Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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The Nature In And Of Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on March 7, 2013

At the present time I am fortunate enough to be holding Nia classes at four different locations in San Jose.  Each location allows me to meet different people.  At one of the locations I have been teaching for four years and some of my students have been coming to my classes that long.  At three of my locations I am a new teacher and Nia is new.  Most of the people are new to me.  It is exciting to met new people and discover new relationships.  There is the relationships between my students and me and there is the relationship between Nia and the students.  One of my students told me after one class that she loved the part of Nia where we compare things to nature.  The specific example she stated was “tickling the clouds”.  She said that the mention of nature in Nia reminded her of one of her favorite poets, Mary Oliver.  She asked me if I had heard of Mary Oliver or if I was familiar with her.  I said no.  I also said that I would look her up.  Well, the following week, my student came into class and handed me a copy of two poems.  As soon as she held out the paper, I remembered that I had said I would look up the poet and that I had forgotten.  I gratefully took the paper without reading the poems because class was about to start.  After our class there is another class so I did not stop at that time to read the poem either.  It was not until today I picked up the paper to read the poem.  On the second line I realized I HAD heard this before and I laughed.  This very poem or at least a portion of it is in the Nia White Belt Manual.

I thought it was funny that my student related Mary Oliver’s work to Nia and obviously so did the creators of Nia, Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, because they put this poem in the manual.  Only the first few lines are in the manual, but I recognized it right away.

The lines are:

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

From Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese poem.

That portion of the poem is at the very beginning of the section which is Principle #1, The Joy of Movement.  The last line of that section really struck me.

I want to continue to share with my students that a Nia class is not just about learning the moves and doing a routine.  It is about doing what the body loves.  It is about their relationship to their body.  It is about their relationship to Nia.  To me that is why we do a routine over and over.  That is also HOW we do a routine over and over and not get bored with it.  If we move and let our body do what it loves then it is moving in a different way.  Once we have done a routine a few times we can play.  We can move lower . . . if that it what the body loves . . . we can move higher . . . if that is what a body loves . . . all the time moving in the general pattern of the routine.  It is when we are not in tune or when we cannot let go, that the routine is tiring or boring.  If we are only moving the way it was choreographed and not putting our spirit into the moves it is as if we are walking through a desert on our knees.  Suffering through a workout.  UGH!  Repenting for the cream we had in our coffee, the workout we missed yesterday, or the cookie we had at lunch.

I used to do a different routine every class.  I thought people would get bored with the same routine.  But then I realized that the more I knew the music and the choreography the more fun I had and the more playful I could be.  I asked my class and they said they liked the fact that after doing the routine a few times they, too, could be less concerned with the choreography and more aware of their own spirit, dance, and play.  So it is a relationship with Nia and the body that we are building and experiencing in a Nia class, we are not just learning a routine, we are not just moving through choreography.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I work on a routine schedule, playing with it to see what works.  I want to ensure my students don’t get bored, yet I want them to build a relationship with Nia.  I want them to be able to dance and play with the routines.

I love that my student shared her thoughts with me.  To me that is me being able to witness her budding relationship with Nia.  I love that because of my thoughts about repeatedly doing a routine, I was able to look at this poem and relate it to that.  Like many things I might look at it sometime from now and have it relate to something else.  My relationship with it might change, just as my relationship with my students and with Nia will change and grow.  That is the nature of it all.

4 Responses to “The Nature In And Of Nia”

  1. Michele said

    Simple…beautiful…great!

    Like

  2. niachick said

    What a beautiful post. Thank you, I’m printing this one out. So much depth, rich with your lovely spirit .

    Like

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