Often times in our culture we’re led to exercise, work out, become fit, strong and healthy, because of motivations of suffering. These may be that we’ve in fact been unhealthy, feeling lack-luster, or have injuries. Many times too, we’re unhappy with how we feel in our body or how we look. There is much conditioning in our society that effects these last two examples. All these motivations valid in themselves can disconnect us from the fact that, our physical bodies are meant to be moved and experience Joy & vitality.
Health benefits of exercise are intrinsic rewards, they are the cherry on top, of living in the body joyfully!
In Nia, there are 6 Fundamental beliefs regarding what I like to call, sacredly embodied.
I love to string these together like jewels on a necklace. For me, I feel how each interconnect and support the next as a foundation to dance in. The Fundamentals inspire and motivate from Joy, Play, Fun, Wholenss & Vitality, rather from suffering. It offers a new paradigm based on wellness and wholeness as lifestyle, which leads to healing, rebalancing and harmony, through celebration of living in this sacred vehicle.
In Nia, the 1st Fundamental is, the Joy of Movement is the secret to being fit … in body, mind, heart & Soul.
Nia invites us to stop exercising and begin moving, dancing, celebrating being in these magical bodies. We learn that moving can be really fun, fulfilling and pleasurable. The ‘pleasure principle’ encourages us to tune into the language of our body. Pleasure in the body can become a valuable guide to self-care and self-love.
When the body feels good when it moves or dances, it’s saying to us, “Yes please! More!” On the other hand, when the body is pushed too far, hits an edge of pain, or doesn’t or can’t move in a specific way, there’s pain. This is the body saying to us, “Ouch! Please stop. That hurts. “ The more we pay attention to sensation, the more clearly we hear the messages of the body (and emotions, thought patterns, and Soul.)
When speaking of fitness, we look at the Whole Being, not only the Body. Joy becomes instrumental in bridging this 2nd Fundamental. True fitness, wellness, and a sense of wholeness, includes the Emotional, Mental, & Spiritual bodies. Deep fitness or health, means that our entire being is getting a workout and healthy stimulation. Some examples are as follows:
The body needs stimulation for flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, cardio conditioning, etc.
The brain receives important stimulation in Nia via learning new patterns via sound, the use of imagery creates new neural pathways in the brain.
Classes create space for the expression of emotions that dance through the body. This relieves stress, stagnant energies and effortlessly and joyfully, support emotional healing.
We get to celebrate the ethereal selves of our Soul & Spirit in unique ways. We connect to soaring high and diving deep!
As Nia says, ‘To feel good for a lifetime, fitness must satisfy both Heart & Soul.’
As we connect more to our entire being, we cultivate more presence. In Swahili, Nia means with purpose. Movement is Conscious Not Habitual, the 3rd Fundamental. When we bring intention, attention, presence, to the movement practice each time, each dance, even with the same music, there can be a rebirth & renewal. We have the potential to transform each time we enter into a conscious relationship with Nia. The robotic/habitual workout becomes an enlivened experience. Moving with our bare feet touching the ground supports in greater awareness, stimulation, and strength.
Through conscious presence, we learn that the body, our bodies are designed for movement. Through Movement we Find Health, is core to Nia. This also means recognizing that the more we follow the natural design of the physical form, the more ease and grace we have in establishing health in this vehicle that carries us through life. This 4th Fundamental is Move Your Body the Way It Was Meant to be Moved.
By experiencing deeper, the form and function of the body as we move with Nia, we develop more embodiment, safety, and connection with the ability through Moving the Body to Heal Emotions, Mind, and Spirit, the 5th Fundamental. All of our muscles, cells, tissues, etc. carry energetic imprints of memory that are stored in the body. When we move/dance, from an embodied, present, space, we have the capacity to release these stuck patterns. Nia magically crafts experiences that combine movement, visualizations, sounding, music, & a wide variety of expression, to tend-tenderly to the realms of our subtle bodies of emotion, mind, & Spirit.
Perhaps you can begin to feel the harmony within this string of jewels. The ways in which the fundamentals inform deep wholistic alignment, or as I say, Divine Aligning, we come to the 6th Fundamental, which is the Grace that comes as we access the Path of Least Resistance. We enter the domain of Dynamic Ease of the Body’s Way. The more we attune to our own unique Body’s Way of dancing with Life, we come more fully into our Wholeness … our true essence, with ease & grace.
Nia empowers you to sensitize to your body’s way. As you practice, the form of choreography that offers a starting place, but you are invited to cultivate freedom, wisdom and presence of YOU, through your movement practice and life!
Though I have been absent from teaching Nia for a couple of decades, and even dancing has been sporadic, these teachings have been guideposts through my life journey for 23 years. Yes, when I’ve been on the dance floor, but most certainly they wove their magic into my daily & spiritual life.
There are so many things I love about this entire system, I am in-love. This is just the surface of the depth that Nia brings. It’s far more than a ‘workout’ or ‘exercise.’ It can connect one who is in alignment this practice to a level of Joyful Wholeness that enhances every aspect of life.
Visit The Yoga Room, in Tulsa for April 1st workshop & on-going Thursday/Saturday class dates.
I hope to dance with you soon!