Category Archives: Dance

7 Cycles in My Day

Have you ever asked the questions: Why do I feel so good after a Nia Class?  Why do I feel joyful, aligned with my body and life, and so full of Life Force Energy after a whole hour of fitness?  Let me tell you! Nia is a science.  There is a method and a reason behind it all.  The yin and yang balanced movement, invitation to choose JOY, conscious awareness of the body’s voice, great music, and shinning your uniqueness is all part of it.  Nia is a holistic fitness class, and also a holistic lifestyle practice that you can take with you through your day.  A Nia class is a blend of Form and Freedom, both parts as important as each other.  The class format comes in a nice little flowing package that has 7 cycles.   The 7 cycles reflect the natural timing of the human body, and an ideal daily routine.  Together the cycles resemble a wave, or a mountain peak, ascending, peaking and descending, like the painting by Anthony Nugent of Mt Ticogan and Mt Chincogan.  Each Nia class has an energy intensity peak, as does the fluid cycle of our day. I have been playing with this in my daily life and it is having a profound effect on my energy levels, mood, and connection to myself and the world around me. These are the 7 cycles of a Nia Class Format and the way that I use them to send me soaring through my day with power, grace, and JOY.

1st Cycle is Focus and Intent. The Focus gives a guide to what and where to mindfully place your attention during the class. The Intent is the motivation and the “why” for the Focus. Just as we begin a Nia Class, I also begin every day with setting a Focus and Intent.  I do it when I first wake in the morning, bringing me clarity and purpose to pursue my day.

2nd Cycle is Stepping In.  Stepping in is a sensed as becoming centered and grounded. It is a conscious action of stepping into the moment and leaving distractions behind. I step into my day by brushing my teeth, tongue scrapping, and doing a coconut oil mouthwash (leaving distractions of yesterday’s bad breath behind!) Then I practice the Nia 5 stages of self healing followed by melting the fascia of my hands and feet using Sue Hitzman’s MELT method.  This mindfully brings me into my body and my day.

3rd Cycle is Warm Up. Warm Up is sensed as gentle and directed movement and increasing body heat and fluidity through the muscles and joints. The 13 joints are isolated and integrated as the heart-rate increases and the breath is blended into the body’s movements.  I get warmed up for my day by jumping into the kitchen and preparing a wholesome breakfast for my family, sitting down to eat and welcoming the food, and then usually having a nice showering and getting dressed and organised for the day’s activities.

4th Cycle is Get Moving. Get Moving is really ‘moving it’ through the space with more dynamic energy.  The breath and heart-rate accelerate even more while the body senses flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability.  Once my day is warm I really get going. Running errands, taking kids to school, laundry, shopping, cooking, learning, working, emails etc.  It is the dynamic part of the day that lasts from about 9am-5pm.  It is the time when tasks are accomplished, creativity is sparked, lunch is digested, community is engaged, and the momentum of productivity creates a flow that keeps the afternoon buzzing (this may not happen if I don’t actually go through the previous cycles properly, then I might feel tired and yucky, especially around 3pm. Just like if in a Nia class I skipped a few cycles, I wouldn’t sustain my energy or I’d hurt myself or something.)

5th Cycle is Cool Down.  Cool Down is sensed as a deceleration in breathing and heart-rate while the body heat decreases and your movements become more calm and integrated.  After all that yang time earlier in the day the cool down is my time to slow down, still in action, but much slower and softer.  I welcome yin energy, reflecting, sharing dinner and stories with my family and enjoying the fruits of the day.

6th Cycle is FloorPlay.  FloorPlay is sensed as moving in relationship to the floor with attention on gravity and play using structured and unstructured movement. Flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability is explored with new ways of moving on the floor.  In this cycle I am relaxing a bit deeper, moving even more consciously to take care of what I am needing, getting my kids to bed, reading and putting my feet up.

7th Cycle is Stepping Out.  Stepping out is sensed as a quiet, focused and centered conclusion in preparation for what is to come next. I step out of my day by getting snuggly in bed, giving thanks for the day and breathing deeply into sleep. (sleep is a whole other cycle of its own and will be very much impacted by the day that came before it, just as our day is impacted by the Nia class that came before it!)

The 7 Cycles of a Nia Class are directly related to the body’s way. The natural cycles that our bodies experience are repeated on a daily basis, we can choose to ignore or tune into them.  The 7 cycles are even reflected in the cycle of a human life – conception (Focus and Intent), birth (Stepping In), childhood (Warm Up), young adulthood (Get Moving), middle aged (Cool Down), elderly (FloorPlay or other horizontal location), and dying (Stepping Out).

We always have the opportunity to listen to our body’s wisdom and what it is really needing in each moment no matter what stage of life we are in. Seeking guidance, using tools, and learning new information are also ways to provide inspiration when we need it.  Every day is a new day.  One thing that I experience to be true to me is that when I honour my natural life cycle I experience less pain, better health, more energy, mental clarity, balanced emotions and far more JOY!  Nia is a really excellent fitness class, and it is an even better lifestyle model!  Love and Blessings!

Nia’s 9 Movement Forms

My very first Nia class blew me away! In the one hour class I experienced new ways to move, lots of Joy, expression, power, grace, mindfulness, balance, and pleasure, not to mention how great my body felt!  It was everything that I was needing in my life and it wasn’t until I learned more about Nia and its rich principles that I understood how it all comes together to create such a healing life practice.

The dynamic energy of a Nia class is founded on 9 movement forms including martial arts, dance arts and healing arts. Each form brings tremendous qualities that are true expressions of the human experience. When we know more about them we can call them into our dance through life.  When is it helpful to be strong and precise?  When is is helpful to be care-free and playful?

In Nia we are not doing the different movement forms, instead we are inspired by the energies of the different forms. We find that the same basic movement can feel completely different when inspired by Tai Chi versus Modern Dance.  Each form has a catch phrase which invites us to explore our movement potential.

“I believe the most unique aspect of Nia is the way we integrate three arts into one powerful experience.” – Debbie Rosas co-founder Nia Technique

Martial Arts – Organic Precision

  • Tai Chi – The Slow Dance
  • Tae Kwon Do – The Dance of Precision
  • Aikido – Harmonious Spherical Motion

Dance Arts – Emotional Expression

  • Duncan Dance – Free-Spirited, Honest Movement
  • Jazz Dance – Fun, Showmanship, Expression
  • Modern Dance – Creating Shapes in Space

Healing Arts – Functional Movement

  • the work of Moshe Feldenkrais® – Conscious Awareness of Sensation
  • the Alexander Technique – Movement From the Top
  • Yoga – Conscious Alignment of Bones and Joints

Watch how the energy of these movement forms show up in your dance and your every day life.  All very useful at different times!

FlashMob for Uplift Festival

Calling all Dancers!

 We need you to join the Mob!

The Byron Area Nia Community is showing up at the UPLIFT FESTIVAL on Saturday, December 14 at 3.30pm (note: this changed from 3pm) to share our JOY and BEAUTY in a FLASH MOB!

Please invite all of your friends, even if they have never done Nia before! We will dance to “Beauty in the World” by Macy Gray. If you would like to have a look at the choreography before you come I have made a quick video and posted it here for you to view. There will be a few of us leading, so it is also just fine to come and join in.

Uplift is held at the Byron Regional Sports and Cultural Complex. Car pooling would be good, as parking may be tricky. or better yet, get someone to drive you in. Try to arrive 10 min early, look for a Nia Flag (it will be close to the front entrance), and blend into the environment until you hear the music come on and then join in! 🙂 if it flows well, we’ll lead another track, like we would in a class. We would really appreciate having you there, and hey, it will be really FUN! We will run through the track in the Nia classes this week as well.