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  • Serena James

Movement Heals in North Dakota

Updated: Nov 6, 2019


I recently had the pleasure of experiencing Drums Alive with Cari Oppen at the 2018 Healthy Living Festival. Her interactive presentation had everyone on their feet, smiles were plentiful, and the energy of the room was purely amazing. I invited her to write a guest blog for my site to help increase awareness of this unique experience designed for people of all abilities. Enjoy :) -Serena


In 2018, I KNEW that my role moving forward was going to be that PERSON that offered connection, healing, and inclusion using movement as my vehicle to allow others space to be creative, healthy, and mindful in a group atmosphere.

What a big order to place out in the world. In January, Drums Alive became that skill-set that I dreamt about because it is an activity that does most of the work within its skillfully designed structure.

Drums Alive is a cardio-drumming fitness activity that is a “whole mind, whole body” activity. It incorporates therapeutic modalities from movement, music, sound, and rhythm to engage your mind and your body into extraordinarily FUN fitness activity!

In a rural North Dakota town, Rugby, ND, is still trying to envision why on earth Drums Alive is such a big deal. My mission for ND is to gift movement activities that paramount “just” a workout. The business that harnesses the passion of “Movement Heals” is built on the promise that attending to inclusion of groups in an activity that builds self-esteem, confidence, and pride in overcoming personal barriers is EXACTLY why I chose Drums Alive for our community and North Dakota. Drums Alive allows ALL AGES, ALL ABILITIES to harness personal success in a simple and fun activity!

As I am building on the founder's, Carrie Ekins, mission of whole mind, whole body fitness in motion, the science of Drums Alive presents itself EVERY TIME I drum with a group. The different motions of drumming patterning allow for the right and left sides of the brain to communicate and work together. An often-unilateral thinker can all the sudden engage in FULL BRAIN engagement. Not to mention the cardio benefits of Drums Alive, any level of fitness is allowed in a Drums Alive class because it works with an all-abilities approach. A primary goal in Drums Alive Ability Beats programs has an ALL INCLUSIVE-NO PARTICIPANT LEFT BEHIND approach towards a healthy and happy lifestyle.

Drums Alive allows for the most beautiful presence of pure “happy” to step forward. This “excessive happiness” is a true side effect of Drums Alive. It taps into the gifts and reminders that support the benefits of exercise in allowing our full potential and worth as humans just as we are, with our immediate ability to support our social and emotional growth within the powerful dynamics of a group setting.

As North Dakota allows Movement Heals, LLC into their hearts, minds, and spaces, it is a personal belief that “inclusive” activities are necessary to add connection and value to our communities, businesses, schools, and sensitive population that are in need of the “whole mind, whole body” connection that Drums Alive can offer.


Cari Oppen is the founder of Movement Heals. Follow her on Facebook to learn more about Drums Alive and to find events near you.

Drums Alive was created by Carrie Ekins, who has a master’s degree in Physical Education, and Dance with an emphasis in Sport’s Medicine from Brigham Young University and is a Doctorate Candidate at the University of Chemitz, Germany. Carrie is an international presenter, trainer, and educator in the fitness and wellness field and has been awarded 2012 Program Director of the Year from IDEA and Best International Presenter 2010 and Most Innovative and Creative Programming for Drums Alive 2010 from ECA (East Coast Alliance). She is known for her creative and unique approach to total fitness through incorporating the mind, body, and spirit into an integrated fitness/wellness program. Carrie’s vision of keeping “whole mind, whole body” experiences in her movement programs has driven Drums Alive to success on international levels.


#movementheals #carioppen #northdakota #healthylivingfestival #drumsalive #inclusive

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