Nia Testimonial: Kym Lamb, Nia Student
Portland, Oregon, United States
My background has always revolved around music. I play several instruments, but I don't have a dance background. I've always admired dancers from afar.
Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?
I believe I can honestly say Nia saved my life. What started out being something different to try turned out to be major tool in my recovery.
Three years ago the stresses of life got the best of me and I relapsed into an eating disorder that I hadn't seen for 15 years. At first it was simply a diet to lose the 100+ pounds that I needed to lose. But the thing about eating disorders is that they don't stop when the scale says you've made your goal. My weight became too low, my brain couldn't function clearly, my heart was suffering, my muscles were cramping and emotionally, I was a mess. After spending last summer in a treatment center, I left ready to apply my newly learned tools with my healthier body. But one of the hurdles I had to overcome was a distorted body image. You see, I was a single digit size body with a double digit size body image. My body and mind didn't match and without that match, I'd continue to feel a need to lose weight; I'd continue to fight my body. I heard about Nia from someone else in recover and it sounded like it might “fix” me. So last fall I called Laurie Bass who teaches at a local studio. I explained what I needed and she encouraged me to give Nia a try.
You have to understand, I walked into my first Nia class hating my body. I felt like it was me against it. My soul purpose of doing Nia was to wire my brain so it could recognize my new body size. I cried through that first class and through many more to come. Instead of dictating to myself what I needed to think about my body, my body was giving me a pleasure I had never experienced before. I became overwhelmed with gratitude towards my body. Even after starving and over exercising it for two years, it forgave me. It was healing from the damage I caused and it was moving in peaceful, flowing ways. I was noticing parts of my body that I had spent years ignoring.
Nia became my motivation to continue recovery. It became hard for me to further harm a body that was giving me so much pleasure. My recovery team only allowed me to attend Nia once a week and I had to stay at level one, but after each class I felt a new and deeper commitment to recovery. I looked forward to the next class so I could explore more of myself and awaken areas that had been numb for too many years! If I didn't feed my body enough nutrition between classes, I was unable to perform as well and I didn't like when that happened. During hard times when I ready to give up on recovery, I reminded myself that I would lose the ability to do Nia and that was no longer an option for me.
Nia has taught me that my body isn't just a size and that it doesn't have to look a certain way; it has functions that gives me joy, a way to express what's inside and outside in the world, and a tool for having fun. I believe my recovery is stable, but I will continue exploring myself and the space around me through my body and through movement. The combination of Nia and recovery have joined my body and mind together, and as a team we have learned that life is beautiful!
Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?
Laurie Bass in Washington County, Oregon
What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?
Nia can be a major recovery tool for anyone who needs to learn to love their body!
What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?
Relax and trust your body!