Nia for Men

nia for men

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’m a guy, in a group fitness class.  I put that out there, simply because that is going way against the odds.  Stats put guys in the US in a group fitness class somewhere around 3%.  And up until my introduction to Nia, I was very comfortable in the 97% percentile for being a man out of the group fitness world. My most common form of fitness for most of my life was running.  I ran through grade school, high school, college, post-college and many, many 10k’s, 1/2 marathons and full marathons.  But in 2003, the old right hip started telling me that things were not all well with this running thing. My response, “hey…no pain, no gain!”  So, I kept running and running, until I just couldn’t. In fact, even walking became difficult.  X-rays revealed the joint: ball and socket, bone on bone.    My doctor’s assessment: “Someday, you’ll just have to have surgery, but let’s put it off as long as we can. You’re a little on the young side to go down that road yet.”

So, I couldn’t run, couldn’t cycle and golf was becoming too painful. What to do?   My sister-in-law was just starting to teach what I thought was a new form of a moving wellness practice.  I knew she was already a yoga instructor, but her enthusiastic invitation was “Come try Nia, at this point, what do you have to lose?” Point well taken. Off I went. I will be more than happy to share with you all my inhibitions while taking my first class (ie., moving, dancing, only guy in class, etc.) but when all was said and done, and class was over, and I was lying on the floor dripping from sweat, what came through loud and clear was that my hip didn’t hurt.   How could that be?  Was I healed? (by the way, cartilage doesn’t grow back).  I went home, strapped on the running shoes, and after about 10 steps…ok, not healed.  Nia - day 2, again, no pain.  So, this is it, pretty much by no choice, I discovered that if I want any kind of a workout, and no pain, I’m going to be spending an hour with a bunch of women, implementing moves from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts.  In short time, I began to sense that something was happening.  The more I did it, not only did my body like it, my mind liked it, and my spirit (yeah, I didn’t know men had a spirit either) liked it.

Long story short, I stepped into my White Belt in 2007 to learn more, began teaching and even team teaching with said sister-in-law, Laurie Bass. Now a First Degree Black Belt, I still take several classes a week, teach and most of all, “I get it”.   You don’t have to suffer to become fit.  There is the “body’s way.”  And….dang if I just don’t like to move.  My body always knew it, and now the rest of me does.   Thank you Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas for listening to your hearts some 30+ years ago, going against the grain, and sharing the gift of Nia with the rest of the world.

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