Monday, August 17, 2009

Spice up Exercise Routine with Free Dance

"Anything goes movement-wise. Let go of structure."
from the exercise book The Nia Technique (This book provides instruction on all 52 moves in Nia.)

Commentary by Julia Desmond,Certified Nia Instructor

Free Dance is one of my favorite parts of the Nia Techinique. I have observed, as both student and teacher, that this principle seems to give students the most trouble. I too found it intimidating at first. I was afraid that people would think I looked stupid and as a result I felt awkward, but overtime I ceased to censor myself, became seduced by the music and learned to move in my own way. When I fully give myself over to free dance I feel exceptionally free, light hearted and emotionally moved in a positive way for a few minutes and I carry that feeling with me for the rest of my day!

The first tenant of free dance is anything goes, and Nia truly means anything! As a teacher, I will never comment, criticize or attempt to modify a student’s movement. The second goal is to be seduced by the music. This means to truly listen to each song, you will find that you relate to each song differently and as a result move in quite different ways. The next step in the journey of free dance is to tap into emotions and feelings. Feel free to pretend to move with a given emotion, see how feelings such as anger and joy change your body's response to a song. Once you have acted an emotion see if you can tap into that authentic feeling and witness how true emotions influence dance. Don't let yourself get stagnant, dancing the same safe move over and over. Change you movement frequently, eventually you will run out of old standbys and be forced to find your own authentic movement. Finally: Do not judge or censor yourself!! Free dance is not about dance steps, it is a path to authentic movement. Witness your progress and let free dance fill your spirit. It truly is amazing when you feel free to fully participate.

To my class: When I witness you all attempting free dance I am amazed at the results although the class is only 5 months old! The result is incredibly organic with you all moving as one being –sensing the music-while each person moves in their own individual way. You are all truly amazingly beautiful and I am honored to share this Nia journey with each one of you!

Commentary by Allison Frederick Nia Studio owner/operator
FreeDance is the time to push aside some of our inhibitions and rediscover the free spirit inside each of us.

A workout routine with a free dance portion? What is the reason for that? For me, free dance during Nia has always been a little odd. Why am I dancing in the morning and without a glass of wine in me? Each class I muddle through this portion of the routine. I do enjoy losing myself in the beats of the music and eventually my body follows my mind as I sway, stretch, or actually dance. It all depends on my mood and that is exactly the point of free dance – anything goes. I met one lady during my Nia teaching training who said she took the "anything goes" literally and she would leave each time free dance started to go to the bathroom or read literature in the lobby.

So, if there are some people who feel self-conscious about the free dance portion of the routine, why do Nia teachers keep it in? The philosophy of Nia is to reestablish the connection between our mind – and in this case we might say our "mind police" and our free spirit which often hides in a tiny corner somewhere in our body. Our mind police tell us that we are busy people with a lot of responsibility and there isn't time for us to dance or express ourselves freely. If we are going to exercise we should do something practical like jumping jacks or lunges.

Our free spirit may still have a voice but it is often trampled on by the governing mind police. Nia is one hour, given to yourself, to push the mind police aside and discover and hear your own free spirit. free dance is the perfect opportunity for you to listen to your body and do what your body wants to do. This is probably a big change for most of us.

To help you dust off your free spirit, the Nia Technique offers keywords, or what they call "pearls." These are words you can say to yourself during a Nia routine to trigger your mind and body into a particular movement or emotion. If you feel awkward during free dance, trying keeping some of these words in your mind: anything goes, pretend, no judgment, no thinking, change, or creativity. Try using one of these keywords whenever you feel awkward and want to quit. Does is shift your mood? Does the word help take you to a better experience? Sure, there are a few people who are very comfortable with this part of the routine. They look graceful and happy as they float around the room. For me, I consider it a journey and with each new experience I can feel my body lift as I improve my ability to stifle the mind police.
Read more about the 13 Nia Principles that lay the foundation for Nia exercises.

-- Castle Rock Nia Fitness Studio
Do you have concerns about this class? Do you wonder if it is right for you? We are happy to answer any questions you have. Please call us anytime at 303-522-4740.
Request a Coupon for a FREE Nia Class.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Aerobics Exercise vs. Nia Technique

How is the Nia Technique different from other aerobics exercises? Is it really an aerobic class? How does it differ from a yoga or pilates class? Is Nia good for people who are overweight or who have injuries or arthritis?

Only you can answer the question of whether Nia is right for you. Showing up at a class without knowing what to expect may be a bit intimidating. In this video co-founder Debbie Rosas Stewart explains why they developed Nia and what is Nia.

Castle Rock Nia Fitness Studio
Do you have concerns about this class? Do you wonder if it is right for you? We are happy to answer any questions you have.
Please call us anytime at 303-522-4740.

Listen to the music and more about what Nia is like, watch Nia videos.

Request a Coupon for a FREE Nia Class.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kickoff Dance Fitness Party: New Fall Evening Exercise Program September 9th

Castle Rock Nia Fitness Studio is growing and adding evening classes to their schedule. Come join us for an hour of fitness that is so fun you won’t think you are working out.

When: Wednesday September 9, 2009 – 5:15 PM – 6:30 PM

Where: Castle Rock Nia Fitness Studio located at 185 Caprice Court, Unit 5 Castle Rock, CO 80109. Easy off highway access. Just west of I-25 and Downtown Castle Rock exit (Exit 182).

Cost: Free plus a chance to win 6 more free classes.
Contact: 303-522-4740 or

Nia - pronounced "knee-ah" is a mind/body exercise program set to uplifting music.

Nia is a low impact exercise class.

A Nia class will provide you with the stretch and stress relief found in yoga, the muscle toning for hips & arms from martial art punches and kicks, and the flexibility and freedom of dance.

All these are combined into one incredibly fun fitness class that allows you to move your body with so much ease that feelings of awkwardness or self-consciousness flee.