A Blogazine, based out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that features fun and interesting articles. Topics include: parenting, society, real estate, career, style, spirituality and more. Written contributions are always welcome!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Love at First Dance

Angela Pinti teaching her Nia class
in Park Slope, Brooklyn

By Angela Pinti

As the universe works in wonderful ways, a fitness class called the Nia Technique came upon my path at a time of great personal change, when I needed it most.

Growing up, I didn’t move much. I had a lot of energy, but I wasn’t physically active. I read a lot, took music lessons and participated in theater. Despite my involvement in all these activities, a lack of confidence kept me from moving my body. I was, in a sense, afraid to move. During my adolescent years, through college and beyond, I had gained a very large amount of weight. I had come to an extreme place and my body needed my attention. And then I found Nia.

In my first Nia experiences, I let my body go. I didn’t worry about what anyone thought about how my body looked. I didn’t think. I fell in love with my body in motion. I laughed during class. I played and became like a child making silly shapes with my body. I found tears in my eyes sometimes. I was sensual, sexy and loved watching my body twirl and sweat. I was strong and enjoyed watching definition come to my arms as I chopped and struck in martial arts-like moves.

Nia is an expressive movement class, a fitness practice that aligns body, mind and spirit through a unique blend of nine movement forms. The Martial Arts are represented: T’ai Chi, Tae Kwon Do and Aikido. In a Nia class you’ll sense elements of the Dance Arts: Jazz, Modern, and Duncan Dance. And, elements of the Healing Arts make their appearances: Yoga, Alexander Technique, and the teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais. I think of the Nia Technique like an intricate oil infusion, where you get just an essence of each herb to make that rich delicious whole flavor.

Nia is performed barefoot, using music to stimulate the movement and the emotions. I loved the way I could follow the instructor’s movements and take them to my own level. In a Nia class, you are always reminded to move in “your body’s way, in your own natural time”. This invitation to honor my body really spoke to me. Just starting body movement and a real exercise practice, I needed to listen to, and nurture, my body.

As I continued trying new forms of exercise, Nia was (and remains) the special constant in my life. I know why. Nia clears my mind. It allows me to move my emotion. It allows me to be exactly as I am right now, right in this moment. And, simply, it is just plain fun. Complete and utter, running-barefoot-through-the-park-on-a-sunny-spring-day, FUN.

In 2006 I became certified to teach the Nia Technique. I wanted to share Nia with people - to let them in on the secret that I knew. I have had extremely rewarding experiences sharing this technique. It has been such a joy of mine, when bringing Nia to a class of high school girls, seeing their confidence visibly rise as the class progresses. It’s been so special to hear a young woman tell me that taking Nia alleviates her anxiety. I’ve witnessed students doing Nia at their own gentle levels only days after major surgeries. Each time a new student, pink-cheeked and smiling after class, says to me, “wow, that is just what I’ve been looking for!” all I can do is return her bright smile and nod. Yes, I know exactly what you mean.

Angela Pinti lives in Park Slope and teaches in Brooklyn and around the city. In addition to being a certified Nia Technique instructor she is a runner and an opera singer. For more information about Angela’s classes you may contact her at angelataryn@hotmail.com or check out her page at http://www.nianow.com/niafinder/teacher/410. For more information about the Nia Technique, please go to www.nianow.com.