Nia Dances Into Bulgaria

In 2014, when I went on maternity leave with my son, my husband (who is Bulgarian) and I moved to Sofia, Bulgaria. Being a full-time mom brought new challenges to my life, specifically in how to keep myself healthy physically and emotionally. After settling into our new home, I was desperately looking for mommy and baby activities. I started to attend mommy and baby yoga classes with my 5-month old son. This was a great opportunity to exercise and socialize with other women in similar life situations. After a few months, my son started to discover his independence, which resulted in me chasing him around to prevent him from licking the salt rock decorations in the room and putting his tiny fingers in the electric plugs. Yoga was not about exercising and socializing anymore.

When my son turned 9-10 months old, I felt like a sun-dried tomato, squeezed in a bag, surrendered, exhausted and waiting for the juice to come alive again. Sleeping was no longer an option for me. I became impatient with my son and husband. I felt weak, confused and hated my situation. I needed something to recharge my batteries, calm my mind, keep my bouncy feelings balanced and I needed to see the bright side of life. Then, I remembered trying Nia classes a few years back in Hungary. My body clearly remembered the feather-like feeling I experienced after the class. Yes, I wanted to feel light, balanced and energetic again!

I went to the Nia website and clicked on “Find a Class.” There were no results for any type of Nia class in Bulgaria. I did find the announcement for a White Belt training in Hungary. I was hesitant on what to do and told my friend. She said, “Yoga and dancing, my two favorite activities in life and I know you love them, too. There is a training in your home country? What are you waiting for?“ And she was right! It was my time! After my family’s approval, with shaking hands, I filled out the application for the White Belt training in Budapest, September 2015.

“You have done a lot to be here at this training, be proud of yourselves,” said trainer Helen Terry, the first evening of the White Belt. Tears gathered in my eyes. Yes, I had done a lot, and the training meant pulling my life back together at that very moment.

After the training, I returned home and created Nia Bulgaria, the first representation of Nia in the country. On a weekly basis, I gave two classes, Classic Nia for adults and Nia for mommies with baby carriers. I became the dance lover, expat mommy who brought Nia to the country. I introduced Nia and was brave enough to do so without knowing the local language. I believe dance and music are above any language and cultural differences.

During the first months, many people came to me with the question: WHO is Nia? I started to explain it is a cardio dance workout with elements from healing arts, martial arts and dance arts. The confusion was vibrating in the air. Then, I realized in the Bulgarian language there is actually a female name Nia (Ния). People thought my name was Nia. So the next time I answered the question, “Who is Nia?” My simple and confident answer was, “I am Nia. I am Nia in Bulgaria. Come to my class and I’ll show you a new dance experience.”

The idea of dancing with a baby carrier came to me when I had no other choice but to practice my routines at home with my son hanging on me in the baby carrier. He loved it! We both loved it! It is an opportunity to get a great workout, switch off my monkey mind, balance my emotions, connect to my authentic spirit AND bond with my beloved child. My mommy friends were craving the same experience, so we started dancing together.

During our classes, we danced with the focus of cherishing our motherhood. I will never forget this profound, elementary and natural experience of creating a community of like-minded, conscious and happy mothers. I believe and live the statement, “happy wife, happy life.” I am a happy wife, a confident mother and a complete woman.

Due to changes in my private life, in the fall of 2016, I will continue my Nia path in my homeland, Hungary, but my motivation stays the same. Connecting people! Connecting expats, mothers to children, mothers to mothers.

The opportunity is open for any certified teacher to continue spreading the light of Nia in this beautiful southeastern European country. I’d be more than happy to share my experience and information with anybody who is interested.

I am thankful to my Nia teachers and for my family and friend’s whole-hearted support to help me step on this path. Nia has become my passion, my profession and my lifestyle.

Want to teach Nia in Bulgaria? Contact Zsanett through Nia Bulgaria Facebook.

By: Zsanett Zsarnoczky