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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  • My Bloggey Past

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I Don’t Like Fish, But I Like This

Posted by terrepruitt on October 30, 2014

I love twists. The folding, bending, twisting poses in yoga. Right now I’m thinking about Ardha Matsyendrasas or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose. This is the one where one leg is folded or bent and the other leg is over it and you’re twisted.  Twists can be challenging, but you can often find a level of execution that you can relax into.  And as with all poses the more you practice it well, the more you can twist as you gain flexibility.  Some twists – depending on the supporting factor – can be good to practice strength and stability.  Twists are good for flexibility and digestion.

I prefer to start this pose sitting on one hip (I’ll use the left hip in the example) with my feet to the (right) side.  Using the clock as we do in Nia, sit in the middle of the clock, with the left knee at 12 O’clock.  Reach with the crown of your head to the sky.  Lengthen the neck – create space between the ears and the shoulders.  Open the chest.  Draw the shoulders back and down.  Let those shoulder blades slide down the back.  Lift the ribs off of the hips.  Gently bring the right knee up and the right foot over the left knee to rest with whole foot on the floor at about 11 O’clock.  Use your left hand to gently hold the right knee as you twist your torso to the right.  Keeping the posture that you set up before you brought your right leg over the left (lengthened spine) allow your right hand gently press into the earth behind you . . . a few inches from your right buttock.  Both hips remain on the floor.  With your posture intact relax into it for a few breaths, then untwist, and bring your feet back to the right side.   Then switch your feet to the other side and proceed on this side.

That was the gentle version.  Stay with this until you are comfortable and confident that you can retain the long straight posture through your entire back and neck before you add the rest of the pose.  The additions could be using the crook of your elbow to hold your knee more snuggly up to your rotated torso.  The supporting hand would land on the floor more towards the center of your back as you increase the depth of the twist.  As you twist further you might find your right foot past the 11 O’clock position, straying towards 10 O’clock.  Find your comfortable place, keeping the whole foot on the ground.

A deeper twist would be to place the left elbow (keeping with the original example) on the outside of your right knee.  Your left hand could even rest on the left knee.  With this the supporting hand would land on the floor perhaps just a smidge more towards the center of your back as you increase the depth of the twist or not.  This is a different type of intensity but it might not take your supporting hand that much further back.

There is even a further step where you can thread your left arm (keeping with the original example) through your right leg under the knee and the right arm behind your back so they can link up.

There is also a way to decrease the intensity and that would be to straighten the left (keeping with the original example) leg.  It would remain active.  As in you would gently press it straight out and down.  Hip, knee, ankle and toes in alignment, with knee and toes to the sky.  The straight leg version can be used with any of the aforementioned “holds” (hand holding knee, crook of elbow, elbow on other side of knee).

This twist really helps with flexibility in the hips, knees, and ankles.  I think of it as one of those “pretzel-y” yoga poses.  I have experienced that it is best demonstrated with my back toward my students so they can bend, twist, turn, and hold the exact same sides.

Do you know this pose?  Do you practice this pose?  Do you like this pose?  How do you feel after you do this pose?

 

 

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Sound Mixing

Posted by terrepruitt on October 28, 2014

Whew!  I am so relieved.  Yesterday while I was thinking about starting to write my post for today, my computer froze.  Well, it was doing the “not responding” thing.  I had been in the process of shutting all my program so that I could start over, when one of them did that thing.  Usually it doesn’t respond for a few minutes then the program closes but this was taking longer.  I was impatient and I used my master switch to shut my computer down.  Well, it wouldn’t turn back on.  I don’t mean it started to boot up and then when wanky, I mean there was nothing.  Usually when I press on button the fans start working then the computer slowly turns on.  There was nothing.  My first thought was “OH NO!” and “Well, at least I know what to ask for as a Christmas present.”  I sent out a warning to my hubby.  I was warning him that he needed to be available as my “fix-it” guy.  Then I started to think about it.  The way it didn’t turn on.  The way there was NOTHING.  I was hoping it was an easy fix.  I couldn’t remember exactly what it was but there is a part that is the first place you start when the computer goes wanky.  Sometimes, as was the case with me the computer just won’t turn on, other times when the part is going bad it affects other things.  Anyway . . . I was hoping it was an easy fix.  I talked to my hubby and he reminded me of the part – power supply – and I told him that that was it.  The way it was not turning on was definitely power.  He agreed after he came home and looked at it.  So he grab me one during his day, came home and installed it and I am up and running again.  But I didn’t use the day without a computer to think of something to post.

I have a lot of things to post about and whatnot on my computer so when I don’t have something jumping out at me then I scrounge around my computer and find something.  Not having a computer would be the same problem I had on Saturday when I didn’t know what to post about.  I didn’t have access to my computer then either so I was floundering.

So, I am going to tell you what we did in Nia class today.  You know — if you’ve read a few of my post about my Nia classes — I am always wanting the participants in my Nia classes to sound.  I want them to make noise.  You may also know that many of the Nia students are getting much better.  You may also imagine that for people to make noise in a class while they are exercising it helps if they are all making the same noise.  People feel more comfortable.  One thing you probably don’t know is that I have one student who loves when we have “information” posted on the mirrors or in the class.  So I thought I would combine my desire to help people sound with her love of “post-ups”.

I have posted about Healing Sounds that I came across and I have posted about the sounds associated with the Chakras.  Well, I decided to use a combination of them.  I have a routine I put together of Nia songs.  I went through each one and thought of the prevailing sound in the song or a sound that would fit with a move in the song.  I made signs and taped them to the mirror.

In the first song the vocals are “AH” so we used AH as associated with helping to balance the Heart Chakra.  The next song, I don’t think are actual words, but to me it sounds as if the singer is saying, “Geee” so we had EEE (associated with the Crown Chakra).  We did some kicking in the third song so we sounded HAA, which is a healing sounds attributed to calming the heart and alleviating anger.  We used SHEE in our next song, the healing sound to relieve stress, tension, and anxiety.  Our fourth song had us dancing on one leg a lot so I thought the healing sound to help with balance would be good, SSS.  In one song we did something I call the Yo-Yo because I thought Carlos has called it that.  When we make that sound we say, “yo-yo”, so I thought the sound associated with the Solar Plexas Chakra – OH, as in “go” – would be good with that song.  In one song we danced stances and used our hips so I thought the OOO sound that helps with the Pelvic Chakra would be good to make while we danced.  The second to the last song, I picked SHOO, just because I like it and I think the situations associated with that healing sound is something to clear out.  That sound is for alleviating problems associated with depression.  The last song I decided that we could make the sounds associated with body temperature.  The Nia students could pick the one they felt they needed at the moment.  There is HOO for warming the body and FOO for cooling the body.

The idea was for them to have sounds in each song that we all would be making.  Although it was a set sound or even time.  We all made the sound as we wanted.  Sometimes someone would make it and we thought that sounded good so we would join in.  Sometimes I would lead, like for our kicks we said, “HAA!” and with our “yo-yo” move we said “OH, OH!”  But they were free to do what the were moved to do.  Also . . . we did not stick to the specifics of the sounds.  We were just saying them.  Sometimes we said it with our exhale in one long sound, sometimes we made it a chant . . . it was all up to the individual.  And, as I said, sometimes we would follow someone’s lead and do what they were doing.

It was great.  It was nice to have so much noise going on.  It was nice to have people making it their own.  It is always great when the Nia students sound.

Don’t you wanna join a Nia Class?  Don’t you wanna make some noise?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Leftover Rainbow Chard To The Rescue

Posted by terrepruitt on October 25, 2014

You might know from reading my posts that 1) I teach Nia in the morning and yoga in the evening on Thursdays  2)  On Thursdays I like to have dinner at the point of readiness at which it will only take a 20 minutes tops for me to have dinner on the table  3)  I cook a lot of ground turkey and use the same flavors/spices.  So, I was so excited that on Sunday I thought ahead to what I would cook on Thursday.  I found a recipe in my “Recipes I really want to try” folder.  Artichoke hearts are not something I think of using because I didn’t always like them.  The recipe I decided to try had them in it.  I was very focused on the artichoke hearts.  My plan kind of consisted of the fact that by the time I went shopping on Thursday we would need A LOT of things.  The weekend before we had been out of town so I let the fridge get rather empty.  So this trip I was going to be grabbing some staples.  I had added a few things to my list as I thought of them.  I was focused on the artichoke hearts, that DIFFERENT flavor.  The recipe I chose was a chicken recipe and when I glanced at it when scribbling out my list I thought the chicken was shredded.  My idea was to check the recipe again before I shopped on Thursday to see if it was or not.  If it was I could have used chicken I had, if not, I needed to buy some.  I got busy and didn’t check the recipe again and I just decided I could buy the chicken and use it if I needed it or save it if I didn’t.  Something came up Thursday morning after my Nia class so I arrived home after shopping later than I planned.  After putting away the groceries and having some food, I looked at the recipe – the SPINACH and Artichoke Chicken recipe.  I hadn’t bought spinach.  I hadn’t even put it on the list.  (EYE ROLL!)

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, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCASo click here for the recipe I was going to make.  The recipe I ended up making is below.  Just some slight adjustments. (Be sure to visit Dinner of Herbs for more yummy recipes!)

When I was putting away the groceries I noticed I had a container of “fresh” baby spinach that needed to be used.  There was about a handful of nice looking leaves.  I had also noticed we had our leftover Rainbow Chard.  I had cooked the Rainbow Chard as I usually do with onions and garlic and salt in some olive oil.  I had even added a bit of Worcestershire sauce to help over power the “green” taste.  So the chard was tasty.  I was just concerned that it would get too cooked after baking for 25 minutes.  But . . . I didn’t have the time nor the desire to go out to get spinach.  I needed to use up the chard anyway so . . . why not?

Also, the store I was at did not have the usual brand of chicken breast so I bought some that I have never seen.  They were quite large.

So below is what I ended up making.  I thought to take a few pictures while I was making it, but after I got home from class and was in get-it-on-the-table mode I forgot to take pictures of it cooked.  It was good.  I will be making it again . . . . next time with spinach and then who knows.  It seems any green you would cook would work.

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Chicken With Spinach, Rainbow Chard, and Artichoke Hearts

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
garlic salt
handful of baby spinach, chopped
1.5 cups of cooked Rainbow Chard
2 6.5 oz jars of artichoke hearts, drained (save a little for the pan)*, and chopped
1/8 C sliced almonds**
2 oz Neufchâtel cheese
2-3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
Garlic powder
Onion powder

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Sprinkle garlic salt on both sides of each chicken breast.  In a large bowl mix the spinach, chard, artichoke hearts, almonds, Parmesan cheese, and powders.  Use two utensils to cut the Neufchatel cheese into the mixture.  Put the chicken in a 9X13 glass casserole dish.  Spoon the filling onto one side of each of the butterflied chicken breasts, then fold over.  Spoon any remaining filling onto each folded chicken breast, if you have enough put it all around.  Bake for at least 20 minutes . . . until chicken is cooked to your liking.

*I poured a little bit of the artichoke marinade on the chicken.
**Next time I am going to add more AND sprinkle some on top!

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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, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCAThe chicken breast I used were so huge, I actually had to cook them for 40 minutes.  PLUS, I left them in the oven with it turned off for an additional 10 minutes while I prepared our plates with the rice I served.  I don’t think that the chicken I normally buy would require 40 minutes.

Neufchâtel is like cream cheese in that it has the same consistency, so it just didn’t stir into the other ingredients.  I had to “cut it in” with two utensils.  Basically you want to make sure there are no clumps of cheese.

The store I was at had only ONE brand of Neufchâtel cheese and I don’t know how authentic it is because it tastes just like cream cheese to me.  Perhaps on my next go at this recipe I will find a brand that I feel is more authentic.  I will do some research.

Sounds yummy, huh?  Don’t you think any green that you would cook would work?  If you make it with another green (kale, collard greens, etc) let me know.  Go wild!

 

 

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Funny Name For Tea With Oregano

Posted by terrepruitt on October 23, 2014

I was looking around WordPress one day to see what other blogs I could read – besides Nia blogs – in the areas that I am interested in.  To me the way to peek around and search for other blogs used to be much easier.  I used to be able to go to a WordPress home page and the page would come up with options to search.  Now when I go to that URL it takes me to one of my admin pages.  I imagine that if I signed out I might end up at a page I could search, but the whole reason I am searching WordPress blogs is because there has to be ones I would be interested in and when I am signed in it is so easy to comment.  I have to go to a URL that I have bookmarked because it is not one that is easily remembered just to get a search field.  Anyway . . . I was looking at different blogs and I came across a post with a title that caught my eye and made me laugh so I clicked on the blog to check it out.  The post was about tea with oregano in it.  That got me thinking about the benefits of oregano.

First, the title that caught my eye was Sick People Tea.  Ha, ha, ha.  I thought that was very funny.  Sounds pretty accurate to me.  It is tea people drink when they are sick.  Still makes me laugh.  The recipe consists of lemon slices, fresh ginger, fresh or dried oregano, and water.  The instructions are found on Ali Does It Herself (click here).

I have not tried the tea.  I am not a fan of oregano.  But more importantly I have not been sick since I discovered the recipe a few days ago.  If I can remember (one reason I post things) when I do feel under-the-weather I will give this a try.  Even though I don’t really think of oregano as an herb I like.  I like its relation; sweet marjoram.

Oregano contains very high concentration of antioxidants – according to an article published in the Journal of Nutrition about the assessment of “the contribution of culinary and medicinal herbs to the total intake of dietary antioxidants”.  As a reminder, antioxidants help keep other molecules from oxidation (which can produce free radicals).  Further reminder from WebMD: “Free radicals” is a term often used to describe damaged cells that can be problematic.  Because oregano is an antioxidant it can help boost your immune system.

Many sources state the oregano is a good source of Vitamin K (needed for blood and bone health).

WebMD states that Oregano might possibly help lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol).  The site states there was clinical research that showed this occurred after taking oregano after each meal for three months.  The same page states that oregano oil killed parasites in the intestines after taking it for six weeks.

Many sites claim that oregano is helpful in the treatment of  asthma, allergies, bronchitis, colds and flus, coughing, acne, dandruff, toothaches, bloating, indigestion, menstrual cramps, arthritis, headaches, among other things, but more research is needed to prove treatment with oregano and/or its oil is effective.

There are so many variable when using herbs and things, I think it could help for some people for some issues and not others.

You may have seen the “life-hack” that states oregano oil will help deter insects.  I have haven’t tried it but it sounds great if it works.

Do you like oregano?  Do you think of Italian Food when you think of oregano?  Do you cook with oregano?  Doesn’t the Sick People Tea sound interesting?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

I Stuffed An Acorn Squash

Posted by terrepruitt on October 21, 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 Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCAA few weeks ago I received an acorn squash in the produce box.  You know me, I would have just chopped it up and roasted it.  But I decided to roast it and stuff it.  Just like the pumpkin.  I had a friend visit the day I received it and when I told her that I was going to stuff it she asked me, “So you just eat the inside?”  Nope.  Once you roast it, the outside . . . the skin, cooks up to a tender edible state.  So we just eat it.  We did the same thing with the pumpkin.  It is actually difficult to believe until you do it.  Of course, once you cook it you can always opt NOT to eat the skin, but why not?  It becomes really tender.  So anyway, I used the same recipe as the stuffed pumpkin, so this post is kind of a repeat.  The sugar pumpkin was much larger than the acorn squash.  I wasn’t really sure how much of the mixture from the original recipe I was going to be able to use.  So I cut the recipe in half . . . sort of.

I used the original amount of mushrooms and sausage.  I wasn’t sure how it would cook up.  So I just went with what I knew (seven mushrooms and 1/4 pound of sausage).  At the point when the sausage and mushrooms were done cooking and mixed together, that is when I decided I only needed half of it.  So half of it went into the fridge for another meal before I added any of the other ingredients.  But I used the same amount of herbs . . . a little less cream and one less piece of bread.  The recipe below is the ADJUSTED one.

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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, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCAStuffed Acorn Squash

1 1 pound Acorn Squash
some olive oil
salt
three mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1/8 pound sausage
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 cup cheese (small chunks)
2 tbsp ricotta
1 tbsp sherry
less than 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
handful of spinach
three slices bread – toasted and cubed

Wash the squash since you are planning on eating the entire thing!  Cut the acorn squash in half.  Scoop out the seeds.  Rub a little oil in the acorn squash and on the outside, salt inside and out, then place the halves – cut side down – on some aluminum foil on a baking sheet.  Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes (check it after 20 minutes to see if you want to flip it over or not – up to you.  It depends on how cooked the edges are getting.) After the 45 minutes you want it to be cooked, but not cooked so much it can’t stand another 45 minutes to an hour in the oven).

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, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCAHeat some olive oil in a pan with 1/2 of the chopped onion.  Once the onions are translucent put the mushrooms in the pan and cook them.  Sprinkle with salt.  As they are cooking mix in one clove of garlic.  Cook the sausage, either after the mushrooms are cooked or use a different pan.  If the sausage has a lot of grease drain it off before you add the sausage to the rest of the ingredients.

Mix the mushrooms and the sausage in a bowl.  Add the rosemary and thyme.  Mix in the remaining two cloves of garlic and the onions.  Mix in the cheese.  Mix in the sherry.  Pour a small amount of cream into each acorn half.  Then use more cream to moisten the rest of the ingredients.  As the list of ingredients state I used less than 1/4 cup.  I did not use the full 1/4 cup. Add the spinach and bread cubes last.  Mix it all carefully.

Spoon the mixture into the pumpkin.  I used the spoon to press the mixture down into each half.  I really pressed the ingredients in because I wanted it all to fit.  Then on my half I put most of the left-over-from-the-handful of spinach.

Put the squash in the oven for 45 minutes.  After about 20 minutes check on it.  The squash is done when you can gently pierce its side with a sharp object.  Check to verify the inside is cooked to your liking.  Since the mushrooms and the sausage are already cooked it is just a matter of it heating up, melting the cheese, and letting all the flavors blend.

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I served it with a green salad.  But we have salad pretty much every night.

This was good.  I liked it.  It was not as good as the Sugar Pumpkin, though.  My husband said it was as good, but I don’t think so.  I think the sugar pumpkin had a better flavor.  The pumpkin itself added to the dish.  The acorn squash tasted like squash.  Which is fine, I like squash, but it didn’t help kick this dish out of the park!

As I said, this is exactly like the stuffed pumpkin except it is an acorn squash.  But I did want to document the adjustments.  :-)

I am learning a lot of people don’t like winter squash.  Do you?  What type of winter squash do you like?  Have you ever cooked with a sugar pumpkin (besides making a pie)?

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Some Basic Fitness Guidelines Found In The Nia White Belt Manual

Posted by terrepruitt on October 18, 2014

Sometimes when I need to write a blog post I am inspired. Sometimes I have an idea. Sometimes I have something to say. Sometimes I even have a few ideas lined up and I have to make a schedule of what I am going to post and when. Then sometimes, like today, like now . . . I got nothing. When I have nothing I usually look at all my books, all my pictures, all my notes on “things to blog about”, all my “stuff” and I usually can find some inspiration to come up with something, but today nothing is coming. I have been sitting here for hours and I’ve gone through what I have access to and I am not feeling a particular pull, so I am going to share some information from my Nia White Belt Manual.  I am going to remind you that I participated in the Nia White Belt Intensive in 2008.  My manual says, “The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual, March 2001, V3″  Which is not to say the information I am going to share is out of date . . . because a lot of it is pretty general to many, many, many fitness forms.  I state date and volume information for those of you that might have a Nia White Belt Manual but perhaps this information is no longer a part of it.  Or it is worded differently.  Because Nia is always adapting and, even though these guidelines are — for the most part — general, Nia might have changed the wording or taken this piece out of the manual.

These are the basics of Basic Fitness Guidelines found in the Nia White Belt Manual *directly from the manual*:

1.  *Do not eat for at least two hours before you work out.*

2.  Wear comfortable clothing you don’t mind sweating it.  Something that makes you FEEL good, but that you don’t mind getting down on the floor while wearing.

3.  *Start easy.*  As you become familiar with the moves you can add more intensity.  But, like all things, get the basics first – crawl before you walk, walk before you run, that type of thing.

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, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA4.  *Move the way you walk, using your whole body.*  –  If that is not how you walk, practice it.  Move through the Nia workout using your entire body.  *Step heel to toe when you move to the side or to the front, and shift your weight from one foot onto the other.  Lead with your heel, gently rolling forward to the ball of your foot, and then push off to change directions as you feel your toes lightly touch the floor.*

5.  *Don’t force a motion.  Don’t strain.  Strive for a balance between control and relaxation as you listen to your body’s signals.*

6.  *Make the movements an expression of you.  This is your workout.*

7.  *Use “belly breathing.”  When you inhale, first feel your belly expand, then your ribs, laterally expand, and then your chest and clavicle rise.”

8.  *Step back onto the ball of your foot, keeping your knees soft and your heel high as you lower your body weight.*

9.  *Draw your knee up toward your chest before you kick out.*

10. *Use your arms to express your feelings, emotions, or mood.*

11. *Contract your abdominals to round the spine, don’t lean.*

12. *Get in as much non-stop movement as possible.*

13. *Take at least three classes a week.*

14. *Combine a good diet with internal and external exercise to balance your fitness program.*

 

Pretty basic stuff.  Some – perhaps – a little unique to Nia, but not so much so they can’t be applied to other fitness/dance exercise classes.

What do you think?  Do you follow these guidelines?

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Additional Play With The Nine Movement Forms (of Nia)

Posted by terrepruitt on October 16, 2014

I am learning a Nia Routine and the focus is the Nine Movement Forms (of Nia) .  All routines can be an opportunity to connect with the Nine Movement Forms, but when it is the designed focus of the routine it really helps to emphasize each one.  There are nine songs to the routine and each song was created with the specific movement form in mind.  It is an easy way to practice each form.  It is a wonderful way to learn more.  There are three arts and three movement forms from each art.  The Arts are Healing Arts, Martial Arts and Dance Arts.  The movement forms are the Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais, Alexander Techinique, Yoga, T’ai chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, and Duncan Dance.

Each movement form can be used to guide the movements.  Each movement form can energize the moves.

The below is from the Nia Technique (page 101)

(Healing Arts)

“Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais:  Reflective, healing, conscious.  Move with sensory awareness and feel life as it happens.

Alexander Technique:  Transformative, exploratory, natural.  Move as a whole person, connected up and balanced.

Yoga:  Timeless, linked, expansive.  Move in ways that link your body, mind, and spirit to the outer world.

(Martial Arts)

T’ai chi:  Flowing, tender, fluid.  Float like a balloon, and move like a willow tree in the wind.

Tae kwon do:  Sharp, powerful, active.  Move with confidence, and feel* your own speed and strength.

Aikido:  Harmonizing, peaceful, cooperative.  Connect and blend with everything around you.

(Dance Arts)

Jazz dance:  Playful, peppy, sexy.  Move with pizzazz and express your most passionate emotions.

Modern dance:  Kanguid, moody, balanced.  Create different shapes with your body.  Play with balance and contrasts.

Duncan dance:  Soulful, spontaneous, unbounded.  Move like a child enchanted by life.”

*I believe that should say “feel”

In the song matched up with the Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais we move in the space.  Sensing our bodies and the space around us.  Sensing the space with our bodies.  The T’ai Chi song has us moving fluidly both slow and fast.  The movement is a flow.  The third song takes us to a dance art and it is jazzy.  We do jazz squares and move with pep and we snap our moves.  In the song where we are focusing on Modern dance we make shapes with our bodies.  We also sense the moods created by the different shapes.  In the Duncan dance focus song we play rushing in and rushing out.  The sixth song has moves that are to be done sharp and powerful.  It is presented first slow than fast.  And that gives the participant options to do either speed.  In the song that focuses on Aikido we do a lot of turns . . . Aikido turns or four point turns.  With the eighth song we are doing a cool down and use the idea of “long bones” and “short bones” which allows us to expand and stretch connecting to the sensation of yoga.  The last song inf our floorplay, we explore the Alexander Technique by moving from the top.

Just a different way to experience the Nine Movement Forms (of Nia).  A great way to delve deeper into Nia and its movement forms.

What do YOU think of when you think of these movement forms?  What do you think of when you think of Moshe Feldenkrais?  Are you familiar with the Alexander Technique?  What comes to mind when you think of Yoga?  What do you know of T’ai chi?  Have you ever done Tae kwon do?  Does thinking about Aikido make you dizzy?  What could you show me about Jazz dance?  Are you into Modern dance?  Do you know who created Duncan dance?

 

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An Important Addition To Any Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on October 14, 2014

You may be familiar with cycles of a cardio class.  Most modalities or classes have a warm-up, a “moving portion”, and a cool down.  Not every form of cardio class includes a “flexibility” portion.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was in a training recently and they include flexibility in their class structure.  That is awesome.  Their required class structure is:  warm-up, endurance phase (cardio), cool down, then flexibility.  I love that they are including flexibility.  It is great to see.  That is four portions.  As you may be aware, Nia has seven.  We call our sections of class cycles.  The cycles are:

1. Setting your focus and intent

2. Stepping In

3. Warm up

4. Get Moving

5. Cool Down

6. Floorplay

7. Stepping out

Nia’s cycle #4, the “Get Moving” is comparable to the endurance phase or the cardio phase.  That is where we really move.  We can use big movements and move through the planes to get the heart rate up, so our cardio does not consist of running and jumping.  In order to get the heart pumping we move our body up and down, using the muscles.  We also move our arms and hands — a lot.  Could be we are punching or it could be we are just moving them in a way consistent with the body’s way but that helps get the blood moving.

Nia’s cycle #6, Floorplay, is multiple types of movement.  It is stretching and/or strengthening.  It could be rolling on the floor or even crawling.  With floorplay we do exactly that . . . . we play on the floor.  There is definitely “flexibility” going on.

I was happy to see the flexibility component added.  In fact, it might be so new that it wasn’t even included in the copy of the slides that we received for hand outs.

Flexibility is important.  We there is tightness in the muscles sometimes they do not move properly.  Where there is tightness in the joints they do not move properly.  We our body does not move properly it tries to compensate and often ends up creating more issues.  Or the tightness does not allow us to fully straighten so it might feel as if it can’t move at all so then people stop moving.  It is somewhat a cycle.  Perhaps you would like to read Simple Stretches Could Bring Relief.

Working on flexibility is just as important as working on cardio and resistance training.  Flexibility is great to include in your workout routine.  It should be scheduled into your workout time.  Just like a savasana is done at the end of a yoga routine, stretching should be part of any workout routine you do.

It would be best if you stretched the muscles that you just worked in your workout.  Being specific would be good.  But in general it seems a safe bet would be to start at the top and work your way down.  Stretching each muscles/muscle group.  As I mentioned it would be best to stretch what you just worked so if you know how to do that, spend an extra minute or two on those muscles/muscle groups.  I know it might feel like you don’t have time for it, but it will actually prove to save you time in the long run.

Do you have stretching as part of your workout?  Do you work on your flexibility?

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Beginner’s Mind

Posted by terrepruitt on October 11, 2014

In Nia there is something called “the beginner’s mind”. Since learning about it associated with Nia, I have heard about it in association with other things.  It might not always be called “beginner’s mind”, but it is the same concept, the same idea.  It is the idea of stepping into something – anything, even if is something you are well familiar with – with a mind as if you are a beginner.  Step into it as if you are hearing it, doing it, seeing it, or learning it for the first time.  Step in as if you are a beginner.

This is a wonderful tool.  When you walk into a situation with an empty cup, when it is not full of knowledge on the subject, it is able to be filled with all the information, new stuff is easy to learn, stuff you already “know” can be learned in a new way, and your cup gets filled again.

There are many reasons why you might want to practice the “beginner’s mind”.  It could be because you are required – perhaps through your company, your certifying board, or any number of things – to take a particular class.  It could be because – even though you know you don’t know everything there is to know . . . the timing of the class has you thinking it will be a waste of time.  It could be — as just mentioned — you know you don’t know everything, but the length of the class has you thinking you will only get two hours worth of information out of the twelve hours you are being required to attend.

When I take a Nia class I always step in with a beginner’s mind.  I know that no matter what routine is going to be taught it is going to be different.  Which is not to say that the teacher will not do it correctly or will not do it the way it was taught on the DVD, but it does allow me to easily accept.  I accept the way the teacher is teaching it.  It flows so much better if I am just receiving as opposed to trying to inject my knowledge and the way the routine is supposed to be done.  I accept that the teacher might not teach it exactly as I teach it.  The teacher might use different pearls.  The teacher use different cues.  She might have found that a slight change in the choreography works better for her students or even something for her.  And . . . with the idea that I am doing it as a beginner . . . instead of an expert who knows the routine . . . I can learn something.  If I just do as I am being instructed I might sense that the move she does is actually good for a particular audience.  Or the pearls that the teacher uses really matches well with the movements.  Instead of my inner dialog being the moves or worse something like, “Well, here I say, ‘XXX'” or here we move like XXX, with my beginner’s mind I am listening instead of “talking” over what is happening.  All of this could lead to discover of a new movement pattern.

In regards to a training where you are required to be, it could just make it be less dreadful than you thought it would.  If you accept the fact that it is a requirement and decide to walk in with a beginner’s mind being told stuff you already know is not such a waster of time.  Keeping the beginner’s mind and not telling your entire story to prove what you know gives you time to listen to what others know and learn about them.  And — as stated before — possibly hear the same information but in a new way.  Allowing yourself to let go and not be the expert is freeing and lets you relax into the learning process.

I was grumpy this past week because I knew I had to spend my Friday night (FRIDAY NIGHT) and all day Saturday in a training.  I was afraid that my grumpiness would keep me from learning and be recognized by others.  So I asked for help and was reminded of the beginner’s mind.  I was able to step into the class not as grumpy.  Of course, I did mention the fact to the trainer that it was a long training and the trainer – being an EXPERT trainer and pretty awesome – agreed, gave me the sympathy I wanted and boom!  I got over it.  :-)  With my “cup” empty . . . I learned some cool things!

Do you every have the opportunity to practice the “beginner’s mind”?  Have you every practice the “beginner’s mind”?  How did practicing the “beginner’s mind” work for you?  

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Sometimes I Just Say Yes

Posted by terrepruitt on October 9, 2014

This week I met with a friend and she asked me, “So how do you come up with things to post on your blog?”  It was very funny that she asked me that on that day because that day I was struggling to come up with something.  It is funny how some days it is as if something to write about is RIGHT there and other days I can think about it from the moment I get up until the last minute and still be struggling.  I am very particular about my posting schedule.  There are blogs that I like to read and I will go to them and there is nothing.  I will continue to go and there is nothing and after a week or two I forget to keep checking.  I like to post on a schedule so if you come to my blog you know something will be here.  But that is not always easy.  Especially since my idea was to post something about health and fitness.  There are so many blogs and websites about that.  The magazines all have both and you know how many magazines there are so the market is inundated with the same stuff.  And it is like the cooking shows.  If one is cooking with eggplant that week, they all are.  They are all talking about the latest fad, the latest exercise, the latest study.  Sugar is bad, eggs are bad — eggs are good, sugar is the devil — eggs might be ok, sugar is crack.  Just as examples.  And, for me, sometimes there is so much going on that I don’t have time to do the research and check the latest facts.  Life is busy.  Sometimes I have to concentrate on teaching.  Sometimes I have so much other stuff going on (you know in the last year I’ve had a lot of “stuff).  Sometimes I feel my blog suffers.  But I also think that when I just sit down and write . . . tell you what is going on (ya know when I don’t have time to research and fact check) . . . you guys seem to like that.  How about a nice share today?  You know I love to share.

I am lucky enough to be a part of a teacher rotation for a Nia class on Sunday.  So this past Sunday I taught at they YMCA.  It was the largest class I have taught there.  It was really nice.  The students were really into it.  It is always such a moving experience to have twelve bodies enjoying the dance.  Monday I am subbing for someone the month of October.  That class was a joy.

My Tuesday/Thursday class is making me so proud and happy.  Most of the people who attend Tuesday also attend Thursday.  This group is really beginning to “get their Nia on”.  They are actually sounding.  It used to be that I could tell the area of the room where the “whoo” (or whatever) was coming from . . . but this week, I didn’t know.  There were so many “whoos” and things I didn’t know who was making the noise.  There were doing so well, that I said I was going to listen.  So I was silent and they “ooed”!  It was magical!  I was so happy.  I was silent a bit more just to hear them.  And they kept going!  It used to be they would stop after the first check.  I would say, “I’m gonna do a sound check.”  And the whole room would make noise, then the next time . . . . crickets!  But not this week . . . they kept right on making noise!

One thing that happened, I already shared on Facebook, but I am going to share it here too, is the collective expression of dismay at our music being interrupted by lobby noise!  There are a lot of lovely songs in our Nia music.  We had just begun to get into the movement of the dance.  And the majesty of the song was settling in over the room when there was this LOUD noise from the lobby.  And the whole class went, “Awww!”  Even though the noise would not have ruined the song or the dance, it just BURST into the sacredness of it.  Two people went to shut the dance studio doors and I turned up the music and we danced on, but it was nice to see that other people appreciate the music and sacredness of it as well.  We like to experience without BIG LOUD noise.

My Wednesday class was full of new students.  And by full I mean, my “regulars” we not in attendance so it was just new students.  Fun stuff!

Also, thanks to one of my Nia students I had the opportunity to share information about Nia to a club in the area.  While it was understood prior to the meeting that nothing may become of it — as in, Nia may not be taught at the club — it was nice to be able to introduce people to Nia that had never heard of it before.  I love to talk Nia so to be able to explain to people who might host it was awesome.

My yoga class turned into a private session of sorts.  I was able to give one of my students some information that will assist her with something that she would like to improve upon specifically.  It is one thing for me to do asanas that can help, but we were able to target some movement habits that she will be able to pay attention to.  We both left feeling accomplished!

Then at the last minute when an instructor who became ill asked me to teach Nia for her students tomorrow, I said yes.  So instead of teaching one Nia class, I am doing two . . which I have done before but at different facilities.  Not two . . . back to back at the same place where I have already taught twice this week.  So what that means is . . . I need to get my post up and get going on deciding on something to teach.  So like I said in the beginning, sometimes I have to concentrate on teaching Nia!

So thank you for listening.  It was a nice week.  How was your week?  Do share?

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