To ring in the New Year, take a new approach to your workout routine. The Clifton Cultural Arts Center (CCAC) has added Nia to their winter class schedule.
Meaning "the body’s way," Nia is an exercise that draws from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts. Nia derives from three techniques in each of these three different art forms, making nine influencers for Nia.
"Through movement we find health," serves as Nia’s tagline, and this talks to Nia’s dual focuses on movement and health. To emphasize movement, all Nia classes integrate music into the workout. "Nia combines the magic of beautiful music with individualized movement," Nia instructor Mary Singler says.
The key word is "individualized." As a class participant, you follow the class structure, but you are encouraged to move "the way your body is intended to move," Singler says. In fact, this aspect served as one of the drawing factors for Singler. "It was such a relief to sink into the way my body was supposed to that day," Singler says of her first Nia experience. With this freedom, a class can be as diverse as having a 17-year-old athlete while simultaneously having someone with a double-hip replacement.
Even the class structure seems to have more freedom with its fun, quirky nature. For example, while many Western fitness classes have exercises like crunches, Nia replaces this floor work with "floor play," Singler says. So Singler might have you and other class participants throw and catch imaginary balls, shimmy your shoulders, or do any number of imaginative exercises.
Nia isn’t all fun and games, though. By enjoying the entertaining experience, you can make your individualized workout anywhere from a mild to intense cardio-respiratory workout, Singler says. But even in an intense workout, participants all follow the same general movements that get easier to remember and execute with each class.
To test the Nia waters, head to CCAC between 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 9 for a free winter class sampler. Classes will start the following week, with Nia classes from 6 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Nia classes are $10 a class or $6 a class for students and senior citizens, and class passes are available for a discounted rate on multiple classes. To learn more about these class passes or Nia in general, head to CliftonCulturalArts.org or call the center at (513) 497-2860.
Photo coutesy of Mary Singler through Nia Technique