Trailblazer Spotlight! Chelsea Keen!

July 14, 2018

Let's Get to Know our New HHW Etobicoke, ON TRAILBLAZER!


Q. Describe what you do in a few sentences.


A. I am a Somatic Educator representing wellness through movement. Specifically, I teach Nia (Neuro-Integrated Action). Nia is a design system that promotes sustainability in the body. Nia is a workout, practice, and lifestyle that fosters vitality and well-being. It borrows movements and sensibilities from the Dance Arts (Modern, Jazz, Duncan), the Martial Arts (Aikido, Taekwondo, Tai Chi), and the Healing Arts (yoga, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method). The class is welcoming of all skill levels, body types, and ages. Barefoot dancing is encouraged and we move to music from all over the world. For me, Nia is magical because it feels simultaneously gentle on the body and massively invigorating (get ready to sweat). After teaching class, I feel very alive and my body feels deliciously slinky.



Q. What ignited the spark in you to start teaching Nia?


A. Funny story! I actually went to my first Nia Teacher training without ever having taken a Nia class in person. I had taken (or maybe just watched, can’t remember) a class on youtube and I really didn’t know that much about it. I have always loved dancing but I was just taking vacation time and doing something different, really. Prior to completing my training, I didn’t even know if I would actually teach.


So what had me step into teaching Nia? During my White Belt (the first level of Nia Teacher training), I was inspired by the philosophy that guides Nia: respect for The Body’s Way, the study of the body’s inherent wisdom. One way to practice Our Body’s Way is to listen to our bodies and adapt movements to our own pace and level. Implicit in the awareness of Our Body’s Way is the idea of coming into loving relationship with one’s own body. By practicing The Body’s Way, we can respect ourselves and our unique way of being in the world. For me, this is a very empowering message. If I’m being honest, I have a complicated relationship with my body. Some days it’s like “hot damn!” and other days it’s like “don’t look at me.” I also have a lot of ideas about what I think my body should do and how it should look, just as much as I have conversations with myself about where I am in life versus where I feel I should be. As a result, being in the continual and ongoing conversation of choosing my body and respecting My Body’s Way has been enormously freeing on a variety of dimensions (and I’m in the fresh inquiry of self love everyday, that’s okay too). 



 Q. What is the culture of Nia like?


A. One of the things I love about Nia’s culture is the teacher trainings start by saying “Don’t assume anything, don’t make up stories about other people.” I believe, as a society we don’t use the words “I don’t know” often enough. Additionally, Nia encourages the practice of “I” communication (“I think.., I believe.., I feel…”) in order to become responsible for our subjective interpretations and to avoid projecting our experiences onto another. In general, I believe communities are stronger when there is a culture of “no gossip” and when communities hold each other accountable for conducting communication with integrity. 


Q. Where do you see yourself and your teaching career in 10 years?


A. I am just at the beginning of my Nia teaching career and I plan to keep learning, growing, and developing through this practice. I will complete the teacher training curriculum (which has 5 Belts) and I will continue to deepen my intimacy with the nine movement modalities that inform Nia. And, of course, I will continue holding regular classes!


Since finding movement classes to be an empowering context for health and well-being, a team of us have started a non-profit initiative to make dance and other movement classes more available and accessible to Torontonians. We are in the process of incorporating and the name we have proposed for the organization is Somatic Magic. We have launched community programs and will continue to reach more communities wanting to move. 


Chelsea's first HHW event is coming up July 26th!

More Info & Registration HERE!


Chelsea teaches regular Nia classes in Toronto at Bliss Yoga Studio (Royal York and Bloor) 

Saturdays from 11:30am-12:30pm




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