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Dancing with Joy: NIA at the YWCA

By Beth Giles, NIA Instructor
February 17, 2015
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Photo Credit: Richard Marshall Photography.

In the large studio on Tuesday nights and Sundays at midday at the Midtown Y, you’ll hear people shouting, “Yes! HA! No! Heh!” as they punch, kick and block. Or you might see the group dancing wildly around the room to some great music, the instructor encouraging them to tap into their inner child. Later on if you peek in the window, you’ll see the group on the floor, stretching, building core strength and relaxing after a great whole body workout.  This is NIA. Years ago it stood for Non-Impact Aerobics. It’s still a low-impact aerobic workout, but it’s so much more than that. NIA is a 30+ year old mind/body fitness practice that combines: dance– jazz, modern and Duncan dance; the martial arts of Taekwon Do, Aikido and T’ai Chi; and the healing arts of Yoga, The Alexander Technique and The Feldenkrais Method.  What does this all mean for someone looking to find wellness, exercise, weight loss, improved mood, and a community of great people?  It means everything. Here’s one YWCA member’s story of why she loves and practices NIA:

“I began attending NIA classes at the YWCA in 2013. I was looking for a community-oriented class to add a new dimension to my exercise.  As a person who can’t help but include the spiritual and intuitive in every area of my life, I was intrigued that ‘joy’ and ‘holistic’ were highlighted in the NIA class description, and found myself hooked after my very first class. NIA truly is the joy of movement and listening to your body while grinning through an hour-long workout that you’re surprised to find makes you sweat quite a bit.  I love how the classes include people of every age (though I am often one of the youngest at 28), and are so adaptable to the abilities and needs of each and every participant.

Attending NIA once or twice a week has helped me stay committed to the joy and presence I also find in my daily morning yoga practice. I’ve also found myself dancing around the house to records more often than not, whether during a break from work on the computer, or in between chores at home.  I’m also on the seemingly endless journey to body self-acceptance–something that is incredibly challenging in our culture of consumer fashion and insurmountable beauty ideals– and NIA has supported me in that journey as well.  You do not need to be shaped any particular way to shimmy and punch and duck walk. You only need to be present in your body and willing to open up to your own energy and beauty.”

– Lauren F.

NIA is offered at the Midtown YWCA on Tuesdays at 7:30 pm and Sundays at 12:30 pm. A new NIA class has started at the Downtown YWCA at 7:15 pm on Thursdays.  Come dance, connect, and discover the joy of movement!