Nia White Belt Training Experience – for Personal Development or to become a Nia teacher
Given the fact that Nia exercises incorporate moves with outstretched, overhead arms for stretching and rolling around on the floor to increase flexibility, I shouldn't have been surprised when during my Nia White Belt training, I vacillated between high highs and low lows. I was so shocked by my energy.
At times I was exhausted, left thinking that I wouldn't be able to budge from the ground for a week! Then, one of the patient Nia trainers would encourage the class to get on our feet, move our bodies slowly and then – BAM – she would play an irresistible song and we were once again dancing and moving to the beat with boundless energy.
I felt like a stranger to my body, tapping into reserves I never knew I had.
Nia (pronounced "knee-ah") is a mind body fusion fitness program that expects a lot from its teachers. Nia carefully evolved from extensive analysis of anatomy and physiology so that each of the moves compliments the body's normal function and movement. This premise in Nia is referred to as "The Body's Way." If done properly, Nia exercises will not stress joints but will strengthen your entire body. Nia teachers are expected to understand basic physiology and learn how to teach to Nia students so that the students get the most out of exercising and do not injury themselves.
The Nia White Belt training (the first level of advanced training for any Nia teacher), focuses on how a body functions. Because I chose to train in Portland, Oregon with one of the co-founders, Debbie Rosas, I had the opportunity to learn from the developer herself. I’ve studied anatomy in university and yet I never heard anyone explain anatomy in such a clear way.
You do not have to want to teach Nia to go through this training. In my class we had about 30 participants from all over the United States and I would say only half were going to become teachers, the rest were there for personal development.
This program emphasized several aspects that I think would help anyone come into a greater appreciation for their body.
Building Body Awareness – What is my body "thinking?" What makes my body happy? What is my body trying to tell me?
Building Body Appreciation – This training provided tools that we could use once we became aware of our body messages. These tools helped us learn how to appreciate our bodies.
Expanding Pre-Conceived Limitations – As I mentioned with my energy levels, this program brought me to my perceived limits then gently lifted me past them. It made me realize that I can accomplish so much more than I think I can, especially when I am having fun!
Building Community & Friendships – Our class of 30 people immediately built rapport and trust with each other that didn't disappoint. We created a safe place where each of us could share some struggles and receive the support and suggestions we needed to transcend those challenges.
How Does the Nia Advanced Training Work?
First of all, the Nia training is different than taking classes or workshops with your Nia teacher. Advanced trainings are held for an entire week – 6 full days. The training is progressive so each person begins with the White Belt Training. The training levels were inspired by the martial arts progression, which has different color belts. You begin with white and after many years of training and passing through the other belts, you can end with black. Unlike a martial arts program; however, the white belt does mean that you have begun your journey through the advanced training. In martial arts, every new student in regular classes receives a white belt and then the other color belts reflect more advanced training.
Where are Nia Advanced Trainings Held?
Many cities with established Nia classes around the world hold advanced Nia training; including Colorado were we hold a couple each year. My training began at 5 PM on a Saturday evening then classes were held every day from 7 AM to 7 PM through Friday. We did have a nice lunch break in the middle of the day. We spent some time in lecture, sharing, and dancing. It was intense but honestly, not too rigorous. I was worried that I wasn't in good enough shape but staying true to Nia philosophy, the teachers encouraged us to take breaks when we needed and to take good care of ourselves.
Some Nia teachers I know chose to take the advanced training in a location near their home. I think this would have been really challenging. I was tired after class and would not have wanted to deal with normal everyday responsibilities. Fortunately I chose to go to Portland, Oregon to Nia Headquarters for my training. This time away from my family, Nia studio, and other responsibilities allowed me to focus on my growth in an uninterrupted way. If you are considering the training, I would strongly encourage you to go out of town where you have to stay in a hotel. Portland was an excellent city with remarkable food and very safe and clean. Also, you can’t beat learning Nia from the founders.
I was intimidated to attend this training but I am so glad I didn't let that stop me. The Nia White Belt training can be so much more than preparation to teach an exercise class. It is another step in a journey for learning how to feel confident and feel comfortable in your own body.
Tips if you go to Portland
I highly recommend staying at the Mark Spencer Hotel. It is several blocks from the Nia Headquarters but the blocks in Portland are short and it takes about 5 minutes to walk to the headquarters. The Mark Spencer hotel has kitchens in each room which will save you a lot of money in eating out. You can pick up food at farmers markets or there is a Whole Foods a few blocks from the hotel. The hotel is also at the edge of an incredibly fun district called the Pearl District. This neighborhood is amazing with fantastic restaurants, breweries, indie film house, and of course, Powell's Bookstore. Look on Mark Spenser's website for the best price. They have a week discount rate (this is true as of the time of this writing).
Read about Sandy's Brown Belt Training Experience
Does Nia sound like something you want to try? We invite you to take a free class at our Castle Rock Nia Studio in Colorado.