Nia : Connecting Dancing, Martial Arts and Healing
26 Jul,
7:00pm to 8:30pm

Nia : Connecting Dancing, Martial Arts and Healing

LISTING > Dance, Nia Event in Western Cape

Join Jeanne van der Merwe, Nia and Pilates instructor, Integral Mindset Coach with her Masters in Psychotherapy and a BA in Human Movement Science, every second Thursday at SOUL for an inspirational evening of Nia dance.

Jeanne says, 'the complexity and beauty of mind and body intrigues me. I revel in the beauty that life offers and am humbled by the life lessons we are presented with. Discovering the Nia Technique in 2006 brought all that I was fascinated with and had studied about the mind-body connection together. Nia has allowed me continued growth (on many levels). Reminding me to revel in the true Joy of movement, being in my body and introducing me to the beauty of non-competitive movement. Most importantly Nia has enabled me to understand what truly listening to my body means. This connection to my body (after many years of believing in no-pain no-gain) allows me to move injury free, offering me grounding daily and continues to unleash my creativity and grounds me daily.”

Every second Thursday
19h00 - 20h30
R110 per person per class for a booking of 2 classes
R130 per person per class prebooked
R150 drop in

Beautiful Tulsi tea will be served after your dance experience!

Space is limited, to secure your place in advance please EFT:

Use NIA+(your name) as reference and send POP to

For more information, contact or see below...


The fundamentals of Nia:

• The Joy of Movement Is the Secret to Fitness: Follow the pleasure principle: if it feels good, do it; if it doesn’t, stop.
• Fitness must address the human being, not just the Body: Exercise that is divorced from the emotions and human spirit, isn’t fun… and eventually our routine fails.
• Movement must be conscious, not Habitual: Whole being fitness begins with awareness – of both body & mind. To achieve this you need to turn off your automatic pilot, that so often governs your movements and thoughts. Living by routine waters down our consciousness and the experience of life, turning us into hamsters on a treadmill. Start focusing on all the physical sensations coursing through your body and start moving with purpose/mindfulness.
• Use Your Body the Way It Was Designed to Be Used: Vary levels of intensity, range and speed to move in YOUR body’s way. Your Body’s way – Nia teaches you to move your whole body, integrating movement and paying attention to the sensations (= awareness). We call this systemic movement in Nia. Sometimes our movement has become compartmentalized, moving as if our body is made of spare parts creates weaknesses that lead to stress and fatigue. Connecting to your body’s way takes time, allow your body to take its natural time.
• Use your body to heal… your mind, emotions and spirit. Every muscles has memory receptors that are connected to the brain which store emotional traumas. In Nia , we use the body to heal the mind and spirit by joining muscular movement with introspection, intention , visualization, imagery and expressiveness.
• Tweak your movements! Find pleasure in your movement and find your body’s way.

The 5 basic principles of the body’s way:

• The Body Thrives on DYNAMIC EASE = performing a movement with maximum efficiency and minimal effort. We feel it as a physical sensation of effortless power, elegance and grace.
• The Body demands BALANCE = our bodies are always seeking balance. As we move we need to aspire to achieve balance. Nia helps us promote balance in our musculature, our skeletal system and even in our brain and peripheral nervous system. Eg. Circular movements engage our whole body, including both hemispheres of our brain.
• The Body is balanced in OPPOSITES = ...soft/hard, feminine/male...are you balanced and the great benefits of learning to balance our Yin and Yang. Observe your dance...what do you like more and what less.
• The Body’s way demands SIMULTANEOUS STABILITY AND MOBILITY...too much stability = stiff, too much mobility = can lead to injury...finding the balance by observing your movements
• The body In itself reveals the body’s way = learning to listen. Instead of going for the burn, we go for the positive tension. Understanding Natural time within your body. (Natural time is fluid, non-linear, radial and expansive. It is centred in now; not tomorrow, not yesterday, not on deadlines, but NOW. It reconnects us to the cyclical rhythms of nature. The same basic movement of all life forms, rising and falling, inhaling and exhaling, of birth and death runs through every body of life. We are connected by cyclical rhythms.) The Art of Natural time is staying sensitive to the waves of life.
Systemic movement = integrating the whole body

The 9 movement forms:
• Martial arts: Tai chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido
• Dance arts: Jazz, Modern, Duncan dance
• Healing arts: Yoga, Feldenkrais, Alexander technique
Music – Movement – Magic
• R-elaxed
• A-lert
• W-aiting

What is awareness ?
– Paying attention to body sensations.

Dancing through life:
• = the dance that weaves together sound and silence, action and inaction, and perception and reality. Its movements are based on the Body’s Way, but its forms of expression are limitless.
• Everyday movements can remind us of our dance through life. Nia is not separate from life. It is not separate from the body. It is the body: the body in action.
• As you learn to Dance through life, your awareness will grow. You will become cognizant of your breath surging in and out, and you’ll even become aware of the moment of stillness between breaths. This awareness is a gift. It is our natural reward for living in a body. It is , however , also a tool. It is the tool that empowers you to improve the way you move. The conscious awareness that comes from Dancing through life teaches you recognize longstanding habits, you begin to change these conditioned responses into conscious, intentional actions.
• So how do you begin to Dance Through life? You begin simply by choosing to be alive in your own body, instead of divorced from it. When you do this, you will become connected not just to your body but to the entirety of your existence. As you become more in touch with the sensation s of your body, mind, emotions, and spirit, you will experience the sensation of holistic union that exists among these four most basic elements of selfhood.
• When you begin to apply the techniques of Nia and to experience the sensation of fully being in our body. Then your body will guide you toward balance, awareness, stillness, movement, and inspiration. Your body will show you the most comfortable postures and the most efficient ways of moving. Thus your body itself will show you how to Dance Through Life. You will reclaim the perfection that has always been within you and is still there now, waiting.
• We all know that our attitudes affect our bodies, but the converse is also true: Our bodies influence our attitudes. When your body becomes fully alive and abundantly aware, your general attitude toward life will become more serene, and you will discover mental and emotional strengths that you’ve never before experienced.

Living Meditation:
• = finding the Pause.
• Silence is a part of music. Without the spaces of silence, the sounds of music would be chaotic and meaningless.
• We begin to experience Living Meditation only when we choose to open ourselves to the pause of silence that can be found in each moment. In this pause is stillness, which is a portal to the inner world. When we open ourselves to stillness, we are better able to see life as it really is – devoid of our preconceptions, subjectivity, and fears. The stillness that you will find within yourself is just as much a part of dancing Through Life as the movements you make.
• Experiencing this sensation of stillness will bring great pleasure to your body and mind. Capturing these moments of inner silence can be difficult, especially at first. There is no shortcut to stillness.
• Pausing/meditation doesn’t mean leaving your body for some other plane of existence, and it doesn’t mean repression your emotions. Instead it means learning to find the stillness within you that already exists, stopping within this stillness and opening yourself to the feeling of neutrality. Return to RAW
Life as art
• What if we viewed everything in life and around us with the wonder and admiration we generally reserve for art? Imagine how inspiring every moment would be. In Nia we refer to this as childlike fascination, wonderment...we access it through Dancing through life, Pause = RAW, and Joy of movement. As you are lying there just imagine your body...such an amazingly intelligent system...switched on 24/7...pumping blood filled with each heart beat...nurturing and caring for all our organs by releasing any toxins...feel your breath...etc.

• Nia offers a way of entering this realm through the body.
• Unlike mental and emotional activities, physical activities can take place only during the present moment; the only sensations the body knows are those of the present. The brain and nervous system process the body’s information and then relax this information to the mind, emotions and spirit. To be fully aware, your body, mind emotions and spirit must all be on the same page, focusing on the same thing.
• To enter this we need to be connected to our bodies

• Self-healing usually does not consist of a single, dramatic act, but instead is generally composed of long series of small acts of self/kindness guided by pleasure. Over time, as these individual acts accumulate, people becomes eminently skilful at exercising their self-healing powers.
• 5 stages of healing
Nia class – 52 movements of Nia applied.

Closing – in the same circle as we started.

Cost / Pricing: 
R110 - R150
Teacher / Instructor: 
Jeanne van der Merwe

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