There are five generations alive at one time in my family. I realize how rare this is. Our youngest family member is my great-niece (17 months old) and the oldest is my abuela (grandmother) at 96.5 years of age. Watching these five generations (myself included), I began to connect our story with the FAMSS of Nia. The FAMSS are the five sensations of functional fitness that we experience in a Nia class: Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Strength and Stability. I love bringing Nia to life and doing it, creatively-conceptually related to my family, was insightful and delightful.
|Oldest to youngest from top left to bottom right|
The FAMSS of the five generations of women in my family, from youngest to oldest:Flexibility - My great-niece
Flexibility is sensed in our bodies as energy moving outward. It looks like expansion and inwardly, it creates a sense of spaciousness. My great-niece is an embodiment of this energy. She’s always flexing her perceptive and physical muscles,with an insatiable curiosity to explore and experience the fullness of herself and the world around her. It was remarkable to see her flexible body effortlessly fall down to the floor and spring right back up and to watch every limb extend outward as she ran with her feet and reached with her hands. She was a reminder to me to be spacious, expansive and to really own my fullness. Thank you, sweet Ava.
Agility – My niece
Agility is sensed as shifting energy in our bodies. A constant negotiation, it’s the start and stop and pull and push of movement and energy. My niece is mastering motherhood beautifully. I observed her sustain attention in multiple areas and then respond or react immediately to whatever her daughter was doing that may need her attention. Her reflexes and instincts sharp, I watched as she anticipate and negotiate action, stillness, pace, speed and direction. She was a reminder to me that change is constant and to find the joy and ease in responding to what is needed; to start, to stop, to push, to pull, to move or be still. Thank you, dearest Gaby.
Mobility – Me…in the middle ;)
Mobility is sensed as energy in constant motion. I can hear you laughing. Yes, that absolutely describes me! Whether it was the fact that I flew 3000 miles across the country to be with my family or was shuttled from the Bronx to the Hudson Valley and back, or running after my great-niece so she wouldn’t knock a glass off a table, or chasing after my five and eight year old nephews, or shifting from English to Spanish in conversation with abuela, I was/am in constant motion. I’d slip through anyone’s fingers if they tried to grasp me. I am a reminder to myself to explore all of the space both within and beyond myself. To leave no space unexplored and to sustain full active engagement so that no one part is left out. Thank you, self.
Strength – My mother
Strength is sensed as energy moving inward and boy, does that ever describe my mother. She is the grand protectress of our clan. Her love, and patience, is truly ginormous. The strength she exudes comes from core/solar plexus power. She may be barely 5 feet tall but her towering strength is tangible. When faced with difficulty and hardship, she gathers all of her energy to her center, puts her chin up and does whatever is needed. She reminds me that strength is not just a physical experience but is about returning to center and calling up the energy from that center of power even in the face of difficulty and fatigue. Thank you, my fierce and loving mommy.
Stability – My abuela
Stability is sensed as energy moving out in all directions from the center. It looks, however, like stillness. That’s because stability is strength combined with quiet resting. My abuela, at 96 years of age, does not move a lot but her stability is felt in our family. She’s solid and unchanging in who she is, even as dementia takes it hold. She is our root, connecting us to the core of our family. She’s the anchor that grounds and motivates us all. We all orbit around her as she sits in the center. We are the dynamic part of her stability. And she, in the center, may be still but has a readiness about her. She reminds me to stand firm in myself and have a soft confident readiness to act when the time is right. She reminds me that stillness releases tension and allows me to sense and rest deeply into my bones. She reminds me that stability has a soft swaying movement to it so that I don’t become rigid but rather yield to the winds when they blow. Thank you, mi abuelita.
And so it is that while I didn’t get to take a Nia class while I was away, Nia danced through me. Since I got back, I’ve been paying closer attention to these five sensations. I am noticing which sensations I need to spend more time with and which ones I spend too much time with. I think you might guess which one I’ve been spending more time with…stability. The last two weeks, we’ve been exploring the base of the body. First, with the ankles with the routine “U” and the past week the feet with the routine “Fumi.”
Which of the FAMSS would you like to journey with next?