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Nia

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I believe we heal ourselves through movement.

Terri look up.jpg

There is a book I bought as part of my Brown Belt training in the Nia® Technique years ago. It’s called, BodyStories by Andrea Olsen. It’s about our body’s intelligence and how movement of humans and everything around us affects our life.

Nothing has brought me closer to my body’s intelligence than Nia®. It has been a practice that I have taught for 14 years as of this writing. My relationship with this practice was born out of debilitating illness. I didn’t think I could ever walk without a cane, let alone dance and teach again. But, with help, I am blessed to be able to pass on the “movement message.”

The ability to be guided to express ourselves through movement is a gift. So much is held inside and pushed down, unless we have an outlet. Our experiences are held in our bodies. As one of my mentors said, “the issue is in the tissue.”

When we move in a way that is consciously and compassionately guided, it can open us to our own expansion and life’s possibilities. One student shared a remarkable breakthrough in class recently:

I had a powerful experience in today's class of reclaiming my body, especially my shoulders and upper chest -- my pectoral muscles. I felt their strength and vitality and I could almost say, "power," for the first time in my life.

This is a big deal. The awareness this person had of how they were moving, and discovering something new in their movement, allowed a feeling of power to come through.

Conscious movement is known to spark creativity, joy, curiosity and connection with other people. I personally have found that my life is more meaningful through my connection with my body.

My wish for you is to explore more for yourself — no matter what movement practice you choose.

Always with love,

Teresa D’Angelo
Nia 1st Degree Black Belt Instructor and Ageless Grace Brain & Body Health Educator

www.live-love-move.com

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Beginner's Mind

You might have had similar experiences in life . . . you feel alive and excited about a new "something" or "someone." You land the job and career path you've always wanted. You move to the place you've dreamed about. You start school (again). Your soul mate appears. Your world is vibrant and you can't wait to get up in the morning!

Over time, life becomes routine. Weeks, months or even years later, you might ask yourself, "why did I choose this path or this person?"

As stated in The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz and his son Don Jose ". . . all humans live in their own world, in their own movie, in their own dream." It is our personal experience and perception of life that matters.

So how do we get back to a fresh start?

The meaning of Shoshin in Zen Buddhism is to have an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceived notions.

In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities,
but in the expert's there are few.

 - Shunryu Suzuki (1905-1971)

We follow the practice of Beginner’s Mind in Nia by paying attention to body sensation and what is, in this moment. No matter how many years of experience dancing or teaching, we can come back to the basics.

This past summer, Debbie Rosas led a "Festival of Nia" in New Jersey (video above).  We were doing a simple movement together and as I let myself go fully into the motion, tears rolled down my face. THIS was the sensation and feeling that attracted me to Nia in the first place. I found Beginner’s Mind in that moment, being open to the experience as if it was my first class.
 
So how can we experience Beginner’s Mind more often?

Be like a child, as if you're seeing someone or doing something for the very first time:

  • Look at the trees, the sky, and the gift of colors on your drive to work or to school.
  • Notice the unique qualities in people's faces on the bus or train ride.
  • Use the computer or phone to share your words with impeccability.
  • Treat clients as if you're hearing them for the first time, without judgment.
  • Acknowledge "Namaste" in your partner, spouse, coworker and friend.

Imagine many more possibilities to experience little moments as breaths of fresh air. Then, each day becomes a way to Begin again.

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I wanted to be a dancer. I failed.

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I wanted to be a dancer. I failed.

Giving up a dream isn't easy. But sometimes, it's for the best. I wanted to be a dancer, and failed. Thankfully.

Aspiring to become a prima ballerina was my deepest desire between the ages of 8-15. Each week my friends and I would attend several ballet classes together. The run-down studio was on the second floor in downtown Wilkes-Barre, PA, and I imagined it was something like a NYC ballet studio. It was magical to me. Our friend ritual on Saturdays was especially fun: take the public bus to class, slice of pizza, pinball, shop, and back home.

Ballet was both an exciting and scary part of my life in the 70s. Our teacher was a strict Polish woman in her 30s who had been a professional ballerina. Miss J wore black leotards, black skirt, black eyeliner that rivaled rock stars, and smoked a cigarette throughout class. Miss J yelled -- a lot. If she yelled at you, it was a sign she took interest. I don't recall getting yelled at a lot. I was usually one of the corps de ballet in The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, not a soloist.

Tragedy came when I didn't pass auditions for the new ballet company. Every one of my friends did. I was humiliated and broken-hearted, but I picked myself up and vowed to "make it next year."

No one has the power to shatter your dreams unless you give it to them.
— Maeve Grayson

Next year arrived and I failed again. One of the judges from NYC told my mom that I "might not be cut out to be a dancer." I was devastated and hated her for saying that at the time. Was I really that bad? I didn't know, so I kept dancing, getting a few lead roles in the children's ballet performances. However, the previous audition failures and more pass-overs to come were too much for me as a freshman in high school. I gave up my dream at age 15 and didn't watch a ballet performance for several years.

Fast-forward to 2005 when I was diagnosed with excruciating pain that turned out to be Rheumatoid Arthritis. I panicked as I felt I was once again losing my "ability to move." However, a gift came with the illness.

I discovered an amazing healing dance practice called Nia. I found my dream again to dance in my own way, no matter my body shape or dance ability. A breakthrough! I immediately took training on how to teach Nia so I could help others in pain or those who felt they couldn't dance.

I am so thankful for the experience of what I thought was losing my dream. I might not have reconnected to dance that provides me immense Joy and Healing. Now I get to guide and teach people how to condition their bodies and express their spirits through dance. I have witnessed and heard many stories about life changing experiences from the practice of Nia and other conscious dances. It works. I personally transformed through movement and now it's my turn to share it with you in a bigger way.

What dreams have you given up?  Can you reconnect with them in a different way?

I'm Teresa D'Angelo, and I invite you to Live, Love, and Move your life through a program of classes, workshops and coaching that is fun and expressive. This clip tells the story of why I love what I do . . . with a huge thank you to everyone involved in shooting this video, and the amazing people who continue to dance our journeys together.

The Nia Technique re-ignited my passion for movement and I'm forever grateful. Be inspired through your own dance and learn to condition, heal and express yourself!




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