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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Tail Wagging

Posted by terrepruitt on March 20, 2014

In Nia we do something we call “wag your tail”. Now there are various ways one can “wag” their tail. This move is not one of Nia’s 52 Moves, but we do it A LOT. One might think that wagging one’s tail just means to shake your butt. But shaking your butt is really just shaking your backside. While that has a purpose in dance when I say “wag your tail” I don’t mean shake your tush. There is a difference. Just like there is a difference between shaking your chest/breast and a shimmy. A shimmy is not just shaking your chest or what you have on it. A shimmy is using the muscles in your upper back and shoulders to push and pull your shoulders. While the front might shake as you shimmy, the sensation is entirely different from just shaking what’s on the front. For more info you can read my post Shimmy From The Back. With the tail wag it is somewhat the same thing — in the sense that you are not shaking your butt you are wagging your tail.

The focus is the very bottom portion of your bony spine, the coccyx — your tail. When you wag your tail the outer portion of your body, your glutes/your butt is going to move and shake, just like when you shimmy your chest/breast will shake, but that is not the focus. And believe me, I have ample of both to know the sensation is entirely different. 🙂

For many this is not something they sense right away. It is one of those things you practice. I know many belly dancers who hold classes just on shimmying . . . So by comparison shaking top and/or bottom is different from a shimmy and/or a wag of the tail.

One way I describe it to my students is to just relax the spine. Let the hips hang and then wag the tail. Some understand this and are able to do it. While it might take practice, when they focus they can do it, hips hanging tail wagging. If you can do this the sensation is amazing. It is a HUGE release to the spine. It is very relaxing. Wagging the tail is one of my favorite moves. Ask anyone on my Nia classes and they will tell you, “Yeah, she says that all the time.”

I recently posted about how my students are my teachers and one thing they taught me was to come up with a different way of explaining “letting your hips hang”. The looks I received recently while having my students practice wagging their tail was, “I am not getting what you are saying!!!” So I had to think about it and I came up with something.

Sit down on the ground with your legs out in front of you. Then use your hands to push yourself off the ground. Your lower legs and feet can still be touching but you want your tush to be off the ground. Now relax your spine. Do you sense that hanging sensation? THAT is what you are going for while standing. That is what will enable you to wag your tail.

So try it. Can you sense your hips hanging? Can you sense the difference between wagging your tail and shaking your bum?

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