In a word: Agility
Whether by happenstance or design, the invitation to explore agility is all around us. Just walk down a crowded street and begin noticing all the ways agility comes into play.
At some point, for most of us, life will extend the invitation to engage agility in the form of unexpected circumstances or reversals…even pleasant surprises can take us by surprise. Agility is indispensible…it lives inside our muscles and neurons and we can develop it—expand it—and if we choose—keep it alive each day.
Agility is a symphony of coordination. Anticipating change and shifting direction rapidly and safely requires an integrated system with no weak-links in the chain. Agility engages vision, proprioception and the qualities of strength, flexibility, balance and coordination. Stability in the base and a connection to the core of the body are essential. Alert readiness, centered awareness and moving from a place of “Dynamic Ease” bring all the elements together.
Agility embodies movement and stillness: Movement in all directions, on a variety of levels and planes, and in 360 degrees, stopping and starting, moving from one to the other seamlessly. It is the ability to rapidly respond to change in a way that strengthens the whole mind/body system, rather than depleting it. Developing agility makes us more resilient and able to adapt to change of all kinds. Cultivating agility is defiinitely worth the effort.
So, what does agility feel like? Nia™ describes agility as: “The sensation of stopping and starting…of changing directions…shifting dynamic tension.” I think of the way it feels to make a quick grab for a falling object and to catch it before it hits the floor. It could be the sensation of jumping a puddle, sidestepping a pothole or any other unexpected adjustment in movement in a way that feels supported and balanced. Agility has spring, it has bounce-back, it is moving on and off center through space…always in connection.
Routine erodes agility. Humans seem to be hard-wired for habit. It’s not a bad thing, except that it isn’t always a great thing either. From the standpoint of evolution, habits and routines conserve energy and resources, and evolution loves that. But the deep groove of habit definitely has a double-edge. Habits are not so good for developing abilities like agility, flexibility, balance and strength, which are also critical for survival… in the wild and at the office.
Agility is all about potential-to-act. We develop that potential by stepping outside of the familiar routine–in movement and in life. It is about living in the creative tension between challenging ourselves to expand in unpredictable ways, and the magnetic pull of the well-worn path. Mindfulness is an antidote to unconscious habit…awareness opens the door to choice.
Connect with the sensation of agility in your body, to cultivate this quality in other areas of your life. Play with being especially mindful of agility in your day to day activity–even around the house. Agility works on the micro as well as the macro level– it’s good to start small. Starting small keeps us connected to our center ~ connected to the heart. Making even minor adjustments can change the course of our personal history. Look for the opportunities to break up a routine, challenge an old habit, take a new route. It can be as simple as recognizing the need to pause and take a breath before speaking, stepping-up or stepping-in to lend a hand, taking time to express gratitude, crossing any threshold mindfully…this is agility-in-action.
Up next: Sensing Mobility!
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The content in this blog is for informational purposes, and does not constitute professional advice or treatment for any individual concern or condition. It is not a substitute for psychological or medical care.
Nia Technique is the work of Debbie Rosas Stewart and Carlos AyaRosas. Nia™, the Nia™ Logo, and all related “Nia” trademarks and service marks are owned by NiaTechnique, Inc., and are used here only under a limited license.