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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Dance Joyfully Through Life with Nia

Jul 01, 2014 10:21AM

Fast-paced cardio workouts aren’t generally known for toning the mind, body and soul or leading individuals inward to their own rhythm and ways of moving. However, there is an exception—Nia. In the hour-long class, enthusiasts experience the creativity of dance, the precision of yoga and the power of martial arts as they move to music that rocks the body and soothes the soul.

According to renowned physician Christiane Northup, Nia is a mind, body and spirit celebration that can help individuals become aware of how to use the body’s movements as a language to express moods and experience what it means to live fully and expressively. “Nia is a wonderful tool and way of educating people so that their confidence and happiness increases naturally. It also helps them become connected to others to shape a consciousness that extends beyond their own,” says Valeria Hill, a Nia teacher at Shangri-La Springs, in Bonita Springs.

Nia’s pioneering co-founders, Debbie and Carlos Rosas, intended that the body-mind physiology of the practice would empower individuals to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self-healing and well-being through movements that have their foundation in dance, as well as the healing and martial arts. Its combined movements create a fusion fitness class performed to a variety of music genres. Changing music throughout the session stimulates the body to move in a variety of ways. Most importantly, dancing is done barefoot for the purpose of grounding the body.

It is not uncommon for Nia students to fall in love with the joy of being, as well as the movement choices that exist within a flexible structure that is personally modifiable to suit an individual’s needs. The sensation of joy, the first principal in training for all four Nia belts—white, blue, brown and black—are consciously sought in the body, on and off the practice floor. When joy is absent, students are encouraged to look within to build and strengthen joy like one would a muscle. “Within the Nia community, we believe that every individual can discover, explore, unleash and enhance their individual potential to live a joyful, fulfilling and meaningful life,” says Hill.

RESOURCE: Shangri-La Springs, 27750 Old U.S. 41 Rd., Bonita Springs. For more information on Nia classes on Thu. from 6 to 7 p.m., call 239-949-0749 or visit

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