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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Archive for July, 2012

Scale Back

Posted by terrepruitt on July 31, 2012

I know that sometimes people might allow the number on the scale to affect their mood and/or their feelings about themselves.  I know people can get upset when they are eating healthy and/or cutting excess calories, exercising and/or being more active and their goal of losing weight does not show every day on the scale.  I know some people get upset if their weight does not go down every day.  I know that sometimes a scale can actually affect what you eat for the day.  Perhaps the scale isn’t even moving one way or the other so you think it is ok to eat that extra whatever and you might even skip working out.  As I have said many times everyBODY has a different goal.  Sometimes we allow the number on the scale plays a more important role than it should because it is truly not the only way to measure health or fitness.  As you know if you are cutting calories to lose weight, but you are also doing some type of resistance training it could be that you are building muscle too.  While these two things are difficult to achieve at the same time it can be done, it just might take longer to see the results you are hoping to see.  But the scale might not be the best way to measure progress.  If you are one of those people who allow the number on the scale to affect you, how about taking a challenge?  How about not using the scale for a bit, while you are continuing on your path to change?  Maybe the number doesn’t affect your mood, but how about a change?  How about if you track your progress with a tape measure?

Just decide to not get on the scale for either 21 days or 30 days.  Really, that’s it, that is the challenge.  Let’s track measurements instead.  And while we are at it be aware of how you are feeling.  I know for some it is a habit to step on the scale.  You might not even realize you are doing it.  Right before you get in the shower it is almost as if it is the first step into the shower.  Disrobe, step on the scale, and then step in the shower.  Habit.  Especially if you do it early in the morning when you still might be a bit sleepy.  So in order to keep yourself from doing it out of habit remove the scale from the bathroom or remove the batteries.  Of course you will have to make sure the other members in your household that use the scale know what is going on.  You don’t want them to put the scale back or replace the batteries and then you — out of habit, step on the scale despite your best effort.

Now I’m not suggesting you share any numbers or anything.  This is not a competition to see who sees the most change, this is just a time to experience something different.  To free yourself from the scale.  To allow yourself to forget about that number.

So without that number to affect our mood, our feelings, our courses of actions we might be surprised.  We might get a different sense from our bodies and follow a bit of a different path.  Instead of being upset that the number hasn’t budged which in turn might cause us to eat more, we might just feel good and full and satisfied.  Instead of seeing the number go down and giving ourselves permission to have more, we might just sense that we’ve had enough and let it stop there.  We might stop judging ourselves by that number.  And if you want to track changes you can use a tape measure.  I was thinking you can take the measurements on day 1/August 1st and then not again until the 21st.  If you decide to do the 21 days then that would be the last day, but if you decide to do the 30 days, then the 21st could be just a check in.  Then do it again on the 30th.

Taking measurements takes a bit longer than stepping on a scale and as I mentioned in the other post you want to make certain you measure the same spots.  Having to set aside time to measure will keep you from doing it every day.  There is no need to do it every day, that is also part of the freeing oneself from the numbers.  I made a form that you can print and use to track your measurements if you would like.  The “Notes” column can be used for noting the spot where you are going to measure.  If you are measuring (as my example stated in my first post) around your calf an inch below the low part of the knee cap, then you can make that note there so the next time you measure you will remember where.

Of course you can decide to continue on past the 30 days.  Maybe you will decide to step on the scale at 30 days then try an additional period of time where you closet the scale.  I think for some removing the scale from the picture will be very freeing and even stress relieving.  For some they might want to just try something new, maybe the scale does not play a big role to them.  You could even decide to ditch the scale and not do any measurements that is fine too.  Again, as I’ve said before everyBODY is on their own fitness journey so they can do what they feel is right.  This is just a place to start.  An idea of looking at it in a different way.

So what do you say?  Will you put your scale away for at least 21 days?  If so will you take measurements?

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 Misc | Tagged: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Do You Measure Up?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 28, 2012

I think most people use a scale instead of a measuring tape. A scale is easy and common. We’ve been taught it is all about how much we weigh. You might be familiar with the false statement that muscle weighs more than fat. That of course is not true (that is why I called it a false statement), a pound of muscle weighs 16 ounces and a pound of fat weighs the same. The space taken up by muscle is less than the space taken up by fat, but they WEIGH the same. So measuring is another way to track changes to your body.

Professionals; personal trainers, doctors, therapist, etc. – people who measure for a living or who need to share information have a specific way of measuring. So if you were to go to one and pass on your measurements the other could document changes. So it is nice to have a standard. Because the most important thing about measuring is to measure in the same place every time so you can track the changes!

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 way to keep it the same is to measure from one point to the point you are going to measure. Say you are going to measure your calf, well measure from the bottom of your knee cap to the point you are going to measure and use that point every time.  This is a little more exact than “measuring at the largest point” or the “smallest part”.

Again the standard for measuring are things like: “across the umbilicus” and “1/2 way between the umbilicus and xyphoid process”. But you just really need to know where you did it last time so that you do it the same the next time.

Places you want to measure are your chest – for men and women the flexible measuring tape goes around the back and across the nipple. Then women measure around the chest where the band of the bra rests.  Measure around the hips.  Measure around the waist.  Measure around your neck. Measure around each bicep. Measure around each forearm.  Measure around each thigh.  Measure around each calf.

The chest measures are obvious; nipples and bra.  With the hips you can use over the bone or the widest part.  The waist is at the smallest part.  The neck, arms, and legs are good ones to use the “measure to the measuring point” method.  You can also use the  “measure to the measuring point” method on the waist and hips too!   Just make sure you document the measurement to the measuring point.  If you are going to measure your calf an inch below the lowest part of the knee cap, make note of that so you do it the same way every time.

Since every BODY has different goals it could be a moment to cheer if the measurements go up, or when the numbers go down.  Whichever the case it is your own personal journey and if you are working for a change in your body then measuring is a different way to track it.  Sometimes the scale can be frustrating if your goal is weight loss and you are building muscle and losing fat.  Or if you are just gaining weight and not paying attention to how much closer you have gotten to your muscle hypertrophy goal.

Stay tuned for the next post for a challenge that we will begin on August 1st.  All you will need is a soft tape measure and to continue on your own personal path of wellness that you are already on.

Do you use a scale?  Do you ever feel frustrated by the number on the scale?

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

Slow Clock – 52 Nia Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on July 26, 2012

As I mentioned in my last post about using the clock in Nia, we have a move called the Slow Clock.  Using an imaginary face of a clock on the ground assists us in knowing where to step. The slow clock can be used to incorporate any “hour” on the clock into the dance.  The move starts with the feet in the “center” of the imaginary clock.  The “slow” is in reference to always returning the foot to center before allowing the foot to go to another number on the clock.  To practice the slow clock move begin with a march in place.  If you begin the march with your left foot touching the ground on the one count, then use it first to touch on 12:00, then return it to its original position in the center of the clock.  Then place the left foot at 6:00, then return to center.  Then use the other foot, touch to 12:00, then center, then 6:00, then center.  Hour then center, that is the basis of the slow clock.

As with almost any move it can be done in slightly different manners and still be the same.  The slow clock can be done with just a tap or a touch to an hour, with the foot returning to center.  Or it can actually be a step, where the weight is put full upon the foot stepping to the hour.  To keep it the slow clock the foot would return to center before any other move was made.  So it can be a tap, a touch, a step.  It can even be a slight shift in the weight.  As long as the foot returns to center.

In some Nia routines we do sumos out to 3:00 then return to center, then we sumo to 9:00.  Now if you were thinking about that you would know without me saying,  “Move your right foot to 3:00, then to center, then your right foot to 9:00.”  Remember?  I mentioned how efficient it is to use the clock to help instruct with moves instead of saying directions and which foot to move every time.  With the instruction of sumo 3:00, you know you are stepping your right foot out to the right so you land in a sumo or riding stance.

With the example above you see that the slow clock can be done with opposite feet.  It does not have to be one foot stepping to an hour, then returning to center, and then that same foot stepping to another our.  It can be — as example, the right foot to 12:00, center, left foot 6:00, center.  Add some rhythm and a little bounce and you have the Charleston!  Add some rhythm, a little bend at the knees, and some hips and you have a salsa!

In addition to improving precision and grace, moving with the slow clock does many things depending on how you move with it.  For instance dancing the slow clock to a specific rhythm can also improve coordination because the tendency might be to just skip over returning to center.  Also, sometimes it can be something to help keep your mind focused because sometimes when the mind wanders your foot can forget it needs to return to center unless it is focused.

So that is the slow clock, another one of the 52 Moves of Nia.

Using the tool of the imaginary clock are you able to move in Slow Clock?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Always Looking At The Clock In A Nia Class

Posted by terrepruitt on July 24, 2012

In Nia we use the clock a lot.  We don’t actually USE the clock, but we use the idea of a clock face on the ground.  When we are moving and dancing we often times refer to the hours on the face of the clock to indicate where to put our feet or move our body.  I had mentioned this in my post about Katas.  I find that it works well when I am learning the routines.  I note the “o’clocks” on my bars.  I find it works well when sharing the moves in my Nia classes.  And I find that Nia students appreciate having a reference point.  It REALLY helps me when there is an actually clock in the room in my line of site.  I know that probably sounds silly because the reason we use a clock to assist in the dance is because it is something familiar and constant, but sometimes it just helps to be able to glance up and be able to say, “Step to one o’clock.”  I use the clock a lot.

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, NiaOften times our stepping isn’t exactly on an hour.  Often times I feel as if it is BETWEEN the hours, say between one and two, but it is still a great reference point.  As with many of our moves in Nia it could be that we are stepping on the foot we have placed at a specific hour or it could be that we are pointing or tapping on the hour.  Using the hours of the clock as a reference can help prevent confusion when required to state which foot is being used.  Since we are moving to music one does not always have time to state, “Cross your left foot to the right diagonal and stop.”  And saying, “Left right diagonal” could be confusing, so it is nice to have a set “direction” by using the hours on a clock.  So I can say, “Left at 1:00” and that is even more clear than saying either one of the instructions previously stated.  It is clear that the left foot is to cross over and land at 1:00.

Also it seems to even work better than just saying the directional left and right.  If I were to say, “Put your left foot out” I have not actually indicated WHERE to put your left foot, but when I say, “Left to 9:00” it is clear where the left foot should go when it goes “out”.  Another example is a bow, it could be executed with the leg directly behind or crossed back so again the clock adds a greater level of instruction.

Of course, the participants in a dance exercise class are watching the instructor but giving them verbal instructions allows them to do it in their own body’s way instead of just trying to do it the exact way the teacher’s body is doing it.  Some people might have a LARGE clock face on the ground on which they are dancing and other’s might have a smaller one.  It all depends on where they leg reaches, but at least they know what direction.

In Nia there are even moves that refer to the clock.  Within Nia’s 52 moves we have a “slow clock” and a “fast clock“. So as I said we use the clock or at least the idea of a clock a lot in a Nia class.

Makes Nia sounds easy, huh?  It is.  And it is fun.  Find a class near you nianow.com or check out my Nia class schedule on my website (www.HelpYouWell.com).

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

Utility Box Beautification

Posted by terrepruitt on July 21, 2012

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, NiaOn my way home from teaching my Nia class in San Jose on a bright and beautiful Wednesday morning, I noticed a man at a utility box.  I had seen him out of the corner of my eye so it did not register what he was doing until I was passed the box.  So I looked at him in my review mirror.  I pulled over to the side of the road to be able to really look to see if he was doing what I thought he was doing.  Then I decided to back my car up, park, and get out to see.  It just so happened that the day before I was on my way to the Roosevelt Community Center, and I took a wrong turn and found myself driving around not sure exactly how to get where I wanted to be and I noticed a set of utility boxes.  Do you ever notice utility boxes?  Probably not, huh?  They are one of those things that are not that attractive so we learn to ignore them.  Well, while I was driving around being lost, I noticed them.  There was one that was painted with a bunch of flowers and then the one right next to it looked like a big red rose.  I thought, “Wow!  That is so cool.”  So as I was driving home from Nia and I saw a man painting a utility box, I wanted to see what it was all about.

We talked briefly, he said it was a project in the City of San Jose.  They are lumping it in as an “anti-graffiti” project, but I like to just think of it as disguising something not attractive AND adding beauty at the same time.  The artist, Scott Willis, was sitting on the grass by the box painting it.  He handed me a fact sheet.  I skimmed it and tried to hand it back and he said I could keep it.  (YAY!)  Because now I have the facts to share with you.

The project is “Art Box Project SJ”.  The project goals are to integrate art into San Jose neighborhoods, grow the project throughout San Jose, and “encourage community participation by engaging neighbors, neighborhood associations, and local artists by sponsoring boxes and paying artists a small stipend for their work.”

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 benefits are: bringing art into the neighborhoods, encouraging community engagement, offering temporary work for local artists, deterring and/or reducing the blight of graffiti.

Additional information on the fact sheet says the “project was inspired by photos of utility boxes with murals painted on them, taken by self proclaimed “Anit-Man-About-Town” and world traveler Gary Singh (a local Metro News columnist).  It’s being pushed along by Tina Morrill; an idealist [who] believes anything is possible.”

I know San Jose isn’t the first city to do this but I am excited to see these boxes around.  In fact the Fact Sheet states, “According to the Contra Costa Times, Hayward has found their art on utility boxes has reduced graffiti problems by 97%”.  Wow.  Ninety-seven percent.

In addition to the sponsors paying the artists’ stipend they can pay an additional amount to have the box sprayed with an “anti-graffiti coating”.

There are criteria for both the box locations and the art, but that is to be expected and the criteria even makes sense, such as the utility box can’t be on the replacement list.  Nice that they don’t want an artist to spend time beautifying it just so it can be replaced.  And the are must be tasteful, respectful, and not political, commercial, or religious.

While the artist do get paid a small amount I am hoping that it will be advertising for them.  I mean, if you see really compelling work on a utility box maybe it could lead to other things for the artist!

The rose I saw the other day just keeps jumping into my head, it was so gorgeous.  The art I saw on Wednesday was unfinished, I interrupted the artist.  But since it is a box I pass at least twice a week on my way home from my Nia classes in Willow Glen, I will see the work in progress and post pictures upon its completion.  For now you get to see the artist and his work in progress.  I am relating this to health and wellness because beauty causes a good feeling.  It is nice to see the plain utility boxes beautified.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

Here is the Facebook page for it (click here).

So what do you think of this project?  Do you have something like it in your city?  Would you like to have something like it in your city?

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

No Pain, No Gain – Whatever! Relief!

Posted by terrepruitt on July 17, 2012

Because I teach Nia I am not used to wearing shoes when I workout.  Nia is a workout done in bare feet, so I don’t wear socks and shoes.  Yoga, Pilates, even resistance training can be done without shoes.  Recently I was in a training that required me to wear shoes.  And it was an all day training, eight hours.  Since my feet do not really like shoes AND my tennis shoes are kind of old, I decided to wear some additional cushion in my shoes to help my feet.  My right foot is very sensitive because the middle toes no longer straighten fully so the middle of my foot does not lie flat on the ground.  The ball of my right foot and the pinky edge get sore.  They get more work than they should.  So I decided to employ a method that I used when I was young, in addition to the extra cushion I had added relief later.

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, NiaMaybe this method can help some females that wear those REALLY high-heeled shoes that are so popular now-a-days.  When I was younger the style was to wear pumps.  I have a wide foot and pumps were not always comfortable.  What I would do was, I would put a gym sock on my foot but I would roll the sock down to around the ball of my foot, then I would shove my foot – with the sock on – into my shoe.  Then I would get ready.  And back then I was one of those girls who took a ridiculous amount of time to get ready.  So I would end up wearing the gym sock-shoe combination for at least an hour and a half.  This accomplished two things: 1)  It somewhat stretched out my shoe and 2) (after walking around and standing while getting ready to go out with my foot squeezed into the shoe) ANYTHING felt better than that!

One time I was getting ready and I was walking around the house and after passing my dad three or four times he finally said, “You’re not going out like THAT right?”.  And I laughed and I had to explain it to him.  No rolled gym socks were not part of the outfit.

So while I did not wear rolled up gym socks in the training I wore these foot huggers that have a little gel in them.  So I had extra cushion and I had something that felt nice when half way through the day I slipped them off.  While they were not hurting me as my gym-sock-wrapped feet did they did feel more roomy and happy after I took them off.

I think this method could possibly be applied to many things.  When you have to wear shoes all day if you wear something to help cushion your foot, but might take up a bit of room in your shoe, it will feel nice when you take the cushion off in the middle of the day.  At least that is what happened to me, plus it helped when I was young and smooshing my feet into pumps.

You know everything is just easier to handle when your feet are comfortable.  That is why they make those “gellin'” insoles.  That is also why I don’t wear uncomfortable shoes any longer.  I don’t think it looks nice when a female has on a pretty shoe, but you can tell she is in pain with every step she takes.  I would rather walk with comfort.  So sometimes using the stretch-y method might help.  The “No Pain, No Gain” is just a play on that famous saying . . . although when I was young I did it just while I was getting ready, I did not do it recently.  My feet were comfortable all day.  It was just that halfway through when they were a little sweaty and tired, I took off the huggers, changed my socks and gave them more room.  Ahhhh.  I was very happy that I had thought to do that.  It worked out very well for me.

Do you have shoes that you wear that you might benefit from if applying this method?  C’mon we all have at one time in our lives.

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Do Me A Favor, No, Do YOU A Favor

Posted by terrepruitt on July 14, 2012

I have a huge favor or request.  I know I have mentioned it before, but I don’t think I have done a single post on it, but recently I, myself, was confronted with this situation so I really want to make a serious plea.  I am going to go out on a limb and say this is a plea for many fitness instructors/dance exercise teachers.  If you go to a class and you don’t like it, please, please, please try it at least two more times.  If you are ok with the instructor, but the class is just not that good in your opinion, give it another chance.  There are a million reasons why you might not like that particular class on that particular day.  It could be the routine or exercises you were doing that day so ask the instructor when s/he will be changing to a new one.  Or it could be the music, so, again talk to the instructor.  Maybe ask if the class you just experienced was the norm or the typical class.  Sometimes instructors decide to change it up and try something new but after taking it to the class they might decide they didn’t like it either.  So ask.  Also ask the other students.  Don’t give up on something after just one class.

If taking three classes from the same instructor sounds like a waste of time and money to you, try a different instructor.  We are all different and we strive to represent the brand/technique/practice to the best of our ability, but we also add out own style and it could be that the style is not something that you connect with.  It could also be — if you don’t like the class — that the instructor is not necessarily sticking to the program.  You might enjoy the class with an instructor that is more closely following the idea of the fitness brand/technique/practice.

I had been to a few fitness classes recently and I felt some elements that I believe should be included in this type of class were missing. Plus in a couple of classes I felt as if it was not all that the brand promised.  But I attended a few more classes with different instructors and I began to see a big difference.  I also took it upon myself to become educated a bit in the type of class and now I understand why I like one class over the other.  One instructor was following the program more closely than the other one and it actually is more enjoyable.  I actually went to four or five classes with three different instructors.  I walked out of one class saying, “Dang, I really hate that.”  Whereas the other two I thought, “Now that is what it is all about!”

So if you walk out of a class thinking you really don’t like it, that is ok, you obviously didn’t like THAT particular class, but it could be the brand/technique/practice wasn’t represented correctly.  So try again.  Maybe the instructor was having a bad day.  Yes, it is our job to instruct and hold a good class, no matter what, but . . . c’mon we are only human.  Sometimes we just have “off days”.  There are all types of reasons to give an instructor another chance.

I know I have mentioned this before, but if I HAVE done an entire post on it before and I am repeating myself I apologize, but I really feel strongly about this.  Because, as I said, twice I walked out of a class saying, “No way!”, but then the two other instructors showed me a “Yes way!”

Now keep in mind that I am not just talking about Nia, I am talking about ANY class you try; Zumba, Jazzercise, Barre Fitness, Turbo Kick, whatever.

If you end up giving it a good try and still end up not liking it at least you will have burned some calories in the process.  But I bet if you were drawn to the class in the first place you will end up finding a class and an instructor that you like.  Just don’t give up after the first class, do yourself a favor and keep at it and you’ll end up finding something to allow you to gain all the benefit of an exercise workout.

Have you ever gone to a class and not gone back because you didn’t like it after only one class?

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I Had One of THOSE Days

Posted by terrepruitt on July 12, 2012

So, you know what kind of day I had?  I awoke to a kiss from my hubby.  Then before I could get out of bed I had a sweet little cat rolling around on the floor meowing for attention.  She was very affectionate and spent a lot of time visiting with me.  My hubby said she spent a lot of time with him too, about twenty minutes.  That is a long time, usually she wants to get her morning hugs in then rush off to a bed for her morning nap.  Then my day proceeded with me teaching a Nia class.  We had a great time.  Afterwards my students and I chatted a bit.  The conversation ended on a high – a compliment to me and Nia.

The weather was nice in the morning.

I stopped by the grocery store.  I came home and made a really yummy sandwich using the panini press.  I received a few e-mails from friends and family.  I talked to a good friend.  We had a nice phone visit.  I even took a little nap.

So it was a very wonderful day. I am very blessed.  See?  I had one of THOSE kinds of days, the ones that I am grateful for, the ones that sometimes get lost in the mix.  When I judge my day or talk about it, I don’t condemn the entire day just because there might be a few bad moments.  If you ask me about my day, I will tell you it was good.  I appreciated it.  If you want to hear I will share about the other moments, but I won’t proclaim my whole day BAD or one of “THOSE DAYS”.

I won’t let the fact that when I got downstairs after visiting my cat I noticed that she threw up in four different places, dictate the whole day’s label.  For those of you that have cats, I know you understand (Why do they do it in several places??).  For those of you that don’t have cats, cats throw up.  Sometimes a lot and sometimes not.  Sometimes is it just a hairball and sometimes it is just them not feeling well.  It seems that no matter WHY they are throwing up they have to do it in three (at least) different places.

I won’t claim it “one of those days” even after I went into the bathroom to get my vacuum cleaner hose out of the tub (yeah that is where I keep it) and noticed that the other stuff I had in there was damp.  It wasn’t gonna get that label even after I came back from the garage with a basket to put the stuff in and the entire tub was full of water, then the toilet started to over flow as I was standing there.  Yeah, it still wasn’t a bad DAY.  I still can’t negate all the good of my day by calling the entire day bad when I realized we don’t have a mop.  I use those disposable type of floor cleaners and our mop died a long time ago.  So I had nothing to soak up the water with.  I had to go to the store.

Even when my hubby didn’t get a call back from the plumber before 5:00 pm and we ended up getting one late at night.  I still couldn’t and can’t condemn the entire day.  And I hadn’t had a chance to take a shower all day and it was hot and I got really hot and sweaty bailing out the tub. We did eventually get water.  It was 10:30 pm.  So the laundry had piled up because there was the initial cat blankets and bedding, then the towels to ensure the leak did go past the bathroom, and all the stuff in the tub (I had clothes in the bottom of the tub, ya know the ones I am going to get around to donating?  Geez.).

So even though all of that happened it could have been worse.  I could have not discovered what the cat did behind the TV in her window seat until there was a stench and a trail of ants leading to it.  It was really hot yesterday so it would have baked in the sun.  (Gross I know, but think of how thankful I am!)  I could have not been standing there when the water started coming in and it could have kept coming.  We could have not had water all night.  I would not have been able to make it through the night.

It could have been worse AND I had a lot of great points to the day so I don’t like to say I am having a bad day, or a day from hell, or any of those things.  I had a day for which I am grateful, it had some moments that were kind of icky, but still those were just moments.  The bad moments are not what make up our lives.  We all have bad moments.  We all have things to deal with and “crosses to bear”.  But me, I don’t condemn a whole day for those moments.  I fell asleep thinking about the beautiful moments of my day.

How about you?  Do you have bad DAYS?  Do you let the trying moments dictate the day?

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Turn In Nia And Other Dance Exercise Classes (Video)

Posted by terrepruitt on July 10, 2012

I wrote a post about a four-point turn, that is what I call one of the turns we do while we are doing Nia.  In Nia it is sometimes called an Aikido turn.  But it is a turn that is done in many dance exercise classes, including Zumba.  I realize that even if you are reading the post while trying to do it, it could be a bit confusing so . . . . . voila!  A video.

The first clip is of me facing away and I start with a RIGHT turn, then alternate.  Then the second clip is of me facing the camera.

As with my Aikido turn post maybe right and left indications will work better for you.  In my other post I decribed the left turn, so here I will write out the right turn.  And as stated, the right turn is the first turn I demonstrate.  Turn your head/eyes to the right, allow your hand/arm to follow. Move your right foot to “toes out” turning your right thigh bone to the right. Then step on your RIGHT FOOT in a “toes out” position, put your weight on it 100%. As you are stepping all your weight on your RIGHT FOOT, allow your body to turn to the right, in the direction you want to go. Swing your LEFT LEG (free leg) around to what seems like in front of your RIGHT FOOT. Step onto your LEFT FOOT, toes pointing to the back of the room (or what started off as the back of the room), take the weight off the RIGHT FOOT (“toes out” foot). Swing your RIGHT FOOT (free leg) behind to land about in line with the heel of your LEFT FOOT (weighted foot).  You will land standing on the RIGHT FOOT, and turn the LEFT FOOT to be parallel with the right foot. . . making that the fourth point or step.

Even though in the first clip on the right turn you can’t see my right foot “toes out”, I do the turn enough times in the video for you to see how the first step is a “toes out” move.  Starting the turn with the “toes out” and already turning the direction you want to go will go a long way in enabling you to get all the way around.  Even if it takes a lot of practice to get all the way around, starting that first step with the leg in outward rotation will help a lot.  I also said in my last post that I think it is easier to do this move fast as opposed to slow. So it might be a good idea to not try it really slow at first because it is not easy slow.  Just go.  Right toes out, left, right, left.  Or left toes out, right left right.   Remember we do not spin on our feet. We need to pick the feet up off the ground to avoid blisters and strengthen the leg.  Also you might notice that this turn is done on the balls of the feet.  You put all your weight on the ball of the foot.

While my fourth “point” or step I am exaggerating and pointing my toe in that might not always be the case.  When we are moving to the music the fourth “point” could end up being any number of things depending upon many number of things.  The choreography sometimes calls for different things.  Plus there is the individual body that is doing it to consider.  Sometimes people can’t get all the way around, it could be that the music is really moving and there isn’t enough time to get around and settle into that fourth step or it could be that this is one of those moves that will take practice.

It’s a great move that allows us to use ALL five Nia Sensations.  Flexibility on the “toes out” and as we place our feet, mobility in our joints, strength to get us around and stop, agility to stop, and stability to stay stopped.  Cool, huh?

So how are you doing with your turn?

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Common Dance Turn – Four Point / Aikido

Posted by terrepruitt on July 9, 2012

In Nia there are 52 Moves that run through the Nia Routines.  One move that we do quite often is not on the list of 52 moves.  I call it a four-point turn because we take four steps to do it.  In one of the routines I recently learned the instructor calls it an Aikido turn.  Since Nia borrows moves and ideas from Aikido and associates Aikido with circular, spiral, and spherical motion, it makes sense this turn would be called an Aikido turn.  As with many dance exercises the moves can sometimes be done fast or slow depending upon the music.  Sometimes in a Nia routine we can do the same move at different speeds.  With the four-point – which is four step – or Aikido turn – the best way to accomplish it is by starting with the first step being a “toes out” type of step.  Point the foot out, away from the body in the direction you want to turn.  Allow the entire thigh to turn out.  Whether you are going to do a fast or slow turn, this first step is key in making it all the way around.  Another key is to LOOK!  Look the direction you want to turn.  Also helpful is hands and arms.  Allow your hand to follow after the eyes.  The order would be eyes/head, hand/arm, foot/leg.  While this is one arrangement of the order, sometimes your arms might actually be doing something else and that is fine too.  It could be that the hands and arms lead, but whatever the case your eyes can be a part of the turn.  Nia is a dance workout so sometimes we might have our arms dancing in another way to the music.

For a beginner learning the turn, I would make the previously mentioned suggestion of the order.  Eyes/head, hand/arm, foot/leg.  The thigh bone/foot turned out.  Then step on that “toes out” foot, weighting it 100%, as you step all your weight on it your body will turn in the direction you want to go.  Your free leg can be swung around to what seems like in front of your “toes out” foot, but by the time you step onto it, it will end up being besides the toes out foot because you will put all your weight into your second step and take the weight off the “toes out” foot so for a moment they will be side-by-side.  Then you will swing your free leg behind to land about in line with the heel of your weighted foot.  You will weight the foot that just was swung, and turn the other foot to parallel . . . making that the fourth point or step.

Maybe left and right indications will work better for you:  The order:  Turn your head/eyes to the left , allow your hand/arm to follow.  Move your LEFT FOOT to “toes out” turning your left thigh bone to the left.  Then step on your LEFT FOOT in a “toes out” position, put your weight on it 100%.  As you are stepping all your weight on your LEFT FOOT, allow your body to turn to the left, in the direction you want to go.  Swing your RIGHT LEG (free leg) around to what seems like in front of your LEFT FOOT.  Step onto your RIGHT FOOT,  toes pointing to the back of the room (or what started off as the back of the room), take the weight off the LEFT FOOT (“toes out” foot).  Swing your LEFT FOOT (free leg) behind to land about in line with the heel of your RIGHT FOOT (weighted foot).  You will stand on the LEFT FOOT, and turn the RIGHT FOOT to parallel . . . making that the fourth point or step.

Right to left works the same but start with your right foot.

To me, it is actually easier to do it fast than slow.  But either way the hips get great rotation in the sockets.  I was taught that we do not slide on our feet or spin on our feet.  We dance barefoot so it is very different than if you have dance shoes on.  There is not a nice layer of material that allows for easy sliding and spinning.  We pick up our feet so as not to get blisters and to better condition the feet and the legs.  So when we turn we are not spinning on the balls of our feet.  That is one reason why I call it a four-point turn because we are hitting “points” in our dance.  Points, steps, either way it is not a spin on the foot.  This is another reason why it is important to start the turn with the toes already turned out because we also always want to be gentle on our knees.  Also in Nia we are always reminded to remember our own body’s way.  It is more important to protect and love our knees than it is to make it all they way around when doing a turn!

This is a pretty common dance move in dance exercise classes, but it is not always easy and can present a challenge.  I believe it becomes particularly challenging when the person doing it wants to keep their eyes on the instructor.  The best way to do it is to allow the eyes to move with the turn.

This is also a very fun move because you never know what we are going to do at either end (after the 4th step).    Now that you got the turn down come to a Nia class and see what could be waiting at the end!  You got the turn down, right?

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