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!