It was about 4:00 and I was desperate to get to the gym. The thing is that while I play the part of a woman in her thirties, I have the back of a woman in her eighties, and if I don't go to the gym regularly the vertebrae that make up my spine glue themselves together, my neck freezes in one place, and I spend most of my time praying for a swift death. So I looked and found a class called NIA, which stands for Neuromuscular Integrated Action, which meant nothing to me.
When I called the gym to ask what it was about, I heard something along these lines:
'Yeah, it's like yoga. Like, holistic and stuff. Like that.'
When I looked it up online, I found something more along these lines:
'Depending on your goals, Nia is everything from a fun class experience to a philosophy, lifestyle and personal/professional study. While often practiced in a group-fitness format, the true depth of Nia lies in a richly layered bodymind education, which for many becomes a personal lifestyle and/or professional practice.'
Which sounded a lot like hippie yoga to me. But my back was beginning the slow whimper it does before it gives out on me completely, and a woman in her thirties takes risks. So I went.
As I stood in the center of the room, the teacher turned to us and said something like:
'Thank you for taking this journey with me. Let's release the negative energy in our spirit bodies and begin.'
Uh... spirit bodies? A woman in her thirties does not have a spirit body. Does she?
Here is how I can describe my NIA experience: It was a combination of yoga, tai chi, African dance, Balinese finger-pointing (without the crazy eye movements), several minutes of jazz, a sprinkling of an Irish jig, and lots of flailing about. It was like a long audition of So You Think You Can Dance, minus the judgement.
And with the exception of punching an elderly woman in the head (yes it really happened, and no I don't want to talk about it), I LOVED IT.
When I left, I had that sensation that I have now come to equate with being a woman in her thirties. I felt happy that I'd tried something new. My back is happy, my thighs are sore, and I'm ready to take on the week. Just my spirit body and me.