Posts Tagged ‘stability’
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 28, 2012
My husband and I used to dance. We danced “Country Western”, we did the two step, the cha-cha, the waltz, and the west coast swing. We liked to dance. I sometimes would fake it though. Yeah, I would. We would go to a lesson and they would show us a move. We would practice it during the lesson then usually there was a dance party after. We would join the party. My husband would always DO THE MOVE WE JUST LEARNED. I would say, “Ack! You’re doing the move we just learned!” And he would look at me with a look that said to me, “Of course, Silly Woman, that is why we are here. To learn stuff and then actually DO IT.” But for me the time spent in the lesson was never enough to actually learn it. Even though the leader’s part is much more difficult than the follower’s, I still couldn’t get it in one lesson. So a lot of the times I would fake it. And by fake it I mean, that if you were to look at my feet and KNOW where there were supposed to be, you would know my feet were not correct. I could move in a way that if you were just casually looking you would think I was doing it right. I would always make sure I was facing the right direction so you wouldn’t really know my feet were not doing the move correctly unless you knew the move yourself! Since most people don’t stare at your feet the entire time I often got away with it. I was good at faking it. Faking it was easy in the fast songs.
Eventually I would learn the move correctly, but there were some moves that took me a long time to get. Then somewhere along the way we decided to compete. I mean, competing really is the only way to know if you are really improving and to spend all that money on lessons and not improve can be a silly thing. So we decided to compete. Do you know what that meant? No more faking it. I mean the whole point of competition is to have someone look at you and judge — among other things — your feet. So I had to stop faking it.
I am learning a lot as I sub for different exercise classes. I recently subbed a class and I was reminded of the faking it. It is easy to fake it in some classes. Let’s say Zumba for example, I’ve posted before about how Zumba is all agility (I have since learned otherwise, but I will reflect on that in a post at a later time). Zumba is the fast start and stop. Move stop the move and move the other direction, move stop, move stop. The full range of motion is usually not achieved, you are moving to another move before you really get to finish the first one. Start, stop, start, stop, start stop. It is easy to fake. The fast dances were always easy for me to fake. The good thing about faking it is you are still moving and that is good in a sense. Even if you are not doing the move correctly you are moving and burning calories and often it is so fast the casually observer or someone standing next to you is not going to notice. I think this is one of the things that people like about Zumba . . . you are moving and dancing even when you are faking it.
It is the slow dances that are difficult. With Nia it is not as easy to fake. With Zumba a move could be hopping from one leg to the other. With Nia we might actually balance on one leg. No speed to it, just lifting one leg off the ground and standing on one leg. Strength and stability. No faking. I always invite participants to use a chair, a wall, the barre, or even their other foot, but either way you cannot FAKE standing on one leg. Sadly, I think for some, not being able to fake it keeps them from joining in the joy of Nia. The judgment from themselves is so great that they can’t let go and just do what they can because what they can do is not blurred by the start and the stop. What they can’t do is not blurred by speed. And they don’t give themselves the chance to learn how to do the moves. They don’t allow themselves the time to get the muscles in a condition where they can move slow and controlled. Faking it is easy, it is actually doing a move slow, controlled, and correctly where the difficulty comes in.
When I take a Zumba class I know I fake it often because I don’t know the move so I concentrate on being at the right place and/or facing the right direction at the right time. Eventually I get the moves . . . well, most of the time.
I know this is my opinion, I don’t really KNOW, but it is coming from a place of judgment based on some things I have seen and heard. You know I am always trying to figure out the differences between Zumba and Nia and why people like them. And recently this was a thought because of something I heard and observed . . . the speed, the faking, the judgment.
Do you fake until you make it in your exercise class?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: agility, balance, cha-cha, Country Western Dancing, dance party, exercise classes, Nia exercise, stability, two step, waltz, west coast swing, Zumba, Zumba classes, Zumba exercise, Zumba party Nia class | 2 Comments »
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?
Posted in Nia, Working Out | Tagged: agility, bootcamp, cardio dance, cardio workout, dance exercise, FAMSS, five sensations, flexibility, Jazzercise, kickboxing, Mobility, Nia, Nia Classes, Nia instructor, Nia Moves, Nia participants, Nia routines, Nia Teacher, Nia vs Zumba, stability, strength, U-Jam, Ujam, weight training, Yoga, Zumba, Zumba classes, Zumba instructor, Zumba participants, Zumba routines | 11 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on February 24, 2011
In Nia classes we have the opportunity to experience flexibility AND mobility AND agility AND strength AND stability. Depending on the starting point we can either be increasing or maintaining. I also believe it is good for people to participate in a weight training program. I believe it is good to use weights to keep strength or build strength. I think having muscle strength in important. Most people do not have to concern themselves about getting big and bulking up. I have heard women say they don’t lift weights because they don’t want to do either of those things.
First of all, as a reminder, weights are not the only way to build strength, any type of resistance can work muscles. Depending on your starting point different things can be used, for example body weight alone without the use of weights is a great place to start. The use of resistance bands or tubing can be a great way to work muscles without having to deal with storing the weights. Working with weights (resistance) is a great way to stave off the aging process.
I think it might help people who are afraid of building big muscles to know how it happens. Basically if you want to build big muscles you have to work really, really, really hard at it. It doesn’t happen from going to the gym two or three times a week doing a few exercises at 8 repetitions each. Hypertrophy (muscles getting bigger) occurs when heavy weights are lifted in a specific way . . . more than the average person is going to lift (75% to 85% of what you can absolutely lift), more exercises than the average person takes time for, and with less rest time than most people take in the gym. It really takes work and concentration. It is very stressful on the body and people often don’t like to be sore. The type of lifting required to cause hypertrophy is not something the average woman is going to do. Doing 8 to 12 repetitions of a few exercise two or three times a week will enable your muscles to stay toned or it might even build some strength, but it will not make the muscles really big. If you want to increase your strength add more resistance or more reps.
What could actually happen if you start working with weights is the shape of the muscle might adjust and it you might think it is bigger because you actually start sensing it. I would recommend you measure your limbs with a flexible tape measure before you start a weight regimen. After a couple of weeks measure again, see if there is actually an increase in size. I’ll be waiting to hear . . . .
Posted in Training and Exercise | Tagged: agility, anti aging, flexibility, hypertrophy, Mobility, muscle building, muscle tone, muscle toned, Nia, Nia Classes, resistance training, stability, strength, strength building, strength training, weight training | 5 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on May 29, 2010
I am always a little taken off guard when someone comes to me before Nia class and tells me with shock that they were sore (after the last Nia class). I recently came to the realization that these people who are shocked–and maybe a bit offended–are shocked because they didn’t realize they are exercising in Nia. They didn’t realize what a great workout they received. They certainly weren’t aware that they were using muscles they may not have used in a long time OR that they may not have used in that way. Nia is a vacation from normal exercise, but it IS exercise.
Nia is a cardio dance exercise class so there is ample opportunity to move with an intensity that will get your heart rate up. Some people sweat, some people don’t. Everyone does Nia differently. EveryBODY has different needs. Needs can change from class to class. Nia teaches to listen to your body and to learn to give it what it needs.
Nia is a form of movement. It is a mixture of nine different movement forms. The mixture includes actual movements from some of these forms and elements and ideas from these forms. But it is not these forms. In other words if you attend a Nia class you will not be practicing yoga, tai chi, or the other martial arts but we might do some moves from some of those forms or we might use the ideas from them.
With the availability of so many moves and concepts we are able to move in Nia the way the body was designed to move. We can play in the different planes, moving up and down and work on the ground. Nia allows us to work on flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability.
All of this motion and action is sometimes different from what your body might be used to doing. Even though the movements are moves the body was actually designed to do, some of them you might not do in your everyday life, for instance rotating and opening the joints. When you move your body after not moving it at all or move it in a different way than it is accustomed to moving there is a possibility that you will experience soreness or DOMS.
It could be that the muscles are sore or it could be that there is awareness of the joints because the tissues or muscles that make up the joints are strengthening. While doing Nia we encourage people to try all the moves and experience them, but to tweak them so that they are comfortable to the body. Since we invite participants to sense Joy during the workout they might walk away not realizing that there could be some soreness after. Nia is also non-impact, but it can be intense so sometimes people are amazed that they sweat. It IS a workout after all.
Not everyone likes to sense the soreness that might accompany a good workout. I like it, I appreciate it because I know that it means I did something good for my body. It is ok for a body to be a little sore, it means that it is adapting to change. If the body is sore because it has not moved then it is good to have it adapt to the change of movement. If you are one that does not like to feel the effects of change on your body, then while in a Nia class you can make your movements smaller. If you don’t mind a little change then keep playing in all the levels. Nia allows for which ever path you chose and whatever you chose is up to you, I just wanted to help you understand so you can be aware of what might be happening and make an informed and mindful choice. It is my pleasure to be your travel guide and enable Nia to feel like a vacation.
I also have Tips for a Pleasurable Nia Experience and Tips for Moving Nia.
Are you ready for a relaxing yet exciting journey?
Posted in Nia | Tagged: agility, cardio class, DOMS, exercise class, FAMSS, flexibility, martial arts, Mobility, Nia, Nia class, Nia Dance, Nia exercise, Nia workout, non-impact, stability, strength, Tai Chi, the body's way, Tips on Nia, workout class, Yoga | 12 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on April 13, 2010
In Nia we refer to FAMSS. We practice FAMSS. We can use it for all types of things. It stands for:
And by “use” it I mean, it is often incorporated into each kata of a routine. Or a kata might concentrate on just flexibility, the next one agility, the next one mobility, and so on. Or we could use FAMSS as a focus OR an intention of a Nia class. Either all of them (Flexibility AND Agility AND Mobility AND Strength AND Stability) or just one (Flexibility OR Agility OR Mobility OR Strength OR Stability).
But whatever we do with it or them, they are highly regarded as abilities needed to ensure one’s (high) quality of life. So in Nia we honor them all. In a Nia class we weave them into the workout. In this post I am just referring to FAMSS in the physical. They can certainly be applied to more than just our physical bodies, but that can be another post just by itself.
For now, I am just talking about our physical bodies needing to be flexible, agile, mobile, strong, and stable. Just to move around in daily life these five things are very important. In Nia we can bend down in a forward fold as in the familiar pose one might do in a yoga class, allowing our flexibility to be enhanced. The music might encourage us to run, stop, run, stop, run, stop or move us to play the drums calling upon our bodies to display agility in legs, in arms, in our bodies as a whole. We can move our bodies as if they are grass in a field or seaweed in the ocean, moving each part, each section, each muscle, and all major joints to help ensure their mobility. We could crouch in a bow stance moving up and down exercising the strength in our legs. Then we can we stretch, reaching to the sky as we look up, this can be stability practice, either on flat foot, on the ball of our feet, or in releve. This could be one song in which all of this FAMSS is going on or it could be spread out over the entire routine.
Just tonight in my San Carlos class a woman told me that after her first class last week her hip felt better. She said that after her hip felt better on that first night it encouraged her to do a few of the moves at home that we had done in class. So she started working on her FAMSS in the first class, she was encouraged that movement was working to increase her FAMSS so she moved more. With movement she felt more comfort and less pain. FAMSS is necessary for a high quality of life. Her ever day movements were better not because she did it once, but because she kept doing it. Nia honors Flexibility and Agility and Mobility and Strength and Stability, so in Nia we practice it.
I hope one day you will attend one of my classes (I have two in San Jose and one in San Carlos*) to see how we can improve your FAMSS.
*Please see my website for my CURRENT class schedule. Thank you!
Posted in Nia | Tagged: agility, Carlos AyaRosas, exercise class, FAMSS, flexibility, FMASS, kata, Mobility, Nia, Nia class, Nia exercise, Nia focus, Nia intent, Nia Practice, Nia routine, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia's Five Sensations, San Carlos Nia, San Jose Nia, San Jose Nia class, San Jose Workout, San Jose Workout class, San Jose Yoga, stability, strength, workout class, Workout San Jose, Yoga class, Yoga Practice, Yoga workout | 4 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on October 10, 2009
Here is the bow stance. Now there are a lot of practices and movement arts that do the bow stance—at least I knew it before I came to Nia, so . . . please keep in mind that I am presenting it as one of the Nia 52 Moves because we do it in Nia and that is what I teach primarily.
I consider this somewhat of a deep bow. One does not need to come down this low. Usually with the bow stance we are placing a leg back, placing the ball of our foot on the ground and leaving the heel up. But there are times when we will step forward into a bow stance. Even if we are stepping forward into the bow stance, we are leaving the heel of the foot that is in the back off the ground. It is somewhat like a lunge, but the back foot remains on the ball of the foot.
The bow stance can be deep or not, and it can be a stance that we move quickly into or out of or a stance where we settle in and move our arms. It all depends on the music and the workout routine. It is great exercise for increasing balance and strength in the core and lower body.
Keep in mind that the feet are not in line. There is stability by keep the apart, at least hip joint distance apart.
Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: Bow Stance, deep lunge, exercise workout, hip joint, increase balance, increase core strength, increase strength in the lower body, lunge, movement arts, movement practices, Nia, Nia 52 moves, Nia exercise, Nia Practice, Nia routine, Nia Teacher, Nia workout, routine music, stability, teach Nia, workout routine | 2 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on March 10, 2009
In my introduction I made a comment about blaming my husband again, because a couple of years ago I made a comment and his response was “Why don’t you do something about it?” and so I have been working out ever since. I try to eat healthy. I don’t think I am a fanatic, I just try to exercise and eat well. I also wanted to help people like me so, at that time, I thought the best way to do that would be to become certified as a personal trainer. I, Terre Pruitt, am a certified personal trainer through the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCSF).
So, what image popped into your head when you read “personal trainer”? Doesn’t matter what it was I am pretty sure it was not me. Most people think of huge gyms, machines, heavy weights, big muscles and sweat when they think of personal trainers. When I became a personal trainer I was thinking more along the lines of “movement coach”. Just trying to help people realize that they need to move because there is truth in the old axiom “move it or lose it.” And I fear the day when my age group loses it. I think that the time will come sooner then it did with earlier generations who were accustom to movement in their everyday lives.
So I wanted to help people with functional fitness. Yes, there is such a thing. It is exercises and movement that actually help your body stay mobile so when you need to put your arms up to get a shirt on you will be able to. When you need to stretch and reach for something on a shelf you will be able to. At the same time you can be working on building your strength, stability, flexibility, and agility because all these things are what we use in our everyday lives. Things like that is what I am interested in.
I still believe that weight training is important, and you have to get your heart rate up to burn the calories to lose the fat, but I do not subscribe to “no pain, no gain”. Although, I might define pain differently than you . . . I don’t think you need to be in pain, per se, to gain. There are all types of “gain” so it really depends on what your goals are. I also think that a form of stretching is necessary to keep the body mobile. Some exercise forms combine these different elements, some forms keep them separate. It is best to find something you like so you can stick with it. Whatever works for you.
What form of exercise interests you?
Posted in Training and Exercise | Tagged: agility, certified personal trainer, coach, eat well, exercise, fanatic, flexibility, functional fitness, generations, gyms, healthy, interests, mobile, movement, Muscles, National Council on Strength and Fitness, NCSF, pain, Personal Trainer, stability, strength, stretching, Terre Pruitt, weight training, weights | Leave a Comment »