Self-Generated Ecstasy

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Nia is a way of exercising that combines movements from three healing arts (like yoga), three martial arts (like Aikido), and three forms of dance (like jazz dance). The music and movements are unique, and the end result is deep fun. Here's a ten minute video about it:

Nia Video

The important thing for our mood-raising purposes here is that this is a pleasure-based exercise. It generates pleasure during the exercise, as well as having the normal improved mood for a day or two afterwards. It is more moodraising than normal exercise, partly because of the psychological impact of the movements, and partly because of the unusual amount of motion variety.

Most adults suffer from motion variety deprivation. The range of motion and the variety of motions we normally use throughout the day is unnaturally limited. Even doing normal exercise, like a treadmill or indoor bike, is a limited, repetitive movement.

Over time, a lack of motion variety produces pain in the body (read more about this concept in the book, Pain Free). One hour of Nia will give you more motion variety than you've probably had in a year! I'm serious.

You can learn Nia at home, or you can take a local class. Given how few people know about Nia, it is surprising how ubiquitous the classes are. There are probably Nia classes near where you live. If not, or if you'd rather dance in the privacy of your home, here are some Nia DVDs:

The Nia Technique: Global Unity
Nia Unplugged
Nia Opal

You can find Nia classes in your area with the Nia Finder.

Adam Khan is the author of See Her Smile and co-author with Klassy Evans of What Difference Does It Make?: How the Sexes Differ and What You Can Do About It.

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