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Featuring Nia in Ventura County
Since adding PE M39 Nia Fusion Fitness to the Moorpark College PE curriculum in fall 2007, the most common question I am asked by prospective students is "what is Nia"? Nia is fitness and lifestyle practice and one of the original "fusion fitness" formats, integrating simple movements from dance, martial arts, and healing arts.
I discovered Nia in 2006 when I was looking for a class to fulfill my professional development interests as a fitness instructor at Moorpark College. I had no idea what to expect, I was attending class because a colleague suggested it, and I found a studio near my home that specialized in Nia classes. Waiting for my first class to start, I noticed that the mix of people in the class was extremely diverse, including men and women, ranging from teens to seniors. When the music started, this was not the hard pulsating music that usually vibrates through the walls of a fitness studio, this music was melodic, richly textured, and a pleasure to hear. Each participant seemed to know just what to do when the music started, it looked to me as if the music was part of them. Though Nia is a group movement activity, nobody appeared to move with the rigid precision I have observed in many fitness classes, instead the moves were finely executed with power, grace, and creative expression unique to each participant. As I moved to the over the next hour I was using my body in a way that was freeing physically and emotionally, I smiled, laughed, and had an unusually good time. In addition, though I have been a fitness professional for more than two decades, I had new sensations in my body and experienced physical challenges that were new to me. I have continued practicing Nia ever since that day as a student and a now as a Nia Teacher.
The Nia Way
Nia is soundly based on exercise science, and there is an overlying philosophy that movement is to be enjoyed. This philosophy replaces the old 1980's style aerobic mentality still present in many programs today, suggesting people to "go for the burn". The Nia way of helping participants find joy and pleasure in their movement can also help individuals sustain a long term relationship with vigorous physical activity that can enhance overall health and well being.
Upcoming Classes for Moorpark College
Growth Through Movement, Play, and Learning
In January 2010, I started teaching a new class called "Core Play" Tuesday evenings 5:30-6:30 at the Ventura Nia Center. This class integrates many Nia concepts and practices as we play with shifting body weight, as well as props to condition the body and feel better.
In September 2009 I participated in the Nia 5 Stages Instructor training, and have integrated this practice into my life and teaching.
In April 2010 I went to a fabulous weekend of fun Nia Plearning (palyful Learning) conducted by Winalle Zeeb. This event was attended by nearly 30 Nia Teachers and we were learning the new routine "Butterfly".
Learn West African dance at the Ventura Nia Center. West African Dance is being taught at VNC by Lisa Beck. The programs taught by Lisa are much more than a dance class, each session is a cultural experience with authentic live drum music and a community of wonderful, creative, and inspirational people. Currently Lisa is teaching West African Dance as a once a month workshop one Saturday each month at the Nia Center.