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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Who Thinks About Their Knees?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 26, 2014

We do!  Today in the group exercise class I was subbing, I did a Nia class. Our focus was the knee, with the intent of bringing awareness to the main muscles that help move the knee. So with that intent we were thinking about the quadriceps and the hamstrings. There are other muscles involved in the knee’s movement and stability, but we were keeping it simple and just focusing on those two sets of muscles. There are four muscles that make up the quadriceps and three that make up the hamstrings. The quadriceps are on the “front” of the thigh and the hamstrings are on the back of the thigh. To see my brief post on the Quadriceps click here. To see my brief post on the Hamstrings click here. The muscles of the quadriceps help straighten the leg. So they extends it. They pull the lower leg forward. The muscles of the hamstrings pull the lower leg back, what we call bending the knee. The knee gets straightened and bent a lot in a Nia dance exercise class, but there might not always be awareness of the muscles that are doing it. Today we brought awareness to the knee bending and straightening muscles.

Bringing awareness to muscles can be done in many ways. Often time the choreography of a Nia Routine has us doing specific steps and arm movements. In the first few songs of the routine I am doing I did not have the class do any touching of our legs. I just suggested that the class think about their legs, while, in the first song we moved our chest down and lowered our hips. Everyone moves to their own depth so not all of us were in a bend with chest on our thighs, but we were still able to bring awareness to our thighs with knees bent. The next few songs have us aware of our knees as we sink a bit to activate hips and move with front, back, and diagonal steps.

When we were at a song that is a free dance we wiggled our knees, we knocked them, we straightened them. We touched the front of our thighs while we moved our legs, opening and closing the knee joint. We kicked forward and back. While we danced we touched the back of our thighs. The act of touching allows us to sense the muscles as it moves the leg, extending and flexing. The act of touching helps us bring awareness to the muscles as we use them.

While we do a punching and blocking sequence we are aware of the stability we have in the wide stance with the knees slightly bent. This pose allows the opportunity for awareness of the full thigh activation.   Even while standing still we are sensing the dance of strength and stability.

I love that Nia incorporates a focus and an intent as one of the workout cycles. This gives us a chance to focus on many things. In this case the movement of the knee. This is a great way to keep both the body and mind active while bringing awareness of how the body moves into our dance exercise class.

Do YOU think about your knees?  Do you think about how your leg bends?

2 Responses to “Who Thinks About Their Knees?”

  1. niachick said

    Yes, I think about my knees. Having torn the menisci in my right knee 7 or 8 years ago (and never had surgery), I am very aware of my knees. I still wear a knee sheath when I teach. When I did my Yoga teacher training, I remembered the hamstrings as “the three little pigs” (ha ha! it helped us remember there were 3 of them and “pig” helped remind me that it was ham). Great post, Terre. I love your anatomy-related posts (I love all of your posts).

    Like

    • Sadly, many people only think about body parts when they are injured, as you may have experienced in your working with people. That’s what is fun about Nia, right? Awareness . . .

      Thank you, always, for your support. XO

      Like

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