notes from Healing Arts of Nia: student playshop in Houston

This playshop was a fantastic experience, despite not being what I had planned.

Instead of following the syllabus I had created and followed in the New York version of this playshop, we went into a discussion of how to make each Nia class a self-healing experience.

The main pearls of this playshop were:

"You need to be in the driver's seat of your Nia class experience"
"Add your personal focus to the teacher's focus"
"Be aware of yourself first"
"Explore the best way to do each movement"
"do it your way"
"you have permission to do it 'wrong'"
"every sensation you experience is your choice"
"choose pleasure"

Here are some comments made by students in this playshop:

---I had a blast dancing with Jason this weekend. It is always so cool to watch a master at work, then have him discect what he did and why it was so effective. Especially enjoyed the male energy he brought to "Bond Girls".

---I thought Jason’s workshop/playshop was excellent. It helped to remind me about the contributions within Nia that are drawn from the Feldenkrais and Alexander Techniques – about the most significant purpose of each and how they are incorporated into Nia movements. The class reaffirmed that that the focus of Feldenkrais is “the conscious awareness of sensation” and that the Alexander Technique’s focus is to “find the position of mechanical advantage in order to maximize the amount of ease in motion”. Both help us to break old habits of movement and contribute to creating new neural pathways which stimulate self-healing. I also thought our discussion regarding the aspects of yoga in Nia was insightful, primarily the focus of the alignment of the bones. But most of all it was fun and I learned new “pearls” which will help in my practice and in my teaching down the line.

---(after the playshop) I did try some self-healing in both my classes today. So I did get something from the workshop - just not as much as I wanted.
Jason here: I agree, we can never get enough of this stuff. But a little bit each time is sufficient. Self-healing is a lifelong endeavor.

---Jason’s Sun. Morning -Bond Girls WAS DANGEROUS, very dangerously FUN. I wish I could channel the Beyonce/Sasha Fierce a little more successfully. I felt I definitely had moments where I thought I did. Thinking about Pierce Bronson helped and Jason was inspirational too. Thanks very much for having him in for special guest teacher. 72 second pearl was my favourite.

---As a teacher, I really benefited from hearing Jason use specific language with participants: owning awareness and choices, tweaking as self-healing, etc. I also really enjoyed going off syllabus and learning what is in the minds of students and how to reach out to them differently. As a student, without his prompts, I probably would never have thought to change my palm direction in Traveling, and thus always felt that twinge in my shoulder. I realized that I want to be a student more.

---I loved the workshop. I've been wondering for about 6 months if I wanted to continue to teach. After the workshop, I realized how deep and important the Nia approach to health and fitness is. I have recommitted to teaching and am excited about continuing to learn more to share with the folks back home. I thought Jason was an excellent teacher who is responsive and sensitive to the needs of the workshop participants. I very much appreciated his flexibility - beecause of the additional time spent on Feldenkrais principles, I feel that I developed a new level of body and movement awareness. I'm only sorry that we didn't get the whole "healing arts" curriculum, but that will be something to come back to.

---I had a fun experience playing the wii with my kids this afternoon. Today I was dead on balanced in several of the games. I attribute my increased performance to your great self healing guidance. Thanks!

I had a great time taking this work and sharing it with my Houston sisters and brothers. Thank you, Houston, for being so receptive, playful and open to this work. Please keep the comments coming, and continue to explore your self-healing in and out of Nia class.


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