If you’re new to the whole mind, body and soul workout, then you should probably consider a Nia class for an intro. With an all inclusive, throw-your-hands-up-in-the-air kind of vibe, Nia encourages anyone (even the wheel chair bound) to get in on the action. A full fledged movement meditation, it doesn’t get much more mindful than being asked to smell the moment that brings you towards a mind, body and soul connection.
What to know about Nia:
It’s a barefoot, low impact aerobics class with a mix of free-your-body-release-your-soul type of moves. There’s the traditional cha-cha-cha and figure eight choreography strut alongside the more interpretational Kundalini dance.
What the scene looks like:
Honestly, you could run into ANYONE at a Nia class. Your fruit composting neighbor, or the type A Class Mom from preschool. A definite gathering of the tribes — these ladies come together to DANCE. It doesn’t matter how they look (seriously, every single size, ethnicity and age is represented), or what they wear (though you may want to experiment with a bell sleeve and wide-legged pant.) The common thread — they join together with the giddiness of a 5 year old getting ready for her big birthday party.
It’s built into the Nia program. The music is used to escort the mind, body and soul connection with a playlist that blends feel good melodies and easy to digest beats. There’s an underlying funkiness to lull the especially enthused bodies well into the groove. Humming right with the music is a whirlwind of Woo-Hoos, and other guttural sound effects emanating from deep within the group. Class anthem — I Wanna Dance With Somebody
The Rhythm of the room:
It’s a free-for-all. Yes, there are (super simple) choreographed steps to follow, but they don’t dictate the rhythm of the room. Nia is about the individual –there’s no one-size-fits-all rhythm to follow. You may be fully involved in a kick-ball-change while the woman next to you is fire-shimmying her heart out. Everyone is there to celebrate the dance of life. How does this happen? By channeling the music into self expression.
Sweat Inducing or Keepin’ it clean:
It really comes down to karmic distribution — what you give is what you get. And you decide how much to give. The well regarded woman in the wheel chair may have been confined to her seat, but she certainly didn’t hold back from exhibiting a dancers grace with her moves. Is the Nia class going to be your only workout for the week? Then I suggest you get down real low when you’re instructed to have your eyelashes kiss the earth. Do the worm dance, if you must. If you prefer to stay mellow — then by all means, stand tall during the eyelash to earth kiss! I gave it a solid dancers effort — I rolled on the floor like a worm, heartily punched out my YES and NO clamp-downs, and levitated high, like a helium balloon filled with joy. I most definitely needed a shower after class.
Mostly mind, body or soul workout?
You’ll get the full workout of mind, body and soul if you give 100% of yourself to the dance. This means letting go of inhibitions, releasing judgement and trusting completely in the power of the practice.
Have you tried Nia yet? And if so what was your experience?
Yes, we are spirit, body, mind. We caNNOT divorce any of it from the rest.
Why I Sweat:
Never tried this… but it certainly looks like something I would enjoy. I’ll have to look and see if there is anything in Augusta when I get there.
What a detailed, helpful, fun description, TT. I love how your writing about your adventures exudes genuine joy in moving! Haven’t tried a Nia class yet, but have considered it. This piece makes it sound even more appealing. When my dance classes slow down a bit this summer, I will definitely check the scene out. Question for you: do you find it challenging to seek out these dance/movement/yoga classes on your own (maybe you go with a friend and don’t mention) or do you like going it alone? Despite efforts to get folks to come with me, I almost always end up going to classes alone and sometimes find it tough to mobilize. I still go–cannot miss the movement opportunity–but it can be lonely. Just curious. Rock on, lady! xo
ST, I ALWAYS go to movement classes alone. It’s my time to enjoy and not worry or think about anyone else. It’s always been like this for me. And while movement (& these classes) are such a huge part of my life — I’m a bit of an outsider while I’m there. I”m not part of the *in* crowd or group of friends who take class. Occasionally I’ll run into someone I know from my regular life which is lovely. But for the most part I am on my own. My motivation to get to the class is always there — it’s the movement or activity that gets me motivated. It’s built into my daily schedule. I must move! Thank you so much for sharing and I so enjoy these conversations with you. xo
Definitely look into it, Jenny — it’s a worldwide program!
Indeed – it’s the goal to keep them connected! Thanks for sharing
Sounds great – thanks for sharing!!
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