I Took Part In An IRL 'Big Little Lies' Nia Class & Here's What I Learnt
The Monterey Five were in a pretty sticky situation when we left them at the end Big Little Lies season one. The word cliffhanger would quite frankly be an understatement for the way things ended, and I think it's fair to say that most Big Little Lies fans have been waiting with baited breath for the second season to air. The ladies on the show live a pretty glamorous life and all have incredible jobs, including Bonnie Carlson, who is a Nia teacher. Nia is a form of dance cardio fitness that focuses on connecting your body and mind. Earlier this month, I tried out a Nia class for real — and let me tell you, it's not as easy as they make it seem on TV.
Ever since the first season aired, Big Little Lies has got fans feeling pretty curious to find out just what Nia is. Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz) is one of the resident cool mums on the show in episode four and appears to teach what looks like a really high intensity, and very sweaty, yoga-slash-dance-fitness class. But I can tell you from experience that it's so much more than that.
To celebrate the launch of the new series of Big Little Lies NOW TV held a Nia class and an exclusive preview of the new season and I left really feeling like one of the Monterey Five. Well, you know, minus the murder stuff.
Although the Nia technique got it's big break on Big Little Lies, Realbuzz reports that it has been around since 1983 when "two disillusioned aerobics instructors started to look for a more meaningful, expressive way to get an exercise workout."
In the class, we were told that Nia stands for a combination of "non-impact aerobics" and "neuromuscular integrative action," and Realbuzz explains that the Nia technique is all about "giving purpose to movement." As NiaNow puts it, the practice combines "dance, martial arts and mindfulness," and "tones your body while transforming your mind."
Here are the seven things I learnt from taking part in an IRL Nia class.
1. It's a hugely personal practice
Trying the Nia technique is a hugely personal experience, and one of the most important things I learnt was about focussing inwards and really thinking about my own body.
2. It's a freeing experience
One of the main things I found with the class was how freeing it was. I have found that some types of yoga practices don't really work for me, because I find it so hard to be still. But this class really helped me let go of any preconceived notions of what a yoga or fitness class should be like and quite literally just go with the flow.
3. Undulation & isolating your body is key
Two key moves are undulation and isolating different parts of your body, which become part of a routine. The routine we did in our class wasn't caging and didn't require us to follow it exactly but, instead, adapt it to our bodies. To be honest, it must've looked quite funny, as there were limbs failing around and noises that made you feel that you were caught halfway between an '80s dance workout class and a yoga meditation.
4. It can get very sweaty
It's a cardio-based class and things can get very sweaty. While it might seem all fun and games when you start, this is a workout and, at the end of the session, we were all pretty sweaty.
5. You need to bring a bottle of water
This may sound pretty obvious but you would be surprised to learn how many people don't bring a water bottle when they work out. This is a very high intensity sweaty class and so hydration is key. Water will be your best friend. Seriously.
6. It has muscle toning benefits
The benefits of Nia are endless. As Nia workout site Suzworks notes, it can support weight loss, muscle toning, and so much more. From personal experience I can personally attest to the fact that Nia is a serious work out, and one that definitely seemed conducive to all of the above.
7. It connects your body & mind
One of the best things about the Nia technique is the mindfulness you feel while you are going through the motions. Unlike other yoga practices, it doesn't require silence, you can shout and express yourself however you need to. It really does connect your mind to your body and you become present and totally focussed on what you are doing in that moment.
You can watch Big Little Lies on Now TV with an Entertainment Pass.