Nia Testimonial: Anne Francis, Nia Teacher

Nia Testimonial: Anne Francis, Nia Teacher

NLP MBP, Diploma Anatomy & Physiology
Norwich, Norfolk, United Kingdom

About me:

Anne began her career as a laboratory technician, and then gave up her title to become a childcare provider after the birth of her first child. As a lone parent in 1985, Anne started her first business, Jenny Wren Crèches, providing childcare for many large organisations throughout Norfolk.

Anne helped set up the first credit union in Norwich, and the first fair trade outlet, global exchange. A chance meeting led her to train as a childcare tutor and gain recognised qualifications teaching adults. Then head-hunters from Norfolk Adult Education Services for the post of Centre Head (Basic Skills) sought her expertise. Once in the adult education arena, Anne gained qualifications and experience in management and teaching – which eventually led to seven years work within the voluntary sector supporting local enterprises in microfinance and regional network development.

Anne worked for six years as a community-based business coach, and gained more experience and qualifications in mentoring, coaching, NLP and business skills. She specialized in socially motivated business support and issues around diversity. Accredited by Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI), Anne set up Carnival Consulting in 2007, working in regeneration, economic development and training.

Eventually, Anne retrained as a Nia White Belt teacher in 2010, and started Nia Norfolk. She attended the Nia 5 Stages training with Debbie in London 2010. In October of this year, Anne joined Business Buddies. She continues to write regularly for local business pages and is a regular on local BBC radio. She recently spoke about being an "oldrepreneur," and is well-known for her lively and interactive presentations on society, well-being and business. In her spare time, Anne is an MC at the World of Music Arts and Dance (WOMAD). Above all, she is a delighted grandmother to five gorgeous children.

Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?

I teach and practice Nia to explore a side of my life that I had previously largely ignored. I dashed through life to appease the invisible parents, the ruthless society, the crazy world – without realising that my body, the wonderfully magical machine that encompasses my thoughts, dreams and soul yearnings, had such delights to offer me. We're more in step now; I listen more. My body has responded with increased energy levels, deep restorative sleep, muscles appearing from beneath layers of fat, improved scrabble scores, twinge-free meditations and the ability to wear my killer heels without guilt or pain.

I'm aware I've only scratched the surface and have much, much more to learn. I teach and practise Nia to share pleasure and learn about pleasure, to share joy and learn about joy, to share health and learn about health. It's a wonderful spiral of upward-reaching, effortlessly playful stillness within movement. How can I describe it? Well, my cat is romping around the room as I type, purring loudly, exploring her environment to the fullest, sometimes stopping to pull vigorously at her scratching post. She seems to be stretching with a feeling of freedom, love, peace, and joy. I guess she knows something I've only just begun to find out.

Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?

Norwich, Norfolk England and surrounding areas. I teach four classes a week and have three courses booked with a local homeless charity (that works with vulnerable women) and with a local sports park for staff and students at the University of East Anglia. I have students from age 9 - 90. Two have already decided to do their white belt training.

What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?

Even if your identity does not include the word "movement" or "fitness," you can do it.

What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?

Go with the flow. The Nia experience is different for everyone. Listen to the music, your teacher, and most importantly, yourself.

How do you market your Nia business?

I tell other Nia teachers to have a launch event at a local venue and to negotiate to have free space as a win-win scenario with the venue. It's in their interests to have the free publicity and to have a successful class runnning. It doesn't have to cost much. My launch cost a few bottles of pink lemonade and some nibbles. The venue and publicity was free. Think about using hotels, sports parks, school halls, etc. Offer free taster sessions to organisations of your choice.

In three months of starting my Nia Norfolk business, every free session I've run has resulted in me being hired to go back and teach a course for a compensation. I've chosen to target socially motivated organisations; my passion is to make Nia accessible to those who don't traditionally get the chance to exercise.

Find out what's available to support fitness and health locally and nationally. Engage the local press by offering journalists free sessions, and invite them along to the launch. Write a press release and send it (with a photo) to the local press. Go on the local radio. Start tweeting and follow fitness, health and Nia streams. Set up a Facebook page and link to everyone with whom you align. Join every free local business directory you can find. Use Google to search for event listings in your area, and add your classes to the sites you find. Negotiate everything as you start up, because if you ask for discounts, you often get them. If you don't ask, you definitely won't get any.

I'm happy to share my experience in business development with other Nia teachers. I'm planning a "how to network and use social media" day in Norfolk, England in the Spring. Anyone who's interested should let me know. 

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