Nia is for everyone, from the unfit to athletes and dancers. No dancing or exercise experience is needed. Nia can be adapted to give everyone the chance to challenge their co-ordination, grace, endurance and flexibility.
Anyone with a desire to move can do Nia, regardless of age or fitness level.
How is Nia different from other dance and fitness classes?
Nia differs from other movement forms in that it not only engages the body, but also the mind, emotions and spirit by recognising each person’s uniqueness. Nia draws on movements from dance, martial arts and healing arts (such as yoga) to give a total body workout. All moves, steps and stances are designed to move the body in the way it is designed to move.
Unlike a traditional exercise class, in which participants follow (or try to follow) the teacher’s moves exactly, a Nia class provides space for each participant to express themselves individually, to interpret the music and to move in their own way. Participants are free to use their imagination, explore new movements, experiment and have fun.
Each class has time for free dance, where participants dance and move with complete freedom to the music. At other times, the base move or steps will be fixed (providing the form) while the upper body and arms will be moved in each participant’s own way (the freedom). Teachers guide the class by using visual cues such as ‘imagine your arms are scarves’, and ‘float like a feather’.
How does Nia work and what can I expect in a class?
Nia uses three tools to stimulate, inspire and create positive change: Music, from a broad spectrum of styles, is used to inspire and to move to. Movement integrates your body, mind, emotions and spirit.The magic is created by you! How you do what you do, how you interact and connect and how you create.
What results can I expect from doing Nia?
With regular classes, you will feel a steady improvement in fitness, endurance, flexibility, agility, strength, and muscle tone. You will also find that you are more aware of your body and that you move in more efficient and comfortable ways with better posture, grace and ease. Participants can experience health benefits such as easing chronic back ache, weight loss and relief from stress and tension.
Each class is an hour long and follows a 7-cycle structure:
- Setting a focus which will guide the class.
- Stepping consciously into the class.
- Warm up: gentle moves to gradually warm up the body and to prepare for increasing effort and intensity.
- Get moving: There is an increase in intensity, speed and range of motion, but within each person’s ability. Breathing and heart rate increase.
- Cool down: the intensity gradually decreases, returning breathing and heart rate to normal levels.
- Floor play involves movement on the floor, including core work, stretching and relaxation.
- Stepping out, the class consciously ends by moving into the next activity.
Is Nia a religion or does it have religious connotations?
Nia is not a religion, nor does it have any religious connotations or connection with any personal, social, political or religious beliefs.
Who teaches Nia and what are the teacher qualifications?
The Nia teacher qualification structure follows that of the martial arts, from entry level white belt through green, blue, brown and black belt. Accredited Nia trainers conduct trainings as seven-day intensives. A teacher must have at least one year between belts. In order to teach, a teacher must receive a license, renewable annually, with the Nia Technique head office in Portland, USA.
In addition, they encourage teachers to participate in online continuing education, to attend workshops and to join in other teachers’ classes. For your safety and peace of mind, Nia teachers must have CPR training.
Where can I find a Nia teacher in my area?
You can find all active, licensed Nia teachers on the Nia International website www.nianow.com. In South Africa, you can find Nia teacher details on www.niasouthafrica.co.za and in Gauteng, visit www.niagp.co.za.
What do I wear for a class and do I need any special equipment?
You have to do nia bare foot (unless you need to wear shoes, then in a light, flexible shoe such as a jazz shoe or ballet pump). Furthermore, wear any comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely and makes you feel good. You don’t need any special equipment. However, for your comfort, you may want to use a yoga mat or towel for the floor play. Bring your bottle of water and a sweat towel.
Where can I find more information about Nia?
You can visit the Nia International website www.nianow.com for a wealth of information about Nia including music and video downloads and an online store for Nia clothing and accessories. You can also sign up for a monthly newsletter.
Where and when do you hold your classes?
Lourensford Wine Estate,
Somerset West, 7130