It has been a week since my blue belt graduation ceremony at NIA Studio - Portland. So many thoughts have run through my brain as I reflect on the content, people, and overall experience of this seven day intensive. 55+ hours in the studio is a considerable chunk of time to spend with a group of students and teachers. I am amazed, inspired by, and impressed with the structure of the workshop, the information, and the people of the NIA global community. After my white belt intensive, I was left with the feeling of setting the tone for consistent movement practice in my daily life. Since completing my blue belt, I've realized that my relationship with NIA and dance has blossomed into something that I have become more compelled to share with my friends and community resulting in wanting to teach more classes and creating a sacred studio space.
With each NIA belt, there are 13 principles to learn. The white belt is all about The Art of Sensation. The blue belt is about The Art of Communication. Based on the principles learned during this blue belt, my three takeaways are:
1. We are all unique. One of my favorite things about the NIA Technique is that there is a lot of "freedance" incorporated into a NIA class. In expressing oneself, there is no "right or wrong" movement here. This is your body's way and the creativity is endless. Freedance is also a great way to catch your breath during a workout. We did a freedance exercise in the studio while our dance mates watched us. Never mind, the hurdle of having people watching me dance, that was conquered in white belt, the discovery here was that no two people look the same, which I took quite a bit of delight in. It just showed me that movement possibilities are endless, that NIA is truly your body's way, and that every NIA instructor has something truly special to offer.
2. We are in a relationship with someone or something at all times. Sounds silly to think think that I am in a relationship with my computer as I type this blog, but it's true. I am thinking about what I want to say, how my fingers hit the keys to convey it, and that it is a conscious decision to end that relationship when I am interrupted by my phone ringing. "Say good-bye to the computer and hello to the telephone." To really commit myself to what I am doing and consciously decide to transition to something else is and exercise in elegance and grace. This clearly translates to the dance floor when we transition from one dance move to another. We learned the term "conscious transubstantiation", which means seamless transition - I believe this is something I will be working on for the rest of my life - both on and off of the dance floor!
3. There is so much potential! I am inspired by the youth and by my elders - the youth keeps me young at heart, the elders guide me into what I desire for my future, both contributing to knowing that my present life is rich in so many ways. By listening to information, embodying it in the four realms of "mind, body, spirit, and emotion", and sharing this knowledge with fellow seekers and teachers, I realize that the possibilities as a sacred athlete are endless...
I left this intensive workshop with an immense sense of pride, camaraderie, ease, and both physical and spiritual fulfillment. Did I say that I had a blast? There is so much love in a dance studio. My dance mates (now life long friends) and I will always be connected through this experience and the NIA community. I am honored to have spent time with and be evaluated by master movers. My teachers, Debbie Rosas and Casey Bernstein are a beacon of inspiration and if you have the opportunity to collaborate and learn from them on your NIA journey, I highly recommend it!
For more information about NIA, please reach out to me, I would love to chat with you, and/or check out www.nianow.com.
See you on the dance floor!