What I love and create for myself in Nia is a sense of freedom and pleasure in movement, an experience of joy and excitement melding the music with movement, whilst my daily concerns disappear for the hour-long dance.
Here’s why its great for you to make Nia your regular fitness practise.
THE TOP 10 BENEFITS OF NIA
1. Cardiovascular conditioning
Nia is a cardiovascular fitness program first and foremost.
Moving your body systemically (i.e. with your whole being) allows you to develop a strong heart and generally improve circulation. You get an overall increase in your energy, stamina and endurance.
Since I’ve been practicing Nia, I am amazed whenever I have to run, that I can keep going and not feel tired. What amazes me is that I can now even jog non-stop for half an hour and chat to my jogger friend!
2.Body mind emotions spirit integration
Nia highlights the importance of having a ‘complete’ experience by including not only the body, but also the mind, spirit and emotions. Nia enables you to dance from your heart, to inspiring and engaging music ranging from reggae to world to jazz.
There is the opportunity within a Nia class to bring flexibility to your emotions as well as your body eg expressing a NO! as well as a YES! as you make Tae Kwon Do moves; acting as if you can’t be bothered and then acting as if you are really bothered, as you dance.
3. Increased mobility, flexibility, agility and grace
Nia enables you to perform movements with minimal effort and maximum efficiency. This makes you more graceful.
When I was little my family said I sounded like a baby elephant as I came down the stairs. Thump, thump. Now? People can’t believe that I didn’t dance, before Nia! I feel such grace and elegance in my movements and am still shocked when I catch myself in the mirror, dancing! That’s proof Nia is for everyBODY!
4. Improved strength, alignment and muscle tone
Nia allows you to sustain power, to feel the vibration of positive tension in your muscles, warming the bones. Nia leaves you with a calm strength, a sensation of relaxation, instead of the hard work “no pain, no gain” of the 1980’s.
5. Improved self esteem
Although for most of the class the choreography is demonstrated by the teacher, and everyone follows the same steps, each person’s dance is unique. Each person is expressing their own authentic self.
Several students have told me the physical benefits of Nia are secondary, that they come to Nia classes primarily to express themselves, feel good about themselves, and who they are.
6. Increased creativity
Using your right brain through movement, increases general creativity. One Nia student told me that since starting Nia classes she has returned to writing and painting again, after a break of many years.
7. Alleviation of symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress
All Nia concepts can flow out beyond the class and be applied to everyday life e.g. sensing ease as you walk down the street.
8. Increased sense of calm and relaxation
Nia teaches me to find a sense of calm even when life seems so busy. You become more aware of sensation, physical sensation in your body as you move through your day. In fact you become a ‘Sensation Scientist’, as Debbie Rosas, Nia Co-founder, describes. This brings you into the present moment, into the ‘now’ and as a consequence makes you a more peaceful person.
9. Greater balance and grounding
Your body demands balance. It wants to feel balance from left to right and from top to bottom. Nia offers this yin yang sensation and in doing so, helps to promote balance in your musculature, peripheral nervous system, and even in your brain.
A Nia student in her early 60’s told me this story. A year ago she was shocked one day to see that she almost fell over, stumbled, when she bent down to pick something up off the floor. Now after a year of taking Nia classes she can do the same moves with ease and balance.
10. A positive and pleasurable relationship with your body
Nia has been called the ‘Love your Body’ workout. Personally, I learn how to truly accept and love my body through Nia, just the way it is. Funnily enough it seems to gets better and better! And the suggestion that I give in class as we move, that lives with me throughout my day is: “ let the physical sensation of pleasure be your guide”.
Nia is a unique fitness practice as it offers you personal growth and holistic well-being as well as physical fitness. It is easily learned, easily built upon, and a joy to practice throughout all stages of life.
One Nia class per week is a great start but for truly terrific results make 2-3 classes per week your New Year’s intention.
To find your local Nia class, visit www.nianow.com