Why laugh?

Back in 2011, one of the things that compelled me to start teaching Nia was the need to start having more fun with my workouts, to drop some of the seriousness and even start laughing more. At the time, I saw how my teacher was play-acting and fooling around while leading her class and it got me thinking “why doesn’t she take herself seriously? I tried to imagine myself doing the same, but realized that I couldn’t, because I have suppressed my inner child to the point where I have lost the connection. Since then, I decided to train myself to be more playful and child-like, and now I use these notions when teaching my classes. It took time and dedication, but it was well worth it. We all know that laughter is the best medicine. Laughter has been clinically proven to promote whole body – mind relaxation, boost the immune system, release endorphins, aka “feel – good” chemicals and more. Both dance and laughter work wonders to bring our mind and body back into balance. They connect us to others and keep us grounded, focused and alert.

This is why I have partnered with Lais, a certified Laughter Instructor, for an upcoming event, ‘Laughing and Dancing’ Night. We are excited to be able to share with all of you the wonderful sensations of wellness that the unique combination of dancing and laughing has to offer. Please read our full invitation text here. Please read about Lais here below.

Laughing + dancing
Laughing + dancing

Lais is an ASCA accredited Energy Therapist, Reiki & Meditation teacher. More recently she became certified in Laughter Yoga because she loves the therapeutic benefits of laughing in a group setting. Since then she and her partners created the Geneva Laughter Club that holds monthly laughter events. Read more about Laughter Yoga here .

Nia Dance at the upcoming Geneva Yoga and Music Fest

I am excited to invite you for my 90 minute Nia class focusing on the ‘Joy of Movement’. The aim of this class is to bring joy into the body as you move in your own unique way.

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Nia at GYMF 2015

How does it work?

I will demonstrate the fundamental Nia movements while allowing you to ‘tweak’ or adjust the moves in your own way so that you fully enjoy the dance in your body rather than unconsciously imitating the teacher. You will be able to create your own dance by applying the existing choreography along with your own unique personality.

This class is for beginners and seasoned Nia dancers alike.

In this class you will be exposed to:

  • Nia stances, including explanation (benefits) and mindful exploration (movement)
  • Nia Dance choreography
  • Semi-guided Free Dance
  • Eclectic selection of music including world music, new wave, electro, rock, disco
  • Good vibes and laughs

What will you experience after the class?

Along with the sensation of a great work out, you will feel both energized and balanced, all at the same time. You may also experience sensations of freedom, expansion, elation and child like curiosity. These sensations are there for you to take with you outside the class in order to continue your unique dance throughout your day.

Tickets are available at the Yoga Fest website.

Happy dancing!

Free Dance + Hummus Making 19:00 – 21:00 KAK.ALOM STUDIO, 21BIS RUE DE LA NAVIGATION

EVER WISH YOU COULD TRUST YOUR BODY TO MOVE IN A WAY THAT FEELS FREE AND CREATIVE? AND WHAT IF YOU COULD BRING THIS FREEDOM AND CREATIVITY TO THE KITCHEN? IN THIS UNIQUE WORKSHOP, KATIA (NIA CERTIFIED INSTRUCTOR) + HIBA (FOOD COACH) JOIN FORCES TO ENABLE YOU TO EXPERIENCE HOW LEARNING THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF DANCE OR COOKING – IN THIS CASE MAKING HUMMUS – EMPOWERS YOU TO BECOME MORE FREE TO EXPERIMENT. BY ACQUIRING THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF FREE DANCE AND HUMMUS MAKING, YOU WILL BE ABLE TO BRING MORE…

…CREATIVITY
…CURIOSITY
…A SENSE OF VITALITY AND WELL-BEING
…NEWNESS
…TO BOTH YOUR DANCING AND COOKING. HERE’S HOW THE EVENING WILL RUN: 1H10 MINUTES – ELEMENTS OF FREE DANCE INTRO + NIA FREE DANCE CLASS. ANYONE CAN LEARN TO FREE DANCE – ALL YOU NEED IS MUSIC AND YOUR BODY! 50 MINUTES: HUMMUS DEMONSTRATION + TASTING 3 DIFFERENT TYPES OF HUMMUS – DISCOVER THE ELEMENTS INVOLVED IN MAKING HUMMUS AND HOW EASY IT THEN BECOMES TO CREATE VARIATIONS. BY THE END OF THE WORKSHOP, YOU WILL DISCOVER HOW THE PRINCIPLES OF FREE DANCE ARE AMONG THE UNDERLYING FOUNDATIONS FOR EXPLORING THE BODY AND SELF, FOR EXPANDING BEYOND YOUR COMFORT ZONE WHILE DANCING THROUGH LIFE. WHEN: APRIL 20, 19:00 – 21:00 WHERE: KAK.ALOM STUDIO – 21BIS RUE DE LA NAVIGATION COST: 50 CHF, INCLUDING DANCE CLASS, HUMMUS DEMO + TASTING SPACE IS LIMITED – PLEASE SIGN-UP HERE:

Nia + Hummus poster

The Body’s Way: 5 Reasons to Dance Nia

This article was written for and originally appeared on http://www.HealthWise.ch 

In 2010, I realized something in my life was missing, but I couldn’t get a hold on what it was.

I stopped my usual workouts at the gym and started taking some serious Pilates classes in a small studio next to my office. Pilates training works great for me as my body craves exercise and loves discipline and physical effort. I was even considering becoming a Pilates teacher when my husband and I went to see the Merce Cunningham Legacy Tour concert in Wiesbaden, Germany in May 2011. I have a ballet background and have danced and practiced yoga most of my life and I was totally inspired by the dancers, their passion, their ability to express emotions, their incredible body control and physical presence. On the way back, I realized that, in fact, dance was what I was missing and I kept thinking of how I could bring it back into my life.

Then I remembered a ‘movement’ class called Nia that I had tried in California back in 2009. The originality, creativity and physical self-expression of the discipline had enthused me in much the same way. Once back home, I started research on how to become a Nia teacher and signed up for a Nia teacher training course two months later. The further I got into the training, the more it would become apparent that although I had a dance background, I had to let go of my schooled dance moves and let my body guide me.

In other words, I had to learn “My Body’s” way.

Today I am a certified Nia Teacher and have been leading regular weekly classes and participating in creative events since 2011.

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So what is a Nia class like?

Nia consists of 52 easy, body-centered moves that draw on Dance Arts, Martial Arts and Healing Arts, like yoga. Nia’s 52 moves include various steps, stances, and foot, hand and finger techniques to name a few. These particular moves, combined with a free dance element make Nia a wholesome practice that helps to bring physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being to students. A Nia class works through 7 cycles and is set to music varying from world music to rock and pop. No Nia class is the same and no Nia teacher is alike.  This is what I enjoy the most about being a Nia Teacher. I get to mix and match music and movement, which keeps me in a creative flow for hours while planning my classes and events.

The Body’s Way

One of the main principles of Nia is what is called the “Body’s Way”. Since everybody has different levels of mobility and stability, students are encouraged to pay special attention to their body in order to develop body awareness. At the same time, students need to recognize body sensations such as pleasure and pain. Before I started practicing Nia I wasn’t aware of my body the way I am now. With Nia, I have come to truly understand and love my body through discipline, healthy eating habits, exercise and rest.

I have learned to let go of my negative emotions and allow my body to thrive on joy, love and pleasure – all while dancing. I am wholly focused on helping others find their Body’s Way, and delight in seeing the glowing satisfaction of the students at the conclusion of each workout. Each class features a different emphasis, but it is ultimately up to the individual to follow, or to work with their own particular focus. My job is to guide students through the routine in a relaxed atmosphere with warmth and humor, while exhibiting the different energies found in Nia training.

What is your focus today – is it the joy of movement, forgetting an unpleasant thought or situation, or simply breaking a sweat? You are welcome to dance through it with other members of the non-judgmental Nia community. No dancing experience is necessary to dance your Body’s Way!

Here are my 5 reasons to practice Nia:

1. STAY IN YOUR BODY

When we let our body guide us through movements, our inner ‘dialogue’ will naturally diminish. Just try to free dance at home without attaching to your thoughts and notice how your mind stops roaming and chattering.

2. RELEASE NEGATIVE EMOTIONS

Delight in your Nia teacher when she laughs and plays like a child, then follow her lead. Express your personal power by doing arm blocks, chops, and kicks…all while releasing negative emotions in a fun and playful way.

3. BALANCE AND ENERGY

The playfulness of Nia helps to relax your body as you let go of your emotions. This allows you to recharge and rebalance, which in turn helps you to accomplish more in your daily tasks.

4. PHYSICAL TRAINING

Choose your intensity level from 1 to 3, and shape your workout according to your own needs. Sense your own energy of “now” for achieving the best results. If you feel like having an athletic workout today, stick to level 2 and 3. If your focus is body awareness, use level 1 and 2. Your teacher will suggest all three levels in the class.

5. EXERCISE YOUR HANDS AND FINGERS 

Have you heard of catching flies, creepy crawlers, and claw hand or spear fingers? These are Nia moves that train the small muscles in your upper extremities. I personally practice these everyday because I spend way too much time on my Mac using repetitive movements. Essential…

Nia is like chocolate – it’s hard to describe, you just have to taste it.

 

Nia Playshop “Form and Freedom”

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Hello and welcome!

I am excited to invite you to a new Nia Playshop – a collaboration between three certified Nia teachers Nathalie, Tess and myself on March 1.
You will be able to see how different Nia moves are done by different teachers while dancing yet YOUR OWN way. The program will start at 11 am and will go on until 12.30. Let’s break a sweat, laugh, enjoy the movement as medicine.

WHEN: March 1, 2015
WHERE: Rue de Montbrillant, 14

Signing up is required.

We hope to dance with you soon!

The little secret behind my preparation for the Nia Dance + Smoothie event (Food for thought).

somaticsThe little secret behind my preparation for the Nia Dance + Smoothie event.

The present-day circumstances in my life are such that sometimes I need to find time for my workouts whenever I can without leaving the house. For example, last week I had no time to physically train for our Nia Dance + Smoothie event and I felt as though this time off was expressing itself in my body as a sensation of ‘restraint’ (as opposed to ‘expansion’) and with this came the little pains and general discomfort.

I had always thought that if I didn’t go to the gym or to yoga class I was wasting time and effort working out at home. I needed to get out, walk to the studio or gym in order to set up the right mood for a workout. My body is conditioned to recognize the discipline and regularity that comes with structured and punctual workouts as being the main factors to success whether my goal was to drop or maintain weight. But I don’t live in a perfect world, and with obligations like everyone else that frequently replace my usual training time, I thought that maybe connecting to my body in a more subtle way would somehow help to maintain my form. I also felt that this would complement my other physical activities, making them more holistic.

So in preparation for leading a vigorous Nia class I did the following: through out the week I simply performed 15 minutes of stretching at home at a VERY slow pace. I let my body guide me from one exercise to another, and this is what made the whole difference. I realized that slowing down actually opens up space to listen to the body’s wisdom. With this new awareness I was able to connect to my body and especially to the parts of my body that needed healing. My upper back and my left ankle had been bothering me, but they felt much better after the gentle exercises. After just 15 minutes of exercise, I felt expansion, ease and lightness in my body as well.

So this is the little secret behind my preparation for the Nia Dance and Smoothie event. By making small adjustments in our workout routines, especially those that encourage ‘listening to our bodies’, we step onto the self-awareness path that is essential for those who want to live holistically.

Dancing through life,

Katia