Nia’s energy and teaching style is soft yet firm. Knowledgeable yet open. Soothing yet endearing.
Please be inspired by Nia:
1. How long have you been teaching?
I’ve been teaching yoga for about 4 years.
2. What motivated you to start teaching and what have you learnt from teaching?
What motivated me the most to start teaching was the transformation within my own practice. I feel like a completely different person from the year’s prior. I created such a deep connection to, and an understanding of my body, which has always been an integral part of my journey. I have previously felt so much shame around the way that I looked and the way I moved in my body that, I didn’t even realize I wasn’t taking care of it. Yoga taught me how to love myself totally and whole-heartedly. Currently, my practice teaches me to continue loving myself, especially during the times I forget that I can.
3. What is something that you have learnt from a fellow teacher?
I’ve learned many things, from many teachers. One teacher stands out the most to me is Stella, The owner of Stella Luna Yoga. I didn’t start my practice at that studio, but it was the studio that raised me. I felt home there. It’s where I trained to be a teacher. Stella placed emphasis on breath awareness, and how important it is. It’s common to ignore it and take it for granted, even I do. We get so caught up with everything around us that we forget to acknowledge the one thing that keeps us alive and present. So even though sometimes I forget while running around the city, creating my life (the seed her teachings have planted) is still very much alive and growing.
4. How many times a week do you practice?
I practice at least once a day. If not at home, then I’m definitely taking a class. It’s been a while since I completed a fancy, full hour sequence at home, like what some people may think. Sometimes I do energy work, then break into a cathartic dance. Then, sometimes I power through a good workout, sometimes I’m practicing yin, and lie there in Child’s Pose (or any one pose that feels good) for about 15 mins, or until I can surrender completely; whichever comes first. Then, there are times when I intend to practice, but I’m so caught up in my thinking that no yoga is happening at all. I’d do a couple stretches and move on with my day, then get back to it later.
5. Who inspires your practice?
This is a very vague answer, but life inspires my practice. The connection I’ve made to my body is so intimate, so personal. There’s so much to explore, and so much to release from my day. I’m very much in-tune with my emotions and yoga provides me with an outlet for it. I give myself what I need.
6. Why is it necessary for you to practice?
Piggy-backing off the previous answer, practicing is a channel and outlet for my emotions. On a physiological level, it keeps my body aligned. I have “severe” scoliosis, and there’s a lot of physical discomfort and emotional trauma that comes with it. Yoga helps release it all. No one believes me when I say this, but I actually grew an inch! The amount of rehabilitative yoga I’ve done on myself has opened up my body in ways I can’t fully describe. I notice that if I go too long without practicing, my body hates me for it. I slip right back into pain, and my mind spirals out of control. So, I’m very passionate about yoga. It’s a choice that I have to make everyday. Either by keeping up with my practice and continuing to move with freedom. Or, don’t and suffer the consequences. It’s real for me.
7. What message do you like to spread through teaching?
I like to encourage others to be there for themselves, at the very least. Show up! Maybe sometimes you don’t get anything done but show up everyday on your mat (figuratively speaking), with the intention of good health and awareness. This is how it manifests into your reality. I like to remind my friends, family, students, clients and even myself, that we actually do have that choice.
8. Where are you currently teaching?
I’m currently teaching for Hot8Yoga, specifically at the Pasadena, Manhattan Beach, and Koreatown locations. I’m also available for private lessons.
9. How has yoga helped your character develop?
Self study! LOTS of self study. I know my resistances, flaws, and shadows so well. Even today, I’m growing more and more inspired by my own ordinary, but extraordinary life. I love the lessons that allow me to vibrate higher and higher, and I love how I learn from them. It’s not all pretty, but after I’ve released attachment to it, I fall in love. I can’t help but to have compassion for others. Everyone is dealing with something, and life is taking him or her on a ride too. I respect it. Sometimes you clash with people and other times, you connect. Work is being done on all of us. I only want to show love, even on the days when I can’t, that’s more work for me.
10.What has kept you practicing all these years?
My mind, body and spirit. And, mostly my body. If my body gets the yoga, so does my mind and spirit, and once yoga has reached the spirit, there’s no going back.
11. What would you tell yourself when you started teaching yoga?
Be prepared to shed your old life. It’ll be scary and intense. You’ll resist a lot, but that’s okay, you’ll be okay!
12. What are the best ways to start teaching at a yoga studio?
Just go. Show up, show love, and take classes.Have a true interest in the practice. Teaching at a yoga studio isn’t about sending a resume and trying to look the part. It’s good karma; making connections,serving, and being apart of a community.
13. Why is breath so important in your practice?
Something I learned from a Yin-Practitioner that I follow, Bernie Clark. He brought it to my attention that when we’re in our minds, thinking about whatever; we’re not actually breathing: not fully and not to our capacity. We hold onto the breath and when we hold onto the breath, we hold on to tension! Its astounding, the way the mind and body connects. If there’s no balance, what is our spirit to do? We’re all over the place! So with that, I’ve learned that the breath is presence. Remembering and redirecting my attention to my breath and to what I feel in my body ,is my practice.
14. What is your FB name? IG name and twitter?
You can find me on FB under The Subtle Seed, a holistic wellness brand, community and service; I’ve created for artists. You can also follow me on instagram @niaizb.