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

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

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

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

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • My Bloggey Past

  • ******

    Chose a month above to visit archives, or click below to visit a page.

Archive for January, 2012

Natural Appetite Suppressants

Posted by terrepruitt on January 31, 2012

Almonds – They have everything good in a meal; carbohydrates, fiber, fat, protein, vitamins, and minerals.  If you don’t have a nut allergy they are a great snack.

Water –  If you drink water you feel full.  In fact research has stated that sometimes the body indicates dehydration as hunger.  So it could be that you are not really hungry but dehydrated and in need of water.

Ginger – Is also an appetite suppressant.  Not only does it help suppress, but as mentioned on my blog before it helps with digestion once you do eat.

Avocado – Studies have shown that the body converts an acid contained in the avocado to a hormone that increases the feeling of satiety and fullness. But just as with almonds they do contain a high amount of fat so the key is still moderation.

Coffee – The caffeine, coffee stimulates the central nervous system and can suppresses the appetite.  Suppressing the appetite yet drinking  a lot of cream and sugar might not give you the result you want, so black coffee could be the answer.  Don’t drink too much because then you could get jittery AND hungry!  

Apples – With the fiber and the bulk an apple can help fill you up and help with regulating your system.

Sweet Potatoes – As a complex carbohydrate a sweet potato can give you the feeling of fullness and sustained energy.

Tofu – Studies have shown that the hormone peptide is an appetite suppressant. Tofu is a great source of protein and it is protein that is responsible for the release of this hormone.  Helps explain why a breakfast with protein keeps you feeling full longer than one just full of simple carbohydrates. 

Wasabi – Some say spicy foods make you feel full.  If you like hot and spicy you can be the judge.

Green Tea – Research has proven that green tea helps you feel full.  As with all of these listed, it really is up to you and what you think, but I am sure you have heard about the other benefits of green tea with its anti-oxidants.  Remember unless you get decaffeinated green tea, it does have caffeine.
 
Oatmeal – Slow cook oatmeal has a lot of fiber.  Fiber helps you feel full and stay full.

Green leafy veggies –  With leafy greens it is fiber and the fact that you can eat a lot and actually GET full!  So leafy greens actually fill you AND suppress the appetite.

Salmon – Salmon has Omega 3, fat helps you feel full.  It also has protein. 

Flax Seeds – Omega 3 and fiber.  A winning combination.

Cinnamon – Since cinnamon helps stabilize blood sugar and there is a link between hunger and blood sugar levels, it is logical that cinnamon would help suppress or at least help stabilize the feeling of being hungry or full.

Pine Nuts – Remember, we have already said that protein helps suppress the appetite, well, Pine nuts contain the highest amount of protein of any nut or seed. They also affect the hormones that work to signal the brain that you’re no longer hungry.

Some of these can be eaten as a snack in between meals to help you from being too hungry and maybe eating something unhealthy.  Or then can be added to a meal to help you feel more satisfied and stay full longer.  Or you can combine them to help you keep from in between meal snacking. 

You can add wasabi to your salmon.  Throw some flax seeds, pine nuts, or almonds on your leafy greens.  Sprinkle some cinnamon in your coffee.  Add some ginger to your water.  Apple in your oatmeal.  Avocado and tofu?  Either way you have some health natural ways to suppress your appetite and/or keeping you feeling full and satisfied.  What do you think?

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

Variation of the Baby Bok Choy Soup

Posted by terrepruitt on January 28, 2012

Dance Exercise, Nia teacher, Nia Student, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Cardio Dance, Nia workoutI spent a large portion of the day practicing Alive, it is the Nia routine I am starting to teach.  I debuted it Friday, but I need to practice and practice.  In Nia we say, “tight but loose”. So I need to know the music and choreography to perfection which allows me to dance with it and play to it is loose and flowing and fun to my Nia students.  So practice and play is the key.  I was so busy having fun with it I didn’t have a lot of time to come up with a blog post.  Because I also spent some time in the kitchen making a different version of my Baby Bok Choy and Spinach Soup recipe.  The people I made it for convinced me that it was good enough that I could use my adaptation of my Baby bok choy and spinach soup recipe as a post.  So here goes.

Parsnips, Broccoli, Baby bok choy, and Spinach Soup

–olive oil
–1 medium sized onion chopped (save some for garnish)
–2 parsnips (chopped)
–1 bunch of broccoli (chopped)
–4 bundles of baby bok choy  (bottom portion separate from leafy portion, chop both and leave separate, they are added to the soup at different times)
–2 or 3 tsp of minced garlic
–1.5 tsp granulated garlic
–1.5 tsp garlic salt
–48 oz of chicken broth
–a half of bottle or can of beer
–shake or two of teriyaki
–small piece (3/4 of an inch) of ginger, chopped
–3/4 of a 6-oz bag of spinach
–1.5 (ish) wooden spoonful of cream cheese spread whipped with chives

Sautee chopped onion in the olive oil.  When the onions look tender add in the chopped parsnip, add granulated garlic and garlic salt.  Cook parsnip until it seems a bit tender, then add the bottom portion of the bok choy and broccoli. Let it cook a minute, then add the minced garlic.  Sautee until tender.  Then pour in the broth.  Add about a half can or bottle of beer and the few splashes of teriyaki.  Stir it as you feel necessary throughout the entire process.  Bring to boil. Add the cream cheese if you are going to use it.  Add the ginger.  Add leafy portion of the bok choy and bag of spinach.  Let cook for a few minutes or until the veggies are wilted.  Once the veggies looked wilted use the blender to mix it all up.  (I use the immersion blender so I can keep it all in the same pot.  Please remember to be cautious of the steam.)

The parsnips give this a little difference flavor and the broccoli leaves little green specks in the soup no matter how much you blend it.  Actually when you look at it, it looks the same as all the other soup I make.  But it tastes different.

I was trying to make something easy to eat for someone with a sore throat.  This soup is kind of thick yet easy to swallow and it packs a punch with all the vegetables it contains.  Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and let me to continue to share my soup experiments and at the same time put spending time with friends and family at the forefront of life!

Enjoy!

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Things That Make Me Go “Hmmm, WHAT A WASTE!”

Posted by terrepruitt on January 26, 2012

Sometimes there are things I just don’t understand.  I find that when I ask I get answers.  So my questions today revolve around packaging and waste.  I am not meaning to pick on any on particular company but I am so confused as to why, in a world where we are trying to reduce waste and we have to pay for bags in which to put the stuff we just purchased, is it ok to package things like this.  To me both of these packages are a waste.

Dance Exercise, Zumba like, Nia class, Nia teacher, Nia cardio workoutI have a Nia student who always smells great and she told me the name of the perfume.  I asked her if she would mind if I bought some and she said, no.  It was before Christmas and I thought it would be a great gift idea for my husband to get for me.  I love it when people tell me what they want and I try to help him out that way too.  Since he was really busy AND there was other things that was on his mind he decided we could just order it online.  I was excited.  New perfume.  But when I opened the box the only thing I was thinking is, “You have got to be kidding me!!!!  Is it REALLY necessary to have ALL of this packaging for one bottle of perfume?”  As I said, since I am not trying to necessarily bad mouth the company, I tried to take a picture that didn’t directly show the name, but you can see there is a piece of folded cardboard that goes first around the bottle, then that goes in the box, then there is a sheath that goes around that.  Why?  Just the ONE box would do just fine, I don’t think there is really any reason for the inner piece of cardboard and the sheath.  To me the whole thing reeked of wastefulness.  I was actually somewhat disappointed in the company because of that.

dance exercise, Nia class, Nia student, Nia teacher, Nia San Jose, San Jose NiaThen I was at the grocery store and I was faced with this.  REALLY?!?!?!  First of all prepackaging fruits and veggies sticks me with more than I want and second it seems like a HUGE waste of material.  I could have easily used one bag to put my two zucchinis in, but no, I was forced to by five and they are packaged with a papery-plastic sheet, inside a plastic tray, wrapped with more plastic, and then labeled with even more papery-plastic.  WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?  How is that being responsible and cutting down on waste?  FOUR things, instead of one bag?  I just don’t get it.

I don’t understand when we are forced to be “green” in some areas, but in other areas waste like this is allowed to continue.  This type of stuff confuses me.  I am not sure the shiny material that the sheath was made out of can be recycled, but I put it in the recycling along with the rest of the wasteful packaging.

Whew.  Ok, thanks, I am done with my rant.  🙂  Do you ever come across packaging of a product that you feel is excessive?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »

A Spicy Hot Drink – Make It Youself

Posted by terrepruitt on January 24, 2012

Dance Exercise, Nia class, Nia teacher, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, dance workout, cardio danceThe Nia Class on Friday that I teach is at a studio that recently re-located from Los Gatos to San Jose.  Being in a newish area I found myself dropping by a store I don’t normally frequent.  I ended up buying some tea.  I know that green tea is supposed to be good for you and I found myself liking Chai, so I was happy to find some Green Tea Chai.  Gently spiced with cinnamon and anise.  The box also makes statements about ginger, cardamom, and licorice.  I thought it just HAD to be good.  I had just purchased some honey from a local bee keeper and I was so excited to try the honey with this tea.  I came home and made a cup.  I was very disappointed.  It didn’t taste like anything, except the honey itself (which is fantastic, by the way!).  It didn’t have a flavor that I could detect at all.  I had been thinking that along with some of the benefits from green tea, I would be getting benefits from the cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom, and I would also get some flavor.  With all of that in the tea I thought there would be something.  Maybe I clearly didn’t see the “gently spiced”.  But I was disappointed.

I thought I would try spicing it up myself.  So I added my own ginger, cinnamon, and I even added nutmeg.  I figured that I would be able to reap the benefits of the spices if I put them directly in my tea.  I ended up making a pretty tasty beverage.  I would imagine that I could add my own spices to hot water and make any type of “tea” I want.  I know it shouldn’t really be called tea as tea is make with actually leaves from a plant and not just spices.  All I need to know is it tastes good and it helps keep me warm (it has been a bit cold around here lately). 

And, as I said, I can get the benefits from some of the spices.  Granted the spices do tend to sink to the bottom of the mug in a wet pile, but if you keep it stirred you actually drink them.  That would be the point—to drink them.

One day, I grabbed the cayenne pepper instead of cinnamon — and you frequent readers must know — I DO NOT tolerate spice at all.  I don’t like heat.  I made a really spicy hot concoction.  I saved it for my hubby, because it didn’t TASTE bad it was just to hot for me and I thought he would like it.  He did.  So I guess I can make him some spicy hot beverages too.

As a reminder, ginger is an anti-inflammatory, so it is good for the body to help keep chronic inflammation at bay.  It also has some nutrients and is used as a digestive aid.  I usually use the powdered kind for my tea, but when I have the actual root I toss a little piece in my mug.

Cinnamon is also an anti-inflammatory food.  I have thought to add it to my coffee before and as stated in this post, my tea, but now I will just start making a spice hot water mix.  Cinnamon is also consider a digestive aid.  So why not just add some spices to some hot water and see what you come up with? Or add it to your coffee or tea? 

Honey and lemon are common things to put in hot water, I think I will try that with some of my spices.  Get the whole shebang.  Warmth, water, lemon, spices . . . sound like a winner to me.  How about you?  Spices to drink?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Kale Chips – Roasted Lettuce

Posted by terrepruitt on January 21, 2012

Well, I bought the kale on a whim after Nia one day.  My intention was to make kale chips.  I think I looked up the recipe.  The one I found said to remove the stems, then rip the kale into bite sized pieces, then wash it and spin it dry in a salad spinner.  That is as far as I got.  I don’t remember the rest.  It would have served me much better to keep reading and remember the directions.  I don’t have a salad spinner so I thought I would wash the kale before hand and let it dry.  I was thinking that it being dry was very important.  I think I decided that garbanzo beans need to be dry.  But instead of drying the garbanzo beans with a paper towel the other day I put them in the oven on a low temp without any oil, but with a little bit of salt.  I let them “dry” that way.  Then I put olive oil and seasonings on them and roasted them.  They came out very well.  So I thought I would do the same thing with the kale.  But this time I thought I would use my convection setting.  I really ought to “listen” to my nose when it tells me something is burning.  YUP!  I burned the whole tray of kale.  My convection only goes on at 300 degrees and I guess I was thinking kale was much heartier than it actually is.  Sigh.

Dance exercise, Nia dance, Nia class, Nia San Jose, San Jose Nia, San Jose Dance Exercise, Nia Teacher, Nia classBut with that lesson under my belt and a half of bunch left, I put the remaining kale on the cookie sheet.  I just pulled the leafy greens off the stem at the same time I ripped it into bite sized pieces.  And I washed it first because I didn’t want to be handling the dirty (it was really dirty) kale.

I spayed the pan with olive oil, then set the ripped pieces of kale on the pan, then sprayed the kale with olive oil, then sprinkled garlic salt on it.

I didn’t use the convection part, but I kept the oven at 300, but only for ten minutes.  Let me tell you, the kale cooks a lot slower with the convection off and oil on it.  I think I cooked it a total of forty minutes — maybe it was 30?  I did turn the oven down to 200 after the first ten minutes.  I can’t sit there and watch stuff cook so I thought 200 would be ok, and kept checking it.  I think the last 10 minutes I turned the oven off.  I think it is the type of thing that I will have to cook in ten minute intervals and check on.

It was ok.  It taste like roasted lettuce to me.  I don’t think it deserves the rave reviews that I have heard from people.  And by no means can it beat a potato chip (as so many have claimed), but it is ok.  It is a way to get some greens in.  It is not too hard to make.  It is a great thing to snack on.  And I think my husband REALLY liked them. He kept reaching for them.  Anytime he reaches for something over and over again, I know it is a hit!  So I will be making them again.  I probably will pay as much attention to cooking them as I did this time.  I should have paid more attention because I knew I was going to post about it.  But I didn’t.  After I burned the first batch I was kind up grumpy at myself.  The funny thing is, I burned the first batch because I was so excited to write my kale post.  So I set the time more based on how long it would take me to finish up and post my article then how long it would take to dry the kale.

So have you made kale chips?  Have you tried them?

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Kale – Sounds As If It Should Be A Superfood

Posted by terrepruitt on January 19, 2012

After a I teach Nia I am sweaty and going from a somewhat warm studio to the cold when you are wet is not fun. After Nia class yesterday I was so cold I just wanted to go straight home, but I had one stop to make in Willow Glen. But after that I had planned on jumping on the freeway and going straight home. Sometimes getting off the freeway at our exit is difficult. The most direct route requires one to go from the exit ramp across three to four lanes of a sometimes busy street. Most of the time I can safely move across to the turn lane, but every once in a while it is too trafficky and I don’t believe I should stop the people behind me on the ramp NOR the people driving on the street I am going to cross just because I want to make a left hand turn. I don’t believe in endangering others to make it easier on myself. So sometimes I just stay in the most right lane and drive through the light instead of turning left. Then I take a round about way home. But I get there just the same and I don’t stress other drivers or myself. Well, this happened yesterday when I was freezing and just wanted to get home. As I was deciding on my round about way home I realized I might as well just go to the grocery store since I was on that road already. We could always use fresh veggies so I decided to get some.

Nia teacher, dance exercise, Nia class, Nia, San Jose Nia, Nia San JoseWhile I was in the store a woman started talking to me about eggplant. She said it was too difficult to cook so when her neighbors gives it to her she just throws it away. For on brief moment I considered asking her if I could give her my phone number and she could call me and I would take it! Then we started talking about some of the other vegetables that were in the same area. She was saying collard greens are good for you. I told her that my husband loves them. She asked me how I cooked them and I told her I sautéed them. She said she fried them, the same as the eggplant. While we were talking I noticed the Kale. I always forget about kale. I was happy that we were talking and it allowed me to focus for a moment on the kale. I bought some.

Kale is part of the cabbage family. It is just leaves. Kale is part of the family of vegetables that are called cruciferous vegetables. Some other cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, collard greens, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.

You know how I don’t understand plant species and families and all that. But more and more research is providing information that these types of vegetables are very good for us in regards to nutrients we need.

As much as we all know to take the governmental daily values with a grain of salt, a cup of kale has over 1300% of the daily value of vitamin K, over 350% of vitamin A, and over 80% of vitamin C. It also contains calcium and beta carotene. Research has shown that kale is rich in antioxidant, is an anti-inflammatory, and has properties that are thought to be of the anti-cancer nature. Steamed kale is thought to have cholesterol-lowering benefits.

According to Wiki: Kale freezes well and actually tastes sweeter and more flavourful after being exposed to a frost. I, myself, am going to try to make the oh-so-talked-about-you-have-probably-heard-about-them kale chips. In fact I could swear that one of you — one of you that I read your blog — posted about kale chips, but I can’t remember who. I went looking but I couldn’t find the post.

Anyway . . . do you eat kale? If you do how do you eat it? I am going to go experiment right now!

Posted in Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Sensing Sensations Can Make You Feel

Posted by terrepruitt on January 17, 2012

I’ve mentioned before that in Nia we think of feeling as emotion and sensing as physical. I mentioned it in Feeling vs. Sensing. The other day I was lying down when I realized when someone is there you want to touch you might sink into it or scoot closer. You might acknowledge the softness of the fuzzy little footsie pajamas along the side of your body and how the bottom of the footies are not as soft on your hip. Even going so far as to hold your breath so the softness of the fuzzy material can rub up and down on your arm as the small lungs fill and empty. There could be a moment when you’re aware of the different textures along the length of your back to your tush. You notice the softness of skin and hair of the arm, maybe the roughness of an elbow then the coolness of cotton or silk. You may have had the chance to observe the sensation of fur of an animal next to you. The animal lies there giving you the impression she wants to be near you. As you stop to appreciate the moment you might shift ever so slightly and you notice the cat (tee hee) has assumed her liquid state and the very tiny bit of couch real estate you shifted from is now full of cat. The sensation of warm furry body never breaking contact from your body. With any small movement you are pushed further off (or up or over) of the couch. You might have been asleep or not paying attention in any one of the similar situations, but once you realized or remembered something was there you allowed your body to embrace the sensation.

You sense the closeness in the situations. You stopped to enjoy the contact from the other being. You stopped to concentrate on the touch. The touch of softness, the sense of warmth, the caress of the movement as breath is drawn in and let out. I was not aware of the cat sleeping next to me when I first woke up. Once I sensed the pressure on my body and realized what it was, I snuggled down into the couch further. I scooted just a tad bit closer. And, of course, I was happy.

Sometimes sensing these types of sensations can elicit emotions. In these particular situations (pleasant ones where you want the body next to you) happiness and joy can be at the top of a long list. Of course, sensation can cause a whole range of emotions depending on the situation. I find it interesting that sometimes a sensation can be happening, but we might not realize it.

Have you ever been talking to someone and someone else comes along and not wanting to interrupt with speech they place a hand on your back and you might not even realize it until you stop talking then you notice? You might not notice the dog at your feet leaning on your leg until you stop for a second and refocus. You might not notice the child tugging you in one direction because you are focused on the conversation you are having. Maybe it is not so much that we don’t NOTICE, it is that the sensation is not the focus of our brain or body at that moment so it is dulled? Then once we give it our attention we can actually really sense the touch?

I know that I didn’t notice because I was sleeping, but it still took me a second to realize that something warm was pressed up against me. Once I realized then I was able to enjoy it. Sometimes we might need to realize sensations more as we move through life so we can not take them for granted and really enjoy them.

Are there any sensations that you can take a moment to enjoy while you are going through your day? Take an extra second to sense and see how it makes you feel.

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

Authentic Movement – Change – FreeDance Stage 5

Posted by terrepruitt on January 14, 2012

Nia, the dance exercise that I teach, is a great cardio workout.  Classes are fun and full of energy.  To become a Nia teacher one must take the White Belt Intensive.  It is 40+ hours of intense learning, discovery, play, dance, reading, listening, moving, sitting, and so much more.  A person that is just interesting in learning more about Nia as a practice may also take the intensive.  One does not have to have the intention of teaching to participate in an intensive.  In the Nia White Belt there are 13 Principles.  These principles are what teachers and practitioner use to expand their Nia practice.  Working and playing with the principles actually help bodies to move “better”.  Nia is a body centered exercise so these principles actually help us move our bodies.   The fourth Nia White Belt principle is FreeDance, this principle has eight stages.  The list of the eight stages is in my post Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3 – FreeDance Stage 8.  The fifth stage is Authentic Movement – Change.

Nia is “about” many things.  One thing Nia is about is Authentic movement.  Our dance is not a performance.  It is not meant to be pretty.  It is meant to allow us to move in our own body’s way.  The idea is that we will move in our own body’s’ way and we will move as we need to move.  With freedom and authenticity we will be working our bodies as they each individually need to be worked.  Yes, we do have specific steps in a kata or song.  But everyone’s body does the steps maybe a little differently — to their own body’s ability.  With practice the body will be able to do the steps and the moves in the Body’s Way, moving the way the body was actually designed to move.

With authentic movement we are letting the body move to the music in its own way.  We don’t think of how to move it, we just let it sense the music and it moves.  If one is practicing the Nia White Belt Principle #4, stage 5, then the authentic movement is done for two bars, two measures of how we count our music.  After two bars change the movement.  Do this for each song.  The idea is that after a few songs the body will have gone through all of its “normal” movements.  You will have danced out all of your movement tendencies.  You will have danced all of your bodies patterns and your body will seek new moves.  Your body will do things it does not usually do.  You might be one that often moves your hips a lot, but after a few songs and continually changing the way you move your hips you might realize that you are out of hip moves, so your body plants your feet and you end up kicking up one leg at a time.  Maybe kicking is not part of your typical dance move repertoire.  Maybe once your legs start kicking your arms start punching.  And this was not thought out or planned it just seemed natural.  Leg kick, arm punch.

So the idea is to exhaust the normal and journey into new territory.  If you have never done anything like this I want to warn you, you might be a little sore the next day.  If you are a booty shaker and you change to a “how-low-can-you-go-er” you will feel it the next morning.  If you always keep both feet on the ground and you start kicking or even just doing knee lifts to be different, your body will remind you the next day that you did something different.

If you let your body just dance to the music and switch it up, your body will give you great feed back on how you have never moved your foot/arm/head/butt/ankle/knee/whatever-you-moved-that-was-new the next day.  You will go to move foot/arm/head/butt/ankle/knee/whatever-you-moved-that-was-new and probably sense it.  This information will help you learn your movement tendencies and you can learn what new moves might help you improve your body’s movements.

Try it!  Put on some music and dance with Authentic Movement, then change.  Keep doing this through at least five songs and see where you end up.  See what new moves your body comes up with.  Ready?  Go!

Posted in FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No Slack-Jawed Yokel Here

Posted by terrepruitt on January 12, 2012

What?  What does THAT mean, right?  Well, as you know this blog was originally started to share Nia with the world.  But as you also know, I don’t feel that I need to post about Nia and my Nia classes every post.  I do feel I need to mention them in every post . . . . just to remind you about it!  🙂  So where am I going with this title and this post?  Sigh.  Confession time.  Yes, forgive me readers for I am more-than-not-perfect and I want to share with you a habit I have.  It is one of those habits that I don’t even know I am doing until I stop doing it and I sense the results of having done it.  It is also an unhealthy habit (I am calling it that because in no way does it contribute to my health and well-being).  I have been sitting at my computer for the last hour and a half — ha!  No, that is not the unhealthy habit I am talking about! I have been doing some work.  It is work that is taking a bit of concentration because I am searching for information.  I was searching and trying to think of ways and places I can find what I am looking for.  So I was concentrating really hard.  When I decided to stop I realized my jaw muscles were sore.  I stopped and thought about it and I realized I was probably clenching my jaw!  I can’t recall if I was grinding my teeth or not, but I KNOW I had to have been clenching my jaw because it is very sore right now.  Geez!  So that is what I mean by there is no slack-jawed yokel here!

Nia teacher, Nia class, Nia practice, Nia movement, muscle soreness, Nia San Jose, San Jose NiaSome of you might now know who THE slack-jawed yokel is.  He is a character on the Simpsons.  He is one of those people who you feel sorry for at the same time he annoys you because he is so not-smart.  But my jaw is tense and not slack, yet I still thought of him.  He is Cletus, the Slack-Jawed Yokel.  You can click here for his theme song.  As you know the title Yokel is not something to use for anyone . . . except maybe a made up character on a cartoon show.  So please forgive me if you find this offensive, I do watch the Simpsons every once in a while and he is one of the characters and so his title popped into my head as I was trying to figure out why my jaw was so sore and tense.

After I thought about what I had to have been doing to make my jaw sore, I looked it up.  The one site I read mentioned wearing a mouth guard.  Since I am thinking I am not grinding my teeth, I think a mouth guard would not solve the problem of clenching my jaw and could make my jaw muscles even more sore.  Unless just the fact that I have plastic in my mouth would make me think NOT to clench my jaw.  Another comment was about maybe caffeine being a cause which made me laugh because I have not been having coffee daily, but today I had some.  But I also have not been working on this project before so . . . . that is something I will have to pay attention to.  (Caffeine + project vs. project caffeine-free)

What about you?  Do you find yourself clenching your jaw?  Do you hold tension in your shoulders and/or neck?  Do you have any suggestions to offer?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Witness – Do Not Interfere or Judge. Observe. — Nia FreeDance Stage 6

Posted by terrepruitt on January 10, 2012

I think this is one of the most difficult stages of Nia FreeDance.  And there is a reason they are numbered one through eight, and I don’t know why I started my postings about them backwards, but when I’m done they will still be here and they will tie together. On its own Stage 6 is a powerful tool, but it can also be applied when dancing Nia FreeDance stage one (FreeDance) and five (Authentic Movement).  Stage 6 of Nia FreeDance is witness.  We witness our movements.  While we are dancing we acknowledge how we are moving.  We observe our tendencies.  We observe our structure.  We are witness to all that our body can and can’t do, yet we do not interfere.  We just let go and move.  For many Nia FreeDance is a challenge because we are set free to dance without structure, we are set free to move as we sense the music.  In stage 6 we do so — move without structure and as our own body senses the music — without interfering or judging.  We are to just observe.

While you are dancing and witnessing, interfering would mean to change what you are doing maybe because you judged it to be a certain way.  As an example, say you heard a specific stand-out beat in the music and your body sensed it as little hops so you started hopping.  As you are hopping you start thinking and judging, you think, “Why am I hopping?  I must look silly.  No one else is hopping.  I should stop.”  While there was witnessing (YAY!), there was judging (not yay.) and then as a result interfering (not yay.).  Movement was changed because of a judgement.  Movement was changed not because your body sensed something maybe a new move from the music it was changed because you judged.  This is what Nia FreeDance Stage 6 is about witnessing but NOT interfering or judging.

Even if we observe our tendency to do the same type of move over and over.  This witness does not have an opinion, it just observes.  If you are dancing just stage 6 of FreeDance then you just keep going.  Observe, don’t judge or interfere.  Now is not the time to change.  Just dance.

This is not an easy stage.  It is not easy to witness, just observing and not judge or interfere, but this stage is a huge eye-opener.  This stage can tell us many things about our dance and our bodies.  We can see our tendencies and our comfort zones.  We can learn our strengths and weaknesses.  We can embrace the sense of self.  This stage is not easy, but it is powerful.  It is a great tool in the Nia tool box for both a Nia Practitioner and a Nia Teacher.

So while you are dancing in the shower, in the kitchen, in the living room — wherever it is you get to truly dance — try stage 6 of Nia FreeDance; Witness – Do Not Interfere of Judge.  Observe.  And see where this takes you.  See what you learn.  You could learn things like, you don’t allow your neck free movement,  your hips don’t get to dance, you are always bent at the knee, you can do a great shimmy, your hands are like graceful birds . . . . so many things.  What have you witness in your FreeDance?

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