Fitness Craze: Nia

By: May 06, 2011

Have you heard about "Nia" yet? Here's what you need to know about the latest fitness trend.

It seems that every month another fitness craze hits the streets – Zumba, Body Pump, Salsa Aerobics – it almost makes you exhausted trying to keep up with it all! With over 70% of women unhappy with their body shape, or in constant battle with their weight, any way to keep fit that involves fun, music and, most importantly, variety should be welcomed.

Enter the latest craze: Nia.  This fitness program can really claim to be a bit of everything and has enough variety to keep people going! Based on a number of fitness disciplines,  Nia integrates NINE movement forms! These are jazz  dance, Alexander technique, modern dance, Duncan Dance, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, yoga, Tai Chi and lastly the Work of Moshe Feldenkrais.  For those not familiar with Moshe’s work, he was an Israeli physicist who was trained in judo, and believed that the human function could be improved by self awareness through movement.  So now you know!

As an extra bonus, Nia is done barefoot, so no need to pay out hundreds of dollars for new trainers!

The founder of the Nia movement, Deborah Rosas, suffered a lot of skin disorders and physical discomforts throughout her childhood and teenage years.  She studied exercise, nutrition, anatomy, physiology, exercise science and psychology, and finally she and partner Carlos Ayarosas came up with this holistic fitness regime, that doesn’t just benefit the body, but the mind and the spirituality of the individual – so that every part of the body is in harmony during the movements, thus leaving you relaxed, and centered, as well as energized and fit.

The strict regime of Nia is structured in much the same way as karate, in that as you go through stages to achieve a “belt”, with five to master in all. The White Belt has 13 principles to learn, but overall promotes the experience of the self through the body and in the physical realm.  The next stage is the Blue Belt – again, 13 principles to master, this time with the focus on relationships and communication, using the body as a tool.  Master this, and you’re on to the Brown Belt, which should leave you almost transcendental, as you should now be able to enjoy the power of movement “in the zone” and focusing on your own energy field, whilst mastering a further 13 principles.

If by this stage you are feeling up for it, you can gain the green belt for the ability to teach all this to others.  By the fifth stage, when you have aligned your physical, philosophical, mental and spiritual energies, you will be able to attain Black Belt status, in which you “let go of all you know and enter the River of the Unknown, a place of infinite and endless creativity”. 

As regular exercise goes, there can’t be anything out there as varied and holistic as Nia, why not find out if there is a class near you?