Nia Testimonial: Alba Azola, Nia Teacher
I was born and raised in San Juan Puerto Rico, and began studying classical ballet, gymnastics and jazz at the age of 4. When I was 13 years old I received a full scholarship to study at The Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington D.C. and I completed three years of training. Upon my returned to Puerto Rico I became a member of the company Ballet Concierto de Puerto Rico from 1995 to 2000. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of Puerto Rico in 2000, I taught Biology, AP Biology and Dance at Commonwealth High School in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico for four years. I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a physician and obtained my Doctorate in Medicine at Ponce School of Medicine in 2008 and subsequently moved to Baltimore for a residency on Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?
Throughout my life I have had the opportunity to explore my passions for Movement, Science and Healing, however incorporating all three into my life at once felt impossible. For years I struggled with the feeling that I had to choose one over the other resulting in dissatisfaction, resentment, and despondency. The practice of Nia has allowed me to integrate my passions in a seamless way, restoring a sense of balance and purpose in my being…….
During my ENT residency, I lived in a stressful hostile environment where compassion, love of others and joy of life were considered a weakness rather than attributes. By the fourth year of residency, I had lost myself and my purpose in life, I was spiritually bankrupt, and a deep depression ensued. Finding my way out of darkness has not been a simple task but it definitely has been a gratifying one. I started taking care of myself, asking for help and getting to know ME. A friend brought me to my first Nia Class; it’s hard to put into words what I felt that day, all I can say is that it felt amazing and I wanted more. Six months after I started taking class, I decided to fly to the Nia HQ in Portland for my white belt so that I could become a teacher and share Nia with others.
Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?
My local Nia teacher is Lola Manekin, she is an amazing teacher and human being. She teaches at the Baltimore Yoga Village in Mt. Washington, Towson Dance Studio and Ruscombe Mansion in Baltimore. My white belt trainer was the shining Laurie Bass at PDX on March 2013 and I'm signed up for my green belt on July 2013 with Winalee!
What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?
The vast amount of knowledge behind the movement practice. The in depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology, music, philosophy and beyond........
What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?
JUST DO IT!!! Give your self the oportunity to learn to love your body and love your life.