Against my bit of eagerness to do EVERYTHING…
I’m excited to be focusing my GREATEST ENERGY on:
The body’s power to self-fulfill
Nia dance, 5 Rhythms, FreeDance, Moving to Heal (MTH Nia), Somatic Movement, Feldenkrais, the Body’s Way Philosophy, and dynamic ease.
[The great thinkers and founders behind the practices]
Nia Dance Practice
Nia Began as a response to the incredible amount of injury that resuls from the “no pain, no gain” exercise model–there must be another way. Nia allows for a full-body movement experience and deep conditioning, by moving with the body and its design, instead of against it. Drawing from Tai Chi, Aikido and Tae Kwon Do, this movement form is grounded in dynamic ease.
Debbie and Carlos Rosas opened an aerobics business in San Francisco Bay called Bod Squad, in 1976, which was hugely successful. Slowed down, however, by the achiness in the joints from constant jumping and pounding, these bodily signals warning the brain of injury accumulating, drew Debbie and Carlos to do some research on the design of the body. Debbie and Carlos knew there had to be a better way– one that was more conscious of The Body’s Way, more efficient of a workout in its results, and one which would also be more fulfilling!
In the early 1980’s, businesses were starting to take advantage of this slippery slope. The “no-pain, no-gain” workout culture dumps people into endless injuries, so businesses and industries quickly took advantage of this problem, and have come up with all kinds of bandages to offer. By marketing Advil for athletes, businesses are profiting from our exercise habits that have some anatomical awareness, but far too often, so astray from a holistic understanding of our anatomy and being– and that is why we continue to get injured. Ballet causes some of the most detriment against the body, …….And physical therapy, idealy, we take that knowledge and we apply to our daily excercise, then ideally we would never have to go back. Partly becuase it addresses the single issue that you went in for. THis is the gap in adapting a holistic sustainable not-only workout, but relatinship and ability to communitcate with our body, so that we can hear its voice as it gives us signals, so we can act and tweak ((word that feldenkrais used??), before resulting in injury. So products like ultra-padded technology workout shoes, even softer flooring designs, and all kinds of braces have given us decent bandages to our injuries but mostly the mentality of feeling like we know how to take care of our bodies, but we never have had the courage to know how to use our bodies in a way that we, ourselves, can take care of them as we use them. This means reclaiming our exercise and our bodies from our dependence on the bandage companies, and educating ourselves on our bodies, not only through research but most radically, by changing our relationship with our body to learn from it through deep awareness. Nia offers this anatomical education and the practice of learning how to listen to your body, the two together that transform, even just through simple tweaks, the way we take our bodies through each of our individual exercise practices. This addressing the root of the problem. Swept up in learning how to fight against our bodies and comforted by the unlimited market of bandages, we have never learned a lifestyle of exercise and relationship with our bodies that listens to its voice, and the screaming voice coming from the aches that turned into fractures as we never listened. Nia and the research its built upon, brings a radical change: to the era of strain, resistance and working against our bodies, instead of working with them. not only educaiting ourselves, but a common theory in Nia, Feldenkrais and 5 Rhythms is that you learn the most about anatomy, and your own body, by being in relationship with it. The pwoer is in your hands to be strong, and in ease, and at ANY age. Debbie Rosas says “with every year of my Nia Practice, I feel better,” and she is now in her 60’s.
dont mean to be shaming on ourselves and saying everything we do is wrong, or that there isn’t more than one way to excercise. not saying every person has to dance nia as their exercise, rather its really just about every body having a relationship with thier body, in order to live a life in dynamic ease. and critiquing the no-pain no-gain is not to say that the burn in the muscles is a great feeling and awesome for our muscles, but rather avoiding persisting through pain without any assessment or communication with the body.
only one ballet teacher (and the only, thankfully) who devoted her life to teaching ballet in conjunction wtih teaching anatomy, so that those who want to dance ballet can have the konwledge base to do so without hurting thier bodies. amazing
radical to own and know your body, control of
Debbie researched dissecting cadavers, to get the closest, most hands-on understanding possible of the mechanics of the human body. Their research accumulated to build a solid foudation for Nia, (Non-Impact Aerobics), designed to eliminate those habits in excercise and the tendencies we habitually use our bodies, that create tension and cause those common injuries: from shin splints and stress fractures, to understanding how we can excercise and pump movement and breath to our immune system, chakras and stuck emotions, creating this holistic, deeply pwoerful practice. “Your relationship with your body is the most important relationship you will ever have.” – Debbie Rosas.
Nia teaches you to listen to your aches and pains and to let your body sense how to sink into them to ease the reflexive tension in the fascia, connective tissue, muscles and joints.
Over and over I hear stories and witness people myself who come into the studio pulled in by a friend, incredibly resistant, doubtful, impatient—anything and everything, but leave feeling deeply and personally energized and grounded—its really mind blowing to see. The Nia practice is different for everyone—but that’s also the beauty and power in it. Best way to learn about it is to try it for yourself!
- See quotations from journal – the one from Debbie, that “this is the practice of the human but we just forgot” (or something like that) (WITH DATE so they know it’s a new quote)
- Great article on The Body’s Way Philosophy and the fundamentals of Nia: Focus Pocus: Nia and the Body’s Way Principles
5 Rhythms Energy Movement Meditation
Moving through the wave of life force energy: the wave of birth, puberty peek growth, death disintegration; orgasm building, climax, and lingering ecstasy; and the wave of ocean, from river flow, wave peek, crash, settling bubbles, to water ripples settling. These are the 5 Rhythms: Flowing, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness. In this wave, there is the cradle of vulnerability to hold you, and the space to surrender to your body, mind, emotion, and then lastly, spirit. 5 Rhythms is dance mediation of meeting your body exactly where it is, and giving yourself exactly what you need. its not dance, and not even only movement or meditation, what it really is is learning how to and what it feels like to move energy and keep energy moving and to let yourself just surrender to following it. a practice of meeting yourself exactly where you are.
- Sweat Your Prayers
- “The fastest, cleanest, most joyful way to break out of your own box is by dancing. I’m not talking about doing the stand-and-sway. I’m talking about dancing so deep, so hard, so full of the beat that you are nothing but the dance and the beat and the sweat and the heat.” Gabrielle Roth
Feldenkrais Movement Therapy
Feldenkrais is a movement method that New pathways, breaking habit which creates tightness and chronic pain- really everyday tension waiting to be released. Awareness. From Palestine…. Soccer player. address everything else but the place that hurts. see how they are all connecting, affectiving eachother’s movemnent. applied his studies in physics. from russia, born 1904, and moved to Palestine when he was 13. self healed with judo- soccer knee injury. (I am still learning about what Judo is but the word itself means “gentle way,” and its a “physical, mental and moral” martial art, originating from Japan (Wikipedia)). From this process, he became intrigued with our ability to develop a keen understanding of our anatomy simply by playing and noticing. He found himself working informally as a somatic practioner, for years in Palestine and England. In the start of the 1960’s he started devoting his life to this curiosity. He wrote a handful of books, started teaching others about his method including traveling to the United States to train people as practitioners of the Feldenkrais Method.
His method involves Awareness through Movement in his lesssons, which involves movements both active and imaginary, along with playing iwth directing attention to parts of the body, in conjuction or in contrast to the movement, breaking habits of how movement and attention tend to align when it is not always necessary or even dis-easing to the body.
What does the practice look like? As described well by Mark Reese, Ph.D. Feldenkrais Method Practioner,
“A typical lesson lasts about forty-five minutes and combines a few dozen movements that are thematically organized around a functional action. Lesson themes may include developmental movemevent such as rolling , crawling, and standig up; functions such as posture, walking, reaching or breathing; systematic exploratins of the kinetic possibilities of joint and muscle groups; and experiments in somatically-based imagination and perception related to subtle cognitive aspects of motor functioning… These lessons are are somatiophychic explorations which foster imporvements by: a) utilizing latent, unexpressed competencies; b) breaking up bagitual patterns; c) increasing self-awaremess; and d) facilitating new learning through systematic, expolatory functional variations. INitial movements are often very small with an emphasis on ease, comfort, and perception. Gradually students become aware of how their musulature, skeleton–indeed thier whole selves– are involved as an inestricable whole in every action.”
The practice will show your musculatory impulses, habits, and gaps in muscular konwledge, noticed as twitches small jolts when passing through uncommon motions. It is these moments that are also the heart of Feldenkrais work. These jolt moments are a voice from the body that there is weakness or a gap in muscular knowledge or strength there. Exercise: lay on your back, heels six inches apart, toes pointing out so your hip joint is protected, and slowly lift your leg up about 6 inches, no higher, and even slower come back down and you may notice these moments. This exercise is a very good psoas muscle strengthener and the more you do it, the more you will find that motion will come with more ease and a smoother motion. As Debbie Rosas says, “speed is the illusion of mastery;” it is only when you go very slow that your muscles will be retrained, relaxed and strengthened.
Another great practice in this is to lay on your back on a long foam roller, spine along the roller, head to hips, and legs bent, feet on the ground for stability. Slowly, roll around on the roller side to side. Go slowly, but bring yourself to those moments on each end where you think you are about to fall off and you get those shaky jolt moments. These are the moments again where your muscles learn and strengthen and you can train your nervous system to relax. Go slowly and move with as much ease as possible through the shaky moments.
Then for fun, to get the full efffect of this exercise, very slowly, slug off of the roller. HIps first then head, onto the floor, but very slug like otherwise your muscles will lose the sensation. When you are on the ground, what sensation do you get??? 🙂 WAY COOL.
power of the imagination. the hot spot they focus on is actually the moment right before you are about to make a motion such as lying on your side and about to lift your arm up off the ground, straight out in front of you. In this moment, if you say “okay I am going to lift my arm” a couple times, but both times refrain from actually following through with the motion, you are letting the message go the the brain but stopping the somatic motor nervous system signal in its track right before it gets to the muscle to fire. This is the split second moment that is the foundation of Feldenkrais work.
Playling with this moment is so small and subtle but so proufound in noticing you body’s habits.
Becoming a sensory scientist and opening communication with your body, to learn how to hear its voice. A little game for playing with and sensing your body experiencing new neural pathways from new movements. What signals does it send to you?
Clasp your hands together interlacing your fingers. Now take your hands apart. Now do it again, with the opposite thumb on top. Noticing this feeling sitting with your hands like this. You probably have a sensation of feeling unsettled and like something doesn’t feel right in your hands. Your fingers might feel more tense and less adapted to the place they are in now. This sensation of “ooh that feels weird!” is the sensation your body is tell you, becuase it is learning something new– you broke your habit and built new neural pathways.
- “Great thinkers have a childish curiosity about the things they do”
- “A brain without a body could not think” – Moshe Feldenkrais
- “We have more experience of movement and more capacity ofr it than of feeling and thought… We know much more about movement than we do about anger, love, envy or even thought.” Moshe Feldenkrais
- Acture – ch r), n term coined by Moshe Feldenkrais to describe the minute adjustments that individuals make to maintain correct posture during day-to-day activities. Jonas: Mosby’s Dictionaryof Complementary and Alternative Medicine.