Here is my “Top 10” List of things you should know about Nia:
# 10: You’re going to sweat. Nia offers the ultimate pathway to fitness based on the pleasure principle: if it feels good, keep doing it! Who couldn’t use more pleasure in life? I grew up a star athlete. I crashed and burned as a collegiate athlete. After 2 major surgeries, it was through Nia that I reclaimed my health, my athleticism, power, grace and to living my life in that state of awareness called the Zone.
# 9: Your whole body gets conditioned. Nia utilizes 200/700 movement potential: moving your 200+ bones and 700+ muscles as they were designed up, down, and spiraling all around, opening and closing your joints targeting your base, core and upper extremities. Like yoga, it utilizes total body integration. Nia combined with yoga has done more for my flexibility and balance than yoga alone.
My First Class
I took my first Nia class at a local fitness club in the spring of 1999. At the time, I was a self-employed in the retail coffee business~ yes, whipping up the daily espresso, managing staff & using caffeine as an energy source. I was also completely bored with my workout routine: treadmill walking, “light weights” & a little yoga—am & pm. It was just enough to keep the aches, stress and tiredness at bay. A friend thought I might like Nia-that it wasn’t like the run of the mill group exercise classes and that I would have fun. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I could use some fun!
Nia’s way of getting fit, dancing barefoot, “like nobody’s watching” is a tune up for body, mind and spirit. If you are new to Nia, you may have noticed a very passionate community of movers around you. To put you at ease, here are 7 simple tips to maximize your experience as a beginning student:
1. Relax. Breath. Welcome to your practice. Enjoy being new to something. Start with smaller movements, allowing your body to adjust to moving the Nia way. Allow your breathing to support you. As you learn the steps, add range of motion and intensity when you feel ready.
The Power of 5 Simple Moves
Ever wonder about the body’s original blueprint for movement? Marvel that encoded in your DNA is a natural sequence that maximizes your power and potential moving from the ground up? Consider that curiosity, desire and play were the internal motivation for conditioning your body to be upright in the world?
By guest writer Fred Bass
I frequently team teach Nia with my brother-in-law, Fred Bass. We have a fun dynamic, love taking ½ a class from each other and have really grown as teachers from the experience. Teaching with a man has drawn other men into Nia. I asked Fred to share a bit from the male perspective on Nia. Read on, and thanks, Fred!
Rather than tell you about Nia, or what Nia is, let me tell you in this space, my life….with Nia.
I stepped into Nia from the yoga world in 1999, feeling very comfortable with its philosophy of moving barefoot. My yoga practice aligned my body from the ground up - within the dimensions of my mat. Nia offered an incredible sense of freedom, allowing me to move in space, with music and the dance of Nia. My feet were strong. Fast forward a year, add repetitive stress injury that triggered an inflammatory response in my whole body and suddenly my feet were reeling in pain from plantar fasciitis. My feet needed healing!
In July, 2015 I journeyed to Europe where I shared my passions for self-healing and body transformation via the Nia 5 Stages training program. I had a wonderful time in London connecting with Nia teachers and movers that I have come to know from previous visits, from dancing and training White Belts with my colleague Dorit Noble. I love that many countries, languages and accents were represented (UK, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Sweden, and South Africa). It was inspiring to witness the transformation in movement, an increased flow and vitality in just a few short days. Here is what Cim Bartlett, Nia Brown Belt, had to say after the training:
The Evolution of a Nia Fashionista
I grew up with a ‘fashionista’ mom. She infused a sense of style into any activity, whether that was on the golf course, lunch with her sisters, an afternoon of shopping, an evening out, running errands or sporting our school colors at many a ball game. She artfully combined comfortable silhouettes with colors she loved and a little flair that always stood out and still does to this day. I have never seen her wear anything she deemed too young, too tight or simply outdated. Like many moms out there, and perhaps yourself included, she has seen fashion cycle and recycle throughout the decades. What remained constant was her personal criteria: does it fit well, feel good, look good and is it me?
Integrating All of You
Holistic: addressing the whole being, not merely one part. An increased awareness of body, mind and spirit.
I love that Nia is more than a workout for your body. It has a way of working out your mind, tapping into the power of your emotions and opening spirit.
I know in my early exposure I sensed many layers of myself being moved beyond the sweaty physical. Although, I couldn’t always put my experience into words, I do know that my mind was engaged in a focused, relaxed way. I was learning new patterns of movement, breaking habits and enjoying new music. My emotions shifted – I always left class feeling a natural high, happier than when I stepped in no matter my life circumstance. I felt connected to my spirit, to my essence. Similar to yoga, in that I felt deeply connected in body, mind and spirit.