Jennifer Hicks’ passion for Nia, a cardiovascular fitness program that combines dance, martial arts and healing arts, stemmed from a low point in her life. While on medical leave from her job as a Speech-Language Pathologist, Jennifer discovered Nia which led her to a place where she could appreciate her body, feed her spirit and, in her words, “cope with the highs and lows of my on-going illness.”
Here’s how Jennifer connects Nia, dance, and self-love, in her words:
Every time I dance, I tell my body “I love you.” Not through words, but through the magical benefits my body, mind, emotions and spirit receive in the process.
Through my Nia practice, I’ve learned how to move in ways that heighten the sensation of pleasure in my body. Yes that’s right. All pleasure, no pain.
What I used to accept as “feeling good” during exercise is not longer satisfactory. So just how is it that I tolerated the pain of all those joint crunching, mind-numbing activities for so long?
I know exactly how.
It’s because I didn’t know there could be another way.
The messages I and others hear about exercise is that:
1. It takes a lot of effort and is a drag
2. It is painful, but without the pain, you won’t see the gain and
3. It is NOT fun. Not in any way. You just do it. Because you should.
When I look back to those days and think about my relationship with exercise, I now realize that I was inadvertently saying to my body, “I don’t really care about your needs. This is good for you and so you should continue. Don’t question it, just do it.”
Back then I didn’t know there could be such deep satisfaction from respecting my body. I had no idea that I could get an amazing workout by moving my body in the way it was actually designed to move. I didn’t know it was more important for me to listen to MYSELF instead of all the ‘shoulds.’
I didn’t know that I needed Nia to tell myself, “I love you Jennifer.”
My whole being thanks me now. Every single time I dance.
Jennifer is a Nia instructor, Speech-Language Pathologist and Reiki practitioner. She is grateful to have Nia in her life to help her live successfully with Bipolar Disorder. The MNjcc is lucky to have her teaching NIA on Wednesdays as part of our Adult Specialty Fitness class schedule.