Laurie Bass, Nia dancer, teacher, somatic practitioner and yoga teacher writes about how to come to a Nia class. This photo and article are from her website: Laurie Bass: Living Well
Nia’s way of getting fit, dancing barefoot, “like nobody’s watching” is a tune up for body, mind and spirit. If you are new to Nia, you may have noticed a very passionate community of movers around you. To put you at ease, here are 7 simple tips to maximize your experience as a beginning student:
1. Relax. Breath. Welcome to your practice. Enjoy being new to something. Start with smaller movements, allowing your body to adjust to moving the Nia way. Allow your breathing to support you. As you learn the steps, add range of motion and intensity when you feel ready.
2. Be in the moment. In Swahili, Nia means moving with purpose. Dedicate each moment to moving with the power, pleasure and purpose of being in your body – in the NOW. Minimize your inner critic, judge, or saboteur, maximize your sense of adventure.
3. Tune in. Always listen to your body. Allow Nia to move you from the inside-out toward pleasure, “body-based” sensations. If a move doesn’t feel right for you, tweak or adapt it – move smaller, slower or take fewer steps. Always move away from pain. Movement is medicine.
4. Start with your feet. Capture the rhythm of the feet and leg movements first, then slowly add the core, arms and hand motions. Keep your feet under hips and your joints “spring-loaded” to ease your knees. Over time, your body will learn the language of Nia, the language of the body and love the dynamics infused into the movement.
5. Go Barefoot. Experience the 7000 nerve endings in your feet to help you move in safe and efficient ways from the ground up. While barefoot is best, you can wear shoes with a soft flexible sole for comfort or support for medical purposes. Moving barefoot develops foot strength and whole body balance.
6. Seek “Dynamic Ease.” Never force a motion. Avoid getting breathless or fatigued. Move within your own comfort zone. Move with energy efficiency.
7. Express Yourself. This is your dance. Express your own unique rhythm and body language within the moves. Be jazzy, luscious, lyrical, snappy or sensual. Most of all, be yourself and have fun.
Visit the class finder at NiaNow.com to begin your journey!
Laurie is a creative mover, athlete, artist, yogi, somatic educator, wellness coach and member of the Nia Training Faculty. She is a teacher-trainer of the Nia White Belt and Nia 5 Stages programs. Her collegiate education includes degrees in Mathematics and Psychology from Pacific University. Laurie lives near Portland, Oregon, home to the international headquarters for the Nia Technique where she teaches classes, workshops and holds trainings both locally at StudioNia, home to Nia international headquarter in Portland and global, traveling to Australia, New Zealand and Europe.