Nia Instructor Spotlight: Susan Tate

The following post is written by Nia Teacher Gretchen Musgrove of Seattle, WA. It was first published on her Blissful Fitness blog. Susan Tate is a Black Belt certified Nia teacher, the director of Washington Wellness Associates, and the author of Wellness Wisdom: 31 Ways to Nourish Your Mind, Body & Spirit.

Susan Tate is my Nia mama and mentor. Last year, Susan warm-welcomed me as a new Nia teacher to the beautiful, often sun-drenched Seattle studio, The Dance Space, where she has lovingly taught Nia classes for over four years. She must have sensed that I was ready to fly, because Susan scooped me up, swiftly tucked me under her wing, and took me soaring with her toward ‘universal Joy with a capital J,’ as she likes to say. We’re still flyin’ high – laughing and chattering along the way. Susan graciously shares wisdom, encouragement, tenderness, respect, and support with me. I could not have stumbled upon the doorstep of a more nurturing soul to help me evolve as a Nia instructor and woman. Though she introduces me as her ‘Nia colleague’ to her students, I think of her as a mother.

Everybody feels the love. The joy of Susan’s Nia class begins before the music starts. The moment you step into her presence, she meets your heart with hers. She’s always radiant and welcoming. The sparkle in her eyes, her beautiful soft hair, and gorgeous wardrobe make you want to get close! Then she has you right where she wants you; prepare for a warm, long, recharging hug. I attend Susan’s classes. In fact I’m headed to one this Saturday, and I admit I’m in it for the hug. Her choice to see and amplify the beautiful aspects of people fills the room. I teach just after Susan on Saturday mornings, and I love basking in the buzz of her after-class.

Check out the signature Susan class glow:

Nia with Susan Tate on January 1, 2011 at The Dance Space. We are one.

Susan welcomes you home - to your body and to your self. “What you see in me is you. You just don’t know it yet. You see your essence. Not mine. It’s a risk to see yourself as you really are. When people come into my class I hold them without judgment. Wherever they go, I say, ‘It’s okay I see you.’ People come in and find a safety net. We all want to be loved. We all want to be accepted. And there’s only one person who can do that.”

Susan recently invited me to her own beautiful home overlooking the Puget Sound, and, over a divine lunch of homemade soup and Caesar salad, she graciously shared about how Nia has changed her life. I will treasure that afternoon forever.

“A voice said, ‘Go get your White Belt.’ I first started taking Nia in the mid-nineties. At the time I was working as director of health promotion and assistant professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia. One day, Marga, my assistant charged into my office, handed me a Nia flyer and said, ‘Susan, this has your name written all over it.’ I wish I still had that flyer! I took my first class that very night and thought, I could teach this! But then I thought, No, just receive for now. One day I was visiting Seattle, walking along the water and I asked myself, what should I be when I grow up? A bus went by that had an ad on it that said Think Different. A voice that was mine but not mine said, ‘Go get your white belt.’ That was in 1999."

“Nia is health education poured into movement. Nia connected the dots, almost like connective tissue. For years, my job was to offer health support to everybody, and Nia filled the spaces in between what I was already doing, balancing the four realms (emotional, spiritual, physical, mental). After I discovered Nia, I realized that Nia really is health education poured into movement. 

“The biggest gift that Nia has offered to me is an allowance to become everything my higher self wants for me. I am a work in progress. Holding the space for all that I can be. Nia urges me to silence the critical voice inside and to hold a space for my own healing, and then by that very nature, I hold the space for others to heal. I take a shower before a dance. I pick out my clothes, jewelry. I grow an inch. I get so excited before I teach! Every single time I teach I have a wave of excitement running through me. And, when and if this stops, will be the day I stop teaching.

“I get to choose. Over the past four years I have had the pleasure of living what I love. I get to make it all up. I get to choose. When the points of my life have been so sad, I get to choose the light – the other side of experience. When I miss my family. When I hang up the phone with my son and I am so filled up with love. I could ball up on the floor and pound. But instead I choose: ‘Wow! Wasn’t it good to hear his voice?’ The stories we tell ourselves changes us on a cellular level. So, you may as well make your stories good stories! I feel like my chakra system keeps getting Roto-Rootered. It’s the clearing that comes from Nia. I consciously choose thoughts and actions that make me feel better. My nourishing practices include walking along the beach, listening to inspirational music, Nia, and meditating. 

“The Nia community is my family. Being 61 years old and living 3,000 miles away from where I raised my family, I am extremely grateful for my Nia family that is so accepting and loving. I moved to Seattle 11 years ago, away from everyone I had known and loved in 50 years. I didn’t leave anything I didn’t love; I loved my home, my job, and my family – I had a parking space next to my building! My soul called me here. I remember looking at the ferries, and the water, and mountains, and my soul and heart clicked into place. Since my move, the Nia community has filled me up until I was overflowing.

“What you feel when you come to my class is a sense of wholeness, a sense that we are One. I set the intention for that – I walk in and bless the studio. I am me and I am you. There’s an acceptance of my own self – an acceptance of the good the bad, the ugly, and that it’s all okay. The students sense that wherever they are, it’s okay. Ultimately, Nia is another word for Love.

Other Passions

Team Northrup landed in my lap four years ago. It ended up being the best business choice I ever made. I work among like-minded colleagues across the country. Through them, I get to support the health and wealth of people in a pleasurable environment. They work from a conscious business model based on pleasure, respect, and love. Dr. Christiane Northrup even endorsed my new book!

The second edition of my newest book, Wellness Wisdom, focuses on taking inspiration to action. I was authentic in my first edition, but then I turned 60 and I wasn’t afraid to talk about anything!

Washington Wellness Associates

Susan is the director of Washington Wellness Associates, which offers health-related services that produce the pleasurable side effects below.

  • More inner peace and pleasure
  • Overwhelming episodes of gratitude
  • Enjoyment of food
  • An increased sense of empowerment
  • Overall sense of a joyful life
  • Expanded reverence for yourself and others

Believe it! I experienced all of these just over lunch with her. 

Learn more about susan and her Nia classes!