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 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 »