Traveling in Directions – Science and Philosophy of the 52 Moves of Nia

“There are two questions in life we must ask ourselves. First, where am I going? And second, who will go with me? If you ever get the order of these questions reversed, you’re in big trouble…” – Author unknown

Traveling in Directions is one of the 52 Moves we use in the Nia practice. It may strike you as odd that “traveling in directions” is considered a move, but when you look at the architecture of a Nia class it actually makes a lot of sense. We use directions to orient and re-orient ourselves, break out of our habitual movements e.g. always facing the front of the room and looking at the teacher; as well as to sense our body in three dimensional space. We do this using 360 degree awareness. Traveling in Directions encourages us to play with space- moving forward and backward, left and right, upward and downward, diagonally, and sensing the space inside of us as well as the space outside of us. We can sense space in specific directions e.g. north, south, east, and west, and we can sense space in relationship to each other. In Traveling in Directions, we fine-tune our ability to measure (a part of White Belt Principle 2) and sense our proximity to things.

My Next Generation Nia Trainer friend Kelle Oien calls this “spatial architecture”- observing how we arrange our bodies in space. From a more philosophical point of view, this move invites us to pay attention to where we are going and observe what kind of attitude/energy we are carrying with us along the way. As in all Nia moves, we have a choice as to how we perform them- intensity level, range of motion, speed, accuracy. Recognizing our power of choice can empower us to own the decisions we make as we travel in particular directions, dancing through life

What The Nia Technique Book says about this move: “Practicing Traveling in Directions keeps your body agile for moving through space in all directions, able to change directions with ease”. Ease is the ability to perform a movement with maximum efficiency and minimal effort.

I’ll sign up for that any day.

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