Nia Testimonial: Teresa McDonald, Nia Student

Nia Testimonial: Teresa McDonald, Nia Student

Markham, Ontario, Canada

About me:

I work for the Canadian Red Cross as a Manager of Fund Development. I manage several of our major fundraising campaigns at the provincial level here in Ontario. Three years ago, I received a call from a Nia teacher in Barrie who held a Nia Jam to raise funds for relief work in Burma following a typhoon. Her explanation of Nia intrigued me and sounded like the perfect thing for me to try, which led me to attending my first class. I had danced for 12 years recreationally: learning tap, jazz and ballet. Always intertwined with my study of dance was my utter loathing of my body because it didn’t have the slender physique of professional dancers. I quit dancing at the end of high school, before going to university, but I often said, “ I wish there was a class for fat (how I saw myself) retired dancers that I could attend - in which I don’t have to wear spandex that makes me feel self-conscious, and I don’t have to perform, I can just dance.” Enter Nia.

Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?

There are so many times in class when I feel this burst of pure joy because I love it so much. I love the music, I love dancing, and it makes me happy. I’m even learning to appreciate my body as it is, rather than having so much self-loathing and trying to beat it into submission. In addition to fulfilling my desire to rediscover dance, Nia has opened me to a new spiritual path. It has led to me to ask questions about other healing arts and has literally pulled me out of a depression after I had three miscarriages within a year in 2008. After my last miscarriage (about 14 months ago) I was in our Nia class when a voice inside me said, ‘choose joy.’ It helped me to look at my pregnancies as light rather than focus on the darkness of the losses and literally started me on a deeply spiritual path that is still unfolding in front of me.

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

I have been taking Nia with Jane Markowitz for three years in Markham. I am about to take my White Belt Training with Roberta Mohler.

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

Nia is helping me to weave a new existence for myself and my life. Just as we create "tapestries" in class, I am creating a tapestry of my own. I recently came across a quote through www.gratefulness.org. Greta W. Crosby wrote, “Loss makes artists of us all as we weave new patterns in the fabric of our lives.” I am weaving a new pattern and my Nia teacher, Jane, is one of my most cherished teachers on my journey.

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

Be open (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually) and have fun. Forget yourself for a while, check your expectations and ego at the door – and know that no one is watching you; they're too busy focusing on themselves so there's no need to be self-conscious. As you become more comfortable with the class, you'll get more out of it, so give yourself a few weeks to at least feel your way through it and find your own happy place.

Why have you decided to enroll in the Nia White Belt Training?

Recently, I had my first Reiki treatment, and the practitioner said, “focus on balancing body, mind, and spirit” to help with my healing. I had been debating about doing the Nia White Belt Training for a while, but now seems to be the right time. Everything seems to be saying ‘yes.’ I’ve just read the first few pages of the Nia Technique book and could not believe how these key points (quoted below) are reinforcing other messages I’ve received:

1) Nia is a technique that starts with fitness and ends with comprehensive healing of the body, mind, spirit and emotions; 2) Nia is to exercise what holistic medicine is to health care. It has many different components that help many different conditions such as asthma, depression and pregnancy. Nia is movement as medicine.