Sun spills in the windows, stroking the faces of a circle of mothers. Some of the newest babies sleep, snuggled tight against their mother’s bellies in a sling. Other babies, also strapped onto their moms, peer around at the other babies in the room. “So did anyone get any sleep last night?” A tall, blonde woman with a mischievous grin asks. A few women raise their hands. A few others groan. Soon, the tall blonde woman heads to the front of the room. A Middle Eastern melody begins to pulse, and the women stretch their arms and start to dance.
Mommy & Me Nia is a spirited option for moms with a sling (or other baby carrier like an Ergo) and an urge to move. Portland Nia instructor Maggie Bokor creates a flexible space where students can break a sweat, have a spiritual experience, and take a timeout to nurse a little one or change an unexpectedly explosive diaper—all in an hour. A natural born improviser, she has a knack for reading the energy of the class and adapting it. Sleepless nights with teething babies and she’ll focus on slower, more gentle movements. Spring fever? She’ll elevate the pace.
Nia, which marries dance, healing and martial arts with dynamic music, offers a workout which can accommodate most fitness levels. Bokor saw the need for a Mommy & Me Nia class as she observed several of her students who had recently had babies and were struggling to continue the self-care which so often goes out the window after having a child. She designed a class and began teaching it last fall. “Taking Mommy & Me Nia was the first time I like my body was my own after giving birth,” says one new mom. “I’m so grateful to be dancing again.”
The babies seem to love it too—something rarely heard in Mommy & Me classes is crying. Besides the lull of the music and movement, Bokor has a theory on this. “As a mom, you’re always in this place of protection so that everything is about the child. As soon as you start doing Nia, you’re now back in relationship with your body. And there’s something special about the child still feeling safe, but they can sense your stability.”
Another benefit is the community. “I look forward to seeing the other moms and being able to chat and I love it that my daughter is able to interact with the other babies,” says another new mom. “Try it once and you will be hooked.”
Mommy & Me Nia classes are Tuesday mornings from 10:30- 11:30 a.m. at the Railroad Building at 222 St. John Street in room # 240. For more information or to view Maggie’s entire Nia schedule, click here.