I had a pulled muscle in my left calf. I was unsure if I could dance on it, but rather than skip the classwork, I decided to explore the healing possibilities that Nia offers.
We started class by rubbing our hands together and creating some heat from friction. We placed our hands on the part of our body that we felt needed some extra healing. From there, we used the moves of the routine DreamWalker to continue sending healing energy to our in need parts.
Having the focus of healing helped to determine the language I used to deliver the instructions for dancing the routine. Every move I invited the students to do was directed to comfort, adjust, and heal their bodies. The attention to healing through movement caused awareness. I asked, how can you tweak this move so that it feels good in your body? What does your body need right now to heal?. Do smaller moves make you feel better? Is having both your feet on the floor a better sensation for you? How can you adjust your moves to be more exact in technique so that your joints will be used in a way that allows the most ease? Do you like, need, or want the sensation of dynamic energy – strength? Do your muscles yearn to be challenged by resistance?
Here are some of the suggestions I made:
- Watch your hands. You will be maintaining good alignment in your spine – head and neck, so you can experience moving with your whole body, rather than from the neck down.
- Be specific about stepping. Place your feet under you so that you can root to the earth and draw energy through your entire foot.
- Lead with your heal. When you walk the way your body was designed to walk – heal first – you will be able to find center, work on balance, strengthen your feet, use your whole leg to move you around and let go of thinking about walking.
- Move through all the planes of movement. Your spine is one of the few parts of your body for which the full range of motion includes side bending, flexing, adducting, abducting, rotating, and extending. If you use your spine to do all these things, you can maintain or regain the full use of it. Because most of us spend most of our time moving in one plane (saggital or wheel plane), it is good to purposefully and safely move into the other planes of movement when you can. This helps you be able to reach for things on the top shelf and look under your bed for a lost shoe with ease.
The routine came out easily. We danced confidently with very few choreography calls. I focused mostly on making suggestions for these healing movements. Even students who have danced this routine many times had a new and pleasurable experience.