One of the big challenges of the writing life is to stay physically healthy when the entirety of your job is to sit in front of a computer and move your fingers. Or sit in a chair and flip pages while you read. If thinking burned calories the way riding bikes does, we’d be golden, but it just doesn’t seem to work that way.
So writers, to stay healthy, have to build movement into their daily lives.
Anyone who has followed this blog knows that I’m a walker and hiker, and that I love hatha yoga and practice it regularly. They balance each other beautifully, building strength and flexibility in their own ways, keeping the whole muscle/skeletal system moving. They are not, however, particularly aerobic. (Hiking is, of course, but in a good month, I only hike 3-4 times.) I like jogging, but find it’s best if I keep it to once or twice a week. I had been wanting to add something vigorous I could do indoors, for those times when it’s too snowy or I’m too busy to get out in the daylight hours.
I tried various cardio classes. Hated them. HATED them. A decade ago, I found I liked kickboxing, but they don’t have that at my Y, so I kept trying things. Just before Christmas, I tried Nia, which was advertised as a combination of dance, martial arts, and yoga. It couldn’t any worse than a cardio class, I figured, so I tried it.
It was love at first dance. Since December, I’ve been to Nia classes an average of three times a week, and it fits perfectly with walking and hiking and yoga. I can go in the evening, dance for an hour, shake out all the tight spots from writing all day, and get back to work happily in the morning.
I know you hear about ten thousand things to do, but I would hate anyone who might like it to miss it, so I’m saying, give it a try.
Nia is, basically, a dance class. There are some kickboxing and tai chi kind of moves thrown in, and you finish with stretching to music, like hatha yoga. Some of it is complicated (like a jazz square, which I am only now, after four months, starting to sort of understand. Sometimes), but it doesn’t matter. Some people in class are getting it right and some are not, and nobody cares. I’m not the most graceful or coordinated person on the planet (why do you think I hate cardio? Why do you think I like hiking?), and I love it. Every single class goes by so fast that I’m surprised it’s over.
That’s because it’s about pleasure. Joy. Celebration. It feels like dancing in your living room. It feels like being ten and twirling around with your mother’s best scarf in your hand. You’re sweating and moving and your body is LOVING you for it, but it never feels like work. If I could, I would go every day.Just thought you’d want to know. For a list of classes in your area, click here. To just learn more about Nia in general, click here.
Let me know if you try it, will you?