Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Nia Balance

Posted by terrepruitt on January 22, 2011

So, I have been teaching my Nia classes with my injured toe.  I love it!  It is such an awesome lesson, an amazing reminder.  I have very good balance.  I have such good balance I am always shocked that there are times when I get off balance.  At  those times — when I am standing on a BOSU using dumbbells, or doing squats — I am reminded that there is always room for improvement. Because I DO understand there is always room for improvement I always try to work on my balance.  Nia is so, so, so, so good for balance.  With the challenge of my injured toe I am reminded what a great job Nia does in allowing for balance practice.

While walking around the room if you engage your arms in a constant dance of movement you can sense how your full foot is used.  Lower leg muscles can be sensed.  Walking on the balls of your feet, moving fast then slow, moving your arms requires you to engage your core.  All of the movements in Nia help to increase your balance and also require you to use so much of your body that we don’t always exercise throughout our day.  All the movements also serve to remind you that your entire body is connected.  Such as I mentioned before – walking and moving your arms you can sense your entire foot working to balance your body.

It is amazing to add the extra challenge of balance by moving your arms or moving fast then slow, or walking on a different part of the foot, or standing taller or moving lower.  I am thinking that I have said this or something similar in previous posts, but since I am being challenged with my balance lately it is coming up again.  I am using my whole left foot, but only the inside of my right foot.  With this unstable base every action of my arms requires a great test of balance.  It is a great reminder to me.  Nia is a great way to practice balance and since it is a dance and we are moving so much, it never feels like work.

Even though I would love for you to join me in one of my Nia classes, I know that is it not possible for some.  But it is possible for you to work on your own balance while going about your day.  Easy things you can do; stand on one foot while cooking/taking a shower/vacuuming/whatever, move your arms about while you walk around, walk on the balls of your feet, hop on one leg, what else?  What can you come up with to help practice your balance?

6 Responses to “Nia Balance”

  1. niachick said

    The biggest challenge for students in my 10 years of teaching has been balance. That is the chief complaint I hear…”I need to work on my balance”.

    I love this blog Terre and would like to ask if I could read it in my classes this week. We’re focusing on X-Ray Anatomy (Nia’s Principle #10 that focuses on 200 bones/700 muscles) and I think this would be perfect to add into the mix. May I?

    Like you, I have little to no problem with balance. I’ve always been able to maintain my balance in most things. I do find that as I have aged, my mobility sometimes is less at times with arthritis creeping into my right hip and knee, left shoulder, both elbows and hands. But even as I’m saying that, the strength of my flexibility, agility, mobility and stability has increased BECAUSE of Nia. I also think that Nia has allowed me to enjoy my state of balance (and I would add that I mean more than just physical balance).

    Thanks again, Terre. Please let me know if I may read your blog in class.



    • Yes, I hear that often too. And balance is soooooo important.

      I would be flattered if you read any of my posts in your class. Thank you.

      I am soooo much better with my physical balance than my balance in other things. I think that Nia can help with balance in other parts of life, but I am still learning.

      Thank you for asking and thank you for thinking it would fit well. I am humbled. XOXO


  2. Bounce or sit on an exercise ball while watching TV would test balance (and be fun!). It wouldn’t take much to test mine. When I broke my wrist, it got out of whack.

    You are a wonder on that toe. I am so impressed by your dedication and ability to go beyond in your Nia despite your injury.


    • Yes, stability balls are great to work the core and help with balance. But in order to really get benefit out of them they need to be the right size and filled correctly. If the person is tall and the ball is small that is not much of a challenge. Or if it is not properly inflated and when it is sat upon it just squishes, not much of a challenge. So the correct one with the correct air —- AND lift one leg, the other. Ooooo!

      Sitting on the ball would be a GREAT way to put some balance challenges into your everyday life. Awesome!

      Nia is really about moving your body in a way that your body moves. So I am very much restricting my movement. In fact during Friday’s Nia Class in Los Gatos there was a song on that my feet just really, really, really wanted to move all over and dance wildly too, but I know that my feet can’t do that — standing — so I sat down and let my feet go to town. Granted it was in the air, but my feet were so happy because they got to move like they wanted.

      As I always do when leading a class I invite participants to do it their way. Normally I can demonstrate different ways, but in respecting my toe I cannot do all the levels, so I often point to one of my participants who is doing it differently and invite others to model them if they feel that is where their own body wants to be. I really think that this is allowing me to show my students that it is good to move and move as our bodies can. I do encourage them to challenge their bodies and learn new things too. I try to balance it (ha, ha!)

      Hey, thanks for stopping by. I hope you are feeling much better.


  3. suzicate said

    This toe has been quite a test, hasn’t it? And I complain about ending up losing that toe nail when I hurt my foot…at least the nail is growing back. You might even find away to put all of your newly learned tricks into Nia on a regular basis.


    • Yes. I think my toe is a test or a lesson and I think I might be missing the point. Or at least SOME of them. I think there are a lot of different things to be learned from this, but I have a feeling I am not learning them all.

      Yes, I am certain that some of the “tricks” will be put to use in Nia in the future!

      Losing a toe nail is very painful. Owww. Especially since you hike so much! I am glad it is growing back!


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