Nia Testimonial: Deb Sweeney, Nia Student
I'm 43, married to a patient man (for 20 plus years) and have five children age 8 to 13. In my previous life, I was a middle school English and science teacher. I have degrees in both English and field ecology. Now I'm self-employed as a writer, fundraising for various nonprofits and a newspaper column (Real Parent). I love to be outside and to read.
Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?
I feel so fantastic when I get out of a Nia class. I just love experiencing the joy of movement and having the freedom to try new things. I love the grounded, down-to-earth nature of Nia. I love the emotional connection of Nia. My instructor has a lovely presence about her and the music inspires me. I really try not to miss my class!
Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?
What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?
Everything! Most people in Minneapolis have never heard of it. I sometimes call it "dancing yoga." But it's hard to explain.
What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?
Just enjoy moving your body like a child would... and go for joy! It really is safe to do your own thing here, and you'll get coordinated over time.
How has Nia changed you?
Nia has changed me in so many ways.
I'm someone who has been a non-athlete my whole life, designated clumsy and uncoordinated compared to my siblings growing up. It takes me a long time to learn steps. But I have always loved to freedance, though dorkily. After a year of Nia, I feel for the first time like I am graceful and the mirror is my friend. I can even shimmy! I really appreciate the non-judgemental and joyous aspect of moving in Nia.
Nia has helped me emotionally as well. The martial arts components release stress and help me power through obstacles. The dance portions remind me to dance through life, stay agile (one step at a time) and change direction constantly. The meditative parts help remind me I am alive. It is like therapy for me but more effective and cheaper.
Also, I lost 35 pounds (not all from Nia, but it is by far my favorite exercise). I would do it every day given the opportunity. Nia is good for all the parts of me!