Friday, April 20, 2007

The Gym Project

This week I had my first experience with Nia class at the YMCA West Side. I didn't know what that was exactly but after I read the short description on the brochure, I decided to give it a shot. Nia is a body-mind-spirit fitness and lifestyle practice. Through expressive movement, Nia empowers people to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. Although the definition is slightly overrated, it’s definitely a class I recommend trying – or event better experiencing.

YMCA West Side
West Side YMCA, 5 West 63rd Street, New York, NY 10023, (212) 875-4100web:

Score card

Facilities: 8/10. YMCA West side is a big building. After you “clear” security at the reception desk – it might take a while, I just felt I was at the airport - and you are given your day pass, you go to the third floor. Receptionist number 2 will take your card and give you towels. Walk to the changing rooms – they are clean, with numerous showers and plenty of lockers. Bring your own lock though. It’s clean and relatively spacious and quiet.

Variety of classes: 8/10.
There are plenty of classes you can choose from: Power Rowing and Power Sculpt, Spinning, Hatha, Vinyasa and Iyengar yoga, pilates, Salsa and Belly dancing, Core strength, and many, many more! You could even try the vary famous Feldenkrais method and also do some Nia! There is a Nia class on Sundays open to children over 14.

Rate of difficulty: 7/10. Although I don’t have a reference point because this was the very first Nia class, I find it fun, entertaining and easy to follow. The combination of walking, dancing, moving and gesturing seems or sounds easy but at the very end you feel exercised and you sweat a bit. I would say that it is a more “sophisticated” aerobics or dance class applying techniques of yoga and dance both. The teacher was of a kind nature who thanked me for my participation.