This, from the official Nia website, is what it is:
Nia is a body-mind-spirit fitness and lifestyle practice. Through expressive movement—The Body’s Way—Nia empowers people to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
Life lived in a body the Nia way is life lived in relationship to the sacred geometry of life.
I have no idea what that means. All I know is, Nia is fun. Now let’s be honest: running on a treadmill is not fun. Lifting weights is not fun. Riding a stationary bike, doing squats, suffering through crunches, not fun, not fun, not fun.
Nia is dance you don’t need to be all that coordinated to do. There are no “routines” to learn. Just steps to follow. My class (that I’ve been taking for several years) has women of a wide range of sizes and ages. (And yes, I am always trying to figure out where I am on the age/size continuum.) In it, I feel – ready for it? — graceful and lithe. Lithe — now there’s a word not too many people would use to describe me. But notice I didn’t say I LOOK graceful and lithe. For all I know I look like a big gallumphing oaf — the point is, I feel good about it — so I do it.
The thing about Nia is – you get tired, you sweat (depends on your teacher, btw. I don’t want anyone all mad at me because they end up with some mellow instructor. Every class is different. We have the immensely sweaty class.) but you never feel as if you’re “EXERCISING.” I can do a whole class and not realize until I can barely sit down the next day that I did about 100 squats/plies the day before in class. And there ain’t nothing like not being able to sit down and get back up again to let you know you’ve worked out. (Either that, or you’ve just gotten too fat to make your way out of a chair.)
So there it is – my pitch for Nia. With nary a self-deprecating comment in sight. See? Nia is empowering me already.