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Sensing and Responding

Next Generation of Trainers

Sensing and Responding

By Debbie Priest on February 19, 2011

Sensation data flows through my nervous system. My journey through Nia has taught me to tap into that sensory data that was once below my level of awareness. Tapping into that sensory data is being a Sensation Scientist. The flow of information is moving through my nervous system all the time whether or not I’m aware of it. I am constantly receiving and transmitting. What makes the difference is consciously paying attention to what I’m receiving and transmitting. Paying attention to sensation interrupts my automatic, habitual tendencies of my past conditioning and gives me the power of presence or of being the witness. This is the point of power where the process of consciously integrating my four realms happens.


This conscious integration of the four realms happens through being the watcher or witness. I have a mind, body, emotions and spirit but they don’t have me. In the past I was given by my thoughts, emotions, body sensations and desires. Unconsciously reacting to the stimulus from inside and outside, I was controlled by fear and doubt and jerked around by all the input. Now I am conscious of the input. I can watch it come in like a curious scientist. The power is in the watching. Something magical happens when I give myself the space and stillness to just watch without immediately doing. I sense and respond from a place of knowing instead of reacting. Sometimes it happens that I end up watching the reaction and that watching brings me back again to a place of sensing and responding.


We are designed to sense and respond. Our nervous system is an incredible signaling system throughout our body. From neurons bundled into nerves that function through the central nervous system which include the brain, spinal cord and brainstem and the peripheral nervous system that branches out to the glands, muscles and organs and the perineural nervous system which is associated with the connective tissue. As a cellular organism that transmits and receives through the nervous system becoming aware of what is being received and what is being transmitted is a process of sensing and integrating all the data received from the four realms and transmitting or responding from presence. This is what I practice when I lead a Nia class and this is what I will practice while leading the White belt.