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Class Act: Nia

As part of my New Year's resolutions, I vowed to try new things, so there I was — barefoot and in a room full of happy, chatty ladies, about to take a Nia class for the first time. I was excited because I had heard it integrated some of my favorite movements: dance, martial arts, and yoga. Once the music started, the instructor began demonstrating some simple movements to open the body. Tapping the toes, bending the knees, rocking the hips, waving the arms, wiggling the fingers, and rolling the neck were meant to activate "all 13 joints," meaning our entire bodies.


We continued to move through several short 10- to 15-minute dance segments, which were a fusion of these nine movement forms:

Martial arts: T’ai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido
Dance arts: jazz dance, modern dance, Duncan dance
Healing arts: yoga, Alexander Technique, the teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais

To hear more about Nia and see a video clip, read more.

The best way I can describe Nia is that it's a spiritual low-impact aerobics class. The instructor leads you through a simple choreographed move, like a jazz square, but you're encouraged to move your body in the unique and playful way your body wants to move. Nia is all about exploring your space and how your body moves in it. It's about sensory awareness, self expression, and finding joy. What I loved about the class is that it reminded me of yoga in that you're only concerned with your own body and not worried about what other people think. Although I was sweating a little, it wasn't a really intense workout, so if you're looking for a light workout to awaken your spirit and get those feel-good endorphins buzzing, give Nia a try.

If you want more information about this type of bodywork, check out the Nia website. They'll also help you find a class.

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