Get into the magic of Nia

Dancing within the 4 realms: get into the magic of Nia

Anne Lowry Parr

Did you know? When you dance, you are not one, but four distinct beings, dancing in four different energetic bodies: physical, mental, emotional, and the realm of your spirit. Knowing how to tune into each one can enhance and deepen the healing and enjoyment of any movement experience. Magic happens when we are able to place all of our awareness in the realm we choose, and allow the particular beauty of each realm touch us in its own way.

Let’s Get Physical

Let’s begin in the realm where we are, the physical. Movement by its very nature is physical, so whether or not we are consciously choosing to be aware of other realms when we dance or more, we are always also dancing in the physical. Our very life on earth is a beautiful dance of spirit within the physical realm. Try this: To truly immerse yourself in the joy of being a spirit within a physical body, think of yourself as a “good” animal. Allow your mind to drift away as you focus on every physical sensation you can feel. Feel your joints opening and closing … your muscles, strong and powerful … your bones dressed in muscles, tendons, and ligaments. No mind, no thoughts, only sensations carrying you deeper and deeper into yourself. Now, let your vision get soft and wide, allowing your peripheral vision to expand. Let the edges of your skin begin to feel as if they are dissolving into thousands of tiny fibers that radiate from your center, holding you in space like the delicate web a spider weaves from her body. Dance within this ethereal web as you enjoy the movement of the expanded physical realm.


To choose the mental realm is to choose the world of high mind, intuition and imagination. Try this: To access this magical realm, begin by placing your focus on a spot between the right and left lobes of your brain. Imagine a pearl floating there, balancing the right and left brain and accessing both, resting in the neutral center point until information or intuition is needed. Play any music you like, and open up to the world of imagination. Allow visions to come to you as you dance, or invoke images you like and dance to them. You might try swimming through space, or floating, or flying, whirling through a tornado or stomping out a fire. the earth let your feet be the drumsticks striking a beat creating the rhythm of your moves. The possibilities are limited only by your own willingness to play within the world of imagination.

I Get So Emotional, Baby

When we are in touch with the emotional realm of movement, the universe becomes a place where we can express the endless beauty of our hearts. We can dance our happiness, our sadness, our elation, our frustration. If we feel it, we can express it through our movements, thereby moving emotional energy in a healthy way. Many times in this culture it can be challenging to find an appropriate place or way to honor some of our deeper and darker emotions, such as rage, anguish, or fear. Emotional dancing can therefore be extremely therapeutic and healing, allowing a healthy outlet for emotions to be expressed and released without fear of judgment. Try this: Open to sensations around your heart, chest, and belly. Think of something that makes you feel very peaceful: a child or an animal you love, or the memory of a time when you felt loved, cherished, and happy. When you feel immersed in this feeling of contentment, silently say “Peace.” Let this soothing feeling of peace flood your belly, chest and heart, and flow out into every cell in your body. Begin moving, allowing this feeling of peace to be the backdrop of any other emotion that comes. Allow all your emotions to be like the colors of your heart, enhancing your canvas. Each time you dance, create another energetic picture of your emotional self on your canvas of peace. Like the paintings of an artist, each one will be beautiful, distinctive, each one an expression of you.

Spirit Dancer

To dance with spirit does not necessarily mean you have to feel “spiritual.” You could think of your spirit as that which is unique to you. It comes from a place other than your body, your mind, or your emotions. It connects you to the essence of God, Goddess, Buddha, or Great Creator … whatever name you choose to use to refer to the underlying essence to which we are all connected. Try this: To access spirit within movement, silently ask your own spirit to guide your movement. Then wait. When an impulse comes to move in a certain way, check it out first. Did you mind invent that idea, or did it come from some other place? If it comes from your mind, it may feel more contrived, less spontaneous. If the impulse comes from spirit, it may surprise you. But it will feel authentic, natural, even perfect to move in that way. Your movements may take on a quality of timelessness. Enjoy the sensation and the beauty of cultivating your own uniquess, your spirit, through movement.

Anne Lowry Parr, Certified Brown Belt Nia Instructor, has taught Nia mind-body-spirit movement classes for more than six years, and she is also a trained rebirther. Anne is co-owner and director of Nia at Move Intuit, a mind-body fitness studio in Asheville, North Carolina. Contact her at or 828-350-7710.

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