Photo By: Darrin Harris Frisby
SYJ: What is the work you do?
Jill Factor: I am a somatic educator. I teach a fitness and lifestyle practice called Nia as well as yoga. I teach at eight different venues and share my love of this practice wherever I go. I guest teach classes in communities outside of Boulder and Denver as well. I started teaching yoga three years ago, and have been teaching Nia for 13 years.
The Nia belt system is a psycho-somatic education practice. There are four belts, each with thirteen principles. Each principle offers an opportunity for mental, emotional, spiritual and bodily inquiry. They are tools for transformation that have greatly shaped my life.
SYJ: Could you describe your teaching style or philosophy?
JF: When I first started teaching yoga, I taught from a purely physical perspective. I used my knowledge of Nia’s “The Body’s Way” philosophy to guide my classes. I led students from a place of pure sensation. In the past year, I have integrated more yoga philosophy into both my Nia and Yoga teaching. What I have found is that there are many similarities between the two modalities. In Nia, I bring students to sense the pleasure of their bodies, and how to tweak their movements when discomfort is present. The yoga philosophy of Ahimsa teaches students to refrain from harming themselves, and to connect their body and life with compassion. Both modalities offer students the opportunity to become body aware, body conscious, and to move from a place of love, honoring and cherishing their physical form.
SYJ: Tell us a little bit about your journey with dance. Did you always aspire to teach dance?
JF: Just recently my mother showed me some footage of me as a toddler twirling around and around as music played in the background. I’ve always loved to dance. When I was five years old, I started taking formal ballet classes, then promptly dropped out when my mother wouldn’t buy me a pink tutu. I still remember how much I wanted that tutu. As I aged, I never lost my passion for dancing and sought outlets such as at school dances, friend’s houses and the weekly modern dance classes offered at my high school. In college I continued studying modern dance and then moved on to Jazz. At age 37 I discovered Nia.
While dancing has always been a passion of mine, I never had the desire to teach dance growing up. I was far too shy and had no experience being in front of a class of any kind. The inspiration to teach came from an inspiration to share Nia with others.
Photo By: Darrin Harris Frisby
SYJ: Why did you want to share Nia with others? What is your relationship to the practice?
JF: I love the practice of Nia. In becoming a student, teacher, and Nia White Belt Trainer, Nia and my life have joined as one. My relationship with Nia has allowed me the opportunity to get to know my body through sensation. From that place of sensation, I choose joy and pleasure. Living in a body that is equipped with the knowledge and willpower to choose pleasure over pain, I feel more connected to life force energy. I am one with Universal Joy, a sensation and experience that goes beyond me. I am a sacred athlete and I am dancing through life.
SYJ: Has your Nia practice helped you with any of your personal struggles?
JF: The biggest gift has been learning to be comfortable with any uncomfortability in my life. Teaching, being willing to be seen, being vulnerable and transparent are not situations I would normally put myself in. Nia has taught me how to be comfortable in those states, and to actually step into the situations that offer me the greatest opportunities for transformation. For me, teaching Nia has been a journey of self-discovery and self-actualization.
SYJ: Who are your biggest inspirations? Share with us what those moments of inspiration look like for you.
JF: Nia creator Debbie Rosas inspires me, and I owe a lot to her. When I am in her presence, listening to her speak about the body from a place of profound knowledge and fascination, I feel deeply inspired. I experience those moments as sensations in my body. Neuroplasticity. I am learning something new. My brain and my body are turned on, and that’s what inspiration looks and feels like to me.
SYJ: What’s one social or political issue you would like to see change in your lifetime? How would you like to see that change come about?
JF: Gun control. I believe in nonviolent conflict resolution which can come about through a gunless state. It would take a total repeal of the 2nd Amendment, which, considering our current political system, seems out of reach. For now, I hope to see tighter restrictions on access to firearms.
SYJ: Do you have a quote or snippet of wisdom you’d like to share?
JF: I just saw this on twitter today and was inspired: “The universe isn’t invested in you getting what you want. It’s invested in you experiencing what’s necessary for your enlightenment.” -Marianne Williamson.