le Roux, C. (2018). The transformative potential of Nia as experienced by six advanced Nia instructors: An interpretive phenomenological analysis [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Middlesex University.

This study explored the transformative potential of Nia as experienced by six advanced Nia instructors. Participants were brown or black belt instructors with on-going Nia practices, who had necessarily experienced transformation as defined in this study. The transpersonal context of this study defined transformation as a change that brings about a long-lasting state, including a fundamental shift in perspective and attention. This shift in perception includes the way in which one sees oneself and the world, and consequently impacts one’s relationships and values in a lasting way (Schlitz, Vieten & Amorok, 2007). Whilst many studies have explored the transformative potential of various movement practices, there exist very few Nia-specific studies, none of which explore transformation as defined by this study. Interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009) was used, due to my experience of transformation through various movement practices and an interest in the transformative potential of Nia specifically, as well as the idiographic nature of transformation as defined in this study. Semi-structured interviews were conducted online, as the participants were in various locations around the world. Thematic analysis was conducted in order to derive overarching themes that were applicable across cases. Eight overarching themes included valuing the body as the most important relationship, self-regulation through the practice of Nia, healthier relationships, transformation through embodied principles, Nia as a sacred livelihood, disciplined practice as key to on-going transformation, healing the world through Nia, and increased spiritual connection to the universe. Factors that facilitated the experienced transformation included having a disciplined, on-going practice of Nia, practicing Nia within a community, and creating a sacred livelihood. The findings have potential implications for those with an advanced Nia practice, the greater Nia community, as well as those interested in transformation through movement practices. Limitations of this study are discussed and further research options, including Nia-specific studies and studies exploring transformation through other movement practices, are explored.

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