Shelly Ross, two time winner of the Best of the Bay Nia Teacher (Diablo Magazine), answers some Nia questions from her own perspective.


What is Nia?

Whenever I am asked the question I always have a little smile on my face and think to myself “huh? You don’t know?” Nia has been around for 30 years! Two creative movement geniuses came together and decided that fitness should/could be fun and joyful. No more “no pain, no gain.” Brilliantly, Nia discovered that once you become body aware, pay attention, and become mindful of the body you are working with at the moment, you could sincerely fall in love with getting fit and healthy, and experience what Nia calls the “Big J” - JOY!. Simply put, Nia is a sensory-based fitness and wellness program. What we know about the body is that it has a voice and that voice is sensation. Nia teaches you how to listen so that sensation can become pleasurable and lead you into the idea of falling in love with moving your body. Ideally, it is called the Body’s Way.

What can I expect in a Nia class?

Nia classes are done barefoot and you can expect to start “feeling” your feet or what Nia refers to as your base—at the foundation of it all. Nia classes have a wide variety of music to move to and the teacher sets a focus for the group. Staying within that focus, we can become intimately associated with that intent. You can expect to search for and seek pleasure in all your movements and a opportunity to connect to a community of like-minded individuals that have a desire for personal expression and reaching their highest potential.

What if I have an injury?

Principle # 7 of the White Belt training teaches us about the 3 planes of movement and the 3 levels of intensity. The 3 planes of movement encourages you to move your body through the 3 physical planes. Generally speaking you can get a sense of what plane works best for your body and you stay within that framework. The 3 levels of intensity refers to moving through 3 levels of exertion. YOU get to monitor your movement; having choice also increases your confidence and power.

Read more about Shelly.