On the weekend of March 25-27, 2011, a group of amazing women and men gathered to join six Nia teachers (Lyn Koutcher, Lori Lynn Meader, Jayne Mielo, Gay Norwood, Lynn Peebles and Hanna Weare) for “Move Your Body, Mind and Soul with Nia: A Weekend to Relax, Renew and Restore.” We danced, laughed, rested and shared our love for Nia at New Age Health Spa, nestled in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York.
The overarching focus for the weekend was “Listening to the Voices of Your Body.” With Nia JAM’s and Nia classes, FreeDancing our Chakras, playing with Emotion-in-Motion, Nia’s 5 Stages of Self-Healing, Restorative Yoga and collage work, there was something for everybody. One participant commented, "It was beautiful to experience each teacher and their unique gifts, their unique spirits during the weekend. And in looking around the studio as we danced, it was so nice to see all of us moving in our own way!"
As the weekend unfolded with us nestled in an exquisite studio (with a fireplace, a high-pitched ceiling and windows that beckoned us to dance with nature), we created a community so delicious and intimate. There is already talk of an annual Nia celebration at New Age. "Such a glorious, meaningful and fun experience. Sign me up for the sequel!" shared a New Jersey Nia dancer.
The power of being with and dancing among Nia practitioners who generously share themselves in tender, hilarious, honest ways was self-affirming and community building. From our intention to “listen” came deep sharing, intimate connection (did we mention learning about one another while enjoying a soak in the hot tub?!). One teacher expressed, “This past weekend for me was about letting go. Upon entering my sixth decade, I find myself letting go of the image of my young self and embracing the strong wise woman I hope to become.”
As we all traveled back to our homes, feeling filled with gratitude and contentment, one teacher shared, “I can’t wait to take all the treasures into my teaching (and into my life) this week and beyond. The sensation I carry is one of healing and wholeness. The words that came to me as we were closing the circle to end the weekend were freedom and honesty. One of the students observed, 'I can't stop talking about it to my husband and friends, but I can't really express the feeling of the weekend in words.'" This is something we so often hear, reminding us of the depth of self-expression and the integration of body, mind, emotion and spirit Nia truly offers.
Nia amazes and transforms with the power of sensation and pleasure, community and self-love. Nia is integrating. Nia is restorative. Nia is playful. Nia is healing. Nia is magical. May we all continue to set time aside to join together in this dance of Nia.
Pictured in photo (from left to right): Gay Norwood, Lyn Koutcher, Hanna Weare, Lynn Peebles, Jayne Mielo & Lori Lynn Meader.