Focus On: Nia Technique

Happy weekend to you! Mine started off in the best way possible: a night hanging out with the girls 🙂

I brought a bottle of red from TJs,

and stopped to pick up a tostada from Renee’s Organic Oven to eat on the way since I was so hungry from teaching.


I also had a salmon dinner with everyone, but was able to eat it politely instead of like a ravenous beast 😉

There’s been a lack of Focus On posts lately on the blog because it feels like I’ve written about most of the workouts I love and have tried –there’s a hefty list on the Fun page! Until I take new classes or trainings for work, I don’t feel comfortable trying to write about things I haven’t tried or don’t know much about. Instead, I’ve been putting the word out to see if there are other bloggers or readers who would like to write about the workouts or eating plans they love.

Recently I put the call out for Nia- a workout that’s intrigued me since my Dance Trance days. At the studio I was renting, a Nia class would finish up before the Dancer Trance-ers would take over. It looks so peaceful and beautiful- something I think I’d love.

Here’s a great post from Julie, all about the Nia technique 🙂

Do you have a  favorite workout or eating plan that I haven’t featured yet? Want to write a Focus On post? Send me your ideas (and a sample of your writing or blog link) to fitnessista at gmail dot com (subject “Focus On”). I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to use all of the awesome ideas that will be sent my way, but hope to post as many as possible. I love learning about new workouts!

Hope you have a great day and I’ll see ya later on the Family page <3




I’m Julie from Julie Goes Healthy and want to thank Gina for asking me to tell you about Nia. My battered body is also grateful.

I took my first class in Asheville, North Carolina. For those of you who haven’t visited, Asheville is known for the plethora of yogis, outdoorsmen, and hippies. For six years, I found self-love (whoa, that’s very hippie) through TurboKick, Zumba, yoga, weightlifting, and alternatives like Nia. I took a class with my favorite Pilates instructor was also certified in the Nia Technique and surprisingly taught at our local gym.

In preparation for this post, I searched for a class here in Southern California. Nia is relatively unknown – I only found a handful of instructors in my area!

What It Is:

NIA, or Neuromuscular Integrative Action, is a standing mind-body practice. The motto, "no pain, all gain," appealed to me after years of beating up my body with cardio and weight training.

The practice is a combination of dance, Pilates, martial arts, and tai chi. What a mouthful! I had tried them all but knew it was time for something gentler. The background disciplines were easy to distinguish too and not just thrown in to give the technique more credibility.

Because it draws from so many disciplines, Nia incorporates flexibility, strength, mobility, agility and stability. My favorites: balancing poses!

There is no specific choreography. The instructor picks movements from her repertoire that feel right for the song.

Nia is practiced in a darkened room. I found myself disregarding my flaws and staring at my flowing figure. Nia also asks participants to imagine themselves in another place.

What to Expect:

-Looking at your body not the mirror. Your gaze is on the body part in motion.
-Losing yourself. You’re forget where you are and sometimes you’re asked to put your mind elsewhere.
-Yoga standing up. That’s my personal definition especially as I recall the focus on breathing with each move.
-Hip swinging, arm swirling, and carefully executed kicking! Anything goes, but it’s all within reach.

What to Wear:

To go with the vibe of the class, wear something loose. I picked cotton pants and a t-shirt or tank top. That’s it! No shoes, no problem. You can wear sticky socks if you’d like.

-No experience needed. Nia is easy to follow. Moves typically have three steps.
-Free of fear. I’ve never been scared to go to a class. TurboKick and yoga may scare me sometimes, but Nia is 100% therapeutic.
-Vibe. The music and instructors seem earthy and have calming voices. My instructors are silly and exaggerate moves to vanquish feelings of embarrassment.

-Hard to find. I drove 30 minutes to a class, and I live in [metropolitan] Orange County!
-Not sweaty. Don’t expect to burn a ton of calories. The workout is more meditative.
-Can’t increase difficulty. The moves are doable for most people. Keep in mind that Nia is about the connection between the mind and body.

Find Nia classes here.

Have you tried Nia? Do you think it’s something you’d enjoy?

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  1. Vikki Morgan on May 25, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    But I miss you Gina!!! Don’t forget about us.I know that you are busy being a mommy,but I so looked forward to reading your blogs every day.I’m a little bummed.Take care darling!!!

    • Fitnessista on May 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      i’m still here! i just haven’t written focus on posts (because i haven’t tried anything new lately) and thought it would be fun to get some from other people 🙂

  2. Lauren on May 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Hi Gina, do you have an email I can contact you at?

    • Fitnessista on May 25, 2012 at 1:24 pm

      fitnessista at gmail dot com

  3. Lauren@ short circuit workout on May 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    NIA sounds interesting, I am going to try to find one in my area to try it out….unless you know someone who teaches it in Sarasota Florida?

  4. Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat on May 25, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Looks interesting! I’ll admit, I’m a cardio junkie and love the endorphins that I get from a good run or spin class. I’m not really a dance-y type but I’d be willing to try it at least once!

  5. Anna @ The Guiltless Life on May 25, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Awesome I’ve never heard of Nia before but love finding out about new workouts – thank you!

  6. Helen on May 25, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I first heard of Nia Monday, and since then I’ve read three different articles on it randomly! Funny how that happens sometimes. It sounds like something I’d enjoy, and I was surprised to see that we have classes up here in Madison. I’m going to have to give it a shot.

  7. Annette @ FitnessPerks on May 25, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Nia sounds interesting! That could be fun 🙂

  8. Lisa on May 25, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    This is actually the first time I’ve heard of Nia. I love learning about new and different workouts, I always will try something once to see if I enjoy that type of fitness! I’m so not a dance person, I’m horrible with choreography but I’d still be willing to try it

  9. Verhanika on May 25, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    I could not disagree more with the assertion that this class doesn’t work up a sweat. In Seattle we have a Nia community that integrates disco, hip hop and latin music. I wear my heart rate monitor and can burn over 700 calories in some classes. Nia is all about going at your own pace so if you want to kick it up a notch, you can! And if you want to make it mellow, you can. It’s all about the joy of movement.

    • Julie on May 25, 2012 at 7:10 pm

      Thank you for sharing about the community in Seattle. The classes I’ve been to and the communities I encountered took a much more laid back approach to Nia. I have seen sweatier classes in videos, but my typical experience is different.

  10. Sara on May 25, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I am finding it very strange lately with this large ad, followed by a survey that shows every time I come to your blog. Then I have to wait and scroll down for the post. Is anyone else having this problem?

    • Fitnessista on May 26, 2012 at 12:37 am

      that’s really weird- i haven’t seen that. anyone else?

      • Jill on May 26, 2012 at 10:55 am

        I’ve never had that!

  11. Jess on May 26, 2012 at 1:22 am

    I get a large ad also when I try to go to ‘next post’ it says I’ve won a mobile phone and won’t let me read the post. Takes 3 goes to get there.

    • Fitnessista on May 26, 2012 at 1:25 am

      k i’ll check into it right now. that’s annoying!

      • Sara on May 26, 2012 at 7:59 pm

        It seems better today. If I get that survey thing again I’ll screen-shot it and email to you.

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