Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Practicing Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Posted by terrepruitt on November 5, 2013

Nia is a cardio dance workout.  Come to a class, dance, sweat, get a workout.  Nia is also a practice, like yoga is a practice.  Just like yoga you can go to a class, participate, and get a good workout in and go home.  Or you can take some of the ideas and principles with you into your daily life.  If you chose, you can decide to apply some of the body mind “stuff” to your daily life.  All up to you.  Now the reason I explain all that is because – keeping in mind that Nia is a practice (for those that want to take it that far) – there are a lot of things to, well, practice.  And Nia HQ is great about creating and supplying continue education for its members.  Also, it is great about writing articles to help people learn more about the practice of Nia.  One such article that was recently posted is Move Beyond Your Comfort Zone.

It talks about how each individual has different comfort zones so that “moving beyond” would be something different to each individual.  It reminds us that moving beyond the place where we feel comfortable is “the best thing to keep the body and brain strong”. It shares a story and gives examples of comfort zones. I do hope you click the link above and pop over to NiaNow to read it.

Here I am going to share other ways that Nia helps us do “the best thing to keep the body and brain strong” by helping us out of our comfort zone.  One way is dancing to music we don’t like.  I know . . . I can hear a lot of people say, “But WHY?”  Well, that is part of moving out of our comfort zone.  There seems to be some beats that just call to everyone.  That one song that is popular on the radio that gets everyone’s foot tapping and head bobbing.  Those songs are easy to dance to.  The universal dance song.  But the songs that come on that you might find yourself reaching for that tuning knob are great songs to step out of the comfort zone to dance to.  They are the ones that your regular, normal, COMFORTABLE dance moves just might not fit with.  The song that might have you using different muscles than you are used to.  The song that might have you moving in an entirely different way . . . . away and out of your comfort zone.  That is one reason why that Nia routine might have one of THOSE songs in it.

Then there is the song you just love.  The second it begins to play in class you are so ready to just sink into it, then your teacher says to move in a way that is in COMPLETE contradiction to the tone of the song.  “WHAT?  You want me to do a strong block to this sweet, sweet melody?”  Moving in a way that seems opposite from what the music is “telling” you can be WAY out of some people’s comfort zones.  It is a great way to keep the body and brain strong.

Playing with emotions and acting “as if” can be beyond some comfort zones.  Allowing yourself to just let go and dance without caring what you look like or if your “form” is perfect can be a big step away from some people’s comfort zones.  In one of my posts recently, I wrote about “messing up” . . . . . that can be MILES away from some people’s comfort zones.  Sounding can really be a big stretch for some individuals.  Not everyone is used to making noises while they workout.

These are just a few examples of what we do in Nia classes to help us step out of our comfort zones.  As stated, the reason is to work the brain as well as the body.  Moving out of our comfort zone helps mix it up.  Keeps the body and brain moving in different ways.  So the next time you feel resistance, let go and know you are doing something good for your body and brain.

Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone?  

6 Responses to “Practicing Beyond Your Comfort Zone”

  1. Speaking of sweat and dance. I discovered a wonderful thing in raw coconut water. If I drink a glass before Zumba, I have TONS of energy.


    • Great! Does it taste like coconut? Does it smell like coconut?


      • Smell. Yes. Taste….no.. It has a coconut taste to it, but is very mild. I expected sweet and it wasn’t. But I found a brand I like at Whole Foods in the dark blue can. For some reason the other (store brand) white can is horrible. So I guess it may vary on how it is made. What I drink is the raw stuff. No added sugar. Works amazing.


        • I am really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really against all things coconut. I just get queasy with the whole coconut thing. So I have never tried the oil or the water because . . . .well, see my first sentence. I will have to check it out though. Thanks. Blue can, not white! 🙂


  2. niachick said

    I love the whole “comfort zone” conversation. I know alot of people who rely on their comfort zones to keep them from having any kind of anxiety or out of the ordinary stuff to deal with on a daily basis. And the funny thing is about some of these folks (some I know as very close friends) is that their comfort zone fails them 99% of the time. So they pop a pill. I know so many folks who are on anti-anxiety medication due to their comfort zones failing them. Another funny thing is that comfort zones are a myth. I wrote about it in my blog awhile back. I’m one of those folks who relied on my comfort zone to get me through an 8 hour day at a large corporation. I never took any prescribed or over-the-counter medications — I just closed my eyes and somehow made it through each day. Comfort zones are an illusion that we use to bait our own sense of self-denial or insecurities and then let them snuggle in all nice and warm. Comfort zones are the adult version of a binky.

    My entire young adult life was lived in a shell. An extreme introvert scared to death to speak out loud or look anyone in the eye. Massive self-denial. Massive insecurities. During my stint for 30 years in a corporate environment I “faked it” alot. I had to. If I wanted to get paid, I had to work at the level I was expected to work at and do the job. I did. My only outlet was creative expression. Dance. Movement. Yoga. Anything that allowed my body, mind and emotions to find a place of solace and release. Step aerobics didn’t work. I loved (and still love) yoga, although I don’t do it as often or in as disciplined a manner as I’d like. Then I found Nia. About a year after I retired from my corporate job (30+ years), I was introduced to Nia. I was stunned at my body’s response. Every bone and muscle and fiber in my body said “This is it”. And after a year and a half of taking classes, my Nia teacher/mentor suggested I take the White Belt Intensive. “Fine, fine. I can do that, but I’m not going to teach” was my answer. “Yeah, yeah. Okay, whatever” was her reply back. I took the White Belt Intensive in June of 2001 and couldn’t find any way to fight the sensation that I needed to share this with everyone. The rest, as they say, is history. I’ve been teaching for 12 years now and can’t find a better way of stepping out of my comfort zone on a consistent basis!!!

    Nia was paramount in my REALLY coming out of my shell. I wouldn’t call myself a extrovert by any means, however, when I’m teaching Nia…or when I’m a student in someone else’s class, the liberation and freedom that I feel in all of my realms (physical, mental, emotional and spirit) is undeniable.

    I love your post for its practicality. Nia is a lifestyle practice — not only a cardio dance movement practice on the dance floor but a lifestyle practice that weaves throughout my everyday living — stepping out of the illusion of a comfort zone is easy when applying Nia’s principles. Your conversation around music is awesome. I’m a teacher that MUST be able to connect to my music in order to teach it. I can start out not liking a piece of Nia routine music and then I’ll take a class from someone who teaches that routine and voila’ I connect at a physical level — the rest of the realms follow.

    Thanks for posting this, Terre. Awesome, as usual!!!


    • Wow. Thank you for your response. I was so happy to open my e-mail to see such a detailed response. Also — something different WordPress is doing, when I clicked on reply it opened a window to type in that is as large as your response. Funny, huh? It is matching. Anyway . . .

      I never really thought about what you started off saying. That people use their comfort zones to keep from having anxiety. But I guess that is what we do. We don’t go somewhere or do something because it is out of our comfort zone and we don’t want to feel anxious. I didn’t relate comfort zones to anti-anxiety medication, either. Hmmmmm. Interesting. Now, I am not certain at this time that I agree with your belief that comfort zones are a myth. Because when I think of it as I believe you are stating it, to me they are very real. And they don’t necessarily fail people. But I am not sure. I think my belief would tend towards the fact that SOME might work, but SOME won’t just because the way the world is there would be a breakdown of some of the zones, but . . . the way you are presenting comfort zones makes it a very complex issue.

      Comfort zones in relation to a dance exercise class, helps bring the idea of zones into a more manageable idea. 🙂 As an example: –Are you comfortable shimmying?
      –Well, step out of that comfort zone and shimmy. 🙂

      If we were to look at WHY the shimmy makes the individual uncomfortable then — whoa! that could take us back into the complex comfort zone issue.

      Usually when I start to learn a new-to-me Nia routine, there is a song I don’t like. Just listening to it without seeing the choreography, I just don’t like it. (read that with a pout!) But then I either see the choreography and the song grows on me . . . . or the song just grows on me. But not always. There are still some songs that I don’t care for. Or there are even songs I like, but I don’t care for the choreography. And while I have the option to switch out the song and/or change the choreography I don’t usually because I believe in the “stepping out of” my comfort zone or “dancing in” a zone that is not comfortable. I believe in exercising my body and brain in that manner. So I do it!

      Thank you for sharing how Nia helped you 1) out of your comfort zone and 2) be more comfortable in the zones you are in! 🙂

      Thank you so much for reading and for commenting. MUAH!


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