Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘Webbed Spaces’

Palm Directions

Posted by terrepruitt on September 28, 2013

We dance Palm Directions all the time in my Nia classes. It is an easy thing to do. Palm Directions is a great move to incorporate into freedance. It is also often one of the moves choreographed into a Nia routine. Palm Directions is one of Nia’s 52 Move.

It might not be something you think about, but the direction the palm is facing affects the shoulder joint. When the palm is facing down (or towards the body) the shoulder joint is closed and when the palm is facing up (or away from the body) the shoulder joint is open. When your arm is straight that is when the shoulder joint gets the open and closed action.  Along with the shoulder joint, the entire arm is affected. The arm bones are twisted with the movement of the palm.

It really is as simple as facing your palms in one direction then another. Unlike Webbed Spaces – another move in Nia’s 52 Moves (you can read about it by clicking here) – in Palm Directions the fingers are kept together. If practicing to affect the shoulder joint, lengthen the arm straight out in front of your body or straight down next to your body, then turn the palms up/face them out away from the body to open the shoulder, then turn the palms down/turn them towards your body to close the shoulder joint. You can observe the radius untwisting as it switches places with the ulna. You can sense the movement of your humerus, the upper arm bone.

In addition to opening the shoulder joint, the Nia Technique book reminds us that, “Palm Directions also express emotion. Palms up, for example, is a universal body language indicator of openness.” So it can open things other than the shoulder joint. Changing palm directions also moves the energy around. In Nia classes we move the arms all around the space around us, changing the palm directions, pushing and pulling and mixing up the energy.  Also, while we are dancing and our arms are moving around us with the palms facing different directions we vary the speed of our movement.  When Varying the speed that are arms are moving and our palms are changing direction allows us to play with agility – one of Nia’s five sensations (click here for more information on that).

This type of movement helps us connect with the space around us.  Palm Directions, the Nia Move, also helps with keep the shoulder joint mobile.

This move is also a great move with which Nia participant’s can practice their own body’s way.  The body was designed so the humerus rotates in the glenoid fossa or shoulder socket.  But life sometimes affects the body so that it cannot move the way it was designed, so all of us have different levels of how much we can move the arm.  So while playing with Palm Directions and dancing the arm around the space each individual can do it in their own body’s way.  This will allow them to get the work that their body is capable of and needs.

Ready?  Straighten your arms then change the direction of the palms.  Are you able to sense your arm bones twisting/untwisting?  Are you able to sense the action in the shoulder joints?  What do you sense when you move your arms around while playing with Palm Directions?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Webbed Spaces

Posted by terrepruitt on August 6, 2013

In Nia we use specific hand techniques.  There are seven moves considered “Hand” moves in the Nia 52 Moves.  There are eight moves that are “Finger” moves.  So fifteen moves in all out of 52 that are specifically hand/finger moves.  You can read about “Spear Finger” and “Balance Finger” in previous posts.  The hands are such a large part of our lives.  In addition to the many things they do they help us communicate.  Whether we are using them to make gestures as we speak, using them in place of speaking (in the case of sign language or something as elementary as “the finger”), or using them to comfort by touching.  They are very powerful.  Nia does not neglect that hands.  All fifteen of the 52 Nia moves that have to do with the hands/fingers assist in moving energy.  It could be moving the energy within our bodies or outside of our bodies.  Some of the hand/finger moves can be done both with positive tension or in a relaxed state.  When done with tension the muscles in the hands and arms maybe felt more readily.  While done with a relaxing flow they might allow us to sense the outside energy.  One of the hand moves is called Webbed Spaces.

Webbed Spaces is where your open you hand spreading your fingers wide.  I imagine it is called Webbed Spaces because it shows the “webs” between each finger.  I have also thought it is called Webbed Spaces because I imagine my fingers being spider webs.  I actually don’t know why it is called Webbed Spaces, but those are the things I think about when doing and talking about Webbed Spaces.

After you have already opened your hand and spread your fingers wide.  The Nia Technique book says to practice extending each finger and creating even more space in them.  Usually in a Nia Class we are moving our arms with our hands in Webbed Spaces.  Sometimes we keep our fingers extended while moving our arms or we relax them and move into Webbed Spaces.  Either way it is a great way to keep flexibility in the hands.

Do this: put one hand in the Webbed Spaces position, flex and extend your fingers.  Put your arm out in a gesture of, “STOP!” Allow the flexing sensation to travel all the way up your arm.  Take your other hand and feel the muscles.  Then keeping the tension, point your fingers to the ground . . . feel the muscles in your forearm move.  Then do the same stop motion and fingers-pointing-to-the-earth move while your hand is not in Webbed Spaces position.  Feel the difference.  In both cases with Webbed Spaces the muscles are working differently than doing the same wrist movement without Webbed Spaces.

Webbed Spaces is just another way that Nia engages the entire body.  This move is also comparable to Jazz Hands so I think of it as showy and dramatic.  It can be a great emotional move allowing you to express what you FEEL.  It is another way to add fun and pizzazz into our cardio workout.

What do you feel when you do the little exercise stated above?  What do you sense when you do this move?

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