Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Nia Feels Like a Vacation

Posted by terrepruitt on May 29, 2010

I am always a little taken off guard when someone comes to me before Nia class and tells me with shock that they were sore (after the last Nia class).  I recently came to the realization that these people who are shocked–and maybe a bit offended–are shocked because they didn’t realize they are exercising in Nia.  They didn’t realize what a great workout they received.  They certainly weren’t aware that they were using muscles they may not have used in a long time OR that they may not have used in that way.  Nia is a vacation from normal exercise, but it IS exercise.

Nia is a cardio dance exercise class so there is ample opportunity to move with an intensity that will get your heart rate up.  Some people sweat, some people don’t.  Everyone does Nia differently.  EveryBODY has different needs.  Needs can change from class to class.  Nia teaches to listen to your body and to learn to give it what it needs.

Nia is a form of movement.  It is a mixture of nine different movement forms.  The mixture includes actual movements from some of these forms and elements and ideas from these forms.  But it is not these forms.  In other words if you attend a Nia class you will not be practicing yoga, tai chi, or the other martial arts but we might do some moves from some of those forms or we might use the ideas from them.

With the availability of so many moves and concepts we are able to move in Nia the way the body was designed to move.  We can play in the different planes, moving up and down and work on the ground.  Nia allows us to work on flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability.

All of this motion and action is sometimes different from what your body might be used to doing.  Even though the movements are moves the body was actually designed to do, some of them you might not do in your everyday life, for instance rotating and opening the joints.  When you move your body after not moving it at all or move it in a different way than it is accustomed to moving there is a possibility that you will experience soreness or DOMS.

It could be that the muscles are sore or it could be that there is awareness of the joints because the tissues or muscles that make up the joints are strengthening.  While doing Nia we encourage people to try all the moves and experience them, but to tweak them so that they are comfortable to the body.  Since we invite participants to sense Joy during the workout they might walk away not realizing that there could be some soreness after.  Nia is also non-impact, but it can be intense so sometimes people are amazed that they sweat.  It IS a workout after all.

Not everyone likes to sense the soreness that might accompany a good workout.  I like it, I appreciate it because I know that it means I did something good for my body.  It is ok for a body to be a little sore, it means that it is adapting to change.  If the body is sore because it has not moved then it is good to have it adapt to the change of movement.  If you are one that does not like to feel the effects of change on your body, then while in a Nia class you can make your movements smaller.  If you don’t mind a little change then keep playing in all the levels.  Nia allows for which ever path you chose and whatever you chose is up to you, I just wanted to help you understand so you can be aware of what might be happening and make an informed and mindful choice.  It is my pleasure to be your travel guide and enable Nia to feel like a vacation.

I also have Tips for a Pleasurable Nia Experience and Tips for Moving Nia.

Are you ready for a relaxing yet exciting journey?

12 Responses to “Nia Feels Like a Vacation”

  1. interesting post about NIA. I’m really don’t have any idea what consist of NIA exercise. Since i’m more of a Yoga Person. Given a chance. i really want to try this.


    • Glad you found it interesting. I have a lot of information both here on my blog and on my website about Nia. Maybe that information can assist in giving you an idea of what it consists of. A lot of people that do yoga also do Nia because it is a cardio workout, yet it is a body-mind workout. There are classes all over the world. If you look at the NiaNow website you might be able to find a class or a workshop near you.


  2. I love feeling sore after Nia because it means my body is waking up and I am using new new muscles!

    Sore is different from injured though. I did a 2-hour Nia Jam a few months ago and did not use my ankle brace (which I do not like to use when I am barefoot). It turned out it was too much for me and I re-injured my ankle. I learned that I can do a one hour class and it’s fine, but more than that and I have to wear my sneakers and brace. Ah well.. live and learn! Barefoot feels so much better though.


    • Yes. Sore is WAY different than injured. It is very important to learn the difference. Learning the difference is part of learning and listening to your body. See? You said it.

      Barefoot is awesome. Tuesday (I post Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) I have a post already written about bare feet. Unless something happens and I decide to post something else.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. I have missed you here! I know you are super busy!!!! Hugs to you.


  3. The soreness may be linked to these positive endorphins I always hear about. I have always liked the soreness after the initial first one or two times when getting back into regular workouts.


  4. Being sore to me after a workout means I WORKED out and maybe didn’t stretch enough. The joy Nia brings sounds fascinating and exhilarating.


  5. maulpartin said

    This is the first time I have heard of NIA, but you caught my interest when you said that you don’t realize you’re receiving a good workout until you are sore the next day.

    I’m okay with feeling sore the next day. Hell, I love feeling sore the day after a good workout. I have that sense of accomplishment, rather than feeling sore after a long day of eating Doritos, drinking soda and watching the Godfather Trilogy.

    What I can’t stand is feeling sore during exercise…which would probably explain my fear of running…

    Thanks for opening my eyes to something new!


    • First of all, as J pointed out (I would have missed it)—your name makes me smile too!

      In Nia when we feel sore or discomfort DURING the workout we are encouraged to adjust or tweak our movements so that we feel comfort, pleasure, and joy. Yes, joy. But, that is kind of what I was saying, because of that you can get a really great workout and not even realize it. So I think sometimes the soreness the next day shocks people.

      I think that feeling sore or pain DURING the exercise is an indication that the movement might not be the best for your body, OR it needs to be done differently. That is why in Nia we tweak it or adjust it. With running it could be a matter of needing better shoes, or a softer surface to run on. Or maybe a longer/better warm up. Or a different choice of exercise 😉

      You are funny. Thank you for stopping by and for commenting. I greatly appreciate it. One thing I love about Nia is that I learn something new with it/about it all the time! Thanks again, MaulPartin!


  6. niachick said

    WOW. How did I miss this blog?

    I’ll keep my answer short (I know that’s a shock)…

    The beauty of Nia is that it IS a vacation for me BEFORE (while I’m practicing what I’m going to teach), DURING (while I’m teaching) and AFTER (the exhilaration of a good cardio workout BUT SO MUCH MORE). I don’t know that I’ve ever NOT left a Nia class smiling…whether I’m teaching or as a student.

    I’ve lost weight with Nia. I’ve increased flexibility, mobility, agility, strength and stability with Nia. I’ve found emotional release through Nia. I’ve found mental acuity through Nia. My spirit soars ESPECIALLY during Nia.

    It is the most unique fitness and lifestyle practice I’ve ever known.

    So, I said I would keep it short. Nia rocks. And so do YOU Terre.



    • I don’t know how you missed it, but I know I do that sometimes too. I am faithfully reading someone’s blog and next thing I know there are two or three to read and I don’t know how that happened.

      Glad you caught it.



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