wholife logo
Wholeness & Wellness Journal
of Saskatchewan Since 1995
  Home | Events | Classifieds | Directory | Profiles | Archives | Subscribe | Advertise | Distribution | Our Readers | Contact

Volume 15 Issue 6
March/April 2010

Know and Love Your Lymphatics!

The Great Milk Debate

Nia, The Joy of Movement

Sask Walk for Health 2010

Reclaiming My Joie de Vivre

Angels in Action: Only Kindness Matters

Tao of Female Sexual Energy


The Joy of Movement
by Rusty Dixson
Rusty Dixon

Nia (nee-ah) is known as the “love your body workout”. What does this mean? Every fitness form I was familiar with I had done because I didn’t love my body and wanted a better one. This started me on a quest to find out more.

I had read magazine articles about Nia that described dance-like movements done in bare feet, yet it was a fitness class. The articles explained that Nia moves come from dance, martial arts, and the healing arts such as yoga. Photos showed women and men swirling around, everybody doing something different. Then other photos showed them doing movements in unison. The most fascinating aspect of the photos was the look of absolute joy on the participants’ faces. Questions were racing through my head: “What is this?” “How is it taught?” “Where is it?” And then... “I want it!”

In 1983, Debbie and Carlos Rosas, the founders of Nia, headed a very successful aerobics company in California. They first started exploring other movement forms when it became evident the aerobic industry was riddled with injuries, burnout, and pain. Their first area of exploration was Tae Kwon Do. As they learned more about this martial art, they incorporated it into their classes. To balance the power of Tae Kwon Do, they added the softness of T’ai Chi and the graceful circular movements of Aikido. But the most innovative change they made was to conduct the classes barefoot, thus eliminating what was then the main staple of aerobic exercise, repetitive jogging up and down.

As they worked these changes into their classes, Debbie and Carlos felt something else was missing. “Where’s the fun?” The answer to that question was dancing is fun! The search for fun led them to explore modern dance for creativity, jazz dance for pizzazz, and Duncan Dance for light airy movement. They were careful to emphasize that there is no wrong way to dance. They encouraged participants to move “your body’s way”.

Moving the body the way it is meant to be moved led them to the healing arts, such as yoga, to help heal the body. They also explored The Alexander Technique which stresses effortless movement, and The Feldenkrais Method, which teaches people how to break old physical patterns and reprogram their body’s neuro-pathways.

Nia now has nine classic movement forms, three from each of the martial arts, the dance arts, and the healing arts, creating a synergy that seemed to solve every problem they applied to it. Nia improves stability, agility, balance, flexibility, strength, endurance, cardiovascular condition, and relaxation. It encourages inner exploration and self-guided healing. Nia teaches us to listen to our bodies and move in a way that feels good. If it hurts, don’t do it. In Nia, this is known as the Pleasure Principle. Nia had moved beyond mere physical fitness and evolved into a “mind, body, spirit” experience.

I found Nia in Regina in the spring of 2005. At the first opportunity, I drove to Regina from Saskatoon knowing I had to drive back the same night. I had no idea what to expect as I walked into the class at the YWCA. There were about 11 women there of various ages and sizes. They were impressed I would drive all the way from Saskatoon and back just to try the class. They told me I would not be disappointed. I wasn’t. The instructor was a young woman named Reagan, who now lives and teaches Nia in Yorkton. She lead us through an amazing series of movements starting out slowly to lovely music. As the class progressed the tempo gradually increased giving us a good cardiovascular workout. The music was uplifting and the moves were easy to follow. She threw in some free dance, instructing us to take the movement and do it however we wanted around the room. We were dancing whether we knew it or not! We ended on mats with stretching and relaxation. I left the class refreshed from a good cardiovascular workout and my spirit soaring. I had found what I had been looking for. I almost flew home to Saskatoon, barely feeling the two-and-a-half hour drive.

I received my certification as a Nia instructor in Calgary in September, 2006, and started teaching classes in Saskatoon in January, 2007. I have been teaching 3 to 4 classes a week since then. After teaching for 3 years, I would say Nia delivers what it promises. It can be done at almost any fitness level. I have had all ages and a wide range of fitness levels in my classes. Your instructor will demonstrate different levels and how you can change the movement to suit your body. You are encouraged to work at your own comfort level in all aspects of Nia. Your comfort level with free dance may be to just walk around the room. That’s fine. If you require shoes to workout, that’s fine too.

Nia is the perfect Mind Body Spirit workout. The mind is engaged, the body is moving, and the spirit is soaring! My intention as I teach Nia is to provide a class where women and men can experience the wonderful Joy of Movement.

Rusty Dixson teaches Nia at The Studio at Oshun House, 912 Idylwyld Dr., N., Saskatoon, Mon. and Wed. evenings 7:00 pm-8:00 pm, and Tues. mornings 10:00 am-11:00 am. To register call (306) 343-1799 or visit www.oshunhouse.com. To find out more about Nia visit www.nianow.com or www.niasaskatoon.blogspot.com.


Back to top

Home | Events | Classifieds | Directory | Profiles | Archives | Subscribe | Advertise
Distribution | From Our Readers | About WHOLifE Journal | Contact Us | Terms Of Use | Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2000- - Wholife Journal. All Rights Reserved.