Nia Testimonial: John, Nia Student

Nia Testimonial: John, Nia Student

New York, United States

About me:

Student, teacher, activist (civil disobedient, nonviolence trainer, IDollarNY.org), hiker.

Why do you practice and/or teach Nia?

It's a great way to exercise!

Where and with whom do you take Nia classes and/or trainings?

I take classes at West Side YMCA in New York with Jayne Mielo.

What is one thing most people don't know about Nia?

1) I don't think Nia is widely known and 2) It can be done (joyously) outdoors.

What tip can you give someone who is considering trying Nia for the first time?

Try it. Relax and laugh if/when the steps confuse you at first.

What's the experience of Nia like?

Nia involves moves, music and magic.

Exercise routines can be, well, routine. Nia breaks the mold. Minute-by-minute, my instructor leads us through a shifting pattern of movement vocabulary drawn from modern dance, martial arts and yoga. The choreography fits the music and its tempo, energy and mood.

Right foot forward as we raise our arms. Release energy strong or gentle, quick or slow. Pull tight or stretch long, focus inward or participate in a group movement; these are Nia moments. The constant change wakes me up and challenges my mind. Balancing is another test that keeps me tuned in as we jump or glide around the space. Feeling my own energy and feeling the group’s. I join in as the group fills the room, holding the space, creating in space, together.

We move and stop, then unfold or explode. Hold that pose for an instant, but then move, move, move. I notice my breath as I keep up with the playful spirits. Such lively weaving makes the hour pass quickly. We trust that just about every part of our body will be engaged in this voyage, and that the leader will often remind everyone these movements need to be adjusted to meet each body's needs.

For each step or pose, there are several possible degrees of challenge. In this way, the class is a unique experience for everyone. From triathlon athletes to folks of more years, it’s up to us to tailor the steps to our energy and ability. We can each decide for ourselves what the best workout will be, yet the group moves together in lines and circles, waves and curves. Together we do Nia.