Nia is a movement practice that blends moves from the dance, healing, and martial arts to create a cardio experience that is also soft-impact (easy on the joints so you can actually do it barefoot, which increases your sensory awareness). As a holistic practice, it brings about a feeling of body mind spirit balance that increases happy hormones, and has you healthy and fit!
Nia – pronounced Nee-ah – is often felt as movement-medicine for the soul. It works with the design of your body, conditioning and strengthening it on all levels to a diversity of music.
In Swahili, the word “nia” means ‘with purpose’, a happy coincidence because the Nia movement brings an intentful feel to it – connecting you to your empowerment. People of all levels are welcome and the class is taught to engage where you are at.
I've been teaching Nia since Dec 2000 and became the 1st teacher to complete her black belt in Vancouver. I was also 1 of 50 teachers invited to help develop the teacher training (green belt) and 1 of 50 teachers worldwide invited to be a Trainer. Jasjit Rai
Weekly Class in 2018
Sundays 11:00 - 12:15 @The Dance Centre, 677 Davie St., Vancouver
Buy class passes in advance by clicking here. First-time or out-of-town drop-ins welcome, $20/class by cash.
If you are dropping in, always best to email/call in case there are any changes in the schedule!
Would you love to practice Nia at home?
Well, for the first time ever, students can watch & practice routines and learn so much more through online Nia TV! Find out more and purchase a monthly or longer subscription here.
Sense the feeling in this short video...
Nia strengthens the body, clears the mind, and frees the spirit. Its soft-impact approach supports your body to create and maintain health.
Nia movement is based on the way the body is designed to move anatomically, creating resiliency. Nia engages your spirit and leads your body to engage in natural flow.
People of all levels and walks of life enjoy the Nia practice. Typically it is practiced barefoot, soft-soled shoes are optional, and clothing should be easy to move and sweat in. Newcomers are always welcome. Learn more about the practice at NiaNow.com
- Cultivate increased energy in your daily life
- Move with the design of your body for greater strength
- Release the build-up of tension and stress to return to lightness
- Experience the sensation of aligning your body, mind, and spirit
- Develop agility and muscle tone as you dance through class
- Expand your flexibility and enhance coordination
- Move with grace and in the joy of movement!
My Personal Story
It was early in the year 2000. Having started a consulting business in the previous year, I had a strong sense that a weekly physical practice would go a long way in keeping my body healthy, my mindset strong, and help me have some fun.
Prior to this moment, I'd never been interested in exercise - that sounded like work. On the other hand, I loved to play as a child. I enjoyed sports in school as long as they were fun. I was aware of the movement of my body and posture. I liked to stretch and bend. Dance was enjoyable. But that was it. Attending aerobic or fitness classes was not really my idea of a good time.
Going to my first Nia class changed all of this. I didn't even know what it was, when I made the choice to show up, but it sounded fun and interesting. I felt drawn to check it out. The fusion of dance, martial, and healing arts told me there would be enough variety in the class to keep me interested and I was curious about each of these modalities. The fact that they all came within this technique called Nia was icing on the cake!
I showed up at my first class after a very late night out! But I knew if I didn't keep my promise to myself to go, I would likely come up with another reason the following week. Keeping that commitment opened my life in a big way.
Very early in the class, I felt a sense of empowerment. In fact, I actually had an epiphany, one that told me that I could teach this class! As you can imagine, the idea of teaching when I'd just stepped in sounded completely crazy. But I listened to my inner voice and thought that I might as well keep enjoying the classes and see what happened. That I did, and a few months later, I felt called to take the teacher training in the USA.
I became the 1st Nia teacher in Vancouver to receive my Black Belt and was 1 of 50 teachers world-wide to be invited by the founders to guide the creation of a new belt focused on teaching teachers. I was also invited to become a Trainer, a special honour, however I chose to keep teaching and not go the trainer route as I had plenty on my plate.
Teaching every week all these years has made such a difference to my well-being, joy, expression, grace, power, resilience, and physical health. Emotionally, it grounds me and helps me express and release feelings. Mentally, it keeps me strong and thinking positively. Spiritually, I feel nourished as my soul gets to dance. My life has expanded considerably through Nia.
Come try a class! You may just find something special.
“Jasjit is one of those rare teachers who truly embodies the practice she teaches – her enthusiasm and authentic love of what she shares inspires all who take her classes .” Daphne, Musician
“I didn’t know my body was missing something, until I did Nia.” K. Louis
“Thank you so much for an amazing class tonight, Jasjit! I feel like a bazillion bucks.” Christy
“The memories of Nia represent a time of stability and serenity which helped me recover from an incipient moment of depression (this you did not know) and I will always be thankful that you crossed my path of life at the right moment. I greatly enjoyed your style of teaching, miss and have not found any similar maestro in Toronto.”
“Jasjit’s teaching was awesome! I had a fantastic time. She gave excellent instruction and had such a great energy!” Lisa Hanson, Coordinator, YWCA
“I truly LOVE Nia. It’s one of the best things about Vancouver! For someone who loves dance, it doesn’t get any better than fitness and dance in one routine! Nia has also introduced me to some of the best music I ever heard.” Padma
“Because I find it difficult to allow myself to just be – my head is a very efficient distraction – Nia movement helped me get to know myself in a non-threatening setting…sometimes you literally need to sweat to get out of your own way.”
“Thanks for being such an inspiration to me I always think of you and how you have created what you want in your life…amazing!” xo, Laura, Nia White Belt
“I had the strongest ‘chi’ experience I have ever had with the magnetic energy between the hands that you guided. Wonderful and awesome.” Douglas, Nia Teacher
“The joy on your face is infectious and encourages a safe place to explore movement! Appreciate your newsletter, it will help me focus on taking care of the body’s need to stretch and contract and spin and be on all three planes. Look forward to more exploration and dancing with you again. Remembering inspiration at your classes and freedom to move without watching oneself.” Tom, Nia White Belt
“Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your class yesterday. It was fantastic!! You have a great group of students. Your class inspired me to re-think about teaching again. Thank you soooo much.” Angela, Nia White Belt
“Sitting in your skin like a ripe melon for the peeling, allow yourself to explore your true flavour, through movement, and non-thinking intelligence. Inhabit your molecules and let them breath, dance and bump about. Thank you Jasjit for the stillness through sweat.” Norma, Therapist
“Regular exercise is so important for expecting mothers, and I truly believe that Nia is the perfect form of exercise for pregnant women. Its gentle yet invigorating movements are adaptable for all levels of fitness. I recommend Nia to all my clients.” Christy, Author and previous Doula
“I have to tell you once more how very cool it was to dance with you yesterday. Your warmth, grace and charm were absolutely magical. By the way, I spoke to a business associate who was there that evening and she really liked your style. Fluid and feminine is how she described it.” Wendy, Nia Teacher
“It was such a joy partaking in your class last night. I must not let life’s obstacles and “chores” get in the way of the matters that feed my spirit! Nia being one of them.” Kimberly
“Nia is the perfect blend of exercise for the mind, body and spirit. Using varied and carefully chosen music and routines it tunes my body with ease, uplifts my emotions and leaves me feeling joyful, refreshed and focused.”
“Last night as I watched my body in the mirror attempting to move into the postures with the music I realized just how sedentary I have become, even thought I walk all the time. I saw that I was heavy/robotic in my moves.
Jasjit moved her arms/body like she was a flower gently moving in the warm summer breeze. After a full hour of standing and moving to lively instrumental music, I was euphoric. As I walked home I realized that this was the same experience as a full hour of yoga movements or asanas. The big difference was more awareness of the air/space/void because I was standing/moving/dancing to a rhythm the whole time. The music worked to help transcend the heaviness.
Towards the end I experienced a brief glimpse of “graceful movement” and I want more. There is no reason in the world not to move the body “gracefully”. I have let me weight skyrocket over the past few months and I have been pretty much physically inactive and the heaviness has to go, pronto.” Cavelle, Artist