Posts Tagged ‘Nia routine’
Posted by terrepruitt on March 26, 2013
One of the things I learned in a Nia workshop at the end of February, 2013 was the phrase “stay with your enoughs”. Trainer Helen Terry, currently located in Texas, was here in the San Francisco Bay Area to teach us how to dance a Nia Routine that she adapted to an entire album of different music. When Helen said that, I laughed. Because there has been so many times when I thought, “this is enough of that move, it MUST be time to move on” and I wasn’t REALLY clued into the music and I went onto the next move and sure “enough” I hadn’t stayed long “enough”. It was really funny at the time that I took the training because I was doing a Nia routine in which I almost always moved on before I should in accordance with the choreography. Shortly before the workshop I had just started telling myself (and listening to myself—what a novel idea!) that when I THOUGHT we were done is not when we should be if I were going to match the original choreography. There was at least one more bar to go through. And so when teaching that routine, my mind would say, “This is it. This is enough.” And my body would say, “Terre, we’ve been through this before. If you THINK this is it, then you KNOW it is not. Stay.” So Helen’s words “Stay with your enoughs” are perfect.
Nia is so lovely that pretty much most of the time if I lead us into the next sequences of moves before we are actually supposed to go or if we stay longer than the original choreography intended it doesn’t really matter. We might miss that wonderful “perfect match up” to the music, but it never really feels badly off. The choreography flows very well with the music so most of the time it doesn’t feel WRONG. We have the flexibility to stay and go as we please, but when coached to “stay with the enoughs” sometimes it is the perfect idea to help with those troubled spots.
In the workshop that Helen was leading since she was teaching us how to dance a specific Nia Routine to a specific album, there were specific songs and specific examples of where she thought it might feel like as if it is enough. The idea is to keep the faith and “stay with your enoughs”. Just stay past the point you think you should be done with that move. She said one track in particular would “give you a lot of ‘enoughs’”. Which for me that is not the “enough” song, but that is ok. She reminded me of the tool so I can apply it to any and all songs where I have enoughs. I get to relax and stay with them!
There were so many wonderful things presented in the workshop I could probably do a month’s worth of posts. But for now I’ll say “enough” . . . . until my next post . . . .
Do you stay with your enoughs?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: Helen Terry, Nia, Nia choreography, Nia routine, Nia trainer, Nia training, Nia workshop, San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Bay Area Nia, stay with your enoughs, Texas Nia, Texas Nia Trainer | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on December 8, 2012
Off the top of my head, Nia’s Blue Belt Principle #2 – The Power of Two makes me think of Nia’s Energy Allies or the more commonly known four agreements. The tag line for this principle is Communication. The details involve a transmitter and a receiver. So to me it is a perfect connection to the energy allies. To me to be a clear transmitter one must speak with impeccability. One must stay on task of what the idea is that is being communicated. It is the job of the transmitter to be clear so that the receiver can understand what is being conveyed. To add to that the transmitter doesn’t assume the receiver knows what is being said, another reason to be impeccable. To be a pure receiver, the receiver shouldn’t be assuming they know what the transmitter is saying. The receiver shouldn’t be making up stories in his/her head as the transmitter is speaking. The receiver should be quietly listening, with no inner dialog happening. Also there is the added mission of not taking anything personally. This can be more easily accomplished if the third person — the one in the receiver’s head — is quiet. Both the transmitter and the receiver always strive to do their best. That is how I connect Nia’s Energy Allies to Nia’s Blue Belt Principle #2.
Since communication can be thought of as the exchange of energy between two, this principle and its details can easily be applied to everyday life. The exchange of energy can be between people or things. The exchange is a giving and a receiving. It does not have to be verbal, the exchange, the communication, could be a touch, a gesture, or any of the other ways things are communicated. So you might be able to see how within the scope of life it can be applied to more than just communicating with another person.
As a Nia teacher we can apply it to our Nia practice. There is a transmitter and a receiver with our bodies’ movements. There is a transmitter and a receiver with the music. There is a transmitter and a receiver with a Nia routine and the choreography. There is definitely a transmitter and a receiver in a Nia class and the transmitter is not always the teacher.
With the principle being The POWER of TWO, I can’t help but connect it the Nia Energy Allies when thinking of the communication between people. My connecting probably stems from the fact that I truly feel I need to strengthen my relationship with all FOUR allies in order to allow the POWER of two to shine through.
This is just my immediate thoughts on Nia’s Blue Belt Principle #2. As I live with it longer and read the manual and process it, I am certain I will come up with more. My relationship with will become stronger. Nia has a “craft” for working with this principle, but I am still determining my relationship with that idea. We will see if a post ever becomes of their idea.
Are you familiar with Nina’s Energy Allies (or the four agreements)? Can you see how they can be instrumental in communication? Can you see how the Allies could assist in making two powerful?
Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: Four Agreements, inner dialog happening, Nia choreography, Nia class, Nia Practice, Nia routine, Nia Teacher, Nia's Blue Belt Principle #2, Nia's Energy Allies, NiaNow.com, receiver, speak with impeccability, The Power of Two, transmitter | 4 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on September 22, 2012
Since I am still busy with my Nia classes and I have my Zumba teaching debut coming up, it really helps to have produce delivered. I know Nia and Zumba instructors that can learn a routine in an afternoon and teach it that night. I am not one of those teachers. It takes me a long time, so something that saves me a trip to the store is awesome. But then I do spend a little time trying to figure out what to do with the new-to-me produce. I also like to look up the nutrition. One thing I didn’t remember when I received my beets is that the beet greens can be eaten. I forgot about my own post Borscht Is Beets and I just chopped them off and threw them away. Now I know. I do have faith that beets have more nutrition than dirt, but I don’t actually know the nutrition value of dirt, so I really am just going off of faith.
As a reminder beets have anti-inflammatory affects along with antioxidant properties. According to World’s Healthiest Food website here are some numbers on a cup of raw beet:
1.00 cup raw
folate 148.24 mcg
manganese 0.45 mg
fiber 3.81 g
potassium 442.00 mg
vitamin C 6.66 mg
tryptophan 0.03 g
magnesium 31.28 mg
iron 1.09 mg
phosphorus 54.40 mg
copper 0.10 mg
The website states that the phytonutrients in beets are called betalains and the longer the beets are cooked, the less there are in the root. They “recommend that you keep beet steaming times to 15 minutes or less, and roasting times under an hour.” So some of the nutritional value is higher the less they are cooked. I had mentioned something similar in my Borscht post.
The paper that comes with the produce I have delivered states that the beets were gold beets. Being unfamiliar with beets I say, “Ok.”, but they were not yellow. They were deep red/purple — as you can see. And I KNOW, I have seen yellow beets before. I had a co-worker who loved beets and she would eat them in all the colors. Maybe the yellow ones aren’t called gold beets and these really were gold beets? I don’t know. The red and yellow pigment in beets lose their “super powers” the more the beets are cooked.
Since I have had my first foray into cooking beets and making something with beets I think I can do it again. I know I just made a salad, but it wasn’t terrible. I think I need to move onto something my husband just loves. In fact when I asked him if he liked beets he said yes and he reminded me that he loves borscht. I forgot he loved borscht and I forgot I posted about it. So I think I will actually purchase some beets and give it a try.
This is exactly one of the reasons I chose to have a produce box delivered. I never would have bought beets — obviously since back in January 2011 I talked about them and STILL haven’t done it. So now it is one of the things I can add to our list of vegetables for us to eat. I have the tendency to buy the same vegetables over and over even though I know variety is good. I just don’t buy it if I don’t know what to do with it. But when it lands on my doorstep, I feel as if I have to find something to do with it. I am so excited to be expanding my produce horizons. I also love that so many people have ideas on what to do with these new-to-me items.
Do any of you like Borscht? Do you have a recipe for it?
Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, beets, borscht, Nia, Nia Classes, Nia instructor, Nia routine, Nia Teacher, organic produce, teaching debut, World's Healthiest Food, yellow beets, Zumba, Zumba classes, Zumba instructor, Zumba teacher | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on September 1, 2012
At the end of July I thought it would be nice to switch things up during the month of August. My idea was triggered by comments from people talking about the scale not changing. It seemed that the scale not budging at all for one day affected the people’s moods. So I thought perhaps a break from the scale would be something some people would benefit from. I planned the challenge to be 21 days and 30 days so that both timeframes would land on a day that I post. I post on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I managed to post about the challenge on the 21st, but I didn’t post about it on the 30th. On the 30th I thought about it, then forgot about it, then thought about it when I was more than halfway done with my post about one of Nia’s 52 Moves – Knee Sweeps and didn’t have time to measure. It takes more time to strip down and measure than it does to hop on the scale, huh? Well, how did you do if you did? Did you see a change in your measurements? Did you also keep track of your weight at day one and day 21/30?
For me it turned out to be necessary to go the 30 days. At 21 days, I wasn’t seeing a good change, but by 31 (as I said, on Thursday the 30th I didn’t measure because time got away from me) I saw a good change. What I didn’t do at 21 days was get on the scale, I was thinking the point was to avoid the scale, but now I am thinking it might have been nice to have a comparison. Perhaps you thought of that option. I did not until today.
I also learned that I need to be a little more specific on my notes of where I am measuring. I know I made a point to instruct you to make notes, and I did, I just need to make better notes. For one place I said something like, “3.25 inches below the dot.” Well, when I wrote that note I must have had a clear idea on what “the dot” was, but 20 days later I had no idea. I laughed at that and hoped you make better notes on the “landmarks”.
So here ends the challenge, but of course you are free to stay off the scale and/or add measuring to your routine. The real point is to not let the scale frustrate you and to remember it does not always tell the whole story. There are other things to help complete the story; mirrors, measurements, clothes, people, etc. Of course, not everyone allows the scale to frustrate them, I understand that, I was trying to present a way to help some from getting frustrated. And maybe just another way to see things.
So how did you do? Did you see a change via measurements? Did you learn anything (as I shared with you what I learned)? Would you rather use a scale or a tape measure? Or both?
Posted in Misc | Tagged: 30 day challenge, Knee Sweeps, measurement change, measurements vs. weight, Nia, Nia routine, Nia's 52 Moves, tape measure, weight change | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on August 30, 2012
Now, I know that I’ve been doing the knee sweep a lot longer than I have been doing Nia. So it is true that Nia’s 52 moves are not necessarily unique to Nia, but they are part of the core of Nia. You will find a large portion of Nia’s 52 moves in every routine. There are correct ways to do them, but Nia allows for the body’s way and also, I believe Nia allows for the move to be incorporated into the dance. For instance, The Nia Technique book states that the starting position for a knee sweep is the sumo stance. I am sure that I have done a knee sweep from a sumo stance at one time, but the first dance that pops into my head where we do the knee sweep it is not from a sumo position. But the by the book (oh, yeah, that reminds me, “BUY THE BOOK!” ), anyway, the by-the-book version of the knee sweep starts from a sumo position, complete with arms in ready position and everything. Then the body rises as you come up on one leg bringing the other leg up with a bent knee. The knee crosses the midline of the body, the opposite hand “pushes” the knee out. The knee swings out so the pelvis is open. Then the leg comes down and the foot lands on the earth. That is the knee sweep of Nia’s 52 moves.
The book does not indicate that when your foot comes down it is in the toes-to-the-front position, but that is how I teach it. I don’t want my students landing on their foot with their knee out to the side. If we are just doing knee sweeps as an exercise, maybe I would have them do that, because they would be aware of the torque in their hip, but probably not.
When I was first doing this move in Nia I was trying to do it as the book shows and as many of the people on the Nia instructional DVDs do and as the instructor does (whether it be Debbie Rosas or Carlos AyaRosas). And that was with the knee out to the side very wide. REALLY opening the pelvis. But when I did that I noticed a “something” – I don’t know what it was, but it was something – in my lower back. So I decided that opening my hip that wide and having my leg out that far was not MY body’s way, so I do not do that. I share with my students that I found the comfortable spot to be about as far as my forearms can reach. I “glue” my elbows to my sides and hold my forearms out to the side. As far as they can go is as far as I allow my knee to go. That is what works for me.
Some of the time that we are doing the knee sweep it is at the end of a “up-two-three-four (knee sweep), back-two-three-four (knee sweep)”. So that would not allow for the sumo position to be the start. Other times we are standing upright. As I said, I am sure I have done it from the sumo position because I bet it is in a routine I am not thinking of. But the ones I am thinking of it is done from a walking or standing position.
The amazing thing about the knee sweep is that it calls for the knee to cross the midline of the body. So that means that if you were doing a left knee sweep (with your left leg) your left knee would enter into the right hemisphere of your body. If you were doing a right knee sweep (with your right leg) your right knee would enter into the right hemisphere of your body. It is a great thing when your limbs cross the midline. It helps stimulate the brain. So there is a reason in many exercise routines and cardio classes that we have you do “cross overs”.
The knee sweep is one of those moves that requires balance. Since at one point you are standing on one leg, you will be able to improve your balance or practice what you have. Also the moving of the leg helps with that stability. Standing on one leg helps with strength and opening the hip helps with mobility and flexibility. The knee sweep of Nia’s 52 moves does a body and brain good!
Are you familiar with this move? Have you done it before in your exercise class? Did you give it a try?
Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: Cardio classes, cardio dance class, Carlos AyaRosas, cross the midline of the body, dance, Debbie Rosas, exercise routines, flexibility, improve balance, Knee Sweep, Mobility, my body's way, Nia, Nia instructional DVDs, Nia routine, Nia students, Nia's 52 Moves, stability, strength, Sumo Stance, the Nia Technique books | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on August 4, 2012
I have a confession to make. It is one I might have even confessed before. I know I have done it before. It is easy for me to get caught up. I want to please people. I want the supervisor to know that I am working to keep the students IN the class. I want the students attending the class to like it and want to be there. When you are a substitute instructor leading a different format than is usually taught it is very different from when you are teaching a class of the expected format. Many people are taught that cardio – aerobic exercise – is extremely fast, high impact, and difficult so it is very hard to change that mindset. I was asked by someone who understands both the fact that cardio does not have to be extremely fast or high impact and that people are trained to think it is, if I could do Nia a little higher because people expect cardio to be a specific way. So caught up in wanting to give the students what they are accustomed to getting I put together a routine . . . kind of rushed . . . that didn’t have ALL the elements that a Nia class normally has. It was not good. It felt “off”. I was trying to make Nia something it is not. Nia is not Zumba. Nia is not Cardio-Sculpt. Nia is not extremely fast, rushed, and high impact. Nia is not Jazzercise. Nia is not UJAM. Nia is not all of or any of these other names that there are for classes that are fast, rushed, and high impact. Nia is an amazing practice. Nia is a great workout. Nia is a wonderful cardio dance exercise. And I need to stop trying to make it be something it is not just because people are used to cardio a specific way.
So I did a routine that didn’t feel right to me. I thought I would get up the next morning and do the same routine for the class I was asked at the last minute to sub, I was going to try to “bring it” to the students. As I was getting into bed a little agitated from the “not feeling right class”, it washed over me like a refreshing revelation . . . . DO NIA! Duh! Bring “IT”, and make that “IT” Nia. I got caught up and in my trying to bring the students what they are used to, I didn’t allow them the richness of something new. The richness of Nia.
Now, I want you to understand that the Nia Technique creates wonderful routines and all we teachers have to do is learn them and teach them. But we are also allowed to use other music, make up our own routines, mix and match the routines they have created, and make up our own katas. Of course, we need to follow the Nia class formula and the seven cycles which contain the traditional warm-up, move it, and cool-down. I also think when creating a routine/class – in general – it should be balanced; as an example not all songs/movements should be lateral ones or forward and back ones, there should be a mix of movement and the 52 Nia moves. I create routines from Nia routines all the time. So it was not the fact that I put songs together that created the not feeling right routine, it was ME. It was ME trying to make Nia something it is not.
I need to center myself. I need to stick to what I know and not try to give people the class they are used to. I KNOW Nia is amazing and awesome and does need to try to be anything it is not. I KNOW THAT. I just get caught up.
Another point I want to make is, I am not saying those other formats are bad. In fact, I like some of the other formats I have tried. One of these days I might even teach another cardio format. I am saying Nia is Nia, it is not any of the other formats and I need to remember that and let it stand on its own. I need to remember to trust Nia and allow it to touch the people it needs to touch and let the others attend the other dance classes. I need to remember that when I am asked to sub a class I am going to sub it with Nia and not try to make Nia be what that class usually is. I keep thinking to myself, “DUH!”
Thank you for letting me confess and do a public face-in-the-hand-plant!
Do you EVER do that in any section of your life – try to make something be something else even though what you have is just perfect the way it is?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: 52 Nia Moves, aerobic dance class, cardio, Cardio-Sculpt, class format, dance exercise, dance format, exercise format, fast formats, high impact, Jazzercise, Nia, Nia Music, Nia Practice, Nia routine, Nia student, Nia Teacher, substitute instructor, Ujam, Zumba, Zumba routines | 4 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on July 26, 2012
As I mentioned in my last post about using the clock in Nia, we have a move called the Slow Clock. Using an imaginary face of a clock on the ground assists us in knowing where to step. The slow clock can be used to incorporate any “hour” on the clock into the dance. The move starts with the feet in the “center” of the imaginary clock. The “slow” is in reference to always returning the foot to center before allowing the foot to go to another number on the clock. To practice the slow clock move begin with a march in place. If you begin the march with your left foot touching the ground on the one count, then use it first to touch on 12:00, then return it to its original position in the center of the clock. Then place the left foot at 6:00, then return to center. Then use the other foot, touch to 12:00, then center, then 6:00, then center. Hour then center, that is the basis of the slow clock.
As with almost any move it can be done in slightly different manners and still be the same. The slow clock can be done with just a tap or a touch to an hour, with the foot returning to center. Or it can actually be a step, where the weight is put full upon the foot stepping to the hour. To keep it the slow clock the foot would return to center before any other move was made. So it can be a tap, a touch, a step. It can even be a slight shift in the weight. As long as the foot returns to center.
In some Nia routines we do sumos out to 3:00 then return to center, then we sumo to 9:00. Now if you were thinking about that you would know without me saying, ”Move your right foot to 3:00, then to center, then your right foot to 9:00.” Remember? I mentioned how efficient it is to use the clock to help instruct with moves instead of saying directions and which foot to move every time. With the instruction of sumo 3:00, you know you are stepping your right foot out to the right so you land in a sumo or riding stance.
With the example above you see that the slow clock can be done with opposite feet. It does not have to be one foot stepping to an hour, then returning to center, and then that same foot stepping to another our. It can be — as example, the right foot to 12:00, center, left foot 6:00, center. Add some rhythm and a little bounce and you have the Charleston! Add some rhythm, a little bend at the knees, and some hips and you have a salsa!
In addition to improving precision and grace, moving with the slow clock does many things depending on how you move with it. For instance dancing the slow clock to a specific rhythm can also improve coordination because the tendency might be to just skip over returning to center. Also, sometimes it can be something to help keep your mind focused because sometimes when the mind wanders your foot can forget it needs to return to center unless it is focused.
So that is the slow clock, another one of the 52 Moves of Nia.
Using the tool of the imaginary clock are you able to move in Slow Clock?
Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: 52 Moves of Nia, Charleston, dance moves, dance steps, Nia, Nia Dance, Nia routine, salsa rhythm, slow clock | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on June 2, 2012
Nia is the same as many things, the more you do it the more accustomed your body becomes to the movement. When you first try swinging a bat or a golf club it seems as if there are so many things to think about. The placement of your feet, the bend in your knees, the sinking of the hips, what your hands are doing, what your elbows are doing, where your chest is facing, to move or not to move your shoulders. Then there is your head, your eyes, and – oh yeah – the ball. So much to remember. Then as you practice you forget that you even were once having to remember all that. You are able to just “let go” a bit and play the game. Dance exercise is the same way for some. There are moves in Nia that we do, the 52 moves. At first the body might be so busy trying to do it correctly it is not allowed to play, but once the moves are learned there is time to play. In a Nia routine a move is often repeated enough so it can be learned and then the play can begin. But there is still a technique, there is still a right way to do it in order to get the benefits from it as was the intention of having the move be a part of Nia.
One of the moves that I sometimes find challenging is the Squish Walk, the way Carlos AyaRosas (FKA Carlos Rosas), told us how to do it. I had thought it was rising on the ball of one foot, then squishing that foot down, then rising on the other ball of the foot, and alternating. The imagery is that of squishing oranges under the heels. I had thought it was one whole foot on the ground before bringing up the other, but that is not how he instructed us.
His instructions were to be on the both balls (of the feet) at the same time. Not all the way up on both feet but one heel HIGH and one lowering and switching like that. The foot that is flat on the ground (whole foot) is not there long because it comes right back up. I found this method much more challenging than the one foot down and the other foot up. The method Carlos had us do tends to work the calves and shins more than the other method.
The Nia Technique Book states one foot is down (whole foot on the ground) before bringing the other foot up. Both methods work the lower legs, improving strength and flexibility. Neither method is actually a walk. We are not progressing forward. Although the squishy movement could be incorporated into a walk.
With the method in the book, I usually use the image of high heeled shoes. Lift one heel as if you are showing off a new high heeled shoe. The concentration is on the lifted heel. Then switch heels. With the method Carlos taught I think more of oranges. The concentration, to me, is more on the squish.
In the Nia routine we have been doing this past month in my Nia Classes we do something they’ve dubbed the “double squish walk” which is rising at the same time on both balls of the feet. Then the squish is on bringing both heels down at the same time. Double Squish. I just call it up on the balls of your feet, since it doesn’t seem very squishy and it is not like either method.
I invite you to try both methods of the squish walk. Lift one foot onto the ball of the foot, then set it down and lift the other foot. Alternate. And try, lifting up on both balls of the feet, then start to lower one to ground, then alternate. It is as if in one method both feet end up on the ground and with the other method both feet end up on the balls of the feet. So fun, the different ways to do the moves yet, both ways are to help condition the lower legs to help “you move safely with different speeds and intensities”. In other words be sturdy on your feet as you move and dance through life!
Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: "double squish walk", ball of one foot, Carlos AyaRosas, Carlos Rosas, conditioning benefits, dance, dance exercise, dance practice, dance through life, flexibility, golf club, high heels shoes, improving strength, Nia, Nia Classes, Nia Practice, Nia routine, Nia Technique, Nia's 52 Moves, Squish Walk, squishing oranges, swinging a bat, The Nia Technique book | 2 Comments »