Katie Conroy approached me about writing for AYS way before I opened the floor to everyone. She’s an adventurous yogi like myself–willing to try new styles, classes and ideas–and decided to put herself out there to experience Nia at the Open Mind Center in Roswell. Would you give her some love in the comments section below?
By Katie Conroy
I finally took a leap of courage and tried a Nia class for the first time at The Open Mind Center in Roswell, and I am glad I did, because it opened my mind to a fresh and positive experience. I have always wanted to try Nia due to its mystery and creative dynamics, but there was an intimidation factor. I knew it was an hour long, flow and movement class that combines dance, martial arts, yoga and breath, all done barefoot. Still, I wasn’t sure what this meant or what the class would really be like, so I had to find out for myself. I am not a good dancer and definitely do not have natural rhythm, but the teacher, Shondrika (Shon), immediately put me at ease. As the class unfolded, I realized everyone was doing their own practice and I set myself free of self-judgment, embraced the joyfulness and just let go!
The class began with fluid movement to the flow of music and breath. The practice then picked up pace and Shon led us into a mixture of dancing, martial arts and yoga in different stages throughout the hour. It was not an extremely intense workout, but we definitely broke a sweat and were moving the whole hour by adding martial arts, kicks and dance movements. There was an excellent balance of instruction, but also personal freedom to do your own “free-style” at times. The class concluded with yoga stretching and finished by having us pair up on the floor with our backs against each other. We then created a breath flow as one, and set a personal intention for ourselves in that space and going forward into the world. It was amazing how much I felt illuminated with positive energy.
Nia brought me joy and released a creative part in me that apparently has been bottled up. It also has physical benefits and really focuses on self-confidence. The heart of this specific class was connection, and using connection between your body and breath, movement and music, between one another and how we can connect joy with life. There was a lot of focus on feeling your own body and how it flows to the different aspects of a melody with your breath.
Would I recommend or take Nia again? Of course! It is a positive, mind opening experience that leaves you feeling a sense of bliss when you are done. Don’t let wonder or intimidation hold you back; open your mind and senses and have fun!