I consider myself pretty fit --and, thanks to Nia, reasonably conscious of what is necessary for keeping my body, mind and spirit healthy. But sometimes, we think we are doing all the right things only to find that we've missed a key element.
That's where I find myself today, as neck stiffness and pain, which may or may not be related to my left shoulder pain, is sidelining me from the things I most enjoy: dancing in full-out joy in my Nia classes, and continuing to make gratifying progress in my yoga teacher training.
My first steps in finding resolution and relief were to
Equally important though, I am grateful to have the resources to enlist the help of two excellent physical and massage therapists to help resolve the problem as quickly as possible. These professionals provide not only the benefit of their knowledge, experience, and skill, but they also offer an un-implicated framing of the problem and its possible resolution that is essential to coming up with a useful strategy. This support has been a huge boost to my morale and progress.
We have just begun the process but, with their help, I am confident that I'll be dancing with both arms again sometime soon.
Earliest indications are pointing to my computer use at work and at home as the root cause of the problem, but updates to follow. In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you on the dance floor and on the yoga mat!
When I stumbled upon Nia as a student years ago, one of the first routines we danced was OPAL. I didn't know its name at the time, but I knew that the music and movement was something that had been missing from my life for far too long.
We danced it a lot before eventually moving on to other choreography. Years passed and I was reminded of it again when I saw the music for purchase on the NiaSounds site. Happy to see it, I bought it and then forgot about it again. By this time I was teaching Nia, and I was busy learning other new and wonderful routines, so I didn't think about it again for another long stretch.
Finally about a month ago I listened to it again and became obsessed with teaching it. I've learned and taught 7 routines since I started teaching Nia (under two years ago), but this was an altogether different experience.
What was different this time?
I was returning to the music and the movements with my original memory of the experience. But my body awareness, after these years of practice, had changed dramatically. Thanks to my training, I was now sensing my movements as coming from the inside out, making it a much heightened sensory experience. In short, I was now present to my body in a way I had never been when I first danced it.
Why is this important?
Dr. Mark Dunn describes it this way:
"Your body needs consistent awareness to maintain and repair itself. Your energy and spirit need to be present for longer periods of time for magic to happen and you need a skillset to do that."
Thank you, Nia, for providing me with the skillset and the magic for optimizing health and joy!
Context and landscape
Nia is one of the most thoughtfully conceived, and truly holistic cardio movement practices around. The music is endlessly varied and ultra-magnetic. The moves are pleasing to the body and nourishing to the spirit, while being accessible to most everyBody, young and old.
And yet, I and others in this town, struggle to find our audience within a super-saturated fitness market. Ann Arbor, Michigan has a population of only about 119,000, but a quick local search turns up over 200 pages of fitness offerings including every stripe of yoga, dance, pilates, personal and circuit training, circus arts and martial arts, as well as an assortment, of hot and likely passing, trends.
Economics and idealism
I have been teaching Nia for about 1 and 1/2 years and, so far, it has been a net financial loss for me. Fortunately my reasons for teaching are not financial, and as it turns out, these reasons are both idealistic and personal:
Here are some of the obstacles I've encountered to getting the word out about Nia
Still working at it but..
If you have any thoughts about how to get the word out about this marvelous movement form called Nia, please share them with me either here or offline. I’d love to hear them.
In the meantime, I will work at my craft, show up, and continue to savor every moment of my dancing time with you.
Yours in joyful movement,