Nia White Belt Principle #9 is Arms, Hands, and Fingers. Through the years it has changed the exact name. My White Belt Manual says “Upper Extremities: Arms, Hands, and Fingers”. When I was in the training we actually learned it as “Creative Arm and Hand Expressions”. Whatever it is called it is using your arms, hands, and fingers in your workout and in life.
Ours arms, hands, and fingers can be used to hug, touch, caress, bringing comfort. They can be used to express ourselves to aid in communication. In the dance that is Nia, and in life they can be used to exercise our spirit with playfulness using our imagination to become wings, scarves, rain, water or whatever it is your arms, hands, and/or fingers sense.
When we use them to punch and block or catch our bodies as we push off from the wall or the floor we build strength both in our arms, hands, fingers, back, and upper body muscles. The many circular motions incorporated into our routines help condition our muscles as well as our ligaments and tendons. Nia is not a linear cardio dance class. The idea is to move to promote health in the entire body.
The hands have the capability to gather information and to move energy, to bring it in or send it out. We use our hands in Nia a lot. Not all movement classes include hands in the exercises. Nia understands the importance of hands and fingers.
In addition to moving our limbs to promote flexibility and strength Nia weaves relaxation into the mix. It is understood that many people can hold tension in the upper body, in the shoulders and neck. We benefit from the opening and closing of the shoulder joints. We learn to recognize the different ways to move to promote relaxation.
We can do all of this while we follow the moves of a routine or when we choose to activate the freedom that is encouraged in Nia. Either way, whatever you decide you will see how Nia does use the Upper Extremities: Arms, Hands, and Fingers a lot in Nia.