During my first week as a fitness intern at Green Mountain, I was fortunate to be able to go through the Green Mountain program with our participants. Looking at the schedule, one of the classes that intrigued me the most was a movement class called “Nia.”
I had never heard of Nia, so in my typical student mindset I did my research. It was described as a sensory-based movement practice that draws from the martial arts, dance arts, and healing arts. It emphasizes moving into pleasure and away from pain, which is a much different approach to exercise than most of us know.
The Nia class started similarly to a yoga class with us checking in with what was currently going on in our body and setting an intention for the practice. Within minutes of the class starting, I dropped into a flow-like state – time didn’t seem to matter and I was lost in the movements.
It was the most mindful movement practice I have ever done; I was able to tune out of any self-criticism and tune into sensation at an exponential level. The music pulsed through me and I felt more sensations than I ever thought possible; my hair brushing my back as I danced, the air on my skin, my feet feeling the floor beneath me, and joy of moving freely. I loved how I was invited to deviate from the choreography, alter it, and make it my own.
If you have ever experienced a musical performance that inexplicably brought tears to your eyes… that is how I felt. But instead, I was the performance and I was watching it from afar… I was the spectacle!
At the end of class we gathered in a circle, and Barbara, Green Mountain’s program director and Nia instructor who has obtained her Black Belt, shared a few words. She invited us to take what we wanted from her words; she paused and said: “You are welcome here.”
These words struck an emotional chord with me, they echoed in my head and heart. I heard the words over and over; it was an “A-ha!” moment for me. I thought to myself “I am welcome here.” Not just in this room, or this job, or this state… I am unapologetically welcome here in this universe, this body, this experience.
Photograph provided by Nia Technique (www.nianow.com).