We are creatures of habit. The way we walk, talk & think on a daily basis are predominantly based on habits we have established over time. This is regardless of whether they serve us or not.
The way we move not only deeply affects our physical wellbeing, it also affects our brain function and entire outlook on life.
Through NIA I have experienced moving in new ways I would have otherwise never moved before. I have expanded my movement vocabulary. This positively affects my daily life, how I climb up the stairs or walk to the shops and dance for pleasure. There are now more and more movement ingredients to choose from, and I can create a new, safer, more aware and joyous movement experience in any given situation.
Whenever we learn something new, we create new neurological pathways in our brains. Studies show that moving in non-repetitive ways, like in NIA, is highly beneficial for brain health.
So it’s great for the body, it’s great for the mind and the emotions.
But let’s get back to our “bad habits”. If I keep exploring new movement, I establish a new habit of GROWING through movement. This can encourage me to change other habits which no longer serve me. If I can grow in one area, I can believe that I can grow in another area too. I AM BUILDING A GROWTH MUSCLE FOR LIFE. Welcome to the world of NIA!!!
Rachael R. Resch, MS PT/LMT, is a Nia Black Belt, and physical therapist with over 30 years’ experience in movement
In the spring of 1995 I walked into my first Nia class by chance – and my life changed forever. I was totally disabled by asthma, a physical therapist unable to work and a dancer unable to even cross the room to answer the phone. I could barely breathe and had no business being in a cardio class. But Nia is no ordinary cardio class.
Nia gave me the medicine of awareness and the medicine of The Joy of Movement that allowed me to discover my body’s way to heal. Through Nia, my breathing improved until I was eventually off all medication. Today my respiratory function is 130% of normal.
The Joy of Movement is a practice that is the foundation of the entire Nia body of work. Nia teaches us to cultivate the sensation of joy — the sensation of the life-force energy in the body — irrespective of circumstance. The life-force energy is available to us to sense at all times. Not just happy times, not just in strong times, but in grief, loneliness, pain, illness, frustration, fear, anger, goofiness and wonder.
My Philosophy is that the body is sacred. The bones are sacred, the muscles are sacred, the brain is sacred, everything is sacred. This philosophy guides my life and my work. My purpose is to help people remember that their bodies are sacred.
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease”. Thomas A. Edison US inventor (1847 – 1931)
Do you want to re-gain and maintain vibrant health until your last day?
When asked about the objective of NIA Dance, a Nia trainer replied: “To JUMP into our coffin!”
Despite the humor, this illustrates the purpose of NIA: To experience true JOY and Aliveness in our Body until we die.
A baffling concept to some who subscribe to the belief that death is a necessary consequence of dis-ease.
However, it is NOT necessary and natural to deteriorate in health and vitality when advancing in age. We require a paradigm-shift in our beliefs and also look much deeper into the factors contributing to ill-health.
Most of us are aware that nutrition and exercise are BOTH essential to good health. A number of studies suggest that MOVEMENT might however be more important than healthy nutrition in this equation!
Sitting down is the Plague of our times!
Therefore let’s enjoy the most PLEASURABLE, SAFE MEDICINE of our time: JOYFUL MOVEMENT !!!
Only positive “side-effects” – JOY, Energy, Vitality, Mobility, Agility, Strength, Flexibility, Stability…!
Whether you can make it to a regular NIA Dance class or not – Make it your priority to MOVE with Joy as often as you can!
Are we aware of our body’s natural speed at which it prefers to walk or move during activities? We are so used to overriding our body’s natural timing that most of us don’t even know how it feels to move according to our body’s “Natural Time”. No wonder we are often feeling rushed and exhausted.
In NIA Dance we are reminded of how to move our “BODY’S WAY”. Movements are specifically created to flow naturally and joyfully in alignment with our unique Body’s anatomy and allowing various speeds of movement. Some dance exercise classes can be too fast to allow and encourage true body awareness and natural timing during movement, disconnecting us from our body. Nia enables us to fully “embody” movement allowing growing awareness and self-discovery.
Experiment with different speeds during walking or activities and sense when your movements feel the most natural to your Body. We might feel we need to rush to make things happen – but see what really happens when you SLOW DOWN. Experience how much energy you are preserving. It’s exhausting to go at a speed that is not natural to our Body. Let’s put our Body in the driving seat and witness the positive effects it will have in all areas of our life.
Nia Dance encourages Body Awareness and moving with Grace, Ease and Joy. Nia movements feel very natural to the body as they follow the Body’s Way without pushing, straining or over-exerting yourself. They were developed based on the human anatomy and Nia’s uppermost principle of JOY OF MOVEMENT. This is why Nia does not feel like exercise, despite having all the benefits of the most advanced forms of exercise: Increased Flexibility, Stability, Agility, Strength, Mobility and Vitality. In Nia movement is infused with conscious intentions which helps dancers access higher states of connectedness and consciousness.
Dancing through Life is one of Nia’s Principles. In Nia Dance this literally means that every movement can become part of your dance. Turning a door handle. Crossing the street. The joy of movement can be found in every little movement in the present moment. We can focus on the the joy of movement during breathing or stepping in the shower. Life is movement and movement is Dance.
Methaphorically and literally we can DANCE through Life’s currents, ups and downs!
CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO SEE MORE CLEARLY!
Every step is part of the dance, whether it’s forward or backward. Let’s enjoy Dancing through Life.
As a Woman, Wife, Mother, Author and trained Therapist – despite my knowledge and positive thinking, there were times when I felt overwhelmed and low. I asked myself: “How can I feel more joy and Wellbeing as a Woman?
The answer is so simple that it is often overlooked:
What re-energises us women most, is what us instinctively enjoy. This includes: Dancing more freely, singing without pressure to perform, listening to beautiful music, slowing down, relaxing, receiving, being in nature, laughing and opening our hearts. All of these are expressions of our Feminine Nature and gifts.
Sadly, we might often feel we don’t deserve to spend time on what we perceive as self-indulgent or idle activities, fearing to neglect our husband, partner, kids, career, cleaning schedule, to-do-list etc.
However, actively scheduling time to focus on our female Wellbeing is absolutely vital and more than deserved by any woman.
Each Nia holistic movement sessions offers us an opportunity to meet in a friendly, safe environment and experience Joy of Movement and nourish personal Wellbeing.
So let’s make time for Being Ourselves, for Being a Woman! Everybody else around us will benefit too!
If we exercise in a masculine way as women, we will not only end up looking harder, but also become more masculine in our energy. Some female celebrities have gone down this route already. Exercising in a masculine way can have negative effects on our wellbeing, and especially our intimate relationships where authentic polarity is vital.
Most of us make no distinction between male or female ways to exercise, but not all exercises are suitable for women in the long term.
Masculine exercises often have a competitive edge and produce the stress hormone adrenaline. During exercise men typically strive to improve endurance, speed, strength muscle tone etc. However, healthy feminine energy and radiance is closely linked to feeling physical pleasure and the joy of being in a female body whilst moving. The focus is not on improving our bodies but enjoying our bodies to the fullest. Rather than a powerful aggressive workout we want to be open and receptive to the inherent gifts and sensations of our bodies.
A typical aerobic dance class can be somewhat repetitive, rigid and fast, and a lot of women find it stressful to try and keep up feeling uncoordinated and uncomfortable. Healing exercises like Yoga, Tai-Chi, Chi Gung and Pilates are more balanced between masculine and feminine energy and good ways of keeping the body’s energy free flowing and increasing suppleness. However, a lot of women find they prefer dance-based or more playful exercises.
The simplest way to determine if an exercise is supporting our own unique expression of healthy feminine energy is to listen to our body and become aware of how much we are actually enjoying it. Ask yourself: How does this feel in my body? Am I happier and more energetic than before? Healthy exercises for women will encourage the flow of endorphines – our pleasure giving hormones- and promote a more sensual physical energy and feeling of wellbeing.
Nia classes are perfect for women (and men) as they balance masculine and feminine energy and allow fluidity and freedom of movement.
If there is no Nia class near you and nothing for you at the gym you can always be a little creative and move freely to your favorite tune at home, swim as if it was a dance or buy an inspiring healing dance DVD. Whatever you do “LOVE to MOVE!”