Nia Testimonial: Mary Bemis, Nia Student

Nia Testimonial: Mary Bemis, Nia Student

Seattle, Washington, United States

About me:

When I was 29 years old I suffered from a major stroke. It caught me totally off guard. I had three small boys and a husband to take care of. I didn't have time for a stroke. But what was I to do? I couldn't walk, talk, or eat on my own. My brain was not functioning correctly. I spent three weeks in the hospital and an additional three weeks in in-patient rehab. After that I was released and put in standard out-patient rehab. The re-learning process was long. First I had to learn how to communicate. I learned all the vowels and how to shape my mouth for each particular sound to come out. It was probably 2-3 years before I could talk in a regular conversation. Meanwhile, I had to learn how to walk again, one step at a time. I was so stubborn and wanted to get out of that rehab so bad that I wouldn't use a walker or a cane to help me. Come on, I was only 29! I wish I would have known about Nia then.

But I did walk again. I never gave up, and there were many times when I wanted to. I still suffer from aphasia and learning and memory problems. I will never fully get back to the mental state of my young self again, but I'm grateful my three boys kept me going.  

Twenty years after my stroke I moved to Seattle and ran across Nia. It is the most wonderful class ever! I have the most amazing instructors, Jill, Jennifer and Randee. One day about a month ago, Jill was telling me about the Nia 5 Stages class that Laurie Bass was instructing at The Blue Heron Ranch. At that class I learned the process of self-healing (embryonic, creeping, crawling, standing, and walking). In all of my rehab, I never re-learned the vital steps a child has to take before walking. My body was missing that essential information.

Now I feel grounded. I feel whole, like I've regained those missing steps. I feel more confident, balanced and coordinated. I can move, bend down and get up. You don't know what it's like until you can't do it. It all makes sense now. Everybody who has a stroke needs this class. The five stages of self-healing really was healing for me! 

Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?

I like Nia because it is an exercise program that I can do. There is no right or wrong way to do it, and I do it my own body's way. It's s very up lifting, positive and fulfilling.

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

I do Nia at Community Fitness in Seattle, WA. I have the best instructors (Jill Panago, Jennifer Lucero-Earle and Randee Fox). They are wonderful and full of knowledge.

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

I love that Nia is done barefoot. It's so much better for you feet. You feel grounded.

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

It's wonderful. Try it. It's an exercise program that you don't have to "keep up" with. It's free moving and uplifting.