The Nia Technique - Global Unity

Carlos Rosas, Debbie Rosas
Year Released: 2000

Categories: Floor Aerobics/Hi-Lo/Dance



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First I need to attempt to describe Nia. Nia is a holistic approach to fitness that provides not only physical beauty but strength, increased health, even confidence and joy. It is intended to be as individual as you are. It's enjoyable approach to fitness could well be used for a lifetime.

Nia is a totally unique blend of tai chi, yoga, modern dance and more. Don't let the dance thing scare you ... it is *your* dance ... you do what is right for *you* ... you use your own creativity. No complex steps to learn - just the freedom of expression!

This tape is appropriate for all fitness levels. Just modify to fit your needs. (Watch instructional portion at the second half of the tape for form pointers and modification tips).

The class portion at the beginning of the tape has both Nia instructors and Nia students in the body of the group, with Debbie and Carlos at the front. There is approximately 45 minutes of cardio vascular work that also strengthens and lengthens muscles, with 15 minutes of cooling down and stretching.

The second part of the tape takes you step-by-step through all of the moves, with just the instructor against a black background. This allows you to see more clearly what is going on. The voiceovers give you instructions on how to get the most out of the video and each individual move, plus there are text cues at the bottom and sometimes there are detail boxes to show you precisely how to do an important part of the move.

One thing about this tape is that much of it encourages creative thinking and movement. You do what your body needs/wants you to do ... it isn't just a "follow-the-leader" mentality.

So, you are probably wondering ... what does this compare to?? The closest thing I have ever seen is Petra Kolber's B.R.E.A.T.H.E. Mix that in with some modern free-dance and a little more martial arts work and you have a fairly good approximation of Nia.

Not sure what to think of all this? I would recommend taking a Nia class in your area (the cost is usually nominal) - you can find out if there are classes in your area at www.nia-nia.com . If you like this style ... GREAT! Check out the video. If not ... don't get it.

No classes or you can't get to one? See if your library has a copy, or your local video store.

BTW ... for those who are curious ... Nia has two meanings. In Swahili, Nia means "With Purpose". The Nia Technique is based in movement with purpose. It is also an acronym ... for what I forget.

Where do you get this unique video? Only one place that I know of .... www.nia-nia.com . You can also find out more about what it is.

So ... you're wondering who I am and what I enjoy in video workouts? I am 34 years old, I own my own art business/am an artist, and I enjoy certain dance tapes, certain Firm tapes, and Tae Bo. I also like Kathy Smith's workouts. I have some health issues that have me kind of stuck in the beginner to beginner/intermediate level. I definately have to modify this tape ... even stop short of the 45 minute cardio section.

But for the purpose of saying who enjoys this video ... I know a woman who is highly fit, slender, used to be a runner (until she found this), 46 and owns her own business in the insurance field.

I hope this helps you give Nia a try ... it can't hurt and as I found ... it is a HUGE help! (It is really making a difference in how I feel).

Instructor Comments:
Debbie Rosas has a very soothing voice ... she really gives you the feeling that she cares. She is wonderful at cueing. Her body is incredibly fit while still being feminine ... just what I prefer to see in a female instructor.

Carlos Rosas is very passionate about what he is doing and this has a tendancy to rub off on the viewer. He is also funny at times! His cues are good and his body it very fit.

Ria (Amy B.)

07/15/2002

I'm getting more into free-form movement cardio in an effort to loosen up/fine tune my dance improv skills, so borrowed a batch of NIA tapes from another VFer. I decided to start with the most recent of the batch, since I was a little afraid of being permanently scarred by a 1986 video experience! Global Unity was done in 2000.

NIA stands for Neuromuscular Integrative Action, and it's basically a modern-dancey/African tribal barefoot cardio thing. (I'm really oversimplifying this. They have a whole theory of holistic movement and body awarness.) It was created by Carlos and Debbie Rosas. He's an extremely flamboyant Mexican man and she is his Susan Powter lookalike wife. (Judging from the other video covers, this is a new look for her.)

The video contains two parts. Part 1: The Exercise, is the group workout, which I did. Part 2: The Practice, is the section in which they break down the specific movements, discuss form and safety, and encourage you to spend time exploring each individual movement. I did not watch all of this, but I think it would be very helpful for a beginner, for someone who wants more detailed breakdowns of the moves, or for someone who is working on refining their technique. I just did Part 1 because I mostly just want to get in there and go.

I had a TOTAL BLAST!

Parts of it reminded my of Karen Andes' warm-up and Temple Stretch in the Woman Power Workout, and parts reminded me of the standing sections of Kundalini Yoga with Gurmuhk, and parts of it reminded me of Millenium Stretch. It was just so fun to get in there and move. You start just doing total free-form, and then you follow them, and then you do free form, and then you follow them, and then you do a mostly free-form floor stretch. So you're not *totally* at sea if you don't like or know how to improvise, but you do have some great opportunities for exploration.

I really enjoyed a lot of the hip shaking and shimmying (go figure.) My favorite move was what I like to call the "spanky-spanky." Go to the video clip section http://www.globalunity.niawave.com/global11.html and you'll see it in Touching The Void 3. I also like the kickbox-inpsired moves. My favorite combo there was a side lunge-front lunge-kick combination that you can see at Baby 4.

I think this would be a GREAT tape to do with kids. There's a couple of sections where you're supposed to imagine your body is a scarf/that you have scarves, and since I was in my dance room I grabbed a couple of small scarves for that section. You just dip and dive and twist and do whatever to make those scarves float around. (I learned an Andalusian scarf dance last year so I did some of those moves.) Totally enhanced that part and I had a lot of fun. I definitely recommend adding real scarves.

Set: you can see it on the video clips. Kind of dark. Lots of background dancers dressed in black, while Debbie and Carlos wear blue and red unitards respectively. The background dancers follow along during the following parts, but they each put their own spin on the moves. During the free-form sections they are all over the room--very inspiring and fun to watch.

Music: new age and world stuff. Kind of funky. I really enjoyed it.

So, I *love* this tape and am going to order it. The only drawback to me is that the end stretch is not led and is not very long, but I just kept on going on my own and so that was ok.

Will you like this tape? I don't know.

If you hate social dancing and/or are too self-conscious to even bop around in your own kitchen when there's no one home, then no, you probably will NOT like this tape.

However...

If you spent New Year's like I did, doing wild Priscilla Queen of the Desert-style lip synchs to disco tunes in a friend's living room, then I think you might really dig it.

Instructor Comments:
I was warned that a lot of people don't llike the NIA tapes because they can't stand Carlos (too flamboyant.) I'm one of those people who got a kick out of Greg Smithey from the original Buns of Steel, so I wasn't too worried. Oh. My. Gosh. Carlos was delightfully, hilariously, ridiculous. "Plucka, plucka, plucka, plucka!" "Shake your happy body!" "It's a thunder! YOU are the thunder!" Although, it probably helped that Debbie was calm and normal and balanced him out. I was grinning from ear to ear during all of Carlos' sections.

Renee Drellishak

02/03/2002

NIA stands for Neuromuscular Integrative Action, and it's basically a modern-dancey/African tribal, barefoot cardio thing. (I'm really oversimplifying this. They have a whole theory of holistic movement and body awarness.) It was created by Carlos and Debbie Rosas. He's an extremely flamboyant Mexican man and she is his Susan Powter lookalike wife. (Judging from the other video covers, this is a new look for her.)

The video contains two parts. Part 1: The Exercise, is the group workout, which I did. Part 2: The Practice, is the section in which they break down the specific movements, discuss form and safety, and encourage you to spend time exploring each individual movement. I did not watch all of this, but I think it would be very helpful for a beginner, for someone who wants more detailed breakdowns of the moves, or for someone who is working on refining their technique. I just did Part 1 because I mostly just want to get in there and go.

I had a TOTAL BLAST!

Parts of it reminded my of Karen Andes' warm-up and Temple Stretch in the Woman Power Workout, and parts reminded me of the standing sections of Kundalini Yoga with Gurmuhk, and parts of it reminded me of Millenium Stretch. It was just so fun to get in there and move. You start just doing total free-form, and then you follow them, and then you do free form, and then you follow them, and then you do a mostly free-form floor stretch. So you're not *totally* at sea if you don't like or know how to improvise, but you do have some great opportunities for exploration.

I really enjoyed a lot of the hip shaking and shimmying (go figure.) My favorite move was what I like to call the "spanky-spanky." Go to the video clip section http://www.globalunity.niawave.com/global11.html and you'll see it in Touching The Void 3. I also like the kickbox-inpsired moves. My favorite combo there was a side lunge-front lunge-kick combination that you can see at Baby 4.

A fellow VFer warned me that a lot of people don't llike the NIA tapes because they can't stand Carlos (too flamboyant.) I'm one of those people who got a kick out of Greg Smithey from the original Buns of Steel, so I wasn't too worried. Oh. My. Gosh. Carlos was delightfully, hilariously, ridiculous. "Plucka, plucka, plucka, plucka!" "Shake your happy body!" "It's a thunder! YOU are the thunder!" Although, it probably helped that Debbie was calm and normal and balanced him out. I was grinning from ear to ear during all of Carlos' sections.

I think this would be a GREAT tape to do with kids. There's a couple of sections where you're supposed to imagine your body is a scarf/that you have scarves, and since I was in my dance room I grabbed a couple of small scarves for that section. You just dip and dive and twist and do whatever to make those scarves float around. (I learned an Andalusian scarf dance last year so I did some of those moves.) Totally enhanced that part and I had a lot of fun. I definitely recommend adding real scarves.

Set: you can see it on the video clips. Kind of dark. Lots of background dancers dressed in black, while Debbie and Carlos wear blue and red unitards respectively. The background dancers follow along during the following parts, but they each put their own spin on the moves. During the free-form sections they are all over the room--very inspiring and fun to watch.

Music: new age and world stuff. Kind of funky. I really enjoyed it.

So, I *love* this tape. The only drawback to me is that the end stretch is not led and is not very long, but I just kept on going on my own and so that was ok.

Will you like this tape? I don't know.

If you hate social dancing and/or are too self-conscious to even bop around in your own kitchen when there's no one home, then no, you probably will NOT like this tape.

However...

If you spent New Year's like I did, doing wild Priscilla Queen of the Desert-style lip synchs to disco tunes in a friend's living room, then I think you might really dig it.

Renee D

(no date)