Nia Training Overview

Nia trainings are designed for people of all shapes and sizes, and may be taken for both personal enrichment and professional development. They teach you about sensory-based movement as a pleasurable way to achieve lasting health, wellness and fitness.

Nia Training Structure

Like the traditional martial arts model, the Nia training series includes several progressive belt levels with the Black Belt representing the highest level of mastery. Each belt intensive addresses five core-competency areas (movement, music, anatomy, science and philosophy) while exploring 13 unique Nia principles – except for the Green Belt, which is dedicated solely to the craft of teaching. All belt levels include 50+ hours of education in the form of movement, interactive discussion and self-reflection sessions. Additional non-intensive trainings, such as the Nia 5 Stages Training, offer education in specific focus areas.

Many students and teachers enroll in trainings more than once. Taking the required 12-month reflection period between belt intensives ensures graduates fully embody the potential of each level before moving on to the next. However, the Green Belt Training may be taken any time after the White Belt Training.

Training for Personal Enrichment

Personal enrichment training includes four belt levels: white, blue, brown and black. As you progress through these levels, you develop an increasingly refined and expanded skill set, heightened sense of self-awareness, and deepened connection to your body, mind, emotions and spirit. Learn about physical sensation, communication, energy, creativity and transformation.

Training for Professional Development

Those who choose to become certified Nia teachers evolve their love of the Nia practice into a viable and fulfilling career. Aspiring Nia teachers follow the same training path as personal enrichment students – though they are eligible to teach after completing the White Belt Training and becoming Livelihood members. They are strongly encouraged to enroll in the Green Belt Training, which specifically cultivates and enhances teaching skills. Black Belt graduates who have mastered the practice may apply to become Nia trainers. If accepted into the ten-month Next Generation Trainer Program, you will learn how to teach White Belt Trainings, while also exploring your potential to help tailor Nia for specialty populations.

Nia Trainings at Soma Ranch

We limit our trainings to a maximum of 16 participants, the magic number for an optimal learning environment, fabulous meals and best use of the facilities. It's enough people and space to give you the choice of how much you want to connect/have fun and how much you want to retreat/relax.

15 beautiful acres. Conveniently located within an hour of Houston IAH Airport, and we help arrange your transport to and from the airport. Save money with fully inclusive accommodation weekly rates starting at only $400 with the option to choose either shared or private accommodations (this includes your meals and fantastic facilities). Relax, unwind and reap healing benefits with the Olympic lap pool, mineral hot tub and far infrared sauna. If you prefer to not be on the ranch, you can enjoy great local resort, hotel, and lodge alternatives near by. 

A residential experience:

REMOVE distractions (such as daily commute, life at home, decisions like what and where to eat each day.)
ELIMNATE the challenges of navigating your way to and from a studio.
PROVIDE a safe, nurturing and vibrant environment to relax and learn with others.
EXPAND your experience into a memorable personal retreat with spacious land, nature, animals and treatment options.
BALANCE your opportunity, to be alone and socialize, according to your personal needs.
CONNECT with like minded folks, make friends and have fun in the process.

The Belt Levels

Nia White Belt

Focus: Physical sensation
Intent: To embody the foundation of Nia

The Nia White Belt Training is the first level of a five-belt training series that presents a body-centered approach to health, wellness and fitness. If you have a desire to share Nia in a professional capacity, the White Belt Training is your entryway into teaching. Those who choose to pursue the path of personal enrichment use this training as a starting point for becoming a master student.

Over the course of one week, you will comprehensively explore physical sensation through five core-competency areas of study including movement, music, anatomy, science and philosophy. This joyful journey into the self is instrumental in helping you develop body knowing by learning to listen, interpret and consciously respond to the information your body communicates to you via sensation. Enroll in an upcoming training today, and positively shape the way you feel, look, think and live.

Upon graduation, you are eligible to become a livelihood member. As a livelihood member, you obtain a teaching license (whether you decide to use it or not) and have exclusive access to an in-depth continuing education program, an online forum, and special benefits and privileges. You may enroll in the Green Belt Training – which is dedicated to the craft of teaching – at any time after completing your White Belt Training. A 12-month reflection period after completing your White Belt Training is recommended before enrolling in the Blue Belt Training. At the Trainer’s discretion you may take the blue belt sooner.


Nia Green Belt

Focus: The craft of teaching Nia
Intent: To effectively deliver the Nia experience

Green Belt focuses entirely on developing and embodying the skills to effectively teach Nia. All belt levels who teach or desire to teach are strongly encouraged to attend this training. This fabulous training helps train your Central Nervous System, it develops your ability perform many task skillfully while maintaining a relaxed sense of well being.

Green Belt comprehensively explores all mechanics of delivering the work of Nia, including embodying the choreography, cueing, creating intentional silences, dancing to the music and helping people achieve their personal fitness goals. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned teacher, Green Belt will further your teaching skills. New teachers develop confidence, craft and skill by learning and practicing the foundations of teaching. Seasoned teachers refine and deepen their understanding, building on their craft and receiving feedback from peers to deliver the most powerful experience possible.

The Green Belt training includes a pre-training course based on the 13 White Belt principles. As part of the training, you will learn and work with the routine, Passion.


Nia Blue Belt

Focus: Communication, Relationship and Intimacy
Intent: Following the Body’s Way, energize personal connection through self-discovery & communication.

Blue Belt, the second level of Nia education, explores how to create healthy relationships through body-centered communication. This intensive introduces the next set of 13 Nia principles, which focus on the mental, emotional and spiritual realms of the body. While the White Belt curriculum focuses entirely on awareness of physical sensation, Blue Belt applies these skills to explore internal sensations as perceived through – but distinct from – physical sensations in the body.

Blue Belt Principle #1: The Joy of Being in Relationship, integrates the sensation of Joy with the awareness that Joy is something outside the self, which we can invite into our physical experience. As a result, we begin to deepen our ability to listen with clarity and sustain awareness of details outside our body.


Nia Brown Belt

Focus: Sensing and Perceiving Energy
Intent: To live as an energetic being

By the time you reach Brown Belt, the fourth level of Nia education, you have developed a proficiency in sustaining awareness of your physical body and paying attention to the sensory details of the four realms: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. This level of training explores the experience of living as energy beings, as every experience of sensation in the body is an energy experience.

Brown Belt Principle 1: The Joy of Movement in the Zone, introduces “The Zone,” a place of no thinking, a universe unto itself. The Zone is a state of heightened sensation inside and out, from which you can think with the both the logical mind and the intuitive parts of your being. In The Zone, energy fields are tactile and readily available to you; Brown Belt teaches you how to tap into this energy to make positive changes in each of the four realms of your life.

My Path to Nia Brown Belt: a personal note from Helen


Nia Black Belt

Focus: Unlimited Creativity
Intent: To master the basics

Black Belt, the fourth level of Nia education, invites you to let go of all you know and enter the River of the Unknown, a place of infinite and endless creativity.


The Nia 5 Stages Training


The Nia 5 Stages is an integrative movement practice based on the five stages of human development: Embryonic, Creeping, Crawling, Standing and Walking. Practiced with awareness, these stages have the power to facilitate optimal alignment, improved function and comfort in the body. Whether practiced at length or for as little as five minutes a day, this system provides a tool for reclaiming and sustaining mobility, flexibility, strength, agility and stability.

The Nia 5 Stages Training provides Nia belt intensive graduates with the tools to embody the practice and/or facilitate a 60-minute Nia 5 Stages class. It also qualifies Nia teachers to integrate this body of work into Nia classes, private sessions and two-hour experiential workshops. The Nia 5 Stages Training program adds a whole new ‘toolbox’ to the Nia teacher’s depth of delivery and repertoire, and includes three comprehensive modules: Pre-Training, Training and Post-Training.