Nia Wellness Movement Tips

Experience moving "The Body's Way" with these Nia Wellness Movement Tips.

1.     Systemic motion is how you express "Your Whole Body" in your movement.

In Nia, a systemic approach is used throughout the entire class to promote full-body expression. Using functional, natural movements the whole body becomes involved, stimulating and developing balance and sensory awareness. Expressing yourself systemically allows you to discover where your body is tight, flexible, etc.

Hot spots to look out for: Working in too large of a range of motion.

2.     Moving through three planes and three levels is how you personalize and express "Individuality" in your movement.

Add plane changes moving through high, middle into low levels as you monitor what is right for you by sensing "pleasure". Plane changes improve coordination, balance intrinsic and extrinsic muscle groups, vary the range of motion, coordinate mental and physical alertness, and help you develop awareness.

Hot spots to look out for: Losing balance; pain in any joint; and sensing you are over-fatigued.

3.     Shifting body weight and using your feet and ankle joints is how you express "Grace and Fluidity" in your movement.

Shifting body weight similar in motion to ballroom dancing is a conscious way to direct the placement and direction of your feet. Shift body weight rather than drop it and work with gravity. Observe the difference between ongoing momentum and the ease of shifting body weight in a grounded way by using your foot's natural motion of leading with the heel, and rolling through the whole foot or up onto the ball of your foot.

Hot spots to look out for: Pain in the ankle joint; unbalance pressure in either the outer or inner part of the foot; stepping too far; and limited pelvic and spine movement.

4.     Using stances is how you express "Empowered Stillness" in your movement.

Stances are moves where both feet or one-foot stays in contact with the floor, freezing your motion in place for a period in time. Stances provide dynamic posture and systemic mobility and stability in the feet and legs. When using stances, stabilize the lower portion of your body. To keep your heart rate elevated integrate movement of your spine, pelvis, chest and head, hands and arms, and by adding levels and varied dynamics.

Hot spots to look out for: Incorrect alignment from not positioning the direction of the foot; and not taking time to land and relax before you move into the next move.

5.     Rhythm Steps is how you express the "Primal Dancer" in your movement.

Rhythm steps are like walking, where one foot is always on the ground and you sense continuous motion. They help support safe, expressive, cardiovascular conditioning without jogging and jumping.

Hot spots to look for: Working too fast; throwing your torso; making your steps too big causing you to lose balance; jerky movements; slamming your feet onto the floor.

6.     Traveling Steps is how you express "The Agile Dancer" in your movement.

Traveling steps move the body forward, backward, in circles, in a pattern, or to the side. You vary the intensity, timing, and speed by monitoring balance and ease.  

Hot spots to look out for: Moving too quickly; leaning forward; not using your feet to propel moving in a direction; holding tension in your feet and ankle joints; jolting your movement.

7.     Combo Steps is how you express "Mental and Physical Coordination" in your movement.

Combo steps combine steps, stances, traveling in directions and rhythm steps. Use different intensities and qualities such as: moving fast, slow, long, short, percussive, etc.

Hot spots to look out for: Transitioning too fast; not allowing enough time to consciously direct your movement; not blending speeds; not working with your body’s level of skill and ability.

8.         Movement Forms is how you express “Energy and Movement Variety” in your movement.  

There are many ways to change the feeling and expression of a move. Focus on various movement qualities such as hard and soft, slow and fast, big and small, linear and circular and incorporate movements from Tai-Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Jazz, Modern Dance, Yoga, Aikido, The Alexander Technique, and the work of Moshe Feldenkrais.

Hot spots to look out for: working with one speed and one movement style.

9.     Blending Soft and Hard is how express "Opposing and Balanced Forces" in your movement.

Blending and balancing soft and hard motions enhances coordination, speed, balance, and agility, while at the same time it improves strength, power, mental focus, breath control, and agility.

Hot spots to look out for: Hyperextending joints; holding your breath; not working from the center; imbalance of energies by focusing too much on either hard or soft.

10.     Quick and Slow is how you express "Safe Speed" in your movement.

Blending quick with slow movement and alternating speeds improves agility, timing, coordination, power, breath control, and neuromuscular balance.

Hot spots to look out for: Throwing limbs; locking joints; force with speed; holding your breath; working beyond a place of comfort and balance.

11.   Linear and Circular are how you express "Fluid Lines" in your Movement.

Blending lines and circles, turning linear movement into circular moves adds relaxation around the joints and through soft tissues.

Hot spots to look out for: Locking joints; ballistic movement; not relaxing joints during circular movements; overuse of the shoulder girdle; lack of support from the center.

12.   Moving the Core is how you express through "Feeling Centers" in your movement.

Incorporating movement in the core of your body: the head, chest, pelvis, and spine you naturally activate your feeling, emotional and Chakra centers. From your body’s tan-tien center, which is located two inches below your navel, resting between the front and the back of your body you can move with the support of being connected to the energy fields that support the physical body.

Hot spots to look out for: Not using your breath; dropping your upper body; holding your pelvis and low back; moving only from the waist; not looking in different directions; not fully opening your chest and back; and poor posture that inhibits breathing, comfort, balance, harmony, and performance.

13.   Feeling and Emotion is how you express "You" in your movement.

Expressing your body language is how you move safely and in pleasure. Moving in your body's way is far more rewarding and beneficial than just "following the leader"! Create the time and space to discover your body language and your own way of moving. Discover what it means to move and be comfortable and uncomfortable physically and psychologically. Make choices that leave you feeling good, happy and joyful.

Hot spots to look out for: Lack of self-care and self-love; negative self-talk; pushing beyond your limitations; ignoring the voice of your body that says, “Stop, slow down, and let’s rest now”.