A few years ago, I started to visualize my life as an 80-year-old: vibrant, healthy, strong, engaged in meaningful projects, enjoying life. It wasn’t too far-fetched to imagine this glowing future. My life is pretty much that way now. But at the time, I also realized there were some elements of my lifestyle that I would need to start working on right away if I was going to live into my dream.
The process has improved my current life. Starting to do, and be, what I wanted to be helped me feel more at-peace with my current self. It’s a bit of the old “act as if… ,” but I wasn’t so focused on “When I get to… ,” rather, I set my attention on how it feels now. Huh! No surprise. That approach fits right in with the Nia practice of paying attention to how I feel, especially to my sensations, so I can make little adjustments to maintain feeling good, or even feel better.
Along this path, I’ve discovered several things I like to do regularly to keep feeling good. In my new Saturday morning class we’ll cover just 2 of them, but they are significant.https://momence.com/s/900284
The first is Nia Five Stages. During class I show you, and you can sample, simple “wiggles” to do for 5-7 minutes every day. For me, it’s “how I get the kinks out in the morning.” Or maybe bedtime will be a better for you. Basically, the sequence replicates the way a baby develops mobility: from embryonic, to creeping, crawling, standing/squatting, walking. To use an engine analogy, regular practice helps to keep your body tuned and oiled from the inside. And yes, there are ways to modify all of it so it feels accessible to you.
The second practice I’m sharing during the new class is a guided opportunity to play on the floor. When was the last time you did that? In a yoga class, you have specific poses to replicate what you see the teacher do and usually prescribed ways to transition from one pose to another. In Nia Floor Play class, I might suggest one position, ”A,” to begin from, and a “B,” but you get to devise the way your body makes the transition and back again, maybe letting the move evolve over a few repetitions.
What if you think this is beyond you? There are many variations and work-arounds. If just getting up from the floor feels like a challenge, let’s set up a one-on-one session to discover your personal strategy and tools. Focus on what you can do rather than get mired down by what you can’t do. It might be that you want to copy what you learn in class and do it at home on your bed.
But there are clear advantages to mastering getting down and up from the floor. It’s a key element to maintaining your independence. It’s something to practice regularly rather than waiting ‘til you find yourself on the floor and wondering if you are able to get up.
And then there’s the value of approaching anything with an attitude of playfulness. I’ve just started reading the book Play by Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughn. They cite loads of research on the value of doing an activity for the sheer pleasure of it, with no other purpose. With inspiring music during class, and a few cues to keep it fresh, we move for the enjoyment of it. We are playing, and yet we’ll still get the physical benefits of increased strength and flexibility. We’re interacting with gravity in a beneficial way, pushing against the pull of the earth for strength and releasing into it for relaxation.
As I ease (or lurch) toward the next round-number birthday, I want to thank you for joining me on my path. I value having a regular time and place to take care of my body. Maybe joining a class will be a useful part of your journey as well.
What— Short Introduction to Nia Five Stages and 30 minutes of Nia Floor Play
Where— At Reverence Karate Studio
642 E 8th Ave. Eugene (behind McDonald’s)
This space has a beautiful, squeaky-clean, soft tatami mat continuous floor, so your knees and bones will be cushioned and you’ll never roll off your narrow yoga mat
Cost—Introductory series: May 14, 21, 28, June 4, 11
$12 per class $50 for all 5 classes prepaid (save $2/class)
Register for one class or the whole series