Nia in focus
IN FOCUS FOR JUNE… with Kathy Wolstenholme
SUPPORT FROM THE INSIDE OUT …
Using your voice in Nia releases your jaw, the (14th!) major joint of your body.
It also improves breathing and activates stomach muscles. Just put your hand on your belly and chest to feel the way a hum or yell stimulates the contraction of muscles and sets up a nice vibration in your bones and organs.
We energise our movements in Nia by using our voices. Here are a few suggestions from the Nia Technique book:
★ As you walk, lead with your heel and sound the word ‘relax’.
★ In closed stance sound the vowel ‘o” to create volume in your chest cavity.
★ In an A stance, sound ‘aaaahh..’ until your body says,” let’s inhale now, and smell the moment.”
★ In riding stance sound ‘ha!’ explosively to release muscle tension.
★ In bow stance, powerfully sound the vowel ‘ u’ as you step back onto the ball of your foot.
★ In cat stance, to support your balance, sound ‘woooo’ in a sustained exhale.
★ In sink and pivot table wipe, sound the word ‘whoosh’ to integrate the upper and lower body
You can also say the name out loud of a specific move (Nia has 52 identified moves) to enhance your mind body connection. Notice your speed of reaction between thinking the name of the move (initiated by “mind”) and your body actioning that thought. Then reverse the process: have your body execute a move and notice how fast your brain names it. Hearing your voice will help you stay focused and track your progress in creating a more rapid body mind connection.
In Juice! investigations, I discovered my voice also shows where I am energetically. When I’m grounded and centred, my voice has a deeper resonance, a tone richer to the ear than a high pitched, squeaky or nasal voice. This is important to me as a communicator: it’s been proven that 38% of what we communicate to others is transmitted through our tone of voice (NB: 55% is body language and gestures, only 7% is through the words that are used).
Thank goodness, “the voice is as malleable and able to change and retrain, as any aspect of the body,” says Barbara McCrea, Feldenkrais practitioner.
And finally there’s another (off the wall!) reason to use your voice in class. Where else do you exercise the uvula?! (the uvula being the ‘nubbin–type thing hanging down from the soft palate that closes over the trachea when we swallow.) When we (rarely) ululate, we exercise not only the uvula but the tongue !(apparently the strongest muscle in the body according to Funny Money).
Talk about a reason to come to class! This month in Nia give sound a whirl in your body … ♥ Kathy