The Tale of Nia in London

This post is written by Dorit Noble, who is a Black Belt Certified Nia Teacher and Next Generation Trainer. Before finding Nia, Dorit was an opera singer and worked with various opera companies in South Africa and the UK.

I took my first Nia class in Cape Town with the inspiring Kathy Wolstenholme in December of 2004. After 12 Nia classes with Kathy, I left to go back home to London, UK. I had no intention of teaching Nia, I just really wanted to go to more classes and experience that magic again in my body.

So I began to search for Nia in London. I discovered, to my dismay, that there were no classes being offered there. In Janaury of 2005 I ordered all the DVDs that were available from the at that time. I was practicing Nia at home every day. I found some of the old videos to be very different to my Cape Town Nia experience, but persevered with them. After six months of doing this, my husband said to me, “Why don't you go and take a Nia training? Even if you don't end up choosing to teach, you will deepen your practice and learn to teach yourself.”

That was all I needed to hear. I signed up for the White Belt Training in Cardiff in August of 2005 with Helen Terry. Within five weeks of the training I was determined to bring Nia to London. I was on a mission. I rented studio space from my local LA Fitness, and after six months of running private classes, my students signed a petition and LA Fitness hired me for two Nia classes a week. In the meantime I was teaching at Virgin Active Crouch End as well as at other LA Fitness locations.

I knew that it was impossible for me to build Nia into the roots and veins of a city with eight million people by myself. I was passionate about the cause, but what I needed was lots and lots of Nia teachers with classes. To get this, we needed to offer a local Nia White Belt Training.

Within six months I had gathered a good group of students and invited Ann Christiansen for London's first ever White Belt Training. I asked Ann, how many people I needed to get enrolled in order for her to come. She said eight and set my budget for the space. I begged Expressions Studio in Kentish Town to cut their price almost in half. Somehow, after a passionate plea to the manager, they agreed. Finally, the first eight London White Belt trainees graduated and got certified. The rest, as one would say, is history.

Since then, we have had a London White Belt with Ann about every eight months. We had a Blue Belt Training as well as Carlos' Green Belt and Debbie's Five Stages Training and FAB Training with Kevin. They were a fabulous, fun duo. Producing these trainings has been a very natural process for me, fuelled by my own desire to grow as a Nia teacher and to watch the teachers in London grow.

Nia continues to expand in London and the UK. For the past four years a group of London teachers has presented demos at festivals like the Mind Body Spirit Festival, The Yoga Show, Mind Body Soul, and The Vitality Show. We’ve had articles in Red magazine, Easy Living, Psychologies Magazine, and many others.

We now have a radio DJ, Janey Lee Grace, who is the student of Michele Kaye (who was my student). Michele Kaye trained in the second London White Belt Training, and is now a successful Brown Belt Certified Nia Teacher. Janey Lee is now inspiring more people to enroll in White Belt Trainings through her radio presence. This to me is a perfect example how Nia spreads like a ripple effect. I remember one student who was shocked to return two years after having visited London and see how much classes had grown.

We have a group of dedicated, passionate Nia teachers who do festivals together and separately, and come together from time to time to play together. As a Next Generation Trainer, I plan to co-train with different members of the Nia Training Faculty so that the UK community gets to experience a variety of teaching experience and styles. Everything has bloomed through the belt trainings. It’s only a matter of time until Nia will tip over into the mainstream of fitness in the UK.

Above photo credit: Hagai Nativ