Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Muscle Clocks And Things

Posted by terrepruitt on August 12, 2020

Often times certifications require continued education.  I am reading an interesting book for some of my continued education units.  I am rather excited about this book and the information because it is CURRENT!  So fabulous!  So often the materiel used for continued education is YEARS old.  I remember the last CEUs I took that were required by one place I taught . . . the material was so old that it was no longer correct!  So we were being taught and tested on information that was out of date.  One of the reason continued education is required for many certifications is because things change.  With new information being learned about the body all the time the way people exercise and train changes.  So it is really helpful when the material we are using has current information.  This book is from . . . . wait for it . . . 2020!  I can barely believe it.  Another reason WHY it is so important to have current material is most of the time the studies that the materials reference are already years old. Research and study takes a long time so it can take a long time for information to be published.  Another reason I am so excited about this information is that it is pretty interesting.  It is about muscle clocks.

You may have heard of an internal body clock, but did you know our muscles have clocks?  You may have because it is not really a new idea, but there is just more things proving it.  More studies are being done on how it works.  It is fascinating . . . at least to me.

Muscle clocks are described as “transcription factors or genes inside each muscle that regulate physiological cycles according to environmental changes and physical activity.”

With the knowledge and understanding of muscle clocks people can plan training to get the most out of it.  The idea is that muscles are on a 24 hour clock and if an athlete trains at the same time every day of training then muscles can anticipate the training is coming and perform and reform better.  That is the gist, although the book explains there is a lot more to aid in getting muscles to do their best.

Again, this is not a totally new concept it is just that it is being understood better.

Some other things I thought I would share:

—-Skeletal muscles make up about 40-45% of the body’s total mass

—-Muscle is the single more abundant tissue in the body

—-Muscle communicate with other muscles and systems in the body

—-Cardio Training that was done before resistance training showed blood lactate and cortisol levels elevated (these levels should be low)

—-HIIT has been shown to interfere with sleep

—-Muscle clocks can learn to prepare muscles and best results will be achieved from consistently (time of day) scheduled training

—-Sleep quality is very important

The data is showing that muscles are smart.  They have their own clocks and can learn when they get resistance training happening at the same time of day.  It is like they KNOW they are going to a party and they start getting ready!

I find this pretty interesting.  And, as I said, it is not new, so you may have already known about muscle clocks.  The new part (and it isn’t even that new because things take a long time for studies to be done and documents) is that they are really beginning to understand them more.

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This book is really great, I think.  Amy Ashmore lays out what each chapter is about and explains what you will learn in the next chapters.  To me that is very helpful.  Some books will say something like “well what we are talking about is all based on the blah, blah, blah theory” and they either expect you to know what it is or don’t tell you that they will explain it in subsequent chapter so you might find yourself clicking away to go look for information on the “blah, blah, blah theory” but Amy explains everything.  She lets you know when it will be explained and doesn’t leave you hanging.  And she also repeats information so it all melds together.

So, have you ever heard of muscle clocks?  Does the idea that your muscle can anticipate resistance training intrigue you?

Posted in Muscles | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nia White Belt P6 – Base – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on August 10, 2020

Wow. We are already on Principle 6 of the Nia White Belt Principles in the first ever Nia White Belt Training Online. Remember this is somatic training so it is about the body. For people that have not taken any type of anatomy training or exercise training the information might be new, but since Nia is based on the body a lot of it is not new because we pretty much have had the same number of bones in our feet since they have been able to count all the bones in the feet (26 in each foot). Nia is based on science but the way Debbie relates it to your everyday life is what makes it fun and amazing. Nia White Belt P6 Base. It is about the base, our foundation, from our feet to our hip joint.  The triad consists of feet, legs, hip joints.

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There are four categories associated with the base. The “Feet” category has 8 moves, the “Stances” category has 6 moves, the “Steps” category 9 moves, and the “Kicks” category has 4 moves.  Below is the list of “base” moves and links to my posts about them, except the Cha-Cha-Cha.

*Feet*
1.  Heel LeadDance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via Zoom
2.  Whole Foot
3.  Ball of the Foot
4.  Rele
5.  Rock Around the Clock
6.  Squish Walk
7.  Duck Walk
8.  Toes In, Out, Parallel

*Stances*
9.  Closed Stance
10.  Open Stance
11.  “A” Stance
12.  Riding (Sumo) Stance
13.  Bow Stance
14.  Cat Stance

*Steps*
15.  Sink and Pivot Table Wipe
16.  Stepping Back onto the Ball of Your Foot
17.  Cross Front
18.  Cross Behind
19.  Traveling in Directions
20.  Lateral Traveling
21.  Cha-Cha-Cha
22.  Slow Clock
23.  Fast Clock

*Kicks*
24.  Front Kick
25.  Side Kick
26.  Back Kick
27.  Knee Sweep

If you have never been to a Nia class you might be amazed at how many ways you can do each of these moves. There are many ways . . . you could shift your intention, you could shift your energy, you could shift your focus, you could shift your weight . . . . all of these things would allow you to sense the move differently.  And the great thing about them is you don’t even have to be in a dance class to practice them.

Can you spot one you might call a favorite?

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Nia White Belt P5 – Awareness – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on August 5, 2020

First of all, to clarify, Nia uses triads in their training and they are continually updating them, they may change the language or possibly rearrange the order, but they have used and are still using triads.  This week our lesson was on Nia White Belt Principle 5.  It has four triads, one for the main principle and three more to help with understanding the principle and being able to have it.  The Nia White Belt Principle 5 is Awareness.  White Belt is all about the body so Nia White Belt P5 – Awareness is about body sensory awareness.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via ZoomThe main triad’s three points are: Body, Message, Response.  There is the body and we get messages and there is our response to the messages.  We have a relationship with our physical body and our energy body which are shown on the “wings” of the triad.  Your nose could have a tickle and your body sends you that message.  You have a relationship with that sensation in your body and with the energy/feelings it generates.  And your response could be to scratch your nose.  That is a very simple example.

The idea goes much deeper than that and it has three additional triads.  The first one is about skin, joints, and connective tissue and our perception of pain and pleasure.  The second one is about awareness, stimulation, and self-healing with a temperature gauge for pain and wings of logic and mystery.  And the third is about Dancing Through Life, Living Meditation, and Life as Art with the sacred athlete at the center and body and life as wings.  Dancing Through Life is the “doing” and Living Meditation is the “Non-Doing”.

There is so much that I can say about each triad but I always want to leave a little mystery so that when you get the book or take the training and dive deeper into it yourself you will have somethings still new to you.  I just want to say a few things about some of the points, self-healing in Nia is not telling you that you can heal yourself without medical assistance, it is more to the effect of moving to heal or in a way that allows your body to heal and not cause injury.  If in your dance you step really wide into a sumo stance and you feel pain in your knees, you could “self-heal” by adjusting to a smaller sumo stance.  This is a simple example, but it is about having awareness and moving to stimulate self-healing.

Also, I wanted to get a little more detailed about Dancing Through Life . . . one of my favorite sayings and ideas of Nia.  A part of the idea is to — literally, DANCE THROUGH LIFE.  Again, remember that Nia has a broad definition of “dance”, so this doesn’t mean do the waltz or plies though life, it is more like noticing everything you do is your dance.  Brushing your teeth is your dance, making your dinner is your dance – the DOING of life is your dance,  The non-doing is living meditation.  Stop and notice things.  Then allow Life to be Art.

Remember there is The Nia Technique Book that covers all of this.  As I have been saying the language now in 2020, is a bit different, but the core of the information is the same.  So even though The Nia Technique Book was published in 2004, you would still get a lot out of it.  Also, this training is available to anyone, you don’t have to want to teach Nia, you just have to want to maybe look at things – things that are not new to you – a little differently, from a body centered outlook.  Currently there are many trainings happening (about to happen) online.

What here sparks your interest about Nia White Belt P5 – Awareness?  Are you living in a body that is always in pain?  Do you think of yourself as Dancing Through Life?  Are you living in a body that is always in pain?

Posted in 2020 Nia White Belt Principles, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Smooth Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on August 3, 2020

I am not sure when, but probably within the last five months I downloaded a solitaire game into my iPad.  I usually play it right before bed.  The game awards you little gold crowns on a calendar for every day you win the daily challenge.  If you win the daily challenge the day of the challenge you get a gold crown with jewels.  It is silly, but I like to win the hand on the day of the challenge so I am usually playing it after midnight when the new daily challenge comes out.  So, like I said right before I go to sleep.  Well, I was playing it recently and I was agitated.  The way the cards were “moving” or more accurately NOT moving was very agitating.  At first as I was playing I thought, “This is not relaxing!  Usually I am not feeling like this. What is up?”  Then, I noticed the cards were “behaving” oddly.  At first I thought I was imaging things and the cards were behaving like they always do, but the more I played the more I realized that they were not moving like they normally do.  I was sad because I thought there had been a change and that the cards were going to have this weird movement from now on.  It really is about movement and about what calms or agitates you.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via ZoomAs I played I realized that the cards normally float either down into the pile or over to where they can be played.  The floating is kind of calming, but with this new thing the cards were just “phfth” and it was there.  The space where the card had been either just changed – ABRUPTLY – to the new card – or the space where there hadn’t been a card, a card would just appear.  The more I noticed it the more agitating it was.  I had to stop clicking on the cards to get them into play and I had to actually move it there myself.  That cut down on the weird movement a bit.  I still wasn’t 100% sure that it hadn’t always been this way, but I was 95% sure because I was going to have to give up the game because it was no longer soothing.  But to be sure I would see how the winning “ceremony” was.

When you win a hand the cards do various “dances”, sometimes they form a castle, sometimes they form a heart, sometimes just circles that spin around, but it is nice and smooth and it is like the equivalent of applause.  Then your crown appears and then floats to your calendar.  Well, after I won the hand it – I don’t know how to describe it but there was no fanfare just some glitching.  So I closed the application and re-opened it and —–ahhhhh!  It was back to floating cards and calmness.  I am so happy it was just a glitch and they didn’t change the way the cards moved.

But I found it so interesting that the movement of the cards had such an effect.  I made me realize how the floating cards are really a nice calming thing and the glitchy ones were aggravating.  Reminded me of how movement can be that way, nice smooth movement can calm the nervous system whereas frantic movement can aggravate it.  I thought it was fitting that I am re-taking the Nia White Belt which is all about movement and I happen to experience weird movement in the game and notice how it affected me.

Have you ever noticed frantic movement affecting your nervous system?  Do you play any calming games before bed? 

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Nessa In The Ripple Rug

Posted by terrepruitt on July 31, 2020

Such a silly kitty. She had just finished attacking her sister, she had dived into the hole and crouched there waiting for Teagan to come. Teagan ran up and swatted and Nessa popped her head out for the attack. They really love their Ripple Rug. I thought I would share for today’s Friday Photo.

So which do you prefer “dived” or “dove”?  (I went back and forth!)

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8 Stages Of Nia White Belt P4 – FreeDance – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 29, 2020

As you know different people learn different ways and as we were only on stage 5 with just 20 minutes left in class on Monday, I was wishing that we had more time to explore the principles. I wanted to be able to be with each stage longer. This is my first time re-taking the Nia White Belt. After class, Debbie stays after to answer additional questions and receive comments and, funny enough, one person said she liked how fast we went through the stages. She felt she got more out of it instead of spending so much time on them. Someone else spoke up and “mirrored” that sentiment. I don’t think it was their first re-take. I would have loved to spend more time with it. For my blog, I thought I would at least separate the introduction of the principle from the stages, since for many people exercising without specific instructions is a new and challenging concept. Being able to move one’s body in their own body’s way in a dance exercise class is not the norm – unless you are in a Nia class. The Nia White Belt Principle #4 is FreeDance and it has eight stages.

With Nia FreeDance participants can dance what their body needs at the time they are in the class, but not everyone knows what to do with that freedom. Not everyone knows what their body needs. So there are eight stages we use in our practice that can help. I am not going to do a language comparison (between when I took it in 2008 and now) I am just going to say the verbiage has changed a bit but the message is the same. Here is the 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 8 stages with their tag lines and explanations, as usual there is a lot more, I am just sharing a bit.

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2 – Being Seduced By The Music ~ The Art of Listening: this is where you can stop moving. You may be surprised at what you hear when you are just listening to the music. And then once you start dancing again you may be moving differently because you actually heard something you hadn’t heard before. Or you may just have a different sense of the music.

3 – Feelings + Emotions ~ Pretend, Fake it, Act “as if”: this is where you pretend. You can pick an emotion . . . and act as if you are XXXX. You can pretend to be mad, angry, happy, sad, tired, bored, flirty . . . whatever and then you dance that. You let your body MOVE that emotion.

4 – Creative Source ~ Real You: here you remember a story and allow yourself to feel that emotion and dance that. You may find that you use less energy when you are actually tapping into a real emotion than when you are acting and the emotion is coming from your head. Dance your story and see where that emotion takes your movements.

5 – Authentic Movement ~ Change!!: this is about the way your body moves. We dance and as we are “forced” to change we find authentic movement. For those that know how to count the bars we change every two bars, but until you know that, just change often . . . let’s just say you should change about 15 times in an average speed 5 minute song.

6 – Witness ~ Neutral Observer: this is where we just notice what our body does. We aren’t supposed to change it we are just noticing what it does.

7 – Accidental Click ~ Music + Movement Integration: this is where we have a “click”, when we really feel our body move to the music and we know that that is how it is supposed to be moving. Something “clicks”. Once you sense that keep doing it.

8 – Body-Centered Choreography ~ Levels 1, 2, 3: this is where you can take that movement tendency or that click and dance through the three levels. The three levels are what we want to demonstrate in a Nia class so that everyBODY can have fun and get the workout their body needs at that time. Level one is less, smaller movements, two is more, and then three is the biggest and something you may not even be able to (or want to) maintain throughout the class. It is nice to visit all the levels so that you can experience the different sensations in the body.  Also, it is important to keep in mind that these levels relate to YOUR body.  My level one might be your level three, that person over there . . . their level three might be my level two . . . . so do YOUR BODY’S levels.

I wrote out the main things that I want to remember (pictured here) and posted here.

There you have a bit about the eight stages of the 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 – FreeDance. These can help people with their FreeDance practice.

I could go on and on, but I need to stop here.  I hope this gave you an idea about Nia FreeDance and maybe if gave you some ideas on how you can play and practice with dancing in order to stimulate your BMES.

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Nia White Belt P4 – FreeDance – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 27, 2020

I have several posts regarding Nia FreeDance. When I was teaching often there was a period when we had FreeDance Fridays. That was fun. I feel when I am teaching multiple times a week it is really great to have one class be FreeDance. I have posted about the 8 stages of FreeDance. There are a couple of posts about a FreeDance Playshop I produced once and one about the tools for the eight stages of FreeDance that we can use to help us “to stimulate movement creativity”.  We just had our class regarding FreeDance, Nia White Belt Principle #4. I am happy to report, not much has changed. Again, some of the language used has changed and certainly the way it is presented. I want to clarify that the training is always evolving, Nia is always finding new and better ways to deliver the information, but the core information is not changing. That is a great comfort to me and it makes sense. I want the organization I am involved with to grow and improve, but I don’t want it to change the core of what it does. So, 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 is FreeDance.

Now in my previous documentation of it, you may see FreeDance written different ways and that is because I understood Carlos (one of the original creators of Nia) to have different ways of writing it. The principle was one way (FreeDance) and then the first stage was another (Free dance). So, if you see differences that is why. And moving forward I will endeavor to keep it FreeDance.

This term sometimes confuses people because they think the class is free. I have experienced this many times. But FreeDance is something that Nia participants do, it is a practice, it is a principle of Nia. It is “stimulating movement creativity”.

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There is a triad for this principle, like with all of the principles, it consists of Move, Explore, and Create. They put the numbers for the 8 stages going counter clock-wise on the triad, but have created a separate graphic with the stages going clockwise. Instead of drawing the triad and creating the graphic I chose to write out the eight stages. We can use the eight stages to helps us move. Here I am just going to list the stages:

1 – FreeDance
2 – Being Seduced By The Music
3 – Feelings + Emotions
4 – Creative Source
5 – Authentic Movement
6 – Witness
7 – Accidental Click
8 – Body-Centered Choreography

The next post will contain the tag lines for each stage and the information I wanted to high-light for myself.

So, Dear Reader, how do you feel about dancing with no instruction?  How do you feel about dancing with little to no instruction in a cardio exercise class?

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Friday Photo Question

Posted by terrepruitt on July 24, 2020

So, purple flowers for today’s Friday Photo. What are these?

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Still Zooming – More On Sound

Posted by terrepruitt on July 22, 2020

Well, many of us are still teaching classes via Zoom. In my area indoor exercise is not allowed and even when they thought they were going to allow it they had restrictions on indoor cardio and dance. And Nia is a cardio dance exercise. Because it is full of playfulness, taps into many types of movement forms, energies, and challenges and satisfies the BMES we don’t like to call it just a cardio dance exercise, but when classifying it for indoor activity purposes, that is what it is. So many of us are still doing it online. Some have moved outdoors, but that gets into all types of possible liabilities and issues I am not ready to take on just yet . . . so I continue to try to improve my delivery of the virtual class.

In my last “Zoom” post I wrote about how at the point of class starting my mic and music failed. That was a bummer. Then I had a great week and then it failed again. Some of it, I know is user (me) error, but sometimes I think it is internet or software error. As an example, last week I used a different USB port for my microphone and speaker and in doing so the transmitter was hanging and I think was not plugged in all the way. But then when we were doing our little chat after class, I couldn’t hear one of my students, the other students could, but I couldn’t. I didn’t do anything to fix it, but she exited the meeting then came back on and I could hear her. So it is crazy.

My students continue to be kind and understanding so I continue to try.

Lately I am using iTunes directly through Zoom. Zoom allows the host to share the screen and in this case the “screen” is just audio. This eliminates the issue of the music cutting out as would happen when I used a speaker and a microphone to pick up both my voice and the music. My fans would create background noise and interfere with music transmission.

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Here is the advanced screen where you can choose to just share sound.

The Kimafun microphone I got (box shown in my “struggles” post) came with a USB converter that allows me to plug the transmitter into it so it feeds directly into the computer/Zoom and it allows me to have a speaker attached so I hear the music that is being played through Zoom to my students.

I still have to rely on my students telling me if they can hear me and the music, but that will always be the case. I record myself and the music to test it, but it really boils down to what the students hear. So whoever shows up first gets to set the volumes because I adjust according to what they say.

I still feel I need more practice with the microphone. I usually teach without a microphone so I am used to projecting my voice and allowing myself to exhale with all the lovely sounding techniques that Nia encourages, but that gets LOUD with the microphone in my face. The recommendation I saw said to keep it two fingers away from your face and I am using three. Next week I am going to try four. Part of the issue is that it moves around as I dance so the set up changes. I readjust it when I remember. For the most part it is working out, but I will keep in mind that I need to keep trying to improve.

So . . . what do you do when you are teaching a class?  Or, if you don’t teach, what experiences have you had in regards to sounds when in a Zoom class or meeting?

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This is the basic screen share screen

 

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Zoom reminder and “stop” sharing

 

Posted in Nia, Online Classes, Zoom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Nia White Belt P3 – Music + 8BC System – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 20, 2020

We are on our fifth week of the Nia White Belt Training via Zoom. We have reviewed Principle 3. From my previous posts, when I first took the White Belt, it was treated like two parts. Now, in 2020, while Principle 3 is called Music & 8BC System it is broken down into three parts. While our triads go from bottom left corner, to right, to top, I feel like the book and the training do not follow that order:  Principle 3’s triad is made up of RAW, Sound, and the 8BC System.

Following that triad, we have RAW, which is truly R.A.W. and stands for Relaxed, Alert, and Waiting. This is how we are supposed to listen to our music. Eleven years later and I still get so sleepy I often stop and take a nap. The original instruction was always to sit and most of the time, halfway through a song I am so tired I can’t keep my eyes open, so I think I will start standing in RAW. It really is an amazing way to listen to music. Maybe I just take the “relaxed” part too far. We relax, but we are (supposed to remain) alert, and we wait for the sounds and the silence.

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There are so many ways to do this it can be fun, if you can stay awake! You can listen to the sounds of the song as a whole or you can pick out one instrument or sound and follow it through the whole song . . .that is where the waiting can come in because it might not be a constant throughout the entire song so you are left waiting.  It could be actual silence you are waiting through.  Once you are familiar with the sounds and silences they can become cues when the choreography is added.  You can do this with songs you have never heard or songs you have been listening to your entire life.  Sit in RAW and listen to a song you are familiar with and see if you hear any new-to-you sounds.

On another corner of the triad, we have sound, the anatomy of the music; the rhythm, the melody, and the harmony. This is listened to in RAW. Instead of listening to just one sound/instrument, perhaps you focus your attention on just the harmony and listen to the entire song that way. Or the rhythm or the melody, it is another way to become familiar with the music.  Again, a fun way to listen to music.

And finally we have the 8BC System which is the way we Nia teachers learn our music. We count it to “bar” it and the result is a map that helps us to move to it. Again, eleven years later and I am still learning with this. I love really studying the music and mapping it well because I always hope to “do my own thing” to it, but then, more often than not, I am in awe of the choreography and end up trying to stick to it. So . . . I am still learning to play with Nia music that has choreography.  Perhaps this time through the white belt I will grasp “playing more” with Nia music and become more flexible.  When dancing to music that has not be choreographed by the Nia choreographers I can play just fine, but it is stepping away from the moves that are timed and planned so well that I am still learning.

My previous posts on Nia White Belt Principle 3 Music & the 8BC System are still pertinent so I am not going to go further into it. As I have said over and over, to really understand the richness of the material and training you have to take it for yourself. I have barely scratched the surface on what Debbie went over in class and the triad graphic is incomplete, there is more to each triad. As I have also said about Nia, 98% of this can be applied to your life.

If you approach listening to people in RAW, where you are relaxed but alert and just waiting for them to share with you what they are saying, how fabulous would that be? If you were to stop and listen to the rhythm of life around you and notice the melodies and harmonies that accompany it, what would be able to notice? Now, the 8BC System might be a little more challenging to add to your everyday life, but I bet there is a use for it. If not the ACTUALLY “barring” of life, but the idea of when you hear a certain sound you can attribute a move to it or a sensation.  Perhaps a surge of excitement when a familiar ring tone sounds on your phone.  A move to rise when you hear the doorbell.  A move towards the kitchen when you hear family coming in for a meal.

Can you think of ways you can listen in RAW?  Can you listen to life in the form of rhythm, melody, and harmony? 

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