Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

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    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

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    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

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Open Stance In Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on September 15, 2011

Nia is a cardio dance workout (it is really much more, but on the surface, that is what I call it).  As with many cardio workouts done to music there are a lot of moves.  Since Nia is basically a dance workout there are a lot of common dance steps and movements that many of us were taught in different forms of dance.  Some are even from different forms of martial arts or other exercise classes and modalities.  Nia has a base of 52 moves.  We call them the 52 Nia Moves.  What Nia has done is put them into categories to allow you to see what areas of the body are most associated with the move.  One of the most common moves we use in Nia classes is the Open Stance.  I have been familiar with the open stance for as long as I can remember.  I took ballet and tap when I was young.  I have done Jazzercise and other types of dance exercise classes.  Many of these types of things have an open stance.  From the first time I can remember being taught the open stance it was taught as “feet hip width apart”.  Some of you might be familiar with that.  Well, I don’t know if other modalities meant it actually that way or if I had been misled, but in Nia the open stance is actually hip JOINT width apart.

dance exercise, Nia teacher, Nia class, Nia San Jose, Nia Los Gatos, Nia cardio dance workout, So you might be saying, “What?”  Well, go ahead, if you can . . . . stand up and into open stance.  I’m going to guess most of you don’t have a mirror in front of you . . . so look at your feet.  What do you see?  A somewhat wide stance?  Are your feet hip WIDTH apart?  Probably, because I believe that is the common instruction for “open stance”.  Stay there.  Touch your hips and thighs.  Sense how that stance feels.  Make note of the sensation of your leg muscles.  Picture your leg bones.  Are they at a slight angle?

dance exercise, Nia, Nia practice, Nia 52 moves, Terre Pruitt Nia teacherNow bring your feet closer together.  Picture your stance being hip JOINT width apart.  Most of us have hips that are larger than where our legs meet our hip socket.  Try this:  Imagine someone gently lifting you off of your feet by you head, imagine your legs are just hanging down from your hip JOINTS.  Then the huge hand that lifted you sets you gently down.  Your legs exactly in the same position as when you were hanging.  Your leg bones come straight out from your hip joints.  That is what Nia open stance is.

For me, it is much more narrow than I was taught open stance was.

My pictures are showing the difference between what I thought was open (the first one) and what I now think of as open (the second one).  I stood on the rug so the pattern would help show the difference.  Please keep in mind that everyone, everyBODY is different so the width of your feet will differ from mine, but if you keep in mind that open is not really hip WIDTH apart, but hip JOINT width apart then you too, might have an adjustment in your “open stance”.

Well, did you?  Were you taught open is hip width apart?  If you stand hip width apart is there a noticeable difference when you stand hip JOINT width apart?

6 Responses to “Open Stance In Nia”

  1. niachick said

    You are so cute. I love your feet. Excellent post about the Open Stance. And I STILL find that my stance is too wide in an Open Stance. It’s so interesting. I find “Open Stance” and “bend from your hips” to be two of the most mis-understood invitations. Most folks stand in an A-Stance for an Open Stance (myself included when I’m not consciously aware) and most folks bends from their waist rather than their hips.

    Love your blog…and of course I love you!

    Like

    • Sometimes I instruct my class, “Open.” And then say about my stance, “That’s a bit wide for open.” Because sometimes I do it wide too, but most of the time I am pretty good because this is ONE of the things that really amazed me — so it really stuck — in the Nia White Belt Intensive.

      I think a majority of my students bend from the waist instead of the hips because they “can’t” bend from the hips. A lot are not flexible enough. At least that is what some have actually told me. But I do agree with you too, a lot of people don’t realize the difference.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, I know you are really busy. Love ya back!

      Like

  2. suzicate said

    I believe I was taught that in Pilates (gosh, it’s been so long I’m not sure if that’s where or not!)

    Like

  3. […] Nia’s open stance the sound is (to say) “balance” or “ground”.  Saying the word […]

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  4. […] are six stances in the 52 Moves of Nia.  Closed Stance, Open Stance, “A” Stance, Riding (Sumo) Stance, Bow Stance, and the Cat Stance.  Each stance has a […]

    Like

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