Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach yoga, Nia, and stretch online!

    ALL CLASSES ARE ON ZOOM

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:00 am

    Nia: Wednesday at 10:00 am

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:00 am

    Please see my website for details!

    I am also teaching a yoga class for the City of San Jose on Wednesdays through June at 5pm

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training all virtual, of course!

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Archive for June, 2014

Home Gym Machine

Posted by terrepruitt on June 28, 2014

I bought a machine like the Total Gym awhile back. I just have not used it much because it is one of those things that can take longer to set up in my house than to use, so it is annoying. It is also one of those things that if you have room to set it up quick or have it already set up it is a quick and easy thing to jump on and workout on. When I bought it I thought I had room and also it was one of those awesome Costco deals that are silly to miss. I’ve had it for about a year and when I “Googled” it today the ads still come up over $125 more than we paid for it shipped! Today I moved it to a “permanent” position so I will be inclined to use it more often. I have some favorite exercises to do on it.

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 machine I bought is a Jillian Michaels‘ Body Shop. It is pretty much like a total gym but WAAAAY more affordable. It comes with an exercise printout that I used when I first got it. It has been so long since I used it I don’t know where I put that. But I will find it again and use it as it was a quick easy guide to use. Just a simple way to track what you are doing. It is nice to have a list. It is nice to just “jump on” and go without having to think about what to do. It is nice to have a plan.

I like to do Triceps Kickbacks on it.  With this machine you can change the level of the incline and also the tension.  Since you are on the sliding “board” your body weight is always a factor, but the incline and the tension you can adjust.  Then you can adjust the challenge by your body position.  You can lay on the sliding board or you can kneel on the sliding board.  Even with kneeling you can adjust the difficulty, you can kneel “sitting up” with a straight back or you can knee laying down on your legs.  There are so many ways you can do an exercise.  With simple tweaks you can make it different.

You can also do different versions of a triceps extension.  One you can use the cables to pull yourself up and let yourself down as you lay on your back.  You keep your long arm bones down at your sides and pull your forearms down, straightening your arms.  Keep your legs in an unmoving “table top” also helps activate your core.  As you are having to keep your legs still while you are sliding the board up and down.

Or you can flip your body around and use the “kick plate” as a push off.  Laying on your back with your arms overhead, you can use the plate portion to “push up” or push “off” from.  In order to activate the triceps the long arm bones remain stationary as the forearms do the work of moving the body board.

With the machine already set up and no moving of it having to occur, these are a few of the exercises you can do quickly.  If you have to set it up . . . these are still a few of the exercises you can do on it.  I have more that I like that I will be share soon.  But this is all for now.

Do you have any exercise machines in your home that you use?  What are they?  What exercises do you do on them?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Finding Bright Spots

Posted by terrepruitt on June 26, 2014

Here is a beautiful picture of a place I am lucky enough to visit.  I was looking through my pictures and I thought I would share it.  I taught a Nia class this morning and we went to coffee afterwards.  It is so nice to have such a great group of students.  I also taught a yoga class this evening.  They are also a great group!  We have not gathered for a visit after class.  Not sure that will ever happen because I like to rush home to get dinner on the table.  But there is a very tasty taqueria really close so maybe one of these days we will go out after class.   Perhaps I can talk my husband into joining us, or at least promise him I’ll bring home a burrito!  This post is really just a filler.  I mentioned “stuff” in my last post.  Well, it is taking up my thoughts so I didn’t come up with an educational post.  I thought I would share some bright spots and remind you of your Goodie Jar.

If you are doing a Goodie Jar, I am using this post to do some checking in with you regarding it.  My wonderful students are often notes in my Goodie Jar.  Our current weather gets mentioned too.  Our weather has been very nice the past few days considering it is summer.  It has not been sweltering hot.  Yesterday my husband and I sat outside most of the day.   It wasn’t too hot to do so.  It even rained a bit last night.  We need rain so bad, it was nice to see the street wet this morning.  Since we need rain so badly it is so great that our temperatures are not so hot.

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 YogaLast week my niece visited us.  She and I spent one afternoon making candles.  You may have seen my post about when we did it the first time?  Last time I made myself a candle.  This time I made a candle for my hubby.  A sun, because he is my sunshine.  With kitties below.  Hummingbirds because we love ours in our yard, along with our roses.  And then the words because, well, I love him.  The colors were just because my niece and I liked them.  My niece is a bit of a Disney fanatic so she made one that looks like a symbol of Minnie Mouse.  I did not take a good picture of it, but it was very cute.

I did mention two other bright spots in my last post.  One was the return of a Nia student to my Nia class and another student bringing his own yoga mat.  Well tonight I had another returning student.  It was to my yoga class.  There are many, many teachers around so it is so heart warming when a student returns to class.  Something to put in the jar of Good Things.

I have many bright spots to acknowledge and be thankful for.  How about you?  Are you still making notes / documenting the good things in your daily life?  Jotting down things that make you smile?  Here it is open for sharing.

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

A Breathe Of Fresh Caffeine?

Posted by terrepruitt on June 24, 2014

Wow, you might not believe I have more “stuff” going on.  More on that later.  I am sure I will write a post or two.  You know I always share, it just takes some time sometime.  So, instead – highlights of my day:  a student who has been away from my Nia classes for a bit came to class today.  That was wonderful, unexpected and very timely.  Another student in one of my yoga classes came to class with his own mat.  That put a huge smile on my face.  I took that as a sign that he is “into” it.  Later when I told him I was so happy to see him have his own mat, he said, “Yeah, I got to stick with it!!!!”  Thrilling!  Yes, gotta keep looking at the bright spots.  While perusing my cache of “topics to post about”, I came across one I found interesting.  Could be something you are aware of, perhaps I had heard of it too, but forgot.  I think the studies were done in 2009.  Did you know caffeine could, possibly, help people with asthma breathe better?

There is an article about a small study showing caffeine worked as a bronchodilator.  “A bronchodilator is a substance that dilates the bronchi and bronchioles, decreasing resistance in the respiratory airway and increasing airflow to the lungs.” per Wiki

The small study of 75 people with mild to moderate asthma was done.  Six trails showed 55 people had improved lung function for up to fours hours after consuming caffeine.

A study at the Indiana University show that caffeine an hour before exercise can significantly reduce exercise induced asthma.  I cannot find a link to the Indiana University study, but there are numerous articles about it that surface when a search is done.  One article on ScienceDaily said that it was LARGE amounts of caffeine that were used in this study.  The article stated “9 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight”.  Ok check my figuring on this using the information from the Mayo Clinic regarding a regular brewed cup of coffee, which is 8 oz brewed coffee has 95-200 mg of caffeine.  That is a big difference, but that is ok, it will still work in my “figuring”.  Let’s use the top, 200 mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee.  Well, lets say average man is 80 kilograms (176.37 pounds), that would be 720 mgs of caffeine.  That is roughly 4.5 cups of strong coffee.  Is that right?  The article also said that smaller amounts – 3 mg – 6 mg per kilogram of body weight “also reduced the wheezing, coughing and other symptoms of” exercise induced asthma.

Interesting.  I know many people who use caffeine to help fuel their workouts.  I know many people who use caffeine to help fuel their day.  So, while I am by NO MEANS saying to use caffeine instead of any physician prescribed medication for asthma . . . I just think it is interesting.  Since it could be that many people with asthma are drinking coffee anyway. I just like when I come across tidbits of information.

What do you think?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

POPCORN, A Thing Of My Past

Posted by terrepruitt on June 21, 2014

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 YogaMy niece was here visiting for a week, but because she is family she doesn’t really get treated like a guest.  It is my stance that she is here visiting ME (and my husband) so I drag her along to all of my Nia classes, my yoga classes, and all the things I have to do.  She is completely capable of staying at the house and relaxing as if on vacation, but — nope, she is here for a visit so I make her visit.  She got out of going with me one day when her uncle took her to the beach.  THEY were visiting.   At the end of the week, my dad came to pick her up and we were waiting for my husband to get off of work so we could all go to dinner.  My dad looked at one of my clocks, then at his watch and he said, “I always look at MY watch.”  Then he said that my clock was fast.  We started talking about how we can’t call POPCORN any longer.  Then I realized that my niece probably doesn’t even know what that is!  So I asked her, she had no idea.  Awwwww.  Sometimes it is sad when things I had all my life are unknown.  The conversation led to, “When did it stop?”  So, of course, I looked it up.  And — guess what?  I found all kinds of information I didn’t know.  This post is about POPCORN or the Speaking Clock!

When I was young if you wanted to know the EXACT time you called 767-1234, or 767-2676, which spells POPCORN.  Now, I grew up in a house with a lot of clocks (probably why I have a lot in our house), but they were set at least 10 minutes ahead of time — I am sure my parents had a reason for that, but I could NOT tell you WHY (but my dad still does it).  Not only were they not set to the correct time, most of them didn’t match.  So, I basically never really could figure out what time it was, so I called POPCORN a lot.

It was also interesting because after a power outage the line would be busy!  Apparently a lot of people were trying to find out what time it was!  My internet search revealed that AT&T stopped the Speaking Clock in California in 2007.  I remember when it stopped.  I remembered it was a hot topic in a lot of my social media feeds, but I didn’t remember the year.  All of the information in this post is from Wiki.  Wiki says that in the United States it was not known by the name “Speaking Clock.”  That is nice for me to know because I don’t remember it ever being called that.  The information states it was typically called “Time of Day.”  I just remember we called it POPCORN.  Although the 767 prefix was just for Northern California.  (Wiki calls the prefix “exchanges”)

Quick Wiki facts:

–France had the first speaking clock service, it started on February 14, 1933
–Not all speaking clocks are a free call, sometimes services charges apply
–Some counties have speaking clocks in more than one language
–Some services supply local time and local weather

The following countries have speaking clocks:

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados,Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France Germany, Greece, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand,  Ukraine, United Kingdom,

Norway had the service until 2007.  Also, it could be that some of these services have since been ceased.

Ha.  Cool.  I never really thought about other countries having a speaking clock.  Seems like a lot of the States in America have stopped the service due to the use of cell phones.  Not many people using their cell phones to CALL to see what time it is.  And cell phone clocks don’t need to be set.  I used to carry the phone (not a cell phone) from clock to clock and set the time to the EXACT time according to POPCORN.  I just was kind a little surprised the other day by the thought that my niece didn’t even know what it was.  I am so happy that Deb Wong thought to video tape it and put it on Youtube for those of use that want to hear that familiar voice to see it!  THANKS Deb!

So . . . do any of you local remember this?  Miss it?  How about you all living not local (to me)?  Do you have a Specking Clock?  Do you use it?

 

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Things I Didn’t Know About E-cigarettes

Posted by terrepruitt on June 19, 2014

Recently while riding as a passenger I saw another driver smoking an e-cigarette.  I think it would be more accurate to say, sucking on an e-cigarette.  I mentioned it to my husband and he mentioned something about the manufacturers having issues because laws were being passed in many places that would require them to be treated like regular cigarettes.  I was excited to hear that because I feel that the manufacturers of them “target” young kids.  So I Googled e-cigarettes or something and an article came up “10 Little-known Facts About E-cigarettes” by Maria Trimarchi and Susan Cassidy.  This statement jumped out at me:  “Smoking cigarettes is known to cause damage to every organ in your body, and smoking-related illnesses are responsible for one out of every five deaths in the U.S.”  Holy Moly!  If you have time jump over and read that article or stay here and let me share with you some of the things I found interesting according to that article.

It states that one-fifth of smokers have tried e-cigarettes in attempt to quit smoking.  So basically trading one habit for another.  To me, not truly quitting.  The citation for that statement links to an article that states the e-cigarette helps give the smoker the same sense of smoking.  Well . . . not truly quitting.  So I am unsure as to why they consider an e-cigarette and “attempt to quit”.

I have always wondered what an e-cigarette was, ya know, what it did, this article cleared that up for me with “This is a tobacco-free product. E-cigs are actually vaporizers; instead of burning tobacco, the mechanism heats up a liquid. The liquid turns into vapor, which is then inhaled, or ‘vaped.'”

More info:

Instead of a lighter there is a battery which engages the e-cigarette to heat up and the liquid contained in the cartridge and it vaporizes.

Nothing is burning so there is no secondhand smoke, the “sucker” inhales vapor.

Just because they are tobacco free and don’t burn that doesn’t mean they are nicotine free.  And that is the addictive stuff.  The stuff that is very harmful.  In fact in its liquid form it can be fatal.  Not only through ingestion, but through your skin.  I know I have seen CSI do a story on that.  The article lists some numbers about how there was a significant rise in the calls received by poison control centers in regards to liquid nicotine poisoning.

“The liquid in e-cigarettes is typically a combination of nicotine, flavorings (such as bubble gum or watermelon).”  Oh, yeah, remember I mentioned I believe they are targeting kids . . . . what?  Why?  Because they have bubble gum or watermelon flavor?  Naawwww!

Some have the same amount of nicotine as regular cigarettes.

The article also alludes to the idea that some of the metals released during the vaping may be toxic.

Some tests done on the cartridges used in the e-cigarettes showed they contained an ingredient that is also found in antifreeze.

Some tests showed that the cartridges were not labeled correctly so the consumer was actually getting MORE nicotine than they thought.

Just this year regulations regarding e-cigarettes are starting to come into play.  But according to this article “Manufacturers, however, say the e-cigarette is simply recreational, and should not be subject to FDA regulation.”

There is a possibility for smokers to save money sucking on e-cigarettes instead of “real” or regular cigarettes.

Even though the e-cigarette does not burn the potential for secondhand nicotine exposure is present.  The exposure is less, but still with 2.5 million non-smokers having died from affects of secondhand smoke in a fifty year period, I would rather not be breathing that air . . . thank you.

I never thought they were a good idea, but I found it interesting to read these fact.  Do pop over and check out the entire article as I only highlighted the info to give you the “vaporized” version.

Well, what do YOU think about the e-cigs?  Better than regular cigarettes? 

 

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Rockin’ The Block Or More Accurately My Nia Classes

Posted by terrepruitt on June 17, 2014

I teach Nia for the City of San Jose and the YMCA.  I have been teaching Gentle Yoga too, but that is different.  The Gentle Yoga classes are usually smaller both the actually room we are in and the number of people.  And with yoga we don’t need the music loud so often times my iPhone in the middle of the yoga mats serves us just fine.  But with Nia we need the music loud.  Not “Zumba-loud” because I still need to be heard over the music, but loud enough that I can hear my music cues and people can get a sense of the music.  With most of my classes the number of students is more than yoga and the venue is larger.  I actually have taught at some places where the audio system did not work so I tried using my phone and it did not have enough volume.  With Nia people follow my lead, but they also move their body in their own way so it helps them dance when there is music to dance too.  So since I teach in all different places and the audio system is not always the same I have a variety of speakers.  I had been looking at one for a couple of years, but never wanted to invest the money.  But one day my hubby and I were at Costco and we saw a device I had been looking at.  He wanted to get it.  I hemmed and hawed, but we came home with a Block Rocker.

I had almost bought one before but with every model they came out with something different so I was trying to decide which one to purchase.  Then they came out with a Bluetooth enabled version.  I wanted to know that I could still use an Aux cable because Bluetooth can be spotty.  I had not been able to determine that from my shopping online at first.  And then I forgot about it until I saw it in Costco.  We pulled it off the shelf and checked it out.  Read the box to make sure it would play music both ways — via Bluetooth or a cable.  And my hubby put it in the cart.  All the way around the store I kept thinking, “Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.”  and on and on.

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 YogaWe came home with it.  We plugged it in and hooked it up to our devices.  It was pretty cool.  Both my husband and I have used it around the house.  It does GREAT house sound.  Our house is an acoustical “weird-mare”, but it works great.  Both of us have used it out in the yard.  But none of that is in a big room with people in it.  And I am not complaining that the rooms I have been teaching in have sound systems.  That is GREAT.  I am very fortunate.  I have not had the opportunity to use my big speaker.

My Group Ex Nia Class with the City of San Jose on Tuesdays and Thursdays is normally held in the dance studio.  But this summer there is Summer Camp in there for the kids one week every month.  So at the beginning of the year my supervisor moved us from the dance studio to the Multipurpose room.  I didn’t know if this room had an audio system.  I have been telling my class for months that we were going to be in the MPR for a few classes this summer.  Then for the past two weeks I have been reminding them of the actual dates.  I would have been very upset with myself if I had shown up and not be prepared.  Here I have been preparing them for months and then I didn’t have music.  I am soooooooooo glad I thought about my Block Rocker.  This is EXACTLY what it is for.

I even remembered to charge it the night before.  Ya see it is a Bluetooth device and it has a rechargeable battery so it can be used totally cordless.  Squeeeee!

So I used it today and it worked GREAT.  I am super happy.  I love it when things work out.  I am so glad that Costco had it and it was such a good deal.  As I said, I had been shopping for them for a couple of years and was happy this one was priced lowest of them all.  Even though it was the newest model.

Here is some information copied from the ION website:

•Streams music wirelessly from any Bluetooth music-playing device or phone
•Works with iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android devices, and more
•Input for a microphone (came with a microphone), instruments and other audio sources
•High-quality microphone included
•Built-in digital AM/FM radio and retractable antenna
•USB port for charging iPad, iPhone, or other devices
•Built-in battery provides up to 50 hours of use
•Bluetooth range of up to 50 feet
•High-output powered 2-way speaker
•1/8-inch auxiliary input for amplifying other audio devices
•Recessed wheels and telescoping handle for portability
•Rugged design to withstand heavy use
•Projects high-fidelity sound up to 150 feet away
•Built-in cradle for your smartphone, iPad, or other device

It does not have an equalizer so it will not be “perfect” sound.  It is what it is.  It is great . . . in my opinon . . . for exercise classes.  Oooo, I am so excited.  You know me, I like to share when I am excited about things.  When I learn of something that helps make MY life easier I like to share.  I like to let you know so perhaps it can help one of you.

Can you see yourself owning one?  Do you think you could use one?  Do you like to have people over for outside grilling and/or BBQing?

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

Death, It Is So Very Personal

Posted by terrepruitt on June 14, 2014

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 YogaEveryone is so different.  We all have different ways of doing a lot of things.   Sometimes we can see things the same way in order to function.  We can get along or just go along with ideas and customs to just have peace.  Or we can do it for a loved one.  But it seems like when it comes to death and our beliefs around it there is sometimes a huge separation.  You can be going along in life completely meshing up with everyone around you and then someone dies and BAM!  You suddenly don’t agree on anything.  The way we all handle death is so different.  I understand the five stages of grief*, “popularly known by the acronym DABDA”, (although, I have never heard it called that).  I am not saying that I understand each stage in the sense that I have experienced them, I am saying I understand that someone has identified these as stages people grieving might go through.  But what people do during these stages and after is still very individualized.  Everyone deals with grief differently, I understand that, although I do not agree with how everyone deals with it as you might have guessed if you read Grief Is a Very Personal Thing, where I say people grieve differently and as long as they aren’t mean or causing harm I don’t like to label their behavior unacceptable.  This post is not so much about behavior, I don’t think.  I know that many people want their loved ones near or they want to be able to visit their loved ones, but I am not one of those people.  I think of my loved ones as being gone . . . so having their remains near by is just odd to me.

Today I was trying to concentrate on learning a Nia routine and it is one that has the Nia participant turning to face all four walls.  So that means I turn to each four walls in the room.  I found myself facing the ashes of loved ones at two of the walls.  The first and second wall, so by the time I got to the third and fourth wall I was lost in other thoughts.  I had been avoiding the room upon my travels through the house.  Normally I walk into this room to get to the back rooms because it is the softer path, but I had been avoiding it.  But this is the best, the largest room to practice in so I was doing my Nia practice in it.  But it just happens to have three of my relatives in it.  I don’t care for that.

As I type all three of them are at my back.  I bet I would not be as conscious of it had I not seen a post on Facebook from a friend who is pretty confident she did not receive the correct ashes of her pet.  She posted a picture of the paw print of what she received compared to the pet she had.  She has similarly sized pets still so she compared paws.  The mold she received was at LEAST four times larger.  And she went onto say that she has about three cups of ash.  She said she thought her pet would be about one.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

It got me thinking.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  How many cups of people are in this house.  WHAT????????????  Sigh.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.

Whew.  People are so different.  Many people have loved one’s ashes.  In fact, they sell beautiful urns to contain these ashes.  We’ve (probably) all seen those horrendous comedy TV shows where someone has accidentally spilled the ashes all over.  Breathe.

I just don’t know what to think about that.  I am working on letting people do what they need to do.  But, I personally don’t need to do it.  I think that tomorrow I will workout in another room — and probably from here on out.  I — don’t care to have THAT kind of reminder of my loved ones around.  To each their own.  And let everyone be . . .

Donna, thanks for always making me laugh, even if it is particularly in horror.

Thoughts?  What are your thoughts about this?  Are you an ashes and urn type of person?  Please feel free to share your feelings.  I’ve shared mine.

*The five stages of grief (according to Wiki):

  1. Denial — As the reality of loss is hard to face, one of the first reactions to follow the loss is Denial.
  2. Anger — “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”; “Why would God let this happen?”
  3. Bargaining — “I’ll do anything for a few more years.”; “I will give my life savings if…”
  4. Depression — “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one, why go on?”
  5. Acceptance “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it, I may as well prepare for it.”

 

Posted in Diane Bacho | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Friends With Benefits

Posted by terrepruitt on June 12, 2014

Ahhhh . . . recently I have been feeling . . . I don’t know . . . if I had to label it, I would say “depleted”.  I think the time has come when I am starting to miss my mom.  Ya know at first, I was busy and the last couple of years she was too tired to talk much so we didn’t talk that much . . . it could be a couple of weeks between phone calls.  She had also had limits on us visiting her.  Since she was not someone I see or talk to everyday it just seemed like a long time “in between” conversations.  Now, two months later . . . it is starting to affect me.  And I realized I felt a little depleted.  I hadn’t talked to my mom or seen my friends in a bit so I figured I needed a visit with a friend.  It just so happened I lucked out this week.  One of my friends/students has been away for a month and yesterday she showed up at Nia.  She came to class and it happened that she didn’t have an appointment or another class to rush off to.  So we sat and visited.  Then as we were visiting another friend showed up . . . which was really out of the norm.  It was obvious to me that this was all meant to be.  So I was able to get a little refilled.  Ya know the kind of replenishing that you get from visit with friends?  Then today after my Nia class I met with a friend for a quick visit, but we hadn’t seen each other in so long it turned out longer than we had thought.  It was a good visit.  A replenishment.  I want to post some information about how good relationships help us in life.

I was going through some papers and I found a little blurb that was printed many years ago that said having a deep conversation with a good friend might reduce anxiety in woman.  The theory was because it increased levels of progesterone.  So I went looking for the information on the internet and what I found actually distracted me from my original search (NO!  That NEVER happens to ANYONE EVER!!!!!).  Well, first let me quote from the article I found online at Michigan News

“Why does dishing with a girlfriend do wonders for a woman’s mood?

A University of Michigan study has identified a likely reason: feeling emotionally close to a friend increases levels of the hormone progesterone, helping to boost well-being and reduce anxiety and stress.”

So while we might not have known the biological reason why having close friends is good or makes us feel good we have heard enough information that we know research has shown friendships add to our lives.  But what I found took it a little further reminded me of how not only do GOOD friendships help make you feel better and give you health benefits they have been show to improve your health when you are ill.

Again, looking at information from years ago . . . WebMD’s article “Good Friends Are Good for You” states:

“One such study, reported in the journal Cancer, followed 61 women with advanced ovarian cancer. Those with ample social support had much lower levels of a protein linked to more aggressive types of cancer. Lower levels of the protein, known as interleukin 6, or IL-6, also boosted the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Women with weak social support had levels of IL-6 that were 70% higher in general, and two-and-a-half times higher in the area around the tumor.”

Also according to the article women with breast cancer in a support group had less pain and that “strong social support helps people cope with stress.”  Well, I know, for a fact that this is true for me.  I don’t need a study to tell me that I am less stressed after a visit with a close friend.

The article mentions that having a lot of friends may even reduce your chances of getting a cold.  Well, I don’t believe that quantity of friends is what supplies the benefit, I think it is the quality.  If you are able to vent to your friends and receive support and hear their stories and give them support back . . . that is what supplies us with stress relief.  We are getting things off our chest and getting support in return.  We are connecting with real people that have real problems and getting a sense of not being the only one whose life it not TV perfect.  And I believe relieving stress and making that connection supports our immune system which in turn helps protect us from catching colds.

So, my advice . . . if you are feeling blue or overwhelmed or perhaps not really certain what you are feeling, a little out of sorts, visit with a friend.  See if that helps cheer you up.  Might not take away all of the blue, but perhaps it will help ground you a bit so that you can do the rest.

Do you know what I am talking about?  Have you ever felt that wonderful fullness after a visit with friends? Do you believe that a good social network can help support medical treatment?  What else have you got on your mind?

 

If this post sounds familiar . . . .you could have read Friends For Life, which is pretty similar.  🙂

 

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Adding More Noise To The Mix

Posted by terrepruitt on June 10, 2014

We have sounding in Nia . . . where we make sounds as we are dancing.  Plus people are always invited and . . . in my class . . . encouraged to sing.  I’ve written several posts about sounding and put them in their own category under Nia.  (Click here for the link to those posts)  Although I do not think of making sounds as being regulated to Nia, I just have them as a sub-category under the category Nia.  I think sounds are appropriate to make during other exercises and workouts.  One that always comes to mind when people seem to need convincing of making noises and exercising is martial arts.  Once I remind them that “Hi-Ya!” is a common sound, they seem to relax into the idea a bit.  As I probably have mentioned before, I remember it being an unspoken rule that you didn’t make noise while you are doing Jazzercise, lifting weights, or working out at the Lady Spa.  Could have been ideal that it was unladylike to make noise.  I don’t know, because I never remember being told NOT to make a sound, I just know that no one did it.  It was almost as if even breathing heavy was taboo!  One reason I love Nia:   breathing and making sounds are encouraged.  But I think of these sounds as helping with the flow of oxygen and energy.  I think of them as stress relieving and joy bringing.  So when I was flipping through Yoga Journal and came across an article titled “How To Be Fearless” I thought, “Huh?  Interesting.”  Mark Moliterno, an opera singer and yoga instructor has paired yoga with voice to create YogaVoice.

This reminded me of one of Nia’s instructors who created Kivo® The Kinetic Voice . . . which is – according to her website – “a vocal practice that uses the whole body. It is designed to harness the power of vocal vibration and movement as transformational tools that unlock energy, activate your true radiance and empower you to go out and create the life you were born to live.”  So . . . back to the article when I looked at the chart within the article I realized that the pairings were for more than just overcoming public speaking jitters as the subtitle read.  It was for a list of different areas.

Just as we know certain sounds to be related to certain chakras and feelings, you probably also know poses are related to certain chakras and feelings.  When sounds and asanas are paired up they can be very beneficial.  I would bet many of you are familiar with “OM” as a yoga chant. Different sounds and different mantras can be used.  The information on the YogaVoice websites leads me to believe this is different from chanting while doing yoga, there are indications that it goes beyond that.

I just love that more sounding is coming into the workout.  Since I believe there is a lot more to sounding — a lot more benefits can be reaped than just breathing — I love movement forms that stem from sounding or that incorporate it.

Do you believe the is benefits to making noises while working out?  Do you make noises while exercising?

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Beef A Top A Squash

Posted by terrepruitt on June 7, 2014

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 YogaAnother quick post.  I often have a vague idea of what I am going to cook for dinner then I forget as the day goes on.  Either I am teaching Nia, learning a Nia routine, or at the moment going through my mom’s stuff.  So I find myself walking into the kitchen and not knowing what to cook.  Yesterday I was on the phone with my husband and it was already past starting-dinner-time and I didn’t even know what to make.  I had purchased some ground beef but had no plan as to what to do with it and I had forgotten about it.  When I looked in the fridge I saw it and the butternut squash I bought.  Ooo!  Stuffed squash.  Actually it is more like Topped Squash.  It is somewhat easy . . . except for making space in squash.  I was trying to do it in a manner that saved the squash innards for roasting (perhaps you will notice the cut up pieces of squash in the picture).  That was the difficult part.  Needing so much concentration I forgot to take pictures.  I emptied out the small portion where the seeds are (easy), but I wanted more room for meat (not so easy).  So I cooked then cut (I would not recommend that).  I would recommend just skipping that part and making room using a spoon before baking it.

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Beef Topped Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash
olive oil
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1 lb of beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt
pepper
1 cup of shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 450° F.  Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise.  Remove the seeds and enough of the insides to make a “boat” in which to place the beef.  Coat both sides of each half in olive oil.  Salt both sides of each half.  Place each half face down on parchment paper on pan.  Bake for 15 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, heat the oil and onion.  Once the onion is translucent, add the beef.  Add the salt and garlic.  Cook the beef until it is almost completely cooked.  Add the pepper.

When the first 15 minutes are done, turn the squash over and bake for another 15 minutes, salting again, at this time, if that is your preference.  After the second 15 minutes of cooking . . . . check the squash.  If it seems cooked all the way through, salt it again and then fill each half with the beef and top with shredded cheese.  Bake until the cheese is melted.

This is very rich and very filling.

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I didn’t think about how much this was like the stuffed pumpkin I once cooked.  Although the stuffed pumpkin was much more “complicated”, as in it had more ingredients and a bit more complex flavors.  This was very good, I thought.  And since we usually eat ground turkey and not ground beef that much this was very rich.  I feel that beef is more “rich” than turkey.  It was very good.  And, had I not been trying to save the portion of squash that needs to come out to make room for the meat it would have been easy.  So if you are not interested in making nice chunks of squash to roast along side the halves this is an easy recipe.  And very yummy and rich.  Good dietary fiber!

Do you like stuff/topped squash?  What would you top yours with?

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