‘Are you comfortable down there on the floor?’ my sister, who is younger than me by several years, asked while we sat around with Mum, Dad, our other sisters and their husbands. We were talking about the physical ‘woes’ of getting old. I was sitting on the floor, as I often do and always have and looked up at her and answered truthfully with a ‘YES’.
In that moment I realised that many of my family never get down on the floor. I was suddenly amazed! Sure they may bend down now and again, often without using their knees, to pick something up, but that’s about it. I was about to tell them how good it can feel, how important it is and how useful it can be, but they’d moved on…and NOT on to the floor. Maybe they will read this blog and see why I’ve chosen the floor as my friend.
The ability to get up and down from the floor is crucial to ageing with grace!
Building and maintaining our physical strength and mobility helps our balance and agility and helps to prevent falls. In the elderly falls are not only a major cause of injury, they strip confidence and can ultimately take away independence. I want to do all I can to have quality of life, even in my later years!
As I mentioned, I have always felt comfortable sitting on the floor but since I began practicing Nia I have begun to understand that the floor is truly my friend. I love it, resting, stretching, rolling, sinking in and letting my muscles release, it has been a blessing. I have less back pain now than ever before. And talk about a work out, have you tried getting up and down from the floor as many times as you can, just even for one minute? Well give it a go and forget the gym! Your body has all the weight you need for lifting and getting fit.
Check out this incredible article where they discuss the findings of a longevity test published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology. Basically it found that if you can sit down on the floor from a standing position without using your hands, arms, or knees and then stand back up the same way then you have increased odds of living a longer life. Check it out!
In her blog, Feldenkrais practitioner Stacy Barrows PT, GCFP talks about the benefits of moving up and down from the floor:
“When I practice getting up and down off the floor, I’m building resilience in my musculoskeletal system. Being able to get up and down off the floor is an essential movement skill. It is not only one of the first things we learn as infants; it is one of the last things we want to lose as we age. In fact, the ability to get up and down from the floor is associated with greater longevity. People who do this regularly are counteracting the long-term effects of gravity and maintaining their proprioceptive abilities that are part of maintaining upright balance and navigating the world with less risk of falling.”
The Nia Technique is my favourite movement practice because it offers floorplay in the last section of class. in Nia we also use a practice called the 5 Stages of Self-Healing which takes us on a journey through embryonic, creeping, crawling, standing, and walking.
Though Nia can feel simply like a fun dance class, we are actually calling in the sensation and wisdom from 9 different movement forms which we use while we’re on our feet and when we’re down on that floor! From the healing arts we use Yoga, Alexander Technique and the work of Moshe Feldenkrais. From the dance arts we use Jazz, Modern and Duncan Dance. From the martial arts we use Aikido, Taekwondo and Tai Chi. It’s amazing how, with so much going on, the experience feels so flowing and whole.
Dancing in Nia, exploring and playing on the floor and using the 5 Stages of Self-Healing has changed my body for the better; it has increased my flexibility, agility, mobility, strength and stability. It has taught me to trust my body and has given me so much confidence. Now my challenge is staying in my chair!
Check out this inspiring insight from Irene Lyon as she studies Feldenkrais with Baby Liv… If this floorplay thing is new to you this gorgeous baby can show you how to get started!
Okay family next time we’re together, let’s do the ‘Baby Liv’.
Using Baby Liv’s inspiration you can begin your experience with the floor at home. Or better yet, find a Nia Class or Nia 5 Stages and get some playful instruction on how to access that explorative and Joyful child inside you! Nia Australia
Remember, the floor is your friend, and it’s always there for you!
Blog Written by Nia Teacher Tiffany Tyler-Dignam