I love having totally unexpected experiences such as the one I had this past Monday when I took a Nia class in the Welsh countryside. I was reluctant to accept my friend Mab’s offer to take this class, but relented after having learned more about this unique dance movement from both Mab and her friend Fiona. I met Fiona and her friend, Amanda earlier in the day while Mab and I were having a light lunch at Costa in the town of Caerphilly. These lovely women explained that Nia is a sensory based movement practice that leads to health and wellness. Fiona also mentioned that it combines dance, martial arts, yoga and other disciplines. It sounded intriguing and I decided to give it a try especially since Mab told me that Fiona is a very highly renowned Nia instructor in the UK (Amanda is also a well known teacher in Leeds, England).
The class was held in a church hall (of all places!) near Fiona’s house in the small town of Nelson. The majority of the students were lovely women. FIona’s son, Edward, also participated and encouraged me to have an open mind while learning Nia. Fiona switched on the music and encouraged us to start moving our legs and hips slowly. Soon thereafter, we were instructed to begin moving our arms and stepping from side to side. I certainly had my doubts but remembered what Edward told me about having an open mind. Shortly later, the class became more intense and I began breaking a sweat. At times, we pretended to be swinging heavy swords and punched an imaginary punch bag! We also grunted like a gorilla (!) and did some more coordinated and free form dancing. It was a pretty good work out and a lot of fun! Afterwards, we stretched, crawled around like babies on the floor (!) and had a a brief conversation about what we experienced.
I’m glad I did this and want to try it again. Nia is a welcomed alternative to my usual workout routine of running on a treadmill, lifting weights and practicing yoga. Fiona has already found a class for me in Bethesda, MD!
Traveling for me means more than just visiting museums, admiring the landscape and sampling the local cuisine. It’s exposing myself to new things such as Nia. It’s about having an open mind.
Click here to learn more about Nia.