Stepping Into Beginner's Mind

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” Shunryū Suzuki

As I lay flat on my back and relax into NiaStudio’s wooden floors, I hear Debbie Rosas’ voice, the Founder and Co-Creator of the Nia Technique. She is leading us in a meditation and her voice is honest, soothing and easy to follow. I was auditing the Nia White Belt for day three of the training. It was not long before my breath and I caught up with each other, and I successfully found my own rhythm. I caught myself feeling as if something was surfacing and about to reveal itself for the very first time. As I slipped deeper into the moment, I found myself fervently exploring “beginner’s mind.” All of a sudden the preconceptions, expectations, agendas, budgets and other things I had worried about when I drove out of Florida on February 15, 2016, were surprisingly gone.

It wasn’t until this exercise, I felt I could really let go of all of this and that stuff. After all, I had accomplished an immense goal; I had driven across the country from Florida to Portland, Oregon, and was finally at Nia headquarters! For months, I had been building up to this very moment and now that I was there, exploring beginner’s mind was more than an intuition, it was exhilarating, refreshing and inspiring. My ability to be fully present and ready to let go of the past was empowering and helped me access new and exciting information. I was feeling open to all possibilities. Attending the Nia White Belt Training without distractions made me discover just how much I enJOY being in beginner’s mind. I do not have to assume or actively search for answers. This is liberating and this freedom gives me access to an unlimited amount of permission to just be.

Exploring this permission from all four Nia realms: body, mind, emotions and spirit, after a 5 ½ month Nia-inspired U.S. road trip has left me feeling busy, yet EXTRAordinary. The voyage across the country was not easy, but I made it manageable by trying to accomplish smaller goals along the way. Never has the saying, “one step at a time” been truer for me.

These smaller goals consisted of training around the country and guess what? I did! I trained with Debbie Rosas, not once but twice, and with Kelle Rae Oien for MOVE IT 52 moves. I accomplished my second goal while in Massachusetts for 12 weeks. I submerged myself within an established Nia community and learned the ins and outs of maintaining an active tribe. Lastly, I longed to be in student mode without distractions, as the responsibility of creating, sustaining and teaching a newer community had started to wear me out. I had the pleasure of dancing Nia with over 14 different teachers across the country from Boston to Portland, Oregon. This has been extremely beneficial both for my personal as well as my teaching practice.

On one hand, joining teachers and communities deeply inspired me as a student, but on the other hand, finding the teacher in ME in the middle of everybody else’s teaching styles, methods, techniques and personalities created a challenge for me. Finding acceptance, honor and appreciation through the challenges was a struggle. It wasn’t until I walked through Nia headquarters’ doors did it all change.

The aftermath has been light and surprisingly calming.

I AM exploring an unlimited amount of permission.

I AM giving my body permission to sense endlessly.

I AM giving my mind permission to wander fearlessly.

I AM giving my emotions permission to be.

Last but not least,

I AM giving my spirit permission to evolve, explore and grow. I no longer care to compare, I no longer feel like I am dealing with a struggle.

I AM a great Nia teacher because my truest and deepest inspirations uniquely come from within. My teaching is honest, varied and soulFULL. Plus, I learned a couple new Nia tricks from my mentors. Thank you!

I am so excited to get back on the dance floor and implement all the things I’ve learned on this trip with my beloved Tallahassee Nia community. Thank you, Debbie Rosas for inspiring me and giving me a reason to test ALL of me the past months while traveling around the U.S. On this journey, I found medicine for my body and amazing inspiration for my soul.

As Debbie says, “Always experience Nia like your students and that is, uniquely. Even if you teach, teach uniquely. Remember, you’ve never danced that dance that day and you’ve never been that person standing there that day.”

Valerie Sanchez is a Nia Ambassador & is passionate, adventurous and free spirited. She’s traveled and taken Nia around the world since 2011 allowing cultures to positively influence her and her ways of sharing the gift of Nia. In 2014 she settled in Tallahassee, FL., to spread her Nia wings and grow her own community. After a 5.5 month Nia trip she is currently resettling, reorganizing, reviewing and taking a deep breath as she prepares to manifest in Tallahassee, FL. again. Follow her journey on Facebook.

Photo by: Travis Sutton