You may be moving in your fitness program….but are you “Being Moved”? Taking your fitness to the next level requires you to bring more of YOU to the experience! While most exercise programs have you pushing your body with more reps, more resistance, more speed, more duration…being a purely physical experience, you are left feeling dry, stagnant, bored, forced, and watching the clock for it to be over. Without stealth willpower, this workout regime is not sustainable.
But what if…what if your movement practice was FUN?!! …more embodied with ‘You”?!! What if, in addition to pumping your heart, strengthening your muscles, burning calories, trimming your waistline…you felt ALIVE?!! THIS is how we roll in Nia!
Nia is a LIVING, INTEGRATIVE-WHOLE-BEING experience! When you bring the dynamic of expression to your workout, movement, and LIFE, you exponentially amp EVERYTHING ..making every movement more real, more authentic…using more dynamic force, burning more calories, breathing harder, sweating more, and feeling more vibrant!
By employing emotional expression to your movement practice, you create uniquely personalized, whole-body engagement! Try it now!
- Make a fist and punch forward.
- Now, make a fist, punch forward, and dynamically express a Jackie Chan, “Hai!” Feel the difference? Notice how MORE of you and your body was engaged?
- Now, thrust your fist to the sky. Do it again and proclaim to the world, “YES!” Wow! Now how would you like to be able to consciously bring more “YES!” into your body and life?
Expressing yourself seems like a really simple concept…and it is…but so many people have stopped ‘getting emotional’! Logic, propriety, ‘not making a scene’, has taken over ever since we stepped in to our first grade school class where we were told to sit still, be quiet, speak when spoken to, etc. But all emotions live inside us and their only way out is through expression! When we stifle them, the emotions become energetic blocks that create imbalance and sometimes even disease!
So take a cue from Nia Technique and express yourself to gain, not only a more vigorous workout, but to experiment, explore, and experience YOU fully embodying YOU through emotional expression (not only on the mat, but in your life too)!
Here are 8 ways to activate emotional expression into your fitness and life practice!
- Test your emotional vocabulary. At any given moment, ask yourself, “what am I feeling right now?” Tag it. Name it….and move on (or in my world…put on some music and dance it out!). Being present enough to be able to identify your emotions at any given moment is a strong indicator that you are in touch with your relationship to your feelings and emotions. Your ability to express your feelings creates intimacy…you with yourself…and you with those around you.
- But what if you get stuck in one, two, or just a handful of emotions with vary little variety….or are not able to even identify how you feel? Worry not, my friend! This happens to many people! The way we condition our relationship to our emotions is to play with them! Try using an Emotions Chart like this one shown on Pinterest. Use this chart to either identify your feelings…or simply choose an emotion from the chart and ‘play’ with trying it on and expressing it. Try this… walk across the room, or dance, using the emotion of ‘anxious’. Now try on ‘bashful’. How about ‘confident’ or ‘excited’? Do you sense how infusing your movement with emotional expression really amplifies the energy dynamics of the experience? Notice how you are able to use just the movement quality to express the emotion…and other times you use vocalization! This practice helps you to condition what we call, “emotional pliability”….the ability to access, activate, and express a wide range of emotions without getting stuck on a single one. Children are naturals with emotional pliability…being able to go effortlessly from happy, to sad, to agitated, to curious very naturally.
- Consciously know that there are no “bad” emotions. All emotions represent vital life-force energy and should be expressed, not repressed, to instill a healthy body, authentic movement, and emotional well-beingness.
- Engage your arms, hands, and fingers to express. (In fact, try NOT using your arms, hands, and fingers to express and notice how challenging it is!) This is one of the gifts of our upper extremities. They are designed to communicate feelings, emotions, and expression! Say, “I love you” without using your arms and hands. It’s flat, isn’t it? Now say, “I love you” and use your arms and hands to express what you are feeling. Much better, right? Now try, “I won!” without using your extremities. Now again, WITH your arms, hands, and finger expressions! Totally authentic, yes? Integrating this kind of expression within your movement practice will prolifically condition your upper body, authenticate your movement to reflect what is real with in you, and instill integrated health in the physical and emotional realms.
- Pair vocalizations such as, “yes”, “no”, “ahhhhhh”, “hai!”, etc. with your movement to engage and integrate both the physical and the emotional body.
- LAUGH out loud for 60 seconds. Sense the physical engagement of the core of the body (yes your abs)…and, likewise, know that the act of laughing also releases neurochemistry that literally makes you feel good! So the next time you sit down and get ready to do 100 crunches…instead, just LAUGH OUT LOUD for a minute…you’ll have more fun….and feel GREAT!
- Pay attention to your physical posture…it ‘speaks’ of your emotional status. For example, slumped shoulders are indicative of a depressed mood….a barrel chest communicates over(false)-confidence…eyes down, shy….shoulders scrunched to ears, fear… Consciously choose your body posture to express how you want to share yourself with the world.
- FEEL to HEAL. Having a healthy relationship to your emotions is THE JUICE of living fully and authentically in your body and life. You are here, now, on this earth to live totally and completely into your greatness. Part of what makes you, uniquely ‘YOU’ is your authenticity, your emotional expression, your essence! Recognize, feel, and express all that is in you as a means to be free…to be full-on YOU…to not hold back your multidimensional, kaleidoscopic life force…and to fully express the authenticity of each and every moment…on the dance floor…and off…
So there you have it! Eight ‘toys’ to play with to enhance your emotional expression, pump more ‘juice’ into your life, and going from just ‘moving’…to ‘Being Moved’!.
**As with any new activity, or if you are having joint or bleeding problems, make sure you check with your physician or therapist to be sure you are ready to get started.
Want more? Bring Jule to your community for experiential workshops and masterclasses…or consider taking the Nia White Belt Training to actualize the Nia Practice into your body and life! Learn more!
*Jule presented The Nia Technique at HFA’s Symposium in Dallas, Texas! Check us out next year at the 2014 Symposium in Tampa, Fla!
About the Author
Jule Aguirre, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, is a member of the International Nia Training Faculty as Black Belt Somatic Educator + Trainer. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Jule MOVES body-mind integrators, urban athletes & adventurers in wellness with her unique approach to blending conscious movement, body-mind awareness, and integrative psychotherapy to dynamically stimulate change and transformation through her trainings, classes, workshops and private sessions!
As a Licensed & Nationally Certified Psychotherapist, Jule’s gift is being able to integrate the wisdom of Nia with her counseling techniques to form an integrative, therapeutic program of wellness, healing & personal power for participants of her work. Jule works privately with individuals seeking personal growth, self-actualization, transformation & integration of all parts of the self.