Nia’s Cat Stance
Posted by terrepruitt on January 10, 2013
There are six stances in the 52 Moves of Nia. Closed Stance, Open Stance, “A” Stance, Riding (Sumo) Stance, Bow Stance, and the Cat Stance. Each stance has a sound associated with it for practice. There are benefits to doing each stance. All of them help with balance. With the cat stance the balance is on one foot. The cat stance is a stance in which you stand on one leg, using your whole foot. The leg you are standing on is not rigid, but the knee is soft, as if you were going to pounce. The spine is upright, hips are level, not pointing down nor up. The foot that is off the ground is pressing with the side against the standing leg, the foot relaxed, toes hanging towards the earth. Elbows are bent, relaxed. Either both elbows are at the sides or one slightly forward. The arms and hands are engaged. The cat stance is done on alternating legs. These are the specifics of Nia’s Cat Stance.
There are specific ways to do a stance, the body’s way. But your body’s way is also recognized. So different bodies will do it different ways. Some will do it their own way until the body can adjust to the specifics and some bodies will continue in their own way. For instance some bodies will use the power finger/balance finger hand technique to assist them in standing on one leg. In addition to each body having its own way to do each move sometimes the way the move is done in a routine alters the specifics. The specifics stated above are according to The Nia Technique book, however in the routine Birth, the cat stance in one of the katas consists of hooking the bent leg’s foot around the standing leg. In this particular dance, while we are in the cat stance with our foot hooked around the standing leg, our hands and arms are different from is described in the ideal cat stance stated above. One of our hands “hooks” around our face.
This is often the case. There is a specific way to do each of Nia’s 52 Moves, but each individual has their own body’s way that adjust the specifics AND the specifics are sometimes adjusted according to move in the routine. But it is important to know the specifics and the basics. It is also fun to practice the specifics and the basics.
The basics of the cat stance help with balancing on one leg. This can also be considered a strengthener, the standing leg’s muscles can be strengthened through the practice of supporting all of one’s weight. If this move is being done solely as a practice of the move, then agility can come into play. The practice of walking then stopping and moving quickly into cat stance would allow for the agility. Alternating with a light hop from whole-foot-cat-stance on one leg to the other is an exercise in agility. While this type of movement might also be something we do in a Nia routine it is not always the case. Sometimes we move into cat stance and from there do kicks.
As with all of Nia’s 52 Moves we play with them. All of Nia’s routines consist of playing with movement and music. With the cat stance you have the specific way to do it, then just like a cat you can play as you practice. You can “meow” and use claw hands. The cat stance is a fun way to play with balance and sounding. Practice the specifics then let the animal in you out!