I often get e-mails and phone calls from people who say they have injured themselves and they ask if they can do Nia. Well, I am not a doctor and I don’t know the extent of their injuries, but I explain to them one of the core philosophies (if you will) of Nia. You do what YOUR body can do. EveryBODY is different. EveryBODY has something going on in their body and something going on in their life. EveryBODY will be different every day. So we encourage everyBODY to do what they can. Of course, depending upon the injury, people should check with their physician and be cleared for aerobic activity and movement and when they get to class how much they do is up to them.
It is important to remember that each individual is responsible for his/her own body. When someone has had a recent injury it is very important to remember to be their own Conscious Personal Trainer (CPT). It is up to you to move in a way that is healthful. You are the one that knows the extent of the injury and you are the one that has worked with a medical professional to be healed. So here is where you really get to be aware of your body and do only what it can do.
I’ve also posted before about the levels of intensity. In Nia we say that there are three levels of intensity and Nia teachers demonstrate three levels, but really there are many, many, many levels due to the fact that everyBODY is different. My level one (which is deemed the lowest level of intensity) might be someone else’s level two. My level three could be someone else’s level two AND in addition to that, it could change the very next day! EveryBODY has different levels of intensity. I might take BIG steps to the side, whereas the person right behind me might take little steps, and the person next to her medium steps, and the person behind him HUGE steps. We all move in our own way. It is up to each individual participant to do what works for them at that time. If there is an injury involved maybe the level that used to be intensity level one, has now changed to level three intensity. It could take some time for the body to adjust and heal and get back to its original levels of intensity.
Nia believes you do what your body can and by doing what you can you will feel good. And when you feel good you will realize that you can do a lot. So the next time you do it you might do more, then the next time more, then the next time—might be a rough day, you might do less—and Nia rejoices in that. It is important to do what you can at the moment you are doing it.
I always encourage Nia participants in my classes to play with different levels. I also encourage them to try new things, to not always do the same move they are comfortable with. This could be something that one is required to do if they have injured a body part. Any injury sometimes can be a chance to grow in other areas. It doesn’t have to be a stopping point. So I encourage people to keep moving – if they can – so, yes, people can do Nia if they have been injured. As long as they have been cleared to do so by a doctor. If they are fit to move Nia can easily be adapted to help them move in their new state and get them back to dancing with joy.