Squish Walk – One Of Nia’s 52 Moves
Posted by terrepruitt on June 2, 2012
Nia is the same as many things, the more you do it the more accustomed your body becomes to the movement. When you first try swinging a bat or a golf club it seems as if there are so many things to think about. The placement of your feet, the bend in your knees, the sinking of the hips, what your hands are doing, what your elbows are doing, where your chest is facing, to move or not to move your shoulders. Then there is your head, your eyes, and – oh yeah – the ball. So much to remember. Then as you practice you forget that you even were once having to remember all that. You are able to just “let go” a bit and play the game. Dance exercise is the same way for some. There are moves in Nia that we do, the 52 moves. At first the body might be so busy trying to do it correctly it is not allowed to play, but once the moves are learned there is time to play. In a Nia routine a move is often repeated enough so it can be learned and then the play can begin. But there is still a technique, there is still a right way to do it in order to get the benefits from it as was the intention of having the move be a part of Nia.
One of the moves that I sometimes find challenging is the Squish Walk, the way Carlos AyaRosas (FKA Carlos Rosas), told us how to do it. I had thought it was rising on the ball of one foot, then squishing that foot down, then rising on the other ball of the foot, and alternating. The imagery is that of squishing oranges under the heels. I had thought it was one whole foot on the ground before bringing up the other, but that is not how he instructed us.
His instructions were to be on the both balls (of the feet) at the same time. Not all the way up on both feet but one heel HIGH and one lowering and switching like that. The foot that is flat on the ground (whole foot) is not there long because it comes right back up. I found this method much more challenging than the one foot down and the other foot up. The method Carlos had us do tends to work the calves and shins more than the other method.
The Nia Technique Book states one foot is down (whole foot on the ground) before bringing the other foot up. Both methods work the lower legs, improving strength and flexibility. Neither method is actually a walk. We are not progressing forward. Although the squishy movement could be incorporated into a walk.
With the method in the book, I usually use the image of high heeled shoes. Lift one heel as if you are showing off a new high heeled shoe. The concentration is on the lifted heel. Then switch heels. With the method Carlos taught I think more of oranges. The concentration, to me, is more on the squish.
In the Nia routine we have been doing this past month in my Nia Classes we do something they’ve dubbed the “double squish walk” which is rising at the same time on both balls of the feet. Then the squish is on bringing both heels down at the same time. Double Squish. I just call it up on the balls of your feet, since it doesn’t seem very squishy and it is not like either method.
I invite you to try both methods of the squish walk. Lift one foot onto the ball of the foot, then set it down and lift the other foot. Alternate. And try, lifting up on both balls of the feet, then start to lower one to ground, then alternate. It is as if in one method both feet end up on the ground and with the other method both feet end up on the balls of the feet. So fun, the different ways to do the moves yet, both ways are to help condition the lower legs to help “you move safely with different speeds and intensities”. In other words be sturdy on your feet as you move and dance through life!