NIA and Me

I’ve been hearing a lot about NIA lately and this is the YouTube video that convinced me to give it a try yesterday. Hey, if anyone knows the name of the music in there, please let me know.

NIA ( “Neuromuscular Integrative Action”) fuses elements of dance, the martial arts and yoga into an invigorating cardiovascular fitness program. It’s a low-impact workout that’s accessible to all ages and abilities. You can read more about NIA here.

I hit all kinds of obstacles on my way there. I got a late start, I couldn’t find my workout clothes (or any that still fit), I got lost on my way to the place that offers the class, and I couldn’t find a parking space when I got there–their parking lot is buried under a mountain of snow and ice.

When I finally dragged myself into the dance studio, I found the instructor and one other student. Drat! No hiding in the back row…

I thought, “Well, how lame is this gonna be?” But I was pleasantly surprised.

There is very little formality or structure to the movements, which is perfect for me. I’m one of those inept people who really never got the hang of “the grapevine” in traditional aerobics class. I also haven’t moved actively except for walking for over two months. It was frightening how much muscle strength I’ve lost in that relatively short time.

But I did my best. I worked up a sweat.

And best of all, I had fun.

I’m definitely signing on for the class, at least for the next couple of months. This will be the perfect way to ease gently back into my normal regime of martial arts, climbing and yoga.

But the absolute best thing that clinched it was the boost to my ego.

No, the instructor, a dancer, didn’t ask me if I had trained as a dancer. That only happens in the movies, and if you saw my dancing, you’d probably make some snide remark about that wouldn’t even happen to me in a movie.

But she did ask if I’ve done NIA before, and was surprised when I said no. She insisted I must have had some training in it, because I looked very practiced and comfortable.

I’ve either gained more skill than I thought from those thousands of hours of martial arts training, or she is a salesperson extraordinare.

P.S. I was originally going to try Zumba first, but I just can’t shimmy like that. Maybe after NIA…?

Author: Luann Udell

I find it just as important to write about my art as to make it. I am fascinated by stories. You can tell when people are speaking their truth--their eyes light up, their voices become strong, their entire body posture becomes powerful and upright. I love it when people get to this place in their work, their relationships, their art. As I work from this powerful place in MY heart, I share this process with others--so they have a strong place to stand, too. Because the world needs our beautiful art. All of it we can make, as fast as we can! Whether it's a bowl, a painting, a song, a garden, a story, if it makes our world a better place, we need to do everything in our power to get it out there.

8 thoughts on “NIA and Me”

  1. Funny, I’ve been hearing about NIA here in NC, too. I missed the free class which was offered yesterday, and thought I’d just pass on it, but now given your description, I may sign up after all!
    Thanks for the post.


  2. Well, Vicki and I are going to try it at an introductory class tomorrow. I loved jazzercize when it was convenient and I need something for flexibility more than I have been doing with Yoga DVDs.

    I’m not surprised about the instructor’s remark. Your blogging shows me how present you are, which I found is also a key to being able to move freely and also recreate an instructor’s moves.


  3. Thank you, Dennis, you are too kind. I should add that yesterday there was a different teacher for the class–and she did NOT say I looked like I’ve done NIA before!! :^p

    I hope you & Vicki, and you, Michelle, enjoy your classes as much as I did. My tip for reducing self-consciousness: Don’t look in the mirror!


  4. Well, I did it. My first Nia class was this morning, and thank goodness, the room doesn’t have a mirror! I felt surprisingly good doing it, despite many, many missteps. But, I liked and was encouraged by the teacher’s attitude about beginning; allowing yourself the freedom and time to be a beginner, and to find your own level of comfort and pleasure in the movements. I’m hooked.


  5. I’m so glad you enjoyed the class, Michelle! This week a student showed up in a wheelchair and with an oxygen tank, and she participated. It really is an amazing experience.


  6. Have fun with your Nia workouts. It is a
    creative and fun way to get fit.

    Zumba is excellent too, and you will be
    shimmying in no time!

    Then try Belly Dance, it is a terrific workout
    and some excellent instructors on dvd for
    home practice. Hadia of Canada is fabulous!
    She has a nice collection of instructional
    and performance dvds available.

    Best wishes,



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