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Dance class designed to exercise the body and mind comes to Burton

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: February 26, 2014

  • 25/02/14 Nia dancing/exercise class - Canterbury Road, Winshill, Burton on Trent New Nia Classes at Winshill Neigbourhood Centre - Hosted by Sarah Gibbs -

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A NEW way of exercising both the body and mind has arrived in Burton and is hoping to follow the likes of Zumba and yoga in terms of its popularity.

Nia was developed around 30 years ago in San Francisco by Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas and, like Zumba, gets the body active and moving.

However, unlike Zumba, it takes a lot of its style from different movement arts including yoga, Alexander Technique, jazz and modern dance, and aikido and tai chi. The idea is to place more emphasis on how one’s individual body is feeling, and each individual is encouraged to move according to their own level.

Sarah Gibbs first discovered Nia while living in Brighton, before moving to Burton a year ago. She set up her first class at the Winshill Neighbourhood Resource Centre last September and has recently set up a second class at John Taylor School in Barton under Needwood. She is currently teaching a routine called Sexi, focusing on the spine and spinal cord.

She told the Mail: “My main fitness used to come from walking, however when I discovered Nia I realised it encouraged a wonderful all over body fitness feeling that was just what I needed to counteract the effects of sitting at my desk doing my ‘writing’ day job.

“Nia is all about thinking about your own body, how it’s feeling on the day, and moving how you want to move.

“Whereas Zumba is about intense movement and dancing, we think about how the body is designed and how to keep the 13 joints active and moving. We start with two gentle routines, build the routine up to more cardiovascular workouts, and end with some floor work”.

Rather than being based purely on yielding physical results, Nia aims to enhance spiritual and emotional well-being and to embrace movement because it feels good, rather than because it helps to burn fat.

Sarah says that the gentle movements mean that it appeals to a wide range of participants.

She said: “One of the ladies who comes to my class has problems with her knee. She keeps certain movements gentle, or even stops at times, and then joins in again when she can.

“As it’s low impact, it means that people of all ages can take part.”

Sarah offers a Tuesday morning class at the Neighbourhood Resource Centre in Winshill between 9.30 and 10.30 and a Tuesday evening class at John Taylor School, Barton under Needwood that runs from 6.30pm until 7.30pm.

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