The adventure of embodying the new Nia routine Ride has led to a lot of “a-ha” moments, particularly as I’ve slowed down and embarked upon the process of decoding the routine. One of the greatest “a-has” gets back to a Nia core teaching, which is to trust the body’s wisdom.
I thought about this a lot after a recent class, when a student approached me and shared that she was confused about which way to turn in direction during one particular song. That is, until she “stopped thinking about it.”
“Then,” she said, “it just clicked.”
“You allowed yourself to flow with your body’s --” I searched for the word, then it came to me “ --momentum.”
Momentum is a fabulous word, and one of the fundamental terms that describes a principle of physics. Remember Newton’s First Law? “An object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force.”
When we practice Nia, our muscles and movement range consistently act as external forces. Moving with purpose and a plan, whether in specific directions or through certain katas, creates momentum. It is the practice of sensing our body’s mass in motion.
This allows us to connect more fully with the sensations of mobility and agility while sensing safety in space.
Our brain maps direction and the placement of the feet, the upper extremities and the core within the patterns of the routine. Our nervous system works with our muscles to sense what the body needs to do – more than that, what it wants to do – in order to complete one set of movements and flow into the next. When change occurs, the brain translates what to do in order to effect that change…but even then, if we let our bodies surf the momentum of the experience, we can relax and embrace the pleasure of the dance while remaining present and in the moment.
Simply put, your body knows what it needs, how to move and where it wants to go.
Trust your body.
That’s why we teachers remind our students that there’s no wrong way to move in Nia, that “your way is the right way.”
That’s the simplicity underneath the bells and whistles of Ride: coast with the momentum while being mindful of any shifts that occur. That’s also one of life's big lessons, isn’t it?
Actually, I suspect the routine Life probably has different and unique lessons to impart…but that’s a post for another day. -- Melanie
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