Posted by terrepruitt on March 15, 2012
While Nia is not yoga nor is it a yoga class we do borrow from Yoga. We borrow some of the ideas and sometimes some of the poses. In one of the Nia routines we do the Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II). We do it both static where we just rest into it and we move in it, we bend our bent leg more and sink into it and come up. Then we do the Extended Side Angle Pose (Utthita Parsvakonasana), then a version of the lunge, which depending upon your body could be a variation of the Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana), or the High Lunge (Utthita Ashva Sanchalanasana), or the Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I) – all without the backbend. Then we straighten our leg into the Pyramid Pose/Intense Stretch Pose (Parsvottanasana). With these poses we are using a lot of muscles. The muscles can be challenged in strength, stability, and/or flexibility. It all depends are your body at that moment.
When we do the Warrior II pose in this Nia routine the arms are extended out to the sides, opposite from each other, the hips, torso, chest, and shoulders are facing the mirror/front, while one of the legs is bent at a 90 degree angle and the foot is in line with the arm. The other leg is straight and the foot is slightly turned with the toes pointed toward the body and the heel pointed away. Of course participants have the option of having the foot at a right angle, but for this dance it is led with a slight angle. Even with that slight variation it is working the glutes (all of them), the thigh muscles: inner, outer, hamstrings, and the quadriceps, and your calf muscles. And for some, like me, who have a habit of scrunching the shoulders, it works the rhomboids while holding up the arms and keeping the shoulder blades down and pulled back. This is true for many yoga poses, that is why it is so great for encouraging straight posture.
Then for our Extended Side Angle Pose the arm, on the same side as the bent leg, is lowered, forearm to the thigh, the opposite arm is raised towards the sky and extended to a position that puts the arm next to the ear. There are options to stay in this modified Extended Side Angle or to move to another modification by removing the forearm from the thigh and placing that hand on the earth next to the inside arch of the foot. With this pose the primary work is in the bent leg. It is another pose that works the hamstrings and thigh muscles. Through the back of the straight leg and all along that side of the body there is a wonderful stretch, which is greater and more wonderful the better the body is as keeping the shoulder blades down and the back straight (not leaning forward).
We then move into a lunge with many options. As with all movements in Nia the responsibility falls on the participant to decide what it is their body is able to do and needs to do at that moment. We start off by placing the hands on the ground and straightening the foot on the leg that was straight in the Extended Side Angle Pose to be parallel with the foot on the bent leg. Then gently bring the back leg down resting the knee on the ground. As I said, many options so many places to go from here. One can stay here in Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana), or do a moving lunge by moving up and down, or go to High Lunge (Utthita Ashva Sanchalanasana), or come into an extended Warrior Pose I (Virabhadrasana I) with the arms up but with a parallel back foot and a straight back. Here the body receives the benefit of a lunge no matter which one the body does. If doing the extended Warrior Pose I like pose, the glutes and thigh of the bent leg are getting a great deal of work, while the straight leg’s foot parallel to the other foot results in a slight change in the muscles being worked and stretched than with the angled foot position of a traditional Warrior I. The inner thigh gets less work while the work and stretch shifts almost entirely to the back of the leg, the hamstrings and calf. The arms extended up in the extended Warrior Pose I allows for work in the spinal extensors, deltoids, lats, and traps . . . . basically a lot of muscles in the back, including the ones that keep your shoulders down. With the crown of the head reaching towards the sky abs get a stretch too.
Moving from whichever lunge was done to the pyramid where the bent leg is straightened and the crown of the head is reaching over the leg while back is straight and chest is on or close to the straight leg. Of course, variations are offered and participants do what is right for their body to remain in the sensation of Joy. With this pose the sensation experienced is a great stretch. The leg to which the head/chest is close to get the largest stretch in the back. If the body is active with the leg and working to keep the knee cap up then the quadriceps will be engaged. The spine gets a nice stretch because the crown of the head is being reach over and down. The back leg might also feel a stretch in the hamstrings if the body is like many people’s and has tight hamstrings.
This is a small yoga-like sequence that we do as part of the cool down cycle of one of the Nia routines. Again, since Nia is not a Yoga class there are many options and variations that are offered that might not be part of a yoga class teaching strictly yoga. With all classes whether it be Nia, Yoga, Zumba, Jazzercise, whatever, the goal should be to give your body what it needs at that time. Bodies are constantly changing so the needs do too. The idea is not to force the body into a pose, but to allow the muscles and bones to sink into the pose, finding strength and flexibility along with openness in the joints and that constant sensation of Joy. This is a little review of movements that are Yoga or are very similar to Yoga, to explain some of the muscles we use in Nia.
Can you see how Nia can improve strength, stability, and flexibility?
Posted in Muscles, Nia | Tagged: back muscles, butt muscles, Extended Side Agnle Pose, Jazzercise, lunge, Nia, Nia class, Nia Moves, Nia routines, Pyramid, thigh muscles, Warrior I, Warrior II, Yoga, Yoga class, yoga poses, yoga sequence, Zumba | 2 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 June 9, 2009
I think that it is perfectly fine for people to like (or love) more than one thing. Right? Do you agree? I teach Nia, I practice Nia, I preach Nia, I love Nia, but . . . .I also love Pilates. I am somewhat hesitant to admit that I have never taken a mat Pilates class. I do plan on taking one because the club in Los Gatos where I teach offers it so I will get in there soon, but lately I have been practicing Pilates at home with DVDs.
I believe that Pilates was designed to be done on apparatuses. They have several that they utilize. It is my opinion that in order to really experience Pilates you do need to go to a qualified instructor and work with him/her on the apparatuses. I have experience with one wonderful Pilates instructor. Originally I found her because she was near downtown Milpitas, now she is in Milpitas, but closer to Fremont. My DVDs are not the same, but for now, it is what my schedule allows and I enjoy it. I have a few Pilates DVDs.
I enjoy the 10 minutes ones because I can focus on a section of the body for 10 minutes then move on. I can get a whole body work out in 30 to 40 minutes. They say you can do Pilates every day, but just like anything you want to listen to your own body and see what it says.
So , as I am always saying: find something you enjoy. You can enjoy several things Yoga, Pilates, Dancing, Nia, Walking, whatever. You can enjoy them several ways; in a class, outside, with a DVD, whatever. Find a couple of things and do it, enjoy doing it.
Posted in Training and Exercise | Tagged: 10 Minutes, Dancing class, Fremont Nia, Fremont Pilates, Fremont Yoga, Los Gatos Nia, Los Gatos Pilates, Los Gatos Yoga, Milpitas Nia, Milpitas Pilates, Milpitas Yoga, Nia, Nia class, Nia workout, Pilates apparatuses, Pilates class, Pilates DVDs, Pilates instructor, Walking class, workout, Yoga class | Leave a Comment »
Posted by terrepruitt on April 11, 2009
I want to remind everyone that Nia™ or Nia Technique® is a specific practice.** It was created in 1983 by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas. They were married and now they are not, but Nia is such an important part of their lives and so important to them, that they continue to work together.
Nia has different belt levels; White Belt, the newly added Green Belt, Blue Belt, Brown Belt, and Black Belt. Each Belt has its own set of principles, except for Green. You must wait a year in between belts before you can take the next intensive. (Except for green because it a newly added in the system to assist teachers.)
Click here for more info on classes and Nia
I am a White Belt, so I continue to work with the thirteen White Belt Principles:
1–The Joy of Movement
2–Natural Time and the Movement Forms
3–Music and the 8BC System
5–Awareness – Dancing Through Life
6–The Base; Feet and Legs
7–The Three Planes and the Three Levels of Intensity
8–The Core of the Body; Pelvis, Chest, and Head
9–Creative Arm and Hand Expressions
11–Business and Marketing
13–Dance What You Sense / Teach What You Sense
When I talk about Nia it is based on what Debbie and Carlos have created. They have been working and growing with Nia for 25 years. And if you look at their work and information you will see that it has morphed a little. It is the same basic practice but I believe it gets refined as they grow and change.
So please keep in mind when I talk about Nia, I am talking about something wonderful and specific and it is entirely based on the work of Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.
Please join me in San Jose for a Nia class. Visit my website for the schedule
**This post is to explain that “Nia” and “Nia-things” I talk about are primarily from the creators of Nia BUT please keep in mind . . . . Nia is also a workout that can be experienced, just like a Yoga, Zumba, Jazzercise, or any group exercise class. One can show up to class and just move and get a great workout. One does not have to participant in the intensive and the belt levels.
Visit Nia’s main website at: http://www.nianow.com
Posted in Nia | Tagged: 8BCs, Carlos Rosas, Debbie Rosas, exercise class, exercise classes, great workout, group exercise, group exercise class, Jazzercise, joy, Nia, Nia Belt levels, Nia Practice, Nia San Jose, Nia Technique, Nia White Belt, Nia workout, San Jose exercise class, San Jose exercise classes, San Jose Nia, the joy of movement, thirteen White Belt Principles, workout class, Yoga, Yoga class, Yoga Practice, Zumba, Zumba class | 3 Comments »