Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Arms, Hands, & Fingers

Posted by terrepruitt on May 8, 2010

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.

2 Responses to “Arms, Hands, & Fingers”

  1. niachick said

    AWESOME, Terre!!!

    My upper body has gone through quite a transition in the past 10 years of teaching Nia. And I would say that generally, most women who come to my Nia classes are in need of more upper body strength. Nia gives them that.

    I love this in your blog: “Nia is not a linear cardio dance class. The idea is to move to promote health in the entire body.” I don’t find much at all that is “linear” about Nia, so this really spoke to me. Thank you for saying that!!!

    I also like the part about Nia weaving relaxation into the mix.

    It’s always such a pleasure to read your blogs, Terre. I still have to go back and read the one about “Sheets”. I missed that one for some reason!!!

    Have a lovely Mother’s Day my dear. You are definitely a nurturing goddess!!!




    • There are some songs in Nia that I think of as “arm” songs because if you do them as Debbie does them on the training DVDs they are a GREAT arm workout. Even though in Nia we can “tweak” the moves to change it to a different type of workout, I think of the “original” as as an arm workout.

      Of course we do linear moves in Nia, but we don’t just do shoulder flexion and extention and abduction and aduction–as you know! We do all the movement that the shoulder was meant to do. When I lead with my elbows I always sense that really gets things moving in my shoulders.

      Thank you for always reading, commenting, and supporting!

      Happy Mother’s Day to you too!


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