Wear cool, loose fitting clothing
Exercise or yoga clothing, leotard and footless tights, full
skirt, shorts or anything that makes you feel comfortable and
free to move.
The bottoms of your feet sense the ground and send information
back to your brain so your body can effectively compensate and
adapt. For your safety, take off your shoes or wear soft-soled
shoes, such as gymnastic shoes.
Follow "level one" movements, or focus only on the leg motions,
adding arm motions when you are ready. Build intensity
gradually. Let your body slowly acclimate and adjust to Nia
movement. Allow yourself the freedom to enjoy being a beginner.
Nia is different; it is meant to teach you about you, physically
and emotionally. Keep your interest and fascination up and your
criticism and judgment down. Be gentle, be patient and allow
yourself to move through levels and stay on plateaus. This is
the way to master and enjoy anything!
Don't force a motion
Don't strain. Strive for a balance between control and
relaxation as you listen to your body's signals. Move in a
smooth, lightly relaxed way that doesn't make you breathless or
fatigued. If your body does not relate well to a movement,
adjust and move within your own challenge and comfort zone. This
puts positive, loving information into the muscle memory.
Get in as much non-stop movement as
Find a rhythmic, easy pace, working slower and longer rather
than faster and harder.
Make the movements an expression of you
This is your workout. Express your own unique rhythm and body
language through the Nia Technique. Your emotional body will
help to fine-tune your physical body, and vice versa. Be jazzy,
luscious, lyrical, snappy, or sensually smooth. But most of all,
passionately be yourself and have fun!
Use "belly breathing"
As your body opens, inhale. As your body closes, exhale. When
you inhale, first feel your belly expand, then your ribs
laterally expand, and then your chest and clavicle rise. Exhale
to contract your abdominals and to round the spine. Let go
freely with hearty "Hai" exhalations to tone your abdominals and
protect your back during kicks and punches. Breathing is one of
the most effective ways to strengthen and relax your body, mind,
and spirit, so don't hold back!
Move the way you walk - by using your
Lead with your heel when stepping forward or to the side, gently
rolling onto the ball of your foot and then pushing off to
change directions. Step back onto the ball of your foot, keeping
your knees soft and your heel high as you lower your body weight
to a point of comfort in the muscle and joint. Avoid stepping
back with a locked and rigid leg.
Keep your spine lengthened
Stay upright, from the crown of your head, down through your
spine into your tailbone. Imagine a tiny weight at the end of
your tailbone and a ray of light streaming upward through the
crown of your head. Always let your spine remain soft and
flexible, like a willow tree. Eventually you'll learn to move
from the energy centre of your body, which is two inches below
Use your arms to express your feelings,
emotions, or mood
Using your arms can elevate heart rate, so be careful not to
overdo it. To maintain comfort, work in a range of motion that
allows you to feel balanced and in control. Generate arm
movements from the core of your body and keep your joints
relaxed and fluid to obtain definition. If you feel tension
building in your shoulders, shake out your arms and hands to
release the tension. Add your arms back into your movement when
you feel ready.
Draw your knee up toward your chest
before you kick out
Always kick at a level where you can lengthen your spine and
maintain control, comfort, and balance. Feel for a stretch along
the back of the leg and spine as you kick.
Protect your knees
On sinking motions, periodically lift your toes to keep your
knees safely aligned over your feet and to keep your calves
engaged. As you lower your body weight, feel your buttocks
naturally move back behind you to avoid pressing your knees to
Take at least two classes a week and
dance at home
To obtain cardiovascular benefits the American Council on
Exercise recommends that you work within your recommended target
heart-rate zone for at least 30 minutes, four to five times a
week. If it is difficult for you to get to two classes a week
on a regular basis, use the Nia companion videotape workouts at
home. Be sure to put on music and dance at home.
Combine a good diet with internal and
external exercise to balance your fitness program
With enough sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise, you will see
and feel results far beyond changing the shape of your body.
Reducing the amounts of salt, sugar, fats, red meats, and
refined and processed foods will cleanse your body and
strengthen your internal fitness. Having healthy organs and a
system that functions optimally will give you more energy to do
everything you want. Your skin will glow, you will sleep better,
your cells will be nourished, and you will feel excited about