I first came to Nia in June of 1987. I always had some sort of exercise in my life. Yoga since1970, the aerobic craze, including non-impact aerobics. I moved from San Francisco to Marin while pregnant with my second child and when she was 3 months old wanted to find something that was safe to my body and fun to do yet still get in shape at the same time. My brother told me about this strange class he took called "The Bod Squad". My first class was with Debbie Rosas and was so unusual. The movement were unlike anything i had seen. I wanted to find more about it. My life was at a low point. I had hit bottom emotionally, spiritually, physically - chronically sick and my family life was in total dysfunction. Nia along with another spiritual program, helped me find the light.
My self esteem about my body and
my human-ness was very negative. Nia brought balance, joy and center
to my life. All other exercise programs i had experienced were so
linear. My back and neck, which were in chronic pain, looked as
if they had been fuzed. I remenber wanting to learn how to shimmy
so bad and it was so difficult to learn. I saw immediately that
I was given a gift. No matter what was going on at home, i had my
mornings to let go and take care of only myself. That became vital.
Everything in my life changed after that. I'm 53 years old now and
my chiropractor has told me she has never seen someone's spine improve
with age. I also have found courage and a voice in Nia. I love to
hoot and hollar sound how I feel. When I dance I feel such joy and
freedom, boundless energy and sensuality - young women tell me they
wish they had as much energy. I keep coming back because Nia continues
to change and grow. If there is something Ii don't care for, there's
always room to do what Ii like. I'm so lucky to have such great
teachers and mentors such as Debbie, Carlos and France Laude. I'm
forever grateful and hope they will always be in my life, sharing
their insights and giving me guidance.
My Nia story
I started Nia in about 1990, on the recommendation of a friend.
I went to my first class, and here was this spirit teaching the
class, moving with such effortless grace and ease, and i thought
"how can I keep up with this?" But I was intrigued with
the different approach to exercise, getting away from the monotonous
thump-thump music and back-aching jumping around of the other aerobics
classes I had tried. This was dancing, grounded as well as airborne,
using all parts of the body in such varied and imaginative ways.
The music is varied too, and very rarely harsh or obtrusive. So
I stayed with it.
I love Nia because it is never too repetitive, never boring or monotonous,
but at the same time I am always learning to be more aware, and
I am doing movements that are fun. It is interesting to recognize
steps and body movements from so many different disciplines and
cultures. If my mind drifts off occasionally, it is because I am
not paying full attention with body and spirit, and responding with
the depth and focus that i am being offered.
At 73, I am probably older than most in the class, and sometimes
need to slow down a bit. The routines are very adaptable, different
"levels" are demonstrated, and I sometimes do "half
time" when the beat gets too fast for me. I may be tired by
the end of class, with an energizing tiredness, but I am never stiff
or sore after a Nia class. Also, I find that the increasing emphasis
on the spirit as well as the body somehow fits in with getting older!
The spirit with the French accent has of course become my favorite