Winding down all the little side alley streets as my GPS directs me to number 10 Anson street, I finally reach my destination this little back alley studio in Observatory.

I hadn’t heard much about Nia, all I remember is seeing a poster once at the gym saying ” Connect with your inner child” It was my first class I had booked on the coolest new Fitness App FitKey, where you can get access to top fitness studios for one low monthly fee.

So there I was in a big studio not knowing what to expect. I wasn’t quite sure what the class was going to entail. Then this woman with a powerful, intoxicating presence came on the microphone. I knew from the second she said good morning that I was going to like her and I was right Nicci ( Owner of Nia Space Studio ) is an absolute goddess, vivacious, self accepting and absolutely fabulous. The type of woman you want to be your best friend. Her self love and mindfulness exudes from within her and you can just tell that she has done so much self work, not sure what this class was about to entail but I had a feeling she was about to do it well…  And then the music started to play…


All of a sudden I was being told to start ‘ feeling the music’, to start moving my hips from side to side and listen to the beat.

During my high school years I partook in many inter-high dance competitions, was apart of the hiphop team and have always considered myself to be a fantastic dancer who definitely knows how to 5,6,7,8.

Boy, oh boy is Nia anything but that, as I started to look around I saw that all the woman in the class were really getting into their moves. Starting to really feel their bodies, as I looked around me woman of all ages were swaying to and froy – they all seemed to slip into a magnificent trance like dance.  I started to feel really awkward and not knowing what to do with myself. My legs and arms were not going to the beat and I most certainly was not letting go.

The teacher was telling us to sha, sha , sha, making shaker movements with our hands and sha-ing sounds with our mouths, we were then told to growl like a tiger and thats when I suddenly realised that this class had nothing to do with being perfectly in time but rather about letting yourself go.

And that was me.


I started to let my limbs and arms flow with the music, I felt the pulse of the music beneath my feet. It was the most empowering, exhilarating exercise I have ever done, for the first time in my life I felt that I wasn’t fighting against my body but instead I was going with the natural movement of my body, listening to what my body wanted to do.

I felt so free and connected to my inner child. I spent an entire hour playing with my body and letting myself go. Nicci continued to hold this sacred space in such a way that gave us the freedom to move where we wanted to, I will never forget that moment in my life, the playlist is theatrical and absolutely awesome and really gets your body grooving. Life can be strange, it’s like there is an unwritten rule book that states that we must stop playing when we reach a certain age. We forget to play as adults and play connects us with our essence and who we truly are.

So you may be asking – what exactly is Nia?

Nicci Gates - Black Belt Nia teacher

In Swahili Nia means “with purpose” – and that is how Nia teaches people to move. It is a path to condition, heal and express yourself though movement and sensation.

Nia is a fusion fitness – a dynamic blend of the dance arts, martial arts and the healing arts. It creatively integrates the mindfulness of the martial arts and meditative techniques, the grace and fluidity of the dance techniques, and the awareness and alignment of integrative body therapies. Balancing technical precision with free-form expression, Nia brings the body, mind, emotions and spirit to optimum health though music, movement and self-expression, guided by the sensation of Pleasure.

By addressing the whole person, movement becomes self-empowering fostering personal growth and well being. Nia teaches individuals how to physically interpret and internally direct their actions and choices, and to listen to the voice of their body and find the quality of Dynamic Ease.

Nia delivers a cardiovascular, whole-body conditioning based on creating a loving relationship with your own body as you tune into your own Body’s way – the innate intelligence of the body. Nia goes straight from the nerves to the muscles, bypassing the “thinking” brain. Movement is copied and absorbed into the body without tricky choreography or thought processes. Nia is about Action – the power of now, of continual movement in the moment.

Practiced barefoot to music, Nia is self-guided, adaptable and safe for any fitness level, from reticent beginners to highly fit athletes. Most of all, Nia is exhilarating and fun!

Facts about Nia

  • It is a technique that starts with fitness and ends with comprehensive healing of the body mind emotions and spirit
  • Nia is so kind to the joints, it is usually done barefoot
  • It is non-intimidating and focuses on dynamic ease
  • Nia is effective and fun
  • The first and most advanced form of fusion fitness – the combining of classic movement forms, it encompasses the martial arts (tai chi, tae kwon do, aikido), the healing arts (yoga, Alexander technique, Feldenkrais) and dance (jazz, modern and Duncan dance)
  • A cardiovascular program that uses whole body, expressive, grounded movement rather than repetitive jogging or lifting
  • Adaptable to every level of fitness, every age and type of body, even those with special limitations
  • A worldwide fitness movement with 26 years of technical advancement

Nia is the Body’s way – a new way of being and living in your body.

And I most definitely felt like a new being inside of my body. From the second I walked into Nicci’s space I knew I was in for something special and I had no idea my relationship with my body was about to change.

For the first time in my life, I was not working out whilst looking at my body in the mirror. I had outbursts of emotion, wanting to cry, laugh and weep. I could feel that this powerful class was more than just simple dance and exercise. Nia was transforming my higher self, my inner self, my love for myself.

Thank You Nicci, I will most definitely be #unlocking another Nia class in Cape Town soon.

And I think everyone needs to go check out a Nia class because we could all do with a little more self love & feeling like a kid again.

Classes Available on the FitKey App: 

Monday’s: 18:00 – 19:00

Tuesday’s: 09:15 – 10:15 / 18:00 – 19:00

Wednesday’s : 18:30 – 19:30

Thursday’s: 18:00 – 19:00

Friday’s: 09:15 – 10:15

Saturday’s: 09:30 – 10:30

Sunday’s: 09:30 – 10:30







About The Author

Just a normal girl , who through certain choices along her path has fallen in love with life & all the goodness within it. I want to help spread the knowledge I have learnt about Lifestyle, Fitness, Mind, Body & Soul through LIFETRAIN. Helping people help themselves to Train their bodies, Train their Minds & Train there souls. I want everyone to hop on the LIFETRAIN.

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