Nia is a great tool for self-awareness and self-mastery. As you explore Nia, you may be surprised at the power of your body and the strength of your mind. In Gye-Nyame we encourage the idea of learning something new every day — and I am all for personal growth. However, there is something that takes an already important part of our practice to a higher level. Teaching what you have mastered to others and seeing them flourish, is where real personal growth happens. If a tree fell in the woods and no one was there to hear it, did it make a sound? If you are able to teach students through your knowledge of your nia and they can do what you do as well or better than you, then you have become a true master, and this is the ultimate goal. What good is having knowledge and keeping to yourself? This does not promote growth within the culture, and in a sense is a violation of who we are as a people. We come from a culture that worshiped mastery, and mastery is demonstrated through the ability to pass on what was learned. This improves the knowledge because each generation should add something, and it preserves the knowledge by passing it on to those who are worthy.
It has been said that if you really want to know something, then teach it. This is true in many ways. In order to be able to teach someone else we must first understand this subject ourselves. The way I see it is that when a student comes up to me after class asking me how I do something, I get so excited! This means that I have done my job well enough for them to want more from me.
Our goal when we teach nia to new students is to help them learn to excel with what they have been given. There is no need to focus on structural changes or competing with others. We want them to do their best with their own body, mind and soul. If students choose to take it further and share their knowledge with others, then we will be proud and help encourage that. Teaching is one of humanity’s greatest gifts, so if you are thinking about teaching but are concerned about your level of skill, just know that all you really need to do is believe, be willing and curious and the rest will come. I look forward to seeing your development into a teacher of that which you love and can offer. And for those who won’t be a Nia master or teacher of Nia, that’s OK too. Your journey is not over halfway complete before you find something new to enjoy in nia. May your journey never end...
"A severely under paid hungry teacher in a renovated, well-equipped classroom, can perform just as well as a bird without feathers can do in a hanging, decorated cage."