Inspiration

2nd Degree Black Belt

When I recently returned from the Nia 2nd Degree Black Belt, my Mum asked me “what exactly does that mean?”.

For the past 26 years I’ve been involved in the Nia continuing education, a program that models the Martial Arts Belt System. My Nia path began in 1993 with the white belt, I then progressed through Blue, Brown, Black. I took the Nia Green Belt when it was introduced and now I am a White, Green, Blue, Brown, Nia 5 stages trainer, which this means I teach others these belt levels.

Being a Nia Black belt doesn’t necessarily mean you are a “master” of Nia, it simply means you’ve taken at least the 4 belts, in some ways like a 4 year bachelors degree, you’ve covered the course work. There are no tests in any belt with the exception of the Nia Green Belt.

After attending Black the next levels of course go in degrees. So far in Nia there have been 1st degree and 2nd degree courses offered.

In Judo the highest belt level is a 10th Degree. This 98 year old women is the 4th person, and only woman, to be awarded this highest honor.

Read more HERE

https://abcnews.go.com/Health/98-year-woman-receive-highest-degree-black-belt/story

The Nia system begins with White belt and progresses through Blue, Brown and Black belt. The Green belt can be taken any time after the white Belt. I’ve heard Nia students share

“oh my I’m so glad I took the Green before the Blue Belt”

and I’ve also heard students say

“oh my! I cannot imagine my Green belt if I’d not taken the blue belt first!”

In summary Green Belt is a floater course, taken after the white belt, usually before or after Blue Belt. Whenever someone chooses to take the Green Belt they appear to believe it landed in the perfect place for their continuing education.

White belt is the pre-requisite to teaching Nia. About half the people attend the white belt with the dream/intent to teach, the other half purely attend for personal growth. Often by the end of the course participants who have said they only want to attend for personal growth begin to warm up the idea with comments like “Well maybe I could teach at my church” or “with my family”, or “as a volunteer” or “after all!”.

Green Belt

Focus: Music-Movement-Magic | Intent: To condition the central nervous system

Time: 5 days (45 hours)

Green Belt focuses on developing skills to effectively teach Nia using Nia White Belt Principles.

Delivering the Nia Experience is a phrase we use to express the transformative power of Nia. As a teacher you aim to deliver the Nia Experience every time you teach; your role is to guide people through a meaningful journey of physical conditioning and self-discovery. The student's transformative experience comes from your ability to listen to the music with detail, dance the choreography with passion and share your personal experience of sensation in your body.

White Belt

Focus: Art of Sensation | Intent: To embody the foundation of Nia 

Nia White Belt Training takes you on a journey of self-discovery by exploring the art of sensation. Beginning with the Joy of Movement, you learn 13 principles for body-centered awareness. Each principle teaches you a variety of somatic skills for connecting to physical sensation in your body. Through the science, craft and art of sensation, you will learn Nia's body-centered approach to health, wellness and fitness. Crafting with sensation is the starting point for all Nia teachers. The Art of Sensation is what brings magic to the Nia class experience.

Blue Belt

Focus: Art of Communication | Intent: To create intimacy through somatic relationships

Blue Belt, the second level of Nia education, explores how to create healthy relationships through body-centered communication. This intensive introduces the next set of 13 Nia principles, which focus on the 4 realms of body, mind, emotions and spirit.

While the White Belt curriculum focuses entirely on awareness of physical sensation, Blue Belt applies these skills to explore internal sensations as perceived through – but distinct from – physical sensations in the body.

Blue Belt Principle #1: The Joy of Being in Relationship, integrates the sensation of Joy with the awareness that Joy is something outside the self, which we can invite into our physical experience.

As a result, we begin to deepen our ability to listen with clarity and sustain awareness of details outside our body.

Art of Sensation is rooted in Nia's philosophy of The Body's Way. Sensation guides you to create health and vitality by moving your body in ways that feel good. Nia White Belt teaches you to develop body literacy - the ability to listen to your body, making choices that lead to health and total body well-being.

Nia White Belt teaches you the Art of Sensation through five core areas of study.

  • Movement - the study of moving, health + potential

  • Anatomy - the study of body parts + systems 

  • Science - the study of body awareness, health + vitality

  • Music - the study of sound, health + expression

  • Philosophy - the study of the body's inherent wisdom. 

Anyone can take the Nia White Belt; no experience is required. If you have a desire to share Nia in a professional capacity, the White Belt Training is your entryway into teaching. Those who choose to pursue the path of personal enrichment use this training as a starting point for becoming a master student.

Brown Belt

Focus: Art of Perception | Intent: To live as an energetic being

By the time you reach Brown Belt, the third level of Nia education, you have developed a proficiency in sustaining awareness of your physical body and paying attention to the sensory details of the four realms: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

This level of training explores the experience of living as energy beings, as every experience of sensation in the body is an energy experience.

Brown Belt Principle 1: The Joy of Movement in the Zone, introduces "The Zone," a place of no thinking, a universe unto itself.

The Zone is a state of heightened sensation inside and out, from which you can think with both the logical mind and the intuitive parts of your being.

In The Zone, energy fields are tactile and readily available to you; Brown Belt teaches you how to tap into this energy to make positive changes in each of the four realms of your life.

Black Belt

Focus: Art of Creativity | Intent: Conscious Transformation

Black Belt, the fourth level of Nia education, invites you to let go of all you know and enter the River of the Unknown, a place of infinite and endless creativity.

First Degree Black Belt

Focus: Art of Self | Intent: To explore your personal potential

Art of Self is a profound step on the Nia Journey. It is the Belt that celebrates not just you, but your advanced potential. It's about stepping even further, out of your excellence and into your genius. Being in genius, in the zone, means letting go. It is expressed in beauty, power, and wisdom of spirit.

The desire for First Degree is "more". More personal knowing and more about how to live in a world of pleasure, purpose, and freedom. Plato wrote that "all knowledge is already within us, no one really teaches anything new."

The Origin of the Martial Arts Colored Belt System 

The martial arts colored belt ranking system was originated by Dr. Jigoro Kano, who was Japanese and known as the "Founder of Modern Judo", who first devised many of the concepts that are the foundation of Modern martial arts. Dr. Kano devised the colored belt system as a visible sign of a student’s progress, awarding the first “black belts” in the 1880's. 

Gichin Funakoshi, who was Okinawan and the founder of Shotokan Karate and often referred to as the "Founder of Modern Karate" adopted the belt ranking system and other organizational and philosophical concepts from Dr. Kano, who was both his contemporary and friend. 

Byung Jick Ro, who was Korean and the founder of Song Moo Kwan and known as "Founder of  Modern Taekwondo" was a student of Gichin Funakoshi, receiving his black belt from him in 1939, and thus, the color belt ranking system has been part of Taekwondo since it was developed in the early 1940's.

Dispelling an Urban Legend 

One common “legend” concerning the tradition of belts claims that early martial artists began their training with a white belt, which eventually became stained black from years of sweat, dirt, and blood. However, there is no real evidence for this story, so it should be relegated to the status of myth. In fact, given the standard of cleanliness common in the traditional Judo or Karate dojo, a student arriving with a bloodied or dirty uniform would probably not have been allowed to train. In some arts and schools there is the opinion that the belt should not be washed; by doing that one would "wash away the knowledge" or "wash one's ki away." This is all related to the “dirty belt” myth. 

Levels of Advancement 

Another common misbelief that needs to be clarified is the "black belt as master" stereotype,. In reality, a black belt indicates the wearer is competent in a style's basic technique. Since in Song Moo Kwan a black belt takes approximately 2 to 4 years of training to achieve, a good intuitive analogy would be a 1st Dan Black Belt is equivalent to a college Bachelor's degree. The 1st Dan black belt is thus seen not so much as an end, but rather as a beginning, a doorway to advanced learning. The 4th Dan is “Master” in Song Moo Kwan, and can be viewed similar to a college Master’s degree, and 8th degree black belt “Grandmaster” can be seen being equivalent to a university Doctoral degree. 

Meaning of the Colors 

Originally, the white belt was simply dyed to a new color. This repeated dying process dictated the type of belt color and the order of the colors. The standard belt color system is white, yellow, gold, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, red and black. Due to the dying process, it was only practical to increasingly use darker colors. All of this came about shortly after the Second World War, when Korea and Japan were very poor countries. Dying the belts to a new color was a cheap way to have a visible, simple and effective ranking system. 

White Belt: White signifies a birth, or beginning, of a seed. A white belt student is a beginner searching for knowledge of the Art. The white belt is the beginning of life's cycle, and represents the seed as it lies beneath the snow in the winter. 

Yellow Belt or Sash: Yellow signifies the first beams of sunlight which shines upon the seed giving it new strength with the beginning of new life. A yellow belt student is given his first ray of knowledge, opening his mind, from his instructors. 

Orange Belt or Sash: Orange represents the growing power of the sun as it warms the earth to prepare for new growth in the spring. The orange belt is starting to feel his body and mind open and develop. 

Green Belt or Sash: Green signifies the growth of the seed as it sprouts from the earth reaching toward the sun and begins to grow into a plant. A green belt student learns to strengthen and refine his techniques. 

Blue Belt or Sash: Blue signifies the blue sky as the plant continues to grow toward it. A blue belt student moves up higher in rank just as the plant grows taller. The light feeds the plant so it can continue to grow. The student is fed additional knowledge of the Art in order for his body and mind continue to grow and develop. 

Purple Belt or Sash: Purple represents the changing sky of dawn, as once again the student undergoes a new change and prepares for the transition to advanced student. A purple belt begins to understand the meaning of the black belt. 

Brown Belt or Sash: Brown represents the ripening of the seed, a maturing and harvesting process. A brown belt is an advanced student whose techniques are beginning to mature, and he is beginning to understand the fruits of his hard work as a beginner. 

Red Belt or Sash: Red signifies the red-hot heat of the Sun as the plant continues growing toward it. As a red belt student acquires more detailed knowledge, just as the plant grows slowly toward the Sun, so the red belt student learns to be more cautious with his knowledge and physical abilities. Red is a sign of danger, and the red belt is beginning to become dangerous with their knowledge and abilities. 

Black Belt or Sash: Black signifies the darkness beyond the Sun. A black belt seeks new, more profound knowledge of the Art. As he begins to teach others, he plants new seeds and helps them grow and mature. His students, many whom will form roots deep into the Art, blossom and grow through the ranks in a never-ending process of self-growth, knowledge, and enlightenment. 

Choice is powerful

Here's a great article about choice, by Liz Dawn, about Caroline Myss. (one of our favorite teachers/authors) celebrateyourlife.org/caroline-myss-teach

As we look out on our 15.2 acres of beautiful land at Soma Ranch, (celebrating the wonderful facilities and sparkling pool, loving the healing, vibrant, world class studio, recapitulating the amazing people who have come through our doors, time and time again, appreciating the remarkable friendships that have been kindled through this magical place) the effort, tears, stress and challenges, experienced, seem to dissolve into the background and the multitude of decisions required seem non existent. And yet, on those special moments, when Joe and I have time to sip tea, rocking on the front porch, enjoying the silence, once all the guests have left, after another fabulous retreat, Joe and I smile at the acknowledgement, "looks like we made enough "right" decisions to result in this sacred, satisfying and seemingly successful life". 

Wishing y'all a day full of peace and joy, in amongst the multitude of decisions to be made. Keep your eye on the "prize" and celebrate moments along the way.

Nia Cycle 3 ~ Warm Up

Cycle 3: Warm Up 

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In a Nia Class the Warm Up activates the 13 main joints, slowly increases range of motion and heart rate to prepare you for moving more fully and intensely. 

Warming up into the New Year is the skill of taking action, creating new healthy habits, yet not so drastic that at the first hint of failure or temptation we drop off the band wagon back into self destruction. It's like the story of the frog, put him in boiling water (a drastic change) and the frog will jump out quickly. Put the frog in cool water and slowing increase the temperature and he never jumps out. The moral of the story, warm up into 2018, take baby steps, like the phrase I love "you can't eat an elephant in one day!"

(and for the assurance of a happy ending for the frog, rest assured I'd be monitoring the water temperature at all times to be sure to scoop the frog out at the optimum time, with no harm caused, and for the frog to live happily ever after!)

Helpful hints for warming up

  • write down your desires and intentions
  • tell a friend, build accountability into your action plan
  • expect, prepare and celebrate set backs! it's all part of the path
  • learn and be motivated by your failures and slips, 
  • every day is a new day
  • get up early!

 

Fun Family Idea for NYE

5 years ago, late one Saturday night my daughter, Liliana, lost her entire film footage collected for her weekly broadcast, deadline Sunday afternoon! Feeling panic creeping in, we quickly changed gears and, on the fly, created and captured this game on video. What began with disaster turned out to be magical BEYOND the original plan! I love having this funny exchange between us documented.

If you're with family or friends (either in person or even on Skype) entertain playing this simple 3 round "how well do you know me" contest with a loved one (or two!)

Here's how to prepare and play the game.

  1. Each person write down 3 sets of questions about yourself, 3 easy, 3 medium and 3 difficult (like levels 1, 2 & 3 in Nia Technique!)
  2. Set up 2 chairs or stools and take it in turns to ask a question.
  • Dressing up is not required - however we did have a lot of fun doing it!
  • An Audience is not essential- however it could certainly add to the entertainment.
  • Lights, Camera & stools are optional - and they enhance the dramatics of the experience!
  • Of course - it's a bonus if you have the opportunity to film the exchange
  • We'd love to see what you created, to learn more about you and your friends/family

Happy New Year!

love the Terry Family (Joe, Helen, Liliana, Phelps, the horses and all da donkeys!)

Don't quit your day dream

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This "don't quit your day dream" message outside the beautiful Just BE studio in Dubai struck a cord with me. Stepping into 2018 I want to be a dream weaver for myself and many others, including you! 

I love the image of being a fairy godmother where I help others dreams come true. 

I'm here to help encourage you ~  DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY DREAM, and let me help!  Big or small, dreams, the pursuit of dreams, the striving for dreams come true, the achievement of dreams and even our fallen dreams, are what brings sparkle to life. Without dreams I suggest we are bankrupt,  in the stagnant land of inertia. So, what moves you? what may I do to help your dreams come true?

  • Receive Personal Coaching with Helen (one on one, small groups and retreats)
  • Choose a Nia trainings and/or retreats to inspire you.
  • Classes, retreats and special events are available to you at Soma Ranch
  • Be part of a free, supportive, online 30 day Body Cleanse group
  • Speak up, connect, let me know what I haven't dreamed of yet that could be helpful to you!

Read more about Helen and coaching/guidance options.

This "daily awakenings with Jim" spoke to me this morning:

In physics, inertia means that objects tend to remain stationary until another object makes it move.  Once moving, it takes only a fraction of the energy required to move it in order to keep it moving.  Therefore, objects in motion tend to continue moving until something intervenes. If nothing stops the movement, it will eventually slow down and stop on its own.
In relationships, inertia means nothing changes until someone starts the process. Once action is initiated in the relationship, it takes a lot less action to keep it going.  But if there is no ongoing action to keep it moving, the relationship will revert to where it started. 
The same principle of inertia applies to the habits we need to break in the New Year.  It requires a new, positive habit to displace an old, destructive habit.  But if we don’t keep moving, we fall back into our old ways. 

Next: As we prepare for the New Year, you're invited to play with applying the concept of Cycle 1 of the Nia Class experience ~ "Setting the Focus and Intent"

Terrific Twist to the end of a Fabulous Day of Coaching

A fabulous twist to the end of the day of group coaching with the Nia New Jersey Community… Upon arriving at my gate, I discovered my flight was over booked by 15! There were several families desperate to get home. I delighted in offering my seat up to the stand by line and accepted a night in a hotel, meals provided and an early flight out the following morning. There’s been times in the past when I’ve been stuck and desperate to get home and I’m sure there will be times in the future too. Felt great to pay it forward and thank you United. Also appreciate Kristie Bryant, my business partner at NiaMoves, who graciously and immediately assured me she was A OK covering my 9:15am Nia class at the studio in Houston.

Celebrating 75 years.

Family Photo My Mum and Dad live in England, in the house I grew up in. I’m here in Texas, my brother, wife and 2 daughters are in Barcelona and my sister, husband, 2 sons and 1 daughter are in Seville and beyond. As you can likely imagine (especially with grand children becoming adults, graduating, finding jobs and becoming even more dispersed) it is quite something to get our entire family together. And yet we did it! For the 3rd time EVER, we all flew in to gather at a beautiful beach house on the West Sussex Coast. When I was at college I loved to run along the sea front, looking at these houses, dreaming of some day living in one. It was quite a thrill to spend Easter weekend acting as if I did live there! and also great experience for Joe and I to be on the other side of renting out a facility! Most of all a delightful weekend to be together with family, especially to see my Mum and Dad so happy to have us all together. Memories of a life time made.

check out this GREAT beach house where we stayed.