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Rhythms & The Body's Way
An interesting part of Nia is the use of changing rhythms in music. Many other cardiovascular conditioning classes use music that is altered to fit into a pattern of specified beats per minute that do not change throughout the activity. In Nia classes the music is quite varied, with rhythms fluctuating throughout the routines. I have found that moving to changing rhythms helps me be present and more fully involved in both the music and the movement. Dancing the varied Nia Rhythms heightens my awareness and ability to adapt to change. Conditioning this agility of the mind and body transfers to our ability to adapt to the ever changing events in our day to day lives.

An at Home Activity
You can condition your body's response to changing rhythms at home; simply choose a song and move to the music. Notice how you naturally change your moves when there is a change in the music. Next, challenge yourself to include more of the varied ways that your body can move, reaching, twisting, stepping, kicking, stretching, balancing, change from slow to fast, and from up to down, and in between. Through this practice, you can actually put together your own at home dance exercise session! Play with this and you will be amazed at the possibilities, in addition since you are creating the moves, you are enhancing the mind-body connection through awareness of music and movement.

An Outdoor Activity
Connecting to natural rhythms of the living breathing world is important for our health and wellness. Our culture has become one where many people spend the majority of their day indoors, and miss the important experience of connecting to nature. When was the last time that you woke because the sun was rising, went to sleep following a setting sun, paid attention to the direction of the wind, or the directional path the sun travels throughout the day. Awareness of these basic daily events was once essential to our survival, today experiencing nature is still important to our sense of wellbeing. Take time to get outside, and experience the beauty and rhythms of nature, you may be surprised how this can refresh the mind, body, and spirit.

Music & Other Notes
Favorites from Current Routines: This list is of songs that students requested titles & artist information after dancing to the songs in class. The complete music CD's for these routines can be purchased at www.nianow.com where you can also listen to music previews. The lists below are not the complete song lists for these routines, they are simply some favorites by request of Nia class participants.

Sanjana Routine, music CD available on Nia Sounds
Sol Tapado-Thievery Corporation
I'm In Heaven-Thievery Corporation
Minimba-Future Prophecies.
Dream Walker, music CD available on Nia Sounds
Marisi-Cantoma
Tantrika-Makyo
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter-Thievery Corporation
Clarity Routine, music CD available from Nia Sounds
Freek
Jogando Capoeira
Opal, Music CD available on Nia Sounds
Japanese-Illumine
Traveling-Illumine
Nungabunda-Ganga Girl
Earthsong Routine, music CD available on Nia Sounds
Saracen-Jeff Stott
Smokey Quartz, Shakatura
Boogaloop, Ursula 1000
Coming Down, Rasiya
Canta Routine, music CD available on Nia Sounds
Nourah-Makyo
Sufani(one we clap to)-Gaudi
Butterfly Routine
Cry (Brown Bear Mix, Afterlife
Butterfly Heart, Chris Coco
Aduoma, Angelique Kidjo
Aya Routine,music CD available on Nia Sounds
Healing Senses, Parijat
Mulatica Mia, The Tao of Groove
Palais Mascotte, Patrick Duvoisin
Rhythm is?, Afro-Mystik

A diverse selection of albums I enjoy
1 Giant Leap
, world music
Keep Moving, Angelique Kidjo, world music.
Konkoba, Dance of the Forest, Budhi Harlow (African beats drum music)
Dharma Cafe, Cybertribe, electronic mellow chill.
African Dream Lounge, African Tribal Orchestra.
Sacred Drum Visions, David & Steve Gordon.
Jhoom, Gabrielle Roth & The Mirrors
Versus, Timmy Curran.
Ultimate Santana, Santana.
Spa Rhythms, Dean Evenson.
Playing For Change, various artists.

More Nia Sounds are available at NiaNow.com where you can also purchase several Nia Routine DVD's, so you can dance Nia at home.

Outdoor Adventure

San Simeon Adventure to See the Elephant Seals
In Mid December my husband & I traveled up the coast to observe the elephant seals that come ashore to birth and breed at Piedra Blancas just north of Hearst Castle in San Simeon. We have been making this trek since the early 90's and always find it rewarding. There are many beautiful beaches and other places to explore as well. This year we hiked the Nipomo Dunes area and found some amazing geological formations in the cliffs along the shore. I plan to return to the San Simeon area mid February when the elephant seal activity should be at the peak.

For a wonderful wilderness adventure take a day-trip or camping trip to the Channel Islands National Park. The sea air is invigorating, the peaceful isolation and beauty of the islands can refresh your mind, body, and spirit. I volunteer as a hiking guide in the Channel Islands National Park, come and visit, I will be on Anacapa May 22nd & 23rd, Santa Rosa Sept. 17th-19th.

Favorite Recent Readings:
Frank Forencich; Exuberant Animal, The Power of Health, Play and Joyful Movement.
Book Description
Move to live, live to move! Health and fitness is a bushy, multi-disciplinary practice that includes body, mind, spirit and the creative imagination. Exuberant Animal explores the totality of human health and promotes a truly integrated approach that spans culture, biology, psychology and animal behavior. You'll discover powerful new ideas for movement and living that will stimulate your vitality, creativity and enthusiasm.

John J. Ratey MD; Spark: the Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. A groundbreaking and fascinating investigation into the transformative effects of exercise on the brain, from the bestselling author and renowned psychiatrist John J. Ratey, MD.

Susan Albers, PSY.D.; Eating Mindfully, how to end mindless eating & enjoy a balanced relationship with food. This is not a diet book, this book will provide methods to help the you become more aware of your habits and relationship with food.

Raphael Cushner; How Now, 100 ways to celebrate the present moment
This fun little book is packed with inspirational phrases, and suggested activities for enhancing your experiences of being in the present moment.

Steven Halpern, Ph.D.; Sound Health: The Music and Sounds That Make us Whole. An older book from 1985, yet with some great insights to the energetics of sound and the effects on the mind and body.