The “Chicken Soup” for my body and soul – an article about the “Beyond” Nia routine
Blue Belt graduation in Hamburg. March 2014. With Ann Christiansen

I always knew that one day I would write about the Nia routine ‘Beyond’. The routine has had such a profound impact on me that it’s quite difficult to ignore. Besides, my friends are always asking me why I dance it so often, so here’s why.

I recall dancing some parts of ‘Beyond’ in July 2011 during my White Belt Training in St. Gallen, Switzerland. I remember being confused about the short bars in the seventh song ‘Dougoulanta’ while we execute elbow strikes alternating sides. Shortly after completing my White Belt training I opened a class with a presentation of ‘Opal’ and ‘Earthsong’ – both amazing Nia routines that are on my favorites list as well. Then December came and I ordered the new routine ‘Beyond’ without even listening to the music. I remember coming home from my day job and being so impatient to watch the new routine crafted by my trainer on my DVD player. What happened afterwards was something I did not expect: I was totally overcome with emotion while dancing ‘Pirates’ – the first song. I danced the whole routine without even changing into my gym clothes, realizing that I had already danced this beautiful routine or at least parts of it. Dancing ‘Beyond’ that evening brought back memories from my White Belt training; of ‘getting in my body’, ‘knowing’ what I needed to do to bring dance back into my life, overcoming fears of ‘getting out of my box’ and becoming a trail blazer.

Needless to say, I wanted to teach this routine immediately. But it took a while to learn; as it contains certain hidden treasures left to the Nia teacher to uncover and an athletic component that needed to be worked on as well. Admittedly I was challenged a few times by both the movement and music elements. When I took a maternity leave from teaching Nia, ‘Beyond’ was once again my favorite. I danced it once a week throughout my whole pregnancy because it helped me to ease the swelling in my feet, gave me the opportunity to feel beautiful and sexy again, and encouraged movement exploration at a time when my mobility was diminishing. I especially appreciated the songs where I was able to tailor the moves according to my own Body’s Way. For example, in song number 5, ‘Ciew Mawele’, instead of walking in the square, I was doing squats while making a square.

So, what makes this routine so valuable to me? It’s the never- ending sense of discovery that this routine represents. I continue to explore ‘Beyond’ well beyond the surface. I chose this routine to be my MVR (Most Valuable Routine), which means I dance it whenever I need comfort for my body and soul, much like a warm and flavorsome chicken soup.

I’m curious to know your MVR. Would you like to share?

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