A Dance With Your Soul – Dina Lebinger

Thirteen years ago is when I realized that Nia is my destiny. It had helped me experience the body-emotions-soul connection. It is through the Nia flow that I realized that my work is through my body and the rest will follow.  

I am 53 now, married to Gil and a mother of three kids, Miya, Eli and Miko, and my work continues to flourish through Nia, and so does my soul.

Nia is a holistic movement practice that combines elements of martial arts, dance and healing arts such as gentle moves. Developed by Debbie and Carlos Rosas in Portland, Oregon, in the 1980s, Nia’s underlying philosophy is to offer physical training that naturally includes all of the muscle groups while stimulating the body, mind, emotions, and soul with joy. 

First meeting   

Almost thirteen years ago, a friend of mine from South Africa had come to visit me in Israel. She had asked me to join her for a Nia class that she was planning to attend. I attended my first Nia class along with her. Back then, Nia dance classes were popular in South Africa but not so popular in Israel. 

There were only four teachers in Israel who were practicing and teaching Nia. Their classes were around a standard classic routine called Alfa Omega. It wasn’t as intense but was enough. At the end of the class, the teacher had asked us to raise our hands. It was at this moment when I raised my hands that I heard a champagne bottle open in my heart! 

“I don’t just dance. I perform. I breathe. I watch the world disappear. I release my feelings. I lead with my smile.”  

Back then, I was studying Guided Imagery, an ancient practice that includes visualization and focusing on images, which in turn helps you harness all your senses. This helped me instantly relate to the power of that ‘moment’ at the end of my first Nia class, which felt nothing less than an epiphany and I knew, Nia is my destiny.  

Identifying the purpose

I didn’t waste much time and a month later, I was on a plane to South Africa with my one and a half-year-old baby to pursue the white belt level course in Nia. This was the beginning of my transformational journey which has changed my life and helped me deepen my understanding of my life’s purpose.   

Before Nia, I was what you can call a quiet and introverted personality. Thus, during my initial years as a Nia instructor, I didn’t speak much through the entire lesson. I mostly resorted to hand gestures and hand clapping to guide my students to change and flow to the next move. It took me a good two long years to slowly open up and start talking to my students. I acquired the skill and the accuracy to talk to my students during my blue belt Nia course. 

The practice kept working on me even as I shared it with others. The joy of seeing and feeling the body come alive, the recognition of the feminine energy and sexuality, and becoming aware of my spiritual development as a whole, took great momentum. It is not just my body that changed and became stronger and flexible, even my self-perception became very strong. 

From someone who hadn’t opened a bank account in all these years, I became an independent businesswoman who for the last thirteen years has been managing her own business and dance workshops in Israel and abroad. And this beautiful development process is a constant part of my life now, inspiring to always learn and grow.  

Adding rhythm

Nia is built from built-in dances and it allows you to step out of your body’s usual pattern and expand your mental and physical abilities. This allows you to explore and go beyond as you are not fixated on the information and habits that your body knows. You learn to break the boundaries yourself by imitating someone else’s movement.

Apart from the dance and flow, the other aspect of Nia that has intrigued me is the music. Since Nia has become a part of my life, my love for music has also deepened. I began to research about music to get a deeper understanding of the connection between music, body and my personal and mental abilities. 

I have learned to apply music like Math and break it into bars, which enables the dancer to connect it to the body and to the movement. In the process, I soon became a DJ. I continue to play at parties and I absolutely love it!  

Sharing an experience 

Today, I have a First Degree Nia black belt. Some of my students have also become Nia teachers. I have accompanied and guided them throughout this process. A few other students have started their own varied and different practices, each unique in its own way and at times, not necessarily in Nia style.

For example, one student found the motivation and inspiration to start a long-rejected doctorate again. A few speak about how Nia fills them with the drive and passion to do things and helps remove tiredness and complacency. 

One of my students wrote to me as follows:

‘Nia allows me to create a different vision of myself and is a way to connect to my initial nucleus. No need to please, to wear makeup or to make an effort and I still feel feminine and attractive.’

In my classes, I love to focus on and strengthen the body and improve its capabilities. I believe that through the body comes mental and spiritual healing. In my classes, you can experience that your muscles and bones have all the pre-existing knowledge and information and that when you are in motion, you can learn to release them and embrace what comes after. This is why my classes are very energetic and physical and the heart-lung system also works hard through a lot of breathwork. 

A little more about my workshops 

Now my focus is mainly on workshops that I conduct in Israel and around the world. I work in collaboration with Yotam Agam, Sandra Schultz, and Keren Agam, and together we have created a concept of Nia and Yoga workshops. In these workshops, you will experience an energetic combination of NiaYoga flow with live DJ music. 

“Free your mind and the rest will follow.”  En Vogue  

I truly love to improvise with music I am not familiar with which allows me to be in the zone, to listen to it and to connect it to my body and its needs. At the same time, I am also aware of the group’s needs and I try to lead them towards freely moving their bodies without my guidance, in order to search and explore themselves. I feel that it is this beautiful combination of Yoga and Nia that creates a whole experience. 

Here a few tips that may help you build your daily holistic practice:

*  My most important tip is to be connected to your authentic Self. This means finding the right way for you and understanding the right way for you to move and exercise the body.

* Less effort and to not push it too much is good. Do what’s right and healthy for you. I believe the body knows what is right for it and we need to listen to it and to its movement and ask what it wants and needs -what food\move\health. 

*Music listen to it, feel it, let it take you with it. The music brings light to our lives. Just move with it without thinking, and just feel.

* If you want to dance but don’t know how to start, there are many short and long online classes on the Nia TV website with lots of visual information to help you with the movements.

Dina Lebinger

Nia teacher black belt, Israel. 

Instagram: @lebingerdina

http://www.dinamania.com

 

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