Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

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

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

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

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Archive for November 3rd, 2009

Setting Your Focus and Intent

Posted by terrepruitt on November 3, 2009

In a Nia workout class* there are seven cycles. The first cycle is setting your focus and intent. In my classes before we step in, cycle two, I state the focus and the intent of the class. Every once in awhile I do remind my students that they are welcome to set their own focus and intent, but there is always a class focus and intent.

Nia teachers are supplied with and can purchase routines. With our routines comes a focus and intent. We receive the routine DVD along with a pamphlet that explains what the routine’s original focus and intent was. Nia teachers are encouraged to change focuses and intents. In fact, in addition to the one main focus and intent, there is a list of optional foci and intents.

I was reminded on a Nia teleconference call recently, that a focus is what you give your attention to, in order to get a desired result. And not only can you have a focus and intent for the workout, but you can carry that focus and intent throughout the day.

As an example, let’s say the focus of the class is set on shoulders, with the intent of remembering to keep them down and not scrunch them up toward the ears. So during the entire Nia class, I will remind myself and the class that we are focusing on our shoulders. When we lift our arms to part the clouds we will be conscious of keep our shoulders down. When we swim as we do our side steps I might remind the class to keep a long graceful neck (which can be achieved by holding the shoulders down). Throughout the class with each movement we will be focusing on our shoulders which could assist in strengthening the muscles in our back and enable us to keep them down where they belong. Then after class the focus and intent can be carried out into the day.

If you find yourself holding your phone with your shoulder hunched up toward your ear you have the opportunity to stop, which would help you keep the intent. Since you have set your shoulders as a focus you would be more likely to notice. Or while you are on the computer you might notice your shoulders bunched up around your ears and you could be aware of that and choose to sit up straight and pull your shoulders down.

In class we move to music and sometimes students might be concerned that the first time they participate they cannot move their feet AND their arms, so I often set the focus as one or the other. I might set the focus on the upper extremities, with the intent to move them in a conscious manner connecting to the music. Then I remind them that as they concentrate on their hands and arms it is ok if their feet are not perfect. That sometimes helps people to move more freely and actually focus on the focus.

These are just examples of foci and intents. There are an endless number of foci and intents. These examples are body related, but you can, of course, make your focus anything to get the intent you desire.  If you were setting a focus and intent for your workout, what would it be?  What would it be if you were going to carry it from your workout into your day?

(Want a tip on how to remember your focus throughout your day?)

*I make the distinction because there is also the Nia 5 Stages classes which is different

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