Nia Testimonial: Joi Ross-Moore, Nia Teacher
M.Ed. in Counseling
My background is as varied as is my taste in music. Dance has been part of my life since childhood when I "choreographed" to my parents' Broadway musical albums. There was always music playing and the influence of my father's music tableau was rich, as was his musical talent and knowledge. When my chest no longer conformed to the ballerina's ideal, I went on a quest to discover movement whose only rules were to listen to the music and move to what I heard. Along the way, I developed a fascination with criminal law (another influence of my father... my mother's math skills didn't have a chance with me) and acquired a teaching certificate, just in case.
I never made it to law school. Instead, I filled my post-college years exploring careers as: an adult probation officer, a criminal court coordinator, a nail salon owner, a non-profit arts director, a Jazzercise teacher, an art gallery assistant, a group facilitator for a batterers' intervention program, a group facilitator for sex offenders on probation, a middle school and high school English teacher, and a middle school and high school counselor–which I do believe brings me to the present moment.
There was also a traveler on my journey, who I chose to set free more than eight years ago: alcohol. It was a load I no longer wished to carry. I discovered yoga in the same location that is now Studio NiaMoves some 13 years later. My participation in yoga was sporadic until I released alcohol when I chose vinyasas to replace vino. It was through the yoga community that I first heard about Nia, but at the time, no one seemed to be able to describe it. One early Saturday morning while driving down a street that was not on my normal route, I saw a sign outside of my old yoga studio that read, "GRAND OPENING - NiaMoves." I rushed home and was excited to see that I could make a class. I stepped in and that was all it took for a full body, "YES!"
Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?
Nia invites me into relationship and this is why I practice and facilitate. It is there for me, through stages and phases of my emotions and physical state. I get to choose the level and intensity of that relationship, and the element of choice has opened up all sorts of possibilities–the greatest one being a love for who I am, exactly how I am, at any moment. I consider myself a facilitator of an experience when I create Nia space, and I hold it as a sacred honor when others choose to step in to that space.
Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?
I am fortunate to have taken my White and Blue Belt Trainings here in Houston with Helen Terry at hers and Kristie Bryant's Studio NiaMoves, as well as Helen's Soma Ranch (formerly RanchoNia). Helen's Saturday morning class was also my first Nia experience in February 2008, and I understandably became immediately hooked. Green Belt was quite special as it was with Carlos AyaRosas here in Houston.
Studio NiaMoves has served as my Nia home, where I have treasured memories dancing with many delightful souls. It is a generous space, especially for teachers who are stepping in for the first time. The community supports teachers who share their classes with enthusiasm. I now have an intimate movement space called Joi of Movement where I craft personalized movement experiences designed to invite exploration of possibilities.
What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?
What most people don't know about Nia is that there is form and intent within the freedom. Every class is consciously crafted to create a conditioning fitness experience that is accessible to all fitness levels.
What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?
Do your best to release any judgement, particularly of self.