Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach yoga and stretch! Nia is on hold for now.

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    Yin Yoga: Mon  at 10:30 am

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Wed at 5:3- pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

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    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training all virtual, of course!

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Archive for May, 2010

Nia Feels Like a Vacation

Posted by terrepruitt on May 29, 2010

I am always a little taken off guard when someone comes to me before Nia class and tells me with shock that they were sore (after the last Nia class).  I recently came to the realization that these people who are shocked–and maybe a bit offended–are shocked because they didn’t realize they are exercising in Nia.  They didn’t realize what a great workout they received.  They certainly weren’t aware that they were using muscles they may not have used in a long time OR that they may not have used in that way.  Nia is a vacation from normal exercise, but it IS exercise.

Nia is a cardio dance exercise class so there is ample opportunity to move with an intensity that will get your heart rate up.  Some people sweat, some people don’t.  Everyone does Nia differently.  EveryBODY has different needs.  Needs can change from class to class.  Nia teaches to listen to your body and to learn to give it what it needs.

Nia is a form of movement.  It is a mixture of nine different movement forms.  The mixture includes actual movements from some of these forms and elements and ideas from these forms.  But it is not these forms.  In other words if you attend a Nia class you will not be practicing yoga, tai chi, or the other martial arts but we might do some moves from some of those forms or we might use the ideas from them.

With the availability of so many moves and concepts we are able to move in Nia the way the body was designed to move.  We can play in the different planes, moving up and down and work on the ground.  Nia allows us to work on flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability.

All of this motion and action is sometimes different from what your body might be used to doing.  Even though the movements are moves the body was actually designed to do, some of them you might not do in your everyday life, for instance rotating and opening the joints.  When you move your body after not moving it at all or move it in a different way than it is accustomed to moving there is a possibility that you will experience soreness or DOMS.

It could be that the muscles are sore or it could be that there is awareness of the joints because the tissues or muscles that make up the joints are strengthening.  While doing Nia we encourage people to try all the moves and experience them, but to tweak them so that they are comfortable to the body.  Since we invite participants to sense Joy during the workout they might walk away not realizing that there could be some soreness after.  Nia is also non-impact, but it can be intense so sometimes people are amazed that they sweat.  It IS a workout after all.

Not everyone likes to sense the soreness that might accompany a good workout.  I like it, I appreciate it because I know that it means I did something good for my body.  It is ok for a body to be a little sore, it means that it is adapting to change.  If the body is sore because it has not moved then it is good to have it adapt to the change of movement.  If you are one that does not like to feel the effects of change on your body, then while in a Nia class you can make your movements smaller.  If you don’t mind a little change then keep playing in all the levels.  Nia allows for which ever path you chose and whatever you chose is up to you, I just wanted to help you understand so you can be aware of what might be happening and make an informed and mindful choice.  It is my pleasure to be your travel guide and enable Nia to feel like a vacation.

I also have Tips for a Pleasurable Nia Experience and Tips for Moving Nia.

Are you ready for a relaxing yet exciting journey?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

DOMS

Posted by terrepruitt on May 27, 2010

You have probably felt it but didn’t realize what it was called.  DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is the feeling we have after we have exercised, if we have worked the muscle hard or it is not used to moving.  It is usually experienced 24 to 72 hours after the workout.  It can be severe discomfort on the verge of pain or just slight discomfort.  Everyone has different pain tolerances.  It is important to identify it as just DOMS and not something more serious.  DOMS will disappear whereas if there is an injury it might have to be treated.

DOMS is no longer associated with build up of lactic acid in the muscles.  It is now known to be the result of intense eccentric contraction.  Often people associate muscle soreness with body building or lifting weights.  This association is correct because in order to make a muscle bigger it must be stressed to the point of rebuilding, and most workouts that stress the muscles include eccentric exercise.  But also muscles that are not used can get sore when they are used. 

As we move through our lives we form movement patterns.  Our muscles become used to these patterns.  If we were to add weight to our movement patterns it is likely that our muscles could become sore and experience DOMS because we are stressing the tissue.  But without the added resistance there is almost no chance of soreness.  Think of the last time you helped someone relocate (as in move from one home to another).  We ALWAYS you hear people complain how sore they are.  The movements they did are normally the same; walking, lifting, bending, etc.  But usually when you are helping someone move you are helping them move heavy furniture so there is resistance to the walking, lifting, bending.  Even if you aren’t helping with the really heavy items it could be your chore to move the boxes . . . . a lot of boxes so the repetitiveness of that has the potential to cause soreness.

If you move in a way that your body is not accustomed to and/or you use muscles that are not used to be moved, sometimes there is no need to add resistance and there can be soreness.  So it is possible for a muscle that is used to experience DOMS if used in a different way or to get sore using muscles we never use.

I have shared with you in the beginning of my blog what I use for muscle soreness.  Unless it is seriously painful for me to move, I like to actually work and move through my soreness.  I feel that my body adapts quicker if I keep moving.  But I am also not an intense body builder and I also move often.  When I say keep moving I don’t mean to keep doing the exercise that caused me to be sore, but I do mean to move, and stretch and work it out.  Working through it works for ME, for MY body.  You have to decide and learn what works for you.  Also, each time might be different.  If you do a really intense workout and you end up sore you might want to rest a bit whereas if you do a less intense workout you might be able to recognize that moving through it would be best.  It is helpful for you to know how best to handle your DOMS by listening to your own body and learning what it needs.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Nia White Belt Principle #7

Posted by terrepruitt on May 25, 2010

The first half of Nia White Belt Principle #7 is the Three Planes of Movement.  The second half is Levels of Teaching.  (You can learn more about Nia’s Belt Levels here)  The three planes of movement in Nia can be easily described as low, medium, and high.  The planes are used to allow our bodies to practice agility and mobility.  We use the floor, the space in between, and the “high”.  We bend and fold.  We reach out and stretch up.  We move in space both horizontally and vertically.

With all the movements available to us in the three planes we have the opportunity to experience energy as it moves around us.  In addition to the possibilities of energies the journey should be to pleasure and comfort.   As you move through the planes part of practice of  Nia is to observe how our joints open and move more freely.

Just like the three levels of intensity Nia encourages everyBODY – regardless of fitness level – to work and play in all three planes.  Keeping in mind everyone’s low, middle, and high is unique to their own body.

Moving through the planes can tie into the levels of intensity.  For example if doing the bow stance, the lower or deeper you go could be considered a level of 3 intensity because going down and coming back up would require greater effort and be more intense than staying “high” and not lowering into a deep bow.

Strength, stability, and flexibility will also be a result of working through and in all the planes.  The more we play in all of these areas we develop more ability in all of them, the more we can maintain balance in the entire body.

If you want to join me in a Nia class please look at my San Jose Nia class schedule or my San Carlos Nia class schedule.  I look forward to seeing you.

Posted in Nia, Nia White Belt Principles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Levels of Teaching

Posted by terrepruitt on May 22, 2010

A lot of workouts have different levels of doing.  The second half* of Nia White Belt Principle #7 is (Intensity) Levels of Teaching.  So to a participant of Nia that would be levels of doing.  The different level in Nia are like most workout classes: level 1, level 2, and level 3.

In a Nia class, participants are always invited to try all the levels, if comfortable.  The idea is really to learn the value of each level. Trying the different levels allows the body to learn different things.  Also the changes in movements stimulates the brain.  Often times your energy level might dictate the actually level of intensity you are participating in during a particular class or kata, but that is up to you.  No level is “better” than the other one, the best one is what is good for you and your body. You, as the person that lives in your body everyday, are the only one that can truly decide which level is right for you, which level at any given moment is going to bring you most Joy.

As a Nia teacher, it is my job to show the participants three different levels.  It is also my job to encourage you to try each level.  It is important to remember that YOUR level 1 might not be the same as MY level 1, the same with levels 2 and 3.  It is up to you, as a participant, to find your different levels and play with and play in all three.

When you experience the different levels during your Nia workout you will learn to allow muscles that might be tired to rest and learn to stimulate other muscles.  In addition playing with the different levels will enable you to experience Nia routines in a new light and a different way.

So go.  In your next Nia class or your first Nia class try all three different levels.  Remember that everyBODY’s levels are different!

*The first half of Nia White Belt Principle #7 is the Three Planes of Movement.

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

Nia Isn’t . . .

Posted by terrepruitt on May 20, 2010

Part of the purpose of my blog is to share what Nia is and to invite people to take one of my classes. I have learned that when teaching people it is sometimes helpful to share what something ISN’T to help them understand what it is.

Nia isn’t a class where you won’t sweat.

Nia isn’t a class where the teacher shouts at you to motivate you.

Nia isn’t a class where you just think about moving.

Nia isn’t Jazzercise.

Nia isn’t sitting around.

Nia isn’t about pain.

Nia isn’t hard jumping.

Nia isn’t Tai Chi.

Nia isn’t Tae Kwon Do.

Nia isn’t Aikido.

Nia isn’t a mindless workout.

Nia isn’t Zumba.

Nia isn’t taught to Nia teachers in a day.

Nia isn’t new to the fitness world.

Nia isn’t Jazz Dance.

Nia isn’t Modern Dance.

Nia isn’t judgmental.

Nia isn’t a strict combination of linear movements.

Nia isn’t a class where you are told EXACTLY how to move your own body.

Nia isn’t Yoga.

Nia isn’t stiff.

Nia isn’t rough.

Nia isn’t (necessarily) just a workout.

Nia isn’t JUST Free Dance.

The BEST way to learn about what Nia isn’t and what Nia is, is to go to a class and see for yourself.  Nia class finderWant to find a class near you?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments »

War With Cancer

Posted by terrepruitt on May 18, 2010

One of my best friends’ sister has been battling cancer for a year.  When people say “battling” cancer, it is an accurate statement.  When one “battles” cancer, it is for one’s life.  The fight is messy, painful, tiring, expensive, costly, and heart breaking, just like all battles.

I questioned myself regarding posting about it, because I didn’t ask my friend.  But I received a sense of knowing that if I wrote this and one person read it and it affected their life in a positive way then even though my friend’s sister lost the battle yesterday (May 17, 2010) she would be happy. SHE would have wanted me to write this, because she fought with all of her might and all of her faith until the very end. So she would want me to remind you of some of the signs you might want to pay attention to.  She would want us to continue with the war with cancer.

—A change in bowel habits
—Diarrhea
—Constipation
—Feeling that the bowel does not empty completely
—Stools that are narrower or have a different shape than usual
—Blood (either bright red or very dark) in the stool
—General abdominal discomfort (frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness, or cramps)
—Change in appetite
—Weight loss for no known reason
—Feeling very tired

You might want to talk to a medical professional if you have any of the previously mentioned signs.  These symptoms may be signs of rectal cancer. (1)

I would like to remind you that you need to listen to your body, you need to take time out from your schedule and you need to question things when things don’t feel right.  We all suffer from, “Well, its nothing.”  “Its this.”  “Its that.”  It is scaring and frustrating that as we age our bodies change so we never know if what is going on is part of the natural aging or if something is wrong.  Then we rely on the medical professionals to tell us because that is their job, but they don’t know either.  The last time I went to the doctor I felt as if I greatly annoyed her and was wasting her time because I was healthy.  So, I understand hesitation in going to the doctor.

But we all need to be better about it, myself included.  I learned some other things today that I didn’t know in regards to colon cancer*.

-According to the American Cancer Society, colorectal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer-related deaths in the United States.

-Nearly all colon cancers begin as noncancerous (benign) polyps, which slowly develop into cancer.

-You have a higher risk for colon cancer if you: Have a personal history of breast cancer

-There is no single cause for colon cancer.  What you eat may play a role in your risk of colon cancer. (2)

The Mayo Clinic’s definition:

*Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system. Rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they’re often referred to as colorectal cancers.

You were brave and fought well, you will be forever missed and loved. When I think of the situation and your family I am sad, but when I think of you and your attitude during your battle, I smile.  Thank you for positive energy.

(1) Information from the National Cancer Institute
(2) Information from Medline Plus

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »

How I Found Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on May 15, 2010

People always ask me how I found Nia. Here is my story: I had just begun exercising. I had found Turbo Jam and I liked it. I did the DVDs in my living room before work. At the time I worked in San Jose not too from where I lived so I would get up early in the morning and do it before work. The women I worked with always told me that they loved to dance, but they couldn’t get their partners to dance with them. They also would tell me that they wished they could find a dance exercise.

I was also seeing a lot of people — at that time — that were my age or even younger that couldn’t walk up the stairs or sit on the floor and get up again. Plus there were some young people around me that were going on High Blood Pressure Meds and experiencing other health issues.

So I started looking online for an exercise that was dancey. I thought maybe I could find something that I could learn to teach others. I found trance dance, but from what I saw and what I read, it said that you closed your eyes and just danced. It didn’t sound like there was ANY rhyme or reason. I sounded as if you were in a trance and you danced. The information talked of having people watch so the people dancing didn’t run into or hit each other. So that didn’t sound like what I would be interested in.

Somehow I stumbled . . . . literally, I don’t know how, just clicking on this link and that link . . . .I found Nia. I checked out the main site and it sounded interesting. I found a class that wasn’t too far. I went. I liked it. I bought the book. I went to another class. Then months later, I found another class at a different time and I tried that. Then months later, I talked my friend into going with me one more time*.

In between the second and third class I was thinking about taking the training that would enable me to teach. But I wasn’t sure. Nia sounded a bit “woo-woo” to me. So I kept reading. I really focused on the fact that it is based on science. It is based on research. The movements are movements that our bodies were designed to do. The movements tie into the way it is taught. Some of the words that are used might give the impression that it is really “woo-woo”, but it is not. There are also some elements of Nia that are like ancient practices. I kept thinking that some of these practices have been around for hundreds of years and they really have a basis in health and wellness. It was all very intriguing.

*My fourth class I attended was my “deciding” class. I went to make a final decision. I decided to do it. I decided to get sign up for the intensive that would allow me to teach. It took me so long to decide I was signing up within 30 days of the training.

I had NO idea what the training would entail. And that my friends is what another post is made of.

Nia. It is awesome. It IS an exercise. It IS a cardio workout. But I will not lie to you to try to keep you interested, it IS so much more. For some reason I cannot (nor can anyone else I talk to) put my finger on, it makes you happy. Try it and see for yourself. Try MY classes, or try someone else’s. Get a DVD, I don’t care. Just try it and then let me know what you think.

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The Classic Nia Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on May 13, 2010

This information is taken directly from The Nia Technique Book.  Usually I use my own words from my own experiences and from what others have shared with me, I thought this time I would share with you a portion directly from the book.  I am hoping that this information and the information that I have shared will interest you enough so that you will purchase the book for yourself.

Classic Nia is for everyone—from neophyte to dancer to athlete.

Classic Nia is a learning experience, with an emphasis on gaining new knowledge about your body and the best ways to move.

In Classic Nia, it is reasonable and acceptable not to expect perfection in your movements.

Classic Nia is noncompetitive, meaning you grow and change in your own time and in your own way.

Classic Nia teaches you to play, have fun and express yourself.

In Classic Nia teaches  you to play, to have fun, and express yourself.

In Classic Nia, you focus at least as much on your Body’s Way as you do on the Body’s Way.

This is information taken from pages 168 and 169 of the Nia Technique Book written by Debbie Rosas (presently Debbie Rosas Stewart)  and Carlos Rosas (presently Carlos AyaRosas).

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I love both questions and comments.

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Science, Craft, and Art

Posted by terrepruitt on May 11, 2010

There are a lot of tools used in Nia.  The way that Nia describes each principle includes the Science of the principle, the Craft of the principle, and the Art of the principle.

For instance, the latest principle I posted about was Nia White Belt Principle #5, a portion of that being Awareness.  The Science of awareness would be that you can make observations about your body as you move through your day.  You can be aware of your hand as you pull it back from the mug of coffee that was too hot.  You can be aware of the adjustment you make to your entire body to make it feel more comfortable in the seat belt.  Notice how you scrunch your toes in your shoes.  You can be conscious of the things that cause discomfort and maybe, in the future respond and change before the discomfort becomes pain.

With the awareness you can develop an ongoing conversation with your body that can help you move more freely and comfortable throughout your life.

The Craft of awareness is where you acquire the ability to sense with your entire body.  Utilize not just your eyes and your ears but your sense of smell and proprioception.  The craft are the exercises or the practices that we do in order to assist with the awareness.

Possible exercise, to increase awareness:

—brush your teeth with your eyes closed, sensing the tooth brush on each tooth
—brush your hair with your eyes closed, and notice the moment the brush comes in contact with your hair or head
—as you reach out to touch something image yourself touching it before you actually touch it
—then ask yourself; what will it feel like, what sensation will the nerves in my hand allow my brain to sense, will
touch it softly or roughly?

And as you go through your everyday movements observe if there is any tightness or discomfort.  Ask yourself is there an adjustment that can be made to your habitual movement–to the way you do it normally–that could easy that comfort?  Is there something you could do to tweak it and move your closer to pleasure?  Try it that way.

Recognize the body as a work of Art.  The Art of awareness is to be aware of the mechanics and beauty of the working body. Visuals could help with the art piece of awareness.  If there was an area of the body that was uncomfortable or there was a constriction of the movement, picture the blood full of life giving nutrients rushing to that area.  Picture the nutrients as different colors rushing in to saturate the discomfort and color as paint on a canvas.

Or picture any area of the body that could use relaxation as a tight ball of rubber bands and either just picture the ball become loose and opening and airy or picture it as you are moving and stretching that are.  All the while being aware.

This is just an example of how the Nia applies all three tools, Science, Craft, and Art to a principle.  The three are also used as tools for other purposes, but this is just to throw some light on the ways that Nia is shared, practiced, learned, taught, and enjoyed.

If you would like some tips on how to move with Nia, such as:

~Use visual imagery to make movements feel natural.

~Combine small movements with large movements.

~Use your Base, Core, Upper Extremities, breath and voice to add energy and power to your moves.

You can click here, and go to my website, HelpYouWell.com

I hope that you will have a day full of awareness that will allow you to dance through life.

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Arms, Hands, & Fingers

Posted by terrepruitt on May 8, 2010

Nia White Belt Principle #9 is Arms, Hands, and Fingers.  Through the years it has changed the exact name.  My White Belt Manual says “Upper Extremities: Arms, Hands, and Fingers”.  When I was in the training we actually learned it as “Creative Arm and Hand Expressions”.  Whatever it is called it is using your arms, hands, and fingers in your workout and in life.

Ours arms, hands, and fingers can be used to hug, touch, caress, bringing comfort.  They can be used to express ourselves to aid in communication.  In the dance that is Nia, and in life they can be used to exercise our spirit with playfulness using our imagination to become wings, scarves, rain, water or whatever it is your arms, hands, and/or fingers sense.

When we use them to punch and block or catch our bodies as we push off from the wall or the floor we build strength both in our arms, hands, fingers, back, and upper body muscles. The many circular motions incorporated into our routines help condition our muscles as well as our ligaments and tendons.   Nia is not a linear cardio dance class.  The idea is to move to promote health in the entire body.

The hands have the capability to gather information and to move energy, to bring it in or send it out.  We use our hands in Nia a lot.  Not all movement classes include hands in the exercises.  Nia understands the importance of hands and fingers.

In addition to moving our limbs to promote flexibility and strength Nia weaves relaxation into the mix.  It is understood that many people can hold tension in the upper body, in the shoulders and neck.  We benefit from the opening and closing of the shoulder joints.  We learn to recognize the different ways to move to promote relaxation.

We can do all of this while we follow the moves of a routine or when we choose to activate the freedom that is encouraged in Nia.  Either way, whatever you decide you will see how Nia does use the Upper Extremities: Arms, Hands, and Fingers a lot in Nia.

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