Nia is the "feel good" fitness technique. The sensation of bliss in motion is your own internal, personal trainer! If it feels good, your body will tell you, "yes, this is what I need".
In Nia class, you'll learn to recognize this healing, energizing, relaxing, and empowering sensation that we Nia teachers call the Joy of Movement. As a result, you get a complete, holistic workout without stress.
We each have a life story in the structure of our bodies, old injuries for example, or patterns of tension. By being sensitive to what makes your body feel good, you are moving in your body's way, not a cookie-cutter imitation of the instructor or anyone else in the room. You are encouraged to personalize your Nia experience!
Many people have found Nia to be a very effective part of their physical therapy after injury or illness. Let your your Nia teacher know if you have some special conditions, such as arthritis in the knees, etc., and he or she can give you some pointers.
Nia is usually done barefoot to improve balance and stability. With bare feet, our proprioceptors give us more information. (Proprioceptors are special nerves which relay information to the brain about our movement and position.) Shoes "muffle" the messages from our feet, and can overshadow the subtle learning process that helps you develop stronger arches, more stable ankles and knees, and better posture. I encourage everyone to do at least part of the Nia class barefoot. However, follow your body's way: you are welcome to wear shoes, orthotics, arch supports, etc. if you need or prefer. (Ballet slippers, jazz shoes, or other flexible soft-soled shoes are good options). I often wear Yoga Stick-e socks to keep my feet warm and relaxed, while still allowing my toes to spread and my feet to have a solid connection with the floor. If you wear socks, they should have nubs to prevent slipping. Some people like to wear Bare Paws or Foot Undeez, which give a little padding for barefoot dancing.
Nia can also be done seated, a wonderful option for those in wheelchairs, or with knee or foot pain.
See the post below about Barefoot Conditioning for tips for healthy, happy feet!
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