Hi. I'm Tina.
Thanks for stopping by. One of my many interests and passions in life is in helping others find their way on their adventure to self discovery. For me, Nia is one of the many ways that I have found to nourish the mind, body and soul. My goal with this blog is to share information about Nia as well as, the wealth of information I have gathered from teachers on my own journey to living a healthful life. I hope you find this blog informative and helpful in finding your own path to well being.

Happy Spring! 

Time to put away the boots, dust off the bare feet and get ready for all those inevitable upcoming spring outdoor chores.
Here is your Fitness Class update for Spring 2015. Hope you can make it out to a class or two. Don't hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have about classes.

Have a great day and hope to see you in class :)

Where Did I put my Eatin' Pants?

Here are some ideas to keep you from overindulging during the winter months

  I don't know about you, but I find that as we get more into the wintery weather and shorter days, I start to get cravings for hearty comfort foods and more dangerously, those yummy sweet treats. As I walk down the holiday treat aisle at the grocery store, I can almost hear the French vanilla scones and dark chocolate peppermint wafers cat calling to me, like a row of construction workers on lunch break. “Hey, I know you wanna piece of me.” “Hey lady, like what’s in this package?” “Psst. Bite me, I'm smothered in chocolate!”
  Ugh! I try to avoid making eye contact with the rows of sweets as I manoeuvre my cart away from the endless displays. Crisis averted....but, what's more dangerous is when these goodies are decked out in a holiday spread, unwrapped and waiting for vulnerable hands (and tummies) at office and dinner parties.
  We can justify that it’s a special time of year, that one or two of those delights won’t hurt. But, one or two can turn to three and four and before you know it, the waistband starts to feel a little snugger.
  So what causes these cravings, especially in the winter? Well, there are many factors at play, not just holiday marketing. Simply put, it’s the chemicals in our brains that is causing all this havoc. Here’s a simplified explanation.
  Fewer hours of daylight during the winter months makes serotonin in the brain less active and may trigger cravings for comforting, sweet carbs. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, thought to be a contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. It’s the “feel good” mood enhancer, so too little of this chemical leaves you feeling tired and hungry. After you consume some “feel good” carbs, your brain desires more because after you eat them, your serotonin level rises.       Unfortunately, the sweet, heavy, bad for you carbs are the ones we usually reach for first. In the 1980’s, extensive studies were carried out by Richard Wurtman, M.D., at MIT. He found that "carbohydrate cravers" with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), might consume an additional 800 calories or more a day because they would satisfy their munchies with fatty carbs. If kept up for a week straight, that would add up to about a pound. Add the weeks before and after the holiday season and, Yikes! time to get out the stretchy pants.
  So, what are some strategies we can employ to help fend off some of those unwanted pounds, while still allowing us to enjoy the diverse foods we’re bound to be attracted to at dinners and parties over the holidays? 

  • Feeling blue? Why not try 20 minutes a day outside or near a bright window ramp up your serotonin levels?
  • Try munching on healthy carbs such as unprocessed or minimally processed whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans in the afternoon before it gets dark, to help ward off a feeding frenzy later. You’ll want to avoid eating a lot of protein, because that interferes with serotonin production.
  • Put yourself in a good mood during winter's dark days by choosing low-fat, healthy carbs like oatmeal with a sprinkle of brown sugar and cinnamon, or cold salads that incorporate whole grains like bulgur and barley. Because cravings tend to grow stronger as the day progresses, try to eat protein, dairy products, and vegetables for breakfast and lunch. Later in the afternoon, have a low-fat carb snack, such as popcorn or cereal. For dinner, some comfort foods like roasted potatoes, vegetable stew with barley, a whole-grain pasta dish or black bean soup are great options.
  • If there’s a buffet, taking a small sample of each delicacy will allow you to sample each selection. Moderation. Little tastes, instead of a loading up a platter full of each choice. If you REALLY liked something, live dangerously.....go back for a bit more.
  • At a gathering with a diverse selection of food, go for the special foods or flavours that you don't get a chance to experience every day.  
  • While at a party, don't make it too easy to eat reflexively. Position yourself  a few steps away from the food table so that you won't be tempted to eat just because it's there.
  • Don't forget to get some exercise. Even if you can't keep up your regular routine, resist the temptation to do nothing. Even a brisk walk outside or grabbing the snow shovel and throwing around a few piles of snow is better than doing nothing.

Just a few small adjustments can help avoid binger’s guilt and addition of those unwanted pounds, without having to deny yourself some of the season’s yummy indulgences. Enjoy!

Dare to Bare-Foot

  With summer approaching, sometime soon we hope, it will be time to retire the shoes and boots for the season and haul out the sandals. Since I have been doing Nia (and since I’ve gotten older), I’ve found that I am more often than not, kicking off my foot coverings and revelling in barefoot splendour. I find there’s nothing like airing out the feet, spreading the toes and feeling the earth beneath my soles, especially when the dogs are barking after a long hot day.
  As a result of practicing shoe-less activities my whole life (Nia, Yoga, Dance, Martial Arts) I’ve had the advantage of accumulating a good deal of information on the hazards and benefits of being barefoot. Of course, being barefoot – hiking, running or walking outdoors with nude feet is not for everyone and there are certainly precautions that one must follow when attempting to adapt to a barefoot lifestyle. However, there are numerous benefits and myths associated with engaging in barefoot activities. According to Daniel Howell, who holds a PhD in Biochemistry and teaches anatomy and physiology, being barefoot is good for us. In his book, “The Barefoot Book”, he espouses the benefits of kicking your shoes off more often.

Here are some interesting facts:
  - Contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to drive a motor vehicle while barefoot. It is legal throughout the United States, Canada and the UK to drive barefoot. The belief is that that driving barefoot increases the risk of an accident if bare feet slip off the pedals. Chances are that heels or flip flops can impede movement of the accelerator pedal.
  - It is not illegal to go barefooted in restaurants or malls. In most cases, it is only a dress code regulation and has nothing to do with any legislation from any Health Department - Federal or Provincial.
  - Going barefoot can actually help prevent vein problems since the motion you get from your unrestricted foot helps the leg muscles pump blood back to the heart. The motion may not be as effective for you if your foot is stuck in a shoe.
  - Here is an excerpt from an article appearing in Women's Sports & Fitness, August 1994:
A recent study demonstrates that the skin on the soles of your feet resists abrasions and blistering and that going barefoot is beneficial to the musculoskeletal structure of your feet and ankles. ... Kicking off your shoes can help prevent a host of foot injuries: bunions, heel spurs, and bone deformities, among others. "Shoes act like casts, holding the bones of the foot so rigid that they can't move fluidly," [Steven] Robbins [MD and adjunct associate professor of mechanical engineering at Concordia University, Montreal] explains. "The foot becomes passive from wearing shoes and loses the ability to support itself." ... - Cheryl Sacra
  - In 2007, researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, published a study titled “Shod Versus Unshod: The Emergence of Forefoot Pathology in Modern Humans?” in the podiatry journal The Foot. The study looked at180 modern humans from three different groups (Zulu, Sotho and European), comparing their feet to one another’s, as well as, to the feet of 2,000-year-old skeletons. The conclusion the researchers came to was that people had healthier feet prior to the invention of shoes. Among the modern subjects, the Zulu population, which often goes barefoot, had the healthiest feet while shoe wearing Europeans had the unhealthiest.
  - The sole of your foot has over 200,000 nerve endings in it making it one of the most sensitive parts of the body. Our feet act as earthward antennae, helping us to balance and transmit information to us about the surface we’re walking on. When we’re barefoot, we can feel the ground and we can naturally absorb the impact of each step with our bodies – these nerve endings sense precisely how hard or how soft our feet need to make contact with the earth. When we wear shoes we underestimate the amount of pressure on our soles and therefore can hit the ground harder.
  - For some with low arches or outright flat feet, wearing shoes habitually, often exacerbates the problem due to weak foot muscles. Forcing feet into shoes with arch supports against their natural shape, can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Going barefoot in comparison, strengthens the ligaments and tendons in the feet and helps to counter low arches or flat feet. Some people with fallen arches have reported that, once they allowed themselves to be barefoot on a more regular basis, their arches raised to normal levels. If you can walk barefoot and it doesn't hurt, don't worry about it. (If it does hurt, do see a podiatrist.)
  - Shoes can act as incubators; the temperature in a walking shoe can reach 120ºF/49ºC. They create a dark, moist environment for fungus and bacteria to thrive in....icky!! While a sock worn with a sneaker does help absorb moisture, the foot is still unable to breath and still remains surrounded by its own perspiration. This can cause all sorts of nasty things like, Athletes’ Foot (Tinea Pedis). Since this condition tends to be contagious; the foot now affected by this condition spreads these germs in areas where it is common to go barefoot such as locker rooms (that are also damp). Before you decide to shield your bare feet from the world, relax. A strong healthy sole generally develops immunity to these germs. Air and sunlight are not conducive to fungus or bacteria growth so any microorganisms that your feet are exposed to will die off if you are barefoot. Most viruses and bacteria are introduced into the body through the mouth, the nose, or the eyes – mucous membranes. So....unless you lick your feet.......there's not much of a chance of getting ill from a virus or bacteria you might to walk on.
  - To get feet in shape, go barefoot when you can. Foot muscles, ligaments, your soles and tendons are like any other parts of your body: you have to use them to develop them or they will atrophy. You can build up your feet - baring a medical condition - at any age. You may find that after an hour or so of being barefoot, or after doing a Nia class, the tiny muscles in your feet start to get sore. That’s because they are now moving in a range of motion that they are not used to. Don’t fret, it takes some time, but eventually your feet will adapt to the changes, much like your body gets used to doing a new exercise.
  - If the body was rigid and could not compensate for spinal readjustments, even a small heel of 1.5” would tilt the body forward about 15º. In this instance, about 60% of the body’s weight is supported by the forefoot bones and the load on the front of the knee is increased. In addition to exaggerating the curvature of the spine, an elevated shoe heel keeps the heel off the ground and can therefore cause the Achilles’ tendon to shorten in as little as 6 months. As a result, this can make going barefoot painful.
  - The size and shape of your feet change with age, body weight, and certain diseases such as heart problems, kidney disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
  - Proprioceptors are sensory nerve endings in muscles, tendons, and joints that provide a sense of the body's position in space. Except for the spine, the feet contain the most proprioceptive sensory receptors. Thick, shock-absorbing soles greatly reduce sensory feedback and therefore limit the quality of movement. Want to test how good your proprioceptive senses are functioning? Try balancing on one bare foot and close your eyes. If you must immediately put your hands out or foot down to stop from falling, then most likely, your proprioceptors are not functioning properly. Developing your proprioceptive sense is the first step on the journey towards awakening the skill of natural movement.
  - Did you know that many people don’t walk correctly? Walking incorrectly by slamming the heels (which are rigid) into the ground shocks the legs and knees. Walk by placing most of your weight on the balls of your feet rather than the heels. While you should still make your heels touch the ground first, shift most of your weight forward onto the balls of your feet, rolling all the way through your whole foot to your toes. The balls are flexible and will mould to the contour of the surface you’re on. They also have a wider surface area to distribute your body's weight more efficiently. Also, you should always step down and never slide or shuffle your feet unless when you know the surface you're dealing with.

  There are those who want to, or need to, wear foot coverings when participating in a Nia class. Of course, if you have medical foot issues, or are already in Orthotics, feel free to wear what is necessary for your foot comfort.

When going barefoot is not an option for you, there are some good minimalist alternatives. Many students find they feel more comfortable wearing socks in class. If you choose to wear socks to do Nia on a bare floor, make sure it’s a gripping yoga sock. There are many types available.

This Gaiam Yoga sock can be found at Chapters Book Stores in your area for about $15.
If you are taking classes outdoors and feel more comfortable with a more solid foot protection, look for footwear that allows the most freedom of movement. The shoe should bend, flex, and twist easily. Some options are better than others; however, it all comes down to personal preference.
I’ve heard good things about Merrell Glove Barefoot shoes selling for about $80.

“Nike Free” versions 3.0 to 7.0 is a somewhat viable option (minus the tall heel). A lower number means closer to "barefoot." 3.0 is the most flexible and least cushioned.

There are also the Vibram FiveFingers shoes.
The Vivo Barefoot Shoe is another natural walking shoe type available.
One Caveat: If you intend to adopt a barefoot shoe or drop your shoes all together while hiking or running it is important that you tone and recondition your feet. Milder pursuits such as walking around the house, Nia and Yoga are supportive activities for foot strengthening. If you have a moment, check out this helpful link, albeit sponsored by a shoe company, http://www.vivobarefoot.com/us/training for tips on easing into a barefoot lifestyle. For articles and videos on treating/preventing Plantar Fasciitis go to:  
From New York Magazine a great article discussing how we hurt our feet – with great pics:
  The design of the feet (The Body’s Way) reminds us that feet are meant to move freely. The 19 muscles in each foot naturally maintain flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability through the very movement they create. Moving your feet as if they are hands – wiggling and spreading your toes, grabbing with your toes as if picking up pencils, yawning and stretching your whole foot – keeps your feet healthy and sensory-smart. Feet are truly the hands that touch the earth.

Autumn is Approaching

A few weeks ago, I celebrated my 50th birthday. Having never been this age before, at least in this lifetime, I looked to friends who have surpassed this milestone, for some guidance to what to expect from this point on. I received diverse tidbits of wisdom, some which were reassuring, and others which were downright ominous.

"People will be drawn to the beauty and wisdom of your inner being, not just your outer physical form." OK, I can live with that.

"The shift of hormones in your body will cause you to come into your power and not take any c**p from anyone anymore." Gee, I thought that was called PMS.

"If you don't want to traumatize your children for life, you realize that you will never again be able to wear a swimsuit that shows more than your upper arms and lower legs." My mind flashed back to a time when visiting the beach with my parents and siblings. We found a picturesque plot of sand looking out over the sun-kissed water, to settle. It was perfect. Perfect until a middle-aged, pasty-skinned, pot-bellied, hairy-backed fellow in a bikini Speedo parked himself right in front of our exquisite spot. He then proceeded to bend over; butt pointed towards our Xanadu, and rolled out his towel on the sand. I still have nightmares.

The comment that stuck me as most astute was offered by an old friend of mine who sensed my trepidation at reaching the big 5-0. "At least you got this far." Yes, yes I did. An accurate statement, but not the reassuring words of wisdom I had been hoping for. "You are now entering the Fall season of your life. Enjoy it. Celebrate the fact that you will not longer be a naive 20 year old groping for answers. Celebrate the fact that you will no longer give a hoot about what anyone else thinks, because now you have the confidence to know what is best for you." It made sense. Hmmm. Worth thinking about. The season of Fall, had always conjured up images of things shrivelling up, succumbing to gravity and becoming more frigid as time passed. However, looking at Autumn in a positive light, it is a time of plenty when we reap the benefits of what we planted in the Spring and we tended through the Summer.

There's a band I've wanted to see since the 80's. When they were scheduled to play a concert in Canada, I decided this was the way I wanted to commemorate my 50th - with my close friends on a relaxing weekend retreat, and go see the show. So, we made it happen. At the venue, I was surprised to see all ages attending. An elderly couple that was seated beside me, were in their chairs calmly taking in the surroundings and chatting softly. I noticed that some younger people left their seats to experience the show stagefront. I decided that I wanted to be there too. So I asked my friends if they wanted to join me. Wow! What a rush. What rebels we were, not sitting in our pre-assigned seats. Maybe it was true what my insightful friend had said. I never would have thought of doing that before, but now I did. We made our way up to the stage and squeezed ourselves in-between the attendees half our age. The music was infectious and when I looked behind me, back to our seats, I saw that couple on their feet groovin’ away to the music. At the end of the concert, we headed back to our chairs to collect our things and asked if the couple enjoyed the concert. The lady gave an answer that spoke volumes to me. "At first I thought that I might look foolish if I stood up and danced, but then I just said s***w it! I don't care what I look like; I'm having a great time." Yes, age is just a state of mind, isn't it? We still can (and should) be playful at any age. Playfulness keeps us in a state of discovery.

And as the season of Fall approaches us, let’s try to remember it’s ok not to always worry about what others will think of us if we engage in some mirthful activites. We do ourselves a great diservice when we judge ourselves much more harshly than others do. Young or old, it doesn’t matter; treating oursleves to bit of fun, and trying something new will keep our bodies active, our minds supple and our spirits soaring.

Join me this September for Nia classes – where it’s ok to discover, be light-hearted and still access your power. Find the class schedules on my blog site, website or at http://www.nianow.com/ & http://www.niac.ca/.
You can also keep up with my Nia activites and other local Nia participants on Nia Alive! on Facebook.

So, how about that weather we're having?

Alright already! I'll apologize, even though I will maintain that I am so totally not to blame for this past weekend's weather. I still hear the cacophony of "I told you so's" ringing in my ears. In referencing back to my last post.....yes, I did indeed put the winter gear away and yes, yes, yes, we did experience sub-zero temperatures (and snow, in some parts) and potentially Kansas twister-type strength winds. Next year I promise I'll wait until July to put away the cold weather clothing.
On a different note, if you have a chance check out Best Health Magazine, May 2010 issue (page 36, to be exact). One of our Monday night participants, Yvonne Chypchar, wrote a wonderful little article of her experience with Nia and just happened to include Yours Truly in it. Now I realize that you will all want your magazine copies autographed by me as soon as possible, but I will undoubtedly have to organize some system to deal with the line-ups :^)  Until then, you can grab a peek via this link: Best Health Nia Article or at http://www.niac.ca/ under Press & Media.
I'd also like to say sorry for bailing out on class Monday. A wild and crazy weekend at a dance competition in the US of A, left me with a frozen neck and shoulder re-aggravated from a previous injury. I'm not sure what the trigger was. Perhaps it was the white-knuckle drive across a highway congested with huge 40 footers hurling waves of water onto the windshield as they sped by on one side of us while torrential rain and high winds pummeled the other side of the vehicle. Maybe it was the 2.5 hour wait at the Queenston Bridge, hoping the car didn't get picked up off the structure and hurled like a pebble being thrown across a wind-swept pond by a carefree child, all the while anticipating an unpleasant cavity search from a disgruntled and bored Border Guard that thought my passport photo was unappealing. Most likely, it was from the strain of being on constant vigilance for those autograph seekers :^)

Summer Classes are on the Way

Boy, time seems to have been fleeting by quicker than usual lately. It's hard to believe that 5 weeks have already passed in the Spring session of Nia! I don't know about you, but I find that when the weather is as terrific as it has been so early in the season, it's difficult to drag my sorry behind out of the outdoors and into the indoors. I also get really suspicious of what the weather may have in store for us for the rest of the season as the spring and summer wears on. I'm on the lookout for sub-zero temperatures, Kansas-style twisters, tennis ball sized hail stones pouring out of the sky in buckets....
Every spring, there is a gasp from my friends when I tell them I'm preparing to put the winter armour away. I'll always get an, "Are you sure you want to do that already?" Here's the story. Generally, once I have neatly packed the clothing away, our city will become the victim of some freakish Spring snowstorm. I have good news to report though. I put away the winter gear last week and there was no reports of snow....in Kitchener at least.
I did hear there was a hefty 3" snowfall up north though?
Just in case the weather is less than favourable this summer (and even if it's not) you may want to consider taking a Summer Nia session this year. I'll be holding a 6 week class (Jun-17-2010 - Jul-29-2010) at Rockway Centre, Thursdays @ 10am.
Please check out the "Calendar" tab on my blog to access the class and event calendar.

D & D for Haiti a Great Success!

 I have to apologize for not coming back to this blog to let everyone know how we did at the Dance and Donate Event for Haiti. So here, finally.....is a belated update.
We had a wonderful turnout...many more participants than I had expected. Thanks to all current students that convinced friends and family to come out and have a go and to those curious souls who came out to giver' a try. We received about $700 in cash donations and close to $400 in relief products!
Once again, thank-you everyone for your contributions of time, effort and materials.

SNAP Kitchener/Waterloo - KW Get Moving for Haiti - Nia Dance & Donate

Woo Hoo,
We got a mention in Snap Pictoral Magazine. Check it out.
SNAP Kitchener/Waterloo - KW Get Moving for Haiti - Nia Dance & Donate

Dance & Donate for Haiti - This Saturday

Well, here we are, smack dab in the middle of winter and the Groundhog has seen his shadow. I guess we’ll have six more weeks of winter to endure! I reacted to this information with a heavy sigh. The thought of mopping up boot puddles, wringing out soggy mittens and freezing draughts howling through my century old house, made me want to crawl back into bed, under my toasty warm sheets. My youngest, on the other hand, nearly jumped out of his underwear, ecstatic at the prospect of six more weeks of fort-building and ice-sliding mayhem.

In a contemplative frame of mind, I bundled up in my Snuggly (yes, I have one….but it was a gift), put on my gloves (did I mention that my house is draughty?) and put fingers to keyboard to reflect on my thoughts.

Fact is, things are good. Apart from all the day to day stressors that we all face, life as we know it, in the grand scheme of things, is really not all that bad. We have running water, food in abundance and shelter (albeit, breezy at times). We have all the basic needs we require. Others are not so fortunate. Foremost in our minds right now is the devastation in Haiti. However, the newness of the situation and the feelings of urgency to help will soon fade as other issues take the forefront in our lives and in the news. Fact is, Haiti has been a country that has a long history of poverty and violence. I know several people who have done relief work in Haiti over the years that relayed heart-wrenching stories about some of the over 300,00 orphans in the country before the quake. Even as the fervour of the moment diminishes, we must remember that there will be need in that country long after the news cameras have disappeared. On a positive note, the Haitians also have a history of resilience to their struggles that is awe-inspiring, something we can all learn from.

So, maybe we can help out, even in a small way. Here’s my little way of lending a hand.

I was thrilled when the City of Kitchener offered to work co-operatively with me on this event. We don’t have a fixed financial goal in mind, but any contribution, no matter how small will help. I look forward to seeing you this weekend!

Nia Helps Out - KW Get Moving for Haiti Nia Dance & Donate

I like to think of Nia as fitness with a conscience. One of the most powerful aspects of Nia is that it consists of a community of people who care about the the planet and make a commitment to help making the world a better place. The Nia community has taken the opportunity to raisie relief funds whenever there is a need. Once again, there is a need, and we'd like to contribute in a small way.
I've been lucky enough to have the City of Kitchener generously supply a space for us to hold a Dance for Haiti Nia Jam Fundraiser. So let's band together and support our community in giving what we can to help out the citizens of Haiti. I invite you to come by the Breithaupt Centre in Kitchener on Saturday February 13th, to have fun and get moving with a great purpose in mind.
Even if you can't participate, drop by, sneak a peek and feel free to make a donation. For more details, click on the "Events" tab on this page, and click on the event listing on the Calendar on the SoulDancing page for February 13th.

The Nia Workout

There are several places to obtain more wild and wacky information about Nia.
Here are some some of them.....
and of course my blog and http://www.souldancing.ca/

Get to know other Nia-philes or watch for my events and classes by checking out Nia Alive! on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=410347055012    Stop by the page to see some local Nia pictures and video as well.

So What Is Nia?

I just thought it fitting that my first blogpost would be about Nia®. For those of you that have experienced Nia before, I'm sure that you have your own unique description of what this technique is about. For those of you that haven't practiced Nia before, I'm sure you're wondering just what exactly you can expect when you go to a class. I'll pass on to you the definition that the Nia founders, Debbie and Carlos Rosas use to describe this fitness style they developed. For Nia in action please follow the links to some great videos.

About The Nia Technique® 
Created by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas in 1983, The Nia Technique combines movements and concepts from Martial arts, Dance arts and Healing arts, blending music, vocal sounding and self-expression into dynamic, hour-long routines. While most often practiced in hour-long classes, the true depth of the work lies in a rich body of education, which for many develops into a powerful life practice. With a philosophy rooted in “The Joy of Movement,” Nia teaches people of all lifestyles to use the sensation of Pleasure as a map toward physical, mental and emotional health.
Revolutionizing the world of fitness and wellbeing, Nia is today taught to over 100,000 students by over 2,200 Licensed Teachers in over 40 countries. With a “More-Gain, No-Pain” perspective, Nia bursts boundaries of age, gender and fitness levels, delivering a fun, effective and life changing practice for all walks of life.

From Nia’s Co-Founders, Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas...
For the past twenty-five years, we have devoted our personal and professional lives towards the dream of transforming fitness to include healing and lifestyle changes. Our approach to movement involves mindful integration of what we believe to be the four main elements of wholeness: the body, mind, emotions and spirit. Our initial vision in 1983 surprised even us. In taking off shoes, eliminating repetitive jogging and adding vocal sound and emotional expression, we found ourselves creating a new model for traditional fitness, expanding the choices available to all populations for reaching - and sustaining – optimum health and well being. Fluid and interactive, Nia’s balance of form and freedom provides an integrated, balanced workout, turning ‘working out’ into ‘bodywork’. Nia offers a new perspective on how, where and what you can do to improve your not only your health and well being, but your ability to experience Pleasure and Joy in each moment. We continue to explore and develop The Joy of Movement for future generations and look forward to sharing the Joy of Nia with you.

About Nia’s Creators…
Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas met in 1981. Fired with inspiration to develop a truly fun and effective movement practice, the choice to continue their personal paths together was inevitable. Together, Debbie and Carlos went deeper into their personal study of a vast range of Eastern and Western movement forms, including group exercise, martial arts, various dance techniques, body integration therapies and music theories. In 1983, they integrated this study into a body of work today practiced personally and professionally in 37 countries and growing: Nia. Ever evolving, exploring and developing this practice, Debbie and Carlos continue to teach, train and devote their lives to developing the Nia promise, Through Movement We Find Health.

What To Expect...
The first thing you’ll notice in a Nia class is the smiles, fun and genuine sense of Joy – in addition to the sweat. You’ll see bodies of all ages, shapes and sizes, and people from all lifestyles, professions and movement backgrounds. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, Nia provides a platform for exploring and aligning every aspect of the human experience. Every Nia class includes both structured and free-form experiences, a harmony of movements soft and powerful, sharp and fluid, linear and spiraling, explosive and relaxing. ‘Sounding’ and vocalizations are used to release tension, engage emotion and imagination, effectively engaging the physical body and increasing cardiovascular endurance. While Nia’s 52 Moves provide the choreographic foundation for each class, each person’s movement is guided in the voice of their own body.

What Nia® Offers...
For many people, Nia results in a life-changing process of growth and discovery. While best known by its structure as a one-hour workout class, Nia is ultimately a philosophy that can develop into a vibrant lifestyle choice. The foundation of The Nia Technique lies in what Nia calls The Body's Way; the science of observing the physical design of the body, using this as a map to dictate proper function and use, and using the sensation of pleasure as a guide. Nia integrates core techniques from three different forms of: martial arts, dance arts and healing arts and seamlessly integrates them into a single motivating and sustainable practice, inviting people to move with Dynamic Ease through every aspect of life.

Nia is:
• Balanced, grounded cardiovascular fitness
• Versatile, exhilarating, multidimensional and effective
• Fitness developed through the sensation of Joy and Pleasure rather than effort and pain
• A body, mind, spirit fitness and lifestyle practice developed through playful, conscious movement
• Celebration of the body, inquiry of the mind, expression of spirit and emotion
• Practiced in bare feet, but invites all to participate regardless of special needs or orthopedic requirements 
• A program that honours your body's strengths and limitations and encourages you to work in that power without fear of judgement 

Nia results in:
• Increased strength, flexibility and power
• Increased balance and range of motion
• Increased comfort and energized ease in the body
• Improvement in breathing and vocalization
• Increased confidence and creativity
• A stronger connection to and awareness self; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually

Nia is for:
• Athletes, dancers, yoga practitioners, martial artists, fitness and health instructors
• Children, the elderly, the disabled, the recovering
• Couch potatoes seeking a fun way to get fit
• Therapists, doctors, psychologists, educators
• Everyone!

So there it is. Hopefully this has shed some light on What The Nia Technique is all about. You can also stop by the national Nia site at http://www.nianow.com/ or the Canadian chapter at http://www.niac.ca/. Remember, Nia has to be experienced to be understood. Contact me any time to try a free class.

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