Nia’s fluid blend of yoga, dance and martial arts that exercises the mind and body make it the perfect choice for a fundraiser to help people with dementia.
Licensed Nia teacher Darlene Trottier put a small group of Nia enthusiasts through its paces during a two-hour session at the Welkin Wellness Centre, which sponsored the second annual Nia Jam for the Alzheimer Society of Brant on Sunday.
“Nia keeps you engaged and physically active,” Trottier said during a break in the action. “And it's fun. It's supposed to be playful, empowering and freeing.”
Nia was developed in California in the early 1980s and has since caught on across the continent. It uses movement to calm and excite the mind, body and spirit, Trottier explained.
Trottier led a caregiver retreat for the Alzheimer Society last year, and said personal experience caring for several people with dementia inspired her to volunteer her time once again.
Nia is “a beautiful blend of techniques” that combines “the explosive power of tae kwon do with the meditative power of tai chi” and other “healing arts,” all in just an hour, Trottier said. She predicts interest in Nia will take off as awareness grows in Brantford.
Kerri Emberlin, the Alzheimer Society's manager of volunteer programs, was delighted with the turnout and the support from Trottier, her students and yoga instructors from Welkin, who took part in the fundraiser.
“We're always in need of more funds, so having an organization like the Welkin Wellness Centre do an event this year for us as a third party is fantastic,” she said.
Alzheimer Society programs are offered free of charge to clients, “but they're not free to put on,” Emberlin said. The proceeds from the Nia Jam will help the society continue to educate the public about what services people with dementia and their caregivers can access.
Caregiver burnout is putting a “huge strain” on the healthcare system, Emberlin said. With 2,100 people in Brantford and County of Brant diagnosed with dementia, she said the sooner people can get treatment, the better.
“Unfortunately, people don't come to us until there is a problem,” she said.
Visit www.alzbrant.ca for information on services offered by the Alzheimer Society of Brant.