Tips for getting the most out of your Nia workout
by Susan Tate
- Do not eat for at least 2 hours before a Nia class. Bring water to class and be sure to stay hydrated.
- Wear comfortable clothing that you love moving in—and we do Nia in bare feet or in soft-soled shoes (that are only for indoor floors). Be comfortable!
- LISTEN to your body’s wisdom. Start easy. Be gentle. Keep up with YOU, not anyone else. Feel free to just focus on the leg motions first and then add the arms. Nia is different than other fitness classes. It is meant to teach you about you, physically and emotionally. Keep your interest and fascination UP and your self-criticism and judgment DOWN!
- Don’t be surprised if you feel emotional following a Nia class or later on in the day. Sometimes these movements have a way of gently digging into the muscle memory (similar to a good massage) and it results in emotions floating to the surface. Be kind to yourself, lovingly witness your emotions with love and then watch when they pass. It’s always okay to have the tears (of grief or joy) come up and out during a Nia class too.
- Lead with your heel when stepping to the front or side. Lift your feet during turning movements.
- There’s never a need to force a motion. Nia isn’t the old-fashioned “no-pain no gain” but rather the “all pleasure-all gain” way of working out that your body will love. If your body doesn’t relate well to a movement, stop and adjust to always move within your own challenge and comfort zone. This puts positive, loving information into your muscle memory. Your cells will love it!
- Make the movement become an expression of you. This is YOUR workout! Nia is about JOY! No two people in the class should ever look the same!
- Be sure to use belly breathing. Fill up your belly first, then your ribs laterally expand outward and then your chest and clavicle rise as you inhale fully.
- Use your arms to express a feeling, an emotion, or mood. Using your arms elevates your heart rate so be careful not to overdo it. You will find that using your voice (in Nia we call it “sounding”) will stimulate and strengthen your core.
- Take at least three classes a week to obtain optimal cardiovascular fitness. Nourish your body with Nia, healthy food, loving self-talk, and restful sleep and you will see and feel results far beyond changing the shape of your body!
These tips have been lovingly gathered over the years with the inspiration and wisdom of all I have learned from Nia co-creators, Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas. Do you have a tip to add? Please let me know! Email me or connect at www.susantate.org.
Photos courtesy of The Nia Technique: www.nianow.com.
©2000 – 2021 Susan Tate