Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia! THREE group classes a week!

    Tues, and Wed 9 am

    Thurs 8:45 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia and/or Personal Training!

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Sweaty Goodness

Posted by terrepruitt on July 22, 2014

When a body moves it expends energy.  The bigger the movements the more energy expended.  The faster the movements the more energy expended.  The longer the body is in motion the more energy it expends.  I teach Nia.  It is not a boot camp where the higher ranked officer is yelling at you to move more, to more bigger to move longer.  It is a cardio dance workout where you get to move your body in your own body’s way.  You move to your level of movement.  You move to the level you want to move at the time you are in the class.  The more you move, the more energy you will use up.  For some of us, the more we move the more we sweat.  Honestly, if you don’t move you will not sweat.  A lot of people equate a “good workout” with sweat.  Not everyone sweats, but most people do sweat when they move.  In Nia we don’t yell at participants to run faster, to reach higher, to go lower, to do more.  We use words to help you move in a way that you want to move.  Some people cannot move their bodies without being told exactly how to move.  Some people just need the time and space and they either know exactly what to do OR they are able to just let go and let their bodies move.  I have experienced the type of person that tells me they don’t sweat in Nia and the type that does.

One time, after teaching a class, I was walking out and mopping my face and neck with a towel.  I was dripping wet.  And a woman approached me and said, “You don’t sweat in Nia, do you?”  I just looked at her and said, “No, YOU don’t.”  She was the one that stood behind me the entire class and I never saw her body.  I never saw her limbs and I never saw her.  Now, I am not the smallest of people so it is perfectly feasible that she could hide behind me and me not see her.  But it is NOT feasible to MOVE and not be seen standing behind me.  If she would have lifted her arm once, I would have seen it.  If she would have lifted her leg once, I would have seen it.  If she would have MOVED, her body MIGHT have produced some sweat.  I cannot tell you why she didn’t move her body except to stand behind me, but I can tell you since she did not she did not get a “good workout.”

Once a woman walked by me and a student talking after Nia class and she asked where the pool was.  We were confused.  Then we realized we were so wet with sweat we looked as if we had been swimming.

Then more recently, I experienced at participant in a class who, when we were done said, “Wow!  I got sweaty.”  And I said, “Yes, yes you did.”  And that was because she moved. She participated.  While she was not standing behind me, I did see her move in her own body’s way to the suggestions such as “dancing big”, “drumming the sky”, “body drum”.  She moved in her own way to all of the suggestions even though she had no idea what Nia was when she entered the dance studio.  But it was obvious she was there to get a “good workout” so she participated.  She moved.  She expended energy.  She got sweaty.

In Nia, as with ALL workouts, you get out of it what you put in.  If you don’t move, you are not going to expend energy.  If you don’t expend energy, you probably are not going to sweat.  You need to MOVE to get a workout.  It is not accurate to say that Nia is not a “good workout” when you do move.  If you don’t actually try it you can’t actually say whether it is good or not.

This is what I experience a lot.  Remember I am a substitute for other classes besides Nia.  So they are not always looking for something new and different.  Some are excellent sports and try it.  Some are not and so they don’t participate.  Again . . . . they get out of of it what they put in.

Have you noticed that you get less of a workout when you move less?  Do you agree that you get out of it what you put into it?

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A Great Move In Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on July 19, 2014

One of Nia’s 52 Moves is a nice move.  It can be done easily, it can be used in almost any dance, and it has numerous benefits, but the name is one I get crawly skin saying.  I don’t like to say it.  It is worse than Creepy Crawlers.  When we do this move I often start out using the actual Nia name, but then explain how I would rather not and I would rather do something else.  The move is fantastic though because it has many uses, but the name.  I mean, what do you feel when I say, “Catching Flies“?  I prefer not to.

But the move itself is a great move and very important to keep our hands, arms, eyes, and brain active.  When we “Catch Flies” in Nia we open the hands then we make a loose fist to “catch” and hold the “flies.  Ewwww.  Just thinking about it . . . I mean . . . really thinking about it grosses me out.  Thank God, I don’t think too much about it when I am teaching.  I do think enough to change it.  There is one routine I teach where I change it to “catching your dreams”.  It goes along with the whole sequence of moves before and after.  So I will often start out with “catching flies” then change it to “catch your dreams”.

Part of the move is to LOOK before you grab.  So we are not just randomly grabbing in the air.  We are looking as if we really were going to catch a fly.  Since most of us are not like cats — do you know what I mean?  Have you ever been playing with a toy with a cat and they won’t even be looking and they just reach out their arm and snatch the toy out of thin air?  (Crazy!)  Most of us are not like that, we need to look.  So we LOOK before we grab at the “flies”.  We engage our eyes and our brain — THEN we grab.  We are also engaging our neck and spine because we are catching FLIES after all.  See, the image makes sense.  It is a “good” one, but an icky one. But since it is good and it makes sense, I will start out saying “catching flies” so people get the idea.  Then I can change it if I want.

I think I got catching fairies from another Nia class.  A Nia teacher said it and I was thrilled, so I use that one.  Sometimes I say catching joy.  Or perhaps grabbing some energy.  There are many things to say after the initial move is understood and the Nia name is announced.

The Nia Technique book explains the benefits very well:

Practicing Catching Flies increases brain activity.  This move neurologically connects your hands, your head, and your eyes, and engenders manual dexterity and speed.  Emotionally, you can use the is move to express aggression, determination, anger, frustrations, playfulness, and achievement.

I am sure you can use it to express a lot more emotions.  When we practice this move we add variety.  There can be fast flies, slow flies, they can be flying high, they can be flying low, they can be flying right in front of us, they can be flying behind us, you get the idea.  The flies can be all over so it can be quite and active move.

It is like the Locust pose in yoga — GREAT MOVE, not so great name.

What do you think?  Do you want to catch flies?  Would you rather catch fairies?  Would you rather catch joy?  Can you understand what a great move it is?

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Space Age Image

Posted by terrepruitt on July 17, 2014

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaWhen I was first hired on with the Parks and Recreation Department with the City of San Jose, I was a substitute Group Ex Instructor.  I didn’t have a class of my own.  And we use that term “my class” loosely because we know it is not guaranteed to be a permanent thing and we can be replaced or things can change.  But for the sake of simplicity we call them our classes when we are asked to teach a weekly (or more) class at a specific time on a specific day.  I didn’t have a class at first.  So I was able to fill in as a substitute wherever I could.  I was also really happy to fill in with Nia because I wanted to introduce the community centers in San Jose to Nia.  So I would step up to teach when someone had a cardio class that needed subbing.  There are five different community centers that participate in the Group Exercise program.  Each center has at least two rooms where they might have a cardio class.  Not all rooms have mirrors — and many exercise classes use mirrors.  So when I first saw the portable mirrors at a community center I was so excited.  These “mirrors” are awesome.  It is not like a mirror image it is like a space age image!

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaHave you ever seen these portable mirrors?  They are not really mirrors.  I don’t know what they are.  The material reminds me of the package that toner used to come in.  I am not sure how many of you have worked in an office where you had a big copier or printer that used the cartridges that were sealed in the shiny packages.  But THAT is what this stuff is like.  It is kind of like Mylar.  It is REALLY thin.  And VERY easily torn.  But the reflection when they are new and clean is amazing.

The first time I taught in front of one of these portable mirror things I kept expecting to dance right through to another dimension.  Now that might sound odd to some of you, but my husband is a science fiction buff and we watch a lot of science fiction so that is what I felt like because it seem clearer and cleaner and more crisp than a regular reflection.  It was more like something otherworldly.  It was rather funny because it was so amazing I was distracted a few times.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaSince these mirrors are not glass they are really lightweight and super easy to move.  They are really great for community centers I think.  Except I really wish they should come with some sort of handle.  There is NO WHERE to hold them without touching the reflective surface.  One could get down and use the “feet” to roll them but that is not very efficient nor a good way to be moving (the body).  I am always surprised that the city doesn’t simply add something to use to roll them around.  It would be so easy to add a strap or SOMETHING so people are not putting their fingers on them or THROUGH them.

The reflective surface really is very thin and sadly I have seen many “mirrors” with tears.  I just did a quick search and some sites are saying their mirrors ARE Mylar, while others are saying they are not.  Either way, they are great lightweight mirrors, but unfortunately they tear easy and I have yet to see any with handles.  But when they are not torn and they are clean, they are really fun to dance in front of because it is almost as if you are dancing with a partner instead of your reflection!

Have you seen these cool portable mirrors?  If you have, do you think they are more clear and crisp than a mirror?

 

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Mirrorless Inward Reflection

Posted by terrepruitt on July 15, 2014

I teach Nia at Community Centers in San Jose.  One of the things about community centers is they are for the community.  During the summer that means that they are kid central.  It is amazing all of the programs they have for kids during the summer.  It is so great to see the centers doing so much to keep the kids learning and active during the summer.  What a full community center sometimes translates to is regularly scheduled classes get shuffled around.  I was given about six months notice for this summer’s shuffle.  So our Nia class was prepared.  I had been telling them since January.  Then I put up a notice in June.  So we were aware.  It is a huge blessing that we just get moved to another room and not to a different time or cancelled altogether.  I am grateful that we still get to have a class while all these summer camps and kid fun is going on.  It is working out to be one week a month.  Last month the room we were moved to had the portable mirrors in the closet so we were able to roll them out and use them.  Today the closet was full of tables and chairs.  The mirrors were nowhere to be found.  The center is on what used to be a high school campus.  So it is very large and spread out.  I wasn’t certain that 25 minutes would be enough time to let someone know about the situation, find the mirrors, and move them all the way across the campus.  So we did Nia without mirrors today, using the opportunity to focus inward.

I have done Nia without mirrors before.  In fact I posted about it in my post Nia In The Mirror when I was teaching in San Carlos.  That is one reason when I started working at the San Jose Community Centers I was so impressed with their portable mirrors.  In fact I thought I did a post about them because they are sooooo cool.  (Well, I don’t see one, so that will probably be my next post!)

In a Nia class the teacher stands with her/his back to the students.  One way we connect with our students is eye contact in the mirror.  A Nia teacher can turn and face the students.  In fact, it is recommended at times to do so to change things up and to connect in another way to the students.  We even practiced it in the Blue Belt Intensive.  So it is up to the teacher to teach facing whichever way s/he wants.  Generally though we face away from the students.

Facing away makes it easier for some people to follow since we are moving the same side of the body and going in the same direction as opposed to the mirror image as was (and possibly still is) done in Jazzercise.  What I find is that I learn the routine SAYING it as if I am teaching with my back towards the students so for me to turn around I would be saying go left as I move left and we would not be dancing in mirror image.  So to turn and face the students while we are doing a dance that moves front or back or laterally is a challenge for me.  Especially when it is a new routine.  And right now, I am somewhat learning a routine.  In a routine there is usually a song or two where we are not moving left or right so we often face each other than.  I was able to do that today, but some I did with my back to them.

I think dancing without a mirror every once in a while is a good thing.  It helps the students dance with themselves.  The moment I found out we didn’t have mirrors I knew our intent and focus.  I set the focus to be the Conscious Personal Trainer, with the intent of being fully aware of and sensing your own body’s movements.  Without the mirror to distract us I thought it would be a great opportunity to focus more on one’s own body.  Without the mirror we don’t see ourselves nor the other people.  Without a mirror the possibility to draw ones attention in and keep it in seems better.

So, of course, I was very happy when one of my students said that dancing without the mirrors made it different.  It did allow her to focus more on her movements.  She said she was less distracted with the other students.  Yay!  I like that it worked for her.  I like that we were able to do it different, but we still danced and had fun.  I am very blessed to have such great students that can just go with the flow and DO Nia!  It is nice to have “no mirrors” give us the opportunity for something different.

When you take a lead-follow exercise class do you prefer the instructor FACE your or face away from you?

 

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A Possible Help For Alzheimer’s

Posted by terrepruitt on July 12, 2014

I recently came across some information I thought was interesting.  I had heard it before, in fact I mentioned it in my post Turmeric – Flavor With Benefits, but this time I decided to look into a bit to see what is being said.  One of the compounds found in turmeric is curcumin.  Turmeric is a product of a ground root of the Curcuma longa plant.  It is a relative of ginger.  The curcumin is what gives turmeric it’s yellow color.  So basically it is the stuff in turmeric that stains everything it touches.  While in the middle of typing this I needed to make dinner.  I used some turmeric.  This spice has been used in other cultures as a spice to flavor foods, and a medicinal spice.  It has been used as a dye.  It is a subject of study and research as it is thought to have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  There is information that has been published regarding using curcumin as a possible prevention and treatment for Alzheimer’s.  The National Center for Biotechnology Information,  U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website has information regarding a paper disclosing such information.  The UCLA Alzheimer Translation Center website also has information regarding how it might help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is thought to begin with inflammation.  So, as I have stated often in my post, I believe that chronic inflammation in the body is a disease catalyst.  It is as if the body is so busy fighting the inflammation, other things go wrong.  Chronic inflammation is being viewed as a serious health problem.  So again, as I have stated before, things, foods, that can reduce inflammation can be good to add to our diets.

The NCBI article states that the idea that curcumin might help with Alzheimer’s comes from the fact that it is less common in India where they eat a lot of food with curry with turmeric.  This idea was supported by a study in which macrophages (A type of white blood cell that ingests foreign material) was treated with curcumin.  The white blood cells treated with the curcumin were able to clear the type of plague that is thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s.  The article also indicates that since curcumin can pass through the blood brain barrier it can help at the neurological level.  Also, neurotoxicity caused by cadmium and lead was prevented.  Additionally, curcumin might help lower cholesterol.

The bioavailability of the curcumin is not very high.  So eating enough and getting enough could be an issue . . . especially at this point there might not be enough information to know what amount “enough” is.

Another post on The National Center for Biotechnology Information,  U.S. National Library of Medicine’s website claims that three patients with Alzheimer’s showed significant signs of behavioral and psychological improvement after being treated with turmeric powder capsules.  A change was seen after just 12 weeks, but a large improvement of recognizing family members was seen after a year.

There is always risks with anything if one is to use it as a treatment for a specific condition, so before you go out and purchase curcumin capsules please do some research and seek professional advice.  I do think that my adding it to my food would not be a problem.  I know in my post about turmeric I said I would, but I really dislike that it turns my dishes yellow.  But I really think the possible benefits outweigh that.  I prefer to try to use food, herbs, spices, and movement to provide nutrition and health benefits so that I can keep it healthy and hopefully not need medication.

Do you like curry dishes?  What type of curry dishes do you make?  What do you add turmeric to?  Do you have a trick to keeping it from turning things yellow?

 

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

My Assignment As A Cat Is Now Done

Posted by terrepruitt on July 10, 2014

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaThanks, God.  I had a good time.  Those last few days were rough and my mama feels really bad, but they are over now.  Hopefully she can forgive herself.  I know that was one of the lessons I was there to help her learn.  Forgiveness.  I think I did ok, not that she got it, but I was good at it, right, God?  I didn’t hold a grudge like I hear a lot of cats do.  When my parents came home after being gone I would try to do the “catly” thing and give them an attitude.  I would be at the door waiting, then when I got picked up I would strain to get away, but I just couldn’t keep it up for more than a minute.  I was always so excited they came back.  And when I got scolded for doing something I just couldn’t help myself from doing, I would often be the one to go get my mama after a short while.  I did ok, right?  I do have to say, I love my wings, but I kinda miss that short tail you gave me.  I never quite understood my mom’s fascination with my paws though.  She used to hold them and stare at them. She would squeal, “Pink toes!  Pink toes!  Pink toes!”  And sometimes hold my feet saying, “Your paws are so TINY!!!”  I guess I was smaller than a lot of cats.  But I was a fierce protector of my house, my yard, and my people!  So really I wasn’t all that small.

I really had no idea what I was in for when you asked for volunteers.  I understand that being an angel is forever and forever is a long time, so I figured an assignment would be interesting.  I had heard that it could be risky because once one volunteers it is up to you, God, to place us and sometimes the placement might be really difficult.  I know that not all angels get good homes and loving families.  So I really, really appreciate you sending me to my family.  I know I was sent to teach them and like I said, I think I did a good job.  I hope you agree.  I know they loved me with all of their hearts.  I know my mama thought I was the best kitty in the universe because she told me every single day.  And I heard her thank you for me all the time.  I heard her say I was a gift from you.  I know I was special because they treated me that way.

But, God, I am afraid I didn’t teach her all she needs to learn.  I think I left too early.  I know they were hoping I would be around for longer.  I know she still needs me.  She always gave me hugs, but lately she would give me hugs when she was sad and missed her mama.  Who is she gonna hug now, God?  Are you sure she will be ok?

I might be back to my angel form now, God, but I still have some of that cat stubbornness inside.  I want to see my mama.  I want to make sure her and my poppie are ok.  Can I see them, God, please?

Well, it is really hard to see them cry.  Can’t I let them know I am ok?

Oh, I do see that even though I am not there, my mom is still learning.  Through my death she is learning to be a little bit more compassionate.  My poppie didn’t need to learn the same stuff my mom did.

God, one more thing — for now — will they recognize me when they get here even though I don’t have my tiny paws or short tail.  Will they know it’s me?  I sure would love more belly rubs from my poppie.  I loved all the kisses my mom gave me.  Even though she gave me hundreds and hundreds every day . . . . it really doesn’t seem like enough now.  If I walk around her in a circle she might get the clue that it is me.  Then she can give my head more kisses.  Is that how it works, God?

My not being there seems to make her more sad about the deaths that have happened in her family this year.  (Sigh.)  Ok, God, thanks.  I am done looking now.  I will just trust you and your plan.  I do miss ‘em though.  Thanks, again.  I love them as much as they loved me.

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DVD Swap

Posted by terrepruitt on July 8, 2014

Do people still have DVDs any longer?  My husband and I do.  I like them.  Especially with our Netflix.  I am CONVINCED someone at Netflix is having a good laugh on our behalf.  We will be watching something . . . . it does not matter what . . . and right at the part you are waiting for it will start loading.  I swear.  At first my hubby and I got annoyed, but now it is just funny because it is so comical.  It really as if there is someone who presses a button to stop the show from playing right when it is most important.  It could be, “I know I have not told you the truth about anything your entire life.  I know you are upset with me, but I had a very good reason.  This is hard.  You see I am — LOADING! — or “I love you, Sam.  I have loved you since the moment I saw you.” (Sam opens her mouth and — LOADING! —).  We have learned to laugh.  Netflix will blame our carrier and that is fine.  I don’t care who does it, it just happens and it is funny.  So a DVD is nice, no commercial, no “LOADING”.  Not “LOADING” or getting all messed up when we stop and start the show.  No “LOADING” when we rewind.  Just nice and simple viewing of the movie or TV show.  But does anyone else have DVDs any longer?  Well, I am late in learning this but I did just see it last week and that is ——–LOADING! ——— Just kidding.  I just learned about a website called www.swapadvd.com

Cool!  I am impressed.  Granted when my hubby and I buy a DVD it is because we want to keep the movie or TV show to watch over and over.  And that might sound odd to you — it did when I first met my husband — but it is something we do.  But . . . there are a few exercise DVDs I might want to swap out.  Yes!  That is cool, huh?  You can switch up your workouts by swapping exercise DVDs.  So you could have a group of five let’s say that you do for 30 days, then put them on SwapaDVD and get a whole new set of workout DVDs.  Do that set for a month, then swap again.  Always keeping your workout varied.  Of course, my “set of five for 30 days” is just an example.  You could do one for two weeks.  Whatever . . . . the point is that you can swap and mix it up.

When I first learned about this and thought about posting about it.  I did a quick search of dance exercise DVDs and there is quite a few.  And there are over 500 10 Minute Solutions DVDs.  I love those because you can do a 10 minute workout when you are THAT pressed for time or program the DVD to play as many as you want to get a longer workout.  There are yoga DVDs.  In my quick search just now there seems to be a lot of pregnancy and yoga DVDs.  That makes total sense.  You are only pregnant for a limited time so you want to get rid of the DVD once you are not pregnant any longer.

The website’s info is below:

• You have original, playable DVDs that you do not want to keep.
• You post those DVDs to your “DVD Tower” to offer to other members.
• After you have posted the first 10 DVDs to your DVD Tower, you get 1 “gift” credit from SwapaDVD to get you started swapping (limit one per household).  After that, you earn credits by sending out DVDs to others.
• You may order available DVDs for 1 credit per disc (some DVDs do cost more than 1 credit), plus a Swap Fee of $0.49 per item (no matter how many credits are in the item).
• If you want a DVD that is not currently available, you can place it on your Wish List and we will notify you by email when it is available for you to order.  You can even have it sent to you automatically when it becomes available, with no email necessary.
• When a DVD is requested from you, we notify you by email, provide the address for you to send it out, and even provide a wrapper with postage printed on it if desired!
• Wrap and mail your DVD.
• When the requestor receives it, you earn 1 credit per disc mailed. Yes, you pay the postage to send out your DVDs, but when you request a DVD, the sender ships it to you and you pay 1 DVD credit (some DVDs do cost more than 1 credit)!
• The DVDs you receive from SwapaDVD are yours. We hope that you will repost them to share with other members when you have viewed them, but you can certainly keep them, or give them away. Similarly, the DVDs you send out to others belong to their new owners.

SwapaDVD is a great way to share DVDs with people all over the country!

I think that is pretty cool.  What do you think?  Do you still watch DVDs?  

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Fourth of July Potluck Dessert

Posted by terrepruitt on July 5, 2014

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaIf you saw my last post you know that I was going to make something that I had seen on Facebook for a party I was going to.  I thought it would be a really quick thing.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?  Never, when I make a recipe for the first time, is it a quick thing.  Also, I was reminded why I never melt chocolate.  I don’t know how.  I think the hotter the burner/pan/water the better.  NOT THE CASE!  So I attempted to make pretty Fourth of July Strawberries.  Well, I ended up with yummy strawberries, but they were far from the pretty picture I originally saw on Facebook.  Also, they took WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY longer than I thought.  I started later than I wanted which had us arriving at the party WAY later than I wanted.  But . . . . that is what I get.  And I really do know better.  I just thought . . . . wrong, obviously.  So I made Champagne 4th of July Strawberries.  The “recipe” is here along with some things I learned and/or experienced.  Perhaps this will help you when you attempt to make them next year.

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Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga

 

 

 

Champagne 4th of July Strawberries

I used:

*A large container of strawberries
*mason jars
*a bottle of sparkling wine/champagne
*about 3/4 of a package of white chocolate chips
*sugar
*blue food coloring

Wash the strawberries.  Put them in the jars, fill the jars with champagne.  Seal the jars.  Let the jars set in fridge at least 24 hours.  When you are ready to make the dessert, take the strawberries out of the champagne and let them dry.  (The dryer they are the better!)  Mix the food coloring into sugar.  Melt your chocolate.  Dip the strawberries in chocolate, then the sugar.  Place on serving tray.

 

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Ok, FIRST of all . . . . one of the best things that comes out of this is strawberry flavored champagne.  Yeah, it is flat, but . . . then it is just like strawberry wine!  (Oh, that reminds me, I have mine to drink tonight—yay!)

So, originally I used chop sticks to remove the Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yogastrawberries because I just didn’t want to stick my fingers in the champagne because I was planning on drinking it later.  Only with the first jar.  Once one jar was empty of strawberries I poured the liquid in it and then just plucked the strawberries out with my fingers of the remaining jars.  I set the strawberries on a paper towel to dry.  I patted them “dry”.  They DID NOT dry.  The chocolate did not really want to stick to the strawberry.

I do not know how to melt chocolate, so something that should have taken a few minutes took forever.  I tried three different methods and the last one . . . .the one I should have started with . . . proved to be the best, but still, as most people know (except me) HIGH heat is not good for chocolate or white “chocolate”.  But I was thinking that it would get hard while I was dealing with each strawberry so I wanted it really “melty”.  Most of you will not have the trouble with the chocolate I had.  I had seen some recipes with frosting instead of chocolate, that does not sound as good to me so I opted for the chocolate.  While I was struggling with the chocolate I kept thinking, “I should have gone with the frosting!  I should have gone with the frosting!”

I ended up having to SPREAD the chocolate on each strawberry.  So I would spread, then stir, then spread, then stir all the while battling my “too hot” chocolate.  After the first tray my husband walked by and bravely said, “Can I do anything to help you?”  And I made him stir while I spread the chocolate on the rest of the strawberries.

I prepared WAY too much sugar.  So that is why I did not give an amount in the above “recipe” because I have no idea.  I later saw something that said 1/4 of a cup.  I think I make 3/4 of a cup of sugar.  Also, I couldn’t find any type of sugar in the store besides powdered, regular, and extra fine.  So I just used regular sugar.

I found that pouring the sugar on worked well.  I used a spoon to pour it on the end of the strawberry.  Although, I think if you properly melted the chocolate and waited a bit before dipping in the sugar, it would be fine.  But with my seized chocolate (see I knew WHAT it was doing, I just didn’t know WHY) the pouring method worked great.

Put the strawberries down where you want them to remain.  Once they were on the tray they were NOT moving.  Again, that could be because of the overheated chocolate.  I will try this again.  In fact, I didn’t use all the chocolate so I am going to attempt it again.  Although I am using my seized, crumpling, leftover chocolate . . . so we will see.

The people at the party were very kind and said the strawberries were pretty.  I think they were admiring the colors not the texture.  And then once a bite was taken it didn’t matter.  Chocolate, whether white, milk, dark, or semi-sweet, on a strawberry is really yummy.  So these were ok.  Not the pretty thing I envisioned, but they were yummy.

And I learned a lot.  I look forward to my next attempt!

So, how was your Fourth of July?  Does a white chocolate dipped champagne strawberry sound good to you?

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What To Bring To That Fourth Of July Party?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 3, 2014

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaIt is the Fourth of July . . . .well tomorrow, but if you are going to a Fourth of July party you might have your “dish” decided upon.  Or you might not.  What are you bringing?  Not that you have to bring something, it just seems very traditional to have a BBQ potluck type of thing on Fourth of July.  So I was wondering what you were bringing.  I saw something on Facebook that I want to bring to the party I am attending, but then the hostess has indicated that she is having a “homemade cake that is red white and blue. (Strawberry, blueberry & almond, with stars & stripes inside!)”  That KIND OF is what I wanted to bring . . . . strawberries with red, white, and blue.  So I decided to bring “my” bean salad which is funny because it is really is a recipe from a friend of the hostess.   (Click here for the bean salad recipe.)  That friend is not attending . . . . . whew!  Naw, she wouldn’t mind that I was bringing “her” recipe.  But I really want to bring that “dish” I saw on Facebook, too.  Since I am unable to really think about being creative for a potluck, I am going to bring it.  It is a dessert type dish that needs at least 24 hours to “percolate”.  So we will see how it comes out.  And, I will be sharing about the adventure of it.  Even though it is really simple I have already taken pictures of the first step with the intention of posting about it.  Of course, it will be after the Fourth of July . . . . . but these treats are festive and can be “adjusted” color-wise to make a pretty plate for any occasion.

I needed something simple that I didn’t have to think about.  I have some work to do and I am gearing up for a really busy month of subbing and I am dealing with that “stuff”.  So the post on Facebook was perfect, until I received the menu.  So I did look for other ideas, but was not feeling very inspired.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaEven though I had already purchased the ingredients for the “other” strawberry thing, I was doing a search for things to make that would be festive I found this an “American Flag” made of kabobs of blueberries (as the stars portion of the flag), strawberries, and bananas.  The strawberries and bananas made up the stripped portion of the flag.  It looks so easy to do, and really very pretty and patriotic.  Click over to Menus4Moms to see the full picture and get some ideas on how to do it.  I am providing a tease of it so you will be sure to click over.  I am making a note of it here . . . . . like I often do so I won’t forget about it.  My blog is the easiest place for me to make notes of things.  I use it all the time for my recipes.  And grocery shopping when I want to make the recipes.

So, enough about my Fourth of July potluck party situation . . . . . what about you?  What are you making?  What are you taking?  I am excited to hear.  I know that if you comment and tell me I will be able to refer to it for next year . . . that is if you are doing a “Patriotic Dish”.  If you are doing something yummy, but not red, white, and blue, I can refer to it the next time I want to make something yummy.  So what do you got?

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More On Downward Facing Dog

Posted by terrepruitt on July 1, 2014

I once briefly wrote about the Downward Facing Dog yoga pose in my post Down Dog. This is considered a resting pose. For many; those starting out or those wanting a gentle type of workout, it is not extremely restful. There are many muscles that are being used so it is a very active pose. This pose could be qualified as a “push exercise” or using the muscles that are used for pushing. Muscles on the back of the body are considered the “push muscles”. There are many benefits to this pose.

The lower body gets the biggest stretch. If you are able to straighten your legs and place your heels on the ground the back of your legs get the stretch. The hamstrings get a good stretch along with the calves. If your heels are up there is still a nice stretch going on. With many people working in office chairs and having the posture of bent legs, tight hamstrings is a very common situation. So having heels up and bent knees is a widely used modification.

No matter how your legs are (straight or bent) your arms are holding you up. This pose does require your arms to do some work. It is considered an arm supported pose. In conjunction with latissimus dorsi, the muscles by the ribs, and your deltoids the triceps are working. So for some their arms might feel fatigued. So even though this pose is allowing for a very big stretch in the back of the legs there are muscles working on the top half of the body.

Even though the focus is in pressing the tailbone to the sky we don’t ignore the front. The front of the legs get a bit of attention, as we are lifting the knee caps.  We also have a sense of our spine lengthening.

In addition to increasing flexibility in your legs, hips, and ankles. And strengthening arms and wrist, this pose relieves depression and helps calm the mind. Additional benefits include:
-Energizing the body
-Increasing circulation
-Improving digestion
-Relieving headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
And it can be therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

I have learned to like this pose a bit more. I was reminded of what I tell my students and what we practice in Nia. Find the Joy in the movement, if you cannot tweak it until you do. I believe a portion of my dislike of this pose back when I first wrote about it, was that I was forcing it.  I was doing it in away that did not feel good for my back. Once I stopped the complete loose action of my spine, the pose became more comfortable. As it became easier there was room to move into the pose better and relax into it.

So, like many things it is good to do it at your level. As you improve it can be done better. The benefits can be received throughout the practice. It is a practice.

How is your Downward Facing Dog?

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