100 Words: Thin Ice

thin ice 2What does it feel like to be on “thin ice”?  Tension?  Anxiety?  Upper body holding?  Shallow breath?  I often feel effort even when standing still.  I forget I can relax and be supported by my legs and the floor.

There are six stances in Nia – closed, open, “A,” sumo/riding, bow, cat (see descriptions to right) – and each offers a different way to feel that strong foundation and support.

Notice how you stand.  Notice effort and relaxation, tension and ease.  Notice how you breathe.  The more you let yourself be held, the more power, grace and choice you have!

  1. My ten years of dancing with you have paid off tremendously since i had the surgery which removed a brain tumor!
    While my rehab has focused on strenghthening the lower body and I know how to physically ground myself, I noticed this evening as I was tranversing the terraced walkway to my house that my upper body felt off balance as I relied on my proprioceptors to aid me in my walk in the near dark.
    For a while, right after surgery ,I had severe vertigo which was caused by inflamation and swelling on the vestibular nerve. I have recently noticed that as the speed of my physical movement picks up, my balance feels more precarious.
    Since most of my exercise is in water these days, I am learning that strong engagement of the core muscles is needed to remain upright, even in deep water. Water feels safe because it supports me from all sides which removes the fear of falling.
    I suspect the thin ice sensation has to do with moving quickly and feeling like you are in an unpredictable enviornment. Of course this would ready our muscles for action.
    However, if you are not in a situation or slippery enviornment that requires quick and frequent changes of direction and balance, we want the body to feel safe enough to not be in constant alert re-activity.
    My technique is to conciously give my body the directive.:
    “Everything can relax that is not needed for me to do what I am doing right now. ”
    I am always surprized at what muscles relax that I was unaware of the excess tension they were holding.

    • Yes, Maria, thank you! This is it exactly! The body needs to engage a whole slew of muscles to stand and certainly to dance — but I find that the “thin ice” sensation is about the extra holding on that isn’t needed. And there is something that happens in my feet when I pay attention that THEY can fully relax into the floor. A sensation of letting go and allowing my weight to be supported. Thank you so much for sharing your healing observations! xo

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