Do you want to join a Nia class but have no idea what to expect?
More about what is Nia here
Here are tips for stepping into a Nia class for the first time.
Keep an open mind and relaxed body.
Give your self a chance to experience something new. If you don’t like the first song or the moves felt weird, don’t leave or stop moving, stay with your feelings and wait until the end of class to really decide if you like it or not.
Many students come to me after class saying that they are glad they stayed until the end of class. They felt awkward at first, they had no idea how to follow or how to stay with their own body but after a while they found themselves connected and were able to enjoy the class.
Stay in the moment with intention
The first cycle in a Nia class is focus and intention. The teacher will share that with students, but you can also have your own personal intention when you come to class. It can be trying something new, having more flexibility or just wanting to move your body.
I love how Nia in Arabic means intention, and that is what it is all about, to move with awareness and intention to find healing in the body, mind, emotion and spirit.
Move like no one is watching
Really no one is watching! A Nia class is a safe space to find your freedom of expression, be uncoordinated, loos the rhythm then find it again, use your voice laughing, singing or even shouting. Nia is a sensory based practice, you are encouraged to sense your body moving not just do the move.
As a teachers I look at the students moving during class not to check if they are doing it right or if it looks pretty! I do that to be able to connect with the students and know when I need to simplify or go slowly. A Nia class is an organic moving experience, it is a fine balance of form and freedom. There is a choreography, steps and music, but it takes it’s own shape and form every class. As teachers, we are encouraged to practice tight but loos, to have an intention to follow certain steps but allowing spontaneous movement to take place and that is when the magic of moving in a body happens.
It is not a dance class
Dance arts (jazz, Duncan and modern) are part of the movement forms Nia inspires from. You don’t need any experience in dancing to be able to move in class. With choreography, if you feel confused or challenged you can start with your feet and follow the base moves, as you feel comfortable add core and upper extremities moves. Don’t stop…keep moving.
It is all about pleasure
Nia invited you to connect with the Joy of movement, it is a universal energy that moves through us, we just need to bring our focus to our sensations and connect to it. If you feel pain or discomfort week your movement until you find the pleasure again.
Adapt the class to your needs
Nia honors your body’s way. You can walk instead of turing, you can sit if it is painful to stand, you can even pull a chair and sit while still moving your body. Only you can know when it is safe to push your comfort zone to expand or when it is enough and you need to stop.
Connect to your emotions to enhance your experience
Nia is a holistic mind-body practice. Emotions are part of who we are and it influences how we move. We use movement to express how we feel; when we are happy we open our arms, when sad we lower our head and shoulders, when excited we jump and clap. When you come to class pay attention to how your feel and use movement to express how you feel.
Nia has provided me with a safe space to express my emotions, all my emotions. Kicks and punches helps me express my anger and frustration whereas the shimmy and jazz brings out the dancer and sassy in me.
Hard to explain easy to experience
It is not easy to fully explain the Nia class experience without trying it. When I stepped into my first class I had no idea what to expect. I met the teacher and she said the best why to know is to experience it, and I did! i don’t recall now the music or the choreography but I knew I want to go back. And I did again and again until I decided to take the white belt and eventually start teaching.
For classes in your area check NiaNow