The Unofficial Guide
to the 13 Nia Principles
~ Practical, Nia-or-Not Applications for EveryBody
(Wondering what on Earth the Unofficial Guide is and why I’m writing this series of posts? Click here!)
Principle 10 – X-Ray Anatomy
Excerpt from the Official Nia Headquarters Description:
X-Ray Anatomy is a practice that uses your eyes, imagination and intuition to “see through” to the structure and alignment of a person’s bones, muscles and ligaments. Your ability to perceive what is happening beneath the skin provides a glimpse inside your body and the bodies of everyone you see. This allows you to make conscious movement choices for realignment and self-healing, integrating your body’s way with The Body’s Way.
This principle introduces you to the practice of observing and sensing for body alignment. Begin by witnessing what is happening beneath your skin, first paying attention to your bones. Do not judge, manipulate or interfere. Simply observe, and sense for the vertical, horizontal and rotational lines in the bone alignment you see. Next, look and sense for ligaments. Remember: ligaments connect bone to bone. When observing ligaments, sense for the range of motion available within your joints. Health and alignment in your ligaments is sensed as stability. Finally, look and sense for your muscles, which attach to your bones and create movement by contracting and releasing. Sense muscular alignment as dynamic tension, the perfect balance between loose and tight.
After gathering information through X-Ray Anatomy, consciously direct your movements to loosen or tighten areas of your body in ways that create optimal dynamic alignment.
Unofficial Practical Nia-or-Not Application for EveryBody:
“…If we see our so-called limitations with clarity, precision, gentleness, good-heartedness and kindness and, having seen them fully, then let go, open further, we begin to find that our world is more vast and more refreshing and fascinating than we had realized before. In other words, the key to feeling more whole and less shut off and shut down is to be able to see clearly who we are and what we are doing.” – Pema Chödrön
Every time a practice Tree Pose (Vriksasana) in yoga, I turn into an X-Ray Anatomy superhero. Balancing on one leg, I create as much length as I can in the spine while keeping an eye on the alignment of my shoulders and hips. As a shoulder hitches up or my butt pooches back, I tighten this and loosen that until I see everything get parallel again. I ease down my shoulder and lengthen through my low back, and I plug into the stability in the pose from left to right and up and down.
Until everything goes kaflooey and I fall out. But for a second there, I was Super Yogini!
As handy as it is in the yoga studio, the real beauty of Principle 10 – X-Ray Anatomy – is in its practical application to not only the physical form but the form of our lives.
As Nia founders, Debbie Rosas and Carlos AyaRosas, explain above, X-Ray Anatomy gives us a practice to see the body as it is and the tools to make adjustments for healthy alignment. We can do this for ourselves at any time – while sitting behind the wheel or the computer, while waiting in line, while dancing – to increase both the mindfulness and ease with which we move through the day.
Principle 10 also invites us to expand beyond body to what Pema Chödrön alludes to: looking with clarity and compassion at our habits and choices, how we move through the world and live our lives to increase ease and well-being.
Recently, I noticed that when things get bumpy and don’t go as planned, I tend to over-apologize. I’msorryI’msorryI’msorry. The other day, I heard myself saying it and Frank looked at me funny and said, “Why are you saying that? It wasn’t your fault.” (Sometimes, a friend’s observation can be helpful for Principle 10.) Instead of hiding, ignoring or denying what I do, I can make the choice to notice it with “clarity, precision, gentleness, good-heartedness and kindness.” Seeing myself with in this way, I have more choices and more possibility for growth and change.
X-Ray Anatomy sees beyond the skin to the core of the body – the bones, ligaments and muscles. In our practice, we can allow Principle 10 to delve even deeper than that: to our way of being. Approaching both with clarity and love, offers enormous opportunity for healing and a certain super hero-y-ness. Who couldn’t use a little of that?