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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Mirrorless Inward Reflection

Posted by terrepruitt on July 15, 2014

I teach Nia at Community Centers in San Jose.  One of the things about community centers is they are for the community.  During the summer that means that they are kid central.  It is amazing all of the programs they have for kids during the summer.  It is so great to see the centers doing so much to keep the kids learning and active during the summer.  What a full community center sometimes translates to is regularly scheduled classes get shuffled around.  I was given about six months notice for this summer’s shuffle.  So our Nia class was prepared.  I had been telling them since January.  Then I put up a notice in June.  So we were aware.  It is a huge blessing that we just get moved to another room and not to a different time or cancelled altogether.  I am grateful that we still get to have a class while all these summer camps and kid fun is going on.  It is working out to be one week a month.  Last month the room we were moved to had the portable mirrors in the closet so we were able to roll them out and use them.  Today the closet was full of tables and chairs.  The mirrors were nowhere to be found.  The center is on what used to be a high school campus.  So it is very large and spread out.  I wasn’t certain that 25 minutes would be enough time to let someone know about the situation, find the mirrors, and move them all the way across the campus.  So we did Nia without mirrors today, using the opportunity to focus inward.

I have done Nia without mirrors before.  In fact I posted about it in my post Nia In The Mirror when I was teaching in San Carlos.  That is one reason when I started working at the San Jose Community Centers I was so impressed with their portable mirrors.  In fact I thought I did a post about them because they are sooooo cool.  (Well, I don’t see one, so that will probably be my next post!)

In a Nia class the teacher stands with her/his back to the students.  One way we connect with our students is eye contact in the mirror.  A Nia teacher can turn and face the students.  In fact, it is recommended at times to do so to change things up and to connect in another way to the students.  We even practiced it in the Blue Belt Intensive.  So it is up to the teacher to teach facing whichever way s/he wants.  Generally though we face away from the students.

Facing away makes it easier for some people to follow since we are moving the same side of the body and going in the same direction as opposed to the mirror image as was (and possibly still is) done in Jazzercise.  What I find is that I learn the routine SAYING it as if I am teaching with my back towards the students so for me to turn around I would be saying go left as I move left and we would not be dancing in mirror image.  So to turn and face the students while we are doing a dance that moves front or back or laterally is a challenge for me.  Especially when it is a new routine.  And right now, I am somewhat learning a routine.  In a routine there is usually a song or two where we are not moving left or right so we often face each other than.  I was able to do that today, but some I did with my back to them.

I think dancing without a mirror every once in a while is a good thing.  It helps the students dance with themselves.  The moment I found out we didn’t have mirrors I knew our intent and focus.  I set the focus to be the Conscious Personal Trainer, with the intent of being fully aware of and sensing your own body’s movements.  Without the mirror to distract us I thought it would be a great opportunity to focus more on one’s own body.  Without the mirror we don’t see ourselves nor the other people.  Without a mirror the possibility to draw ones attention in and keep it in seems better.

So, of course, I was very happy when one of my students said that dancing without the mirrors made it different.  It did allow her to focus more on her movements.  She said she was less distracted with the other students.  Yay!  I like that it worked for her.  I like that we were able to do it different, but we still danced and had fun.  I am very blessed to have such great students that can just go with the flow and DO Nia!  It is nice to have “no mirrors” give us the opportunity for something different.

When you take a lead-follow exercise class do you prefer the instructor FACE your or face away from you?

 

2 Responses to “Mirrorless Inward Reflection”

  1. niachick said

    One of the things I most loved about Nia when I found it 15 years ago was that the teacher faced the same direction as the students. I was never very good at typical aerobic classes when the teacher faced me…my brain doesn’t operate very well when I have to “mirror” the leader, rather than following them. It’s also a challenge for me to turn and face my students with a new routine…or any routine for that matter. We learned that technique in Blue Belt as you mentioned, but it’s still a challenge for me.
    Thanks for posting this. I love my mirrors.

    Like

    • I like it too (the teacher faced the same direction as the students). I found it very different because I was accustom to the teacher FACING the class.

      Thank you for sharing that it is a challenge for you, too. One of my conversations with a student after that class had me feeling as if I should just be able to turn around. JUST LIKE THAT! (snap)

      However I had done it for a couple of songs and I had people mirroring me AND people do the same side as me . . . so the class was doing it their own way. For songs where we just are not moving right or left, I can turn. In fact we formed a circle. But it is the moving left or right when I have learned “go left” and I would be going left and they would be going left.

      PLUS . . . it was Bailando. As I know you are familiar with that routine . . . could you imagine me FACING the class and doing all that “corner” foot work? We are just barely embodying it now so for me to turn around would have been very funny!

      Thanks again, Jill. MUAH!

      Like

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