Nia Principle 7: The Three Planes of Movement & Intensity Levels

The Basics

Transfer your body weight low, middle & high by opening and closing your joints.  Choose the level of intensity that is right for you in this moment.

3 Planes of Movement

Move your body through Three Planes of Movement:  high, middle and low.  Moving through the planes is personal and unique to each individual.  The Smile Line is a Nia tool you use to facilitate increased comfort, safety and conditioning.  When performing Nia steps, allow your Hara (located 2 inches below the belly button) to follow the Smile Line.

Benefits of 3 Planes of Movement

One of the best ways to challenge your cardiovascular system is to move your heart in relationship to the floor.  Often, we tend to leave the heart in the middle plane, but by sinking and rising, lifting and dropping the heart, we get tremendous cardiovascular benefits without the pounding of running or jumping.

3 Levels of Intensity

Personally guide your exertion level by consciously choosing one of the Three Intensity Levels.  Level One is the smallest range of motion and requires the least amount of exertion.  Level Two has a broader range of motion and requires more exertion.  Level Three has the fullest range of motion and requires the most exertion.  All Nia movements are practiced using Three Intensity Levels – and the three levels are personal and unique to each individual.

 Benefits of 3 Levels of Intensity

One of the most common misperceptions about this part of Principle 7 is that Levels 1, 2 and 3 equate to “good,” “better” and “best.” Instead, every mover can be using all three Levels of Intensity not just throughout class, but within every song and every movement within every song.  By staying in deep contact with sensation we can sense the adjustments to make to keep us at our working edge, in dynamic ease – without overdoing or under doing.  Yogis say “practice on your own mat” – that is, stay true to where you are, without comparison or judgment.  The 3 Levels allow us to move in a way that is appropriate for the body right now.


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