Both mindfulness meditation and Nia are concerned with observing – but not continuously judging – your actions, movements and physical sensations. This is achieved in both practices by staying present with yourself during the entire session and by acting from your own intuition and state of mind. Life without constant pressure to perform – that’s mindfulness. Exercise without constant pressure to perform – that’s Nia!
ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF NIA
Because Nia incorporates a lot of dance-based moves and different types of expression, a Nia session offers catharsis: you have the chance to really let it all out. Whether it’s an aggressive yell during the punches and kicks or exaggerated show gestures during a jazz dance segment, Nia offers space for experimenting with movement, for childlike silliness and for the dramatic expression of feelings. On the one hand, this is extremely liberating, and on the other, it actually trains us to experience our daily lives with more joy – and helps us not to take our feelings too seriously all the time. Also, many forms of mindfulness training incorporate movement and relaxation as tools for living more mindfully. Nia sessions offer both of these, but they also make you stronger and fitter, and increase your capacity for joy even as you remain fully present to your own experience.
WHAT NIA CAN OFFER YOUR MINDFULNESS PRACTICE
Nia can be a fantastic complement for anyone who practices Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction or other related techniques. Mindfulness is, of course, not about physical fitness. If you would like to exercise mindfully, however, you’ll find yourself at home in Nia. As you move through the different segments of a class, through the very varied range of movement patterns, you will be guided to notice how you are feeling, which movements feel good, and how energetically or gently you want to do them. This space and freedom to choose, which is further expanded in the short free dance segments, is perfect training for taking care of yourself and your body mindfully.