Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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    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!

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Nia “Standing”

Posted by terrepruitt on February 6, 2014

My last post was about the Garland Pose or Malasana.  That is a yoga pose.  The Garland Pose post was long enough so I didn’t talk about the advanced positions of that pose.  In Nia the pose could be compared to “Standing” which is the fourth stage in Nia’s 5 Stages.  In Nia it is also a little different. Nia’s 5 Stages is a movement practice through the five stages of human development.  While I have mentioned Nia’s 5 Stages before in my blog I have not written about them in depth and this post will not be in depth either.  I am just touching upon the fourth stage, including it in my little series about squatting.  Squatting is important and Nia knows that.  Nia recognizes it as a stage of human development.  Although Nia does not believe it should be abandoned and that is why we have the 5 Stages as a movement practice and why we include squatting in many of our routines.  As I said standing is the fourth stage and it is somewhat like a squat.

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, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaThe Nia 5 Stages are the stages we go through in development.  Stage one is Embryonic.  Stage two is Creeping.  Stage three is Crawling.  Stage four is Standing.  Stage five is Walking. First we are in the womb, then most of us creep, then we crawl, we stand (squat), then walk.  Stages of human development.  Stage four, “Standing”, is a low or full squat.

I have posted about squats before.  In fact when I did I mentioned that we don’t do them in Nia.  And we don’t — or I hadn’t done the type of squats I was writing about.  I was writing about squats done in a way that is more in line with weight training.  Using weights and other equipment.  I believe there are weight lifting competitions where people do really low squats with weights, but . . . I am not going to go there.  There are a lot of things that elite athletes do that I would STRONGLY recommend the average person NOT do . . . . EVER.

I DO recommend full squats (without weights) . . . providing your body is able to do them I believe you should.  And by able I mean there is no medical reason you can’t, you have joints and body parts that will allow you to do them.  Doing squats will help you in so many ways.

With Nia’s fourth stage – standing – we are coming from a crawling position.  The way we move from crawling to “standing” is we open our feet wider than our knees while our knees are still on the ground.  Then curl our toes then push back onto our feet.  Since the 5 stages of human development are based on the way the body was designed to move and how we develop ideally, the idea is to push back onto feet that are flat on the ground.  However, Nia is a practice done in YOUR OWN BODY’S WAY so it is possible that both feet cannot be flat on the ground.  So we take the stages in stages.  What works for many is to have ONE foot flat on the ground while the other one has a heel up.  Then we just alternate.  This allows for each foot to engage in ankle flexibility.

The next stage in this stage is to raise the torso up, have the chest facing forward and not down . . . if you are doing the alternating of the feet.  If both feet are flat on the earth the chest is probably already facing mostly forward because the buttocks are lowered and the legs are folded over so the chest is somewhat up against the thighs.  In both positions lift the chest up further, sternum to the sky.  When ready the arms also come up, reaching to the sky.

We stay in this stage as long as the present workout dictates.  Could be just a second or two . . . could be a bar (of a song) . . . whatever is appropriate for the moment.  Then we rise up – nose leading the way – onto our toes and into the fifth stage which is walking.

Squatting is important because of the benefits it provides.  Being able to come up from a squat provides even more benefits.  Like push-ups and/or planks, squats could easily be one of the “must haves” in ANY workout or exercise program.  Nia understands the benefits.  So when I said we didn’t do squats in Nia, I wasn’t talking about this type of squat or what Nia’s 5 stages calls standing.

What benefits can your body receive from Nia’s standing/squatting? 

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