I was introduced to Nia less than two years ago. I have the pleasure of both practicing Nia as a student and also representing Nia as a client. My role is to manage Nia Australia’s social media and email marketing and assist in their overall marketing strategy.

I knew that I wanted to attend the White Belt Training quite quickly into my journey with Nia, but I was also conscious not to rush into it.

For me, it was important that the time was right.

This simply meant that I was ready to immerse myself fully into the training so I could receive what I needed to receive.

Today I want to take you on my journey.

I’m a 46-year-old woman, a Solo-Mum to three teenagers, a business owner, a heart-centred woman who was living completely in her head with no connection to her body. I suffer from body shame, holding onto the story that I will always be overweight.

But I also had a dream.

I also have a vision of creating a new story….

“I am a woman who loves her body unconditionally, who talks and listens to her body with kindness and compassion and who is conscious of the choices that will directly impact her body.”

The start of my dream was the decision to attend my White Belt Training in Matakana, New Zealand. I live in Melbourne and my logical brain had made the decision that I would attend the training in Canberra. It was an easier solution. I could jump in the car and drive up and my kids could spend the week with their Dad during the school holidays.

The Universe had other plans for me.

Each time I went to book my training, the website was down (it’s getting upgraded at the moment) or I would get a niggling feeling that something wasn’t quite right. At first, I thought I wasn’t meant to attend the training, but then one day I decided to check out some Airbnb options in Matakana. I quickly realised this region of New Zealand was stunning. Rolling green hills surrounded by a coastline of long beaches. This region captured my heart straight away.

A bubbling feeling of excitement started to grow from deep within me and knew I was on the right path.
I quickly worked out the logistics, including a Qantas sale which meant my flights were great value and my White Belt Training was booked.

Fast forward a couple of months and it was time for me to fly to New Zealand. This was my first time to this beautiful country and I was super excited. I also tried to adopt the beginner’s mind and have no expectations about what was to unfold.

“Having expectations will block your ability to see and feel into all infinite possibilities that may present themselves in any given moment. Give yourself the gift of what will be.”

I arrived into Auckland on the Tuesday night before our Thursday morning start in Matakana. I was so glad I had a full day before the training begun to get used to the time difference and slowly make my way up north. I decided to hire a car, so I had the freedom to explore and make my own choices of getting around. I am so grateful I was able to do this because it really added to the whole experience.

Late Wednesday afternoon I checked into my AirBnB and it didn’t disappoint. I was able to walk down the dirt road a bit and watch the sunset over a deep green valley of different shades and textures, I was in awe of this land and could feel its energy soaring up through my feet.

I set my alarm for 6am the next morning so I had plenty of time to get ready for our 8am start. I was super excited, but also a little nervous about what was ahead of me for the next 6 days. I was aware that the days were going to be long, 8am – 6pm every day and there was a niggle of doubt that my body wouldn’t be able to sustain the distance.

Arriving at the Matakana Hall, I walked through the doors to be greeted by Sophie & Mariska. Sophie was our Trainer and Mariska our Producer. I was made to feel welcomed as I made my way through an imaginary threshold where my life was going to change forever.

I stepped into a circle with 15 other women all stepping into the White Belt Training. I could sense a feeling of anticipation and some nerves with an undercurrent of excitement. We each introduced ourselves in a beautiful way which set the scene for the remaining 6 days.

I knew straight away I was in good company and safe hands. My circle included women aged 18 to late 60’s from Australia & New Zealand. There were 6 women who were local to Matakana and that was wonderful too as it gave an opportunity to learn about the town and this region.

At 9.30 each morning we came together for a class and the rest of the days were a combination of learning and then integrating the theory through movement.

I went home feeling the beginning of my shift. I was tired, but in a good way, a feeling that my body had awakened and was ready for more.

Day Two felt different for me.

My energy felt low and I could feel a bubbling of emotion trying to come up and out, but I kept pushing it down. I struggled to connect to the content and I had a thousand thoughts spinning through my head (some of them weren’t that nice too I might add). I didn’t participate in the activities later in the afternoon and decided to watch from the sidelines and this was ok. There was no judgement from Sophie or the other women. You were given permission to step in and out if you needed.

This way a key lesson for me to learn.

On the morning of Day Three Sophie reminded us of the importance to move and tweak our body to suit our body’s way. She shared that it is through these minor tweaks and adjustments in every moment that we will find joy in our movement. So, when we began our morning class and I let the music seep through every cell in my body I have myself permission to dance each movement in a way that felt good to me.
The JOY I felt was much deeper and fulfilling.

I let go of the story that I had to keep up with Sophie and the other women around me, I let go of the story that I had to push through the pain to prove to myself that I was worthy and I let the tears that wanted to be released gently fall down my face.

It was at this moment that I really felt a connection to my body.

I could hear my body say THANK YOU.

I could sense a flow of energy move where it had been stuck for decades.

I could feel my feet gently caress the earth as they allowed my body to move its own unique way in each moment.

Once again there was no judgement and I felt the love from all the women in the room as the tears continued to flow gently on and off throughout the day. This was my day for healing and that was something I did not expect from this training.

As I was learning I was simultaneously healing.

As each new piece of information entered my mind it also entered my body.

I was beginning to really understand what the word embodiment meant.

Over the next few days, we continued to learn about Nia’s 13 Principles each gifting me something different. We learnt about the body and its anatomy. This was an eye-opener for me as I have never really had much interest in it before. But when I began to understand and see the beauty in how my body is made and works, I began to treat my body differently. This is when more kindness and compassion towards my body began to emerge.

As I let go of my old stories my body responded in kind.

I was able to sit and cross my legs for the first time since I could remember.

I was able to get down to the floor and up again with much more ease and fluidity.

I could move and express my body in creative new ways that pushed me way out of my comfort zone.
I was not alone.

As each day passed, I saw my fellow circle sisters begin to bloom. Layers were beginning to peel away; awareness was heightened and aha moments were bountiful. Each woman was held gently when needed and we all held the space for transformation and growth.

The last days came and went much faster as they tend to do, but the connections got deeper. Friendships deepened and foundations were made that will last a lifetime.

On Day Six we concluded our learning of Principle 13 and we came together in a circle. We celebrated each other and came together for our Graduation.

As each woman threw her white belt into the air with such pride and profound gratitude, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace.

I had come home to my body.

I had embodied the ‘Art of Sensation’ through every cell in my body.

I witnessed infinite possibilities in myself and the beautiful souls that surrounded me.

I finally felt love towards my body in the moment, not for what it could be in the future.

We celebrated together and it was time for us to head our separate ways with an assortment of tools and practices that we can incorporate into our everyday life.

(I’m in the black & white striped t-shirt third from the left)

It is in my vision to teach Nia one day, but for now, I am choosing to embody the practice and move my body for joy. I choose to find more pleasure and less pain. I choose to make changes to my lifestyle and bring in Nia as my body-centred practice to support the other practices that are in my life.

Thank you to Sophie for being my guiding light. Your wisdom and depth of knowledge is an inspiration and I am so grateful for everything to brought to my week.

Thank you to Mariska for creating and holding the space for each of us. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to create such a professional learning experience and it is greatly appreciated.

Thank you to my beautiful Nia Circle Sisters. I hold each and every one of you in my heart and I am so grateful for your contribution to my experience. For the inspiration, the laughs, hugs and love, thank you.

Thank you to the leadership team from Nia Australia for introducing me to this amazing practice and for giving me the opportunity to share it with all of you.

And the most important one…

Thank you to me for gifting myself this opportunity. It’s hard to take the time out of our lives, to invest the money and allow ourselves to take a deep dive into the unknown, but it’s totally worth it.

(Here are my gorgeous Nia Circle Sisters, I was putting on my marketing hat here and took the photo, so you won’t find me in it, my graduation certificate and Nia White Belt and me at Waiheke Island two days after graduating having the BEST day!)

Thank you for sharing my experience,
Sarah xxx

If you are interested in learning more about Nia’s White Belt Training check out this Blog Post.

These are the upcoming training dates and locations for 2020 in Australia. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page past Events).



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