myself. As my healing journey unfolds, I shall continue to move, move towards that greater connection within - that greater Me that is.

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