Have you ever been in a movement class when one of your favorite songs comes on?
When that happens I immediately smile, maybe say something to convey my delight (“Yes!” “I love this one!”). But I also notice my body switch into its own version of “ready” position. The brain tells the muscles, “Alright…we know this!”
Then the dance begins.
The human brain is an extraordinary pattern-recognition machine. Our brains seek out patterns, in fact. It’s our way to make sense of the world around us. Nia taps into this science by incorporating patterns and repetition into each routine. These are known as katas.
The concept of kata comes from the martial arts. In essence, it is choreography: detailed pattern of movements that are taught to allow students to embody the fundamentals of each move until the whole pattern becomes second nature.
The intent is enable the students to Learn the Move, i.e. recognize and understand movement patterns; to Move the Move, i.e. to embody a pattern, and then to Energize the Move – to personalize the pattern.
We learn new patterns over time to embody their benefits and in doing so, more deeply tap into that connection between mind, body, emotion and spirit.
For example, Ride¸ the new routine Mel is learning and sharing, contains katas that repeat – and shift – throughout the playlist. This conditions the physical body while simultaneously conditioning the mind’s memory recall. With sustained practice, Ride promotes deeper relaxation into these patterns (soothing emotion) and allows a body to explore the routine's vast opportunities to personalize (spirit).
Ann is teaching Wild, in which she encourages students to experience reflexive conditioning in the body, encouraging exploration of agility – the action of “start-stop.”
Cell-Ebrate, Juliann's current routine, promotes relaxation through repetition during its warm-up, inviting the class to sink into ease via rich pattern of simple movements incorporating relaxing breaths and sounding, before diving into an inspiring Get Moving cycle.
As we experience each of these routines bit by bit over several weeks, mind and body develop an intimacy with these patterns. “New to me” movements become familiar: We learn, we move and we energize our way to that place of, “Alright…I know this!”
And here’s a secret: Your body already knows these moves, because Nia is designed to move in the body’s way and to be adaptable to your body’s way.
Give your self time to learn, move, energize and relax into Ride, Cell-Ebrate and Wild.