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NIA is an acronym for Neuromuscular Integrative Action. It is also a Swahili word meaning "with purpose", or you can think of it as standing for "non-impact aerobics". None of these definitions do the method justice, as words can't really describe this unique, free-flowing, expressive movement technique. You have to experience it to appreciate it.

NIA is part dance, part play, part martial arts and part aerobic exercise. Using a blend of Eastern and Western styles plus your own kinetic creativity, the instructor guides you through three levels of suggested choreographic choices complete with motivational visualizations and imagery all set to eclectic music. This open, flexible format allows each barefoot participant to adapt their swaying undulations to their own expressive needs and physical abilities.

NIA is described as a healing movement that achieves physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fitness and wellness, leading to personal and professional growth. If you don't buy these lofty, New Age claims, know that it is also a scientifically based systematic approach that uses intrinsic and extrinsic muscular movement to condition the heart and lungs and develop a strong, toned, flexible body. You'll definitely get a good workout and probably have a lot of fun in the process.

Co-founded by Carlos and Debbie Rosas, there are about 1,000 certified Nia instructors throughout the United States, Canada, Germany, Sweden, New Zealand and Mexico, and more are being trained to serve the growing interest in the technique. Give it a try - you've got nothing to lose but your inhibitions.
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