A Nia workout includes elements from three disciplines from three different arts.
From the healing arts, we use moves and ideals from Yoga. As with all the movement forms incorporated into Nia, Nia does not claim to be practicing Yoga. It is understood that years of studying and practice can be involved in the practice of Yoga, and Nia respects that, that is why I say that we “use move and ideals”. Nia recognizes the benefits that can result from Yoga and with that does its best to utilize some of its amazing power. Nia calls Yoga “The Conscious Dance of Alignment”.* It helps with the proper alignment of the bones. It also assists in increasing flexibility for all fitness levels.
We use the aspects of Yoga to help find balance in the body. In Nia we can also call upon the focus that is evident in Yoga.
The White Belt Manual 3/2001 V3 states:
Witness the value this form provides to increasing and restoring the natural flow of energy throughout the entire body. Recognize the specific principles that help to clear and calm the mind, bring balance to the nervous system, improve breath and posturing, and strengthen specific body parts. Acknowledge the way Yoga unifies the body, mind, spirit, and emotional being, and how the internal, core body becomes soft and supple to provide real “energy” strength from the inside out.
So we might do some exercises of twists, bends, and poses in our workout, it is to help increase strength, flexibility, alignment and our conscious connection.
The breathing in Nia reminds me more of Pilates than to Yoga. We inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, often times sounding. I have not participated in a Yoga class that does chanting or is vocal so that is why I am reminded more of Pilates than Yoga.
Many of Nia’s teachers are also Yoga instructors or they attend Yoga classes. I sometimes attend a Yoga class in San Jose. The two forms of movement are a great compliment to each other.
***V3 of The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas