My Nia Initiation

Around ManilaHealth/Beauty
February 3, 2011

Lately Facebook has been abuzz with talk about an exercise class called Nia.  Whenever I hear something come up again and again, I just trust it’s a sign that I’m supposed to explore it further.  So that’s exactly what I did in this case.  I went to the Nia Website and searched for classes in the Philippines.  And there was exactly 1 available for me to choose from!  I guess I should be thankful that there was even that!

The class is held on Monday and Wednesday mornings in a suburb of Manila called Alabang.  From Makati (where I live) this is about an 8 mile drive.  With morning traffic though it becomes a 1 hour drive (or 3 hours round trip including the class).  I was determined to try it though so off we went on Wednesday morning.

The class was held in a basement that had been converted into a studio.  The teacher was a Filipina who had done her training in the States.  I was nervous it was just going to be me for awhile, but 2 other Filipina women scooted in right before the start time in classic Filipino fashion (I found it amusing that the instructor tells everyone the class starts at 8 AM so that it ensures that they’ll be there by the ACTUAL start time of 8:15 AM).

Nia is a blend of modern dance and martial arts.  The steps are fairly basic, which means you don’t have to be a strong dancer to be able to follow along (I was relieved about that!).  Nia’s big focus is on awareness of the body and adding your own personal interpretation to the choreography.  Hence, a routine is repeated for several weeks so that in the beginning you focus on memorizing the steps and then you’re freed up to add your own soulful interpretation later while still following the general movements.

Suffice to say, there’s a lot of creative freedom given here!  I noticed that I felt uncomfortable with that at first.  I wanted my arm and leg movements to look JUST LIKE the instructor’s.  As the class went on though I realized it wasn’t as much about  copying as it was about letting myself feel the music and find my own rhythm.  This process felt very similar to what’s going on in my business, moving from a place of copying (or following a guru’s instructions down to the minutest detail) to creating from my own internal place of knowing.  I can already see how continuing to do Nia will help unleash this creative permission in myself that will hopefully spill over into all the other areas of my life!

Here’s a quick 2 minute video will give you a more visceral feel of what Nia’s all about:

I haven’t decided yet how frequently I’ll go down to Alabang for class, but I can feel that some part of me is being called to explore this more fully.  Whether that means attending classes on a regular basis or becoming an instructor myself, I do not yet know…. all I can say at this point is that if you are looking for a fun, energizing workout routine that is compatible with all ages and abilities then Nia is worth checking out!

Click HERE to find a class near you!

You Might Also Like

Ladies Day Out
March 22, 2017
The One Tool that Made it Possible for Me to Go Sugar Free
July 8, 2016
6 Months Sugar Free and Loving It
July 7, 2016


  1. Daniela says:

    That looks different and intriguing. I may just try it after the baby comes. I like the mix of dance and martial arts and the music. I also like that you can be creative with it. The name is very cool too (it’s my daughter’s name). I’d never heard of it, so thank you for sharing the info!

  2. Chris says:

    Awesome!!!! AND – I found out today at my NIA class that Ana, my NIA instructor, is Filipino – how cool is that!!! I told her about your blog and about your living there and all the amazing things you have been doing for the kids, cancer patients, etc. She thought it was so great that you have become so involved with the country you are posted to. I do to – you are the PERFECT FS family member! Hope you get to keep enjoying NIA – no matter how far you have to go to get there! XO

  3. Ana Uy-Alexander says:

    Hello there! I am Chris Coleman’s friend and Nia teacher. This is so neat! I am a Filipina of Chinese descent (a Chinoy, I guess). I was born on Cebu City, and we left in 1972. I have been teaching Nia for about 2 years now and absolutely LOVE it. Welcome to the Nia community. BTW, Helen Terry is doing a White Belt Intensive Training in Hong Kong in March. I thought I would mention it, just in case.

  4. sarahlynn60 says:

    Yay Daniela – I think you’d really dig it. It’s different than other exercise classes I’ve done and believe you me, I’ve done a lot… I wasn’t dripping sweat but I was energized and creatively inspired. It just plain felt good – like exercise + a spiritual practice all in one! Let me know if you end up trying it!

  5. sarahlynn60 says:

    Thanks for the love Chris! If you hadn’t been raving about this I never would have checked into Nia! I’m already planning to go next Wednesday as well! And thanks too for sending Ana to check out the blog. I adore Filipinos!

  6. sarahlynn60 says:

    Hi Ana- Nice to meet you! Chris raves about your brilliant teaching! It does not surprise me one bit that you are a Filipina. I have now come to believe that Filipinos are all born with a special gene that makes them able to move, dance, etc in a way not possible for the rest of us on this planet! I’m glad you’re using that gift to influence others. :) Thanks for the head’s up on the HK class. I actually found one in Washington State in August that lines up with when we’re visiting my in-laws. If I’m still digging it then I’ll look to do the training there. I look forward to getting to know you better. Please come back and visit! Sarah

Leave a Reply

Get New Posts Delivered to Your Inbox!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Let’s Connect!
Follow Me on Pinterest!