Current Class Schedule

For more details on all classes click through to my Class page.

Monday – Bellyfit 50+ – Monterey Recreation Center – 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Tuesday – Victoria West Community Center – 12-1 p.m.  (Drop-Ins)
Tuesday – Fairfield Community Association – 6-7 p.m.
Wednesday – Monterey Recreation Center – 1-2 p.m.
Wednesday – James Bay Community School Centre (Drop-Ins)  – 5:15-6:15 p.m.
Thursday – Monterey Recreation Center  – 1-2 p.m.

Registration for all classes is through the individual recreation centers. Make up classes are allowed in all sessions (space permitting). Drop-ins are available in some locations and you can join at any time with pro-rated classes at all Community/Recreation Centers.

*Photograph provided by Nia Technique (


Nia Video – New Student!

Ever wonder what Nia looks like? Watch a class through the eyes of a beginner!


In each Nia class we start with a warm up, gradually moving into a higher intensity cardiovascular level, and ending with a cool down. Three levels are demonstrated in each song and you choose what your workout is. It’s up to you.

In Nia, we start easy. Small is good: it allows you to sense your body and establish the neurological connections that lead to self-healing. So we start with “level one” movements, focusing on finding the foot pattern or rhythm of the music, and an easy pace. We gradually add the arm motions when we are ready. And then we slowly build intensity. Going at level two, we begin to add a larger range of motion or intensity: taking bigger steps and lifting our legs and arms higher, and level three giving it more personal expression along with a higher intensity. You can choose which level to work at, based on your fitness level and even how you are feeling on that day of class.

The class flows. While I may take some time to demonstrate new moves, or how a particular move is done, you will not hear ’you aren’t doing that right’. The class isn’t stopped for individual correction. What you will hear are reminders to listen to your body and invitations to work at your own pace, to enjoy yourself and find the joy in the movement. (Isn’t that refreshing?)

You only get to be a beginner once, so allow yourself the freedom to enjoy being a beginner. It is all about the joy of movement!

My Nia Story

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] A [/dropcap] year ago last spring, I found out I was a diabetic. It was discovered during a routine checkup, but I wasn’t entirely surprised because my weight had been climbing steadily for a few years, even though I thought my eating habits were good. Since I wanted to avoid taking medication for diabetes (or anything else) I knew I needed to make a dramatic lifestyle change. I made two. No surprise, diet and exercise greatly help control diabetes (and a lot of other ailments too).

My first step was to become a vegetarian. I already cooked healthy meals, rarely ate fried foods or desserts, and didn’t drink alcohol or soda. Since I seldom ate meat, I wasn’t that far from being an ovo-lacto vegetarian, but dropping the dairy made a huge difference.

My body weight dropped steadily by a pound or two a week. Mind you, I was not “dieting.” As my weight dropped, I noticed my energy levels went up and the mid-afternoon drowsy slumps disappeared.

The second big life change I made was to fully commit myself to movement. I was active in my twenties and thirties in dance and yoga, but in my forties things fell apart. I moved to Victoria when I was 45 and it took a long time to find my bearings. Eventually, I found Nia and attended a weekly class for about six months before the diabetes diagnosis.

Nia is a no/low impact fitness technique that combines dance, martial arts and yoga postures. Uplifting music accompanies each class and the moves are adapted for people of different fitness capabilities. Debbie and Carlos Rosas developed Nia in the United States about 27 years ago, and classes are currently offered in about 35 countries.

Through Nia, I met a teacher who in her early seventies clearly had a younger “body age” than me (I’m in my early fifties). Her agility and grace was beautiful and inspiring, and I decided that would be me – starting now.

Modern science allows us to disguise much of the outer signs of aging, but a body conditioned by conscious movement, one that is strong, agile and flexible can defy age more than any cosmetic, dye or procedure on the market. So, I committed myself to Nia and signed up for the next training course held in Victoria. My goal: to teach.

When I went back for my next checkup, my blood sugars were normal. My doctor didn’t use the words “reversed diabetes,” but she said I was managing the condition through my lifestyle.

Now, I am a certified and licensed Nia Technique trainer. I teach several Nia classes a week. At times, it is difficult for me to grasp that leading Nia classes is really my job because it is so much fun. On a philosophical level, I am motivated by my belief that moving, whether through Nia, yoga, or something else, is (unless our work is physical labour) our real “job.”

Our bodies were designed to move. I advocate a new vision where play comes first. Like having your dessert before your main course; like saving money by paying yourself first, we become fit for life by putting fitness first. If each of us did this, we could enjoy the world and improve the world at the same time, since there would be less disease and disability, and more productivity. We could turn our attention from the business of disease care to global health care.

Tips for staying fit:
1. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you get moving. Walk, swim, bike, hike, golf or dance: it’s all good.
2. Choose something you enjoy. If you aren’t having a good time, you’ll fall off the wagon. It has happened to me many times, all my good intentions swept aside.
3. Moving has to be thought of as a priority, not something you do when you can fit it in. Commit to it.
4. One way to commit is to make it your own. If you only walk when you have someone to walk with, or you play a partner sport, you’re giving your power to someone else. Make your primary way to keep fit something just for you. You will then have more energy for partner activities.

A study conducted on what made people happy as they get older revealed that money or lifestyle wasn’t the most important – it was health and mobility. It is possible the two are related – that those who have a certain level of wealth and a certain lifestyle have more time to spend on keeping fit. But it needn’t follow. It is more about an attitude.

I want to stay healthy for rest of my life. Doesn’t everyone? Through conscious eating and conscious moving, it is a goal within reach.

© Deborah Redfern 2010-2012. All rights reserved.