Niapalooza kicks off Friday with series of Nia events

Niapalooza, a series of Nia-themed events, kicks off Friday in Austin. Photo courtesy Movement With Sara.
Niapalooza, a series of Nia-themed events, kicks off Friday in Austin. Photo courtesy Nia Technique

 

Forget Lollapalooza. Niapalooza kicks off this weekend in Austin.

Think of Nia as dance, martial arts and healing arts, all stirred into a single workout. It’s done barefoot, and can be modified to individual abilities and needs.

A lineup of activities is planned during Niapalooza:

  • At 9 a.m. Friday, when Janet Hollander presents “Nia for Bone Health” at Mind Body Yoga, 12636 Research Boulevard, Suite C-206. Hollander will show how Nia movements can be adapted to help build and preserve healthy bone density. The cost is $60.
  • From 1-3 p.m. Sunday, trainer Helen Terry will lead classes in mastering Nia’s 52 moves, followed by a Move IT class, a version of Nia that includes interval training, at Balance Dance Studios, 4544 S. Lamar Boulevard. Cost is $15 in advance for one class or $25 for both ($10 more at the door.)
  • Jason Alan Griffin will teach at 10 a.m. Monday at Balance Dance Studios. Cost is $15 for women or $7.50 for men.
  • A community Nia Jam is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday, May 21 at Arthur Murray Dance Studio, 13945 U.S. 183. Several local Nia teachers will take turns teaching. Nia’s FreeDance and Moving to Heal class formats will also be demonstrated. Cost is $15.
  • From 2-4 p.m. Sunday, May 22, Julie Wylie will offer an Introduction to Nia playshop and class at Mind Body Yoga, 12636 Research Blvd., Suite C-206. Cost is $20.

For more information and links to event registration, go here. http://www.niaaustin.com. For more information about Nia, see http://www.nianow.com.

New REI-Fit City hike series launches with trip to St. Edward’s Park

This morning's hike at St. Edward's Park marked the first in the Best Hill Country Hikes with Fit City series. Photo by Pam LeBlanc
This morning’s hike at St. Edward’s Park marked the first in the Best Hill Country Hikes with Fit City series. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

Recent rains have worked magic on area parks, turning them as lush and green as Ireland. Creeks are flowing, birds are chirping and trails beckon.

I explored St. Edward’s Park off of Spicewood Springs Road this morning, during the first hike in the new Best Hill Country Hikes with Fit City series.

The hikes take place on Monday mornings, once a month. Photo by Pam LeBlanc
The hikes take place on Monday mornings, once a month. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

REI Outdoor School instructors lead the monthly guided walks, which we’re calling Best Hill Country Hikes with Fit City. I tag along to represent Fit City — and because I like to hike and meet other people who appreciate outdoor adventure.

Dave Andreas of REI led our group of about a dozen up the steep rocky hills above Bull Creek at St. Edward’s Park, where we got classic Hill Country views. We learned about golden-cheeked warbler habitat, listened to bird calls, talked about Leave No Trace principles and soaked up some fresh air. Then we looped down to the creek, where we inspected eroded limestone bluffs and walked through meadows of Indian blankets.

Indian blankets are blooming at St. Edward's Park. Photo by Pam LeBlanc
Indian blankets are blooming at St. Edward’s Park. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

I’d much rather ramble around in the woods than sit in front of a computer on a Monday morning, so this new hiking series suits me just fine.

The next one is set for June 6 at Wild Basin Wilderness. On July 11 we’ll explore part of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. Cost is $20 for REI members and $25 for non-members.

David Andreas led this morning's hike. Photo by Pam LeBlanc
David Andreas led this morning’s hike. Photo by Pam LeBlanc

Please, take off work. This will be way more fun.

The hikes start at 9 a.m. and wrap up by 11 a.m. The group meets at the downtown REI store, 601 N. Lamar Boulevard. Cost is $20 for REI members or $25 for nonmembers. To register or for more information, go here.