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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Posts Tagged ‘cardio workout’

Head and Eye Movement In Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on July 31, 2014

One of Nia’s 52 Moves is Head and Eye Movement.  Yes, we intentionally and specifically move our head and our eyes in Nia.  A long time ago when I first started teaching I had a student who had come to about three classes and after the third class she said something to affect of since starting Nia she actually moves her head to look around while driving.  So my first thought was, “Yay!  Nia helps make people better drivers.”  If people are not moving their heads and then start doing so after Nia – YAY! – especially while driving.  Nia really is about full body health and movement.  So we don’t do just a cardio workout that works your heart.  We don’t do just a dance exercise that moves your legs.  We don’t do just some choreography that involves our hands.  We involve the whole body.  As you may have surmised from the post on Creepy Crawlers.  It is very important for people to move their heads.

I see a lot of people with very stiff necks who in fact do not move their heads.  There are a lot of reasons.  I know some reasons include stiff muscles.  They can’t move their head without pain because their muscles are not used to moving or are holding too much stress.  I know some people who can’t move their head because it causes them dizziness.  I also know some people who rid themselves of stiff necks and dizziness by moving their head.  Moving one’s head will not solve everyone’s issues of stiff necks or dizziness, but I do know some people who were helped by it.

In Nia we move our head a lot.  We engage our eyes a lot.  But as with all of the 52 Moves of Nia there is a specific way to do it.  In just practicing Head and Eye Movements you look all around and move your head to match your gaze.  Letting the action of your head follow the intent of your eyes.

Just like with Catching Flies, this move requires looking BEFORE moving.  So LOOK and then move the head so you are facing the direction you are looking.  As I said look in all directions.  Look up, then move your head so you are facing up.  Look down, then move your head so your chin is at your chest.  Look left, then turn your head left.  Look right, then turn your head to the right.  Look in a different direction then move your head so you are facing that direction.  After looking around nod your head “yes”, shake it “no”, roll the head around both directions.  Vary the speed at which you do all of this.  Be aware of any sensations that come up.  Also, if you are not accustomed to moving your head be careful that you don’t get dizzy or too dizzy.

As I mentioned some people get dizzy from lack of moving their head.  It is not because of any condition, it is just lack of practice.  So, be cautious when you first practice Nia’s Head and Eye Movement.  Now, go, look around, move your head.

How do you feel when you move your head?  Do you move your head around?  Do you have a stiff neck?  Do you get dizzy when you move your head?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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?

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

First Degree Nia Black Belt Guest Teacher

Posted by terrepruitt on May 1, 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

This class was held in San Ramon on April 30, 2014!

As you probably know I teach a dance exercise called Nia.  It is a cardio workout.  If you have read any of my information on Nia you will also be aware that many of the people who practice Nia consider it to be more than JUST a cardio dance exercise.  But . . . on the surface that is what I call it, in brief, to let people know what it is.  If they are interested then we can discuss some of the other facets of it.  Like many exercise disciplines there are star teachers or celebrities.  I’ve talked about that before.  There is always some people who were there from the beginning and so they have the most experience and often times get categorized into star or celebrity “status”.  Yesterday we had a long-time Nia Practitioner and Teacher do a 007 Nia class.

Jason Alan Griffin is one of the first First Degree Black Belts.  Nia has created an additional training intensive, they have added a “degree” to the black belt.  It is so new that not a lot of information is out regarding that, and I didn’t even think to ask Jason about it.  I am Facebook friends with Jason and yesterday was the first time we met in person.  Jason likes to travel, so he drives around with his dog River bringing Nia to cities around the United States.  He created a routine he called Bond Girls, but recently re-named it to Goldfinger and that is what he is delivering on his current trip.  He was in the East Bay last year (I believe) but he packs his travel schedule so tight he doesn’t stay long and so I missed the classes he had.  Maybe he was in the North Bay too.  I don’t remember.  I couldn’t make it.  So this trip I was very excited to get to take his class, meet him, and his dog.

Jason is one of those dog daddies that takes his pet parenting seriously and he posts a lot about his dog.  So through his Facebook and blog I feel I know both of them a bit so I was happy to finally get to meet him.

Not to use the current happenings in my life as an excuse, but I found myself leaving for the class much later than I intended and also the directions I looked up gave me a different travel time than the day before.  I ended up being late for class.  And while I felt very bad about that . . . I decided to forgive myself which enabled me to jump right in to his already-started-class.  It was so fun.

While the invitation to dress up in something shimmery was there, I completely forgot, but Jason did not disappoint.  He had on some shiny silver pants.  He led us through many of the 52 Nia moves while we focused on pelvis, chest, head.  We used our spear fingers in true James Bond fashion.  We danced in our own body’s way and laughed and sang while doing so.

Every time I take a Nia class I realize I am not a Nia student often enough.  I love being able to laugh at myself because I don’t get the moves on the first (or how many ever it takes) go around.  I love being able to just follow as someone else’s lead.  I love being able to learn new pearls and moves.  It is so fun.  I am so glad that I was able to join the East Bay Nia community while they hosted Jason’s class.  It was super fun.  I want Jason to come to San Jose to deliver his FreeDance Playshop.  :-)

I hope you jump at the chance to dance with Jason when he is in a city near you.  He is really fun to dance with.  And if you are lucky, River will sneeze on you!

Thanks, Jason and River.  I look forward to your next visit!

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

Jason leading the class in his silver pants!

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

Janet and I doing our Bond Girl impressions – with spear finger

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

Jason and River. River was more interested in the grass than posing!

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

Nia Shines

Posted by terrepruitt on January 21, 2014

Nia is a cardio dance exercise . . . . yes, it is much more than that, but that is sometimes where we start.  The Nia Technique produces DVDs that teachers use to learn the Nia routines that have been choreographed by the Nia Trainers.  The teacher-learning-routines process is similar to many exercise formats that are taught in group exercises classes across the board.  Most often the music is adored by my students.  They don’t like every song, but I would begin to wonder if they did.  Nia uses a large variety and I would think it odd if EVERY SINGLE SONG was liked by every student.  Every so often though there is a song that someone asks about.  They want to know who sings it.  They want to know the words.  All of Nia routines are available for purchase as an album*, but sometimes it is just a song.  Currently I am teaching a Nia routine with one of those songs.

The song is Shine by Joshua.  The lyrics are as follows:

People want freedom in life
People want freedom in life
come seek a, come seek a
People want freedom in life

Verse I
(Shine within)
My sun is blossoming my dreams
aloft amidst the winds and the promises they sing
walking in the stream
lovin’ runs often in my veins
become light
so I breathe softly when it rains
crossing over phases of the moon seas change in a whisper
risen from the chambers inner wisdom
painted with the pigments of a vision(ary)
dancing in the plumage of illuminary
I ruminate the way that newness carries me towards my selfness fragrances in praises form a shelter
waves of vibrations pour over relics saturated in wellness precious moments envelope me so my language is angelic
tell it – like a picture spoken in scripture
listen – to the morning born from hope in the mists of enigmas ocean of rhythms sweet ambrosia of beginnings openness is living

Chorus
People want freedom in life
come seek a
way of living, breathing the light
it’s gonna be the
eve before the dawn song before the rhyme
open up and let your love shine
(love shine)
(repeat)

Verse II
Rays of sun trickle down my throat coated with sounds of growing abound
and hope flutters on a melody telling me to develop these heavenly grounds of mine
*Shine* *Shine*
Soul surfing the divine
nurturing intuitions relearning to visualize the moment’s gift it’s open like an infant’s mind
an intimate design a wish up in the sky wisps by “Spread your wings! Come let your spirit fly!” (fly fly)
Ascending inside levity mending the mind states to befriend a sublime face of a love you always knew and present beside waves of benevolence, rise, bathe and through cleansing your eyes you’ll see:
that love was always you!
flow through the mirror to embrace your destiny it’s beckoning so hold it dearly to your breast and feel the blessings the fibers of your being vibrant reasons to let me be me – free
a love shining to eternity, a love shining to eternity, a love shining to eternity, a love shining to eternity, a love shining to eternity, a love shining to eternity, a love shining to eternity, a love me to . . .

Chorus

Let your light shine, let your light shine
Let your dreams shine, let your light shine
Let your heart shine
Let it all shine, shine, shine
Shine now, shine now
(repeat)

Chorus

Heart shine, dreams shine, mind shine
I shine, you shine, we shine… we shine… we shine…

Composed, written, arranged, performed,
produced, and engineered by Joshua Seaman.

Give it a listen at:  http://music.relicpro.com/shine/  You can buy it from this site for a dollar, or you can *buy the album that this song is on from: http://www.nianow.com/product/music/r1-cd

I first looked up the words when I heard the part I have in bold.  I love that.  I hope you enjoy this song.  It is a look into some of the music that we dance to in Nia.

What type of music do you like to workout to?  Do you have a favorite song that really helps you get your “exercise on”?

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

Sounds – Singing – Its All The Same

Posted by terrepruitt on January 14, 2014

You might have read my post about Sounding in Nia.  That is what we call it when we make noise in a Nia class — sounding.  You might have read my post about Reasons for Sounding in a Nia Class.  Even if you did not read that post, I bet you are aware of some of the reasons to make noise in an exercise class.  One of the biggest ones is to ensure breathing.  If you are making noise you are breathing.  Knowing the students are breathing is a HUGE relief to an instructor.  Some of the other reasons sounding is good are it can help stabilize your core, it can act as an emotional, spiritual, or physical release, and it can be really fun.  Sounding can be noises/words such as HA, HI, HEE, HOO, WAH, WAHOO, etc.  Sounding can also be singing. With “Nia Music” sometimes singing is just sounds.

I always invite the Nia participants to sing.  Often times I tell them it is really easy because there are no words.  I have often wondered how the singer sings.  I have often pondered how it is done.  Then Nia put out this video*.  It is an interview with Carl Tietze whose song Am I The One, is on the Sanjana Album.  Sanjana is the first Nia routine I learned.  In the interview Carl talks about how he invited a vocalist, Jen Folkner, to listen to the song.  He said he put the headphones on her and most of what we hear on the song is from her first time hearing the music.

She is sounding.  Granted, she is doing is beautifully.  I don’t want to put the pressure on and say this is what we do or need to do in a Nia class.  No, not at all.  I am just saying that it is fine to MAKE NOISE.  I did laugh when I heard this interview because I kind of imagined that songs that have no real words but are just a singer making noise was done like this.  I imagined the musicians just saying, “Go!” and the singer just letting her/his voice come out.

I was recently very amazed and in awe of a woman who had never been to a Nia class before – in fact, before class she asked me what it was.  So she didn’t even know what type of exercise/workout it was.  And yet, while she was moving to moves she had never done, she was singing.  The song was one of those songs without words, but she was just making noise in a “singing voice”.  It was great!  I was very impressed.

Making sounds or singing in a group workout class is not something that comes easy to everyone.  Sounding while learning moves doesn’t come easy to people who normally make noise, so it was especially fun to have her in class.  Plus she had that much more fun and received the benefits of sounding.

I hope this interview helps give you a glimpse into making sounds.  I hope you are able to experience the benefits of making noise while do your cardio dance.  You know it is fun.

Do you sing while you dance in your fitness dance class?  Don’t you love the way singing and dancing makes you feel?

*Click here to go to Nia’s website to sign up for the monthly newsletter!

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

Practicing Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Posted by terrepruitt on November 5, 2013

Nia is a cardio dance workout.  Come to a class, dance, sweat, get a workout.  Nia is also a practice, like yoga is a practice.  Just like yoga you can go to a class, participate, and get a good workout in and go home.  Or you can take some of the ideas and principles with you into your daily life.  If you chose, you can decide to apply some of the body mind “stuff” to your daily life.  All up to you.  Now the reason I explain all that is because – keeping in mind that Nia is a practice (for those that want to take it that far) – there are a lot of things to, well, practice.  And Nia HQ is great about creating and supplying continue education for its members.  Also, it is great about writing articles to help people learn more about the practice of Nia.  One such article that was recently posted is Move Beyond Your Comfort Zone.

It talks about how each individual has different comfort zones so that “moving beyond” would be something different to each individual.  It reminds us that moving beyond the place where we feel comfortable is “the best thing to keep the body and brain strong”. It shares a story and gives examples of comfort zones. I do hope you click the link above and pop over to NiaNow to read it.

Here I am going to share other ways that Nia helps us do “the best thing to keep the body and brain strong” by helping us out of our comfort zone.  One way is dancing to music we don’t like.  I know . . . I can hear a lot of people say, “But WHY?”  Well, that is part of moving out of our comfort zone.  There seems to be some beats that just call to everyone.  That one song that is popular on the radio that gets everyone’s foot tapping and head bobbing.  Those songs are easy to dance to.  The universal dance song.  But the songs that come on that you might find yourself reaching for that tuning knob are great songs to step out of the comfort zone to dance to.  They are the ones that your regular, normal, COMFORTABLE dance moves just might not fit with.  The song that might have you using different muscles than you are used to.  The song that might have you moving in an entirely different way . . . . away and out of your comfort zone.  That is one reason why that Nia routine might have one of THOSE songs in it.

Then there is the song you just love.  The second it begins to play in class you are so ready to just sink into it, then your teacher says to move in a way that is in COMPLETE contradiction to the tone of the song.  “WHAT?  You want me to do a strong block to this sweet, sweet melody?”  Moving in a way that seems opposite from what the music is “telling” you can be WAY out of some people’s comfort zones.  It is a great way to keep the body and brain strong.

Playing with emotions and acting “as if” can be beyond some comfort zones.  Allowing yourself to just let go and dance without caring what you look like or if your “form” is perfect can be a big step away from some people’s comfort zones.  In one of my posts recently, I wrote about “messing up” . . . . . that can be MILES away from some people’s comfort zones.  Sounding can really be a big stretch for some individuals.  Not everyone is used to making noises while they workout.

These are just a few examples of what we do in Nia classes to help us step out of our comfort zones.  As stated, the reason is to work the brain as well as the body.  Moving out of our comfort zone helps mix it up.  Keeps the body and brain moving in different ways.  So the next time you feel resistance, let go and know you are doing something good for your body and brain.

Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone?  

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

Breathing – It’s A Good Thing

Posted by terrepruitt on July 11, 2013

Many people hold their breath while working out.  Or even just concentrating.  I was recently learning something and concentrating really hard and my husband said, “Are you holding your breath?”  I burst out laughing because I was in fact holding my breath.  I didn’t even realize it until he asked.  I thought it was funny that I was holding my breath and I thought it was extra funny because I remind people to breathe all the time.  Exercising and concentrating are two things that make people hold their breath so if they are concentrating while exercising it makes sense that it happens.  Also people tend to hold their breath when lifting something heavy.  This type of  maneuver or effect is called the valsalva maneuver or valsalva effect.  While some people who do heavy lifting claim it is good to do the valsalva maneuver and that it helps with the lifting others say it is not good and it does not help.  For me and my students breathing is ALWAYS in order.  How you breathe depends on what you are doing.  If you are lifting weights or doing exercises your breathing is different from when you are doing a cardio workout, such as Nia.

Breathing allows oxygen get to the muscles.  The muscles need that.  For me, I find that when I breathe I can move better.  That was actually the point of my husband asking me if I were breathing.  He could tell by the way I was moving that I was not breathing.  He was across the room and he could tell.  Even though the movement I was doing was very small by holding my breath my movements did not flow and were very sporadic.

One of my husband’s favorite sayings is “If you do not breathe correctly, you do not move correctly.”  He got that from a campy film called  Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins from 1985, but, I’ll be darned if it is not 100% accurate!

One way trainers and instructors ensure breathing is to have the client/student talk.  When you are talking you are breathing.  In Nia we sing, laugh, shout, and in general make all types of noises.  In Nia we call it sounding.  By engaging in sounding we are ensuring we are breathing.  It is necessary for the body, but it is also fun for the spirit.

A sound made my a sharp exhalation helps both with stabilization of the core, but to me it seems to do a better job of engaging the core muscles than just holding my breath.  This method could be utilized during lifting or an agility move.  Sometimes when doing an exercise that is challenging it can help to pant with either your tongue out as an animal would or with semi-pursed lips.  Also when a muscles seems fatigued it often helps to take that extra deep breath.  No matter how you breathe remember it really is important to do so.  And even though it might sound silly that we “forget” to breathe, it is a common occurrence.  So practice remembering to breathe.  Breathing is a good thing!

Do you ever find yourself holding your breath?  When?

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

It’s Nice To Hear Someone Agree With Agility

Posted by terrepruitt on October 18, 2012

I teach a Nia Class for the city of San Jose.  The city has it set up pretty cool in that instructors can have a day and a time at a specific community center that we can call “my” class and we can also teach other people’s classes as a substitute.  We have this forum where we post requests and needs.  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, ZumbaMany instructors have full time jobs and kids so they have other responsibilities that call them away from their regularly schedule class.  Plus there is always a cold, a serious illness, or a bump/bruise or strain.  This network of teachers allows us to live our lives and take care of ourselves when necessary.  It also helps expose our community to different types of workouts and different teachers.  I have shared before how at one point I was trying to make Nia be more like whatever it was I was subbing for.  If you haven’t read that post, I am sure you might be able to imagine how that turned out.  It made this Nia teacher very unhappy and I don’t think it was a great service for the attendees either.  One of the reasons I applied for the job with the city was so that I could share Nia with the community.  Recently I taught Nia as a substitute class for Zumba, and my thoughts on Zumba and agility were confirmed.

A few of the student came up afterwards to talk to me about Nia.  Some shared how they like it because it was gentle yet allowed them to work up a sweat and get a great workout.  One woman made me giddy because she said the same thing that I had just decided about Zumba.  It took me a while to get to this conclusion and she jumped to it her very first time.  She said that Nia is more complete.  She said that she loves Zumba, she does it three times a week, but the moves are not completed.  She said it was nice to be able to finish a move.  Nia allows you to move through the entire range of motion, through the entire range of the joint.  I loved that she was able to get that from one class.  I also love and appreciate that she can like both, Nia and Zumba.  They are both cardio dance exercise workouts, but they are different.  Seeming to always have to explain the two together, I am always thinking about it and just recently reached the agility conclusion. I explained in one of my posts how I feel Zumba seems to only move in one sensation.  Well, having gone to a training and experienced the Zumba Fitness Program I believe a Zumba class can move in all five, but it concentrates on agility and touches on the rest.  But they are in there if you know to look for them.

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, ZumbaSo this student who was talking to me after class picked up on that fact that in Nia we move through all five sensations and Zumba focuses on one.  This is not to say that is bad, this is just again pointing out how they are different.  Also this is me sharing that it is not just other Nia teachers and my Nia students that think that, it is other people who are more familiar with Zumba than Nia.  This is just a happy confirmation post sharing that I felt I got it right when I explained Nia and Zumba in that way.  Yay.

Both Nia and Zumba are great fun.  I encourage you to do whatever it is that will get you up and moving!  If you decide what type of movement you want it can help you decide what you can do to get it.

Do you like to take different types of exercise classes?  Do you like to just stick to one type of class?

Posted in Nia, Zumba | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Another Zumba and Nia Comparison

Posted by terrepruitt on June 30, 2012

I teach Nia.  I have been teaching Nia for three and a half years.  Not as many people who I talk to have heard of Nia as have heard of Zumba so I am constantly being asked the difference between Nia and Zumba. Since I am often asked I am often thinking about them and comparing them. First, they are actually the same in that music is played and participants dance to it.  Second, in both the instructor leads the participants through the various dance moves.  Third, participants of both claim they are both fun. One difference is Nia is an experience in five sensations, Zumba seems to concentrate on one.

The experience is such a big part of Nia we actually call them the five sensations of Nia.  I have posted about them before (FAMSS).  They are the sensation of flexibility, of agility, of mobility, of strength, and of stability.  In a Nia class your body will move in a way that allows you to sense the energy moving out and away.  You will bend and stretch to play with flexibility, either retaining what you have or improving upon it.  There are moves in the routines that require the start and the stop.  The movement that is agility could be done with our feet, our arms, our hands, our bodies, our heads or a combination of body parts but we sense the start and the stop.  With every routine there is a lot of mobility, some routines have more than others, but all of them that I have experienced have a lot.  With mobility it is just the same as agility in that it could be a body part that is moving or our whole body.  Whatever the case there is a lot of movement from each joint that helps create a healthy joint by allowing the fluid to move to it and within it.  Then we also play with strength.  We might squeeze our muscles sensing the energy moving in as if the bones are being hugged by the muscles.  We might do squats or sit-ups, punches and/or kicks, but there is time where we play with strength.  I say Nia is very big on balance because we do many moves that requires us to be stable.  Many of our moves are balancing on one leg, could be a kick, could be a stance, but it requires stability.  Moving from one move to the next often requires us to call upon our stability.  In a Nia routine we experience all of these sensations.  I’ve reached the conclusion that Zumba is primarily agility.

In Zumba the moves are always fast.  So it is a constant state of start and stop.  The only sensation I sense while doing Zumba is agility.  Fast start, fast stop . . . .  even when there is a stretch where your muscles are yearning for a second to move to their fullest length, it is a fast stretch that does not allow for the muscle to be fully stretched.  Doing a full hour of agility is not a bad thing at all.  It can be fun and it can produce a lot of sweat.  And many of us are programmed to think that sweat equals a good workout.  I think that if you are adding Zumba to a stretching program that has some balance practice in it that is great.

I am also a believer that there are a lot of things that compliment Nia too.  I actually think that if you like Nia and Zumba and you are able to do both that is a nice combination.  You get two different types of cardio.  One that is a workout in the sensation of agility and one that can move you through more use of the entire body to get that heart pumping.

I really believe that whatever gets you moving is GREAT.  I think that you have to like what you do in order to make it a constant in your life.  So Zumba, Nia, Jazzercise, U-Jam, yoga, kickboxing, bootcamp, weight training, whatever works for you is great.  Do what you will do!  That is the key!

It is that I am always asked about the difference between Zumba and Nia that I am always thinking about it and this was my latest thought after I did a Zumba class.  I think I posted before about how I am left wanting to extend and finish my moves in Zumba and it dawned on me that it is the sensation of agility that is predominant in Zumba.  Some Zumba classes I have attended do take a song to stretch at the end, but not all of them.  So I guess it depends on the instructor.  Nia instructors are encouraged to infuse their classes and the routines with their personalities, so I am sure that every Nia class has a few differences too.

Both Nia and Zumba are great cardio workouts.  It just depends on what you want to do during your workout and what you want to get out of it.  Do what you will do!

So, what is it that you do? 

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Four-wall or Cooking – An Experience In All Sides

Posted by terrepruitt on April 7, 2012

In Nia we do something that is called cooking all four sides.  When I first learned this I thought it to be just when we were on the ground.  “Cooking” to me was the “side” of the body that was on the ground.  When you “cook” all four sides you allow your belly, your back, your left side, and your side to “cook” on the ground.  So basically you are lying on a different “side” at one point in the dance.  In one routine, I can’t remember which one, while we are standing we turn and face one wall, then turn again, then turn again, then turn again and Debbie called it cooking all four sides.  I thought, “Wow!  I hadn’t thought to call THAT cooking all four sides, because (as I mentioned) I think of ‘cooking’ as being on the floor.”  But it works.  We are “cooking” or facing all sides, all walls.  In country line dancing we call it a four-wall dance.  Often times there are a few steps then a turn, a few steps, then a turn, and so on, eventually you face all four walls.  There are two wall dances and maybe even three, but the point is you face a different direction.  Generally the back becomes the front and the front becomes the back.

ance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,I’ve posted about Nia Routines before.  I explained a bit about how the routines are created and teachers can purchase them.  Nia routines used to be choreographed and performed on the training DVD by Debbie Rosas or Carlos Rosas or both.  I’ve also posted about the fact that Nia morphs and changes.  At the end of 2010 Carlos AyaRosas, the male co-creator of Nia retired.  As with any company that wants to continue on after a founder retires Nia had to make some changes.  To me it seems as if Nia had been thinking about this for a while.  I know when I attended my Nia White Belt Intensive both Debbie and Carlos talked about Nia continuing on after they leave.  So it seems to me that they had plans and ideas for how Nia will change.  I think it is evident in the way that Nia does not seem to be a flag flapping in the wind, it has true direction.  With the exit of Carlos a new era has been born.  Debbie is now co-creating routines with Nia Black Belt Trainers.  I love Nia and enjoy both the routines Debbie created and the ones Carlos created.  There are some I like more than others.  I am not saying that I like the new one I have seen more than I liked the “old” ones, I am just saying, “Yay!  Nia is not disappointing me.”  The new routine I have looked at is just as fabulous as the old routines I love. 

As a little background:  In order to teach Nia we must pay a licensing fee.  When we pay the fee we are purchasing the right to teach, continued education, and four Nia routines.  We are free to purchase additional routines when they are available, but four are included in the licensing fee and we are obligated to learn at least four a year.  I just recently renewed my license and ordered my routines.  I ordered two that are older (from 2007 and 2008) and two that are considered our new ones, dated 2011.  Usually I skim through all four before deciding which one to learn next.  One of them I ordered I have done once before in a class so I know that I like it and I was planning on learning that next, but my curiosity about one of the new ones got to me.  I decided to learn it next after having watched it.

I am very excited about this routine because it has the “four-wall” or cooking all four sides technique in it.  The routine I am currently teaching has it too but only briefly, this new routine has this technique in more than one song.  Since a Nia class is not a dance lesson we just lead follow like other cardio workout classes the cooking all four sides is to not a series of complicated steps, but it does allow us to face other directions.  In FreeDance there is always opportunities to face many directions and sometimes in the Nia movements alone one can be turning far enough to achieve facing another wall, but this is choreographed to have the entire class turn.  It allows the class to see a different perspective.  I think it is fabulous.
 
It could be making me nostalgic and thinking of country dancing days . . . but more so, I am excited to have this technique used in a Nia routine so my students can see things from the front if they are always in the back or the back, if they are always in the front.  It will help move the class in new directions and Beyond!

Have you ever thought about the fact that a cardio dance class is pretty much like a line dance? 

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