Holly's Blog

July 19, 2019

My life is a story written in chapters that revolve around where I was living at the time.  The chapters have included Venezuela, Nicaragua, Libya, Italy, Switzerland, England, the UAE and the US.  My father took the opportunity to work in the oil business overseas, thus the international background.  Relocating is a signature move of my life.

My fitness career began in Austin, TX back in 1982.  Nia arrived in my life in 1993, which eventually drove me to Santa Fe, NM.  A new marriage and opportunity took me to Lincoln, NE.  Soon I will be transitioning to College Station, TX, a town about 35 miles from where my grandfather was born.  A cycle completes, in many ways.

Each transition created a new version of  me.  What first began as a hippy-like exploration in Austin, became a new-age immersion in Santa Fe.  Lincoln, NE grounded me in a beautifully practical way, taking me deeply into my body.  College Station will bring an as yet unknown me to the...

September 18, 2018

I've enjoyed 25 years as a Nia® teacher, trainer and choreographer. In the years prior to my Nia career I studied dance and theatre, group fitness, kinesiology, human physiology, and human psychology.  Dance has been the defining aspect of my life, beginning at age 20 when I studied dance at UT Austin.  It was a bold move to choose dance as a major as I had no prior training.  I jumped in with blind faith knowing it was the right thing for me.

Luckily I figured out early that I was meant to lead and teach rather than perform.  I landed right on top of the aerobic dance craze in the 80's and found my home at the front of a group of people, dancing to the music.  I came alive for these hours of teaching.  I'd plan and anticipate each class, as I do now.  My passion drove me to get educated and trained in many modalities, ultimately leading me to Nia.  Through many ups and downs I have consistently turned to dance and movement to support me.  It will always be a large part o...

April 16, 2018

My goal as a Nia teacher is to "deliver the promise" of Nia, one of the tenets of our practice. The promise is to deliver a body/mind/spirit class, honoring The Body's Way, led by the Joy of Movement, and made available to everybody.  Until recently the classic Nia class has been mostly accessible to the generally fit population, those strong enough to stand and move for an hour.  With the advent of the Nia Moving to Heal (M2H) program, this is changing.

Last week in Portland, OR, the home of Nia HQ, a group of us gathered to film Nia M2H experiences to add to NiaTV.fit.  NiaTV is a streaming service that brings Nia into your home, office, facility, or anywhere you might want to take a movement break.  You can access NiaTV on your TV, computer, or any other device.  The M2H experiences are presented both standing and sitting.  They are of varying lengths and with an assortment of foci and intent.  Gentler and simpler, these experiences are designed for the individual at home,...

March 25, 2018

Ask anyone who is a Nia aficionado, and they will tell you one of the most valuable gifts of Nia is the community that grows around it.  In fact, community may be the greatest gift of all for our health and well-being and Nia delivers that.  According to Susan Pinker, author of The Village Effect: How Face-to-Face Contact Can Make Us Healthier, Happier, and Smarter, close personal relationships and face-to-face interactions are the primary contributors to our health and longevity, even more than quitting smoking!

I am fortunate that every morning of the week I can look forward to seeing my friends and doing something incredibly beneficial for us all.  We gather with small talk, checking in to connect, preparing for our practice.  We circle together to talk of our collective focus for the day, seeing each other eye to eye.  We comment and laugh  as our feet begin to shift, eager to get dancing.  The first breath draws us closer.  The movement itself is our synchrony.....

November 9, 2017

I launched myself into Nia Moving to Heal (M2H) a year ago.  Since then I have taught three classes a week at a independent living complex, as well as twice a month at a memory care center.  To quote a friend of mine, "This work is changing me."

As a teacher, Classic Nia calls for mastering the choreography with the music and delivering the promise of fitness in a one hour class.  We challenge our movement skill and strengthen our flexibility, agility, mobility, stability and strength.  Nia M2H asks us to loosen up the choreography, to simplify and slow down.  Don't be fooled, however.  Nia M2H still delivers the benefits of fitness, just in a gentler way. 

In M2H the intent is always to feel better.  A simple but profound idea, especially when dealing with a chronic condition or recovering from surgery or illness.  We are all healing something all the time and movement is a tried and true method of feeling better. We can shift our aches and pains, we can shift o...

October 9, 2017

Sadly, in my 24 years as a Nia teacher I have danced through terrible tragedies, personal and world-wide.  The first was the Oklahoma bombing.  I was teaching Nia at the University of Texas.  It was a time when high energy aerobics just wouldn't be appropriate.  Fortunately, Debbie Rosas had choreographed a routine called Heal Our Land.  It couldn't have been more perfect.  We were able to enter the class with the gravity of the situation and dance our way to our feelings.  It was a powerful moment for me as the teacher.  It felt like I was leading a memorial service for all those that had been hurt.

I experienced this again most notably with the week of 9/11.  In the midst of a White Belt training at NiaSpace in Austin we were all shaken to our core.  That morning, after the event, we broke for a while to make phone calls and connect with loved ones.   We ultimately decided to continue the training and open the studio to our students.  At class time,...

August 24, 2017

I am days away from stepping into a Nia White Belt training in Lincoln, NE.  The White Belt is the entry into Nia's art of sensation; what it means to live a sensory life.  I began this journey for myself in 1993.  I have facilitated scores of White Belt trainings since then and am always eager to deliver one more.  I love this work and how it awakens those who practice it.  I'm privileged to have the role of guide, teacher, friend, and mentor while I too am the student experiencing the magic of the 13 White Belt principles yet again.

This year I was fortunate to study under Debbie Rosas, the founder of Nia, as we continued to evolve the intent, focus and curriculum of the White Belt.  I am inspired by her to take my own group through this process that lasts 6 1/2 days in a fully committed way.  The women I will be guiding are long time students and friends of mine.  Many of them began taking Nia with me when I first arrived in Lincoln almost 6 years ago.  I get to w...

July 7, 2017

I've just returned from a week of immersing myself in the Nia White Belt experience.  The Nia White Belt is the first level of somatic education offered by the Nia Technique.  It's a week-long process of discovering the magnificence of the human body and its potential to live into greatness through an embodied practice of movement.  The most important relationship with have in our lives is with our bodies.  Nia helps us listen and understand the signals that are sent through through our bodies via sensation.  The body's vast intelligence is constantly communicating its level of well being.  We can learn to hear these messages and respond consciously to feel better. 

It all begins with choosing joy - Joy of Movement.  It's the act of moving towards pleasure and away from pain.  It requires adjustments and tweaks to avoid discomfort and strain.  The adjustments represent our choice for joy of movement.  The body moves at a pace that is unique to each individu...

June 8, 2017

I taught a Nia Moving to Heal class at a memory care residence called Country House yesterday. It was my first experience working with this population. I had compiled a playlist of hits from the 50's and 60's, songs I knew they would be able to sing to. As I was setting up and waiting to start I was playing the music. Without any prompting from me, one of my gathering students began to sing. I immediately relaxed, knowing I was on the right path.

The chairs had been set out before I arrived, in a semicircle with me at the front.  My good friend, Kami Ebers, joined me at the front.  The group was varied.  Some were very "functioning", others were despondent in their seats.  A couple looked as though they were sleeping.  With 12 people sitting in front of me,  it was time to begin.  Without much discussion, we launched into the class.

I started with Bette Midler and the song The Rose.  This song has held a special place in my heart for years, and I think it ha...

April 13, 2017

My intent through my work has been to bring movement to as many people as possible.  I've been practicing this intent for 35 years now, beginning with Jane Fonda aerobics and ultimately finding Nia.  It's been an amazing journey that marks my life in a powerful way.  As I age I look ahead to the years of dancing left, and a vision of continuing my work until the end.  With this in mind, I stepped in into my Nia Moving to Heal (M2H) training in early October 2016 along with my friend and colleague, Jennifer Hilkemann.  Nia M2H classes are designed for people who need or want a slower, simpler approach to dance and exercise.  M2H classes are also perfect for anyone recovering from surgery, healing an injury or coping with a chronic condition.

Jennifer and I were both inspired to offer classes as soon as possible.  I launched my classes at Van Dorn Villa, a 55+ condo complex.  Jennifer launched her classes at the Unitarian Church.  I'm happy to say classes are flou...

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