The Universe, John Travolta and the Nia Class

Oh dear, I think have I concussion. I am the type of person the universe has to hit repeatedly over the head with a 2×4 to make a point. By the time the message hits home I have a pounding headache and have to thank said universe for the invention of Myprodol. Tonight the universe must be sighing with relief and saying, “At last! I thought she’d never get it!”

This morning I took myself to a Nia dance class. On the spur of the moment and not at all like I’ve been tripping over Nia dance instructors for months. My colleague’s partner happens to be one. She happens to be friends with a friend of mine who is one. I happened to read my friend’s Nia blog and repost a quote. All of a sudden a Facebook friend who is a journalist about all things cool and amazing in my city happens to mention that she’d like to cover a class. “Oh hell!” said my subconscious, “It’s about time you went back.”

My subconscious was right. I went to a few classes a year ago, but my back was so painful at the slightest movement I didn’t return. Now that I have a new lease on life, it is high time I started thanking my body for healing.

The thing is, after years of nursing back pain I’m not exactly the fittest person out there. Neither am I particularly well co-ordinated. But I do love to dance, usually when the children are asleep and I can pop in my iPod and cavort across the garden in the moonlight like some erratic and slightly mad Wiccan priestess.

I arrived at the class today with some trepidation only to be warmly greeted by Mia, the instructor for the morning. Suddenly, I didn’t feel quite so uneasy. There is something very disarming about a heartfelt welcome by a woman who uncannily resembles Minnie Driver.

The rest of the class was equally as charming, all age groups, all body types and all of us a little too self-aware at the start. And those mirrors? My God, I never realised I have such skinny little toothpick legs – GAH! I looked for all the world like a stick man among real, flesh and blood people. Or an anaemic giraffe, only with less grace.

Periodically my husband quotes Shakespeare at me, with varying degrees of success. One of which he is particularly fond is “My mistresses eyes are nothing like the sun”. For some reason this does not make me feel good about myself at all, but I digress. To quote a line, “My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground”. Nia instructors don’t tread. They glide. They ooze like golden honey over a hot waffle.

With all these hang-ups why did I choose Nia at all? Because it embraces people with hang-ups and instead of competing with terrifying leotard-clad aerobicisers, it’s all about finding your body in your space. I’ve been so hung up on my lower back that I seem to have forgotten I have a body at all. It’s not exhausting, it’s exhilarating. It’s like yoga in movement.

Although we all started cold and very conscious of everyone else, it wasn’t long before we were relaxing into the music and the movement. It was with something approaching envy I watched the other more seasoned veterans embrace the space they were in and they fluid movement of their bodies. Beauty has nothing to do with being thin and everything to do with accepting your body, imperfections and all.

By the time I left John Travolta had nothing on me. I was feeling limber and joyful. I didn’t feel like a great awkward galumph anymore. My body aches, but pleasantly, because it’s all about listening to what your body needs, how it needs to move and when it’s had enough. Admittedly, around mid-afternoon I succumbed to the need for a long nap and in a little while a long, hot bath.

It beats Bootcamp hands down. I am damned if I’m going to pay some muscled lothario in combat gear to yell at me. I am very aware of my fitness shortcomings thank you very much and I don’t need them yelled across the Northern suburbs. Although, my boys seem to thrive on it and by the time I picked them up were on an adrenalin high that has yet to wear off.

Today Nia.
Tomorrow So You Think You Can Dance?
Or maybe Strictly Ballroom?

If you feel like giving it a try, click on this link to Nia Glow.
Come on, it’ll do you good to try something new.

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