Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Nia Video Samples Inspirational Music

Music has a way of penetrating our soul. It pierces through distraction and worry and can carry us into a place of joy, peace, happiness, or inspiration. I love this new Nia fitness video. It was filmed in South Africa when Debbie Rosas, one of the founders of the Nia exercise classes, traveled to Cape Town to train some of her Nia teachers.

The music is beautiful and is a great sample of what you will hear in class. Nia really does take exercise into a whole new dimension.

Would you like to try a class for free? Do you have any questions? Please don't hesitate to contact us. Send us an email.

Or call at 303.522.4740

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

Monday, June 22, 2009

Can Breathwork Really Reduce Stress? A Book Review of Breathing Space: Twelve Lessons for the Modern Woman by Katrina Repka and Alan Finger

Yogis, relaxation experts and Buddhists all extol the virtues of breath for stress relief and claim breath work unlocks health-compromising stress patterns. I've never been able to experience the power of breath, as they say. I take a few breaths and then do feel calmer, sometimes even more centered but to make a daily habit of breathing deeply never appealed to me. Quite frequently, I forget to take the time to breathe deeply.

The 2009 book, "Breathing Space: Twelve Lessons for the Modern Woman" by yoga teacher Katrina Repka and yogi master Alan Finger finally opened my eyes (and my lungs) to the potential of breathing techniques.

Repka is an early thirty-something woman who leaves her marketing career and hometown of Calgary in Canada to test her merits in New York City. Her friends and family, baffled by her decision, wondered, "How can she uproot herself like that at the time when she should be settling down and starting a family? How could she give up a good job, promising romantic prospects, and more importantly, us?" Though her motivations were not understood by her family, Repka had been drawn to New York City since childhood. One day, with all her courage and little support, she set off for the big city.

"My life in Manhattan was supposed to be the complete opposite of my life in Calgary, Alberta. I would be thinner, smarter, happier, hipper. My work would be glamorous, my days and nights filled with excitement and fascinating new friends. I wasn't going to settle for the comfortable routine that had threatened to stifle me in my old hometown." *
Once she settled in New York and adjusted to the pace and attractions she discovered that she brought her old Calgary self all the way to New York. Her new, glamorous New York self wasn't as easy to keep on, no matter how many Prada shoes she purchased. Old insecurities and reservations bombarded her, screeching more loudly than the big city's noise. Her old self doubt and restlessness was getting in the way. She wrestled with old questions about who she really was and what she wanted her life to be like. The answers, just as they did in Calgary, evaded her.

Her frustration continued until she met yogi master Alan Finger. Finger ran a yoga studio in NYC. The studio had many yoga classes and Finger also offered private breathing consultations, that in Repka's case, closely resembled psycho-therapy sessions.

The book, Breathing Space, is broken into chapters that focus on different areas of self growth so the reader can quickly go to a chapter of relevance for themselves. Some of the titles are:

Focus: The power of breath to help you see yourself clearly;
Criticism: The power of breath to erased self-destructive tendencies;
Faith: The power of breath to overcome hesitation and connect with your truth.

As a woman in my thirties, I found Repka's journey especially relevant to my own journey and quest for a fulfilling life. Repka is self effacing and willing to share embarrassing moments and mistakes with her readers but don't be put off by her age. Her explorations, struggles, and victories are common among all women struggling with their identity and for those demanding an enriched life.

When was the last time you smiled and laughed while working out? Try a class for free at Castle Rock Nia Fitness Studio. Visit or call 303-522-4740 to request your coupon for a free Nia class. Nia fitness classes combine yoga and deep breathing into each exercise routine.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Learning Natural Movements for Health

The Thirteen Principles of Nia (a 13 part series)
Principle Two: Natural Time and the Movement Forms

"All of your Nia movements are done in your own personal, natural sense of time and include movements and energy from nine clasisic forms." - from the fitness book "The Nia Technique"

Commentary by Julia Desmond,Certified Nia Instructor

Principle Two of Nia contains two different yet interconnected parts. The first is Natural Time and the second is the Movement Forms that influenced the development of Nia.

Natural Time is the concept of honoring the rhythms of nature as opposed to following the current calendar and clock that run most of our lives. Moving in Natural Time is about staying true to yourself. It is a tool to help you get in touch with your body's natural rhythm and the reason for the teacher reminding you to dance in your own way. Once embodied by the student, Natural Time results in the participant dancing their body which in turn leads to feelings of fun and satisfaction during and after a class.

In Nia we use a total of 9 movement forms which fall into 3 categories – Martial Arts, Dance Arts and Healing Arts. Nia incorporates the essence of these various art forms rather than attempting to teach the students how to correctly perform these arts. Nia can change the energy and focus of a single movement by changing the Art Form influencing the movement.

Martial Arts:

Tai Chi – The Slow Dance: Inspired bare foot dancing, heel lead, and mindfulness

Tai Kwon Do – The Dance of Precision: Inspired passion, whole body strength, and voice

Aikido - Harmonious Spherical Motion: Inspired the integration of internal and external energy and the use of spirals

Dance Arts:

Jazz – Fun, Showmanship and Expression - Inspired playfulness, softened the martial arts an added Fun to the technique

Duncan Dance – Spirited, Honest Movement – Inspired natural movement, use of imagery and spontaneity

Modern Dance – Playing With Balance, Shapes and Space – Inspired improvisation, use of balance and creative expression

Healing Arts:

Feldenkrais – The Conscious Feeling of Movement – Inspired slow movement, sensory awareness and the knowledge that the body can be retrained to function more efficiently

Alexander Technique – Movement From the Top: Inspired incorporation of the head in movement and directing the body up and out

Yoga – The Conscious Dance of Alignment: Inspired alignment of the bones, flexibility and breath

Principle 2, Natural Time and the Movement forms, is the foundation of Nia. This principle guides all of our movement and when the two aspects are merged in our bodies we experience the Joy of Movement (Principle 1). The class feels "natural" and we have fun!

Commentary by Allison Frederick, Nia Studio owner/operator

In order to keep up with the rest of the people in exercise classes, most of us feel compelled to carefully study the teacher's technique and copy it perfectly. I know that I sometimes feel flustered if I am not in sync with my fellow exercisers and it isn't unusual to see me facing right when the rest of the room is to their left. Nia exercises are helpful in strengthening a connection between what your ears hear; your brain processes, and then what the brain commands your body to do. This is the foundation of mind/body exercises and scientists tout the benefits of mind/body fitness and activities like dancing and martial arts, which help keep our brains vibrant and ward of deterioration diseases like Alzheimer's and other dementia.

Each Nia exercise builds on the foundation of the previous one. I find that one exercise elongates my spine even more or a following dance move reaches deeper into my hips, really working on any stiffness that lurks in my joints. Closely following a Nia routine will give you the most benefits out of the program because of how thoughtfully the moves are designed to build upon each other.

That being said, a primary tenet of Nia, however, is balance. Nia is like a loose, fluid structure. There is structure but the founders of Nia and Nia teachers encourage each person to find their own rhythm, their own pace, or their own level to exercise at. This is the idea behind Principle Number Two, "Natural Time."

Each of us probably has an area of the body that we feel we need to strengthen. We may have weak knees or, for me, tight muscles in my lower back. No matter how much I stretch, I can't seem to loosen my lower back muscles the way I would like. Every time there are lower back moves that help stretch or stabilize my back during Nia class, I slow down from the pace of the class and really focus on the exercise so that I can get the most out of that particular move. For some of us, Natural Time means speeding up a routine or moving our bodies in larger ways to burn more calories. For others, Natural Time may mean slowing down a move and giving oneself a chance to breathe deeply to help heal some troublesome areas.

To stay connected to Natural Time, stay connected to sensation, an experience which isn’t governed by the clock!”
–Carlos Rosas, co-founder of The Nia Technique

If Nia sounds like something you would like to try, we invite you to take your first Nia class for free. Simply Click Here to receive your coupon. Our Nia fitness classes are offered in Castle Rock, Colorado. Feel free to call us at 303-522-4740 with any questions or visit

Monday, June 1, 2009

Will Exercise Give You Wrinkles?

Exercise increases muscle tone and burns fat which will reduce the look of fatty deposits below the skin but will exercise cause wrinkles or even lead to cancer?

Many people wanting to discredit the health benefits of exercise cite examples of their very athletic friends – the ones who everyone thought was so healthy, ended up developing cancer. Lance Armstrong is a perfect example of someone incredibly fit but who was diagnosed with cancer. How does this happen? Is exercise actually good for you?

Just as many of us are happier when we experience balance in our lives, our bodies are happiest and function best if they are balanced. Eating, exercise, indeed, simply living throw our bodies out of balance. This doesn't seem to make much sense but our bodies are constantly adjusting to our environment on a chemical level. For example, when we breathe, we take in oxygen. Oxygen breaks down in our bodies and combines with other elements to help make our body function properly. The interaction of oxygen in our bodies produces free radicals. You may have heard about free radicals in health reports. It is a charged molecule that isn't attached to anything. It is similar to a remainder in long division, or the "remainder" in the Matrix movies, a remainder molecule in your body is not very functional. In fact, many health experts believe that free radicals are destructive in our bodies and lead to aging, wrinkles, plaque in arteries, and even cancer.

Authors of the health book, "Ultraprevention: A 6-Week Plan that Will Make You Healthy for Life," remind us that oxygen is flammable. It is still flammable when we take it into our bodies. Free radical oxygen can inflame our bodies. The more food we eat and the more we breathe, the more free radicals we produce, so in effect, the faster we age. Exercising, like Nia classes or even yoga exercises that incorporate deep breathing can accelerate our aging process. I don’t know about you but I don’t take that as good news.

Fortunately, for every villain, there is a good guy battling in our best interests. Free radicals are neutralized by antioxidants. Antioxidants are making headlines these days with leading heroes like acai juice, green tea, and pomegranate juice. Antioxidants found in our food and some beverages neutralize free radicals. Keeping with the Matrix analogy, antioxidants are the "Mr. Smiths," but in this case, we want Mr. Smith to win.

Renowned nutritional neurology physician, Dr. Dan Murphy, D.C., encourages exercise for overall health but cautions about the free radical imbalance that can occur in those who exercise a lot like athletes, long distant runners, and dancers. So to complement your exercise routine and to reverse the signs of aging, consider taking a quality multi-vitamin, a "green" vegetable drink, or an ounce of pomegranate juice after exercising. Anyone who exercises heavily should have their eating habits and supplements reviewed by an experienced nutritionist to make sure they are maintaining a healthy balance in their body.

Some sources of high antioxidants
Pomegranate juice
Green tea
Olive Oil

Exercising with Nia and eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits high in antioxidants are part of an overall health strategy. You can try a Nia class for free. Click here and we will send you a coupon for a free class. Our Nia classes are held in Castle Rock, Colorado.