All Nia workouts use seven cycles. Each cycle has a unique purpose, and each is designed to fulfill specific student needs to ultimately deliver holistic conditioning. The Body’s Way reminds us that to maintain harmony and balance, we must move through these cycles.
Cycles take into consideration that you are never the same on any two days, or, for that matter, from moment to moment. The seven cycles remain the same, however, the Nia experience changes continuously based on the focus, music, moves and class intent.
Cycle 1: Set the Focus and Intent – What You Place Your Attention On
The focus is what you place your attention on. The intent is your desired outcome. Prior to your arrival at class, your Nia teacher chooses a focus and intent. As the teacher teaches, you sustains the focus and intent across all seven cycles. Teachers use this 3-5 minute cycle to share both objective and subjective information that will enhance your awareness and experience in class.
Cycle 2: Step In – Create the Space to Workout
Stepping In is the act of leaving behind distractions. Stepping In stimulates the body, mind, emotions, and spirit connection by helping you create space to workout. Activate your sensory awareness as the starting point for all body-centred action.
This cycle can be performed by literally taking a heel lead step in, or by any other gesture or movement that symbolizes that action of leaving behind distractions. Stepping in facilitates a more intimate relationship between you and the teacher, and invites everyone to step into their “now” bodies as they begin moving.
Cycle 3: Warm Up – Prepare Your Heart, Lungs, and 13 Joints
Warm-up by consciously activating the flow of energy through your heart, lungs and thirteen primary joints. Warming-up increases body heat and respiration, and initiates your movement through all three planes: low, middle, and high. Teachers use this cycle to introduce and familiarize students to the moves and the music, inviting them to sense and dance in their “now” bodies. Teachers also use this cycle to gauge the energy level of their group. Students are invited to use their Conscious Personal Trainers (CPTs) to sense for and activate the five sensations of fitness (FAMSS) as they warm-up their body.
Cycle 4: Get Moving – Energize the Moves to Reach a Peak
Get Moving is the action of using increased ranges of motion, speed and intensity to condition the heart, lungs, muscles and joints. Activate your cardiovascular system using speed and shorter and longer splashes of intensity. Move more dynamically through space and the three planes of movement: low, middle and high. For Athletic Nia, this cycle can include moving down to the floor and up into standing.
Cycle 4 focuses on timing, transition, posture, shifting body weight, adaptability, personalization, intensity levels and planes, and self-expression.
Cycle 5: Cool Down – Calm, Harmonize, and Re-centre
Cool Down by decreasing your intensity level, slowing your speed and allowing your heart rate to cool down. Activate your Conscious Personal Trainer to stretch, re-centre, reflect, and prepare to move your body towards the floor. Sense the effects of your previous movement and make choices and adjustments that bring flexibility and balance to your body.
Cycle 5 cools the nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory systems down at a pace that creates harmony and stability in the entire body.
Cycle 6: Floorplay – Fitness on the Floor
Floorplay uses the elements of play, gravity, the floor, space, time and sound to condition the body with FAMSS–flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability. Take advantage of the heat and pliability generated from your previous movements; this allows you to stretch and open your joints more fully. In Floorplay, use your body as free weight to condition your muscles and joints.
Cycle 6 combines freeform movement (freedance) with structured movement patterns. Sound and silence, music or no music, guides the flow of all floorplay action. The word “play,” vowel sounds, short phrases and emotional sound is used to energetically guide the movement. The moves are simple and chosen to address physical needs based on previous body use. Kneepads, carpeting or mats can be used to help the body move in a freer and more relaxed way.
Cycle 7: Step Out – Transition Into Your Next Activity
Step Out by transitioning into your next activity with an awareness of the fitness and self-healing benefits you have received from your movement. Stepping out is a physical action you take to symbolize the end of every class.
It often involves using moves similar to how you stepped in, however the intent now is to centre, harmonize, self-reflect and transition into your next activity. Cycle 7 offers a closing to the Nia class experience, creating a container for movement.