Next Generation of Trainers

X-Raying My Symbology (June Blog)

By Allison Wright on July 27, 2011

Q: How have you used the power of symbol and the knowledge of body part orientation to enhance your ability to condition your body.

I interpret this question as asking “How have you used White Belt Principle 10: X-Ray Anatomy and Brown Belt Principle 10: Symbology to condition your body?”

White Belt Principle 10: X-Ray Anatomy has been my ally not only in conditioning my body from a fitness perspective, but also conditioning my nervous system.

When I came to Nia, I had no background in dance or choreography. As awesome as my passion for music, movement and self-healing was, I found choreography to be a thrilling challenge to take on learning. Being able to replicate katas re-wired my brain in a totally systemic way. While I did not have “two-left feet,” I found dance to be a wholly different type of anatomical coordination than competitive athletics. Nia’s choreography, in particular, being so systemic, challenged my neuromuscular coordination by it’s integration of base, core, and upper extremities movements.

Then I went to White Belt, where I was given the language of “X-Ray Anatomy” to describe the dynamic process by which I could loosen and tighten my 200/700 into any given shape. Having a tool to do this practice consciously allowed me to honor My Body’s Way while gliding my body into the shape(s) my eyes perceived, and to do so in my natural time. Over the years, I have conditioned my nervous system with X-Ray Anatomy to respond faster- shaping my 200/700 into the desired shape at a quicker rate. To me, this is what being a conscious personal trainer is all about!

X-Ray Anatomy has dynamically restructured my alignment by strengthening my abdominals and rhomboid muscles, creating more flexibility in my hip joints and balance (stability) in my base, and by teaching me to breath into the upper portions of my lungs, just to name a few examples. When I came to Nia, I also measured in around 5.6ft tall. Using the tool of X-Ray Anatomy, I have loosened and tightened my posture to reach my ideal, where I now stand at 5.8 feet tall. I sense more volume and space in my spine, and greater elegance in how I move it.

From a practical point of view, increasing my awareness and knowledge of anatomy has definitely improved my ability to consciously condition different parts of my body. Studying anatomy, knowing the specific name of different bones, muscles, and ligaments and their relationship to one another has put a clearer picture in my mind of what I’m working with and how to enhance those particular parts of my body, which leads me to the topic of symbology…

Brown Belt Principle 10: Symbology, has provided me with a tool to consciously and personally shape my physical energy, thereby enhancing my ability to condition my body. Symbology invites me to sense and use my body as a symbol, a vehicle that communicates a particular energy “shape.” More specifically, I have noticed that viewing my body as a symbol seems to increase my intensity level, acting like a pearl, enhancing the sensations in my body. I have also noticed that the clearer I am with my physical symbology, the deeper my students appear to go into their own conditioning (this is my perception.)

Ultimately, X-Ray Anatomy and Symbology serve the same function to my anatomy: to increase my awareness of sensation as well as my ability to transmit different sensations via the arrangement of my bones, ligaments, and muscles. As a trainer-to-be, a major focal point in my personal Nia practice and WB trainer education will be increasing my objective knowledge of anatomy. I will be doing this through practical study, experiential (sensory) exploration of anatomy, and through weaving everything I learn into my Nia classes. I look forward to being *tighter* in my objective knowledge of anatomy!