Terre Pruitt's Blog

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I’ve Been Here Before

Posted by terrepruitt on September 14, 2010

Presently I live in San Jose and teach Nia Classes in San Jose.  I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area all my life.  When I was growing up I used to tell people I lived in Santa Clara and they had no idea where that was.  So I would say, “San Jose?” and if I still received that look then I would say “San Francisco?” and most of the time I would then see a spark of recognition.

When the dot com boom happened that kind of helped put “Silicon Valley” on the map and is comprised of a few places most notable cities are Cupertino, Santa Clara, San Jose, and Mountain View.  A lot more people had heard of Santa Clara and San Jose after that.  We weren’t known only in the shadow of San Francisco any longer.  It was nice to not have to go through the entire San Francisco Bay Area to explain where I lived.

Now I find myself in that same exact “place” with Nia.  I tell people I teach Nia and I get a look back.  Most have not hear of it.  So we go through the, “Is it like Zumba?”  and I want to say:

Yes, Nia is EXACTLY LIKE Zumba: we get a workout via dance,we exercise to music, we sweat, we have fun, we work our muscles, we shimmy, shake, and gyrate, oh, except we do it in bare feet, to a variety of music, participants are encouraged to do it as their bodies allow, and there is a body-mind connection.

But most often say:  It is sort of like a Zumba class and sort of like a Jazzercise class in that we move to music.  Nia is a cardio workout with no impact. It is fun and unique because Nia incorporates moves and concepts from nine different movement forms a few being Tai Chi, Jazz Dance, and Yoga.

When they hear that, then they ask, “So it is Yoga?”  🙂

I was just reminded of the explaining-where-I-lived portion of my childhood when I was with a group of Nia Teachers recently.  Made me laugh when I thought about the going through the same type of thing when talking about Nia.  Yay, at least I am in a familiar place.  😮

10 Responses to “I’ve Been Here Before”

  1. So it is not Yoga? 🙂 (I keed I keed, I joke with you)


    • Ha, you Cheeky Monkey, you.

      It is not Yoga, but it is similar in that it can be a practice or people can just do it to get exercise. And, just like Yoga, we do work on flexibilty, balance, and strength in Nia.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  2. niachick said

    HA! Made me laugh!! Thanks for the blog post, Terre.

    Yep. I get alot of those blank stares when I tell people I teach Nia. Often, they ask the same questions as you get. Is it like Zumba? I tell them No, it is NOTHING like Zumba. Zumba has little to no conscious movement to it, no anatomy education, no safety education. Yes Zumba and Nia are both cardio dance exercises, except that Zumba is mostly Latin music and has little room for creative expression. It’s more like a typical aerobics class. Nia is done barefoot, Zumba is done with shoes. Nia is soft on the joints, Zumba can cause joint injuries (case in point: my own knee).

    Another way I like to describe the different between Nia and Zumba is this: Zumba is like going to a bar on a Friday night looking for a good time. You meet a cute guy who wants to spend the night. It’s lots of fun but little substance. With Nia, there’s no need to go looking for a good time. It’s the real deal. A substantial and committed relationship.

    Is Nia like Jazzercize? Hmmm…from the Jazzercise videos I’ve seen, I’d have to say ‘no’ again. Nia is probably more like Jazzercise than it is Zumba, but again Jazzercize is done with shoes; Nia is done barefoot. Jazzercise seems more about chatting and talking to the students about everything except the steps and being attentive and conscious of the movements.

    Everyone explains Nia differently depending on the audience! I just like making sure, personally speaking of course, that people who ask know that Nia is different, it’s unique, it’s like nothing else in the cardiovascular world BECAUSE it’s got principles that can be used in AND out of the classroom…it’s a lifestyle practice AND a cardio workout.

    Is it like Yoga? Yes, in that we strive for open and flexible joints and muscles and we encourage breath work. Yoga, in most cases is about mastering poses and there’s not alot of room (there’s always exceptions) for creative expression with Yoga poses — unless one knows what they’re doing. Nia and Yoga are both substantial and committed relationships that are healthy for all realms.

    So, that’s way more than I needed to say, but I felt the need to say it!

    You know I love your blogs and your love of Nia and how you offer so much to your community in so many ways.




    • Hello!

      Yes, you have mentioned the bar scene before, but to me that might be true as an example, but I know plenty of people who are just looking for a good time and not a relationship . . . . so I won’t use that one. LOL!! I like Zumba and Jazzercise — and they are certainly more well known than Nia. But as you said they are different — and that was my joke and my point. San Jose isn’t really like San Francisco either, but sometimes you have to use what people KNOW in order to explain where you are coming from.

      So glad my blog helped fulfill a need, I do hope that it does that for others, too.


  3. I totally resonate with all you’ve said. I try to go into descriptions, and the more words I use, the more confused the looks. I just end up saying “Try it–you’ll get hooked!”


  4. SuziCate said

    HA, and now I ask what is zumba?! See, now I can see if they have any of those classes in my area since they don’t have nia. I tired to get my friend to learn about it while she was in LA. She is taking classes right now to be certfied to teach yoga….but I want to do nia!!!! Meantime, I shall continue to hike and bike (and eat well) myself to good health!


  5. Becky said

    My sister is taking a zumba class. I wish she would find something more like Nia but it seems a little difficult in the Atlanta area to find a class.
    Thanks for sharing.


    • There are more Zumba classes then there are Nia classes. It is my belief that one reason for that is it takes eight hours to get Zumba certified and 40 hours to take the Nia intensive.

      There are Nia DVDs if your sister is interested.


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