Even through the uncomfortable moments, physical movement can become a practice of refuge. That’s what Nicole Adams, founder of and teacher at Origin House of Fitness in Fort Collins, has created for her community.
“Origin emerged as a safe haven for me as a teacher, but also as a practitioner,” she shares, “to be able to experience fitness and exercise, in a more mindful and accessible way.”
Adams says she had a really unfortunate experience in a yoga class in her early 20s, and it is part of what inspired her to create this sacred space.
“In short, I had a panic attack, re-lived trauma and the instructor’s response was to turn off the lights and leave me alone,” she shares. “After over 1,000 hours and training and certifications and over a decade of teaching, I’ve discovered that so many teacher trainings and even teachers, lack the skills to not only teach a safe and effective class, but also the tools to hold a safe space for a class, and all of the stories or ‘baggage’ attached to those people.”
Adams says she initially made it her mission to understand the effects of trauma in the body, and how mindful movement or “exercise” could be used as a tool to understand and heal the mind, body and spirit.
“Now, my mission is to teach not only my clients, but also other fitness professionals and educators the power of mindfulness and breath, the confidence and strength that comes from good posture, and how to face daily challenges in life with grace,” she shares.
What do you hope to bring to Colorado and the Fort Collins fitness community?
Aside from empowering people to make positive changes in their lives, both on and off of their mats and inspired through my fitness-based classes, I’m really excited to train the next wave of teachers, barre fitness in particular. Barre is currently an unregulated field, meaning that just about anyone can become “certified” and with its popularity in the industry, it’s imperative that the certification process changes. I’m offering the most comprehensive training available to the public in the world, 200 contact hours, and am also in the process of getting my training third party certified.
I’m also passionate about educating folks about trauma, and the importance of incorporating trauma informed care into fitness and educational systems. I’m currently working with Foster Care and Family Services to create a curriculum and training for perspective foster families. I hope to then expand my training to fitness professionals and educators.
What would you say makes your space and your offerings unique?
Origin’s mission is to make fitness accessible to everybody, regardless of age or ability for instance. I also have a different approach to teaching, because of my story and personal experience, and the fact that the general population is becoming increasingly traumatized, I also incorporate trauma-informed care. I begin each one of my classes with a body scan, breath work and intention, and throughout class I educate and empower people to find their own unique alignment in postures and guide them to understand functional movement and muscle activation and engagement. I also address the mind-body connection, how often our minds can wander which can cause us to give up, when we might physically be able to push a little further. I teach people how to work with sensation in their bodies, how to discover the balance between pushing harder versus pushing to a point of self-destruction, and also to honor where their bodies are at, since it’s different day to day. I encourage people to learn and understand when they need to rest or modify and create an environment of safety and trust so people are able to make this decision and not feel embarrassed about it.
Photo credit: Jackie Nunnally Photography
Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2018 issue.