Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Nia and Feldenkrais

Posted by terrepruitt on December 12, 2009

Now Feldenkrais in Nia is not so much a movement as it is the feeling, the sensation of movement.  With this technique as our guide we slow down, we become aware, we witness our movement.  The creators of Nia wanted a movement form that resulted in health, both physical and mental.

The Feldenkrais technique is specific and Nia does not claim to practice this technique, instead the idea of being able to create change in the body, by moving it and by focusing on the movement is what is incorporated into Nia.  The idea of change being possible.  The idea of slowing down and paying attention.   Or even if going fast—the idea is to pay attention.

I like to refer to Nia as a body-mind* practice/exercise/workout, because in White Belt we are instructed to go to the body.  Moving in the body’s way and in our own body’s way in particular is one reason why I think of it as body-mind.  But even though we go to the body that does not mean that we are not being aware.  We need to use our mind to listen to the body.  If a movement is being done in class and you copy it exactly, you need to be aware of the sensation your body is returning back to you.  Is doing the move EXACTLY how the teacher is doing it really what YOUR body needs?  Do you need to do it bigger?  Or smaller?  What is it that YOUR body is telling you?

Adding some of the concepts of Moshe Feldenkrais adds body awareness to Nia.  We feel the body as it moves.  We respond to it, we are aware of it.  We are connected to our bodies.  It is somatic movement.  It is movement with ease.

This is how a Nia workout includes elements from Feldenkrais.

The Nine Basic Movements Forms of Nia

*I think that is how Carlos Rosas (AyaRosas) refers to Nia also

10 Responses to “Nia and Feldenkrais”

  1. Thanks for mentioning the work of Moshe Feldenkrais as an influence within Nia. Most Feldenkrais teachers will agree that the Feldenkrais Method is as much about ideas as it is about movement. The most powerful ideas from Feldenkrais, incorporated by Nia, are that 1) sensory experience is high-quality information that is valid and should not be ignored: 2)improvement results much more quickly when you pay attention, than when you don’t, and 3)YOU get to choose, in each moment, what is best for YOU.
    Further exploration of the Feldenkrais Method can greatly enhance the Nia experience. I have LOVED my association with the NiaMoves studio in Houston, TX.
    Happy moving with ease!
    MaryBeth Smith
    Director, the FELDENKRAIS Center of Houston

    Like

    • Nice that you mention “sensory experience is high-quality information that is valid and should not be ignored”, because that is what we are so often programmed to do. Have a pain?—-ignore it, push through it, take a pill if you have to, but DON’T give it attention and find out what is wrong. But in Nia we look at a “pain” first to identify that it is “pain” and not just a tightness or something else. Then we give it ATTENTION, as you said, it is “high-quality information” so we need to see what we can learn from it.

      Even athletes know that when you pay attention you get better results, so as you said in your next point “improvement results much more quickly when you pay attention”.

      Your number #3 is tricky, huh? Because if you aren’t paying attention then it makes it difficult to decide what is best for you, right? So #3 really has to follow number one, then you can choose and see the improvements!

      I love my association with NiaMoves in Texas too! I love Helen Terry. She is amazing!

      Thank you sooooo much for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

      Like

  2. Awesome work Terre! I’ve been wanting to take a Feldenkrais class for a while. Simply because I do need to slow down.

    Tina Kiely
    http://www.cincynia.com

    Like

  3. hollybona said

    Hi Terre,

    I am a Feldenkrais practitioner in Omaha who also loves Nia. My first exposure to your wonderful method was during a visit to Portland for a meeting of the Feldenkrais regional representatives. One of the southern Californian reps was an avid Nia student and was able to get us invited to the Nia headquarters to meet Carlos and Debbie and to take a couple classes. Wow!

    I really enjoyed this post and have previously posted an entry on my blog, A Midwest Adjustment, about Nia and Feldenkrais. Keep writing!

    Like

    • I read your post regarding Nia. Nice post: http://hollybona.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/nia-and-feldenkrais/

      Hello,

      Thank you so much for reading my post and commenting. I am always thrilled when people comment and share information and stories.

      You were very fortunate indeed to dance with Debbie and Carlos. There is nothing like that.

      I read your post about how you healed your ankle. I liked that, you didn’t heal it, nor did Feldenkrais, you learned from your experiences and chose to let your ankle find its way and heal itself. You gave it attention and assistance. I believe that sometimes we are so programmed to do things quickly and fix things that we forget we need to sometimes gives things a chance to heal on their own and in their own time. But we also need to give it the proper attention. With an ankle it can’t be ignored and “business as usual”, but it probably could use to move with care.

      Thank you again!
      I

      Like

      • articulatemoves, linda natanagara said

        Hi! Not even sure if this is still an open line . . .

        I’m a Feldenkrais teacher who loves Nia. I apply Feldenkrais to everything I do (even raising children!), but find that Feldenkrais and NIa dovetail into one another so beautifully.

        On your above post . . sharing an experience I had in the past few months. I started running barefoot, did too much too soon and damaged my right calf. Shortly after, I had some sort of something in my back. Both were really injuries. Both were so intense that my activities were limited, sleep was interrupted. I thought, particularly with my back, “This is the kind of thing that people run to doctors in a panic for”.

        And usually, I would do the same thing – straight to the chiropractor (whom I adore). But, at this point in my own Feldenkrais practice, I decided to see what would happen, if I rested when possible, did some Feldenkrais ATMs that felt right and some light massage. Amazingly (or not?), with care, attention and rest, both injuries healed and I am without pain or limited movement.

        I don’t necessarily promote that course of action; it was for my own curiosity. but i was so gratified to see that my body did what we want our bodies to do – heal slowly and get back to the business of working and moving without residual limitations. Great post, even if I’m a few years late!

        Like

        • Linda –
          This line is still open. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

          I DO recommend that course of action, but for most people that course needs to be guided. So there might need to be a physical therapist involved. You relied on your Fledenkrais training, not all people have that. So they need to go to someone like you or even a chiropractor, but they also need to apply CARE, ATTENTION, and REST. What we do is get “fixed” and jump right back into what we were doing. Or we take medicine that masks the pain and the swelling and we keep going. The needed CARE, ATTENTION, and REST is never done. So that is when we end up even worse off with the next injury.

          It is so wonderful that you were able to self-heal!

          I think I will use Feldenkrais as the focus for tomorrow’s class.

          Again, thanks for stopping by! No one is ever late (unless it is a past event I posted about), that is why I keep the comments open! So we can keep talking . . . .

          Like

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    Like

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