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Garfield Instructor Challenges Skeptics To Try Holistic Fitness

Program and Marketing Director for Garfield YMCA Marisa Barcia (left) receives her certified white belt for teaching NIA from instructor Helen Terry (right).
Program and Marketing Director for Garfield YMCA Marisa Barcia (left) receives her certified white belt for teaching NIA from instructor Helen Terry (right). Photo Credit: Arthur Augustyn
A NIA class in session.
A NIA class in session. Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Marisa Barcia

GARFIELD, N.J. — Marisa Barcia is about to start a new kind of holistic fitness program at the Garfield YMCA: Non-Impact Aerobics (NIA).

It blends martial arts, dance and self-healing.

Its aim is to use motion to heal negativity held in the body.

Barcia, marketing and program director for the Garfield YMCA, said the program is based on the principle that the body is meant to be moving.

The premise of NIA is that constant movement in a 60-minute workout can release negative emotions, thoughts or imbalances.

But she knows how that sounds to most people.

"The person who is saying, 'This is a bunch of bull' is the type of person who needs to try a class like this," Barcia said.

She pins the resistance to try holistic approaches on the pressures of adulthood. Focusing on survival has many people just acting on the emotions they feel, she believes, instead of addressing what makes them unhappy.

Barcia was introduced to NIA through a chance encounter.

A few years back she intended to move to Texas. While shopping the housing market, she met a NIA instructor. Although Barcia decided not to move, she stayed in touch with the instructor.

Eventually, she traveled to Texas to get certified in NIA.

Barcia said the program is the next logical step for her career.

"I've been saying this stuff actually heals people all along," she explained. "I needed a platform to say it. I’m a nobody. NIA is something."

Barcia, who was officially certified to teach the program in July, will offer weekly NIA courses starting next week.

The first one is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at the Garfield YMCA, 70 Outwater Lane. She anticipates the class will continue on Monday nights.

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