Interview with Su-lin Zse
websites: herbalwell.com.au/movingspaces , niaaustralia.com.au and nianow.com
Su-lin is a Certified Nia Technique Instructor. Originally trained in the visual arts she has long found joy and therapy in dance. She now practices Herbal Medicine and teaches movement classes in Sydney including the Nia Technique.
“After discovering Nia I realized that I didn’t have to compromise with my dance practice anymore. I had previously felt limited in choice and was really seeking a deeper self-connectedness. Nia gave me a beautiful insight into my body’s potential.”
Nia is a movement practice with a difference. It is a fun, low impact and highly energizing way to workout, strengthening the heart and lungs and increasing personal power with skillfully designed steps and stances that easy to follow.
Nia is inspired by many tried and tested and sometimes ancient movement forms such as yoga and tai chi.
Nia classes are a space where you can shake it up, laugh, feed off a glorious group energy and move ‘Your Body’s Way’.
The Nia Technique
Q. How and why did Nia originate?
A. Carlos and Debbie Rosas developed the Nia Technique. Their idea was to bring more safety, joy and awareness into exercise. They created this fusion fitness practice using different movement forms to offer a broader and more whole-body workout. There is nothing else like Nia, it is powerful, efficient and unique.
Q. What are the fundamental differences between Nia and a typical dance class?
A. Nia is more than a dance class. Have you ever heard a dance teacher say “Do this move your body’s way, at your own level”? In my experience I hadn’t and so my first Nia class was a revelation. Because I love to dance and my best dancing comes from moving my way. In Nia, myself and the other students were being honored for our own authenticity! If you are one of those people who find dance classes perfectionistic or even intimidating then a Nia class will be a welcome space for you to just enjoy moving your body for its own sake. It’s not perfectionistic and the steps and stances are easy to follow. Many of my students have had very little dance experience before coming to Nia.
Q. Is Nia for all ages and both genders?
A. Absolutely. Nia is safely taught to all ages including children and the elderly. It is also used in recuperative and therapeutic settings. Nia is refreshingly UNagist and UNsexist. Unlike many forms of movement which men tend to feel inhibited by, they really do get a buzz out of Nia.
Q. Do you need to have had any dance experience to do Nia?
A. Not at all. Nor do you need to fit any physical stereotype of the ‘dancer’ in any way.
Come as you are, enjoy and find your own individual dancer with the rest of us.
Dance related abilities like coordination and expression will improve with each class. There are no prerequisites and experienced and non experienced dancers will both find something to enrich their movement with.
Q. In your “9 Movement Forms” workshop it became clear that simply the way one is standing can alter one’s mood and outlook. What are your thoughts on this?
A. I fully agree. This is the beauty of drawing from a wide range of movement forms. The Bow and Sumo (wide) stances for example, come from the Martial Arts and offer the student an opportunity to feel grounded, strong and more free in the upper body. These stances are a fast and efficient way to connect with the belly and to ‘stand one’s ground’. Regular practice of such positions will actually manifest in every day life as more strength, groundedness and determination.
Q. What benefits can you derive from Nia? Can you give any examples from the students you have taught?
A. The benefits of Nia are far reaching. My students mention things like improved flexibility, balance and cardiac endurance, as well as reduced tension and more self love. On a physical level Nia increases circulation, helping the body to boost metabolism and detoxify. It’s great for the heart and lungs. It is also a great practice for releasing pent-up tension through exercise and vocalization. Nia helps one to centre mentally and improves alertness, and also boosts self-esteem and builds character so it’s great for young adults. Personally Nia is something that I use in my life to transform and make me more aware. I like to think of my classes as a safe space to explore oneself. Nia is fun, joyful and self-honoring. At the end of class we are all beaming, in touch with our bodies and more deeply connected.
Q. After conducting research for this interview PureCalma found that each Nia class is unique and that each tutor brings with them their own interpretation. How do you as a teacher interpret the Nia Technique to your students?
A. My classes are strongly sensation based, intuitive and accepting. I practice with the belief that body connectedness is the best way to feel the simple reality of just being. I love to feel my cells tingle, and to feel alive. I encourage students to feel into what is happening inside and to move with respect for their bodies. I think that the best way to understand existence is through the body so I encourage my students to stay connected.
Our bodies are extraordinary things. They are often neglected, stressed, sometimes unloved. I want to bring a greater awareness back into movement and to offer my students a way to explore their wildness and creativity. I mean wild in the sense of the inner childlike wonder that we are born with, and which is untouched by rules and conventions. The open and accepting nature of the class seems to create a community among the students, so I also organize social events and workshops where we can gather. I deeply appreciate that Nia has brought me many new and beautiful friendships.
Q. How do you progress in the field of Nia?
A. Firstly come to class. Move, dance, taste Nia. Try it out. After this there are many different training levels in Nia that you can progress through.
Q. How would you find out about the Nia courses on offer in different areas?
A. The Nia Australia website (niaaustralia.com.au) has a full listing of available classes throughout Australia, as well as general information about the technique, current instructors and upcoming events.