As a teacher, you have to be creative, constantly finding new angles and challenges to make sure you’re communicating well. So I thought I’d share some of the ways I’ve changed things up recently as I’ve been teaching.
I am adding more sounding and affirmations into my classes. Even though it is difficult for some people to do, I ask my students to use sounds and words to tap into the emotional realm of dancing Nia Technique. “Yes,” “no,” “hai,” “shaa,” “ki-ya!” accompany kicks, strikes, blocks or any other move that spirit demands. I also ask for a sigh or a loud exhale. When there are many people in the room, the energy builds and flows even more easily when sound is added.
Another thing that I do in class sometimes is invite the dancers to dance with everyone, and then secretly pick a partner, and finally to dance alone. We switch around, allowing us to experience each sensation several times. I encourage them to just take note of which one of those interactions is most comfortable and natural and which feels the most awkward. I suggest that they explore why they felt the way they did, and to consider doing more of whichever one was the most challenging. There’s often a sigh of acknowledgement when I say that it might feel awkward at first to dance with one other person, especially if you meet eyes unexpectedly. Just acknowledging that seems to make people relax about it.
I use humor too to get people to loosen up. Recently, I mused about the old days, and everyone in the room could identify with the vision of themselves in their aerobics class from the late 80’s with their leg warmers, thong leotard and matching headband. Gave us all a good laugh.
That amusing image made me think about how different we are these days. How much more in touch with our true selves we are. We’re 20 years older, that’s one reason, but also, we are so much more evolved these days. We are aware of the larger world and the customs and belief systems of other cultures. Yoga, meditation, discussion of chakras, and natural healing arts are so much more mainstream. We are all ready and willing to connect with Universal Joy once it is suggested. Inside the beltway, even out in the rest of the world, the communities of people who gravitate toward Nia Technique are into healing and feeling and moving and being. I am so happy to bring these people together and create new positive energy five times a week.