Nia Testimonial: Stacy Parish, Nia Teacher
BS, Art Education
I was only a young child when the decision was made for me that my body was not mine, and that I’d better be quiet about it. Eventually, my body began to respond to the kind of abuse I endured. This body of mine betrayed me very early in life – or so I thought. But now I know my precious, precious body always, and in ALL WAYS, has done what it needed to do in order to survive. Sometimes that meant my body would shut down. When it would shut down, I would eat, and eat, and eat. I guess I was trying to fill a hole inside of me, or jumpstart a system that seemed to be dead. But it could not be resurrected. It only became more misshapen. The bigger I got, the more shame I felt. This body of mine betrayed me – or so I thought. Sometimes, parts of my body turned the volume up really, REALLY LOUD! When the volume was louder than I could bear, I took chemicals to quiet the storm. This only made me sick and weak.
Then in 1998, my body embarked on a revolution. It began to purge itself of toxins. Through a series of interrelated events, the memories of my abuse – abuse I’d long since buried – began to surface. I got better. I survived. I THRIVED. I recovered from childhood sexual abuse, bulimia/anorexia, drug addiction/alcoholism, mental illness and food addiction. THEN I found Nia. Spirit said: “Little girl, would you like to play now?” And I said…”YES!” The rest is history. There are no words to describe the miracle of being present in a body that was abandoned by a young girl... to know that feeling sensation is SAFE... that remaining in my body is SAFE... that there is no shame in what I feel, whatever I feel. This is no small feat for me. It has quite literally been a divine intervention. At last I know that my body has NEVER betrayed me. It has been with me and working FOR me all along. My body is my home. And there’s no place like home. Thank you Debbie, Carlos, Jeff, Nia, and my Brothers and Sisters, for providing the most nurturing path home a girl could ask for. I love you guys. I really, really do.
Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?
It is how I honor my Higher Power and myself.
Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?
Denise Medved the Magnificent, Jill Campana, Barb Wesson, Mary Carol Rick, Tracy Stamper, and Carlos AyaRosas.
What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?
That they deserve it.
What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?
What is an ideal size?
I wear an XL in almost all of the Nia clothes, and I'm good with that. According to the Nia sizing system, I am the largest sized person on board. I can live with that. I don't like it, but I can live with it. I also believe that clothing sizes have an effect on people (myself included). I'd like to believe I'm above that kind of influence, but in truth, I'm not. And to a certain extent, I believe that the sizing is a patriarchal device to make women feel less than in our culture. It keeps us labeled, and it makes it tougher to love our bodies just the way they are. Our culture is very good at keeping women down, and our culture's first line of defense is size. Even if a woman "passes" the size test, the next thing the patriarchal system goes after is her face/beauty. "Well, she may be thin, but she's not very pretty!" If a woman "passes" both the body and the beauty test, then she will surely fail at the brains test. "Well, she may be pretty and thin, but what a ditz!" After that, they go after her character or her moral fiber. To me it all starts with body acceptance. Movement makes me feel good. And moving in pretty clothes is delicious.