Confessions of a Nia Teacher
For some time, I could only recall one long period of time in my adult life when I saw myself as beautiful. It was when I was expecting my first son. I was invincible and everything was possible. I didn’t care about expectations. I was purely happy when I noticed that radiant woman in the reflection of the mirror. Although the image was imprinted in my memory, after giving birth I wasn’t able to recall it any longer. I did not have the courage. I felt vulnerable in every possible way. I was not present, although I was there.
There was an overwhelming happiness I felt and have been feeling ever since my son’s birth, but on the other hand, I felt hidden, stuck in a body I was alienated from and could not relate to. Looking back to those days, I can clearly see the red carpet being laid out in front of me to walk along as a queen but I couldn’t take one single step forward. While nobody was watching, I had rolled up the carpet and hid it under the sofa, the symbol of a mom’s life.
I became a woman by going through the ritual of giving birth. I changed physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. I was wondering how I had lost connection with myself and how I’d find my way back. Back to the little girl who read as she walked home from school and wrote short plays at Christmas. Back to the teenager who knew how to love and hate with the same passion but carried the weight of a deep wound, only she could heal, but much later. Back to the young adult who believed in love, Art Nouveau and passion.
Suddenly it hit me, I had a body. It’s mine and only mine. I have been living my whole life in it; it has always been with me, there for me and has never let me down. How could I forget? That was the moment when Nia arrived into my life. What perfect timing! When I got pregnant with my second son, I knew I had to keep moving and dancing. I had to get back to my body instead of drifting farther and farther away.
In my first Nia class, I was shocked I didn’t have any thoughts for 50 minutes. Not one! This is what I wanted, again and again, the more the better, because it relaxed me more than sleep. During those 50 minutes, I wasn’t terrified of responsibility or whether I was making the right choices. I felt if I could empty my head once a week by doing nothing else than dancing to the best music in the world, I wanted to do this.
On top of that, the music and dance movements reignited the spark in me. That was the turning point. That was the change in the life I was living and have been living ever since. This is the change my fellow dancers and I experience. This made me grab the red carpet from under the sofa, dust and roll it out and walk the carpet.
I now have been teaching Nia for the past 5 years, leading people, mainly women, to love and appreciate their bodies, to bloom and find their personalities and step out of hiding through the joy of dance.
I can never get enough of experiencing and learning through my own body. My happiest moments in my classes are when I see the faces of the Nia dancers suddenly become aware of the power and joy their bodies are able to provide. Sound easy? It is. Our body has a natural wisdom we lose as an adult, especially as a mother. It contains a full spectrum of ancestral knowledge and instead of taking advantage of it, we dig and hide it deep, causing great pain to ourselves without even knowing.
I recognized that through the voice of my body and Nia, by taking care of my body, by respecting, loving and paying attention, my body reveals tons of knowledge and joy as a return. Through this I am capable of change and so is the world around me. I’m blessed my Nia students usually have begun the journey of self-discovery and are not afraid of making and undergoing changes. They welcome the idea that joy is not just a feeling but also a decision.
The more I practice and get closer to my own body, the more my thoughts and emotions for myself and others clear up. I am not perfect. I do not want to be and I never advise perfection to my students. I’d rather focus on sensing the fullness of life and awareness. It is a familiar yet unusual perspective. I believe if I chase perfection I miss out on the present life. For what exactly? What is perfect anyway?
Thank God we’re much more colorful than that. By pursuing perfection, womanhood itself gets lost. My strive for perfection was quelched by the pure joy I experience in a Nia class.
I am a complete and full Woman. I like my body and my life. All women are capable of feeling so. I’ve learned this as a Nia teacher and it fulfills me with endless hope.
By: Kinga Brezna