about the nia technique

Nia is a sensory-based movement lifestyle that leads to health, wellness and fitness. Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas founded the practice in 1983. Nia draws from nine disciplines in martial arts, dance arts and healing arts. It empowers people of all shapes and sizes by connecting the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Beginners and highly fit athletes all can adapt Nia to meet their needs. Every class can be tailored to individual goals and abilities with three intensity levels. I invite you to "Step Into" your own joyful journey with Nia, and positively shape the way you feel, look, think, and live.


Through 52 moves, Nia optimizes the body's natural design. Nia choreography integrates the movement styles and energy from Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, jazz dance, modern dance, Duncan dance, yoga, Alexander Technique and teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais in order to create unlimited potential of movement. Each class also has a specific focus; so the body breaks free from repetitive, injury-producing practices and instead helps the body gain in flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability. Nia classes balance form and technique with freedom by encouraging people to personalize the movements making their own choices for pleasure and comfort.

NIA’s PURPOSE (from Nianow.com)

Nia’s purpose is to grow a worldwide community of healthy people who are empowered to do great things. We believe every person can discover, explore, unleash and enhance their individual potential to live a fulfilling and meaningful life — by engaging their senses and listening to their bodies. With the right tools and education, we can increase our confidence and happiness. We can become connected to others to shape a consciousness that extends beyond our own.

see Heather on NIANOW.com

Heather’s Nia Story

As Stephaney’s voice beckoned repeatedly, "Reach for the heavens with your right hand, now touch your left knee, and next, connect with the earth," tears streamed down my face. Emotion and resistance were moving from deep inside outward into the air that surrounded my soaked face. The release was all at once shocking, scary, but also immensely powerful and essential to my continued wellness. I was having an integrated experience of MY BODY connecting with my spirit, emotions and beliefs. My body WAS here between heaven and earth. In one instant, I experienced a dramatic shift into a more holistic commitment to my life and living it as fully as possible.

For my first 22 years, dancer was a defining role. Dance strengthened my physicality and discipline, developed my creativity, helped me learn about relationships, and assisted in self-expression. In college, I attended the American Dance Festival’s summer program at Duke University, and I was a few credits short of a double major in dance. I loved to dance because I entered into a state of flow where my mind was silent and I experienced oneness with the energy within, other dancers, and the music. It was fun. I felt so free and limitless. But I began to tell myself lies and allowed my head to lead my body somewhere else.

I gave up the opportunity to attend graduate school at Hahnemann University’s dance therapy program due to fear. I chose instead to live with a head/mind perspective while in a Master’s program in Rehabilitation Counseling. I loved learning and education, but this abrupt cessation of movement and shift in energy contributed to a greater experience of stress, anger, and less self care. Four years later, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and in another six years, I underwent a traumatic surgical experience.

Finally, I began to move again...first walking then running my way back to health. After completing my first marathon, I decided to try Nia in November 2012 with Marybeth Grinnan. I remember such joy in finding a way to dance again after almost 10 years. After 3 months of classes, I committed to the White Belt training because, intuitively, I knew that so many healing things were happening to me in this class. In addition, I knew that these principles could benefit the clients in my own mind/body wellness practice.

Now, as a Second Degree Black Belt Instructor, I am incredibly amazed with the complexity and dimension of the Nia practice. I thank Debbie and Carlos for giving birth to this concept and developing it with grit, passion, love, for 30 years. It is a process of constant learning for me as a dancer, energetic being, and sensation scientist. Each class, song, and focus open me to new ways of experiencing my life and unlimited possibilities. Nia has given me greater flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability in my body as well as in my thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. Dancing with my Nia community has opened me further to love of myself and others. I now welcome joy into my movement and my life. I am compelled to teach and share with others as I firmly believe Nia’s adage, "Through movement we find health."

I recall that upon my White Belt graduation ceremony, my trainer and sacred athlete, Stephaney Abilon, spoke directly to me, “People are going to LOVE to dance with you.” I am honored that she envisions me leading classes that are inspiring because Nia and my teachers have been life affirming and have helped me to infuse my life and dance with wonder, grace, beauty and peace. I believe this gift is to be shared...shall we dance?

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