Nia Hout Bay

“Once your body surrenders to the movement, your soul remembers its dance.” – Gabrielle Roth



With Ann Christiansen, my wonderful Blue Belt, Brown Belt and Black Belt trainer from Hamburg.

Where did Nia begin?

Debbie and Carlos Rosas created Nia in 1983 as a personal and professional quest that grew out of their desire to discover a more pleasurable and expressive way to get fit. They wanted above all to find a way for anyone to enjoy movement to music, without the stress and strain of complicated dance classes or the repetitive exercises of the gym.

“At the height of the Jane Fonda era, when aerobics meant high-impact and bouncing, we had an idea and vision.  We said love is the way to create a healthy body. We need to fall in love with our bodies; to learn to choose pleasure over pain. To take off our shoes, feel our bodies, express ourselves. To become conscious of what we do as a way to heal and enjoy life.”

Their fascination with the body, the mind, the emotions, and the spirit, as well as a deep curiosity for exploring human potential, took them on this quest that created Nia.

Nia Graphic

They embraced the knowing that we are so much more than a physical body. That is why when we exercise it is so vital to engage our mental, emotional and spiritual selves, not just our physical selves. They studied and practiced many movement forms, eventually incorporating nine into their body of work:

Three were taken from the Martial Arts, (Tai Chi, Tae Kwan Do and Aikido)

Three were taken from the Dance Arts, (Modern, Jazz and Duncan Dance)

Three were taken from the Healing Arts, (Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique and Yoga)

What makes Nia different from other forms of exercise?

With Ann Christiansen, one of our many wonderful international Nia trainers.

Nia is done bare foot (preferably). Through the thousands of nerve endings in our feet we can really connect to the earth, become grounded and move in a natural way, without the interference of shoes.

Nia is about seeking pleasure. It is designed to create ease of movement and fun through personal expression. No pounding the treadmill or pushing the body beyond safe personal fitness levels.

Nia involves conscious connection to every part of our bodies. The philosophy is that if we learn to connect more with our bodies, to express ourselves more through moving in joy to music, we can facilitate healing on both an emotional and physical level.

Nia is about self exploration through the body. It’s all about learning THE Body’s Way, which involves incorporating 52 basic moves into a routine born out of play to music. But more importantly, it is about expressing YOUR Body’s Way, how YOUR body likes to move, what gives YOUR body the most joy.

In Nia, “dancing” is anything your body does to music. There is no right or wrong way to move in Nia. All fitness levels and ages are accommodated in one class – it is truly a personal exploration and expression.

In Swahili Nia means “with purpose” –  and that says it all!

If you would like to come to a class click here for the details. To discover more about Nia, visit the international website, Listen to this interview on Cape Talk between Nicci Gates and Pippa Hudson. Take a look at the images or watch the YouTube videos below.

Here is a quick overview of the benefits of Nia. Enjoy!

See below images of Nia in action. Click on the image to increase the size.