Qoya is a women’s wellness movement that incorporates yoga, traditional dance and the exploration of movement. The word “qoya” means queen in Quechuan and translates into the idea that movement can influence different emotions and feelings. The practitioners suggest movement is tied to the connection to the mind and the body’s wisdom.
“We remember our essence as women is wise, wild and free,” says Qoya’s mission statement, providing context for their sensually driven and empowering form of dance.
The three core components of Qoya are wisdom, being wild and being free, which break down to:
- Wise: the wisdom of yoga
- Wild: the creative expression in dance
- Free: expanding our capacity to enjoy our bodies through sensual movement
Each class is themed to support femininity and uniqueness, which allows students to tap into their memory, heart, mind and spirit.
What exactly does “sensual movement” mean for a student?
“Sensual movement is movement that feels good in your body in the moment,” says Revanna Powell, an instructor of Qoya classes. Qoya requires you to “slow down enough to notice what feels good,” she adds.
Like yogic practices, Qoya reinforces the notion that we should pay attention to what is happening to our movement and to explore those movements in various motions. Instead of focusing on how one looks, the classes encourage one to simply feel and move. This idea can be translated into more sexual experiences in the bedroom, where performance and how we appear to our partner can sometimes dominate our minds and influence pleasure.
For beginners, a Qoya class can be imagined without a mirror and with candles, oracle cards and a set of movements that last for the entire duration of a song. The class will begin with opening the heart, opening the hips and then moving into sun salutations. Sounds familiar, right? Yoga is definitely a huge influence on Qoya; however, the movement goes beyond the floor and into another state of flow. The movement includes a shadow dance, where students find their shadow and face their movements privately. A choreographed component of the class includes more of a cohesive moment, while the class typically ends by freestyling around the studio. Students are encouraged to move as they wish, vast or modest, rapid or gradual, while still remembering to connect to their body.
How does connectedness work?
By setting yourself free, you are able to connect. The “13 pillars of a Qoya class each offer the opportunity to tap into your body in the moment and reconnect to aspects that you may have forgotten or been conditioned to disregard,” says Powell. These pillars include the steps above, which detail what a Qoya class is all about. Ritual, salutations, finding space and strengthening the mind and body, are all at the core of how to accomplish a connection to freedom.
Just like Qoya can connect you to your body, it also connects you to those around you. Powell says Qoya offers practitioners empowerment by “bringing them home to their truth and helping them remember the essence of who they are by giving them the space to express.” Outside relationships with a partner or friend can be positively impacted as a result.
What happens after a Qoya class?
So, you’ve finished your class. What should you expect to feel? Qoya has a saying that they utilize that encapsulates the sensual movement classes: “Come as you are, and leave as more of who you are.” While everyone has a varied experience ranging from different emotions, Qoya hopes to spark a feeling of freedom in women.
Qoya offers free 15- to 20-minutes videos of sensual movements for viewers and interested students. This form of dance features long, concentrated but unrestrained gestures, which can be done anywhere in any location. Finding a trueness to your body, hips bending and flowing, eyes closed or open, Qoya may offer a feminine sensation for students who yearn to feel wise, wild and free.