General Nia FAQs
What is Nia?
Nia is a sensory-based movement lifestyle that leads to health, wellness and fitness. It empowers people of all shapes and sizes by connecting the body, mind, emotions and spirit. Classes are taken barefoot to soul-stirring music in more than 45 countries worldwide. Nia trainings are designed for those seeking personal enrichment and/or professional development. Every experience can be adapted to individual needs and abilities.
Who created Nia?
Nia was created in the early 1980’s by Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas, who were, at that time, fitness professionals in Marin County, California, searching for a better, more meaningful way to workout and stay fit.
How does Nia work?
Nia draws from disciplines of the martial arts, dance arts and healing arts. Every class offers a unique combination of 52 moves that correspond with the main areas of the body: the base, the core and the upper extremities. Stiff beginners and highly fit athletes alike can adapt Nia to meet their needs by choosing from three intensity levels. Consecutive trainings collectively explore 52 principles for personal enrichment and professional development.
What is the science behind Nia?
Nia is based on The Body’s Way, which means using the body’s natural design to improve function. The biochemistry, joint and muscle action are triggered using imagination, music, emotion and vocal sound. Movements work with and against gravity and include: abduction, adduction; flexion, extension; eversion, inversion; dorsal flexion, plantar flexion, pronation and supination; horizontal flexion, extension; rotation inward, outward, upward and downward, elevation, depression, and circumduction. Nia addresses the body’s five main sensations: flexibility, strength, mobility, agility and stability and focuses on conditioning the body and the nervous system.
How does Nia differ from other “mind-body” programs?
Everything in Nia is perceived, experienced and processed through the body. Nia uses the body to develop Sensory IQ wisdom. The mind is used to imagine, witness, focus and direct attention. The emotions are used to personally engage the individual with activity, thereby creating the coupling effect needed to trigger the mind-body connection. Spirit is used to honor the uniqueness of each individual. Nia uses emotion and sound to condition the body and nervous system. Nia’s teaching style emphasizes internally directed guidance, uses visual and sensory language, user-friendly choreography, that can be adapted to fit personal needs, and includes three stages of learning for all levels of ability.
Where can I find Nia?
Nia is taught in nearly every state in the US, as well as in 45 other countries around the world. Nia is offered in a variety of settings – from gyms and fitness centers to the finest spas and resorts. You’ll find Nia in: Fitness and Health Clubs, Yoga Centers, YWCA’s, Pilates Studios, Non-Exercise Facilities, Healing and Wellness Centers, Senior Centers, Retreat Programs, Summer Camps, Personal Growth and Transformation Seminars and Conferences, HMO Programs, Corporate Wellness Programs, Sport Vacations, Teen and Inner City Youth Groups, University PE, Theater, and Pre-med Departments, Dance & Martial Arts Schools, Spas, Hospitals, Prisons, and Drug/Alcohol & Cardiac Rehabilitation Centers – to name a few!
Who takes Nia?
People of all ages, with varied interests, from all walks of life practice Nia. People who love to move, are passionate about change, and desire a conscious, fun, expressive and pleasurable way to get healthy and fit while enriching their lives.
What are the benefits of taking Nia?
- Increase the pleasure of living in your body
- Facilitate weight loss and proper weight maintenance
- Strengthen muscles, improve muscle tone, and increase muscle definition
- Calm the mind and relieve stress
- Improve endurance
- Increase grace and flexibility
- Balance the autonomic nervous system
- Improve posture and even increase height
- Improve organ function, particularly that of the heart and lungs
- Enhance sensory awareness
- Heighten sexual function
- Build reservoirs of chi energy
- Alleviate emotional problems, including depression, anxiety, and stress
- Improve circulation of blood and improve lymphatic drainage
- Strengthen immunity
- Improve concentration and cognitive function
Does Nia require special equipment?
No. Nia requires no equipment at all. In fact, Nia is designed to be done in bare feet. If you choose to dance with shoes, we suggest a thin, soft-soled shoe.
Nia and You FAQs
Do I need to pre-register before taking a class?
You can register here for some classes, but you don’t have to. Simply show up a few minutes before a scheduled class to fill out the form (Click here to download a Suzworks Liability Release form). Studios may each have an additional release form.
What if I am out of shape? Overweight?
Definitely do Nia! The beauty of Nia Technique is that it’s adaptable to all level of fitness. In a Nia class, the instructor demonstrates how to do the moves at different levels of exertion/intensity. You are then invited to do the movement in the way that feels best to you, at your fitness level.
I really need an intense, cardio workout. Will Nia be enough for me?
As just mentioned, there are different exertion levels to which Nia moves can be practiced. Therefore, a Nia Technique class can be as intense an exercise cardio-wise as you want it to be. Make no mistake about it; Nia Technique was designed to be a workout.
Can I do Nia if I’m pregnant?
As with any form of exercise during pregnancy, we’d advise careful consultation with your primary care provider. However, Nia Technique is inherently a low-impact form of exercise where you can self-regulate your exertion level. Because of that, many women practice Nia Technique well into their pregnancies.
I am not very coordinated and don’t know how to dance. Can I still do Nia Technique?
You do not have to have a dance background or any training in dance. Probably 99% of our students don’t have such a background. Similarly, there isn’t a minimum ability level when it comes to Nia Technique, either. There is no right or wrong way to do it, and as with any sport or exercise regimen, the joy grows rapidly as you “get” the movements.
Is it required to do Nia barefoot?
Required… no. Preferred… absolutely yes! Sometimes there are physical reasons not to practice Nia Technique barefoot. If you have any concerns, discuss your personal situation with the instructor. However, doing Nia Technique barefoot will significantly help you strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of your feet, legs and trunk. As a result, practicing Nia Technique barefoot helps you with body stability; reducing the likelihood of a fall and injury. There’s also an intangible and yet unmistakable connection with the Earth; a grounding that happens when you’re barefoot.
Is Nia Technique for men and women?
Nia Technique is for both men and women, although the majority of the students tend to be women; probably 5% of our students are men. Nia students follow the instructor’s lead on what movements to perform. The energy in the class is respectful and sacred towards oneself, towards the instructor and towards one’s fellow students.
Can someone with “bad” knees do Nia Technique?
One of the guiding ideals of Nia is what we call “The Pleasure Principle” using comfort and ease as a way to move and get fit. Nia Technique is taught in such a way that you are guided and empowered to make your own movement choices moment to moment. As such, you’ll probably find Nia Technique to be gentler on your joints than exercises which feature repetition such as jogging, tennis, aerobics and so on.