It takes me a long time to integrate anything. On the one hand, I “get it” with my mind. I am quick that way. But to truly be able to make something mine, to get it with my body, it takes me time and earnest practice. I feel that double taskmaster of time and space telling me that there are no shortcuts other than the shortcut of being truly present for the practice.
So here I am, teaching a movement form that encompasses many practices that are meant to be embodied one by one and then integrated to create the Music~Movement~Magic that is Nia. Each practice is part of a foundation and the wholeness of a teacher who embodies these practices can be felt. I know this, no magic tricks but only true magic is allowed into my world.
I have found that even within each practice, I have had to break it down again and again to get to the essence. To embody the essence and then build upon it, I am constantly breaking it down. Letting go of what I know to discover something new.
I have been doing this lately with each of the 52 Moves of the Nia Technique. I have written before about bringing just one move, finger extensions or foot directions, for instance into class and making that Move the focus the sole focus. Using other Moves, of course, but always in relation to the ONE. This practice has helped me integrate the essence of each Move like nothing else. For those of you who practice Nia, I highly recommend it.
If at first read, the potential for boredom enters your mind, I assure you, doing this has only made my relationship with each Move far more exciting. Like monogamy, there have been moments of wanting to break out, but overall, the more I stay and ask myself and the Move for MORE, the more I get and the more I want to stay with it.
Last week I had a rash of one Move only foci:
Wednesday: Stepping Back Onto the Ball of the Foot
Thursday: Cross Behind
Sunday: Bow Stance
All three are actually a variation on the theme of exploring the relationship to the space behind the body. We do this by stepping into the back space, by finding support from behind and by allowing the back space to propel us forward.
Aligning the body from behind and underneath also calls in the relationship to the smile line in Nia. The smile line relates to the journey of the hara as we shift weight to locomote. By going deeper, we can go higher and by playing with range of motion we can create exciting dance experiences. We also have the opportunity to condition the legs and the core of the body using gravity and strength as our body weights travel that deeper smile line.
Settling into the back space before the shift happens also brought to body and mind the energy of receiving. As I step back onto the ball of my foot, cross behind or step back into a bow stance, I find my back foot and receive the support from the ground and underneath. I settle into myself, maybe for a long time or maybe just for a moment as I prepare to push down to shift or kick or jump. However, that moment when I am purely receiving, aligning into the back space, filling my body with breath, is delicious.
I found myself being so relaxed after these classes. In their wake, I noticed how much more anxious I feel when I align myself with a forward and up orientation. The stallion at the gate sensation is familiar to me. Life as a race. However these three moves gave me an opportunity to realign and ask, what’s the rush? Why not be here now? Now is where the power is.