Posts Tagged ‘Nia Dance’
Posted by terrepruitt on May 9, 2013
I teach Nia. I actually like to say I lead Nia because to me teaching a dance is more instructive. What I think of as teaching is the type of class where the instructor demonstrates a step or two then the students do the steps a few times, then the instructor demonstrates more steps and the students practice them. Eventually the steps are strung together in a dance. But in my Nia cardio classes it is just lead follow. I do – you follow. I give verbal instructions and/or verbal guides but it is not the type of instructional class where I show you, then you do, then we practice and then we string all the steps together. So I guess it is not an “instructional” or “instructed” dance class. But I do teach by example. You follow my lead. In order to be a Nia teacher I had to take the Nia White Belt Intensive. I have talked about this before, but to review the White Belt is the first level of Nia. The White Belt Intensive is over 50 hours of instruction and is open to anyone. Individuals do not have to have the intent to teach. The Nia White Belt Intensive is about the body so anyone is welcome to join and learn. In order to be a Nia teacher there is an additional licensing fee. The fee is due annually and it includes four routines that we, as teachers, agree to learn per year. I was just looking at my DVDs. I have two routines that I have not learned. I have 19 that I have learned. I have been teaching almost four and half years so I am keeping up with the four per year schedule.
Now, I want to clarify that I have learned 19 routines. That means that I basically did the bars and have shared 19 routines with my students. That means I roughly know those 19 routines. I could stand up right now and lead you through some of them, but some of them I would have to look at my bars, and some of them I would have to study my bars. But I also feel I am better at just doing. While I want to do the routine as per the choreography, I am not as afraid as I once was to just DO the routine.
When I am preparing to do a different routine for my class sometimes I have a chance to practice and sometimes I don’t. I will look at my bars for each song. Sometimes I look at the first few lines and think, “Oh yeah, I know this one.” Then when I am leading it my body and my mind don’t remember it as well as I thought and I just dance through it, but then when I get home I look more closely at my bars or re-watch the DVD. It really is about moving and having fun. As long as we are moving and we are doing it close enough then it is good. Then, like I said, I come home to get the choreography better established in my head and body!
The routines I have learned are:
Alive – Carlos AyaRosas
Amethyst – Debbie Rosas
Aya – Carlos Rosas
Beyond – Debbie Rosas and Ann Christiansen
Birth – Debbie Rosas and Collaborators
Canta – Carlos Rosas
Clarity – Carlos Rosas
White Belt Dream Walker – Carlos Rosas
Earthsong – Carlos Rosas
Humanity – Carlos AyaRosas
Miracle – Carlos Rosas
Opal – Debbie Rosas
Passion – Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas
Sanjana – Debbie Rosas
San Medusa – Helen Terry
Sexi – Carlos Rosas
Velvet – Debbie Rosas
Vibe – Debbie Rosas
The names of the routines that I have on my shelf that I need to learn are Butterfly and Oshun. I just renewed so I have four routines that I need to pick out as my new routines. Picking routines is always a challenge because everyone has such different tastes. Some people LOVE, LOVE, LOVE some of the routines I have and I don’t love them. So for me it is a difficult decision. I try to pick routines that I think my students will like, but then that is just a guess. I know which ones they like out of the ones I teach because they request them often.
If you were just picking a routine from the name which one would you pick? As a Nia student which one out of this list is your favorite? What about Nia teachers, which is your favorite out of this list?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: Ann Christiansen, Canta, cardio class, cardio dance exercise, Carlos AyaRosas, Carlos Rosas, dance exercise, dance instructor, dance teacher, Debbie Rosas, Dream Walker, Earthsong, Global Unity, Nia, Nia bars, Nia choreography, Nia Dance, Nia DVDs, Nia licensing, Nia Practice, Nia routines, Nia stuents, Nia Teacher, Nia White Belt, Nia White Belt Intensive, Opal, Sanjana, Sexi | 4 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on March 23, 2013
Whether you do Nia, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, country western dance, motor-cycle race, play tennis, or just about anything there are the “Gods” or celebrities of the practice/dance/sport. Often the “Gods” or gurus are the masters or the top teachers, but sometimes it is the CREATOR himself/herself. That is when the event is really rockin’. That is when the events sell out or get so crowded it is crazy. Well, Nia is going through a lot of changes and they have been working for a couple of years training the top instructors to move up even further to become top trainers. The male of the male-female combo that created Nia, Carlos AyaRosas (FKA Carlos Rosas) retired a bit ago, so that left the female creator to continue on. She is coming to the San Francisco Bay Area . . . . . which is a rather large area. She is going to be in the North Bay, the East Bay, and the Peninsula. And it is going to be rockin’. She and a top trainer are going to be here.
Debbie Rosas is the (co-)creator of Nia. Kevin VerEecke is a Nia Trainer. They are going to be in the San Francisco Bay Area in the beginning of April (2013). They are going to have seven classes. It is going to be incredible. Every thing has its superstars, its celebrities and these are ours. It is really exciting.
I took my Nia White Belt Intensive at the Nia Headquarters in Portland. The trainers doing the intensive were Debbie and Carlos. Plus they were here for a “Spirit of Nia” tour within the last four years. So I have met them both. I have never met Kevin.
I am excited that Debbie and Kevin will be here sharing the Nia experience. The classes that they are going to be doing are 52 Moves classes. While we have a basic set of 52 Moves we don’t typically do all 52 in every Nia Routine. We do many, but not usually all. In these classes they are going to lead us through all 52 Moves. There are going to be seven chances to check it out.
The first class that will be held will be with Keven VerEecke only in San Rafael. Then Friday’s classes, Saturday’s Classes, and Sunday’s Classes will be both Debbie and Kevin.
The flyer indicates that all classes will have a different playlist. I guess for some people that is important. I know Nia enough to know that all seven classes could be the same EXACT playlist yet all seven classes could be totally different. That is the beauty of Nia. And with two masters leading the dance it wouldn’t matter. BUT . . . the flyer does indicate all classes will have different play lists.
I hope you will take this opportunity. Nia is always fun, but when you have the creator up in front of a room full of people who are there to dance, move, and have fun there is no way you can experience anything but MAGIC.
Posted in Nia | Tagged: 52 Nia Moves, Bay Area, Carlos AyaRosas, Carlos Rosas, celebrities, country western dance, dance, Debbie Rosas, Kevin VerEecke, master teachers, motor-cycle race, Nia, Nia Dance, Nia Headquarters, Nia instructors, Nia Intensives, Nia routines, Nia San Jose, Nia teachers, Pilates, play tennis, Practice, San Francisco Bay Area, sport, Yoga, Zumba | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on February 16, 2013
In Nia we have a lot of acronyms. Seems as if all groups do that. I know in the mortgage business there were many. I know in the world of computers there are a lot. That is just the way it is. In Nia some of ours are FAMSS, OLG, TBW, SEB, and BMES to name just a few. BMES stands for Body, Mind, Emotions, Spirit. We can call these voices or realms. I have recently posted about Spirit. It is not the religious type of spirit, but the school-type or the team-type. It is the part of you that — wheeee! — you just let out! The others are pretty easy to describe, but it is very interesting to allow them into all aspects of Nia. They are each separate and unto their own, yet they are all connected.
The body is the physical. How we move, what we sense. If we are open and listening to the body we can learn many things. I know that sometimes I hear but I don’t listen. I might “hear” my body tell me it is tired, but I don’t listen and do something about it because I am busy. It can “tell” me it is tired by how many mistakes I make while typing, or that I keep nodding off while doing something. But sometimes I don’t listen because I want to finish what I am doing. In dance we can hear our body, we can choose to listen and act upon what we hear or we can continue on. We could be moving a certain way and then feel pain (“hear”), and we can listen by giving that pain attention and tweaking our movement to remove the pain from our dance. Also we can just let the body dance and in doing so without thinking it often moves in ways that it needs without our interruption or interpretation.
The mind is a powerful voice. It can dictate our entire dance and life if we let it. In Nia we use our mind to provide imagery that allows us to move our bodies in a particular way, but it is important to turn the critical part of our minds off. We use our minds to progress us, not hold us back. Letting thoughts flow through the brain and keeping what is useful in the dance. Criticizing ourselves and others during Nia is not helpful or progressive. We do not avoid moving a certain way because it looks “bad” or “not pretty”. We do not avoid moving because people will think it is silly. We move in safe and harmonious ways to bring FAMSS to our bodies, to relax, to rejuvenate, to allow our inner child out to play, but we don’t criticize. We also practice turning off internal dialog or chatter. We let our bodies dance us and not think about our to-do list. We do use our minds when we dance, but we do not allow it to control our dance.
With our emotions we have an almost endless array of energy. We can play with the emotions in our dance and they can provide movement and force. While we dance we do not have to actually FEEL any of the emotions we call upon we just can ACT as if. How would you walk around if you were angry? Might you stomp? How would you walk if you were happy? Might you skip? How would you walk if you were distracted? Might you move slow or in an awkward pattern? Emotions are a great part of Nia because they are feelings and feelings can be felt and/or experienced without taking over. We can allow an emotion to happen or act as if, but in neither case does it have to control our dance.
As with many things in Nia this aspect or look at BMES is just one way to look at it. Just one way we can connect to BMES. Another way is with Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 where we use these realms to assist in teaching. Nia is deep like that. Many of the ideas, principles, “things”, can be separate and unto their own, yet they are all connected.
Posted in Nia | Tagged: acronyms, AMSS, BMES, body, dance, emotions, mind, mortgage business, Nia, Nia Blue Belt, Nia Blue Belt Principle #3, Nia Dance, OLG, realms, religious spirit, school spirit, SEB, spirit, TBW, team spirit | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2013
If you’ve read a post or two of mine you know there are many things I love about Nia. I think that Nia is a great workout, but I also think that a lot of the ideas, principles, values, and “things” can be used in everyday life. That is one reason why I share so many things about Nia here. I am working to get Nia out there so people know what it is, but I understand not everyone likes to do dance exercise as their type of workout, but there is a lot of Nia that can be applied to every day. Nia has a lot of ideas that can be applied to more than just the original place you hear it. For instance in the Nia White Belt, the manual states:
“New Ways – It Can Be a Stretch!
Some of this information may shake up your reality. Nia may disrupt your normal methods of doing, being and communicating. We do not intend to create disharmony or fear. We have no desire to aggressively challenge who you are, what you believe in, or what you stand for. The information we share with you is intended to assist you, inspire you, and to celebrate human potential.”
The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual March 2001, V3, page 1-5
I love that. I love that when taking a Nia intensive it is explained that you might come across new things. You might be shown a different way or something new, but they are not out to change you into what they believe, but to allow you to see something in a new way. All that is really asked of you is to have an open mind, heart, and body. It is even suggested not to examine or think about stuff too much. The belief is that you will get what you need when you need it. That is a great relief too because there is so much information it really takes the pressure off when it is understood that you will not get it all or remember it all upon first being exposed.
What is so tremendous is that this same information, this same philosophy can be brought into a Nia class. If you have never done Nia before the first time can be a surprise. It can surprise your senses, your body, your mind, your spirit. It can leave some people feeling a little unsure. I mean not every exercise class has you parting clouds, swimming in water, stepping in goo, and prancing like a pony. Some of this type of stuff can shake up someone’s reality. This type of movement might completely disrupt what they think of as normal methods of exercise. They might not be able to “get into” prancing like a pony. Prancing might not fit into their idea of exercise. But I know that if they have an openness of mind they will wake up the next day and realize that ponies get in a good work out. The “normal” methods of being might not have them pulsing their pelvis, shimmying their shoulders, or doing a sexy hip bump. Nia doesn’t want to make people uncomfortable with these things, but this type of movement is “normal” for the body by design. These moves aren’t meant to challenge you or what you believe in, they are meant to allow you to move your body as it was designed to move.
With the fun movements and ideas included in a Nia class it can easily inspire your and allow you to celebrate the human potential—to celebrate your body’s potential. This can kind of go along with my last post about spirit. It could be your spirit that lets you just let loose and gyrate those hips without fear. The idea here is to come to a Nia class with an open mind. Don’t let they way you’ve been taught exercise should be to keep you from experiencing something new. Don’t let fear of something unknown and/or different scare you off. Don’t think that just because it is unknown to you or different that the goal is to change you into something you are not. Just come and let your body move and let IT tell you what it thinks of Nia.
This week (February 10 through February 16, 2013) I am teaching EIGHT Nia classes. If you are local it would be GREAT to see you in at least one. They are at all different times on different days in many different places (most in San Jose, one in Santa Cruz). I bet there is one that would work for you: http://www.helpyouwell.com Also, in case you are not local or one of the eight doesn’t work for you check out Nianow.com. There are classes all over the world! Dare to dance?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: dance exercise, Dance Workout, exercise workout, Nia, Nia class, Nia classes in San Jose, Nia Dance, Nia Intensive, Nia principles, Nia San Jose, Nia Santa Cruz, Nia White Belt, Nia White Belt Manual, San Jose Nia, The Nia Technique | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on February 9, 2013
Recently a Nia student came up to me after a Nia class to ask me a question. She said that she had talked to another woman about attending a Nia class but the woman didn’t want to because we said “Om!” My student asked me if Nia was religious. I shared with her what happened in the Nia White Belt Intensive I attended and my thoughts on it. What happened in the Nia White Belt Intensive I attended in December 2008, was Carlos Rosas asked one of the intensive participants what was in Nia. Her answer was “God.” Carlos said, “NO! There is no God in Nia!” I don’t know Carlos’ religious beliefs, if he has any, or how he feels about God or religion, but I think he was saying that there is no religion in Nia. It is not associated with any type of religion. It is meant for everyBODY and everyone and people of all faiths and all belief systems can participate and enjoy Nia. It truly is based on the design of the body. It is not based on ANY religion or God.
I personally feel that if you have God or any belief system in you then you will bring Him/it into whatever it is you are doing. But that is not a reflection on the event or activity. With any belief if you believe it you are going to carry it with you. So if you believe in God, Gods, Buddha, Allah, or whatever that will come with you into Nia. But Nia has none of that as a part of it. What Nia DOES have as a part of it is spirit. But that should not be confused with any type of religious spirit or supernatural spirit. Wiki states: “The English word spirit comes from the Latin spiritus, meaning ‘breath’”. And an online dictionary says: “The vital principle or animating force within living beings.” Yet some people often think of spirit as religious, as in the Holy Spirit, or otherworldly, as in ghostly spirits.
Because of that conversation I had with one of my students I had been thinking of this and in a class I said, “Let your spirit out.” And I noticed a few students stiffen. And I continued on, saying, “That is not to be meant religious or supernatural, I mean spirit as in ‘your school spirit’, when people say ‘show some school spirit no one gets all wiggy’. It’s like that. THAT type of spirit.” And I saw people relax. I saw some say, “Oh.” And then I saw some spirit.
I think of spirit as a passion or your inner child. It is the part of you that wants to slide down the banister, run up the down escalator, balance on a curb, jump in the puddles, take your shoes off and slide in stocking feet across the length of the mall, or say “WAAAAHOOOOO!” It is the breath that we often hold in. If your beliefs have your spirit saying or doing something in class then that is fine, but that is not to say that your beliefs are a part of Nia, that is a part of YOU that you bring to Nia.
The type of spirit you would have with school spirit, class spirit, and/or team spirit that is the spirit Nia calls upon and what Nia invites to be released in a Nia class. Let your inner essence dance and be free, don’t be afraid . . . . . . let go.
Posted in Nia | Tagged: Allah, Buddha, Carlos Rosas, class spirit, Free Dance, ghost, God, Holy Spirit, inner essence, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia participant, Nia White Belt Intensive, religion, religious, school spirit, spirit, supernatural, team spirit | 7 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on February 5, 2013
I believe that in 2013 the training material for the Nia Blue Belt is going to change. While it is not changing significantly the change will be significant. The ideas will remain the same, but the verbiage and way it is delivered will be updated. While I was attending the Nia Blue Belt Intensive in November of 2012 we were being shown the new slides. The word that was used most often — or that I remember most is – simplify. The idea was to simplify the training. The Nia Blue Belt principle #13 in the manual* shows it as Vertical Routines. We were told it is going to change to Conscious Transubstantiation with Creating a Vertical Body and Life as the tagline. Not a simplification to me, but . . . . there you have it.
I will state again as I have been stating in many of my posts about the Nia principles, what I am sharing is somewhat off the top of my head, what I remember being discussed and it barely scratches the surface of each principle. The principles are deep, I could write pages about them alone and the taglines add yet another dimension with even more information. Here I am just sharing a little portion, just one aspect. Now for the purpose of Nia, transubstantiation does not mean the bread and wine will change into the body of Christ. But Nia is using it to mean change and change the body. So, maybe that is the tie in and the reason to use that word. Nia is using the term Conscious Transubstantiation to mean consciously change your body to match the body of the teacher.
This somewhat ties back to Nia Blue Principle #12, which is funny because that also helps explain the vertical portion. It is common for a participant in a lead follow type of dance exercise class to do the move and follow the leader trying to change at the exact moment the leader changes the move. Even if the leader is excellent at cueing the participant could feel rushed into the next move. Sometimes the participant is concentrating and doesn’t hear or see the next move only to look up and realize they are a step behind or not matching exactly so they rush to catch up and do what the teacher is doing. Well with the conscious change it’s ok not to rush to catch up. Get there when you can. No need to disturb the nervous system and interrupt the flow, just catch the next round or the next step. Consciously changing instead of rushing into the move because that is where you are “supposed” to be. Allowing yourself to change consciously allows for a smooth transition. While this is not exactly the same as Nia Blue Principle #12, it is similar in that you are not having to rush to the next move.
The “Vertical” means how things are connected and built upon one another. The Nia Blue Belt Principles are built upon and woven into the Nia White Belt Principles. Nia’s 52 Moves are built upon each other. The “vertical” routines speaks to the moves in the a kata and how we change from move to move, the songs in a routine and the transition between the two and even the bigger picture of routine to routine.
So . . . in a Nia class you are encouraged to move in your own body’s way and “get to” the next move in your own natural time. The idea is not to upset the body, mind, and spirit by feeling as if you are not doing it right because you are not RIGHT ON the mark of the change as it first happens, Conscious Transubstantiation. Take your time and enjoy the movement and the moment you are in. Allow yourself to change when you are ready enabling you to sense the “vertical-ness” of Nia so your workout can be one of Joy.
It might be a challenge to break the habit of interrupting your move to match the teacher when you notice the change, but you might be surprised at the effect it has on your body, mind, and spirit once you do get the hang of it. What do you think? Are you willing to give it a try?
*The Nia Technique – Blue Belt Manual August 206, V4.0
Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: blood to wine, body, body of Christ, bread to body, Conscious Transubstantiation, dance exercise, Dance Workout, mind, Nia, Nia Blue Belt, Nia Blue Belt Intensive, Nia Blue Belt principle #13, Nia Dance, Nia workout, Nia's 52 Moves, to Nia Blue Principle #12, Vertical Routines | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on December 18, 2012
The Nia Blue Belt Principle #6 is hilarious. Ok, the principle itself is not hilarious it is just funny – to me – that it identifies something and names it. But that is what some of the principles do for me. The principles identify something that we do in everyday life. Or they connect dance, Nia, teaching to something that is commonly known or done. This is one of the principles that we – you, me, everyone – do all the time. We – you, me, everyone – probably didn’t call it “Split, Ellipt, Blend” with a tagline of “Crafting With Attention”. Basically the principle itself (Split, Ellipt, Blend) refers to attention. As I was writing this post, I typed that the tagline in this case refers to teaching Nia, but then I realized that, while yes, the whole principle is designed to enhance our Nia practice and teaching, – as do many of the Nia principles – it can apply to everyday life. So what is Split, Ellipt, Blend?
Well, as I said it has to do with attention, so in an everyday situation you split off your attention from others and focus on yourself, you focus 100% on another, and you blend it so your attention is on both. So sometimes you might be doing something and completely focused on yourself and what you are doing. You might not even notice other people or other things around you. You are 100% concentrating. Then you hear a loud voice and it is someone, your boss, your spouse, your child, coming towards you. They have something to tell you. So you stop what you are doing and you are 100% focused on them. You are listening. Once you understand the situation and realize that it is not an emergency requiring you to stop what you are doing you go back to what you were doing yet you carry on a conversation with the person talking to you.
Split into self. Ellipt into others. Blend with.
This is something we do in class as Nia teachers. We might completely concentrate on ourselves. Waiting to receive a pearl. Thinking about the moves. Sensing our body. Then we might focus on the class. Giving all our attention to what they are doing and how they are doing it. Doing a Joy check. Asking for sounds. Then our attention could be on both. We could be receiving information from the class as well as ourselves. The “Crafting With Attention” is us being aware of the split, ellipt, and blend. And how we use it.
A few things I have mentioned before, but will repeat again, “other” does not necessarily have to be another person. You could be splitting, ellipting, and blending with your own body, with the music, with the movements, with many things. And . . . this is just barely a scratch on the surface of the principle. This is just the broad overview and it is what I understood it to be about. There is ALWAYS deeper to go in Nia and the Nia principles. And sometimes the more I do, the more I see it differently. Sometimes, not always. So keep that in mind when I post again about The Nia Blue Belt Principle #6: Split, Ellipt, Blend, Crafting With Attention. (For a list of Nia Blue Belt Principles see Terre’s post The Joy of Being In Relationship With The Nia Blue Belt Principles .
With that quick explanation, can you see how split, ellipt, blend applies to more than just a Nia Teacher teaching a class? With an awareness of it, can you see how you can use it in different ways?
Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: attention, Blend, dance, dance class, Ellipt, Nia Blue Belt, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia pearls, Nia principles, Nia Teacher, SEB, Split, teaching Nia, The Nia Blue Belt Principle #6 | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on December 1, 2012
So today is the first day of the December 2012 30 Minute Movement Challenge. There are so many things you can do, you know that right? On the days I am teaching a Nia Class I will obviously get in 30 minutes of movement, but at this point, right off the bat, I don’t want to count that as my 30 minutes. I would count Nia as my 30 minutes if I am doing it as a student. Being a teacher and being a student are different, so I am going to count them differently. I will be back today to check in with my 30 minutes completed. But first some ideas on what you can do, yes? You can walk. Walking for 30 minutes is a great exercise. If you walk fast enough and get your heart rate up it can be an aerobic exercise. With your challenge you decide whether your 30 minutes will be aerobic or resistance training. You can also add to it. Moving for longer than 30 minutes. Just make certain you are moving (in an exercise-y type of way) for at least 30 minutes.
There are so many things you can do. I already mentioned walking. There is my ten minute workout. You can do that for 30 minutes consecutively or do three different 10 minute sessions. If you have a device that allows you to create playlist of music you can make up a great playlist and dance for 30 minutes. You could do 30 different exercises for a minute each. Some examples: squats, bicep curls, lunges, triceps kick backs, donkey kicks, push ups, inner thigh lifts, sit ups, triceps dips, frogs, hamstring kick backs, lateral flies, knee lifts, rows, reverse curls . . . . . . and 15 more.
The key is to get AT LEAST 30 minutes in. The thirty minute time length was originally brought up to help people STAY healthy. Many people need more than that to GET healthy in the first place. But we are just doing a challenge for the month of December to make sure we are moving EVERY DAY. With all that is going on during this season it is easy to skip the workout. So committing to 30 minutes EVERY DAY will help.
Keeping to a schedule helps a lot. Committing to a goal, also helps. We also know that sometimes things do come up and even though we have a schedule and made a commitment there might be a day where we just didn’t get the 3o minutes in. To help ensure you get it in I recommend doing it first thing in the morning. I know that when I put things off for later in the day sometimes they don’t get done. The things I do first thing always get done . . . . funny how that works huh? If you happen to miss a day, that is fine, just pick it right back up the next day.
Remember you don’t even have to comment about what you did, just comment that you DID move/exercise/workout for at least 30 minutes! So . . . . what do you think? Do you have a plan? Are you done with your 30 minutes?
Posted in December 2012 30 Minute Movement Challenge | Tagged: 30 Minute Movement Challenge, 30 Minutes In December 2012, 30 minutes of exercise, dance exercise, Dance Workout, December 2012 30 Minute Movement Challenge, lunges, Nia, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia student, Nia Teacher, Nia workout, running, squats | 6 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on September 11, 2012
I might have mentioned this about Nia before, but it came up again today so I am posting about it. If I posted about it before, I can’t find it. Nia is unique in many ways. One way that Nia is unique is that we don’t shy away from issues or situations. I have been instructed in other types of trainings to “always remain positive”. As an instructor “to leave your problems at the door”. I’ve been told it is the instructor’s job to create a positive atmosphere. And while, I understand that, and I believe it to a certain extent, there are times when other feelings and life situations can be acknowledged. Today is September 11th. It is the anniversary of a very horrific attack that has affected the entire world. Everyone has their own opinions and feelings about the attack, the results, the anniversaries, and all, but for many it can be a time of sorrow. Whether you knew someone who died in the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers or you just know that many things were taken away when those planes crashed into the towers, it is sad day to remember. With many exercise classes it would not be in keeping with the training to bring that memory into the class. I was teaching a new class today. It was only my second time at this new location and with these new students. I thought that maybe bringing something so “heavy” into the class (the second class!!) might not be the right thing to do. But it crossed my mind that this is Nia, and in keeping with what Nia is, I could do that, because dancing and moving to issues and life events is something that we do in Nia. We can dance our emotions, whether they are happy or sad. We can dance our sorrow or our joy. We can dance for people who have died or are in need of positive thoughts. We can dance for beloved pets that are no longer here. We can dance whatever we want. We can dance our hearts. We are not confined to being the “happy-up-beat-don’t-let-any-emotions-but-happy-show” type of exercise. And my heart, my heart really, really, really, wanted to remember. I wanted to remember all the lives that were lost in connection with the event. I wanted to remember what we all lost on that day. I wanted to remember what we still have. I wanted to remember, to honor, to grieve, to rejoice, to share, to sense, to feel . . . . . I wanted to do Nia.
So I took my concerns to my class and I asked them if it was ok with them that we dance a dance of remembrance. I explained to them how this is something unique to Nia, that we can dance anything. I suggested a focus of remembering with an intent of doing so in our own way with our own feelings, I suggested feelings of both sorrow and joy. Because as we all know it was tragic to have lost so many lives and so much freedom, but many did survive and many freedoms are still ours to enjoy. The students were free to dance their own version of remembering.
As I said, this is a new class with mostly new-to-Nia students, having such a vague and “non-physical” type of focus is something I usually do with people who are not new to Nia. I have found that many participants especially people new to Nia, appreciate having a physical or body related type of focus. By physical or body related type of focus I mean a body part/area (“Let’s focus on our feet with the intent of sensing our whole foot.”). But I also believe that people can do what they can do. So if a non-physical focus and intent works for the participant then they will be able to incorporate it into their workout. With a focus on something that affected everyone, even though it was non-physical, I sensed the participants could tap into the remembering that was significant to each as an individual.
I love that Nia allows for us to not only dance what we SENSE, but also what we feel when we feel the need to do so. Today, I felt the need to dance what I feel. I feel the need to honor the victims of September 11, 2001 — ALL of them, even the ones that are alive — because everyone was affected in some way and for some of us dancing is a great way to express it. Nia classes don’t always have to be about the “happy” we can dance what we need to dance at that moment.
Posted in Nia | Tagged: exercise class instructor, freedance, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia exercise, Nia feelings, Nia focus and intent, Nia joy, Nia participants, Nia students, Nia workout | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on September 6, 2012
Another one of the 52 Moves of Nia is the “A” Stance. This is the stance where the position of the legs allows the body to look somewhat like the capital letter A. The legs are placed wider than hip distance apart, even wider than shoulder width. The legs are far enough apart and wide enough for them to appear to be as the bottom “legs” on a capital letter A. The feet are parallel, the upper body is relaxed. The Nia Technique Book states the benefits as: “Practicing “A” Stance improves hip flexibility and leg strength, which improves agility and mobility.”
I would like to add that it improves or at least allows the practice of balance. Not balancing on one leg which we do a lot in Nia, but balance between the body and the legs, balance between both legs, and balance between the legs and feet. Also balance of weight between the two feet. This is a stable and balanced stance. The weight is not on one foot more than the other. The weight is not on the front or the balls of the feet more than on the heels. This is a great stance to practice balance in. To allow the body to rest onto the whole foot.
Not only having the feet be parallel but even. If you were to stand at a line would your toes be even, both up to the line? I had noticed with myself for a while now that when I step into an “A” stance my right foot is ALWAYS slightly back from where my left foot is. I have been noticing this since I injured my foot in November of 2010. Just last week as I was teaching my regular Nia Class in Willow Glen, I noticed I stepped into “A” stance and my left foot was the tiniest bit back from the line on which my right foot landed (had there been a line). I thought that was funny. I giggled, but I hadn’t thought of it again until now. I don’t always think about my uneven landings until I have the opportunity to land in a stance where I see my feet several times in a routine. Then during the routine I focus on having my feet land even. There are times, of course in a dance where they don’t need to be or aren’t supposed to be even, but when doing a regular closed, open, A, or sumo stance I think the feet should be even. The “A” stance is a great stance to practice that because you can clearly see your feet and the pose is relaxed enough that there are not other things you might be thinking about. I feel the “A” Stance is a great way to practice balance.
As with all stances one way to practice the “A” stance is to simple stand in one place and move through the stances. Another way to practice is to walk and then stop in the “A” stance. Walking and stopping into an “A” Stance would be a great way to work on landing “even” — as I mentioned before. Walk, then stop, then look at your feet, notice the sensation in your hips, if your feet are even then that is the sensation you want to replicate, if not, then adjust your feet, notice the sensation in your hips and try to replicate it again as you step into “A” Stance.
The “A” Stance is just one of the six stances in the Nia 52 Moves.
What do you sense when standing in the “A” Stance? When you step into the “A” Stance do your feet land “even”?
Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: 52 Moves of Nia, A Stance, balance of weight, closed stance, Nia 52 moves, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia in Willow Glen, Nia Practice, Nia Stances, open stance, Riding Stance, Sumo Stance, The Nia Technique book, Willow Glen Nia | Leave a Comment »