Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia’s 5 Sensations’

Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick

Posted by terrepruitt on March 18, 2014

Maybe Jack practiced Nia.  We do a lot of agility movements in a Nia class.  From Wiki’s definition of agility:

“Agility or nimbleness is the ability to change the body’s position efficiently, and requires the integration of isolated movement skills using a combination of balance, coordination, speed, reflexes, strength, and endurance.”

When thinking of agility I tend to think of my entire body starting then stopping.  My entire body moving one direction then changing quickly, like the definition states. But agility can be just in the fingers, in the hands, in the arms, or just in the legs.  Our entire body does not have to move for it to be an agility movement—or at least that is how we call it in Nia.  We do a lot of movements that require agility.

I just posted about Creeper Crawlers.  That is an agility movement of the fingers.  They are starting and stopping and going one direction then the other.

Drumming is a great example of agility.  Your arms and/or hands are starting and stopping and changing direction.  We drum in Nia.  There are certain routines where it is part of the choreography.  There are times when we do it in FreeDance.  The music often calls for drumming.  Sometimes we listen.  Drumming is a fun way to connect to the sensation of agility.  Without actual drums we can drum all around our space;  up in the air above our heads . . . in one of our Nia routines they call this sky drumming.  We can drum below our bodies, to the sides, behind our bodies, around in a circle, all over.  Sometimes I invite the class to imagine they are in the middle of a HUGE drum set with drums all around them.  They can’t even move without hitting a drum.  That is some wild drumming.

Looking around and allowing the head to change direction is a form of agility.  Look!  Look!  Look!  As if you are watching a bug fly around.  Hip bumps . . . keeping those hips juicy with that left right action.  If you are really playful, hip bumps back and forth . . . it’s all about being agile.

Another great show of an agility move is kicking.  Kicking like a swimmer’s kick.  Fast feet, fast action action.  One direction then the other.  Back and forth.  Of course this can be done with the action from the knee or even the hip.  Whatever joint does the action, kicking is another great example of a movement that requires agility.

A number of Nia’s 52 Moves of the The Upper Extremities can be tied to agility.  Blocks and punches can be done with a quick change of direction, along with webbed spaces and palm directions.

Agility is one of Nia’s Five Sensations that we practice and play with in our Nia classes.  The other sensations are Flexibility, Mobility, Strength, and Stability.  Like many groups and professions we have many acronyms, the one for Nia’s Five Sensations is FAMSS.  The A is for Agility.

What do you do that can be considered an agility move?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Floorplay

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?

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »