Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am, Fri at 10:15 am

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

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 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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Confessions Of This Nia Teacher

Posted by terrepruitt on August 4, 2012

I have a confession to make.  It is one I might have even confessed before.  I know I have done it before.  It is easy for me to get caught up.  I want to please people.  I want the supervisor to know that I am working to keep the students IN the class.  I want the students attending the class to like it and want to be there.  When you are a substitute instructor leading a different format than is usually taught it is very different from when you are teaching a class of the expected format.  Many people are taught that cardio – aerobic exercise – is extremely fast, high impact, and difficult so it is very hard to change that mindset.  I was asked by someone who understands both the fact that cardio does not have to be extremely fast or high impact and that people are trained to think it is, if I could do Nia a little higher because people expect cardio to be a specific way.  So caught up in wanting to give the students what they are accustomed to getting I put together a routine . . . kind of rushed . . . that didn’t have ALL the elements that a Nia class normally has.  It was not good.  It felt “off”.  I was trying to make Nia something it is not.  Nia is not Zumba.  Nia is not Cardio-Sculpt.  Nia is not extremely fast, rushed, and high impact.  Nia is not Jazzercise.  Nia is not UJAM.  Nia is not all of or any of these other names that there are for classes that are fast, rushed, and high impact.  Nia is an amazing practice.  Nia is a great workout.  Nia is a wonderful cardio dance exercise.  And I need to stop trying to make it be something it is not just because people are used to cardio a specific way.

So I did a routine that didn’t feel right to me.  I thought I would get up the next morning and do the same routine for the class I was asked at the last minute to sub, I was going to try to “bring it” to the students.  As I was getting into bed a little agitated from the “not feeling right class”, it washed over me like a refreshing revelation . . . . DO NIA!  Duh!  Bring “IT”, and make that “IT” Nia.  I got caught up and in my trying to bring the students what they are used to, I didn’t allow them the richness of something new.  The richness of Nia.

Now, I want you to understand that the Nia Technique creates wonderful routines and all we teachers have to do is learn them and teach them.  But we are also allowed to use other music, make up our own routines, mix and match the routines they have created, and make up our own katas.  Of course, we need to follow the Nia class formula and the seven cycles which contain the traditional warm-up, move it, and cool-down.  I also think when creating a routine/class – in general – it should be balanced; as an example not all songs/movements should be lateral ones or forward and back ones, there should be a mix of movement and the 52 Nia moves.  I create routines from Nia routines all the time.  So it was not the fact that I put songs together that created the not feeling right routine, it was ME.  It was ME trying to make Nia something it is not.

I need to center myself.  I need to stick to what I know and not try to give people the class they are used to.  I KNOW Nia is amazing and awesome and does need to try to be anything it is not.  I KNOW THAT.  I just get caught up.

Another point I want to make is, I am not saying those other formats are bad.  In fact, I like some of the other formats I have tried.  One of these days I might even teach another cardio format.  I am saying Nia is Nia, it is not any of the other formats and I need to remember that and let it stand on its own.  I need to remember to trust Nia and allow it to touch the people it needs to touch and let the others attend the other dance classes.  I need to remember that when I am asked to sub a class I am going to sub it with Nia and not try to make Nia be what that class usually is.  I keep thinking to myself, “DUH!”

Thank you for letting me confess and do a public face-in-the-hand-plant!

Do you EVER do that in any section of your life – try to make something be something else even though what you have is just perfect the way it is?

4 Responses to “Confessions Of This Nia Teacher”

  1. Becky said

    Of course!
    I think it’s human nature (or at least my nature) to attempt to out do everybody including ourselves, in whatever it is we are doing. I think you were absolutely right to pause and do what it is you do, you know?

    Like

  2. Dear Terre,

    OMGOOOODDDDNESSSS!!! YES! I have been asked to sub for Zumba and “Cardio Kick Box” and I completely echo your sentiments. I DID want to conform. I made a good effort to do just that. And it was a total FLOP. I realized that I cannot mould or form Nia any way other than she was intended to be! I realized that I TEACH Nia, and will not pretend to teach anything other than Nia!

    Thanks for opening up this dialogue!!!

    : )

    Jenn

    Like

    • Makes me laugh when I think about it. Isn’t it funny how we KNOW Nia is fine – awesome, even, but we tried to give the people what they expect and we ended up taking away from a great experience? Since then I have taught a few more classes where I was subbing in Nia and I did Nia and the people liked to love it. There was a varied response as is expected, but they didn’t not like it. I understand it is difficult for anyone to be open to something when they go to a class expecting and even sometimes HOPING for the class that is regularly scheduled.

      I think if I want to teach something else, I need to TEACH SOMETHING ELSE, not try to “make” Nia be something else.

      Thank you for being here and reading and commenting!

      Like

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