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?

Nia Happy Hour at Kak.Alom Studio (rue de la Navigation 21 BIS)

I am pleased to announce that I will will be leading a Nia Happy Hour class on the first Thursday of each month at Kak.Alom Studio in Paquis.

Join me for a 60 minute class that uniquely blends classic Nia and guided free dance. This is a safe, holistic fitness program that will invigorate the whole body, mind, and spirit. Effective and fun, you will leave feeling comfortably tired but not exhausted. The free dance element will allow for the expression of your being, your soul and the real you, as you unleash your emotions and work the stress and worries out of your system. Feel welcome to dance it out within a non-judge mental community of individuals who love to dance!

Happy dancing!

Training at 32 weeks of my pregnancy – Nia routine “Beyond” by Ann Christiansen (Anniann)

Nia is for Every Body. I was dancing Nia once a week throughout my pregnancy until my 33th week. It helped me enormously to feel and look good at times when my energy levels were low. I adapted every Nia routine to my own Body way. Since I was very big, I did not jump or kick. I avoided the martial arts all together except for soft aikido turns and the slow dance of Tai chi. Instead I squatted and lounged, duck and squish walked. Dancing brought back the sensation of pleasure to my pregnant body and I used to free dance anytime I got a chance.

My Nia classes can be adapted for Every Body, join me on Saturdays at 11.15. Studio “I Love Exercise” is open during summer months. Let’s move!

With love and gratitude,