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!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Archive for April, 2012

Chakra Vowel Sounds — AH!

Posted by terrepruitt on April 28, 2012

When I first discovered Nia I bought The Nia Technique Book to see if I would be able to do it.  I don’t mean do it as in do the moves and participate in a class, I mean do it as in “get into it”, as in understand it.  It sounded a bit “woo-woo” to me.  Listening to your body, voices of the body, energy this, moving energy that.  I wasn’t sure I could sync it up with my beliefs.  But as I studied it more I realized that it is based on science.  It involves human kinetics.  Most of the moves, although called the 52 Nia moves are quite common and are seen in many other types of exercises and workouts.  The ones that I consider unique are probably part of some other dance I am not familiar with.  And the “woo-woo” part, well, I realized that it is woo-woo – at least that is how many people think of certain things like energy, chakras, mind-body, and body-mind practices.  I mean look at yoga, when I was young that was one of the “woo-wooest” things around and now people have embraced it.  There are so many types of yoga it is difficult to keep track.  For some they just ignore the woo-woo while others embrace it because they realize it makes sense.  I mean cultures have been using “woo-woo” stuff for centuries.  There is meditation, herbs, chanting, drumming — all types of other things that some people think of woo-woo.  The woo-woo must not be too far off base though because it seems to work.  Recently my posts have been about healing sounds and making sounds, this post is about the vowel sounds related to the chakras and I am sure to some people it sounds a little, or maybe even a lot, “woo-woo”.  But I like to imagine that if you are reading this you are somewhat open to new things — even woo-woo things.  So you might be willing to try the healing sounds or even the vowel sounds of the chakras.

The vowel sounds related to the chakras are as follows:

CROWN CHAKRA:  EEE as in “me”

BROW/THIRD EYE CHAKRA:  AAA* as in “say”

THROAT CHAKRA:  EYE as in “my”

HEART CHAKRA:  AH as in “ma”

SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA:  OH as in “go”

PELVIC CHAKRA:  OOO as in “you”

ROOT CHAKRA:  UH as in “cup”

The idea is to say these sounds in a specific note.  If you have a keyboard or a phone with an app that has a keyboard or an app that can give you examples of the notes it might help you.  Or you might be musical and know what the notes sound like.

EEE is to be made in the B note
AAA is to be made in the A note
EYE is to be made in the G note
AH is to be made in the F note
OH is to be made in the E note
OOO is to be made in the D note
And UH is to be made in the C note

These sounds are to help open and heal the chakras.  Or to keep them balanced, all depends on your needs and your practice.

As with everything there is a wealth of information out there on how to “do” the vowels.  The commonalities I am seeing is to sit comfortable with a lengthened spine.  Be relaxed.  Use a normal breath.  Repeat each sound seven times.

I have used these sounds in my Nia classes when we are using a chakra as a focus.  I am going to take this list and use the vowels sounds just as I did the healing sounds.  The focus can be the chakra vowel sounds and we can create an intent from there.  Yay!  I love thinking of things to use as focuses in my classes.  I also think that sitting down to make these sounds as a specific exercise is a good idea. What do you think about chakra vowels?  Might you try the exercise?

*Many places note this as “AYE” but to me that is AYE, as in what a pirate says.  So I noted it as AAA, like Fonzie would say.  🙂

Posted in Chakras, Nia, Sounding | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Reasons for Sounding in Nia Class

Posted by terrepruitt on April 26, 2012

I’ve post about the Healings Sounds. I’ve posted about how we used the Healing Sounds in our Nia class. I’ve stated that making noise is a great way for people to know that you are breathing. There are other reasons to sound, one being it helps stabilize your core. In Nia or in other dance exercise classes there are times when you are moving and playing with balance so having a stable core can assist in proper balance. With the effort to stay stable there is also strengthening. On the exhale the abdomen is tightened.

In Nia we do a lot of movement where core stabilization is key. Some of the moves we do that require a stable core are punches, blocks, and kicks. In order to punch and/or block with strength and authority the spine needs to be straight, the ribs squeezing, and the abs tight. All of this can be accomplished with one loud sound, any sound can do it. Kicking is the same thing, even if you are doing a side kick where your body might be leaning, the spine is still straight and the torso needs to be tight. A joyful “HA!” can take care of all that!

Another reason to sound is release. We are often taught to be quiet. It could be as deep and as damaging as we were taught our opinions don’t matter. It could be more of a social “norm” where we were taught to respectfully keep one’s opinion to oneself or respectfully not sing, shout, or cry out loud because it would be inappropriate even though that is what we really want to do.  All of these social confines can lead to blocked energies.  Having to behave can lead to us feeling bad, so sounding in a Nia Class is a huge release. We can experience a release.  Healing sounds aren’t the only ones to be made, anything will do.

Often times for me I am busy with listening to the music, thinking of the next move, getting ready to cue, dancing, and breathing I don’t THINK about sound it just comes out. Sometimes a move makes its own sound. Also depends on the move. I did a routine recently where the moves were very quiet for me. It was odd. It was as if the moves had no sound. I am wondering if that is because it was so new. I am looking forward to doing it again to see if sounds reveal themselves.

In addition to breath, stabilization, strength, and release sounding is fun. Children are expected to shout, laugh out loud, and be joyfully noisy, but adults not so much.  Kids can run and scream on a playground, adult aren’t often afforded such a luxury, but in Nia we can.  It really is fun. It is fun to make noise. It is fun to HA, HOO, FOO, SHOO, HI-YA, WAHOO, WHOOO, and SHHHHH to the top of your voice. It is fun to play with the volume and the tone of the noises. All of this playfulness adds to the joy.  We can whoop it up as we did when we were young.  The vibrations of sound heal the body. The fun heal the spirit and the soul.

I often wonder how people are able to keep quiet in a Nia class.  I believe they have not yet experienced the good it will do for them.  There is the breath, the added stabilization, the strengthening, the emotional release, and the fun that it brings all good for the body, mind, spirit, and soul.

While I am saying we do sounding in Nia class, don’t think it is restricted to that.  So while you are exercising don’t forget to breath.  Try making some noise.  If you are in a class that doesn’t allow for it find a Nia class and whoop it up there!

Do you make noise while you exercise?

Posted in Nia, Sounding | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

How We Used Healing Sounds In Our Nia Class

Posted by terrepruitt on April 24, 2012

A post ago I posted about Healing Sounds. In Nia classes participants are encouraged to make noise or what we call sound.  One reason to sound is to let the teacher of the class know you are breathing.  This holds true for many exercise classes.  Wanting students/participants to be breathing holds true for all teachers.  There are a lot of reasons to sound, it does not have to be for healing or feeling better.  But as I stated in that post, I just happened to come across that information and those sounds so I thought it would be fun to bring the list to class and use them as a focus.

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, The first time we used the Healing Sounds in a Nia Class, I had written each sound down on a separate piece of paper and I taped them to the mirror.  Before class I verbally reviewed each sound.  Our focus was the Healing Sounds with an intent of bringing some healing.  I invited the participants to make these noises during class.  The general invitation was to make them any way; they could breath in and make the noise on one long exhale, they could make them quick and staccato, they could make the tone high or low.  Whatever they wanted. Whatever they felt.  As with most focuses I do bring them into play specifically at times so when we were punching or kicking I might have encouraged them to make loud and forceful sounds.  I encouraged them at one point to try each sound.  I also had them play with saying a sound at least six times as was mentioned in the information I had found.  For my own practice I know that I used the sounds in a pattern and as with many things when one person does it others follow.  So we did a lot of lead and follow with sound as each person thought of different ways to use the sounds. It was very fun.

After the class I read to them what the sounds were related to and what they assisted with.  It was very fascinating.  Some commented that they had been drawn to a particular sound and they could see how that would be an area in which assistance would be appreciated.  Some had fun doing a good job of using all the sounds.  Some admitted that some sounds were more fun to make than others.

The most recent time that I used the healing sounds I again taped up the papers with each sound written on it.  But this time I read the information before class.  So the participants were aware of what each sound was prior to dancing.  The focus and intent were the same, but with the knowledge of what each sound assisted with some Nia students decided to focus on the specific sounds they felt would help them.  Again we had the freedom of how to make the sound and when to make it.  It is so exhilarating to hear my students weave sounding into the dance and to hear them make the sounds in their own way.

This second time around it was rewarding to hear my students say, “Yay!  I was just thinking about the healing sounds and hoping you would do them again soon.”  So they enjoyed it the first time and were looking forward to it.

I think I just decided today that with each routine I teach, with each round, I am going to do at least one class at each location (Willow Glen San Jose, Campbell, and Blossom Hill San Jose) where the focus is the healing sounds.  Whether the belief is that they actually heal or not we all have a lot of fun with it.  And they are sounds that my class actually make!

You don’t have to be in a Nia class to experiment with the sounds.  Have you used them?

Posted in Helpful Hints, Nia, Sounding | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Some April 2012 Backyard Happenings

Posted by terrepruitt on April 21, 2012

To me life is about learning.  I have learned a few things since I started my Nia Class on Monday in Campbell in the evenings and my Nia Class on Saturday.  It is much better for me to have Monday’s dinner cooked on Sunday.  So I have been planning my weekend meals so that I have leftovers on Monday.  You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything last Saturday . . . . lesson learned:  I need to make sure my Saturday post is done on Friday.  I have too many other things to do when I get home from my 10:00 am Nia Class.  It ends at 11:00 so I don’t get home until 11:30 (at the earliest) or noon!  So I really need to have my post done because the next thing I know it is 1:48 am on Sunday morning and I am just noticing I forgot to post on my blog.  😦  Well, it was only the second time I forgot.  The first time also was a Saturday.  This past week the weather has been gorgeous here in San Jose.  I haven’t spent much time lately getting any pictures of our yard happenings.  This past week while the weather was cool and nice I took a few.  I thought I would share some with you.  It has been awhile since I have shared some fun pictures on my blog.Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia

This guy has an injured foot.  I noticed his injury about the same time I hurt my foot.  I try to keep an eye on him and make sure he gets some nuts.  And he makes sure I know he wants nuts.  He will find a spot where he can look in a window at me and stare.  He will stare at me until I go outside and give him some peanuts.

He is doing that now.  Staring.  Of course, I went outside and gave him some nuts.  Did you notice how clear the sky is?

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaSometimes the squirrels drop whatever it is once they get it up to the roof.  There is often fruit in our yard that doesn’t blog to any tree we have.

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaHere is a picture of the cat enjoying the sun.  She will stay in the sun for a bit, then get too hot and move.

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaThe blue jay was getting some nuts.  I took a few shots “through” the chair then I went out and turned it so I could get a clear shot.  And of course I sat there for a long time waiting.  I got bored with staring at my camera at a peanut filled chair so I started taking pictures of the cat.  What happens?  The blue jay sneaks back while I wasn’t paying attention.  But I managed to get a few.Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaOf course the squirrels wanted some too!Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaI wanted to get some shots of our blooming rose bush.  A while back I was unhappy with the wilderness that was out the window so I went outside and did some pruning.  It was completely “Edward Scissorhands” style as I just took the saw and went right and left and left and right and up and down and down and up and all around.  I just wanted all the wildness gone.  So I was very concerned that I wrecked the bush.  So when I saw one rose I was very happy.  And now that the whole bush is blooming I am really happy and wanting to share.  I’ve posted about how weird our roses are.  But I still like them, even though they start out really sunset orange and then fade to a washed out peach.  They SMELL really good. 

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaOne bush has a single flower on it.   The single flower is pictured below.Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia

Well, thank you for stopping by and visiting our yard.  We enjoy the entertainment the wildlife offers and the beauty that the flowers share with us.  I hope you did too.

Do you have a flower garden?  Do you have a vegetable garden?  Fruit trees?  Does any wildlife visit your yard?

Posted in Birds, Flowers, Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Feel Good Sounds

Posted by terrepruitt on April 19, 2012

In a Nia class the participants are encouraged to make sounds.  There are many reasons to make sounds while you are working out.  One, is to ensure breathing.  As you are making a sound there is air going out, and in order to repeat it, there has to be air that was inhaled.  So making sounds during an exercise class is a great way to let the teacher know there is breathing going on.  There are also specific sounds related to specific things, but we don’t always have to be so particular.  Sometimes just any sound will do.  I did a post on Sounding in July of 2009.  That is when I was brand new to Nia and new to teaching.  I was still learning to be vocal.  I had no probably being vocal as I was teaching but as a student I didn’t always participate.  So I believe I understand some of the reasons a person might not want to sound and some of those reasons are the very reasons we SHOULD be making noise.  All of these points can easily lead to additional posts, and they just might (a sounding series?), but for this post I am going to share what I found a while ago about healing sounds.

There are sounds associated with the chakras so a while back I was thinking I could bring a list of them to my Nia classes and I could use them to encourage my Nia students to sound.  But I found a different list instead.  Before I share the information with you I want you to play along with me.  Pick one sound from the six below.  Just pick one that appeals to you right now as you are reading it.  Don’t think, just pick one.

SHOO, HAA, HOO, SSS, FOO, and SHEE.

Now keep playing along with me.  Inhale and then say the sound you picked out loud on the exhale.  Now do that six times.  How do you feel?

Well, according to Sales Creators, a business problem solving company, the above sounds are healing sounds related to specific problems or issues.  As I mentioned I had wanted to find some sounds that we could make in my Nia classes that would be fun and associated with chakras.  As I was looking I discovered this information.  At the time I didn’t know it was from a company that helped with business problems, I just discovered that now as I tried to locate the source of my information.  In glancing quickly at the website, it looks pretty interesting.  They actually speak to wellness of the entire person.  What?  REALLY?  On a sales and marketing consulting company’s website?  Yes.

Anyway here is what the information said in summary.

SHOO is a sound that helps alleviate problems associated with a sense of depression.  The information states that you will feel better after having repeated it six times.  The liver and the gall bladder is positively affected by the vibration of this sound.

HAA helps alleviate anger and helps calm the heart and regulate the small intestine.

HOO is a body temperature regulating sound.  It helps one to not become too cold and balances the spleen, pancreas, and stomach.

SSS is a balance sound.  SSS helps to regain equilibrium in the nervous system and the body.  The vibration of this sound cleanses the lungs and regulates the large intestine.

FOO is another body temperature regulating sound but this one helps with a high body temperature.  So to me is sounds as if you are typically hot making this sound will help cool you down.  This sound is said to stabilize the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands.

SHEE helps relieve stress, tension, and anxiety.  The instructions say that if you are under stress make this sound 36 times.  It helps with regulating the blood circulatory systems and the central nervous system.

I truly believe that vibrations affect us, so to me it makes sense that certain ones would affect us in certain ways.  I was hoping that without your knowledge, without you thinking about it you would gravitate to one of the sounds that would help you.

So, did the sound you randomly picked match up to what you were feeling?  And now that you know what is associated with each sound are they a few you might want to try out?  What do you think about vibrations and healing sounds?

Posted in Helpful Hints, Misc, Sounding | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Free Nia During Bay Area Dance Week

Posted by terrepruitt on April 17, 2012

Every year there is a Bay Area Dance Week. This year is the 14th annual dance week and it is being presented by Dancers’ Group. This will be the fourth year that I have offered my morning Nia Classes to New Students for free. I did it last year, but I didn’t post about it. I figured I should post about it to remind people it is happening. My 9:00 am Nia Classes on Monday, April 23rd and Wednesday, April 25th at Halanda Studio will be free to New Students. Here is another opportunity to try Nia for free.

In addition to Nia there are many FREE Classes during National Dance Week at Halanda Studio. Halanda Studio is owned by two women who rent out the studio by the hour. The variety of classes that are offered at the studio is very diverse. As you can see by the schedule of free classes there is several types of Belly Dancing from beginning to Intermediate/Advanced. Also being offered for free during Bay Area Dance Week is Hot Hula, Yoga, Zumba, Bollywood Fitness, and I’ve already mentioned Nia.

While I want you to attend classes at Halanda and in particular MY Nia class, my dancing spirit has to bring to your attention to the fact that from April 20 – April 29, 2012 it is Bay Area Dance Week. So there are FREE classes ALL OVER THE BAY AREA!!! According to the Bay Ara Dance booklet there are more than 650 groups, artists, and organizations participating. There are over 100 forms of dance to enjoy. Not only are there free classes but there are free performances.

The opening event is Friday, April 20th at Union Square Park in San Francisco. The closing event on Sunday, April 29 will be at 2 pm in Union Square Park in San Francisco where there will be simple circle dance for peace among people and peace with Earth. Looks like this dance will be led by the amazing Anna Halprin. She is 92 years old and still dancing and teaching dance . . . now that is what I call amazing!

Below is the current list of FREE classes (as of Tuesday, April 17, 2012) being offered at Halanda Studio in San Jose during Bay Area Dance Week (Friday, April 20th through Sunday, April 29th – 2012)

Saturday, April 21:
9:30am-10:30am: Bellydance Basics with Amanda
10:30am-12:00pm: Bellydance & Beyond with Amanda
12:00pm-1:00pm: Bellydance Fusion Technique with Michelle
1:00pm-2:00pm: No Rules Bellydance with Michelle
2:30pm-3:30pm: Tunisian Folk Dance with Pamela

Sunday, April 22:
2:00pm-3pm: Hot Hula Fitness with Marie

Monday, April 23:
9:00am-10:00am: Nia with Terre
4:00pm-5:00pm: Silk Road & Middle Eastern dance for Kids with Farima
7:00pm-8:00pm: Bellydance – All Levels with Hala
8:00pm-9:00pm: Bellydance – Intermediate Technique & Drills with Hala
9:00pm-10:00pm: Bellydance – Choreography with Hala

Tuesday, April 24:
5:00pm-6:15pm : Hatha Yoga – Mixed Levels with Dahlia
6:30pm-7:30pm: Bellydance Workout with Natika
7:30pm-8:30pm: Tribal Fusion with Natika
8:30pm-9:30pm Fan Veil Dance with Natika
9:30pm-10:30pm Silk Road Fusion Dance with Farima

Wednesday, April 25
:
9:00am-10:00am: Nia with Terre
6:00pm-7:00pm: Bellydance with Setareh
7:00pm-8:30pm: Hala Dance Company Rehearsal with Hala
8:30pm-9:30pm: Basic Belly with Naima

Thursday, April 26:
6:30pm-7:30pm: Killer Drillz Level 1 with Vanessa
8:30pm-9:30pm: Dances of Persia & the Silk Road with Farima

Friday, April 27
:
7:00pm-8:00pm: Zumba Fitness with Melissa
8:00pm-9:00pm: Tunisian Folk Dance with Pamela

Saturday, April 28:
8:00am-9:15am: Power Flow Yoga with Delanie
12:00pm-1:00pm: Bellydance Fusion Technique with Michelle
1:00pm-2:00pm: No Rules Bellydance with Michelle

Sunday, April 29:
9:30am-10:30am: Bollywood Fitness with FusionBeatz

There are other classes taught at Halanda, but the classes listed here are the ones that are participating in Bay Area Dance Week.

Aside from Nia :-), what classes are you going to try out?

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,

Posted in Exercise and Working Out, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Turmeric – Flavor With Benefits

Posted by terrepruitt on April 12, 2012

When I wrote the post regarding anti-inflammatory foods, I decided to buy some Turmeric.  At the time I was not able to claim knowing what it tasted like.  I figured since it was used a lot in curries I would be ok with it.  I thought that it would be a good thing to add to our diet.  Since there are so many things that work as an inflammatory, I am always trying to add anti-inflammatory foods and ingredients into our diet.  I wasn’t sure exactly how to use it, but I was wanting to give it a go.  Turmeric has been used in food and as medicine for centuries.  Seems like the West is doing a lot of research to see what health benefits it has.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center:  “Turmeric has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wounds.  Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant.”

Remember Curcumin is the phytochemcial that give turmeric its color.

And Eat This! has a list of 20 Health Benefits contributed to Turmeric including;

-When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

-Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

-May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

Well, I’ve had it for a while now and I really like the flavor.  I’ve added it to soups, to veggies, and to meat.  You know my standard ground turkey and whatever veggies I have?  Well, it really makes that taste wonderful.  I had cooked broccoli, mushrooms, and ground turkey for dinner a few nights ago, today I decided to have the leftovers in a tortilla.  Since we have a few cucumbers I decided to use some up by slicing it really thin and putting it in the tortilla with the meat and a bit of parmesan cheese.  WOW!  The turmeric and the cucumbers were a party-in-my-mouth flavor.  It was really good.  So now I am going to serve cucumbers with my turmeric ground turkey.  Many people can describe flavors, I can sometimes, but I cannot describe the flavor or turmeric.  I would say that it is somewhat mellow so it won’t necessary overpower what you are using it with.  It is not hot or bitter.  I think it can be used with anything savory.     
 
Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,Wiki says “it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell” but I don’t agree.  Maybe I will give it the mustardy smell, but not off the top of my head.

But there is a problem with turmeric.  It dyes everything yellow!  I now have several bowls and utensils dyed yellow because I used them to stir, serve, or store something with turmeric in it.  It is just as bad as tomato sauce when it comes to dying things!

I am familiar with turmeric in its powdered form, but it is a root like ginger, so if you get it in root form you can use it just as you would ginger.  You could chop it, grate it, cut it up . . . the same as ginger. 

If you like the flavor it seems like a great thing to add to just about everything.   Since it is touted as an anti-inflammatory, an antioxidant, help in the treatment of  inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), helps treat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, improves liver function, prevents some cancers, lowers cholesterol, helps treat and prevent Alzheimer’s, reduces risk of childhood Leukemia among other things — why not add it to things?

Do you cook with Turmeric?  If so what do you add it to?

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

Flax Seeds – Big Things In A Tiny Seed

Posted by terrepruitt on April 10, 2012

For a long time now, I have been hearing about the nutritional benefits of flax seeds. I know one of my Nia friends said she uses them. They have probably been in the spot light a bit more lately as more and more information becomes known and available about inflammation. Chronic inflammation is the body’s response to things in it that shouldn’t be in it—as in, a very large part of the average Western Diet. With the over processing of food comes a huge amount of chemicals and chemically altered compounds. These types of things are not meant to be in our bodies and used as “nutrition”. In addition, the average Western Diet contains too much omega-6 fats. Omega 6 fats are linked to health issues and inflammation. Flax seeds contain omega-3 which is an anti-inflammatory agent, among other things. There is a ratio of the fats that is thought to be the optimal. I’ve heard that it is 3 to 1. Wiki states: “Modern Western diets typically have ratios of n−6 to n−3 in excess of 10 to 1, some as high as 30 to 1.” 

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,Flax seeds can be eaten whole, but they are difficult to digest so the common thought is to grind them so that their nutrition is readily available. I didn’t know that when I bought them otherwise I probably would not have bought such a HUGE quantity. I just remember see information that said to put them in things. I thought I could just toss them into — whatever. Well, it seems like I can, but I might not be getting all the nutrition out of them eaten that way then if I grind them.

Omega 3 is thought to do many wonderful things. It is thought to help protect against heart disease, cancer (both prostrate and breast cancer), and diabetes. And help with high blood pressure through both control and prevention. Also studies are showing that flax seeds can help lower cholesterol. Some studies show that flax seeds may help in reducing hot flashes. As little as “40 grams (1.4 ounces) of crushed flaxseed each day” (per WH Foods) cut the flashes in half.

Web MD says: “Although flaxseed contains all sorts of healthy components, it owes its healthy reputation primarily to three ingredients:

Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.
Lignans which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75-800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
Fiber
. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble types.”

Remember lignans are phytochemicals!

Flax seeds are best stored whole in the fridge. Once ground they tend to go rancid quickly, they should be used within a week. I guess I could grind some once a week and just make sure that I use it all. As with many foods that deliver great health benefits, they are still meant to be a part of a healthy diet. None of the amazing foods are meant to make up for an unhealthy diet, they are to ADD to a healthy diet.

As I first mentioned I know one of you uses them. But I don’t think she said how.  I could use some ideas as I now have four HUGE bags!

What about you, do you use flax seeds as a supplement? How do you use them? Do you grind them?

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Four-wall or Cooking – An Experience In All Sides

Posted by terrepruitt on April 7, 2012

In Nia we do something that is called cooking all four sides.  When I first learned this I thought it to be just when we were on the ground.  “Cooking” to me was the “side” of the body that was on the ground.  When you “cook” all four sides you allow your belly, your back, your left side, and your side to “cook” on the ground.  So basically you are lying on a different “side” at one point in the dance.  In one routine, I can’t remember which one, while we are standing we turn and face one wall, then turn again, then turn again, then turn again and Debbie called it cooking all four sides.  I thought, “Wow!  I hadn’t thought to call THAT cooking all four sides, because (as I mentioned) I think of ‘cooking’ as being on the floor.”  But it works.  We are “cooking” or facing all sides, all walls.  In country line dancing we call it a four-wall dance.  Often times there are a few steps then a turn, a few steps, then a turn, and so on, eventually you face all four walls.  There are two wall dances and maybe even three, but the point is you face a different direction.  Generally the back becomes the front and the front becomes the back.

ance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,I’ve posted about Nia Routines before.  I explained a bit about how the routines are created and teachers can purchase them.  Nia routines used to be choreographed and performed on the training DVD by Debbie Rosas or Carlos Rosas or both.  I’ve also posted about the fact that Nia morphs and changes.  At the end of 2010 Carlos AyaRosas, the male co-creator of Nia retired.  As with any company that wants to continue on after a founder retires Nia had to make some changes.  To me it seems as if Nia had been thinking about this for a while.  I know when I attended my Nia White Belt Intensive both Debbie and Carlos talked about Nia continuing on after they leave.  So it seems to me that they had plans and ideas for how Nia will change.  I think it is evident in the way that Nia does not seem to be a flag flapping in the wind, it has true direction.  With the exit of Carlos a new era has been born.  Debbie is now co-creating routines with Nia Black Belt Trainers.  I love Nia and enjoy both the routines Debbie created and the ones Carlos created.  There are some I like more than others.  I am not saying that I like the new one I have seen more than I liked the “old” ones, I am just saying, “Yay!  Nia is not disappointing me.”  The new routine I have looked at is just as fabulous as the old routines I love. 

As a little background:  In order to teach Nia we must pay a licensing fee.  When we pay the fee we are purchasing the right to teach, continued education, and four Nia routines.  We are free to purchase additional routines when they are available, but four are included in the licensing fee and we are obligated to learn at least four a year.  I just recently renewed my license and ordered my routines.  I ordered two that are older (from 2007 and 2008) and two that are considered our new ones, dated 2011.  Usually I skim through all four before deciding which one to learn next.  One of them I ordered I have done once before in a class so I know that I like it and I was planning on learning that next, but my curiosity about one of the new ones got to me.  I decided to learn it next after having watched it.

I am very excited about this routine because it has the “four-wall” or cooking all four sides technique in it.  The routine I am currently teaching has it too but only briefly, this new routine has this technique in more than one song.  Since a Nia class is not a dance lesson we just lead follow like other cardio workout classes the cooking all four sides is to not a series of complicated steps, but it does allow us to face other directions.  In FreeDance there is always opportunities to face many directions and sometimes in the Nia movements alone one can be turning far enough to achieve facing another wall, but this is choreographed to have the entire class turn.  It allows the class to see a different perspective.  I think it is fabulous.
 
It could be making me nostalgic and thinking of country dancing days . . . but more so, I am excited to have this technique used in a Nia routine so my students can see things from the front if they are always in the back or the back, if they are always in the front.  It will help move the class in new directions and Beyond!

Have you ever thought about the fact that a cardio dance class is pretty much like a line dance? 

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Colors And Odors Are Brought To You By Phytochemicals

Posted by terrepruitt on April 5, 2012

Phytochemical are the reasons that fruits and veggies have color and smell.  There are 1000 known phytochemicals, with an estimate of over 10,000 different ones potentially able to affect diseases.  These chemical compounds are thought to have a big affect on health but are not considered as essential nutrients.

Some phytochemicals are antioxidants or have antioxidant activity and they have shown that they may reduce the risk of cancer.  They have been proven to have anti-inflammatory effects.  And now many doctors and scientists are starting to acknowledge the link between chronic inflammation in the body and disease.  So — to me — anything that can safely help with inflammation in the body is a good food to eat. 

The Linus Pauling Institute at the Oregon State University has a list of phytochemicals.  Under each type listed there is a further breakdown of names of the specific phytochemical, here are just a few highlights

Carotenoids are found in red, yellow, or orange vegetables and fruits.  As with a lot of nutrients, fat helps with absorption.  So using a little bit of healthy oil can help with availability of the nutrient to the body.
 
Chlorophyll & Chlorophyllin are responsible for the green in veggies.

Curcumin is what gives turmeric its deep yellow color.  Turmeric is considered an anti-inflammatory.

Fiber is a group of different compounds.   Different kinds of dietary fiber include: Lignin, Cellulose, Beta-Glucans, Hemicelluloses, Pectins, Gums, Inulin, and Resistant starch. Research is showing that people with diets high in fiber have less risk of disease.  Fiber helps keeps the body’s digestive system moving things out.

Flavonoids in the case of the phytochemicals are thought to be better helpers in cell-signalling then in antioxidants.  While flavonoids have shown to help with curbing the free radicals, they really seem to shine when it comes to the cell signaling pathways.  They’ve shown themselves to be great at regulating the flow of information in the communication pathways of the cells.  There are different classes of flavanoids, they can be found in red wine, green, white, and black tea, berries, apples, chocolate, citrus fruits, yellow onions, soybeans, legumes, scallions, kale, and broccoli.

Garlic is thought to have antioxidant properties.  Garlic and its Organosulfur Compounds are thought to help fight cardiovascular disease and inflammation in the body.  (And some are now saying that it is inflammation that causes cardiovascular disease.)

Indole-3-Carbinol is found in coniferous vegetables.  These types of veggies are thought to help prevent certain types of cancer.  Some of the veggies that this phytochemical can be found in is cabbage, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

Isothiocyanates is also found in coniferous veggies.  This one can be found in cabbage, broccoli, and kale.

Lignans (phytoestrogens) are found in plants while Lignan precursors are found in plant-based foods.  Eating a variety of seeds, whole grains, and legume along with broccoli, curly kale, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, green and red sweet peppers, apricots, strawberries, peaches, pears, and nectaries will net you both.  (according to Livestrong)

Phytosterols can be found in unrefined vegetable oils, whole grains, nuts, and legumes and inhibit the intestinal absorption of cholesterol.

Resveratrol was found to increase the lifespan of some living organisms.  It can be found in grapes, red wine, purple grape juice, peanuts, and some berries.

Soy Isoflavones (phytoestrogens) is one of those things that is good for you, but some evidence says that too much is not.  But they are not clear on that or how much “too much” is. 

As with much of our food supply harvesting and processing diminishes the nutrients available to us.  The amount of phytochemicals actually in our fruits and vegetables after commercial harvesting, processing, and cooking is significantly reduced.  Since the nutrients that we actually get from the food we eat seems less than was intended by nature it is a good thing that most fruits and veggies can be eaten in high quantities without adding much fat or many calories to the diet. 

Additional information from wiki states that phytochemicals have been used as drugs for millennia.  The willow tree leaves were used to reduce fevers and later used as aspirin.

There is much research to be done on phytochemicals.  But it is interesting to know that the color and odor causing compound in our fruit and veggies might also protect us or help us combat disease.  Seems like if we eat a large variety in addition to large quantities of fruits and vegetables daily will be get a good amount of phytochemicals.  One thing I like to think about and try to do is “eat the rainbow”.  Sounds silly, but it really is eating all the COLORS in the rainbow.

Do you eat a variety of fruits and veggies?  Do you eat the colors of the rainbow?

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