What is Nia?

Nia is a fitness art that builds strength, agility, flexibility and grace in the body and mind, bringing about transformation on many levels beyond the physical. By following the Body’s Way, people of all ages, fitness levels and exercise backgrounds learn to explore their own bodies and the way they move.

Nia is the most advanced form of fusion fitness, blending martial arts, healing arts, dance arts, and self-healing to create a high-powered, synergistic workout that will not only keep you in fantastic shape, but will also help you to rediscover the joy of movement and being at home in your body. Rich in diversity in both music and movement, Nia addresses the whole person through integration, play, and sensory awareness. Nia uses the pleasure principle to seek comfort and ease in order to move, strengthen, and heal the body in a natural, organic way. It is a workout that is fun, yet efficient, providing cardiovascular conditioning while inducing the feel-good sensations of dance. Nia is for anybody who wants to move.

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History of Nia

Nia was born out of the aerobics craze of the 1980s in the United States. In 1983, Debbie and Carlos Rosas took off their shoes and created barefoot fusion fitness. After getting support from the medical community for the cardiovascular benefits gained Nia was launched nationally in 1987.
In 2002, Kathy Wolstenholme brought Nia to South Africa.

How does Nia work?

Nia uses three tools to stimulate, motivate, and create positive change: Music, Movement, and Magic.

Music is used for inspiration and as an energy you learn to sink into, ride on, and flow with. Movement is used to integrate your body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The Magic is you. How you do what you do, how you interact and connect, and how you create.

As a science, Nia uses systemic movement, moving the entire body with grounded steps and stances from the martial arts (Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, and Aikido), the dance arts (Jazz, Modern, and Duncan Dance) and the healing arts (Alexander Technique, Yoga, Feldenkrais). Nia works because it is natural, organic, and free, and because you personalise every aspect of Nia to lovingly guide you.

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What makes Nia unique

Nia follows natural time rather than mechanical time. In mechanical time we have to learn, remember, and perform in somebody else’s time (remember the impatient teacher when you didn’t get something right). Natural time however, recognises that each person learns in their own unique way and time. Simply put, you don’t have to get a new move the first time you do it (or the second, third, or fourth) and you definitely don’t have to do it exactly the same way as the teacher. You find the way of doing the move that feels comfortable and gives you a sensation of pleasure.

Because the teacher shows the moves in real time, it makes no difference whether you are new to Nia or have missed a class, you can still comfortably join in and experience the Nia magic. This is also why Nia does not have beginners and advanced classes. Everybody joins in the class in their unique way, without fear of doing it wrong.

Nia is presented in a way that guides each person to listen to their body and to make their own movement choices throughout the class.