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Movement as a Form of Therapy

Michele Gregan, a Nia dance instructor in this segment of MYD Heart shares some tools on loving yourself and loving your body. 

Nia, a fitness exercise movement program combines elements of martial arts, the healing arts and dance arts for a therapy fitness program that uses music to heal the body. 

“For me what’s so amazing about Nia and especially because the focus of today is loving or loving yourself, loving your body, and one of the catchphrases of Nia is love your body, love your life,” says Michele. 

Nia focuses on the joy of movement. It focuses on how the body feels, and not necessarily how it looks. 

“So what that does for me personally is that if I’m looking in the mirror when I’m dancing I don’t go “ooh that’s flabby, this is wobbling”, and when I don’t look to the person next to me to go, “okay thank goodness she’s also flabby and wobbling”. I’m sensing into my body, how does my body feel in this movement, and that immediately shifts the focus,” says Michelle. 

Instead of focussing on any perceived “flaws” on her body, she instead focuses on:

  • Joyful movement
  • What works for the body
  • The function of the body

Michele still acknowledges that focusing on the good instead of the bad will most of the time be a challenge. 

“We obviously all like looking good, but for me with Nia it’s about how do I feel moving in this body … So the moment I focus on function, then for me it’s a wow, look at what my body can do, look, sense how this feels, feel that power, especially if you doing the martial arts and some real stepping into your power …”, says Michele who adds that focusing on the joy of movement is another  important aspect that should never be skipped. She says, “From that comes an immense amount of joy, and an immense amount of appreciation and gratitude for my body, and that leads to love.”

With Nia, fitness incorporates body, mind, emotions, and then what practitioners refer to as “spirit” – with spirit being personal uniqueness when it comes to movement and exercise preference. This means that some people may love to get groovy and have up-beat exercise sessions, but others many be more laid back and take on a slower pace. 

So how does a Nia teacher kick off their day? 

“I start my day with that self love towards my body. I’m making a choice of movement and this is every day, in my body,” says Michele.

Catch MYD Heart on 99FM, Mondays to Fridays on ‘The Pulse’ at 17H35.

Watch the MYD Africa Show on One Africa TV every Tuesday at 20h00 with repeats on Thursdays at 06h30 and Sundays at 19h30.