Debbie Rosas is the founder and co-creator of the Nia® Technique. Dedicated lifelong to self-healing and self-mastery, Debbie has been a pioneer in the body-mind fitness industry since 1976. Credited with establishing the mind-body fitness category, she is a leading fitness innovator, teacher, author, choreographer, performer, healer and artist whose work greatly influences the lives of thousands worldwide. After nearly 40 years, Debbie continues to offer classes, workshops and training online and in-person around the world.
Throughout human history, in all cultures around the world, you will find music. The human desire to blend sounds, rhythm, melody and harmony to create music is unique to our species and has created the sonic signatures that become the soundtracks of our lives.
Almost 40 years ago, I founded Nia, a holistic fitness practice that blends movement, music and mindfulness to create optimal wellbeing for body, mind, emotions and spirit. In Nia, music is one of the many tools we use to heighten awareness and create a sense of intimacy, listening, sensing, healing and whole-body / whole-being conditioning.
In Nia, we view music as the ‘festive dress’ of silence and use music and sound resonance as medicine for the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. We’re trained to listen and dance to the music, and to notice where in the body we are being stimulated, or “pulled” to move. We use this listening and sensing awareness to consciously stimulate the brain, body, nervous system and the entire chakra energy system through the music that we choose.
Originally identified in the Vedic tradition somewhere between 1500 and 500 BC, the seven chakra energy centers are located along the spine running from the base of the spine all the way to the crown of the head. Chakra energy centers can be sensed as spinning both clockwise and counterclockwise, and move energy in, out and through these seven points. Each chakra responds to the stimulation of specific sounds, vibrations, keys, chords and instruments. When chakras are stagnant or “blocked”, people can experience a wide range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms.
We listen to a song’s lyrics, the key, tone, pitch to sense which chakra energy center is being stimulated. This method results in the creation of Nia playlist that has a kind of EKG. The Nia playlist EKG map comes from creating the playlists sonic wave, noting the song, key, and chakra number, mapping the up and down sonic stimulation of chakras.
For example, song one might be noted as stimulating song Chakra 2 the sexual center, song two noted as Chakra 4, the heart center, and song 3 Chakra 1, the root, etc. A well-balanced playlist looks metaphorically like an EKG electrocardiogram map.
In 1985 I discovered a book, The World Is Sound - Nada Brahma Music and the Landscape of Consciousness by Joachim-Ernst Berendt. It is then I came to understand everything is sound, part of the cosmic harmonies of the universe. Sound, vibration, resonance this is what the stimulation body responds to. This is the motility needed to keep the energy body chakras and entire physical body healthy, fit and well: responsive, adaptable and in the state of homeostasis.
More than a beat and count, music is a language of rhythm, melody and harmony, a tapestry of sound stimulation for our ears, brain, nervous system, 50 trillion cells and whole body. The stimulation of instruments, keys, and chords, each uniquely designed to trigger energy waves in specific places of the body, sound waves weave themselves out of formless into a dancing body.
Like everything in Nia, listening and developing awareness and sensitivity is key. At 71 years old, and after forty-five years in the fitness and health industry, I’m still learning how to listen with my whole body and use the language of sound to feel better and condition and self-heal my body and the bodies of my Nia students.
At a sound healers conference I was lucky to meet and have a conversation about movement and music with the author of the book “Music Physician for Times to Come, Don Campbell. His conversation inspired me to listen to music with more than my ears. He said, “Music is like a thousand different languages rolled into one, all using tone, rhythm, melody, and harmony, but not all understandable, likable, intelligent, or useful to all people. Music’s vocabulary is so vast that even the most educated musical minds in the West may not have the tools to grasp the sophisticated and refined classical music of South India or the sacred chants of Tibet. Yet it is significant that we can understand and feel so much music without having to learn it.”
In Nia music is just one of the many tools we use to create intimacy on the dance floor, emotional, cognitive, personal, and spiritual listening, sensing, healing and conditioning experiences for the body and soul.
Shifting my music relationship from listening to a whole-body sensing I have experienced the sensation of “no separation,” what yogis call, “Satchitananda” — Absolute Bliss Consciousness. I feel it every time I step onto the dance floor, listen to the music, and sense which of the seven chakras is speaking, dancing me. It still blows my mind that I can come away from my Nia class feeling I have been one with the Tao, what John M. Ortiz, PH.D. in his book The Tao of Music refers to as, “the sound of the lost chord”, a sound that seems to align my dancing body sound with the sound of the universe. This is what makes me feel whole, holy and one with all that is.
Often, I have Nia teachers and students around the globe share that our music takes them on a journey where they can deeply sense the spaces of connection between their bodies and their spirits. While we can never know exactly how music will affect a certain individual, we do know that there’s a science behind sound resonance and vibration and that we can use sound and silence to stimulate well-being.
We intentionally curate NiaSounds music to create full-spectrum, well balanced playlists for our Nia classes, making sure each soundscape stimulates all seven chakras to condition both the physical and energetic body. Through targeting each of these chakras intentionally and thoughtfully, participants are left feeling relaxed, energized, integrated and whole throughout their whole body and being.
Stand or sit comfortably with an upright spine and listen to the music. If possible, avoid leaning back into a chair or wall and allow your body to be stimulated by the sound from all directions.
As you listen, sense along the front of your body from chakra 1-7, the nodal point spiral vortexes.
Based on what you sense, choose the one chakra you feel most stimulated by based on the sound, vibration and resonance of the song you are listening to.
If you are creating a well-balanced chakra sonic playlist, note the name of the song and chakra number for each song and organize the songs in any order based on the flow you desire to create. Check to make sure all seven chakras are listed in your playlist.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. The views expressed in the article are the views of the cited guest/expert and do not necessarily represent the views of PRISM.