Wearing Weights During Nia
Posted by terrepruitt on February 2, 2010
I have heard people ask about this a few times. Sometimes people want to wear ankle weights or wrist weights while in a Nia class. I personally would strongly recommend against this. Nia is not like other types of movement forms, where you can wear weights. In Turbo Jam for example, Chalene Johnson is wearing weights in one of the workouts. And her crew is wearing them in other workouts but the movements in the Turbo Jam workouts are different. They are very linear. When you move in lines the chance of injury is less. Chalene’s workouts are designed to be done with weights and even then she cautions on using the correct weight and using them carefully. In Nia we move in spirals, circles, we bend, we stretch, we practice falling off balance in order to practice catching ourselves. With weights added to that it could be dangerous.
In Nia we do have punches and kicks which are linear and could possibly be done with weights, but in our routines right after a punching sequence we might have a spiral spinal movement where we use our hands to help activate our spine and this is the type of movement that could easily lead to injury if there were extra weight on our hands/wrists.
I also think since Nia is so body centered weights would interfere with the connection to the body. While you could sense the sensation of weight on your wrist it does not seem the same as connecting to your own body without the added weight. I believe one of the purposes of Nia or one of the exciting aspects of Nia is that we strive to learn to sense what our body’s messages are. What does our body FEEL like . . . not our feelings, but our sensations. And if we add weights to that is could be distracting. It could keep us from being able to truly sense the different energies that we are bringing into the workout.
As an example, and I have stated something like this before, if you move your arm gently you could say it is energize with Duncan Dance or Modern Dance. If you do the same movement, but apply the energies from one of the Martial Arts the sensation would be entirely different. Yet with a weight attached to your wrist it might be difficult to go back and forth between the gentle and the strong. The message being transmitted from the limb would be very different with a weight attached. To me it would seem as if the connection was to the weight and not my body.
So, my conclusion and recommendation when it comes to using weights and Nia is: don’t do it. The risk of injury is too great, plus, I believe you would miss out on one of the fundamentals of Nia and that is connecting to the body . . . . YOUR body.