Interesting is it, how your brain’s wellbeing is interwoven with your body’s vitality and wellbeing?!
I believe that bodies need joyful movement, spontaneity, playfulness, strength, flexibility, agility, mobility, balance, healthy emotional householding, and positive, realistic thinking.
Therefore conditioning dance forms can really help enhance our brain and delay aging. Is it only the conditioning aspect? No. My take on this, being an enthusiastic NIA black belt practitioner and teacher as well as a neuro-physical movement specialist, is that there are many benefits to holistic movement practices that orient on both sensory and somatic awareness. As well as conditioning the body, playing with form, freedom, and joy of movement.
One’s brain is as fit as one’s body is. (Pingel)
Now I don’t know about many forms of aerobics. However, I do know about the benefits of an NIA (neuromuscular integrated action) holistic movement class. One’s brain is as fit as one’s body. So movement is crucial in staying vital and awake with your brain. Yet the movement has to add to the body not hurt it.
In striving disregardless of the body’s design nor the unique preferences of one’s own body there is no gain, just pain. So many movement practices are oriented on working out only. I believe Joy in motion is the key. And no matter what age one has, everyone can re-learn to feel joy, playfulness, and spontaneity when moving. These ingredients come from conditioning your mind to become flexible, No anybody will gain flexibility if one’s thinking is inflexible. A flexible mind is able to learn and can help the brain and body to grow stronger through conditioning strength, mobility, agility, and stability in balance with each other.
A typical NIA class has a balanced mix of freedom and form in dancing and moving. Form comes from many different movement forms that are captured in simple movement phrases or free dance explorations. An NIA class is intended to condition the being instead of only the body. Meaning that our emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing is equally important in staying healthy and vibrant. Hence the mix of spontaneous dance and varied simple movement phrases that help the brain to grow, to make new connections,
I feel consciously creating joy in conditioning is a powerful way to nourish the brain. The NIA formula of form and freedom creates this powerful conditioning for both brain and body. Our brains learn when we are in a relaxed and playful state. The free dance is a powerful tool for play and spontaneity. It helps to release emotions, open one’s mind to the wonders of the body and connect with others in a heart-opening way. And when free dance guides us into a somatic and sensory experience, it can help us discover more of ourselves in a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual way.
Form, on the other hand, helps us to discover more of ourselves as we move beyond habitual patterns of preference when we dance. Through the form, the brain trains to memorize, finetune and become accurate in how it organizes itself. It has to ‘rethink’ the ways it wired itself when we dance movements combinations that feel unfamiliar or that are forgotten or unknown for the brain. Brains need variety, quality, intelligent repetition, and quantity to thrive and keep growing.
As we age, our limited thinking patterns have a greater impact on our freedom of movement. Our physical bodies may not feel as strong anymore as we are used to experiencing them. It might cause people to experience fear of falling or injury or have the belief that they are too old to still move freely and spontaneously. Our brain gets slower and starts losing data when we don’t feed it with organic learning, moving, and tasting “new experiences’.
The different movement forms and qualities that are brought to consciousness through form, challenge our habitual muscular organization and help us to find strength, stamina, flexibility, fluid mobility, agility, and stability. It can give someone new self-confidence again to feel the ability to move with more of oneself again. Conditioning that is playful, joyful and non-striving, helps to build awareness about your body’s way and needs. It helps to regain a sense of curious, spontaneous, and playful being in your body. This vitalizes your nervous system and brain. And it helps restore many movement qualities that we lose over time due to our habits in moving and our preferences in movement.
Aging can be met with emotions of fear, sadness, or frustration. All muscles respond to emotions and vice versa. Movement phrases that are fused with different movement forms and movement qualities change our emotional state by addressing different muscle activities. Becoming aware of how you can change your own emotional states as simple as through making a different move is really empowering life of vitality and joy no matter age.
So now that you know this, what will be your next move, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?