Contact Ken gilbert | embodyment

Contact ken gilbert | EMBODYMENT

Let me know what you sense, imagine, feel and create . . . 

22 East Victoria Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101
United States

(805) 452-7164

Somatic Education in Body-Centered Movement:

Pilates | Nia | Expressivity

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Nia Technique

NIA TECHNIQUE: Through Movement We Find Health


Ken Gilbert is a Nia First Degree Black Belt, formerly a 1st Generation Trainer on the Nia Faculty. Nia is a dynamic practice that can become a strong component to a healthy and active Body, Mind and Spirit.

Nia® is a sensory-based movement art form and movement practice that leads to fitness, health, and well-being created by Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas in the early 80’s. Nia is an international sensory-based technique that draws from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts to self-heal the body through body-centered awareness; paying attention to sensation. Nia is The Body's Way based on 5 Principles: 

  • The Body thrives on Dynamic Ease (efficiency without effort).

  • The Body demands Balance.

  • The Body is balanced in Yin and Yang (feminine and masculine energy).

  • The Body demands simultaneous Mobility and Stability (dynamic and resting energy).

  • The Body itself reveals The Body's Way.

Nia is The Body's Way:

Nia is:

  • Workout - a continuous movement class that engages Nia's 5 Sensations, 13 Joints and 9 Movement Forms.*

  • Practice - a Belt System that allows an individual to develop Body Awareness into Mind, Emotion and Spirit.

  • Lifestyle - a commitment that comes when living in The Body's Way.


Everybody begins with the Nia Workout. A Classic Nia Class is activated through 7 Cycles* - The Nia Promise:

  • Focus + Intention ~ what do you want from this class experience.

  • Stepping-In ~ letting go of distractions; becoming present in the body, mind, emotions and spirit.

  • Warm-Up ~ preparing the body for full-body – systemic movement.

  • Get Moving ~ continuous movement increasing breath and heart beat.

  • Cool-Down ~ slowing down.

  • FloorPlay ~ integrating the body’s nervous system through the 5 Sensations of Nia: Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Stability and Strength.

  • Stepping-Out ~ completing the class Focus and Intention to return to the remainder of the day.

*No previous movement/dance experience necessary; all levels are welcome.

~ Nia Classic Class ~

The Nia Promise is about the student's experience; the sensation of taking a Nia Class. Every class offers a unique combination of the Nia movement vocabulary (Nia 52 Moves) of Nia classes balance form (structured movement choreography) with freedom (Self-expression and FreeDance) encouraging people to personalize the movements making choices for pleasure and comfort. Nia Class (Classic) is a multi-dimensional group movement practice of The Body’s Way/Your Body’s Way. Typically Nia Classes include 55 minutes of movement to diverse music. Every Nia Class has 7 Cycles beginning with a focus and intent which conditions the physical, mental, emotional and spirit realms. Participants are encouraged to explore individual and community expressivity through body awareness:

  • 13 Joints of the body. Based on the Mayan model of the human body we have 2 ankles, 2 knees, 2 hips, 1 spine, 2 shoulders (scapulae), 2 elbows, and 2 wrists.

  • 52 Moves that optimize the body’s natural design. The 52 Moves correspond with the main areas of the body: Base, Core and Upper Extremities.

  • 9 Movement Forms: Nia choreography is body-centered and allows students and practitioners to connect to nine diverse movement styles and energies: Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, jazz dance, modern dance, Duncan dance, Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique and yoga. The choreography of movement sequences of (steps, stances and kicks) and FreeDance are blended in each Nia Class fusing movement from the martial arts (precision), dance arts (expression) and healing arts (functional and self-healing). Nia delivers the promise of integrating mind/body/spirit through sensation.

  • 5 Sensations (FAMSS) - Flexibility (energy moving out of the body), Agility (energy of stop and start), Mobility (energy in constant motion), Stability (energy at rest and harmonizing), and Strength (energy moving into the body).

~ Nia Freedance Class ~

Nia FreeDance, the class, is Nia’s contribution to the Conscious Dance Community; designed to support people to move freely and expressively, bringing them closer to the source of their authentic dance where their spirit, body, mind, and emotions unite to create an artful movement experience.

Nia FreeDance is unique; different from a Classic Nia Class with Routine Choreography. This is an "open" class intended for the participant to Move|Explore|Create through FreeDance to the Music and Movement of 4 Parts, 7 Cycles and 5 Sensations!

FreeDance Your Life as ART

Nia FreeDance is a barefoot 60-minute conscious dance movement class designed to awaken the movement artist within, and to stimulate the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The result is the art of movement creativity. Students are guided to explore their own movement, and to dance in their own way, and in their own time to soul-stirring music, eclectic sonic landscapes that provide cellular resonance to evoke self-expression, and to unleash movement creativity via the art and integration of the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Facilitated by a Nia teacher, the 4 Parts of the class are seamlessly connected, each with a unique focus and intent that support students in creating a body of work: the art of their body in movement.

*No previous movement/dance experience necessary; all levels are welcome.


Through the exploration of the movement potential of The Body’s Way, Nia empowers everybody to integrate their the body, mind, emotions and spirit. Nia believes that every person can discover, explore, unleash and enhance their individual potential to live a fulfilling and meaningful life – by engaging their senses and listening to their bodies. With the right tools and education, we can increase our confidence and happiness by stepping into our own joyful journey with Nia. We can become connected to others to shape a consciousness that extends beyond our own and positively shaped the way we feel, look, think and live. Individuals who discover Nia become students, then practitioners, maybe teachers and trainers of the work. Students and practitioners can choose to develop their practice of Nia through the four belt program that teaches people 52 principles for sentient, conscious and mindful movement.

The Nia Belts are based on the Martial Arts model of Self-Discovery, Self-Healing and Self-Mastery:

  • White Belt - Art of Sensation - Embodying The Body’s Way

  • Blue Belt - Art of Communication - Body-Centered Communication, Relationship + Intimacy

  • Brown Belt - Art of Perception - Living as an Energy Warrior of Body, Mind, Emotion + Spirit

  • Black Belt - Art of Creativity - Mastering the Basics

  • Green Belt - Art of Teaching | Delivering the Nia Promise

  • First Degree Black Belt - Art of Self | Living in the vastness of this World and the Universe


Dancing Through Life as a Living Meditation and experiencing Life as ART!

Walking and talking Your Body's Way: Aware of Body Sensations, Moving Whole Body, Self-Healing in every moment. Every movement feels like you are dancing, every sensation is a meditation Living Life as Art.

  • Classes

  • MasterClasses

  • Workshops

Photo: Sol Hill (Photographic Noise)