Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Don’t Think – Move

Posted by terrepruitt on June 30, 2009

Where is it written that you have to walk into a workout class or a dance class and know every step?  Can you point me to that grand writing?  No.  It doesn’t exist.  Nowhere is it written that you walk in and know the steps or even that you know them after the first workout or the first class.  But we still think that we should “get it” right away.  Almost immediately we pull out labels like awkward and uncoordinated.  Not often do we stop to give ourselves a break.  Did we not have to learn how to walk, why is it that we think we must know how to move or dance?

I bring this up because I keep having this brought up to me.  People say they feel like a klutz or that they have two left feet.  Well, this could all be true as a feeling of what they feel, but how are they ever going to get over it?

With Nia (one of) the point(s) is to move how you need to move that day, in that class, in that moment.  NOT to move exactly like the teacher or like the other students, or to be perfect or workout like it is a performance.  It is to move how your body needs to move.  It is to stop judging HOW you are moving and just MOVE.  Yes, there are steps, there is a routine, most of the time you are doing guided movements, but you aren’t expected to know them and do them perfect.  And even if you do know them, sometimes you might need to adjust them.

I understand that there is a desire to do it right, but with Nia™ we really take that saying “If you stumble make it part of your dance” to heart.  No one is perfect, we are not expecting the routine to be done perfect.  We are expecting respecting, respecting your body and your heart.  You move, you mess up, you forgive yourself, you keep moving.  It is not because you are awkward or uncoordinated no labels, take the next step.  Come to class, learn, practice.  Once you get the moves down then the fun really begins because then you can play with the move making it big or small fast or slow do it with ease or make it dynamic.

But you have to start at the beginning.

Honest?  Want me to be honest here?  After I get the gist of the routine down, I stop watching the training DVD.  I refer back to it when I get stuck or want to refresh my memory or “tighten it up”.  But I don’t practice to it.  I don’t move like Debbie or Carlos*.  I can’t concentrate on my music and the movements when I try.  I have to turn them off and tune them out and concentrate on me and my workout.  I have to listen to the music and sense when I am supposed to cue.  I can’t learn what my body needs and get the work out I need if I am trying to do it exactly like them.  I am not them.  I am me.  I have to pay attention to what I can do especially since what I can do in my living room is entirely different then what I can do when I teach.  I have to make certain I practice the different levels so I have a chance to show them in class.  When I workout to the DVD, I don’t practice level one, I am trying to keep up with Debbie.

So what I am saying is give yourself a break.  We cannot all move the same.  So we need to practice quieting our inner dialog that tells us we have to do it like whomever, and just do it like our body needs.  It probably won’t be perfect because we are not perfect.  We are there to move and improve and enjoy.  So are you ready to give yourself a break and just move?

My schedule of classes in San Jose and Los Gatos.

*Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, the people that have brought us Nia.

8 Responses to “Don’t Think – Move”

  1. You are a total inspiration, Terre. I love your message here and it IS what makes Nia so unique. It’s not about looking like little marching soldiers or everybody’s bodies moving in exactly the same way. It’s what I really detested about aerobics years ago…especially step aerobics. I always found myself going exactly the opposte from everyone else and labeling myself a klutz and uncoordinated. I knew I wasn’t…I’d been dancing for years (not professionally), but I knew how to dance better than most people with whom I hung around. When I found Nia (wow, 10 years ago)…it was like coming home. I could follow the steps…even if I didn’t know what they were initially — the teacher invited the students to “just move your body”. OMG. That was an invitation from heaven. The skies opened up and blessed me with this wonderous movement form called Nia. The rest is history.

    So thanks Terre, for posting this in your blog. It’s the most important part of Nia…the pure joy of movement.

    I also love your process of learning a routine. It resonates deeply with me. Thank you!

    Jill

    Like

    • Thank you for spelling “klutz” correctly. I knew that was wrong, but . . . thanks. (I fixed it in the post!)

      It is the most important part and I think it is one of the most difficult parts. I think people are so accustomed to being told how to move in an exercise setting that they don’t realize that they need to move as their own body requires. So I think the tendency is to not move. People also want to feel as if they are doing it “right” and, in an exercise setting people are so accustomed to there being a right and wrong way it is difficult for them to let go and just move. The challenge lies in trusting our own bodies. Again . . . . listening to our own body. Wow, I could do a whole blog on that, huh? But really, I believe this is a great challenge for people. Move as the body was designed to be moved. If one of those movements causes pain, then tweak and move differently, but don’t give up, and maybe try later. As the rest of the body gains health and movement other parts start feeling better. Dang . . . . .again, I could just go on and on.

      I am going to stop because I can go on and on and in cirlcles and off on tangents. Basically I would like for people to understand that they are welcome to come into a class and move. We are not judging right and wrong (if we see something dangerous or that can cause injury, we of course speak up) there is joy in movement so we want to move.

      Oh, and you are funny, because you are my inspiration with all that you do with Nia. I know I have so much to learn and I thank you for all that you are teaching me!

      Like

  2. michele said

    I am enjoying Nia, and I never get the moves “right”. Thank you Terre for teaching me and my children to “keep moving”

    Like

    • I am glad you are enjoying it even though you don’t think you get the moves “right”. If you find a sitter it might be easier to stop thinking because you might be able to get out of “mom” mode for a few minutes.

      Even though they were AWESOME, I imagine you were still thinking about them being over there in their little section because that is what mom’s do!

      If you are moving and not in pain and you are having fun — you are doing it PERFECTLY! (Which is better than just right!)

      Thank you so much for making the trek over!

      Like

  3. anitachristensen said

    Terre, what you said is so true. We are invited in Nia to dance and move in our way. This is an unusual place as a beginner but with every Nia class each individual has the opportunity to discover and experiment in how their “body’s way” will look. Another wonderful aspect of Nia……along with cardiovascular fitness, increasing strength, improving flexibility, etc, etc. This is what Nia has been to me.

    Thanks for the post,
    Anita

    Like

    • Thank you for the comment. What you said is so important because it seems as if along with people being used to being told how to move, we are programmed to think that we are not getting a workout unless we are moving in a particular way.

      After some of my Free Dance sessions people would comment on how they were sweaty (which is often equated to a good workout) and how their heart rate had increased. They were amazed because they were not moving in any particular pattern, each person had moved in their own way.

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. With every reply I see another blog post!

      Like

  4. Hey! I just realized you have a blog too! O boy!!

    I talked about this very thing to Alexis, who taught the Nia class I went to this morning. I am also the kind of person who would die of embarrassment in any aerobics or dance class that required any sort of coordination. The step aerobics were the worst, and I actually FELL OFF the step a few times. And hurt myself. So I was pretty trepidatious the first time I went to Nia. (two whole weeks ago!) I didn’t feel completely at ease mostly because I was not sure which movements were “this is what we are all doing” and which parts were “do what you want to do.” Now after my 3rd class I think I am definitely “getting it” and more able to figure out how these things break down. And I am AMAZED that I am able to do some of the steps already, which is in part because I feel so much more relaxed than usual. Yay!

    Like

    • Yup, I blog too. Haven’t been doing it that long. I figured that you would find it if you wanted. It is several places. And I was much more impressed that you looked at my website! Wahoo! THANK YOU.

      I used to get a little upset when I didn’t do what the instructor was doing when I attended excerise classes, but now after doing Nia, I realize that, who cares? First of all, my body might not DO what the instructor’s does and pashaw, I might not WANT to do what the instructor is doing. So now, in other classes I am ok being a step off or whatever. And actual STEP classes, no way. I am the type of person who has to LOOK at the stairs as I am walking up or down them (because heaven forbid they MOVE or something while I am walking on them) so I can’t do a step class because I have to look at the step and look at the teacher to see what I am doing so . . . . no, I tried that a few years ago and it didn’t work for me. I live in a house with stairs and I LOOK when I walk up them or down them! With Nia at least you know the ground is there and it is ok if you “do your own thing!”

      It is funny how once you relax it just comes naturally. One of the reasons it comes naturally is because the movements in Nia are natural movements for your body. So when you LET your body move, it will. In our society we don’t always move as the body was designed because of . . . .whatever . . . so when you are in a Nia class and you LET your body move . . . . . .ahhhhhhhh! Let it get gooey, and it will be juicy and feel yummy! (Tee hee!) Our bodies have the knowledge if we let them.

      Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. That is super, super, super nice of you. I really appreciate it!

      Like

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