From Chronic Pain to Joyful Dance

“Nature does not demand that we be perfect, it requires that we grow”……Liebman

For over 25 years I had suffered from chronic pain associated with degenerative discs in my cervical and lumbar spine. I had learned to work “around” my pain, but had not found a remedy for it. Eventually I had two back-to-back foot surgeries for joint fusion. The rehabilitation process wasn’t easy for me, but I found a miracle when I found Nia.

As a personal fitness trainer since 1995, I had always felt the need to “push” through the pain of a workout. When I discovered Nia a year and a half ago on a visit to Seattle, I instinctively knew the Nia technique would be a vehicle of change for me.  It offers a “be kind to your body” approach to exercise that appeals to me both physically and mentally.  That was the start of making Nia central to how I take care of myself. It helped me through my healing process and is now how take care of my clients.

When I took my White Belt Intensive training last July, just seven months post op, my foot felt incredibly strong at week’s end.  But that was not even the defining moment in which I realized the power of Nia.  Four months prior to my training, I put a Nia routine into my DVD player and began practicing in a walking cast. I actually imagined myself as an uncoordinated individual (because I was at that time!) and had never taken a choreographed class; I had no balance, could not easily keep a rhythm, and I just felt downright awkward.  It was that moment that I knew I wanted to share its benefits with others as an instructor.  And yes, it was a modified version of the 52 moves, but that told me anybody can do this and feel better.  And no, it wasn’t perfect, but here I am almost 65 and growing in so many amazing ways, professionally, personally!

I am now six months into leading 3 classes a week in my community, incorporating the Nia influence of “no pleasure, no gain” into the design of my fitness programs, and taking every opportunity to enlighten others on what I feel is the best path to wellness I have found.  After all, Nia is also about community, and my hope is to bring this life changing experience to everybody.

The Nia practice encompassed change in all areas of my life; I feel better than I have in years in every way; it is as if I dance when I walk, I imagine myself tall and elongated (I’m 5’3”), I am grateful for my physical body than can move in its own “natural time” and its own beautiful way!