Nala Walla

Nala Walla (MSc) is a lifelong student of the embodied arts and ecology. She studied dance and environmental sciences at Dartmouth College and the University of Washington, somatic movement therapy at Moving On Center & the Center for Kinesthetic Education, most recently, with the Nutritional Therapy Association. Seeking a more hands-on education in ecology and the arts, Nala spent two years voyaging around Alaska and BC on a small sailboat, and then founded the BCollective – a permaculture homestead and arts collective on Marrowstone Island, WA.

In 2010, Nala completed a master’s in Integrative Arts and Ecology at Gaia University, a learning pathway which began twelve years prior during graduate work at the UW. In contribution to the further develpment of the emerging field of ecosomatics, Nala's studies with Gaia U involved leading permaculture workshops and natural building projects that integrated the awareness of physical and social body as important compass points towards establishing a healthy relationship to place.

Weaving improvisation, participatory theater, and somatic techniques into the permaculture concept of ‘zone zero’, Nala currently offers repatterning and facilitation services for groups and individuals. Her writings can be found in the book, Hope Beneath Our Feet, featuring prominent writers, activists and indigenous leaders, in the upcoming United Nation's Ecovillage Design Curriculum Volumes, and in Permaculture Activist magazine. She can regularly be found singing and hulahooping with the Harmonica Pocket Children’s Show at festivals, libraries and wherever families gather. Nala and her partner Keeth Apgar have a son.

When I heard about Gaia U's master's Program, I was immediately intrigued. I had already been actively pursuing self-education in the 'school of life' for more than ten years, after leaving a master's program that I felt was too restrictive and narrow-minded to offer the diverse, hands-on training essential to a rapidly changing world. I knew what I was already doing could be immediately reframed as a GU learning pathway, and, now I had a new word for it – 'Action Learning!'

GU helped me to regard my life’s path not only as a legitimate course of study, but as an activity vital to the creation of a truly sustainable and healthy culture. I was given the support, the tools, and perhaps most importantly, the language to shape what I was most passionate about into a master's degree.

I am thrilled to offer to Gaia U associates the same outstanding advising services that I received during my own program. As an advisor, I take a highly personal and poetic approach, respecting the uniqueness of each associate and their individual learning pathway. I welcome and encourage artistic, outside-the-box project designs and always emphasize the importance of self-care and embodied experience for the health of my advisees and their work in the world.