Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Archive for February, 2010

Nia Routines

Posted by terrepruitt on February 4, 2010

I always get questions about the Nia Routines.  Are teachers given the routines?  Do teachers make up their own routines?  How many routines are there?  And more.  In this post I’ll just cover those three questions.

At the time of this writing there are 18 Nia routines showing on the teacher website for purchase.  I know in the 26 years that Nia has been around there have been a lot more.  I believe back when Nia started having routines, music rights and all that big business part of music was not an issue.  Now, I think, that portion of life has affected Nia and the routines.  I think they had to remove some from sale.

A routine is group of songs.  I think 8 to 10 is the average, but it depends on the length of the songs.  An average Nia workout class is about 55 minutes, give or take a few minutes.  At the time of this post Carlos and Debbie were the creators of the routines.

As a teacher, we purchase a routine which includes a DVD disc, a music CD, and an information pamphlet.  It is an amazing piece of educational material.  This post is not about the fabulous package of material we receive or about learning the routine, it is just general information about Nia routines.  But whenever I talk about the Nia routine packages I feel compelled to exclaim how wonderful they are. I will save the explanation of them for another post.

Teachers are encouraged to use their own creativity when leading a routine.  Nia routines are very well thought out and put together.  It is my understanding that with higher belt levels choreography is discussed, but with White Belts, Nia encourages them to use the routines that Nia has created.  But at the same time we are encouraged to do the katas to different music than we are given.

With the encouragement of using our own creativity, I believe comes the impression that we can do things in Natural Time and to me, that means we can adjust routines.  A kata might be less aerobic, but if we want to help make it more so we can add cha-cha-chas in place of a regular step, or just do fast side steps instead of a grapevine.

In addition to changing simple steps we are empowered with all of the different Movement Forms.  When we employ the energies of the different movement forms they can change the routine dramatically.

I do mix up the katas from various routines to “create” new routines.  To me this gives the participants a feeling of doing something new, yet at the same time they are moving to familiar patterns.  Or once, I had an out of town friend attending my classes, after the first class, she admitted she couldn’t do turns.  Well, if she were going to be my student for any length of time, you know I would put those in and work with her on them, but since she was only going to be in one more class, I put together katas that didn’t have turns so she would enjoy her workout more.

When I do mix it up, I make certain I adhere to the seven cycles of Nia.  I also try to make it a well-rounded routine.  I love it when I put something together and afterwards the class says, “Ahhh, I really liked that routine, what was it?”

I hope this helped to answer some of the questions about Nia routines.  Please let me know if you have other question.

I am going to continue to you invite you, my reader to a Nia class.  If you are ever visiting the San Jose/South Bay Area or you are local to me, please, come to one of mine :-).  If you are not local, look up a class near you and try Nia in your area.

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Wearing Weights During Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on February 2, 2010

Weighted Hand Gloves from Beachbody

I have heard people ask about this a few times.  Sometimes people want to wear ankle weights or wrist weights while in a Nia class.  I personally would strongly recommend against this.  Nia is not like other types of movement forms, where you can wear weights.  In Turbo Jam for example, Chalene Johnson is wearing weights in one of the workouts.  And her crew is wearing them in other workouts but the movements in the Turbo Jam workouts are different.  They are very linear. When you move in lines the chance of injury is less.  Chalene’s workouts are designed to be done with weights and even then she cautions on using the correct weight and using them carefully.  In Nia we move in spirals, circles, we bend, we stretch, we practice falling off balance in order to practice catching ourselves.  With weights added to that it could be dangerous.

In Nia we do have punches and kicks which are linear and could possibly be done with weights, but in our routines right after a punching sequence we might have a spiral spinal movement where we use our hands to help activate our spine and this is the type of movement that could easily lead to injury if there were extra weight on our hands/wrists.

I also think since Nia is so body centered weights would interfere with the connection to the body.  While you could sense the sensation of weight on your wrist it does not seem the same as connecting to your own body without the added weight.  I believe one of the purposes of Nia or one of the exciting aspects of Nia is that we strive to learn to sense what our body’s messages are.  What does our body FEEL like . . . not our feelings, but our sensations.  And if we add weights to that is could be distracting.  It could keep us from being able to truly sense the different energies that we are bringing into the workout.

As an example, and I have stated something like this before, if you move your arm gently you could say it is energize with Duncan Dance or Modern Dance.  If you do the same movement, but apply the energies from one of the Martial Arts the sensation would be entirely different.  Yet with a weight attached to your wrist it might be difficult to go back and forth between the gentle and the strong. The message being transmitted from the limb would be very different with a weight attached.  To me it would seem as if the connection was to the weight and not my body.

So, my conclusion and recommendation when it comes to using weights and Nia is: don’t do it.  The risk of injury is too great, plus, I believe you would miss out on one of the fundamentals of Nia and that is connecting to the body . . . . YOUR body.

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