Nia: Exercise the body ‘craves’
February 19, 2013
When was the last time you found yourself smiling from ear to ear at the end of a workout? Welcome to Nia: Neuromuscular Integrative Action. From the moment you step through the door, you know that your relationship to your body and your experience of life is about to change forever.
Tessa Foxly, a local Nia student and white belt, shared what Nia has done for her: "Nia gives me time and space to connect with my body in a positive and holistic way. It's so much fun that I get a great workout without having to 'push' myself or 'feel the burn.'"
So what exactly is The Nia Technique?
Nia is an instructor-led movement class done barefoot to eclectic, uplifting music that delivers cardiovascular and whole-body conditioning. Based on creating a loving relationship with the body, Nia is adaptable and safe for any fitness level, from stiff beginners to highly fit athletes.
A typical class begins with peaceful music that stirs the senses and initiates small, slow movement of the muscles, joints, and bones.
The Nia teacher extends an invitation to become physically and emotionally present as you slowly awaken your body. After warming up, the instructor leads students in a series of movements that seamlessly integrate three art forms: dance arts, martial arts and healing arts.
Students may find themselves dancing some jazz steps during one song, a bit of tai chi or tae kwon do the next, as well as yoga poses throughout.
Every Nia routine has a different focus with complementary music, and lasts approximately one hour. The Nia teacher demonstrates three options for levels of intensity, making Nia safe and adaptable for all people at any fitness level.
What makes Nia so different from other forms of fitness?
Nia simultaneously stimulates the body, mind, emotions, and spirit, using physical activity to integrate one's neurology (including the mind, emotions, and spirit), with one's outer body, or musculature.
By addressing the whole person, using the latest fitness research and a comprehensive, holistic exercise approach, Nia teaches you how to listen to the voice of your body as a guide in discovering Dynamic Ease – allowing comfortable movement that feels effortless.
"Before Nia, I rarely enjoyed 'working out' or sweating. With Nia, I'm having so much fun that I don't even realize I'm doing both! As a busy mama to a kindergartener, I am grateful for the expressive outlet Nia offers and the conditioning I experience on all levels," said certified Nia instructor, Allison Rivers Samson.
What are the lifestyle benefits of practicing Nia?
When practicing Nia, the benefits extend beyond the actual class itself. You will find that your lifestyle in general will benefit from a clearer mind, body and spirit.
As a movement program based on the pleasure principle, Nia can help you increase the pleasure of living in your body, supporting your desire for weight loss/maintenance, improved muscle tone and increased muscle definition, a strengthened immune system, improved concentration and cognitive function, increased grace and flexibility, and a calm mind relieved of stress.
Nia classes are available from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Tuesday through Friday at the Core Movement Center, 578 Searls Ave. in Nevada City.
Aimee Retzler is a certified Nia instructor, who has taught for almost five years.