"Natural skincare maker, Wellbeing enthusiast, Dancer" ... my business cards describe all the passions that go into Bodylushious, but somehow they can never encapsulate the links between all these identities as they manifest in my daily life, not to mention what a small independent business looks like when you throw in "Mother, Kiwi, Friend" to the mix, too!
Occasionally, something tumbles into your life that joins together all the loose ends and leads you reinvigorated towards a new sense of purpose. That happened to me this summer, and that something was NIA. I've spoken about Nia before. For the uninitiated, it's "a body centred awareness guided by 52 principles integrating movement forms of dance, martial arts and mindfulness." I've been practising Nia for a year now, but this summer stepped it up a level. You know when you're in a moment of pure bliss but you're equally scared of that moment disappearing... that's the way I feel at the moment. At the end of a really amazing and transformative fortnight on the Nia White Belt Intensive Training and participating in utterly amazing Nia classes I’m on a complete HIGH. I feel like I’ve stepped into a space and place that is so unbelievably exciting that the lid of my life’s purpose has been lifted! Big right? Tell me about it; it’s a pretty buzzing time within my energy levels right now. And so to honour myself, that time in my life, the teachers, fellow students and the practice of NIA there are some things I’d like to share. Like all the best stories, it's one of following your intuition, challenging your own perceptions of your limitations, and of wonderful supportive people holding each other up.
My Journey Towards Nia
For the most part, I’ve always edged my way into finding a way to connect in a meaningful way with the people I weave into my web. And I don’t say this lightly, but I believe I’ve collected some of the worlds most outstanding humans along the journey. Souls I’m so privileged to call my friends. That takes time and energy – a lot, but my word, the payoffs are immeasurable. This mindset has been absolutely crucial over the past four years, as I've found myself in challenging personal circumstances and have striven to make the best of it. In my life it's often felt like I’ve run full speed to get everything and all the bits in between done just so that I can start the next race to get the next stream of things done. Striving to be liked and of service to anyone that crosses my path, to feel like I have a meaningful role in as many lives as possible. I barely concentrated in all those years at school because I was too busy doing thoughtful things trying to get people to like me. I spent most of my adult life living in several countries overseas soaking up as many adventures and life lessons as a girl could. Then after only 1 year of living back home in New Zealand after 15 years overseas, I came to the UK pregnant four years ago and for reasons outside of my control I wasn’t able to return to my home and haven't been able to travel home with my son to visit family in almost four years. It's been a hell of a ride! So life for me and my son in the foreseeable future is here in Scotland, and I'm determined to ensure that's it's filled with as much positivity and healthy vibes as I can muster for us. So when something utterly blissful crosses my path, I can't help but take notice...
Following My Intuition
This summer, I attended my first Nia class with Britta Vontagen, a visiting teacher from Boise, Idaho. The best I can come up with to describe what happened in that class was ‘complete and utter whole being bliss’. Something happened to me that I couldn’t put my finger on, but it felt great – I came home and messaged my soon to be partner in play Sarah, to share my enthusiasm with her. She mentioned the White Belt intensive training starting the following day and suggested I should consider joining. To say the mechanics of getting this to happen were a challenge is an understatement. And so together with the divinely caring and kind Karen Small of Island Moves, we worked through the challenges to get to the gold of my actually participating in what was going to be one of the most transformative weeks of my life. I felt the pull so strong that I knew I needed to try to make this happen, already sensing the positive ramifications it would have for myself and my son and the life we have. At least I could say I tried, right. Truth be known, I didn’t even know what I was getting myself into, it was five 11 hour days and two shorter days. With less than 24 hours to figure it all out – together with a dream team I managed it. Little was I to know that I was about to spend the following week learning from some of this lifetime's true masters. In fact, Britta said in her final class, ‘when the student is ready, the teacher appears’. Some may find that phrase to be corny – I was ALL OVER IT!
Breaking Through my Limitations: My Own Personal Nia Journey with the Teachers
Britta: I couldn’t get enough of the passion that Britta had for movement and she completely facilitated the birth of the dancer within, other worldly movement, mind freeing and connection to music, body and soul. And although she is an outstanding mover with complete precision and energy she delivered her teachings and classes in a way that as a student I felt completely safe with adding my own spin on the moves. Britta opened up something in me through her movement that left me with no choice but to cry, tears of pure and utter release for the stockpile of things I was holding onto in my body.
Letizia: I mentioned earlier that I never concentrated in school and largely I think this was down to being a person who had a different learning style, feeling bored and struggling to engage in the content (probably being too busy trying to be teacher’s pet) and having some sort of self-talk replay track going on in my brain that I was a scatterbrain and wouldn’t be able to retain any of the information anyway. WTF. Letizia had such a gentle yet passionate way in how she delivered her lessons that I had little choice but to soak up what she had to share in a way I’d never experienced before. She sparked a keen interest in anatomy in me which I’d never given attention to before, exciting, so exciting that I’ve gone on to enrol in a Diploma in Nutrition, as I felt confident that I actually do have the skills to concentrate in a class. Clearly something to do with being engaged in the content there and pairing with a good teacher.
So what exactly is Nia?
I want to end this blog with a little info about Nia, since most people I meet haven't heard about it. Nia provides workouts and education that teach body-literacy, that is listening to your body and making choices that promote holistic fitness, wellbeing and health, incorporating:
The White Belt Intensive training covered 13 principles within the context of the above five core areas of study, fused into place through movement. I’ve borrowed the list below from: https://focuspocusnow.com/13-principles-of-nia/
1. The Joy of Movement
2. Natural Time & The Movement Forms
5. Awareness & Dancing through Life
6. The Base: Feet, Ankles & Knees
7. The Three Planes of Movement & Intensity Levels
8. The Core of the Body: Pelvis, Chest & Head
9. Creative Arms & Hand Expressions
10. X-Ray Anatomy
11. Business & Marketing
12. Continuing Education
13. Dancing What You Sense
I couldn’t be more grateful that I did a very wise thing by listening to my intuition and moving to Burntisland where Jinti Wight-Boycott brought has created a space and brought NIA to the community, and to Scotland for that matter. A place where a Nia community has been formed and connects - it's truly like being part of a family. I’ve been completely indulged by Karen Small of Island Moves who has paved the way on my Nia journey and not only juggles life with 3 children but delivers her classes with so much loving energy that I thought I’d completely hit the jackpot that a teacher of her calibre and authenticity should exist 5 minutes’ walk from my home! I was very clear with myself that by moving to Burntisland, a fun dance class needed to be walking distance from home, regularly throughout the week and amongst a special group of humans – I’ve hit the jackpot, folks. And, to Debbie & Carlos Rosas for putting together the ultimate recipe that is NIA which I feel will continue to feed every part of my life from now on.
If you've not experienced Nia and this post has piqued your interest, find yourself a class and try it out! If it doesn't work out at first, persevere, it's worth it. I promise you on some level it'll have a profound impact on you in ways you could never imagine. For me, that means helping me be the best version of myself to bring to all those identities I spoke about at the beginning of this post, and that can only be a good thing!
There’s so much more that I could say, but I will save that for a cuppa tea or two with you someday.
Thanks for reading. Have a lovely weekend! Bronwyn xx