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April 30, 2021 - May 2, 2021

Nia Diversity Weekend

Nia is a movement practice combining elements dance, martial arts and mindfulness. It is adaptable to every body, and aims to bring pleasure and joy to the movement experience.

Nia Diversity Weekend: Starting the Conversation

Focus: To create the space for every body who feels different and unseen

Intent: To recognize and acknowledge every body's unique beauty and value

The weekend line-up will include:

Friday Session: Opening and Jam (7:30pm Eastern): Dancing Our Unique Spirits-Isolating our differences to integrate our commonality. (90 minute session lead by Jenn, River and Teresa: Opening and Movement)

Saturday Sessions: Body Positivity (10:00am Eastern): You are not a problem to be solved: all about body acceptance. This workshop will consider the cultural and societal origins of our complicated relationships with our bodies and will challenge us to rethink our perceptions about beauty, health and weight. We will discuss the benefits of body acceptance and the freedom that comes with moving away from weight pre-occupation. (90 minute session lead by Jenn and River: Discussion and Embodied Movement)

Oppression in the Body (1:30pm Eastern): Oppression affects our relationship with our own bodies. This workshop will explore how bodies are shaped and influenced by an unequal society and how bodies have an implicit knowledge to address imbalances in social power. "Oppression spares no body. The injustices we craft our lives within are both systemic and intimate, taking root in the flesh."-Mary Watkins, "Toward Psychologies of Liberation" (90 minute session lead by Teresa: Discussion and Embodied Movement)

Bonus Session (7:00pm Eastern): Dinner & Dialogue. Open to everyBODY who signs up for any or all of the sessions for the weekend. Bring your favorite food and drink and join hosts Teresa, River and Jenn as they share their experiences of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Nia.

Sunday Session: Closing and Jam(1:30pm Eastern): Collaborating Change-Move, Explore and Co-Create for a new commUNITY. (90 minute session lead by Jenn, River, and Teresa: Movement and Closing)

About the Hosts:

Jenn Hicks started attending Nia fitness classes as a way of recovering from a long struggle with adulthood anorexia and exercise addiction. She soon realized that not only was Nia helping her develop a healthy relationship with her body, but it was also an effective tool for living well with Bipolar Disorder and an invisible physical disability. Feeling freed from the punishing "no pain no gain" mentality that shackled her in self harm behaviours and a lifelong battle with her body, Jenn was compelled to share Nia. Experiencing firsthand the positive impact Nia had and still has on her life, Jenn's quest is to bring Nia to as many people as possible by sharing her story. Jenn is a black belt level Nia instructor and she has taught classes all over the world. She teaches classes to neuro-divergent and neuro-typical groups and is dedicated to finding ways to support people to feel better not only in their bodies, but also in their minds, emotions and unique spirits. Jenn has been featured in The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail, The Times of India, Moods Magazine, on radio (CFRB 1010), and in two books, The Truth About Exercise Addiction by Katherine Schreiber & Heather A. Hausenblas, and Mess: The Hospital Anthology edited by Julie Devaney and Dave Molenhuis. She was recently named NOW Magazine's "Best Virtual Fitness Teacher" for 2020. Jenn is currently studying to become a Nia Trainer and teaches online from Toronto, Canada.

River Plumb has always felt like an outcast in the fitness realm. Growing up in a family of body builders, personal trainers, and aerobic junkies, exercise was always viewed as punishment. He was called “fat boy” on a daily basis and was continually made to feel embarrassed of his body. He experienced chronic pain after a neck injury, making exercise even more inaccessible and created a further wedge between his mind and body. It wasn’t until he discovered Nia that he was able to shed his negative self image and begin to learn to embrace and accept his body regardless of others, while at the same time making choices that supported his healing and overall well-being. River is passionate about helping others cultivate unconditional love and acceptance for their bodies, and in turn help his students recognize their ability to feel better and move better while honoring their uniqueness.

Teresa Myers has spent most of her life feeling like she did not fit in anywhere. Being a Black woman in the United States, she had to find her own truth of beauty, wisdom and self-worth living in a society that often does not value or celebrate her color or gender. As the daughter of a Black man and woman, the sister of two Black brothers, the wife of a Black man and a Mother of a Black daughter and Black son, Teresa has lived in a constant mantra of "Only by the Grace of God." Teresa discovered Nia after an exhaustive search for an exercise routine she could do following an extensive surgery to remove cancer that had eaten through muscle in her back and rib cage. While Nia, helped her to heal physically, she also realized Nia had an incredible ability to help her mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Ask her what she did after Trayvon Martin was killed. Ask her what she did after the mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Ask her what she did after (fill in the blank-too many injustices to name). Ask her what she did after seeing the confederate flag being paraded through the Capitol Building. She took Nia to the dance floor to move this trauma and oppression out of her body. Teresa is a licensed Black-Belt Nia Practitioner and part of the 3NGT training program. Teresa is passionate about sharing Nia and its healing potential as a somatic movement and lifestyle practice. Teresa holds an MBA from Eastern Michigan University and has spent her adult life in management and executive leadership positions for national and international organizations. As a Black female and often the only female or person of color on the leadership team when she enters an organization, Teresa has spent her career advocating for DE&I initiatives and building organizational cultures where all feel welcome and all have an equal opportunity for advancement and success.

Accessibility

This special weekend will offer captioning for all sessions and seated movement options during jams and classes.