1. Setting your focus and intent
In the first cycle we set our focus and intent. Usually there is a class focus and intent, but you can set your own focus and intent and make the workout what you need for that moment.
A focus and an intent can be any number of things. As an example, say you had a stressful day at work and so you just want to release all the tension in your body, you could make your focus the loosening of your muscles and joints with the intent of bringing a greater sense of relaxation to your evening.
Or you have a sore shoulder so your focus could be your shoulder and your intent to give it the type of attention it requires to feel better.
Whatever the focus and intent you will find that if you are truly able to focus then your workout will be different every time. Yet every time you will receive what your body needs.
2. Stepping In
This is when we, well, step in. We step into the moment. We step into the sensation of our bodies. We step in, leaving behind all the chaos of the rest of the world. By stepping in, we are not saying that all that is going on in the world and in our lives is unimportant, we are just saying, that we are leaving it be and focusing with an intent. We are silencing the inner dialog, that constant chatter in our heads and we are listening to our bodies. We are going to give an hour, just an hour, to our bodies that have served us up to that point, and we are going to give it our full and undivided attention.
3. Warm up
This is a song or two that we use to warm up. We start our bodies moving. We get our joints and muscle loose and ready to move. We can use this time to check in with our bodies to see if there is any part that needs attention. We can then make a mental note to give that part extra attention during our workout.
4. Get Moving
This is the portion of the workout routine where we really start to use all of our muscles. Often the music speeds up and participants can work up a sweat. This is also the time where you are charged with being your own conscious personal trainer. Only YOU can decide how much energy to put into your workout. Only you, under the instruction of your own body, can decide what it needs most. Do you need to expend all that energy you have gathered throughout the day or do you need to be a little mellow because you are a bit tired? That is for you to decide.
5. Cool Down
This is the part of the routine were we slow down and prepare our bodies for the floor. Since our muscles are already warmed up this is the best time to stretch. You have already been such a good listener throughout the workout, don’t stop now. Continue to listen to your body and stretch it how it needs to be stretch. It is ok to spend more time in one position, and move on in your own natural time.
This is where you get to work some more muscles and or do some more stretching out of the ones your work. It is ok to have a towel or a mat for our floorplay. Here is where you can thank your body for its work. And you are continuing to check in with your body to see if it is still tired or in need of additional attention. The floor is used as a space to surrender into, move onto, and push away from. This cycle is a part of the dance.
7. Stepping out
This is usually the time in the routine where people start looking at the clock and then their watches and then they start looking around to see if anyone else is experiencing that the clock and their watch is broken because there is NO Way that it has been (about) 55 minutes. You are not even tired, you are ready for more, but this is the moment of class where we finish our routine with recognizing the good we have just done for ourselves. Then we step out into the rest of the world that we left for a brief visit to our bodies.
These can be found in The Nia Technique Book; The Seven Cycles of a Nia Workout pages: 173-259, 263-291