My body is moving through time in a faster motion than I can keep up with. This 63 years is a strange sensation of new possibilities and also aches, pains, and a need to double down on my self-care.
I’ve been a person who has loved to be outside and active. I’m a bike rider, a dancer, a walker and a hiker. I like going to the gym to do fitness classes as well.
When I got into going to the YMCA, I wanted to get my daughter involved in fun and active things. She had different ideas and that idea for her did not stick. But it did for me. I didn’t think that I could do Pilates—I didn’t have the core strength. And then I tried it. It was challenging, but my teacher encouraged me to do it in my own way and my abdomen, arms and legs grew stronger. It is today one of my favorite exercises to build core strength, balance, and connect in with my body to feel what she needs.
Twelve years ago, I learned about Nia—a fusion movement/fitness practice that involves dance arts, martial arts and healing arts. We move to fun music with the intention to feel better every time after we dance. It is a somatic practice that involves the mind and the body to sense pleasure and pain in the body. By adjusting the movement, we can bring more pleasure to how we move. And with the pleasure, we desire to do it again and again. Because Nia is designed for every Body, all the variations work well for a beginning person doing Nia to an advanced athlete.
Some of the friends who dance Nia at the Friendship Center:
front row: Barbi, Kathleen, Anne; back-row, MaryLee, Diana, Mary, Leanne, Kathie
Twelve years ago, I was much more uptight about my body shape. Lots of my body parts I did not like. My hips were too wide, my belly was too soft. My feet looked weird. I liked my arms and back—they were thin and wiry like I wanted my whole body. I wanted the look of a boy; though I would not have admitted that then. I am a woman and those curves and softness will always be with me. Lots of voices in my head were shaming to me. As I change that internal narrative and grow to accept my body just as she is, I grow to enjoy who I am in the world and what I do in the world. I grow to have appreciation for all the things my body could do instead of looking so critically at just how one part looks to the outside world.
Coming to the present moment, I am still growing in love and appreciation for my body and her changing ways. I am growing my strength to counter osteoporosis with weight training through Barre classes. This is new to me. I am hiking more to be out in the beauty of nature and found a friend who loves this as much as I. We spur each other on to keep going and we have a great time together. I’m making new friends at the YMCA.
I teach Nia and Pilates classes for me and to pass to others this love of growing a strong body. When I look in the mirror and instead of criticizing the wrinkles on my face and neck—I choose to say thank you face and neck for your abilities to sense—see, hear, smell, taste and speak your truth. Most of the time--I can still be very judgemental of myself. Here's what Diana shared with her friends about Nia:
"I’m not an expert, I’m clumsy on my feet, But I feel like a “butterfly” lots of times and it relaxes me so much."
It is a dramatic shift in connection with me and the world. It is an ever changing landscape in the aging process. I extend my hand to you. Let’s walk together in this time on the Earth. Join me in this conversation or moving more in your own life for health and wellness.
You’re invited to join me for Nia classes currently on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Iron Bluff Fitness and the Winona Friendship Center:
Tuesdays, Iron Bluff Fitness: 8am – 8:45am Classic Nia through May 24, 2022
Iron Bluff Fitness is located in the Winona Mall. Check their website for all they have to offer along a variety of fitness classes.
Tuesdays, Winona Friendship Center: 11am - Noon Classic Nia
Thursdays, Winona Friendship Center: 3:00pm -3:45pm Moving to Heal Nia,a gentler form of Nia
4:00pm – 5:00pm Classic Nia
The Winona Friendship Center is located in downtown Winona at 251 Main St. Classes cost $3.00 for members and $5.25 for non-members.
Call about membership or with any questions: 507 454-5212.
Pilates classes on Wednesday evening:
Wednesdays, WK Gym: 6:15pm – 7:00pm Mat Pilates
WK Gymnasium, 365 Mankato Ave, Winona, MN 55987
Drop in classes are available for the current session for $10.00 per class. Next 5 week session starts early May through Community Education, Pilates for Everyone, Section 4 to register and find out more.