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

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle 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 August, 2012

Knee Sweep – One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on August 30, 2012

Now, I know that I’ve been doing the knee sweep a lot longer than I have been doing Nia.  So it is true that Nia’s 52 moves are not necessarily unique to Nia, but they are part of the core of Nia.  You will find a large portion of Nia’s 52 moves in every routine.  There are correct ways to do them, but Nia allows for the body’s way and also, I believe Nia allows for the move to be incorporated into the dance.  For instance, The Nia Technique book states that the starting position for a knee sweep is the sumo stance.  I am sure that I have done a knee sweep from a sumo stance at one time, but the first dance that pops into my head where we do the knee sweep it is not from a sumo position.  But the by the book (oh, yeah, that reminds me, “BUY THE BOOK!” 🙂 ), anyway, the by-the-book version of the knee sweep starts from a sumo position, complete with arms in ready position and everything.  Then the body rises as you come up on one leg bringing the other leg up with a bent knee.  The knee crosses the midline of the body, the opposite hand “pushes” the knee out.  The knee swings out so the pelvis is open.  Then the leg comes down and the foot lands on the earth.  That is the knee sweep of Nia’s 52 moves.

The book does not indicate that when your foot comes down it is in the toes-to-the-front position, but that is how I teach it.  I don’t want my students landing on their foot with their knee out to the side.  If we are just doing knee sweeps as an exercise, maybe I would have them do that, because they would be aware of the torque in their hip, but probably not.

When I was first doing this move in Nia I was trying to do it as the book shows and as many of the people on the Nia instructional DVDs do and as the instructor does (whether it be Debbie Rosas or Carlos AyaRosas).  And that was with the knee out to the side very wide.  REALLY opening the pelvis.  But when I did that I noticed a “something” – I don’t know what it was, but it was something – in my lower back.  So I decided that opening my hip that wide and having my leg out that far was not MY body’s way, so I do not do that.  I share with my students that I found the comfortable spot to be about as far as my forearms can reach.  I “glue” my elbows to my sides and hold my forearms out to the side.  As far as they can go is as far as I allow my knee to go.  That is what works for me.

Some of the time that we are doing the knee sweep it is at the end of a “up-two-three-four (knee sweep), back-two-three-four (knee sweep)”.  So that would not allow for the sumo position to be the start.  Other times we are standing upright.  As I said, I am sure I have done it from the sumo position because I bet it is in a routine I am not thinking of.  But the ones I am thinking of it is done from a walking or standing position.

The amazing thing about the knee sweep is that it calls for the knee to cross the midline of the body.  So that means that if you were doing a left knee sweep (with your left leg) your left knee would enter into the right hemisphere of your body.  If you were doing a right knee sweep (with your right leg) your right knee would enter into the right hemisphere of your body.  It is a great thing when your limbs cross the midline.  It helps stimulate the brain.  So there is a reason in many exercise routines and cardio classes that we have you do “cross overs”.

The knee sweep is one of those moves that requires balance.  Since at one point you are standing on one leg, you will be able to improve your balance or practice what you have.  Also the moving of the leg helps with that stability.  Standing on one leg helps with strength and opening the hip helps with mobility and flexibility.   The knee sweep of Nia’s 52 moves does a body and brain good!

Are you familiar with this move?  Have you done it before in your exercise class?  Did you give it a try?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Faking It Is Easy

Posted by terrepruitt on August 28, 2012

My husband and I used to dance.  We danced “Country Western”, we did the two step, the cha-cha, the waltz, and the west coast swing.  We liked to dance.  I sometimes would fake it though.  Yeah, I would.  We would go to a lesson and they would show us a move.  We would practice it during the lesson then usually there was a dance party after.  We would join the party.  My husband would always DO THE MOVE WE JUST LEARNED.  I would say, “Ack!  You’re doing the move we just learned!”  And he would look at me with a look that said to me, “Of course, Silly Woman, that is why we are here.  To learn stuff and then actually DO IT.”  But for me the time spent in the lesson was never enough to actually learn it.  Even though the leader’s part is much more difficult than the follower’s, I still couldn’t get it in one lesson.  So a lot of the times I would fake it.  And by fake it I mean, that if you were to look at my feet and KNOW where there were supposed to be, you would know my feet were not correct.  I could move in a way that if you were just casually looking you would think I was doing it right.  I would always make sure I was facing the right direction so you wouldn’t really know my feet were not doing the move correctly unless you knew the move yourself!  Since most people don’t stare at your feet the entire time I often got away with it.  I was good at faking it.  Faking it was easy in the fast songs.

Eventually I would learn the move correctly, but there were some moves that took me a long time to get.  Then somewhere along the way we decided to compete.  I mean, competing really is the only way to know if you are really improving and to spend all that money on lessons and not improve can be a silly thing.  So we decided to compete.  Do you know what that meant?  No more faking it.  I mean the whole point of competition is to have someone look at you and judge — among other things — your feet.  So I had to stop faking it.

I am learning a lot as I sub for different exercise classes.  I recently subbed a class and I was reminded of the faking it.  It is easy to fake it in some classes.  Let’s say Zumba for example, I’ve posted before about how Zumba is all agility (I have since learned otherwise, but I will reflect on that in a post at a later time).  Zumba is the fast start and stop.  Move stop the move and move the other direction, move stop, move stop.  The full range of motion is usually not achieved, you are moving to another move before you really get to finish the first one.  Start, stop, start, stop, start stop.  It is easy to fake.  The fast dances were always easy for me to fake. The good thing about faking it is you are still moving and that is good in a sense.  Even if you are not doing the move correctly you are moving and burning calories and often it is so fast the casually observer or someone standing next to you is not going to notice.  I think this is one of the things that people like about Zumba . . . you are moving and dancing even when you are faking it.

It is the slow dances that are difficult.  With Nia it is not as easy to fake.  With Zumba a move could be hopping from one leg to the other.  With Nia we might actually balance on one leg.  No speed to it, just lifting one leg off the ground and standing on one leg.  Strength and stability.  No faking.  I always invite participants to use a chair, a wall, the barre, or even their other foot, but either way you cannot FAKE standing on one leg.  Sadly, I think for some, not being able to fake it keeps them from joining in the joy of Nia.  The judgment from themselves is so great that they can’t let go and just do what they can because what they can do is not blurred by the start and the stop.  What they can’t do is not blurred by speed.  And they don’t give themselves the chance to learn how to do the moves.  They don’t allow themselves the time to get the muscles in a condition where they can move slow and controlled.  Faking it is easy, it is actually doing a move slow, controlled, and correctly where the difficulty comes in.

When I take a Zumba class I know I fake it often because I don’t know the move so I concentrate on being at the right place and/or facing the right direction at the right time.  Eventually I get the moves . . . well, most of the time.

I know this is my opinion, I don’t really KNOW, but it is coming from a place of judgment based on some things I have seen and heard.  You know I am always trying to figure out the differences between Zumba and Nia and why people like them.  And recently this was a thought because of something I heard and observed . . . the speed, the faking, the judgment.

Do you fake until you make it in your exercise class? 

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

Fun, Beautiful, A Great Addition – San Jose Art

Posted by terrepruitt on August 25, 2012

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia I cannot believe it has been over a month since I was driving around to the Community Centers of San Jose that offer Group Ex classes checking out their floors!  Since we do Nia bare footed I wanted to see what community centers have dance studios.  While I was looking for the community centers is when I first noticed the painted utility boxes around.  I can’t believe it has been over a month since I was driving from my Nia class in Willow Glen and I noticed someone painting the utility box that I pass all the time.  Over a month ago!  Wow.  Time goes so fast.  I was hoping to have more pictures of more boxes, but I haven’t seen any since then.  I must not be in the areas where there are boxes — could also be that I am a little distracted and not noticing the boxes.  Sigh.  Anyway . . . I think the artist might have completed painting these boxes in one day.  I am not certain because I didn’t drive by again until the following Monday and I didn’t stop to take pictures until a week after I first stopped.  I was just waiting to post because I didn’t want to have the utility box posts right in a row.  I don’t mind having Nia posts, or exercise posts, or food posts consecutively, I just didn’t want to have utility box posts one after the other.  Before I knew it, it has been a month.  Wow.Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia

The first picture is a shot of the front of the boxes together straight on.  The next “picture” is a collage (obviously) of pictures of different angles so you can somewhat see the side of the boxes.  The second collage is pictures of the back of the boxes and the little label disclosing the artist and the sponsor.

Looks as if the birds are driving around in San Jose.  These boxes are on Bird Avenue so I think it makes total sense that birds are driving cars, vans, motorcycles, sports cars, and delivery trucks.Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia

You might have noticed that the artist incorporated the vent on the back of the box painting it as if it is the back of a truck.  Cute.  You may also have noticed that one truck seems to be carrying eggs.  I think Mr. Willis is showing his sense of humor by having a bird drive around as either an egg delivery service or perhaps a pickup service.

It is quite a cheery little mural.  Also very responsible.  You might not be able to see, but all of the birds on scooters or motorcycles have on helmets.  It is a law in California that you have to wear a helmet, so it is good of the artist to have legally correct drivers. I am not sure that any birds have been ticketed for not doing so, but it is still a good idea!

So what do you think?  Cute, huh?  Have you seen any painted utility boxes in your area?  If you have I would love to see.  Send me a picture with some information and I can post it.

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

Organic Produce Delivery

Posted by terrepruitt on August 23, 2012

SDance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Niao tomorrow marks our fourth box of produce delivered.  Since I have been subbing Nia for a lot of other classes this month, I really appreciate not having to go to the store every other day.  But it seems like two of the boxes I was too busy to cook/eat/deal with right away.  But for the most part we go through the veggies and fruit rather quickly.  I haven’t really received too much that is new to me.  We received some tomatoes that were an odd color to me.  They were red, but they were a very deep red.  Except for the one that had a big moldy hole in it, they were very good.  I realized a while ago when I started trying to eat tomatoes that I don’t like the jelly part with the seeds.  I like the firm fleshy part.  These tomatoes had more fleshy parts then “jelly” part.  They were very good.  So far, despite some quality that I would not have picked from the grocery store or a farmers market, I am really happy with the Farm Fresh To You deliver.

The two things I had a problem with was the moldy hole in the tomato and the lettuce that was already wilted and was so “on the verge” that it left a green ugly smudge of itself on the box that the produce comes in.  Any fruit delivered is always finished first – YUM!  I love the plums I get from my in-laws, I don’t know what kind they are, but they are dark and sweet.  But I loved the ones I got in the second box too.  They had a flavor that brought back childhood memories of summer fruit.  The nectarines were good too.  Aside from the wilted lettuce I love their lettuce.  It is soft and not bitter.  But I could use a lettuce delivery more than once a week, so once every other week is really not enough.  I believe one week the list said we would get a lemon cucumber.  I was looking forward to that, but I didn’t get it.  I did get the broccoli rabe which I had never had before, but it didn’t any different that brocoli.  A little more tender, I suppose.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaThe third box had pluots in it.  They were good too.  I even shared one with my husband.  The pear you see was a substitute.  We were supposed to get a lemon delivered and we did not because I asked not to received any lemons.  We have a lemon tree and while the one they were going to send was a different kind I don’t use lemons as it is so I didn’t need another one.  My husband likes pears so that works.  The cucumbers were awesome. So crisp and flavorful. I really like their cucumbers.  Unfortunately I forgot about the eggplants, so while we ate them we did not eat them at their peak and I did a little disguise technique on them, just in case.  Now those peppers, Shishito peppers .  I don’t even know what those are.  I looked them up online to verify that they were not hot before I tried one.  They information said “sweet” so I tasted one.  That has got to be one of the most bitter things I have ever tasted.  So they are still sitting on my counter.  They will probably sit there until I have to throw them away because I don’t know what to do with them.  I will keep an eye out for those on the list and if they pop up again say, “NO THANK YOU!!!!”

So that is my produce delivery update.  I am a little bummed that I have not received anything out of the ordinary.  I guess I could just got BUY something myself at a Farmer’s Market that is out of the ordinary, but I am really not included to do that.  So I was hoping to get if “forced” on my.  Anyway, every time I cook or make something and my husband says, “This is REALLY good.”  I point out that it is most likely because of our yummy organic produce that we are having delivered.  He had even suggested we get it delivered more often.  I have been entertaining that idea.  But there are a lot of options so I have to think about it.  Could be awhile before I decide.  I mean it took me years to get this far, but now that I did it I am glad I did.

How about you?  Any exciting summer fruit or veggie make it to your table this season?

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

Measuring Instead Of Weighing

Posted by terrepruitt on August 21, 2012

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaSo if you are participating in the little challenge of not getting on the scale for either 21 days or 30 days, today is the 21st day.  I assigned 21 days so that is would land on a posting day (I post Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays).  I will let you know that due to more “stuff” as I had posted about before, I got off to a late start on my own challenge!  So how is it going for you?  Has it been a challenge to stay off the scale?  Have you noticed that you are not obsessing about the number the scale displays because you are not looking at it?  Now the thing with measuring with a measuring tape instead of scale means you need to keep doing what you’re doing.  So if you were doing some type of cardio three times a week and adding some strength training in and weighing yourself, looking for that number to change when you stop using the scale it doesn’t mean to stop doing the other stuff.  It is just a different way to track progress.  And for some it could be a little bit of a reprieve IF they allow the scale to affect their mood.  I found it funny that today on FaceBook someone posted about the scale stealing motivation and she reminded people it doesn’t tell the whole story.  That is what I am saying too.  That is why I thought it would be nice to change it up.

I know that some people don’t even have a scale.  Some people don’t even use one.  Everyone is different.  I just hear a lot about people being upset because they didn’t lose a pound “today” and they’ve been trying so hard.  So I think that maybe for those people it is nice to try a different way to track progress.

My schedule is a bit “off” this month as I am spending time dealing with “stuff” and I have picked up a lot of classes that I am subbing for the City of San Jose.  I picked up eleven classes which is great but I have not been able to concentrate as much on my resistance training as I would like.  My numbers did not change as much as I was hoping to see when I thought of this challenge.  What about you?  Did you see a change in numbers?  Are you stopping at day 21 or going to continue on and see what 30 days will do?

Not only do I have the added class times to do I have a little bit of added prep time for each class and the travel time to and from each class.  Since I am subbing in Nia for other classes such as Zumba, Zumba Gold, Pilates, Kick Boxing, and Cardio Toning, I do try to pick Nia routines that will fit.  I am not changing Nia to fit the class, because I explained how that turned out in a post earlier this month, but I do try to pick routines that might fit a little better.  With a Zumba Gold class I might do a Nia routine that is a bit mellow or doesn’t have a lot of bow stances.  And with subbing a Zumba class I might put together a lot of the higher energy “get moving songs”. So all of that cuts into my plan.  But I’m going to buckle down a bit because I have some stuff that I needed to get done this month behind me.  I am going to keep up with this little challenge myself and see where that tape leads me.

Well?  How are you still with me?  Are doing the challenge?  How is it going?  Doing it for 21 days?  Doing it for 30 days?

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

A Lot Associated With Chakras

Posted by terrepruitt on August 18, 2012

I’ve written a few posts having to do a bit with chakras.  I’m still not all that familiar with chakras.  I believe them to be energy points in the body.  Points from which energy flows, both into/out of, to/from.  I read a site that said “the area of interconnection between the body and the spirit”.  I find that to be an interesting idea.  There is a lot of information out there about chakras —- a lot of information!  Not all of it matches up or is in agreement so I tend to look at a bunch of information and different sources and go with what I see the majority of and disregard the rest if I can’t find another source to corroborate the information.  Some information claims there are seven chakras, other information claims there are more.  I can see there maybe being more, but I am just focusing on learning about just seven since there is so much information out there.  Most information is in agreement with a few facets of chakras.  Most agree that there is a color associated with each chakra.  Most information agrees that there are other things associated with each chakra; a sound, a tone, a stone, and a symbol.  Some say a flower and/or a plant.  Most even agree with the idea that the chakras are associated with parts of the body and/or functions of the body.  But even though the information might all concur that there are all of these things associated with specific chakras, the information does not always agree with the details of the association.

I’ve seen that there is usually one color associated with a chakra.  But I have seen that there are many gemstones associated with each chakra. Sometimes the gemstone will be the same as the color, but sometimes not.  It could be that the stone is associated with the chakra but the different color is thought to do different things.  I posted about my pendant I purchased that is made up of the different chakra healing stones.  Those are not the only stones associated with the chakras.

A chakra is thought to be balanced or unbalanced.  An unbalanced chakra could be either open or closed.  With an unbalanced chakra the energy does not flow properly.  The energy being out of whack could cause physical ailments, symptoms, or actions.  In my post about the heart chakra I touched upon information that the heart chakra is associated with “the heart, the circulatory system, the entire chest area, lungs, breasts, the diaphragm, the thymus gland, the immune system, and some say the endocrine system.”  The chakras are often associated with feelings and emotions.  When I wrote that post I was sensing my lungs, they seemed to tickle and itch.  I believe since the heart chakra is affected by grief my lungs were being affected because that was shortly after my mother-in-law died.  It is even more significant that the heart chakra is located behind the sternum.

I think it is interesting to entertain the idea that there are chakras and these energy points are associated with body parts and body functions.  And if you have an unbalance in a specific chakra you could have physical issues.  As I was saying for me, I believe grief equaled itchy/cough lungs.  One of the challenges with chakras is, as I said, there is a lot of information out there and sometimes there is such a large association it is difficult to even really believe that it is the chakra that is unbalanced and that is why there is an issue.  Sometimes the list of things a chakra is associated with is just too lengthy to comprehend or the information contradicts itself.  Never the less I think it is interesting and for me it is something I think about when I am having a physical symptom.  I think is this a chakra imbalance manifesting itself as a physical issue.   While I don’t think chakra balancing is a substitute for medical attention when needed, sometimes it is still nice to know.

With all these thoughts about chakras it reminds me that I love to use chakras as the focus in my Nia classes.  I think I will us one as the focus in my next Nia class!

How do you feel about the whole chakra thing?  Are you a believer?  Do you know much about them?

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Tenderizing A Tender Sting

Posted by terrepruitt on August 16, 2012

Recently 30 seconds into the second song in my Nia Class, one of my students stopped dancing and started to limp away.  I asked her what  was up and she replied that she got a bee sting on her foot.  I asked if it just happened now (during the class) because she had appeared to be moving fine during the first song — but then again, the first song in the Nia routine we were doing is basically whole foot stances.  She had said it had happened over the weekend.  She said that she was hoping she could dance, but the sting got too aggravated.  After class one of my other students inquired as to why the student left.  She had not heard the exchange between me and bee-stung person.  I told her that her fellow student had been stung by a bee over the weekend but had hoped to be able to dance but could not.  The inquiring student said, “Oh I wish I would have heard because she might want to try meat tenderizer.”  Huh?  So that started a whole conversation about her having been told to use meat tenderizer on a bee sting.

My student related the story where she and her son had been walking down the street in Palo Alto (a city in near San Fransisco) and she had been stung by a bee.  She said since it happened right there on the street others had observed the incident.  She said one woman offered the suggestion of putting meat tenderizertenderizer on the sting.  She said the woman was a nurse.  I asked my student if the meat tenderizer worked.  She said it did, she said she didn’t know why, but it did.

Times like that is when I truly LOVE wireless devices that can instantly connect me to the answers to “Why?/How?”  I had to look it up.  WHY would MEAT TENDERIZER work on a bee sting?

The first site that came up stated that bee stings are acidic and the meat tenderizer is alkaline so it works to counteract the acidity of the sting.  At the time that is all that I read.  Good enough for me.  Just a quick answer as to why.  In researching it for this post it appears that this treatment of the symptoms of a sting is an old home remedy.

The information on the internet states to mix the meat tenderizer with water to form a paste, apply it to the stung area so that it covers the entire area, and leave it on for 10 to 20 minutes.  Then wash it off and apply ice.

Some information stated that mixing the meat tenderizer with vinegar is another option.

Several sites state it is the papain in the meat tenderizer.  Papain is a natural enzyme that works to break down the protein in the venom.  It is suggested that a meat tenderizer without this enzyme would not work.

Some sites indicated that this remedy used to relieve the symptoms of a bee sting will work for other stings (wasp, jelly fish) and bites as well.  Of course — as stated this remedy would just relieve minor symptoms of a sting.  If there is a chance of an allergic reaction medical attention should be obtained.

Also . . . more stuff I learned while researching the meat tenderizer for a bee sting is that the stinger should not be removed with tweezers.  I saw many instructions stating to SCRAP it out.  The suggestion is to use a credit card or a metal blade.  The idea is that pulling the stinger out might just cause MORE venom to be pushed into the victim and the scraping will get it all out.  I would have just  pulled it out with my finger nails or tweezers.

I found all of this very interesting.  I know many people who have been stung by bees and they might know this information.  I know many people who have not been stung by bees and they might want to know this information.  I don’t actually have meat tenderizer in my pantry.  I am not one that cooks meat without it having been marinated and I believe the marinades work to tenderize the meat.  But if you do happen to get stung by a bee and have meat tenderizer in your pantry maybe you would like to give it a try.

Have you ever been stung by a bee?  What did you do?  If you get stung might you try meat tenderizer on the sting?

Posted in Helpful Hints, Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Vertical Means Stand It On Its End, Right?

Posted by terrepruitt on August 14, 2012

I had to cancel a Nia class recently.  Not permanently cancel, just one Saturday class.  If you know me, you know it had to be serious.  While I was away I wrote the “More Foam Roller Coolness” post.  A couple of days later a few things occurred to me.  The first thing that occurred to me was that the progression of exercise difficulty could be totally different for everyone — depending upon where they were physically.  Of course you know that but I always feel it is important to state it.  I was thinking that horizontal to vertical was the more difficult progression because it was difficult for me at that time (my ankle has been getting my attention recently).  But for others, maybe even most others, it would be the other way, from vertical to horizontal.  Another thing I thought about that made me chuckle was the term horizontal and vertical.  I didn’t describe that at all.  I guess that is what I get when I am out of town because of some medical situation for my mom.  I had other things on my mind and wasn’t thinking too clearly and so I didn’t think to clarify.  And it did not help that my dad kept popping in the room telling me about more information he found on the internet about some of the medical procedures.  Sometimes having the internet at your disposal to see medical procedures is not really all that great!  So this post is to correct or remind readers that the horizontal to vertical progression, might actually be vertical to horizontal – depending upon the situation –  and to explain what “horizontal” and “vertical” is.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia If you were to stand with both of your feet facing front and you placed the roller on the ground so that each end was on the opposite side of your feet that is an example of the “horizontal” position. To clarify when using the roller in the horizontal position you could place it wherever it is required to be for what you are doing as long as the roller is more or less positioned with the length going from left to right (or right to left).

If you were to stand with both of your feet facing front and you placed the roller on the ground so that the length of it went along the side of your foot, that would be the “vertical” position of the foam roller.  For a moment I had pictured people imagining setting the roller on its end and trying to figure out how to do exercises from there.  That is what had me chuckling.  So no, in this case, “vertical” does not mean stand it on its end!

Again, where you place the roller as you are going to use it depends on what exercise or stretch you are going to do, but the “horizontal” means from left to right (or right to left) and “vertical” means if you were to stand near it is would be parallel to your foot.  It would also be called “vertical” when you place the foam roller on the ground and are going to lie on it with one end at your head and the other end at your tail.

Does it all make better sense now? Do you understand you don’t have to be a Cirque du Soleil acrobat to do stretches or exercise with the foam roller in a “vertical” position?

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More Foam Roller Coolness

Posted by terrepruitt on August 11, 2012

Foam rollers really are cool, as I stated in my first post about them.  In my first post I talked about how great they are to help you stretch.  In my last post I mentioned that the foam roller can be used to do exercises.  I mentioned that exercises can be progressed by using different surfaces and that the different sides of the halved rollers can be used too.   Most exercises with the foam roller have to do with balance.  A standard exercise can be done with the a foam roller requiring greater stabilization in the core.  A stable core assists with balance, so using a roller adds the challenge of having to balance while doing the exercise.

One standard exercise you can do with the addition of a foam roller is a squat.  One foot would be placed on a halved roller.  Starting off with the roller placed horizontal would be an easier exercise than with the roller placed vertical.  The vertical position would be the one that would offer the greatest challange to your balance.  As mentioned in the last post you can use either sided of the halved roller, standing on the rounded side or standing on the flat side.  With the rounded side on the ground the surface the roller is on makes a difference.  A mat or a carpeted surface would supply more friction and allow the roller a better grip.  A smooth surface would add a greater challange.

A squat ending in a one-legged stance on the roller would be another exercise.  The roller position for this exercise would be horizontal with the flat side on the ground.  You would do the squat and come up to standing on one leg, the leg on the roller.

One of my favorite balance/stabilization exercises is to lie on the full rounded foam roller, just as if you were going to do the stretch I wrote about in my first post.  Lie with the roller along your spine from head to tail.  Lift your feet off the ground so that your lower legs are parrallel to the ground and your thighs are perpendicular, in Pilates the position is called table top.  The goal is to lift your arms off the ground so none of your limbs are in contact with the ground.  It might take a few trys.   You can use your arms to try to gain your balance.  Balance on the roller.  Balance as long as you can.

A great exercise for the glutes and hamstrings is the bridge.  A bridge can be done with your feet on the ground but adding the roller gives it that extra added intensity.  A bridge is where you lie with your back on the ground and press your hips to the sky squeezing your glutes and the back of your legs.  Using the full round roller put both your feet on it.  The height of the roller makes the move more intense and having to keep the roller stable and not allow it to roll make the squeeze even MORE intense.  Give it a try.

These exercises can be done by anyone wanting to gain, improve, or just play with their balance.  These are just a few exercises you can do with a foam roller.

Do you have a foam roller?  Did you try these exercises with it? 

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Different Rollers, Different Things

Posted by terrepruitt on August 9, 2012

It has been over three years since I posted about foam rollers.  I know I post a lot about Nia because I teach it, but I am surprised I have not followed up with some additional posts about foam rollers.  I think they might have become more common since my last post.  I have seen them in gyms now, whereas I had not seen them there before.  They have moved into mainstream exercise and are not just for the more therapeutic type of movements forms.  It is nice to see them being used more frequently because they are a great piece of exercise equipment.  They are affordable and portable.  A great combination for exercise equipment.  Typically they are 4 inches or 6 inches in diameter and they are 12 to 32 inches long.  They are used in their whole form – round – or cut in half length wise.  The different lengths are used for different things . . . obviously.  So goes for the whole round or the half round.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaSince the foam roller is a great tool to use for people ranging from “new-to-exercise” to serious athletes it is nice to have a variety of them.  The halved rollers can be used in the beginning of an exercise program to allow the body to be accustomed to standing on a rounded surface.  The flat sides would be placed on the ground while you stand on the rounded sides.  This could be used as a first step in a conditioning progression.   Flipping the rollers over and using them on carpet could be used as the next step.  The halved rollers flat side up on carpet.  The carpet would help keep the rounded side of the rollers from being really slippery. Then the progression could be the halved rollers on a hard smooth surface.  The smooth surface of the floor would provide the additional challenge.  Next graduating to the long halved roller.  You could start on carpet then once mastered move the roller to a smooth surface.   Eventually moving on to the whole roller.

That is just an example of how the foam rollers can be used for more than just stretching.  Standing on foam rollers in the aforementioned progression would be a way to improve core strength and balance.  And that was just a quick and easy example.  There are many things that can be added to the information above to either make it easier or more difficult and/or to lengthen the progression.

So foam rollers are not just for stretching and improving flexibility and mobility they can be used for improving strength, coordination, and balance.  They are a great thing to add to an exercise program.  There are a lot of different exercise you can do with them.  I am not going to wait another three years to share some of them with you.  I am going to be posting some in my next few posts.  So stay tuned.

Have you seen foam rollers in your gym?  Have you seen people do exercises with them?  Do you exercise with a foam roller?

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