This past Sunday we had a Nia Jam in Palo Alto. The San Francisco Bay Area Nia Association tries to have four Jams a year. The peninsula one is in Palo Alto, but it is usually at Stanford, this time it was at a gym. It was a nice day so it was great that people came inside to support the local Nia association. As with a music jam session there are switches and changes that occur. A Nia Jam is where teachers gather and switch off leading songs so there is a mix of music and styles. The routine is created to be about 90 minutes. Normally we have a lot of teachers teaching so we only get to do one or two songs. This time the group of teachers was much smaller and we were able to do three to four songs each. The energy is always very high and exciting at a Jam because the teachers are from all over the Bay Area and beyond, so the students come from near and far. It is also a GREAT way to experience Nia for the first time because you get a taste of all the different approaches to teaching. Nia is specific in the way that we teach, yet at the same time it allows for the personality of the individual teacher to shine through. So a Nia Jam is great fun.
The theme for this Nia Jam was Summertime. The focus was moving with lightness with the intent of bringing in lightness and a sense of “summertime”, effortlessness and joy. It allowed for a lot of play, like kids playing during summer vacation. Not only were we able to bring in the lightness in our minds, our physical bodies, and our spirits, but we had the extra special treat of a skylight. The room we were dancing in has a huge skylight in the middle of the ceiling and a few glass doors to the outside so we were able to share in the beauty of the sun light and move with it. Along with the skylight and doors and windows to the outside, the room has a huge wood floor and a mirror on one wall. A small portion of the back wall is made of glass “windows” that looks into the workout room. I saw many people stop their workout to peek in at the Joy that was whooshing around the room in spirals, releves, kicks, and punches.
Nia Jams are no different than Nia Workout Classes in regards to what to wear. As you can see everyone wears what they are comfortable in. Whatever allows you to move freely and makes you feel good is perfect. But you also have to be ok with getting on the floor in your dance outfit. Like most Nia classes there is almost always Floorplay – even at a Nia Jam!
There is a wonderful sense of community at a Nia Jam. Teachers gathered to share the Joy of Nia. Participants gathered to experience a Jam. All of us gathered to do our favorite exercise. All of us ready to workout. All of us ready to dance. All of us there to do Nia. It is really fun stuff. I hope that you will be able to join us for our next Jam.
You can visit my website to see all the pictures from the Nia Jam in July. (The link MIGHT change in the future.)