Today we had a workshop to talk about and discover the Nia Five Sensations. Just like a lot of things we do and use in Nia, the five sensations are not unique to Nia, but they are tools we use to enhance our dance exercise. In a Nia class we strive to be in sensation. Being aware of the sensations allows us to choose and dance what we need at the time of the class. We had a small turn out, but the number of attendants is never the measure of success. One of my Nia Students and fellow Nia Blue Belt’s helped me present the workshop. This workshop was held at the request of the Camden Community Center. Our participants shared that they felt they had a better understanding of the sensations and would be able to apply awareness to them either in a Nia class or just in everyday life.
First we started off moving right away. The participants walked in, we said hello then started dancing. We danced to two songs. Then we did a brief introduction of Nia then we shared the five sensations and how we experience them everyday. We shared how they could be helpful to know and be aware of in a Nia class. The 5 sensations are: Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Strength, and Stability (FAMSS).
Then we moved to each sensation. As we talked we guided the students into the sensations. We shared that flexibility is sensed as energy moving outward. It is the opening your body, the lengthening and yawning. So we stretched and yawned our bodies open. We reached out to lengthen our limbs. We imagined our bones moving away from our center. We practiced sensing the sensation even as our bodies showed no outward movement.
We talked about how agility can be sensed in the quick start and stop of a movement. It is the physical feeling of pulling and pushing. We hopped and jumped. We chopped and slapped. We “played” soccer and tennis. We danced in a “strobe like” fashion. We even stood still and let our gaze bounce around as our eyes moved with agility.
When talking about mobility we said it is sensed as energy in constant motion. It is youthful freedom. (A description from the Nia Technique that I really like.) It is flowing movement, graceful, and easy. We twirled and whirled around the room. We let our bodies ebb and flow. We rolled like the ocean. We moved our arms. We moved our legs. We mobilized our spine. We allowed the energy of constant motion to energize us.
We used the ballet bar and wall to start us off understanding that strength is sensed as energy moving inward. With that first example it gives way to us sensing strength as a resisting, or a quality of weighted energy being moved in ways that allow you to sustain a movement or posture. It is the contraction of muscle. It is the muscle squeezing bone. We contracted and pushed. We squeezed and resisted. Allowing the effort to tire us a bit.
Then we experienced the calm of stability. Stability is sensed as balance and comfort. It is the physical feeling of harmony and peace combined with readiness for action.
After having practiced the sensations we then added them to the stances that are part of the 52 Moves of Nia. We moved through the stances in the 5 sensations. Then we put on the music and danced the stances in sensation. After two songs we reviewed the kicks that are part of the 52 Moves of Nia. We moved through the sensations doing the kicks. Then onto dancing again. We danced doing our kicks in sensation.
We finished off the workshop with two songs focusing on the sensations, but primarily using the Nia choreography and not so much sticking with the kicks and stances. This allowed us to practice dancing in the sensations to whatever moves that come as part of a Nia routine.
It was a great little taste of the Nia 5 Sensations. I can say that because no matter what I am teaching it is ALWAYS the students that make the class GREAT!
Are you aware of any of these sensations in your everyday life?