In this month’s Talks with Teachers column, we feature our esteemed Nia instructor, Andrea Edwards. Lest you be wondering, Nia is not yoga, it’s actually its own branded form of group exercise that fuses dance, martial arts, and healing arts. Check out this short video to see Nia in action. If you watch it, you’ll see that it’s super fun and a huge hit with our community. A wonderful compliment to your yoga practice, this gentle form of exercise can be self-moderated to meet your fitness needs. Andrea teaches two classes of Nia every week at The Yoga Centre: Thursdays at 8am and Saturdays at 9am. This week, we are offering both classes for FREE! Please come check it out! Use promo code ‘FREENIA’ to register online for NIA on either 10/19/17 or 10/21/17.
TYC: How were you first introduced to NIA?
AE: Two friends were loving Nia class and were bugging me to go. But I couldn’t grasp what NIA was and I didn’t like group exercise. I entered my first Nia class alone, nervous, and skeptical. I was greeted warmly by the teacher and I was told to adapt movements to my mood and energy level. I had never heard that in an aerobic class before! My eldest son was an infant at the time so I was exhausted, but I left class feeling energized, not depleted.
In that class 14 years ago, I liked how there was strength-building movements like kicks and punches and then softer, ease-filled motion. I could walk out of class drenched in sweat, or just unwind and move as much as my stamina allowed. I felt completely immersed and de-stressed as a result. I was hooked.
YC: How would you describe NIA?
AE: That’s always tricky! There is a joke at Nia HQ: “Nia is like chocolate: you can’t describe it, but once you taste it, you love it!” Nia is a mind-body aerobic technique that fuses the dance arts, the healing arts, and the martial arts. But it is open to everyone of all ages and all fitness levels. Their motto is simple: “through movement we find health.” Nia routines encompass 5 forms of fitness: flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability. A lot of people don’t know that Nia has been around for 34 years, and is taught in 45 different countries.
TYC: When did you first become a NIA teacher and why?
AE: Nia operates on a belt system like martial arts, but the first belt, the White Belt is open to everyone, whether you want to pursue teaching or not. I entered the White Belt training as a personal retreat, a way to immerse myself into Nia for a week long intensive because I loved it so. I had no intention to teach. But I was wowed by the depth of the technique and the philosophy behind it and I knew I had to share it. I starting teaching in 2011 and now have achieved my third belt, the Blue Belt.
TYC: What are the top three things you’d like your students to get out of your classes?
AE: To connect to their own body, relax, and enjoy moving.
TYC: What do you love about the community of students at The Yoga Centre?
AE: Yoga Centre students are friendly and open. I love that students of all ages and shapes feel safe in Nia and reap the benefits. Students who have battled cancer, struggled with body image issues, or anxiety and depression have shared with me how transformative and cathartic Nia has been for them. I am so honored to witness those transformations.
What else would you like the Yoga Centre community to know about you?
AE: Nia is the only workout I’ve ever done that gives me joy, and I love sharing that joy through teaching. There is something about simple, expressive movement that re-connects us to our spirit and heals us, and everyone, no matter what age or what size, can feel that.