Last week my daughter, Flora, sent me this quote she found on facebook, knowing how much it would appeal to me. She was right.
“In many shamanic societies, if you came to a shaman or medicine person complaining of being disheartened, dispirited, or depressed, they would ask one of four questions.
- When did you stop dancing?
- When did you stop singing?
- When did you stop being enchanted by stories?
- When did you stop finding comfort in the sweet territory of silence?
Where we have stopped dancing, singing, being enchanted by stories, or finding comfort in silence is where we have experienced the loss of soul.
Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.”
Gabrielle Roth, 5Rhythms
And Gabrielle Roth, dancer and creator of the powerful dance practice 5Rythms, (who died in 2012), was an important inspiration to Nia co-founder Debbie Rosas. I love all 4 of these questions, but the first one speaks directly to my passion, teaching Nia. How does Nia help if you are feeling low?
- Nia creates a non-judgemental safe space to express through movement
- Nia allows you to connect intimately with self in a guided environment.
- Nia is not a goal orientated exercise and a sense of success can be achieved even with very low energy levels and low self esteem.
- in a Nia class personal success is achievable via joy of movement, via connection to sensation. To seek joy through sensation, somatically, is different from feeling joy and being ‘happy’. So no pressure to be ‘happy’.
- by connecting more to your body and sensation you are having a break from your thoughts which are more often than not, negative!
Recently I received this comment from a Nia student Lynette age 79: “Yesterday I was given unwelcome news about the condition of my heart. Today I took myself off to my Nia class feeling somewhat anxious about the state of my health and 1 hour later I came out of the class revitalised both in body and mind. I moved fluidly with the hypnotic music and all pain, real and imagined flew out of the window. Thank you Michele…..can’t wait for next Tuesday”
Another student spontaneously said at the end of class last week “Nia is Joy without the drugs” and went on to expand that with Nia, young people would have no need to take ecstacy. Again, ‘Joy’ is a somatic experience in Nia that is experienced through sensation. This is healing, as there is no pressure to feeling a certain way other than the way you feel.
I often hear students say they come to Nia primarily because it makes them feel happy. I can tell you, there have been countless times in the last 7 years when I have been hugely grateful for the one hour of Nia, coming away from the class with an uplifted and transformed mood. Nia truly is transformational!