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WEEKLY WORKOUT: Sensory-Based Movement, Nia

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Moira Leu has been dancing since she was three years old.  She calls it one of her passions, and you can see it when she teaches.  But this isn’t just a dance class – it’s Nia.

“Nia is a sensory-based movement practice,” says Leu. “It’s one of the first fusion fitness classes, so it combines martial arts, dance arts and healing arts into this really fun, fitness and lifestyle practice.”

If that still has you wondering what it’s all about – you’re not alone. Moira says most newcomers feel that way. “They’re nervous,” she says with a laugh, “they’re nervous.”

We’re nervous, and wondering exactly what we’ll get out of the class. “Flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, stability.”  That sounds good, and before too long we’re feeling good, even if our dance skills leave a lot to be desired.  “That’s the fun of it,” Moira insists, “if you look ridiculous, have fun with it!”

Not everyone looks ridiculous. Allison Peterson is a salsa instructor – and it shows. “Going to Nia is just all about you and where your body is,” she says “it’s not about looking like anyone else.” And Allison says you get out of it whatever you want. “You can start sweating within the third song!”

Plus, in Nia you can pick your level. Level one is considered healing.  Movements stay close to the body and are very slow. At level two movements get bigger and at level three full range of motion and higher impact mean you can really work up a sweat if you want.

Whether it’s shaking the hips, flying like airplanes or doing the “robot” Moira says the key is to let go, and love it.

“Once you get into it, it’s like ‘eh’ - everybody’s kind of looking goofy or everybody’s really into it and having fun. They’re all dancing they’re own dance. They’re all dancing their own joy of movement.”

Moira is holding a Nia workshop this Sunday from 2-4 at Radiant Om Yoga in Windsor Heights.  For more information, check out these websites here and here.