Of course, this inner mind-body connection concept is nothing new. It has been successfully utilized in eastern cultures for thousands of years to achieve many health benefits including weight loss, physical healing, and strength. However it has really only been in the last decade or so that the western culture, as a whole, has accepted these practices. Most notably this has been seen through the use of yoga, which has become a widely recognized and practiced form of exercise.
However, the latest “working in” trend, Nia , is something truly unique.
The Nia Way
Nia, originally NIA (acronym for non-impact aerobics), is a form of exercise which incorporates dance, martial arts and eastern healing practices all into one. The basis of this exercise is to listen to the body's inner voice to reveal one's own natural ability and function, rather than following structured and mechanical traditional exercise routines.
The Nia class is an hour-long dance class which is based on 52 different moves. The moved are divided into three parts: the base, core and upper extremities. However, Nia is not a one-class-fits-all. Beginners of Nia start at White belt, and gradually progress to Green, Blue, Brown and Black. In each belt participants are let in on more and more of the 13 principles of Nia. The final principle is given only to those who achieve Black belt.
Don't let these levels scare you from trying this intriguing form of exercise. Anyone (literally anyone) can be successful with Nia because it does not rely on physical ability, but guides you to learn how to listen to your own body and find your own physical potential. The leader of the class will show you though the 52 moves, which include pelvic circles, punches, sumo wrestler stances, and step combinations.
Give Nia a try! You may find that you too will want to give up your working out, for working in.