Posted by terrepruitt on January 22, 2013
One of Nia’s magic toys! Floorplay. This is where we actually get on the floor and play. The most common comment I receive from people about floorplay is, “I don’t like to get down on the floor because I can’t get up.” And sadly that is the most important reason one SHOULD get on the floor is so that they can LEARN to get up. Even though most often with Floorplay we stay ON the floor, there is a time when we do get up. Floorplay is both Nia Class Cycle #6 and the Nia Blue Belt Principle #10. The tagline or second part of the principle is Movement on the Floor.
Floorplay can bring up all kinds of fun stuff. It can bring up memories of infancy. With the scooting, the crawling, the getting up to walk, and the falling. It can bring up memories of childhood. Children often play on the floor. They do somersaults and gymnastic moves. They drive their cars around and roll and play. It is a fact of life that most adults lose their playful connection to the floor. Watch a group of children when they are told in a room to go play. The first thing most of them do is get down on the floor. They go to their knees and start to play. Most adults I know don’t ever think of the floor as a place to be.
Floorplay allows us to reconnect to the earth. It allows us to reconnect to the ground. It allows us to sense gravity and the strength and energy of the earth. There is a pull that we can play with. There is the sense of falling that we can use.
Floorplay is a way to explore. It is a safe place and a safe time to move and sense the body. Sometimes the floor can assist in a particular movement. The gravity can work to enable additional flexibility. It is truly a place of wonder to let go and move. Rolling around, letting limbs fall to the earth, pushing and pulling, stretching and yawning . . . . floorplay is a magical toy in the Nia toy box. It is a powerful time in the Nia workout for body, mind, and spirit.
Floorplay in a Nia class can be a choreographed cycle or a FreeDance. Either way it is an important time to explore both The Body’s Way and Your Body’s Way. It is an opportunity to play with movement and to progress to your ideal. Even when the routine being done in class has choreographed Floorplay participants are free to do their own FreeDance. I often encourage my Nia students to do a “body check” asking their body what desires attention. If they want they are free to do what they need in order to give their body what it needs.
Because most Nia routines include this cycle. It is recommended that Nia participants bring a mat to class in case they are more comfortable moving on a mat. A mat sometimes is exactly what is needed to ensure bone comfort and let the student move more freely on the floor. Most places I teach in San Jose have mats, sometimes there are just a few.
The Nia Blue Belt reminds us that being on the floor is not just about static postures and stretches, it is truly about movement on the floor. That is why this cycle is called Floorplay and with the Blue Belt lens, the way we look at things, we are reminded to play and have fun. We are encouraged to use all of Nia’s 5 Sensations along with gravity and the energy from the earth to connect to the vertical, horizontal, and spiral and to connect with our bodies in a dance on the floor that we call Floorplay.
So when is the last time you got on the floor and rolled around? When is the last time you got on the floor and played? What is stopping you?