(First published Monday October 9th.)
It's curious that my last blog, from the summer, was 'Moving while recovering from injury or illness,' and I now find myself needing to follow my own words very closely. Two weeks out from a hysterectomy, I'm allowed to come back to class, as long as it is VERY LOW IMPACT. This means I will demonstrate small and you can choose to intensify the movement until you find what is right for your body. Rather than bring in familiar routines, this seems like a good time to experiment with a new one. As some of the movements are new to us, we can take it smaller, focus on tiny details, and add intensity with increasing familiarity. (I find when teaching at full volume, the small details can get lost.) Consider the next couple of classes a workshop on a new routine. Hopefully, we can all develop a deeper level of intimacy with these new 'katas' - as we like to call the specific movement combinations in Nia.
The new routine, 'Sacred', incorporates beautiful world-flavored music with some interesting and playful movements and sounds. The original focus for this routine is 'dancing the bones,' and as I (minimally, in my condition) move and listen to this work, it takes me to any number of places: dancing our body, mind, emotions, & spirit; awareness and healing; dancing the three body weights: pelvis, chest, and head; and the power of dedicating our dance to something we hold sacred. We will visit each of these foci (described below) as we learn the routine 'Sacred.'
We define 'focus' in a Nia class as "what you place your attention on." You might notice me say in a particular class that we are focusing on the sensation of stability, in order to feel more peaceful. That is an example of a focus, followed by the intention. The focus always leads us to something we would like to experience. You can always bring your own personal focus to any class.
Dancing the bones comes from a Nia principle called "X-ray anatomy." X-ray anatomy involves sensing from the inside, or observing the form in the mirror to check for proper placement of bones (which benefits ligaments, muscles, and tendons). When focusing on dancing the bones, I notice a sense of lightness and ease, less resistance, or more playfulness when practicing a resistance move.
If you practice Nia, you know that you are a multidimensional being. Our workout integrates the body, mind, emotions, and spirit, feeding every part of you. When your being is fully fed, your motivation comes from within, we don't have use pounding beats as an external driving force to push you to move harder and faster. Music can stimulate joy, passion, and playfulness in your workout. You can practice from a place of inspiration, rather than needing to be driven to work out.
Awareness (which includes self-healing) is one of the basic Nia principles. Awareness allows us to tune into sensation - the language of the body. Pain lets us know to stop and assess what we are doing, make corrections so that we can move safely, and heal. Pleasure says, 'yes, more of this.' Awareness teaches us to be mindful of our thoughts and emotions, heal misperceptions, and speak our truth, when necessary. In the spirit realm, awareness allows us to sense our connectedness, and heal feelings of isolation.
The three body weights, the pelvis, chest, and head, make up the core of the body. As we focus on the three body weights, we learn to find a natural alignment, that alleviates holding patterns that cause pain and discomfort. We build strength, flexibility, and stability in the core for more comfort and ease in dancing through life.
We can dedicate any dance to an attitude or concept that we hold sacred to get a profound sense of well-being. The nondual teacher David Hawkins says that we can use just one spiritual tool, such as kindness or forgiveness, and pursue it with intensity to its ultimate end to free ourselves from the bonds of the ego. We can apply this to our dance, as well, to fully embody that which we hold sacred.
No matter what focus you apply to your dance, remember that laughter and playfulness are also sacred. So come to Nia and enjoy an immersion in 'Sacred.' Beginning this Tuesday Oct 10 (at Timberhill Athletic Club - 6:45pm), for the next 2 weeks, or so. I'll be starting 'Sacred' at Chintimini next week on Monday Oct 16 at 11:00am.
Writing about the adventures of moving in a body, cultivating greater health & wellbeing, and making life juicer through awareness. For older dance/fitness posts: dancingwithleela.blogspot.com/ For my nature and community blogposts, see my other blog: leeladevidancing.blogspot.com