Today Life Retreat wants to highlight a little known about but fascinating blend of the healing arts, martial arts and the dance arts. It is called Nia, and you can read all about one woman’s personal journey to discover it here…
It all started in 2003…I was a dedicated yoga student and teacher, having even done a two month backpacking pilgrimage around India with my yoga mat on my backpack. I was teaching my own yoga classes twice a week at a beautiful old community hall in Parktown North, Johannesburg.
Besides having my own busy day-time vocation as an entrepreneur, I was exploring many modalities of healing. I remember spending all my spare cash on courses – Neuro Linguistic Programming, Postural Integration, Reiki Practitioner Training, Holographic and Resonance Re-patterning and many more. I was loving the self-healing journey, but was looking for something that was more dynamic, that would get my heart pumping!
My life was about to change when three close people in my life told me about this special new class called the Nia Technique. Two of them were my best friends and my very own Mom (all of whom have also since started the Nia Intensive Belt journey).
I remember my first class with Kathy Wolstenholme who brought Nia to South Africa from the USA. I absolutely loved the heart-pumping moves to music and also remember being aware of myself visually in the mirror and that my “inner critic” was present for some of the time. So I didn’t have a “wow” entry into Nia – my journey into “loving my body and my life” was a slow, yet very deliberate one.
Some people have huge “Aha” moments when they first discover Nia and come “home”. My inner compass just took me along the path and intuitively I knew I had to begin the Nia White Belt journey. There was no “Aha” moment, just a knowing: “this is where I’m meant to be.” After that first class I went to the first scheduled Nia Workshop in Johannesburg with Kathy, and there and then I signed up for the White Belt. In the back of my mind I thought, “I need to do this, it will help me heal my knees”, which were sometimes quite painful on long walks.
I followed my inner compass with no major “aha” moments, and I have to say: and with no money for the course! Yet, somehow when I said “yes”, the money manifested in my life through my day job.And I have never looked back from that “inner knowing” moment….
I went on to complete all my Belts up to Black Belt level over the next few years and in tandem was the founder of Nia in Johannesburg; our studio, Studio Kairos.
Studio Kairos has been going since 2003 and now runs 15 Nia classes a week with myself and seven other regular Nia teachers. Needless to say, not only did I heal my knees through learning how to move and re-align my bones and joints, I became a Nia Teacher Trainer in 2012 after studying experientially for nearly two years with the founder of Nia, Debbie Rosas.
Everything that I have done in my life has led me to finding “My True North”, which is to teach others the Nia White Belt Intensive, “The Art of Sensation”. From a little girl, I remember pretending to be a teacher with my imaginary blackboard and classroom ; it was my favourite role play. Somehow even then, my destiny was being actualized. As a child, I remember dancing around in our home to all my parents LP’s, including classical and pop. My favourite LP was “The Sound of Music”, with Julie Andrews. Last year, 2014, I took my baby daughter to a playgroup, and “The Sound of Music” was playing. It didn’t take long for the tears to come streaming down my face, as all my cells remembered every single chord, note and word of each song.
The delight it had brought me 40 years ago was still fresh in my body and mind memory. I was deeply touched.
And today Nia touches me deeply every day. Through my Nia training to connect to music intimately, I am able to experience moments of delight in many heart pumping hours of classes. I love sharing my uniqueness and connection to music with others, and I know each and every soul joins Nia to receive whatever they are ready to receive. I watched a delightful movie recently called “Saving Mr. Banks”, which is the story of the creator of “Mary Poppins”. Emma Thompson plays the tense, lonely and very irritable author. The only time she softens is when her story comes alive to music, and she sees her characters on film dancing and singing. The power of music to heal is why I teach Nia. We are all healing all the time; our lives are a tapestry of opportunities to connect very deeply to our true selves in every moment.
Nia takes me there….
I look forward to teaching many more people who are ready to choose Joy and Dance Through Life. It’s a lifestyle choice, and Nia offers the tools on how to do it…
To join Susan Sloan’s White Belt Intensive Trainings, see www.niagp.co.za
Start moving to heal and change your life, one movement at a time.