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Movement Goes Expressive With Yo-Nia

Learn how to turn exercise into bodywork through an expressive workout that combines the wisdom and benefits of two movement practices: yoga and the Nia® Technique.

Nia is a body-mind-spirit movement practice dedicated to well-being. In Swahili, Nia means “with purpose,” which exactly describes the Nia approach.

The science of Nia, based on The Body’s Way, lays a physical foundation for achieving fitness and a healthy lifestyle using traditional and nontraditional techniques. Cardiovascular conditioning, energy, vitality, joint and muscle flexibility, strength, balance, mental focus and relaxation are just a few of the many benefits. Nia also evokes an aspect of movement rarely addressed in the traditional fitness world, in that it gives people permission to explore, play, and connect with themselves and others.

Simple while also complex, Yo-Nia uses 13 principles to combine structured movement with free-form movement and stillness. The still postures may seem familiar to you, as they have their roots in yoga. As with any practice, time is part of the journey, so regardless of your fitness level, it’s best to begin your Yo-Nia experience slowly.

All body types can appreciate this work, as it is developmental, interactive and centered around making choices guided by ease and comfort. Safe enough to be done in bare feet, Yo-Nia infuses both movement and relaxation into every posture, even the most charged and powerful ones. Yo-Nia is mindful of three principles: gravity, breath and budo (meaning “the way” in martial arts). The result is an expressive body of work that takes you on an exploration of movement and stillness, through a journey of Eastern and Western principles and concepts.

How It Works
During a session, we choose a few postures, looking at the flow and direction of the energy along the bones in each posture. Next we move through sequences from 7 to 12 minutes long, to prepare—physically, emotionally and mentally—for the transition into a static yoga posture. We use this movement to open and soften, then in stillness we sense the effects of our motion. The energy that continues to flow in the stillness after movement adds a spiritual component, an increased level of sensation and the feeling of connection.

For example: Perhaps we begin with spinal twist movements, turning left and right with the whole body to feel the torso rotate. Then we spiral the whole body to sit down into the Earth and up again, as the way to finally settle in the spinal twist. We repeat the sequence three times. Collectively, one movement sequence can facilitate a posture.

For more detailed Yo-Nia moves and postures, along with visualization techniques, check out the “Yo-Nia” sessions (#378 and #432) led by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas at the IDEA World Fitness Convention™ in Las Vegas, July 8-12. For more information or to register, visit www.ideafit.com/world.

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