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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  • My Bloggey Past

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Archive for January, 2013

Venting Gets Me Good

Posted by terrepruitt on January 31, 2013

I go to Starbucks when I have a gift card.  I like Starbucks Chai Tea Lattes.  When I first started getting them they were almost too spicy for me.  Then they seemed to change a bit.  They got less flavorful.  Then one time I got one at a store I don’t normally frequent and I thought my teeth were going to fall out.  It was soooooo sweet.  Yes, I know that the fancy drinks at Starbucks and other coffee houses are a huge source of sugar.  That is ONE reason why I don’t buy them.  I DO have them on occasion when I am blessed with receiving a gift card.  To me they are a nice treat.  But this one hurt my teeth and my stomach.  I chalked it up to this store making them different.  But then I went to the store I usually go to and it was the same thing.  Ugh.  I posted a Facebook status asking if they had changed their recipe.  I know places and manufacturers do that all the time.  One of the responses I received was to make my own Chai.  The response even included the recipe.

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, ZumbaA few days after that I was in the grocery store and I actually remembered while I was in the spice aisle that I needed cardamom to make the chai.  I looked and looked and when I finally found it I almost choked.  It was $12.99.  I didn’t realize it was that expensive.

So, again, I posted on Facebook, I said that I would stick to using my gift cards at Starbucks instead of spend $13.00.  And again the replies were awesome.  People near and far reminded me that I live in an area rich with many cultures and that I could find cardamom at Indian Spice stores.  The major benefits to that would be that it would be cheaper and more than likely better.

But before I could remember to get to a store one of my amazing friends brought me a little box of it.  She is awesome like that.  She frequents an affordable spice shop so she picked me up some.

Here is the recipe that Danielle Woermann (a Nia Black Belt) posted for me on Facebook.  I am unaware of where she got it.

Masala Chai. Serves four.

Boil 3 cups (.7 liters) of water with
4 cloves
2 pinches ground nutmeg
2 pinches ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground cardamom
1/2 inch (1.27 cm) piece of grated fresh ginger

Add 2 tea bags (black, green, redbush, etc.) and simmer for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup (.2 liters) almond milk or milk of your choice, and heat until hot, but not boiling. Add sweetener of your choice. Serve and enjoy!

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, ZumbaI decided to measure my “pinches” so that I could have a more accurate measure and adjust accordingly.  I used an 1/8 of a teaspoon as a “pinch”.  I think that I need to work on it a bit.  Either the person doing the pinching who created this recipe has REALLY LARGE pinches or they like a more mellow tea.  I think that this might be really good if I made it ahead of time and let all the flavors really seep into the water.  The time that is stated in the recipe didn’t seem to do that.  Also it does help if, when you are drinking it, you actually get some of the spices in your mouth . . . . which also makes for an oddly textured and a bit chewy tea.  But I’m ok with that.

I think I might experiment with chopping the ginger.  For some reason I don’t might little tiny chunks of fresh ginger as opposed to what came off my grater . . . . it was odd.

That is a GREAT thing about recipes though, right?  I love to try them the way they are then adjust them to my tastes.  Maybe this is one that you can make and enjoy — either adjusting or not.

Do you like Chai Tea?  Do you have a recipe?  Doesn’t this one sound yummy?

Posted in "Recipes" | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Goodie Jar

Posted by terrepruitt on January 29, 2013

As the New Year approached and very shortly there after, I started seeing pictures of jars with paper inside posted on Facebook.  The idea was simple, write down something good that happened and put it in the jar, at the end of the year read it, and be reminded of all the good things that happened to you during the year.  Even though I loved the idea and I wanted to do it, I got caught up in other things and I forgot about it.  Just this past week a friend posted a picture of her jar saying, “Do you remember this?”  And I hadn’t.  I had completely forgotten.  I want to do that.  I want a “good thing jar”.

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, ZumbaFirst of all I don’t have a jar.  So I am going to use a pitcher that I love, but hardly use.  This way, I will be using something that I love and it will be pretty.  Second, I don’t remember how often one is supposed to put something in the jar.  Was there a rule?  Was there a timeframe?  I THINK it was “whenever” something good happened.  I like that but I also want to make sure something gets in the pitcher.  I am going to impose an at-least-once-a-week rule.  It is not that good things don’t happen daily, I just think that life gets busy and I might not write something everyday but I want to make certain I do it at least once a week.  I also don’t think there was a guideline on what “good” means.  So for myself I am going to define it a bit.  I am going to keep track of things that make me smile and the memory of which will make me smile.  It does not have to be a significant thing, something say “to write home about”, but I want it to be something where I can say, “Oh yeah, I remember that.  That was great!”  Another thing I thought of, which I think might add to the experience is to date the note so I can remember better as I am reading about all the good stuff.

I love when I make deals with you and we have check-ins.  Even though this is just a feel good kind of thing, I know that sometimes projects — even fun ones — get pushed aside and/or forgotten altogether when time is short, so I thought I would do a weekly check-in.

If you want to join me you can just post a comment on the post.  I am going to do it on Fridays.  My first check in will be Friday, February 1, 2013.

I have my first paper already in my pitcher.  Of course is has to do with Nia and teaching another class for the City of San Jose.

Then on Tuesday, December 31, 2013, I will read about all the good stuff that happened throughout the year. I will be reminded of the things big and small.  I am sure I will get warm fuzzies.  I think this is a fabulous way to end a year and go into a new one.

What do you think?  Is this a project you would like to join?  Are you going to–join me?

Posted in Good Things in the Goodie Jar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

We’re Going To Do What?

Posted by terrepruitt on January 26, 2013

I know I have mentioned before that I teach Nia as a substitute Group Exercise teacher for the City of San Jose.  What that means is when a teacher can’t teach a class s/he will send out a message saying that a substitute is needed.  In order to give our clients/students what they want we work to keep the substituted class close to what the original class is.  If a Boot Camp teacher needs a substitute the first choice to have instead would not be yoga.  Or vice versa.  As you can imagine, when someone plans on going to a class and shows up and it is not what was expected it can take a little wind out of someones sails.  Sometimes in order to keep the class from being cancelled a different format will be allowed, but that is rare.  Usually someone is able to step in with a similar format.  It is a real challenge when people have not even heard of the type of dance exercise that you are going to do in substitution for their normal class.

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, ZumbaIt seems like with many people the first time they hear of something they are a little resistant.  To me this is understandable.  It seems like a natural thing to shy away from something that is unfamiliar.  And as I said, it really can be disheartening when you are looking forward to a specific thing/type of workout and you walk in and find it to be a class of something you have never heard of.  I don’t take it personal when people decide not to stay or leave in the middle of class.  I’ve learned a long time ago that Nia is for everyBODY it is just not for everyone.  It can be a HUGE step for some people.  It can be a huge switch in thinking and moving and a lot of things, I understand.   So when someone comes in not knowing what they are in for and completely embraces it — I love it.  I find myself thinking, “YES!”  I admire the person and their openness.

I have been teaching a class where I am listening to the music, dancing, cueing, sensing, and looking out into the room and as my eyes survey the students I will see someone who is completely new to Nia and utterly unfamiliar with it, dancing with all of their body, mind, and spirit.  It is so amazing.  For someone to come in and not having even heard of Nia before the class to just embrace something so fully–it is so wonderful.  That is one of the best moments ever.  The challenge for me is to keep going myself.  There are times when I just want to stop and watch because it is such a beautiful thing to see someone dance with all of their heart.  It is as if they are glowing and all of a sudden they are all I can see.  It is so incredible.

I appreciate the people who say, “I’m open to anything.”  Or even, “What the heck?  I am here.  I might as well try it.”  But it is really amazing to look out and see the ones that are just INTO it.  In a Nia class where people come to DO Nia, it is typical to see people dancing with everything they have, but to see it in a class that is usually not Nia . . . . ahhhhhhh!

I felt like sharing this today.  Thank you for letting me share a bit of joy with you.  Today has been a GREAT day.  Nothing spectacular or even note worthy has happen but there has been a lot of laughing and any day with a lot of laughing is a great day.  Don’t you think?

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Music, Movement, Magic, Nia Blue Belt Principle #11

Posted by terrepruitt on January 24, 2013

Regular reader?  Familiar with Nia?  Then you know that Nia has different levels and that they use belt colors to distinguish between.  White, Blue, Brown, and Black.  Each belt has thirteen principles (except Green Belt*).  The trainings for the levels are called intensives and the intensives can be attended by people who just want a to explore self growth and/or learn how the body is connected to many things.  If you are a new reader and/or not familiar with Nia . . . . there you have it.  In November 2011 I took the Nia Blue Belt Training and I am using my blog to make notes on it.  It is taking me some time to get through the principles, but I am jotting down my thoughts that come to me as I thumb through my notes.  My intent is to continue to work and play with the 13 Nia Blue Belt Principles after my initial posts and come back to some of them and share some more.  The principles can be deep because they are very rich.  So like many things they have layers and the layers can be peeled back to expose more and more.  This post is about Nia Blue Belt Principle #11, Music, Movement, Magic – Manifesting the Ultimmmate Nia Experience.  Yes, ultimate is spelled with three m’s, representing music, movement, magic.

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, ZumbaOne of the ways we learn to bring this to class is to use objective and subjective descriptions.  We can do this for many things.  We can do this when stating the class focus and intent.  We can do this when leading the class through a move.  We can do this when talking about music.  The following are examples:

Focus and Intent:

Objective  –  Today we are going to focus on the rhomboid muscles.  These are muscles in your upper back that assist with shoulder blade movement.  They pull your shoulders back and down.

Subjective  –  I like pay special attention to my rhomboids so I feel as if I am standing upright and not hunched over.  I feel they need extra love.  We can give them that during class with the intent to stand tall.

Move:

Objective  – Pull your shoulder blades down.

Subjective  – I feel as if my shoulder blades are in my back pockets!

Music:

Objective  – This music was part of an Oscar Winning Score.

Subjective  – This music makes me want to close my eyes and ride the peaceful notes to happy.

This objective and subjective way of looking at things is a key to Nia.  It can be compared to THE Body’s Way and Your Body’s Way.  There is a way the body was designed to move — objective.  There is a way that YOUR body, and my body moves — subjective.  There are specific ways to do the Nia 52 Moves — objective.  There is a way that each individual Nia participant does the Nia 52 Moves — subjective.  All of this helps to create the “magic” that is part of Nia.

The Music is the core.  We dance to the music.  The Movement is what we do.  We move.  We dance.  We play.  The Magic is what we bring, which with all of it put together there is resulting magic.

This is just a tiny portion of Nia Blue Belt Principle #11, just off the top of my head.  There is much, much more to Music, Movement, Magic – Manifesting the Ultimmmate Nia Experience and I look forward to delving into it more.

Have you experience the Nia Music, Movement, and Magic yet for yourself?

*Green Belt is specifically for Nia teachers.

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Floorplay

Posted by terrepruitt on January 22, 2013

One of Nia’s magic toys!  Floorplay.  This is where we actually get on the floor and play.  The most common comment I receive from people about floorplay is, “I don’t like to get down on the floor because I can’t get up.”  And sadly that is the most important reason one SHOULD get on the floor is so that they can LEARN to get up.  Even though most often with Floorplay we stay ON the floor, there is a time when we do get up.  Floorplay is both Nia Class Cycle #6 and the Nia Blue Belt Principle #10.  The tagline or second part of the principle is Movement on the Floor.

Floorplay can bring up all kinds of fun stuff.  It can bring up memories of infancy.  With the scooting, the crawling, the getting up to walk, and the falling.  It can bring up memories of childhood.  Children often play on the floor.  They do somersaults and gymnastic moves.  They drive their cars around and roll and play.  It is a fact of life that most adults lose their playful connection to the floor.  Watch a group of children when they are told in a room to go play.  The first thing most of them do is get down on the floor.  They go to their knees and start to play.  Most adults I know don’t ever think of the floor as a place to be.

Floorplay allows us to reconnect to the earth.  It allows us to reconnect to the ground.  It allows us to sense gravity and the strength and energy of the earth.  There is a pull that we can play with.  There is the sense of falling that we can use.

Floorplay is a way to explore.  It is a safe place and a safe time to move and sense the body.  Sometimes the floor can assist in a particular movement.  The gravity can work to enable additional flexibility.  It is truly a place of wonder to let go and move.  Rolling around, letting limbs fall to the earth, pushing and pulling, stretching and yawning . . . . floorplay is a magical toy in the Nia toy box.  It is a powerful time in the Nia workout for body, mind, and spirit.

Floorplay in a Nia class can be a choreographed cycle or a FreeDance.  Either way it is an important time to explore both The Body’s Way and Your Body’s Way.  It is an opportunity to play with movement and to progress to your ideal.  Even when the routine being done in class has choreographed Floorplay participants are free to do their own FreeDance.  I often encourage my Nia students to do a “body check” asking their body what desires attention.  If they want they are free to do what they need in order to give their body what it needs.

Because most Nia routines include this cycle.  It is recommended that Nia participants bring a mat to class in case they are more comfortable moving on a mat.  A mat sometimes is exactly what is needed to ensure bone comfort and let the student move more freely on the floor.  Most places I teach in San Jose have mats, sometimes there are just a few.

The Nia Blue Belt reminds us that being on the floor is not just about static postures and stretches, it is truly about movement on the floor.  That is why this cycle is called Floorplay and with the Blue Belt lens, the way we look at things, we are reminded to play and have fun.  We are encouraged to use all of Nia’s 5 Sensations along with gravity and the energy from the earth to connect to the vertical, horizontal, and spiral and to connect with our bodies in a dance on the floor that we call Floorplay.

So when is the last time you got on the floor and rolled around?  When is the last time you got on the floor and played?  What is stopping you?

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

Thirteen Ingredients To Be Aware Of

Posted by terrepruitt on January 19, 2013

According to an article on Shape.com there are 13 ingredients that are banned in “many other developed countries” but are still allowed to be used in food in the United States of America (U.S.).  A lot of the ingredients are in foods that are considered highly processed and for many of us these foods can be easily avoided.  But some of the things that are allowed in the food in the U.S., but are not allowed in other countries are things that are not listed on the ingredient list when you purchase the product.

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, ZumbaTwo of the ingredients that are banned according to the list are Synthetic hormones (rBGH and rBST) and Arsenic.  I am pretty confident that if you looked at a food product that listed arsenic as one of its ingredients you would not purchase it.  But when it is not listed, but still could be present in the product that becomes very confusing and a health concern.  The Synthetic hormones (rBGH and rBST) is not listed on the ingredient list of dairy products.  The hormone is something that is injected into the cows to ensure they produce more milk than they naturally could and should.  This hormone is something that was created in a lab making it genetically engineered.  Because this hormone causes the cow to produce more than is natural the cows often end up with infections of their udders.  When they end up with infections in the udders they have to be given antibiotics.  You might have heard the theory about the more we use antibiotics, the more the things we use them against grow to be resistant.  So we keep having to have stronger antibiotics.  Also you might be interested to know that some milk has been documented as having pus from the infected udders in it.  Just a few things to think about when purchasing milk.

Again, this is because of the hormone that is put into cows and is BANNED in some other countries, but allowed here in the United States.

And the arsenic I mentioned, according to the Shape article, is allowed in the chicken feed.  It sounds as if it is just for coloring of their flesh.  Which goes back to the first ingredient on the list in the article.  The artificial coloring.  Seems we want our food to be a certain color when we eat it.

I remember hearing about an experiment where people were fed a nice turkey dinner in a dimly lit room.  They were enjoying the food.  Then once the lights were turned on and they saw that all of the food was green some people actually got ill.  The food was not green because it was bad, it was just green because it had been dyed green, but because it did not have “normal” coloring some people got ill.  So it seems as if consumers prefer food that is pretty, even though some research is showing that dyes are not healthy.  Some studies even report that dyes cause health issues.

Here is the list (copied from the article):

Ingredients: Coloring agents (blue 1, blue 2, yellow 5, and yellow 6)
Found In: Cake, candy, macaroni and cheese, medicines, sport drinks, soda, pet food, and cheese

Ingredient: Olestra (aka Olean)
Found In: Fat-free potato chips

Ingredient: Brominated vegetable oil (aka BVO)
Found In: Sports drinks and citrus-flavored sodas

Ingredient: Potassium bromate (aka brominated flour)
Found In: Rolls, wraps, flatbread, bread crumbs, and bagel chips

Ingredient: Azodicarbonamide
Found In: Breads, frozen dinners, boxed pasta mixes, and packaged baked goods

Ingredients: BHA and BHT
Found In: Cereal, nut mixes, gum, butter, meat, dehydrated potatoes, and beer

Ingredients: Synthetic hormones (rBGH and rBST)
Found In: Milk and dairy products

Ingredient: Arsenic
Found In: Poultry

Please keep in mind this is not a complete list of foods that these ingredients are found in.  So if you are interesting in avoiding the ingredients check the labels of the food you purchase.

And check out the article, it states reasons as to WHY the food manufacturers use the ingredient.

Right now my avoid list consists of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), partially hydrogenated oils/trans fat, and Canola oil.  In actuality Olestra too, but I haven’t seen that on an ingredient list in so long I don’t think of it as being on my avoid list.  But I am going to be on the look out for the items on this list.  I have recently been avoiding the dairy hormones, but I will have to work on the rest.

So, what do you think?  Do you think you could eliminate some of these ingredients from your diet?  Do you want to?

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

Form & Freedom, Yin & Yang

Posted by terrepruitt on January 17, 2013

I participated in a Nia Blue Belt Intensive in the beginning of November 2012.  Nia trainings are accurately named as intensive because they are intense.  They are intense because it is 50 plus hours of moving and thinking and learning and listening and exploring, etc.  It is a lot.  Nia is a great cardio dance workout, but if you want, it is a lot more.  The way things are connected is pretty amazing.  I am writing posts somewhat off the top of my head as to what my initial thoughts are in regards to the 13 Nia Blue Belt Principles.  After I get through all 13, I want to go back and write more as I read about each one and live with each one.  I also want to review the 13 Nia White Belt Principles.  At this time, I am on Nia Blue Belt Principle #9.  The principle is Form & Freedom.  The tagline is The Yin and Yang of Nia.  As I have stated in my other posts about the principles there is a lot more to them than I am writing about.  Nia is deep.  This is just off the top.

There are forms in Nia.  Some of the forms are:

-The 52 Nia Moves
-The Nia Routines
-The Seven Cycles of a Nia Workout
-All the PrinciplesDance 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, Zumba
-All the Triads
-The music
-The movement forms
-The Nia 5 Sensations

Some of the freedoms are:

-The energy variety
-Personal creativity
-Silence
FreeDance
Natural Time
-Adapting the Choreography
-Movement variety
-Mixing routines
-Transubstantiation

We have a lot of things that give us form.  We have a lot of things in which we have freedom.  There is yin and yang.  The form and the freedom can be separate . . . we could just dance a song entirely FreeDance with no form at all.  Just everyone dance their own way, no choreographed steps, no guidance, no form.  Or we can marry the two.  I love that.  I love sharing with my Nia class that we are free in our form to do what we want.  We can think about what we are doing and the moves we are doing or just let the music dictate to us.

Right now the routine I am doing is full of places to have the form and the freedom.  There are many places in the routine where our feet have a specific form.  The moves, according to Carlos AyaRosas (FKA Carlos Rosas), are precise.  Our feet have a specific place, but our arms are free to move.  While our arms are moving when the concentration is on the feet you can sense the form, the structure, the precision.  But when the concentration is on the arms . . . .even if you are just letting them dance on their own to the music . . . you sense the freedom.  You can sense your spirit.  When you’ve had enough practice you can do both, have the form and the freedom.

The form is what many of us are accustomed to having, it is what we were trained to have in an exercise class. The freedom is what helps Nia be unique.  With the Nia Blue Belt Principle #9 – Form & Freedom -The Yin and Yang of Nia we get to play and it makes the possibilities endless.

Have you ever played with form and freedom?  Why don’t you try it?  Put on some music you like to dance to and get your feet moving in a specific pattern.  After a few rounds of the pattern just allow your arms to go.  Let them move freely.  Can you see how that can add up to an amazing workout?

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A New Recipe To Love – Red Beans and Rice

Posted by terrepruitt on January 15, 2013

For two weeks we didn’t have a working stove or oven.  The oven started beeping one night.  We turned off the circuit breaker and it stopped beeping.  I used it the following night.  But then the day following that it started beeping again.  It beeped and displayed a code.  The code indicated a part was broken.  My husband concluded via internet research and taking the control panel off the appliance that he could order it and replace it himself.  Part of the reason it took two weeks to get fixed was that there was a holiday and a weekend in there.  The part being shipped was delayed because of the Holiday.  By the time we got the part and he was able to put it in, it was the weekend.  The part didn’t clear the error.  Then there were issues in securing a repairman. For those of you that know how much I love my roasted vegetables you might understand having no oven was really difficult for me.  Roasted veggies are not only yummy, but so easy to make.  A few minutes prep then in the oven until they are done leaving you time to do other things.  That is why I love my oven.  During the two weeks we ate take out.  We ordered Chinese Food, which for us equates to a few nights of Chinese Food.  I also used my toaster oven, my electric skillet, my crock pot, and my Cuisinart Grill.  So it was not as if I had no way to cook, it just put a cramp in my cooking a bit.  On the nights I have a Nia class I like to put our dinner in the oven and have it turn on about the time that class is over.  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, ZumbaBy the time I get home whatever is cooking is either done or on its way to being done.  Without that I had to come home and start cooking.  But alas I have a stove and oven again.  YAY!  I missed them.  While I was not being able to use my stove and oven I tortured myself by looking at a cooking magazine.  As soon as my stove was fixed I decided to try a new recipe.

The recipe is from Bobby Deen.  I got it out of the Food Network Magazine.   The name of the recipe is Monday-Night Red Beans and Rice and is on the Food Network website.

Not your typical Red Beans and Rice recipe. I made some adjustments, of course!  I am posting it here as I did made it.  I am calling it something different too!

Sausage, Beans, and Rice

Ingredients:

—Three turns of the pan Olive oil
—3/4 medium onion, finely chopped
—8 turkey sausage patties
—1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
—2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
—1 15 1/2-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
—1 15 1/2-ounce can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained and rinsed
—1/2 cup chicken broth
—1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
—1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
—1 bay leaf
—Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
—Salt, to taste
—Cooked brown rice
—Chopped scallions, for serving

Directions

Cook the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the sausage, chopping it up and separating it as it cooks.  Stirring it and moving it around as necessary.  Cook until almost cooked through.  Add the garlic.  Mix the garlic into the onions and meat.  Cook for about 1 minute.  Add the beans, chicken broth, cumin, thyme, bay leaf, green pepper, salt to taste, and pepper to taste.  Stir the ingredients until it is all mixed well.  Reduce heat and cover.  Let cook about 10 minutes.

Serve the mixture over rice.  Top with the scallions.

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, ZumbaThis was so good.  I used my beloved 14 inch pan that I missed for two whole weeks.  Once the beans were added my stirring was gentle as I didn’t want to end up with smashed beans, but I also wanted to make sure the spices were distributed and the bay leaf touched a lot of the ingredients.  So I stirred a lot, but not vigorously.

My typical spices consist of garlic and onions.  I didn’t even have cumin.  I had to buy it with the sausage and onion.  Yeah, I was out of onion.  I have a stock of kidney beans and garbanzo bean.  I have them both for the bean salad I like.  Plus I love to roast the garbanzos.

I actually DID put pepper in this while I was cooking it.  For those of you that know me (either in person or through my blog) you know I don’t like pepper/spicy hot, but the pepper my friend gave me (SMOKED PEPPER) I can handle a little bit of.  So I put a little in the pan while I was cooking.  When I served it to my husband I put a lot of pepper on his.  While he was eating it he kept saying he was surprised I could eat it.  He thought it was too hot for me.  I had him taste mine . . . . which had NO extra pepper and he said the flavor was a little different.  So maybe the pepper brings out a different flavor.

Either way, we both loved it and I can see this becoming one of those meals I cook often.  I can see experiments with different sausages and no meat at all.

I can also see me cooking more with cumin.

Do you like red kidney beans?  Do you like garbanzo beans?  Doesn’t this sound tasty?

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The Power Of Silence And Sound

Posted by terrepruitt on January 12, 2013

Have you ever listened to a song and had a rush of emotion?  Have you ever had a song take you somewhere else?  The song could transport you back to a place in time or a location.  The song could allow you to to be lost in thought, lost in feeling, lost in emotion.  All the world around you fades away and you are in another space.  Even if it is not such a strong pull that all the world disappears, have you ever had an emotional response to a song?  Have you ever stopped to think what the artists meant by the song?  Have you ever dissected a song to really try to figure out what emotion the artist was trying to convey?  Have you ever had the emotion you experience during a song seem completly different than what you think the artist is transmitting with the song?  Say “Happy Birthday to You” brings you to tears because of a sad birthday memory.  It is amazing how music can elicit emotion.  It is amazing how music can figuratively transport you to a different time, a different place, a different state of mind.  On the other hand have you ever been at a club or a party and just danced or bobbed your head to a song, not thinking about a personal emotional response or what the artist was feeling?  This is all part of Principle #8 of the Nia Blue Belt.  I say “part of” because as with all of the principles there is a lot more than I am posting about.  There is a lot more than I even have thought about.  This is just a little part.  This principle is The Power Of Silence And Sound.  Music, Emotion, Expression.

There is power in the music.  The music is both the silence and the sound.  There is emotion in the music – in the silence, in the sound.  The emotion can be expressed.  In Nia, for the purpose of this principle we are saying there are three emotional parts of a song.  There is the emotion of the artist.  What feeling is the artist trying to get across?  The next song you hear, think about it.  What do you hear?  Then there is the emotional part of YOU.  What do YOU feel when you hear the song?  As I mentioned sometimes what you feel is different from the emotion the artist was putting out there.  Sometimes it can be the same, but not always.  Sometimes it can be the same emotion but maybe you feel it more strongly, than the artist was.  Then there is the emotion that you express.  The emotion of the dance, the emotion of a Nia class.

In a class there is the choreography.  The moves have their own emotion.  In leading a class, in creating a class, in crafting a class a Nia teacher plays with all three.  The artist’s emotion, the personal emotion, and the Nia emotion.  Because Nia is a body mind dance exercise (to put it simply) and it is body focused the moves in a class do not always match the motion of the music.  Sometimes it is an exercise in itself to move slowly to a fast moving beat.  Or even to stop when the music begs for motion.  Or to move through a portion of silence.  But also, because it is Nia, it is fun to match the choreography to the music exactly.  It is fun to take the emotion that the artist is throwing out there and match it.  With Principle #8 of the Nia Blue Belt Nia teachers have a great tool in which they can learn and study the music.  It can be broken down to allow for all types of movements and emotions to erupt from the dance.  We get to play with The Power Of Silence And Sound.

If you want to play with The Power Of Silence And Sound, pick a song.  Listen to it to decide the emotion of the artist.  Then DANCE that emotion.  Then play the song again dancing your own emotion.  Then play it again and marry the two, the artist’s emotion and yours.  Have fun mixing it up!

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Nia’s Cat Stance

Posted by terrepruitt on January 10, 2013

There are six stances in the 52 Moves of NiaClosed Stance, Open Stance, “A” Stance, Riding (Sumo) Stance, Bow Stance, and the Cat Stance.  Each stance has a sound associated with it for practice.  There are benefits to doing each stance.  All of them help with balance.  With the cat stance the balance is on one foot.  The cat stance is a stance in which you stand on one leg, using your whole foot.  The leg you are standing on is not rigid, but the knee is soft, as if you were going to pounce.  The spine is upright, hips are level, not pointing down nor up.  The foot that is off the ground is pressing with the side against the standing leg, the foot relaxed, toes hanging towards the earth. Elbows are bent, relaxed.  Either both elbows are at the sides or one slightly forward.  The arms and hands are engaged.  The cat stance is done on alternating legs.  These are the specifics of Nia’s Cat Stance.

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, ZumbaThere are specific ways to do a stance, the body’s way.  But your body’s way is also recognized.  So different bodies will do it different ways.  Some will do it their own way until the body can adjust to the specifics and some bodies will continue in their own way.  For instance some bodies will use the power finger/balance finger hand technique to assist them in standing on one leg.  In addition to each body having its own way to do each move sometimes the way the move is done in a routine alters the specifics.  The specifics stated above are according to The Nia Technique book, however in the routine Birth, the cat stance in one of the katas consists of hooking the bent leg’s foot around the standing leg.  In this particular dance, while we are in the cat stance with our foot hooked around the standing leg, our hands and arms are different from is described in the ideal cat stance stated above.  One of our hands “hooks” around our face.

This is often the case.  There is a specific way to do each of Nia’s 52 Moves, but each individual has their own body’s way that adjust the specifics AND the specifics are sometimes adjusted according to move in the routine.  But it is important to know the specifics and the basics.  It is also fun to practice the specifics and the basics.

The basics of the cat stance help with balancing on one leg.  This can also be considered a strengthener, the standing leg’s muscles can be strengthened through the practice of supporting all of one’s weight.  If this move is being done solely as a practice of the move, then agility can come into play.  The practice of walking then stopping and moving quickly into cat stance would allow for the agility.  Alternating with a light hop from whole-foot-cat-stance on one leg to the other is an exercise in agility.  While this type of movement might also be something we do in a Nia routine it is not always the case.  Sometimes we move into cat stance and from there do kicks.

As with all of Nia’s 52 Moves we play with them.  All of Nia’s routines consist of playing with movement and music.  With the cat stance you have the specific way to do it, then just like a cat you can play as you practice.  You can “meow” and use claw hands.  The cat stance is a fun way to play with balance and sounding.  Practice the specifics then let the animal in you out!

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