I went to my first NIA class last night, taught at the Yoga and Nia for Life Studio in Concord, MA by my beautiful friend, Allison Wright.
Let me tell you, this is some pretty powerful stuff.
The title of today's post was inspired by two big revelations that came from participating in this class last night.
Since this blog is by a LGBTQ person for the education of anyone reading it (and really, I mean everyone), I am going to spell it out clearly and simply.
1) my hips don't move like those of a girl---why? because I don't identify as one. Next thought: wow, what does that even mean?
2) my hips were stiff and tight. why? because I haven't been exercising and stretching enough.
SOLUTION to 1: Rethink and redefine pretty.
Nia is a practice of dance and martial arts movements. I felt that a lot of the dancing of Nia looks "pretty"--sweeping, swirling, graceful movements that I associate (with my gender binary socialized-mind) with femininity and womanhood. This class revealed to me that I have some work to do to open these hips of mine, embrace them and move freely in and with them---but it doesn't have to be "pretty" to be good or "right". Moreover, it seems I have some work to do in redefining what "pretty" means--particularly for me. Maybe we all do.
Everything about Allison's words and actions during the class affirm every body shape and every individual's movement style and pace. She went on to tell me about the creator of the routine we danced to, and how that man (who identifies as heterosexual) taught her something about gender norms and how we perceive and define them. If ever a person was meant to teach a class for those struggling with inner beauty and strength, Allison is that person. For those living in or near Boston, MA---please experience Allison for yourself--the studio is accessible on the Commuter rail.
SOLUTION to 2: Start a stretching routine each day.
I have a DVD that I don't use enough. It lasts about 30 minutes and I am not using it enough to open the hips and live more gracefully and fully. I can feel the tension. I can feel how "tight" my energy is around that area of my body. I can open and expand this area (and the areas of mind associated with it) with good, regular and gentle stretching exercises. That is my small but attainable goal for the next two weeks.
Namaste to you all and blessings sent to my beautiful friend, Allison, for her gentle encouragement and generous invitation to join her class one chilly Tuesday evening.
It was a brilliant use of my time and a profound learning experience. My hips told me precious truths I needed to hear.
Gentle changes make a profound difference.