Nia Education - The Body's Way

In Nia, The Body’s Way is the way we study anatomy. It is a unique approach to somatic education based on the science of the body that gives us a map to follow that respects the natural intelligence of the body. It gives us a way that respects and works with the inherent, natural differences of every body to develop an interactive and dynamic relationship between you, your body and the world you live in.

The Body’s Way says, “Know the way of the body and you will get to know the way of your body. The more you know about the body the deeper the relationship you will have with your body and with other bodies."

The Body's Way is guided by five fundamental principles that keep the body functioning optimally.

The Body's Way Principle 1

To help you move and feel better integrate The Body's Way Principle 1—The Body Thrives on Dynamic Ease into your movement.

Dynamic Ease is the ability to perform a movement with maximum efficiency and minimal effort. When you achieve Dynamic Ease, you will know it as a distinct physical sensation, a feeling of effortless power, elegance, and grace.

To sense Dynamic Ease recall a moment when you learned a challenging physical task. It could be when you learned to ride a bike, ski, or even type. At first, you felt weak, clumsy, intimidated, and frustrated. As you persevered there was a moment when, suddenly, bingo, you sensed dynamic ease!

Dynamic refers to you consciously making something happen. Ease refers to seeking the path of least resistance, where you can move with efficiency. Dynamic Ease is a sensation you refine with practice, repetition and over time.

When you reach the state of Dynamic Ease you not only sense power and grace but neuromuscular creativity kicks in. You stop thinking and start moving in ways that feel natural and organic. Creativity is always thwarted when you have to think and struggle with your movement. People who work to move never experience the joy of creativity that naturally arises out of Dynamic Ease.

The Body's Way Principle 2

To help you move and feel better integrate The Body's Way Principle 2—The Body Demands Balance into your movement.

We know that the body demands balance based on its design: The body is in almost perfect balance and symmetry. The body balances left and right: two arms, two legs, two eyes, two ears, two lungs, two ovaries, two testicles, two brain hemispheres, two kidneys, etc. There is also balance among the major organs; for example, the heart is on one side of the body and the liver on the other.

Therefore, when you move, aspire to equally balance your movements from left to right and top to bottom. This will balance your muscles, your skeletal system, and even your brain and peripheral nervous system. Furthermore, to achieve balance, many of your movements should be circular. Anytime your motion takes a curved path, it engages your whole body, including both hemispheres of your brain. It activates the full range of your muscle tissues, including both the small and large fibers. In contrast, linear movements, common in most exercise programs, work with a more limited range of muscle fibers and generally involve more compartmentalized neurological pathways. Balance is better.

As you begin to understand The Body's Way, you will forge a new relationship with your own body. Based on the design of your body's bones, joints, muscles, and connective tissues, you will learn how to access optimum power, fitness, and flexibility from your body, without pain.

The Body's Way Principle 3

To help you move and feel better integrate The Body's Way Principle 3 —The Body is Balanced in Yin and Yang into your movement.

The body is balanced in Yin and Yang; therefore, you must respect this balance, and reflect it in the movement choices you make.

We can tell that the body is comprised of both yin and yang energies simply by observing the body itself. Yin – soft, “female,” inward-directed energy – is constantly being manifested by the body’s smooth, almost melodic movements. Yang – harder, “male,” outward-directed energy – is reflected by more explosive, rhythmic movements.

Inhaling is yin, while exhaling is yang. Intense activity is yang, while the rest is yin. Warming up is yang while cooling down is yin. All of these aspects of living and moving are indispensable and equally important. For example, how could you possibly inhale without exhaling?

Yoga is, in theory, a beautiful healing system that balances yin and yang energies within the body. In actuality, however, many Americans who practice yoga become overly yang in their movements, due to a highly physical, do-more atmosphere. Often, when people begin to practice Nia after they’ve received training in Americanized yoga, we need to remind them to balance their yin and yang, and to take what they’ve learned from their Yoga out onto the street. These people have trained their bodies to function in only one style, focusing on specific asanas. When our bodies become entrained to only one system we lose the ability to adapt to the variety of rhythms and movements in real life. That’s why Nia is such a wonderful complement to Yoga.

The Body's Way Principle 4

To help you move and feel better integrate The Body's Way Principle 4 —The Body’s Way Demands Simultaneous Mobility and Stability into your movement.

The Body’s Way Demands Simultaneous Mobility and Stability and having just one or the other isn’t enough.

We know the body insists upon mobility because of the abundant presence in the body of flexible joints. There are thirteen primary joint systems in the body (in the wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, and spine), and each was designed to provide various forms and degrees of mobility when empowered by adjoining muscles and connective tissues.

However, the same muscles, connective tissues, and joint designs also provide stability. Without stability, muscles and joints would be useless.

When we have the proper balance of stability and mobility, we have the power to move energy vertically, horizontally, and in circles, providing third-dimensional movement capabilities. This is critically important because we live in a three-dimensional world. Most exercise programs, however, prescribe mostly just two-dimensional movements.

Some people have too much mobility and not enough stability. An example would be a baseball pitcher whose shoulder joint has been excessively stretched and stressed over long periods of time. This type of hypermobility injury is quite common among the general public these days, because – like baseball pitchers – many people make the same repetitive motions in their jobs every day, causing an erosion of the stabilizing forces of their joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

Other people have too much stability, at the expense of mobility and flexibility. This condition is extremely common among the vast number of people who sit in office chairs for many hours each day. Their joints, muscles, and connective tissues become rigid and inelastic.

Both excessive mobility and excessive stability can lead to osteoarthritis, other forms of chronic pain, injuries, and fatigue. They are both enemies of fitness – and enemies of feeling good.

The Body's Way Principle 5

To help you move and feel better integrate The Body's Way Principle 5—The Body Itself Reveals The Body’s Way into your movement.

The Body itself reveals The Body’s Way in two ways: through the language of design, and through the language of feedback. Use the design of The Body’s Way in Walking and maintain a vertical alignment that is dynamic. This means, avoid putting yourself in a rigid posture.

Connect to two dynamics: Gravity, the downward energy source below, and the Electromagnetic forces, the upward energy source above.

The language of design is simple: “This is how I’m built, so use me accordingly.” For example, in Walking, balance your three body weights, using your pelvis as the foundation for your chest and head to move up and out of.

The language of feedback is equally easy to comprehend. Through neurological connections, every part of the body constantly provides you with either positive feedback or negative feedback. In their most fundamental forms, positive feedback is pleasure, and negative feedback is pain. As you walk, pay attention to what feels good. If you feel pain, adjust from the bottom up. This means you may need to buy a new pair of shoes or take them off. It can also mean that you need to let your feet do the walking, not your head.

I invite you to experience Nia The Body’s Way by Signing Up for Nia’s FREE 14-DAY WELLNESS PROGRAM