Monday, February 2, 2009

Suburban Women "Bust-a-Move"

It happens slowly, little by little.

The demands of a full-time career leave little time for fun (unless you are one of the lucky few that has fun in your full time career).

Coordinating your schedule to go out with friends becomes an act of full-force creativity and ingenuity.

Add to that a romantic relationship; throw kids into the mix. Move into the suburbs to have a nice, safe neighborhood for your family and suddenly you find yourself commuting to work.

Little by little, we find that the spare time we had fades away. But we aren't just losing time. We are losing ourselves. We find that we laugh a little less often. Many of us have desk jobs that root us to chairs and discourage us to move our bodies. After a while, we notice we aren't as limber as we once were. An ache may settle in and decide to stay. Perhaps our lives seem more about "doing" and less about "being."

I am a suburban woman. I don't have the kids to worry about, but I find that my life now is very different from what it used to be. I find myself being more serious than is really necessary. But then I stumbled upon a remedy.

A few weeks ago, I took my first Nia dance fitness class. I was surprised I went. I haven't been dancing for years but this class was less about sassy steps and more about simply moving my body. I felt my body thanking me for each movement as I moved my spine to the left then the right. I found muscles that I thought had long closed down. My lack of coordination didn't seem to matter because the teacher encouraged us to each listen to our bodies and move in a way that was most natural to each of us.

One of my greatest challenges is not the cardio portions or even the few dance steps. My challenge is taking up space. In some of the Nia moves we travel around the room, moving into a different space. We are encouraged to use our arms to extend and take up more space. I've always been tall and I've frequently felt awkward about that. Taking up space was not something I liked to do. I tended to hold and keep myself in a tight little (as little as I can be) sphere. Nia is becoming for me, a real personal development exercise. My muscles aren't the only ones getting a workout. My brain and my psyche are involved too.

The founders of Nia took the best parts of many exercises and disciplines and combined them into a series of workouts that really makes sense to your body when you are practicing Nia.

They use isolating stretches of yoga and Feldenkrais Method to gently awaken the joints and elongate the muscles. They blended the focused, fluid movements from Tai Chi and Aikido into circular movements that calm and expand the mind. Then they combined the energy of Taekwondo and modern dance to get our bodies moving.

The result leaves a smile on the faces of everyone in class. I am not kidding when I say that. In fact, we will soon start Nia classes in Castle Rock. I will offer a money back guarantee to anyone who tries a class. If they take the class and do not smile or laugh in class, then I will give them their money back.

A Nia class is a safe environment because the motto is "Have fun!" The women in the classes tend to form genuine friendships and quickly introduce themselves to newcomers. I have found this to be the case in every Nia class I've taken throughout the Denver metro and Colorado Springs area. There are some very fit women in the classes but the majority of women are re-entering the exercise world.

For me, as a suburban woman who has left the land of night clubs and frequent "girls nights out," I find Nia just the kind of activity that keeps me feeling happy, calm, and energized. I am committed to bringing Nia to Castle Rock. We will hold classes in our Aikido studio, Castle Rock AIKIDO, which is centrally located in town and is just off the highway at the Wolfensberger/Downtown exit.

Free Nia Class
I am going to put together a Nia class in Castle Rock so that Castle Rock residents can try the class and we'll see if that is the kind of fitness program that will do well in Castle Rock.

Email me at to let me know you are interested and I will send you an email when the Nia class is set up. I hope the class will be in late February or early March.

A Nia class lasts an hour and there are plenty of breaks to have a drink of water in between. My cardio fitness is low so I was nervous about trying an "aerobic class," but the instructor assured me that the class is appropriate for beginners and advanced Nia students because you work out at your own pace. She was right.

The classes I've attended had some women in their 30s, many in their 40s and 50s, and a couple in their 60s, and one or two lovely 70 year olds (seriously).

Click here to watch the Nia video to see if it is something you might like and I'll do my best to offer Nia classes in Castle Rock. Email me at and I'll put you on the email notification list when the Nia class is available.

Nia classes in Castle Rock. Serving the south Denver metro area.