Don't think you can dance? Try NIA, its fun and will get you moving in the right direction.

Mary Maria Milner has been devoted to Nia since she took her first class.

Are you among the group who think they can't dance? Well, think again, because with Nia you can. 

 Are you looking for an exercise class that is both engaging and fun? Mary Maria Milner, now 67, found her's at the age of 54, after reading an article in the West Linn Tidings inviting her to take a free movement class called Nia. It was love at first movement and she has devoted herself — mind, body and spirit — to receiving and sharing the benefits of the practice ever since.

"I love teaching Nia and the self-healing and discovery that I witness unfolding in each of us," she says. "I love my class! Love teaching and living Nia."

The NIA (Non-Impact Aerobics) Technique is a mind/body physical conditioning program. It's a health and fitness alternative that emerged in the 1980s, and evolved to include neurological integrative practices and teachings. Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas in San Francisco founded the Nia Technique in 1983; they moved the headquarters to Portland in 1991. Debbie is the corporation's executive officer.

 Nia draws on the principles and movements of the martial arts, dance and healing arts. Students move to an eclectic variety of global and familiar music. Every class is an invitation to self-healing, physical conditioning and pleasure for the body, mind and spirit. It offers a fun, creative pathway to health and wellbeing, regardless of age or physical condition. One philosophy behind it is that "through movement we find health." 

 The classes are taught by instructors licensed in the Nia Technique. We have a class at the West Linn Adult Community Center taught by Maria on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:15 am to noon. Do the exercises at your own pace and comfort level. Stop if you need to, and sit down, then simply 'dance' along in your chair for a while. The feeling of being alive stays with you. 

Here is what some Nia participants say about the class:

"For a good workout, Nia is the most fun! It moves your body and works your brain — all to joyful, uplifting music."

"I love Nia because it makes me happy. There's always something to smile about."

"Nia is fun and exercise should be fun. We all need more joy."

"I look forward to every class... Dancing to music with no one judging is freedom that rarely happens... I leave class with a smile on my face and joy in my heart."

Monthly passes are available, and drop-ins are welcome. Always, the first class is free. For more information, email Mary Maria Milner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the center at 503-557-4704.

The lunch menu this week features lasagna, garlic bread, corn and cheesecake cups Friday, March 23; sloppy Joes, roasted potatoes, carrots and banana pudding Monday, March 26, sausage and white bean soup, chicken salad sandwiches and chocolate cupcakes Wednesday, March 28. Cost is $5 per person.

The West Linn Adult Community Center is located at 1180 Rosemont Road in West Linn. Call 503-557-4704 for details.

Mieke Wiegman is a volunteer and editor of the newsletter at the WLACC.

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