Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Yoga Is Very Nia-Like

Posted by terrepruitt on September 12, 2009

I have only taken two yoga classes.  One was this evening and throughout the entire class, while the teacher was instructing I kept thinking, “Oh that is so Nia.  Oh this is so Nia. . . . . .Oh THAT is so Nia.”  Even though earlier in the class I realized that maybe Nia was “so Yoga”.

Yoga was first.  It has been around for thousands of years.  For some it is rooted in religion, where as Nia has been around for 25 years and is rooted in the body.  I just couldn’t help thinking that this yoga class was so like a Nia class, except much slower.  Slower, in the sense that in this class the movement wass not to the music, but to the breath.  There was no rhythmic quality to the movement, just the flow of your breath.  Every once in awhile I would hear the music and to start sway to it and realize that I was supposed to be holding a pose so I would stop my body from moving but my spirit continued to boogey away.

This yoga class is about joy in yoga, allowing for another comparison, comparing to the first principle of the Nia White Belt which is the Joy of Movement.  The Joy of movement is actually found as a sensation and not a feeling.  In Nia it is something that is sensed in the body and not felts as an emotion.

The teacher started the class with the suggestion that you set an intention.  I actually wiggled with happiness at this because in every Nia class we set a focus and an intent (in cycle one).

This yoga class made me realize why so many people that practice yoga also practice Nia because there are many things in common.  In yoga there are poses that open areas of the body, in Nia we have movements and poses that open the body and get the joints juicy.  Yoga has muscle strengtheners and ligaments and tendon lengtheners and so does Nia.  But with yoga it is a pose and in Nia it is primarily movements linked together in a more cardio-dance fashion.  In the cool down we do poses or stretches and sometimes there are yoga poses.  It just amazed me how similar they were.  With the request of awareness that the teacher was giving during the ending meditation, something that we request during the entire Nia workout, I was extremely delighted to realize that yoga and Nia aren’t competing practices, but companion practices.  They are so similar that you can apply a lot of the principles to both.  You can have a non-impact booty shaking cardio and strength workout (Nia) that you balance with the complete stretching and strength workout (yoga).

I truly was amazed at how Nia has taken so much of what is “yoga” and created a practice that can be such a great companion.  With so many similarities it really allows for an expansion of exercise and workout possibilities for so many people who do yoga in San Jose and in the Bay Area.

6 Responses to “Yoga Is Very Nia-Like”

  1. Hi Terre. I love this blog (I love all your blogs). Nia does contain many aspects of Yoga (the breath, the alignment), as it also contains aspects from 8 other movement forms. For me, being a Yoga teacher as well as a Nia teacher, it is easy to see the beauty of Yoga contained in Nia — however, I loved how you commented that Yoga is so Nia-like.

    Even though Yoga has been around for thousands of years and Nia a mere 26 years…once I became familiar (in my body) with Nia, I was able to bring more of Nia into my Yoga practice.

    Thanks Terre for the reminder!


    • (Still can’t comment from the correct location. Odd. WordPress is working on something and maybe it has affected the replies.)

      It seems like a lot of Nia teachers are yoga teachers and I can see why. This yoga class was very “Nia”. And yoga is so wonderful. I think there might be a lot of people that do yoga that would be intrested in Nia . . . I HAVE thought that but this class enforced that thinking for me. Also, it just dawned on me now that some people that enjoy aspects of yoga but find yoga difficult would really like Nia. Now if I could just get all these people I am thinking about to hear about Nia and get them to a class it would be awesome!


  2. judy said

    One of the things I like about yoga is that I can focus on achieving and holding a pose. I can’t seem to meditate, but I can get really focused and quiet when I do yoga. I love the idea that Nia is a lot like Yoga only it is the celebration of the movement rather than the stillness…

    So, what do you think, maybe becoming a yoga instructor is in your future?


    • (Every time I comment, in the “non-admin” section, I have to announce that my “reply” in the admin section is still not working.)

      Nice that you can focus and be quiet and still. Now are you talking about your mind too? Because you’ve talked about your “un-quiet” mind before, so I was wondering.

      In my Nia workout classes we do celebrate with movement, but there are times in a playshop or during the cool down (in a workout class) where we delight in the stillness. Nia is a lot of things, but it can possibly be a bit overwhelming when talking about ALL that it can be. So sometimes I try to keep it focused.

      And I am thinking about utilizing my PiYo certification. But not becoming a yoga teacher. Now that I have teaching classes under my belt, I think I might be ready to branch out a bit.

      PiYo is a combination of Pilates and Yoga. Both are very similiar in that there is concentration in movement.


      • judy said

        My mind, too. (Well, mostly.) 😉 It’s focusing, rather than emptying which is what I think they ask of you on meditation.

        PiYo sounds interesting!


        • Ahh, I see what you are saying. Makes sense. I don’t meditate so not sure how it is to be done.

          I think that PiYo is pretty much the same as what we did in the recent class I took. Well, the moves were the same, but I think it is the breathing that is different. In Pilates you breath different than Yoga.


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