Jenn Hicks

Posts Tagged ‘Health’

Dancing Through Life With Pleasure: Nia Student Stories

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015
Photo by Nia Technique

Photo by Nia Technique

Meet Sue: she has been attending weekend classes at Joy of Dance since 2012.  She is a very dedicated student of Nia and graciously responded to my invitation to share her Nia story. My experience with Nia has been about getting more into my body and so I am so inspired to know that Sue shares that!

Here is her story:

“The last couple of classes I noticed something weird. I saw my body doing rather complex patterns correctly without my even thinking about it. It was just falling into the music and doing what everyone else was doing – with it’s own touch of style. I just had to watch and enjoy. Wow! What fun!

I don’t even know for sure how I ended up in Jenn’s NIA class. I think it started when a therapist said I should get more into my body. Next thing I knew I was looking up NIA classes on the web and thinking, “Hmm, Joy of Dance, isn’t that near me?”

But the thing is, I don’t even remember how I heard of NIA in the first place. Must have been some kind of grace. Since then, NIA with Jenn has been an important anchor in my life. I always feel a un-anchored on weekends and can get a bit down if I don’t watch it – not doing enough fun things – spending too much time doing (or avoiding) chores, etc. NIA gets me up and out on weekends – having serious fun first thing in the morning.

Jenn picks great music – stuff I normally wouldn’t think of. I just knew she was going to grab the Pan Am song and choreograph it for us – and she did – it’s great! I just love the exuberance factor – inherent in NIA but channeled beautifully by Jenn and my classmates.  Even though I was never athletic I have always enjoyed movement and NIA kicks it up a notch – or several. And speaking of kicks – I love the mix of abrupt martial arts and more flowy dance forms and how the movements are constantly changing”.

Thank you, Sue, for sharing your story and experiences with Nia!

Want to share your experience and inspire others? Contact me!

New to Nia and ready to experience a class? Take a look at my schedule or visit to find a class in your neighbourhood!


The Truth About Exercise Addiction: My Story

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

The book cover

A new piece of work is in the world on a topic that is very near and dear to my heart, and it’s one that shares my story! Katherine Schreiber and Heather A. Hasuenblas teamed up to write “The Truth About Exercise Addiction: Understanding the Dark Side of Thinspiration

While my story about exercise addiction (yes, it’s a thing that exists, and no, you don’t want to get one) has been shared in a number of different ways, having Katherine interview me and really “getting” my journey was so validating. Speaking with her on the phone last spring felt like warm sunshine thawing me out after a cold winter. You see, this thing called an exercise addiction is wholly foreign and very difficult for most people to understand. But Katherine’s summary of our talk for the book proved that she got it.

I remember on one of my first visits to Sheena’s Place (a support centre for those with eating disorders and body image issues), I asked timidly whether there were any books in the library that described my experience. That was 10 years ago (in 2005) and the answer was “no”. In fact, there didn’t even seem to be a name for what exercise had become for me – a safety net, an escape, an obsession.

This is among one of the many reasons I am so thrilled to be part of this book. Even now, 10 years later, when I have (mostly) figured out how to live in my body in a healthy way, I was so, so moved simply to read the definition of exercise addiction:

Exercise addiction is a pattern of physical activity that exceeds what most fitness and medical professionals consider “normal,” causes immense psychological anguish (either during, following or in anticipation of exercise), engulfs and exercise addicts personal, professional, and social life, and is experienced by the addict as difficult to control or reduce in frequency – even in the face of illness or injury.


My story!

Having a name for this *thing* that I went through all those years ago really legitimizes my experience. It’s the same sense of “I-can-finally-let-my-shoulders-relax” I had when I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. As much as labels shouldn’t matter, the clarity and objectivity that having these labels brought be made me feel heard and understood.

I am learning more about myself and what I’ve been through in reading about this deeply familiar and yet confusing topic. In addition to sharing the history, origins, signs & symptoms of exercise addiction, I’m connecting with others who, like me, have struggled with using exercise in unhealthy ways.

If you’re interested in picking up a copy of this book, or sharing it with someone else, here’s a handy link.