Traveling in Directions – Science and Philosophy of the 52 Moves of Nia

The following post is written by Nia Black Belt Teacher and Next Generation Trainer Allison Wright, and first appeared on Allison's blog at

“There are two questions in life we must ask ourselves. First, where am I going? And second, who will go with me? If you ever get the order of these questions reversed, you’re in big trouble…” – Author Unknown

Traveling in Directions is one of the 52 Moves we use in the Nia practice. It may strike you as odd that “traveling in directions” is considered a move, but when you look at the architecture of a Nia class, it actually makes a lot of sense. We use directions to orient and re-orient ourselves, to break out of our habitual movements (e.g. always facing the front of the room and looking at the teacher), and to sense our body in three-dimensional space. We do this using 360-degree awareness. Traveling in Directions encourages us to play with space – to move forward and backward, left and right, upward and downward, and diagonally. It teaches us to sense the space inside of us, as well as the space outside of us. We can learn to sense space in specific directions (north, south, east, and west) and in relationship to each other. In Traveling in Directions, we fine-tune our ability to measure (a part of White Belt Principle 2) and sense our proximity to things. My Next Generation Nia Trainer friend, Kelle Oien, has defined the way we arrange our bodies in space as “spatial architecture.”

From a more philosophical point of view, Traveling in Directions invites us to pay attention to where we are going and to observe what kind of attitude/energy we are carrying with us along the way. With all Nia moves, we have a choice as to how we perform them in terms of intensity level, range of motion, speed and accuracy. Recognizing our choices can empower us to own the decisions we make as we travel in particular directions, dancing through life.

Here's what The Nia Technique book says about this move:

“Practicing Traveling in Directions keeps your body agile for moving through space in all directions, and able to change directions with ease.” Ease is the ability to perform a movement with maximum efficiency and minimal effort.

I’ll sign up for that any day.