Teaching Practice 2

In chi, Ekhart Tolle, mind, music, Nia, spirit on May 22, 2009 at 1:35 am

The music in the Nia routine is my constant, my rock. It guides me where I need to go. I know the music so well that my mind doesn’t even register that I have moved onto the next movement pattern; similar to an activity that has become second nature to the body and mind, such as driving the car, or cooking a favourite dish. When we participate in these ‘second nature’ activities, our minds are free to be still, and our spirits are free to soar and gain perspective. It is part of the Nia instructor’s job to bring the students along and create a similar relationship with the music for them, and verbal cueing makes this possible. Once a pattern has been established through repetition, the student can relax into his body and explore the different sensations the movements create. The instructor will speak to the class giving sensory tips such as, “Notice your knees” or, “Focus on the crown of your head.” These directions are meant to bring awareness to parts of the body that you may not think about consciously. Through this pointed focus your practice becomes deeper, and you are able to delve into unfamiliar realms within your own body, mind, and spirit.

A note on ‘bodies’:
When I refer to ‘the body’, I mean the corporeal form that is made up of bones, muscle and tissue. It grows and changes from day to day, and it is our responsibility to care for it and keep it in good health. When I refer to ‘the mind’, I mean the intangible thoughts that run through our heads – inner monologues we may largely be unaware of. In Nia (and many other movement practices), there is a focus on quieting the chatter of the mind. A wonderful guide for me personally, is Ekhart Tolle. His books, The Power of Now, Stillness Speaks and A New Earth, all deal with ways to bring awareness to our minds, and also to find methods to calm and quiet the mind. I highly recommend Tolle’s work to everyone. It is not based in any particular religion, but deals in depth with behavioural and, some would say, spiritual matters. Moving on now; when I refer to ‘the spirit’, I am not indicating a specific religious definition of spirit or the soul. What I want to describe is the, again intangible, but none-the-less very noticeable, energy or life force that surrounds all living things. It can be called ‘Chi’, or an aura. There are many words in many languages to describe this. However, spirit in the sense I use, is individual to each person. No one’s spirit can be the same. I sense my spirit as a quiet, wise presence. It takes a few minutes to tap into it, but if I rush through my days without being aware of it, I find myself forgetting things, stubbing my toes, whacking my elbows on doorframes, etc. You know the days I am talking about, I’m sure! The spirit is hard to pin down. It is not the emotional part of us, but our emotions can be very effected by the spirit. Visualise a pyramid. The base is the body; the middle is the mind; the top (that floats above) is the spirit. It has a bird’s eye view of all that surrounds it. It is part of the whole, but it remains slightly detached so as not to lose perspective. But it is always within reach. This spirit body is important in Nia practices because Nia applies to our entire being. Each routine gives us the opportunity to connect with and explore and play in any and all of these bodies. Each body lends a different quality to the same movements. This not only feels different, but it reflects differently in how your body changes and moves through space from day to day.

There is an emotional body as well, but I will save that topic for its own blog entry!

Enlightenment is a big word. I fall back on ‘balance’ as something to strive for on a daily basis. Balance within my bodies will naturally lead to balance in my life – professional and personal. Then once that state is achieved we can work on the bigger words!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: