Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Yoga studio offers new ‘integrative’ full body workout

A new fitness class has opened at Blue Heron Yoga Studio, on Main Street right across from the Baker Ferguson Athletic Center. Nia, an acronym for neuromuscular integrative action, is a blend of nine different forms of movement intended to create a non-impact, full body workout.

“I was energized for 24 hours afterwards, it was wonderful,” said Professor Ruth Russo.

Nia is a combination of T’ai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Jazz, Modern and Duncan dance, the teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais, the Alexander Technique, and Yoga. Originally created by Carlos and Debbie Rosas in 1983, the technique marked a move away from a no-pain, no-gain fitness mentality and toward healthy and pleasurable movement.

The class is done barefoot and to the rhythm of world music. Moves such as the flounce, or flow and bounce, the summer samba and flower pose are some of the many moves incorporated into a Nia workout. These moves help provide a cardiovascular and conditioning workout all in one.

“I really like the blend of music with the movement,” said community member Machelle Hartman.
In practicing Nia, participants are meant to find peace with their body and mind through movement. While a teacher is necessary to help guide students, the objective is to ultimately be able to move creatively within one’s own range of motion.

“This kind of movement I particularly like because it’s so integrative. It’s integrating the emotions and the mind with the body. You’re really moving from the inside out,” said Blue Heron Owner, Terri Cotts.

While at first glance Nia may give the impression of being easy, by the end of the hour long class all ten participants were rosy cheeked and out of breath.

Nia teacher Joy Matthews has been in the dance and fitness field for 27 years and when she first heard of Nia, she was skeptical. After taking her first class, however, she realized it is not as easy as it may look.

“I was falling all over everyone else and kicking the person next to me, so I went back the next day. I thought, this is it, this is what I’ve been looking for,” said Matthews.

The rest is history and for the past ten years Matthews has been teaching Nia classes in Dayville and Pendleton, Ore. Matthews hopes to eventually have more classes in Walla Walla. Currently the class is only being taught once a week, Fridays from 11:45 to 12:45 at the Blue Heron Yoga Studio.

“Nia is the integration of the human body. You can really restack the body weights and know what people need physically. Movement brings emotion to the surface,” said Matthews.

The class closely resembles modern dance and asks students to verbally and physically express emotion. While doing a kicking and arm-reaching movement, students were encouraged to scream an aggressive “huh!”

“It really opens up a lot of energy channels in the body. Which is really important, especially this time of year. Everyone is depressed and inactive,” said Russo.

“It’s a great way to decompress after a tough week,” said sophomore Julia Spencer

The class is open for all ages and levels of fitness. A drop in class is $11 and a five week package is $45. The Web site, terricotts.com, lists other classes offered by Blue Heron Yoga Studio as well as class descriptions.

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    Traci DurantDec 25, 2008 at 10:14 pm

    Hi Joy….just trying to get ahold of you…