Posts Tagged ‘strength’
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 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 August 28, 2010
So what is it you want? Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to build strength? Do you want to run a marathon? Do you want to be able to lift a 15 pound weight 100 times? Do you want to touch your nose to your knees? Whatever you want, whatever your goal the best way to reach it is to train for it specifically.
There is a principle of specificity. If your goal is to run a marathon running ten miles every day is not going to get your body ready for the 26 miles that make up a marathon. If you want to build up strength lifting a 15 pound weight 50 times a day will not build strength. You actually have to give your body what it needs in order to allow it to reach your goal. You must train the specific physiological system.
Losing weight requires your body to burn more calories than you consume. Not that doing that is always easy, but that is the simple fact. How you burn the calories is up to you. If losing weight is your primary goal then your options for burning calories is almost limit less.
If you want to build strength, then the key is to use more resistance than you can presently move. This type of goal usually has some limitations, but still, there are a lot of options out there that will enable you to build strength. There are several factors to take into account, but once you have those things accounted for you can go from there.
Running a marathon takes a lot of training, but eventually if you are planning on participating in one you would be better prepared if you included some 26 mile runs in your training. As I mentioned previously you can’t run for 10 miles — even if it is everyday — and expect to be able to complete 26 miles during the marathon.
If it is muscle endurance you want, then you need to train your body in that manner. Doing cardio for a hour or lifting the heaviest weight you can lift a couple of times will not allow your muscles to grow accustom to the repetitiveness required for muscle endurance. Likewise, if you want to become flexible enough to be able to touch your toes or touch your nose to your knees, jogging three miles a day will not help you reach that goal. Specificity, that is how you get what you want. That is how you reach your goal–work the specific system specifically.
So what is it you want? And what type of activity are you doing to get it?
Posted in Training and Exercise | Tagged: build strength, endurance, flexibility, how many miles in a marathon, how to lose weight, jog, lose weight, marathon, muscle endurance, principle of specificity, resistance training, run, specificity, strength | 9 Comments »
Posted by terrepruitt on June 10, 2010
When I was young the thing to do, what we were taught to do, before exercise was to stretch. Static stretching, moving into a position that stretches the muscle, then hold it for about 30 seconds. The idea was to stretch every muscle in the body, from the top to the bottom or the bottom to the top. This was considered a proper warm-up. This was the correct way to get our bodies ready for exercise. This we were told would prevent injury. Research and knowledge has changed that.
With advances in exercise technology and body knowledge, it is now a popular belief that this type of stretching, static stretching could actual harm the muscles or in the very least keep them from operating at their peak. Some researchers believe that stretching before exercise actually causes the muscle to contract and tire, therefore not perform as efficiently.
A study done by the University of Nevada found that athlete’s muscle strength was decreased by as much as 30%. If a muscles strength is decreased you are either going to be able to do less or injure yourself trying to do more than you muscle is able to do at the time.
So many of us have been taught to warm up this way for so long it is difficult for us to let go and to move on to the correct way to warm up. This type of stretching — static stretch — is best left for the purpose of improving flexibility (and strength in the case of asanas) and is best done after a workout (unless it IS your workout as in the case of a yoga). What type of warm up do you do? Do you stretch before or after a workout?
Posted in Working Out | Tagged: asanas, exercises, improve flexibility, static stretching, strength, stretching before workout, workout, Yoga | 6 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 February 18, 2010
Nia thinks of the pelvis, chest, and head as the core of the body. Nia is not defining the core muscles or a core muscle group, Nia just includes these three body weights as the core of the body.
The core is Nia White Belt Principle #8.
Alignment of these three weights affects so many things; energy, bones, muscles, organs. If the alignment is not as it should be all of these things could be affected.
Movement can help properly align these three weights. Often times some areas of our bodies are stiff and/or tight and by moving our body as it was designed to be moved the stiffness gets worked out and the tightness goes away. Sometimes that is what is needed to assist in proper alignment. Other times it might be strengthening or just moving your body in a way it is not accustomed to move.
As an example of how we guide a body to alignment, we utilize the bow stance in Nia routines. A great exercise while in the bow stance is to move the pelvis in all directions. Moving the pelvis in all directions while in this stance allows for the body to gain or retain mobility. Mobility in the hips and the spine. Movement of the pelvis releases energy and muscle tension. This type of movement also requires strength in the torso and leads up to the chest and head. While circling or waving the hips the body falls on and off balance and the chest and head must be used to stay upright. All of this contributes to stability, flexibility, and strength.
We often dance our chest in Nia. We move our ribs to open them and keep the muscles in between mobile. We breath deep. We makes sounds. We use our chest to guide us in our workout, giving us a different way to move. This releases blocked energy.
Nia encourages movement of the head in our routines. We are often moving our head on its own or to lead us through a move. We employ our hands and our eyes to help us move our head. Not all cardio workout classes employ the use of the head and it seems as if a lot of people are just plain ol’ not used to moving their head. So caution is always recommended. Since moving the head stimulates two chakras it is sometimes very powerful and some people get dizzy until they are used to it.
When these three body weights are in alignment sense calm. When our body is strong yet flexible and capable of mobility it assist us in keep our body weights aligned correctly even when we move we feel confident and have a sense of wellness.
The Nia White Belt Manual* has over 15 pages addressing the pelvis, chest, and head. I think that means that there will be more posts regarding the core and/or its parts, because Nia has a lot of information that I can share about the core.
*The Nia White Belt Manual was created by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas as was Nia (the Nia Technique). All of this information is based off of information from their trainings and the White Belt Manual and the Nia Technique Book
Posted in Core Muscles, Nia | Tagged: Bow Stance, Carlos AyaRosas, Carlos Rosas, chakras, core muscle group, Core Muscles, Debbie Rosas, flexibility, Nia, Nia and the Core, Nia routines, Nia Technique, Nia White Belt, Nia White Belt Manual, pelvis movement, Principle #8, strength, three body weights, White Belt | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on December 1, 2009
As you might now be aware Nia includes elements from three different movement forms from three different arts. One of the arts is the dance arts and one movement form is Modern Dance. With Modern Dance concepts added to Nia it allows us to play with balance, play with shapes, and play with space. We can form any shape we want. We can use arms and legs, fingers and toes, torso and head to make the shapes we envision. We can allow gravity to pull us to the ground, or gravity to pull us heavenward. With all that Modern Dance inspires us to do we can gain strength and flexibility. Agility plays a part also as we shift our weight and change our speed.
Jazz Dance allows us to play and be showmen, and Duncan Dance allows us to play and use our imagination, and Modern Dance allows us to play and in addition really use our bodies. Muscles get a great workout as we expand and contract, shifting our weight, and making shapes. An invitation to experiment with all planes, directions, and levels only helps to confirm that our muscles will be used as we dance and play. Bringing Modern Dance into your workout can also be an exercise in timing and speed. Modern Dance can be the encouragement to make different combinations. For example, walk across the floor, walk high, walk low, walk fast, walk slow, stumble and recover.
This movement form is a great way to explore the floor, you could fall gently to the earth, then rise up slowly, fall gently and spring up. Again, multiple combinations can be a result of letting Modern Dance into the workout. This form also suggest moving one body part and allowing others to follow, so maybe as you are on the ground your hand rises into the air and your body follows and your hand takes you around the space you are in.
Modern Dance really allows for freedom in Nia. It gives you permission to mix things up and make the steps of a routine your own. It is another form that gives us permission to play and make the workout fun.
The Nia Technique Book and The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual have additional information regarding the movement forms that were blended to create Nia. The books are by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.
Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: agility, dance arts, dance exercise, dance routine, Dance Workout, different movement forms, Duncan Dance, exercise that is fun, flexibility, freedom dance, fun exercise, fun workout, Jazz Dance, modern dance, Nia, Nia exercise, Nia routine, Nia workout, strength | 2 Comments »