Exercise Alternatives: Introduction To Nia

Information about how nia can help your mind, body and soul. A guide to exercises, history and program guidelines.

Nia stands for Neuromuscular Integrative Action. In Swahili, Nia means "with purpose." It is an aerobic fitness program which was created by Debbie and Carlos Rosas in Oregon, about twenty years ago. The purpose of the Nia technique is to exercise the entire body as well as the mind at the same time. It is a total mind-body experience which can be experienced by adults as well as children.

The Nia technique takes its creative movements from programs such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, and modern dances. The movements are planned so they they tone, stretch, and move the entire body to the rhythm of chosen music. These movements are also said to help stimulate the continuous flow of energy which moves throughout the entire human body.

The classes are led by a trained instructor who is given the necessary music and choreography movements that he or she needs to use. One of the benefits of the program, however, is the ability for each class member to either follow the instructor, or to move his or her own body to the rhythm and movements that they feel in their mind and body. Therefore, a person is not forced to perform exercises that they cannot do, or find difficult to do because of a physical handicap.

Anyone,can perform the Nia technique, if approved by their doctor.

The program is not only a beneficial way in which to exercise the body, but it also allows a person to perform some of the movements in a more relaxed manner. The fluid movements are said to be most enjoyable, and they allow a person to connect to their inner being, too.

Not all of the program is comprised of flowing, relaxing moves though. There are also exercising moves which consist of kicking, swaying, bending, turning, etc. The movements can be based on each person's interpretation of the music which is played during each sixty minute session. The music normally ranges from Latin to African to classical. Every person may follow the examples which are set by his or her instructor, but they are not obligated to do so. In this way, Nia is considered to be a healthy method of free expression while it condtions the body in many ways, also.

Instructors are trained by achieving five levels which are similiar to the martial arts method of showing accomplishment. The levels are the white belt, the blue belt, the brown belt, the black belt, and the first degree belt. Each belt represents one week of Nia training as well as a year of practice.

The Nia technique has been used to help improve cardiovascular health among other things. It is also said to improve a person's concentration and their sense of inner peace and harmony.

For more information about this exciting new aerobic fitness program, you may visit a Nia website on the Internet. At this time, there aren't very many classes yet in the United States, but the number is growing daily as Nia gains its popularity among people of all ages, in many walks of life.

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