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What is Nia?

Nia is a new way of getting fit and healthy – and staying that way!

Nia is a holistic movement concept that combines elements of martial arts, dance and relaxation techniques. When Americans Debbie and Carlos Rosas developed Nia in Portland, Oregon, in the 1980’s, their primary aim was to offer physical training that included all the muscle groups but without any drill – and that had a simultaneous effect on the body, mind and soul. So Nia is always also about feeling good and the joy of movement.

In contrast to other fusion fitness concepts Nia does not focus on getting the maximum workout in the shortest time. There is another idea behind the mix of different techniques – namely, to allow participants to feel and experience as many different ways of moving as possible, thus giving their bodies a good equilibrium, strength and beauty. Sessions incorporate alternating expressive power and muscle power; yin and yang; set choreographies and short free dance segments. Each participant is guided by the ‘pleasure principle’, listening to their inner voice and carrying out the moves in such a way that they are healing and do their bodies good.

Nia means diversity of movement, making for power, harmony and beauty.

Here’s an overview of all the elements you can experience during one single Nia session:

Nia is dance:

Music and rhythm play a big role at every session. Jazz dance elements make for lightness; a party feel and unadulterated enjoyment of life. Moves taken from modern dance play with opposites, e.g. falling and getting up or tightening and relaxing. So-called Duncan Dance segments offer boisterous, expressive, almost childlike dance moves promoting the feeling of freedom and enjoyment of life. 

Nia is a martial art:

The precise, powerful kicks and punches derived from tae kwon do provide explosive power for muscles and the soul, helping to relieve aggression. Circular moves from aikido harmonise while simultaneously being powerful and agile. Extremely slow tai chi moves earth participants, creating good links between mind and body. 

Nia is a relaxation technique:

Exercises taken from yoga boost concentration, stretching and relaxation. A range of move patterns based on the work of Moshe Feldenkrais and the Alexander Technique provide the body with an equilibrium and natural stretching. They are taught in such a way that anyone can do them immediately.

Thanks to this diverse range of moves you will, at some point during a Nia session, definitely encounter your favourite moves – or discover for the first time what they are. Nia beginners in particular find their first session energizing. Parallel to this, every session also encourages you to explore areas, positions and types of move that you would not normally try. The result is freedom of movement and harmony of mind, body and soul. You will leave every Nia session with an increased feeling of inner balance.


What can Nia achieve?

Anyone who tries out Nia or practices it for a longer period of time is embarking on an intense experience; exploring and training their own body and giving themselves space for creative expression, emotions and the enjoyment of life on the one hand while also developing their athleticism, precision and power on the other. Nia will have an effect on a range of areas in your body and your life after just a short time:

  • Your feel for your body will be significantly improved
  • You will experience greater strength and flexibility
  • You will gain a physical and mental equilibrium – you are able to stay calm and relaxed
  • Participants develop a well-trained, slimmer body
  • Your posture improves – after a Nia session you sometimes feel as if you have grown 2 cm
  • Your moves become more harmonious and graceful; you will be able to coordinate both halves of your body far better
  • You will have an increased feeling of relaxation and inner balance
  • A positive attitude and greater self-satisfaction
  • More enjoyment of life and of moving
  • Your inner motivation to move will increase – there will be no more tussles with your “weaker self”
  • Your feel for music and rhythm will improve
  • You will become more creative, spontaneous and fun-loving
  • People who dance Nia feel attractive and healthy