Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 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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Archive for April, 2015

May Day

Posted by terrepruitt on April 30, 2015

In the yoga class I taught earlier this week I mentioned that we were headed into May.  One of my students said we don’t really celebrate May Day any longer.  I thought they still did in the United Kingdom, but I don’t ever remember it being celebrate here.  She went onto say that when she was young they made May Day flower baskets out of paper and would fill them with flowers.  Then they would walk around the neighborhood placing flowers on people door knobs.  I asked her where that was and she said someone in the Mid-west.  I said that I didn’t think that was a California thing, but then another student mentioned that her 90 year old (or 80 year old) friend had said she did it when she was young and in California.  I was intrigued.  I had never heard of this flower tradition.  My main research site is Wiki.  According to Wiki the celebrations for May Day are primarily in Europe, the first line on the page is “May Day on May 1 is an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and usually a public holiday.”

There were and are holidays and festivals and parades in Europe.  Something I don’t ever remember seeing here.  I think “ancient” is an accurate description, in regards to the US, anyway.  Seems in the more modern times the acknowledgement of May turned more towards labor and/or politics.  With Great Britain’s celebrations – at one point – coinciding with the last day of planting for the small towns and villages the farm workers would get the day off.  Wiki further cites many celebrations of May Day still being held.  Finland uses the day as an excuse to have carnival like festivities.  France celebrates May 1st by giving ladies flowers.  Lilies of the Valley.

In Germany there seems to be a tradition of Maypoles and flowers.  Not certain this tradition is still done today, but Maypoles with ribbons were placed in the lady’s yard by a love interest whereas ladies place “roses or rice in the form of a heart at the house of their beloved one”.  Roses or rice?  And May Day is a public holiday.

In Ireland they have a feast and in Bulgaria they celebrate Irminden by performing rituals to protect people from the snakes and lizards associated with the holiday.  Romania has what they call the arminden.  Their celebration might lend more to doing “rites and habits” they believe might protect farm animals and crops.  The first day of May in Sweden is “celebrated as International Workers’ Day.”

Some places in Canada celebrate May Day but it sounds more like parades and celebrations for International Workers’ Day.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoWiki does state:

In some parts of the United States, May Baskets are made. These are small baskets usually filled with flowers or treats and left at someone’s doorstep. The giver rings the bell and runs away. The person receiving the basket tries to catch the fleeing giver; if caught, a kiss is exchanged.

But in modern day the day has changed to a more political day.  Since 2006 it has been a day of protests.  And I see from a Google Search that there are many planned for this May Day (2015).

When I was young I had heard the expression about dancing around the Maypole, but I have never heard of an actual May Day celebration. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if the days of giving flowers came back around?

Do you celebrate May Day?  Do you have plans for May Day?  Have you EVER celebrated May Day?

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Bye Bye Bill

Posted by terrepruitt on April 28, 2015

We ditched cable.  Yup.  My husband has been asking me forever if he can cancel cable.  I have not been receptive to the idea because there are a few shows I like to watch on Network TV.  He got a ROKU and he signed up for Netflix.  This was a long time ago.  We watch a lot of our favorite shows on Netflix.  Not new stuff.  We tend to watch things over again.  I am in the middle of watching Fraiser for the third time.  We also watch the Star Treks over again.  We have a few other series that we watch on Netflix, but sometimes we have to wait for Netflix to get the seasons.  You may be familiar with the phenomenon of binge watching a show and then having to wait for the next season to be acquired by Netflix.  Recently my husband signed up for Hulu.  This was because some of his shows could be watched on Hulu.  Hulu gets shows sooner than Netflix.  It works out because we can watch them when we want to watch them.  We don’t have a DVR, so Hulu and Netflix work good.  That left just us needing cable even less.  But doesn’t it figure that the only channel that is not on Netflix or Hulu is the channel and the shows that I want to watch.  Well, he must have been doing a lot of research in order to get rid of cable.  He found CBS has their own streaming channel.  Ahhh . . . . my shows.  Anytime I want.  So we got rid of cable.

We didn’t have any fancy cable package because we don’t really watch that much “new” TV.  As I said, we tend to watch shows over and over and over again.  I think I mentioned that before in a post.  We have a lot of DVDs and Netflix works good for us.  Not only did we not have a lot of cable channels we didn’t have the channels in HD.  That is one of the reasons why my husband likes to watch the shows he watches on Hulu instead of when they are broadcast on TV because it is in HD.  Once he got Hulu for his shows the number of shows we watched on broadcast TV was down to three.  So he wanted to cancel cable, but as I said, CBS didn’t put their shows on Hulu or Netflix.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoWhile he and I were in discussions about cancelling cable, a few of the CBS shows showed up on Netflix.  But not Hulu.  The shows on Netflix were past seasons.  Hmmmmm . . . interesting.  And then, as I said, he discovered CBS Access or whatever it is.  And his major sell was he held up the remote that controls the TV channels and he said, “When was the last time you used this?”  I looked at him and couldn’t say.  I laughed.  I really thought it was funny that I only watched three shows on one channel.  So yay!  Now we don’t have any TV channels and we can watch TV when we want.  I know we are kind of late to the party because we have a lot of friends that are the same way.  We will see how it goes.

We had our first giggle this past weekend while we were trying to decide if we were going to watch a re-run of Saturday Night Live.  We were discussing that it really wasn’t that good, when my husband said, “Oh, we can’t watch it even if we wanted to.”  Again, I laughed because we don’t have the TV channels any longer.  Ha!

I am already really enjoying the CBS channel on Thursday nights because I have to teach and usually I rush home to get dinner on the table by 8:00 so I can see Big Bang Theory.  I find that when I watch reruns I think I haven’t see the episode, but 10 minutes in I realize I have.  But what happens is I am busy with putting dinner on the table so I miss the first few minute.  Now . . . I can watch it when I want.  I think with both Hulu and CBS there is a time limit.  But so far I haven’t been affected by it on Hulu and we just got the CBS channel thing so I will have to see about that.

Another great thing is we have one less remote.  At one point when cable did something (I don’t even know what) they gave us a remote that we had to use INSTEAD of our TV remote.  We had five (eyes rolling).  Now we only have four.

Do you have cable?  How many channels do you have?  What are your favorite shows?  Do you have Netflix?  Do you have Hulu?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Taste Of The Nia 5 Sensations

Posted by terrepruitt on April 25, 2015

Today we had a workshop to talk about and discover the Nia Five Sensations.  Just like a lot of things we do and use in Nia, the five sensations are not unique to Nia, but they are tools we use to enhance our dance exercise.  In a Nia class we strive to be in sensation.  Being aware of the sensations allows us to choose and dance what we need at the time of the class.  We had a small turn out, but the number of attendants is never the measure of success.  One of my Nia Students and fellow Nia Blue Belt’s helped me present the workshop.  This workshop was held at the request of the Camden Community Center.  Our participants shared that they felt they had a better understanding of the sensations and would be able to apply awareness to them either in a Nia class or just in everyday life.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoFirst we started off moving right away.  The participants walked in, we said hello then started dancing.  We danced to two songs.  Then we did a brief introduction of Nia then we shared the five sensations and how we experience them everyday.  We shared how they could be helpful to know and be aware of in a Nia class.   The 5 sensations are: Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Strength, and Stability (FAMSS).

Then we moved to each sensation.  As we talked we guided the students into the sensations.  We shared that flexibility is sensed as energy moving outward. It is the opening your body, the lengthening and yawning.  So we stretched and yawned our bodies open.  We reached out to lengthen our limbs.  We imagined our bones moving away from our center.  We practiced sensing the sensation even as our bodies showed no outward movement.

We talked about how agility can be sensed in the quick start and stop of a movement.  It is the physical feeling of pulling and pushing.  We hopped and jumped.  We chopped and slapped.  We “played” soccer and tennis.  We danced in a “strobe like” fashion.  We even stood still and let our gaze bounce around as our eyes moved with agility.

When talking about mobility we said it is sensed as energy in constant motion. It is youthful freedom.  (A description from the Nia Technique that I really like.) It is flowing movement, graceful, and easy.  We twirled and whirled around the room.  We let our bodies ebb and flow.  We rolled like the ocean.  We moved our arms.  We moved our legs.  We mobilized our spine.  We allowed the energy of constant motion to energize us.

We used the ballet bar and wall to start us off understanding that strength is sensed as energy moving inward.   With that first example it gives way to us sensing strength as a resisting, or a quality of weighted energy being moved in ways that allow you to sustain a movement or posture. It is the contraction of muscle.  It is the muscle squeezing bone.  We contracted and pushed.  We squeezed and resisted.  Allowing the effort to tire us a bit.

Then we experienced the calm of stability.  Stability is sensed as balance and comfort.  It is the physical feeling of harmony and peace combined with readiness for action.

After having practiced the sensations we then added them to the stances that are part of the 52 Moves of Nia.  We moved through the stances in the 5 sensations.  Then we put on the music and danced the stances in sensation.  After two songs we reviewed the kicks that are part of the 52 Moves of Nia.  We moved through the sensations doing the kicks.  Then onto dancing again.  We danced doing our kicks in sensation.

We finished off the workshop with two songs focusing on the sensations, but primarily using the Nia choreography and not so much sticking with the kicks and stances.  This allowed us to practice dancing in the sensations to whatever moves that come as part of a Nia routine.

It was a great little taste of the Nia 5 Sensations.  I can say that because no matter what I am teaching it is ALWAYS the students that make the class GREAT!

Are you aware of any of these sensations in your everyday life?

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Goes With Everything

Posted by terrepruitt on April 23, 2015

Black onyx is a great stone because, well, it is black so it goes with everything.  Also if you are one that believes stones and crystals have properties that can help in supporting well being then you might benefit from black onyx.  The indication is that black onyx is good for releasing negative energy and helps with strengthening ones own energy.  I was given a pair of onyx earrings by a friend this week in one of my Nia classes. She said she received them as a free gift when she purchased something and admitted that she was passing them on because she couldn’t wear them. I was thrilled, it was kind of her to think of me! I have been wearing them everyday since.  Since I received them I have been interested in what properties it might have

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoThe stone is thought to protect, heal, and ground. It is believed to help strengthen ones’ self confidence. With that in mind some information states it is a good stone to keep near when you are going through stressful situations and times when you might feel drained both physically and emotionally . . . times of grief and sorrow. Some believe it helps one make decisions, and if any of you have suffered a death of a loved one you might concede that it is difficult to make decisions during that process. Those properties would be helpful. In addition there are beliefs that it helps one regain emotional balance as well as elevating fears and worries. All things that are needed when a loved one dies.  Of course, those things can be helpful when facing just the everyday challenges of life, it doesn’t even have to be a situation of great sorrow and/or loss.  Most of us could benefit from strengthening  of our energy and self confidence.

Additional information states there is the idea that black onyx helps treat bone disorders and blood disorders. One site Sobrietystones.com claims that this stone is “The Stone of Self Mastery and Self Control”. And “Can be used to deflect or absorb the negativity of others, and in that way is a good stone for protection from negative forces and influences.”

The combined information leads to the idea that this stone helps stabilize emotions.  I can see that one feeling more in control would feel as if their emotions are more stable and not so up and down.  Basically, to me with the main benefits of the stone all the other stuff seems logical.  With the ridding of negative energy one can feel more confident.  If one is more confident they have more faith in their decisions and have an easier time at making them.  When confident and able to make decision it is almost inevitable that the emotional roller coaster ride would end.

So . . . this sounds like a good stone to have around.  Especially if it is jewelery, because as I said, it goes with everything.

What do you think?  Could you use a stone that could ward off negative energy?  Would you like something to wear that gives you more confidence?  Do you have anything that goes with black?

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Really, It IS Exercise

Posted by terrepruitt on April 21, 2015

Recently I was visiting with a friend and she was sharing with me her experience in an exercise class that she had attended a few days earlier.  She was sharing that the things they were doing in the class did not qualify as exercise.  She was saying that shimmying and doing the hand-around-your-head-move was not exercise.  She said she didn’t want to do that type of stuff in an exercise class.  I think she forgot who she was talking to.  I mean, she was talking to her friend who she was looking at to support her in the fact that neither the shimmy nor the hand-around-your-head-move was exercise.  But I think she forgot what I do for a job.  I made a comment about how if she didn’t want to use all her muscles, I could see why shimmying would not be something to do.  But she said she DID want to use all of her muscles.  I did not take the opportunity to elaborate on how the shimmy is a great exercise and uses — not all, but many, muscles.  It really was HER moment to share so I just listened.  It was obvious she didn’t want to use her muscles THAT WAY.  It was not my time to defend my craft or dance as an exercise.  It did make me laugh though.  It also reminded me why some people don’t like Nia.  Some people don’t want to dance as exercise.  Some people do not feel that moving to music is exercise.  There are many people who think that the only way to get exercise is to do something the same way — to move in the same way, to move in a linear way — over and over again.  Some people have very specific ideas about what they want to do as exercise.  And that is fine, I am not going to try to get them to a Nia class because they probably wouldn’t be able to participate enough to get a good workout.  But I do get my knickers in a twist when people say it is not exercise.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoI think it is more accurate to say, “It is not movement that I like or that I consider exercise.”  But to say it is not exercise.  Not fair.  But, again, very much a common way of thinking.  I have posted about exercise as dance before.  I even mentioned how I liked Dancing with the Stars (even thought I don’t watch it) because I think it helped some people realize that you CAN get a good workout in while dancing.  If nothing else, moving around for an hour is great cardio — if you are moving enough to get your heart rate up.

Some dance exercise classes use jumping movements to get the heart rate up.  Some — like Nia use big movements, fast movements, low movements, high movements, all over body movements.  As, I have said before, it is all there for the participant to use, it is up to each individual to do as much as they want.

Many people don’t care for the shimmying but it really is a great movement that uses upper body muscles.  I have seen many of my regular Nia students go from not being able to do it — for whatever reason — to embracing it.  I think I have mentioned before that there is one song in one of our routines where I like to keep them at doing the shimmy for a bit.  I usually ask, “Are you feeling it?”  I just like for people to experience that the shimmy can be an move that can qualify as “an exercise”.  Their answer – by the way is usually a laugh with a “OHH yeah!”

Some people move differently once they understand that the shimmy is not shaking what is on the front, but moving from the back.  I have a post on that, Shimmy From The Back.

I think there are a lot of dancers at there that would say dance is exercise.  However if you don’t like to dance I understand you might not feel that way.  But, if you ever want to see what I mean about the shimmy or Nia as a good workout, look for a class near you.  There are classes all over the world.  There are several in San Jose, California . . . . I know, because I teach ’em.

What do you consider exercise?  Have you ever TRIED dance-as-exercise?

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What Do You Mean Nia FreeDance Tool?

Posted by terrepruitt on April 18, 2015

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoSome of you may be wondering what I mean when I say Nia FreeDance Tools.  Recently I invited First Degree Black Belt Nia Teacher, Jason Alan Griffin, to present a playshop of his creation.  The playshop was him sharing some Nia FreeDance Tools.  I have talked about what Nia FreeDance is before, it is where there is no assigned choreography and we just dance to the music (or not).  But it is not the type of dancing you would see in a club.  It is not the type of dancing that has specific names for the dance moves . . . yeah a cha-cha, jazz square, or a pirouette might sneak its way in, but primarily it is not that type of dancing.  So some of the tools we have to practice Nia FreeDance are the 8 Stages of Nia FreeDance.  And within those stages can be additional tools.

First of all as a reminder we do FreeDance to allow our bodies to move in different ways.  To move in ways that are not our normal ways of dancing . . . so if you ARE a ballerina, the idea is to let your body dance outside of the ballet mold.  If you are tap dancer perhaps in FreeDance your feet don’t tap.  It is a way to practice different moves to music and allow our bodies to experience something away from its regular patterns.

There are other reasons and ways a Nia Teacher uses Nia FreeDance, but I am just going to keep this post on the path of tools.  So within the tool box are the 8 Stages as I mentioned.

Now, in the playshop Jason did not mention these tools in association with the stages, but a lot of the tools he shared were introduced to me in connection with the first 5 stages of Nia FreeDance.

So with Stage 1: FreeDance (Catch Phrase: Anything Goes, Movement-Wise) . . . almost all of the tools could be associated with this stage but one that sticks out for me is being silly, acting goofy.  This is super fun and is pretty close to guaranteed to get you to move in a different way to music than you might be used to.

Tools I associate with Stage 2: Being Seduced by the Music (Catch Phrase: Art of Listening) are as it says, being seduced by the music.  So just letting the music take you away.  I imagine most of you have had a song play where you can just get carried off by it.  You can just move without thinking and dance away.

There is also Tempo Change . . . this involves the art of listening because you are listening for the tempo and then dancing against it or with it or faster than it or slower than it or opposite of it.  Just listening and moving to it — in your own way.

There is also a tool that we use called “Forget the music” where you just dance in your own way — period.  People might look at you and wonder what you are hearing because it might look to them as if you are not dancing to the music.  And you could not be.  Perhaps you don’t like the song that is on or you like a different version that you know so your dance is not “to” the music.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoStage 3: Feelings and Emotions (Catch Phrase: Pretend, Fake It, Act As If ).   This stage has a lot of tools that connect to it, if you are dancing the “Feelings and Emotions” you act “as if” you are ___________ (fill in the blank with an emotion).  You could be ACTING “as if” you are angry so you stomp around the room.  Or you are ACTING “as if” you are jealous or ACTING “as if” you are happy.  Allowing your body to move in ways that it would move if you were feeling those emotions is a great way to move.

Or you could PRETEND you are playing an instrument.  I always say that I have become the greatest musician since I started teaching Nia.  Or you could act as if you are playing a sport or a child’s outdoor game.  This type of pretending is not sticking strictly to the stage and catch phrase, but it can be connected to it because there is pretending, faking, and acting.

Stage 4: The Creative Source (Catch Phrase: The Real You).  This is where there is no story or no acting “as if”, you are moving with your true emotions.  The tool would be no choreography allowed, in fact the dance is suspended and you are moving in your own way as an emotional being.

Stage 5: Authentic Movement (Catch Phrase: Change!!).  Here is where the tool of changing every two bars comes in.  The movement is authentic.  The real you, nothing fancy just the way your body goes, but changing it every two bars.  Or the change could be applied to directions or levels.  You could dance going one direction and quickly change to go another directions.  Or you could be dancing in the high plane and switch to the low or the middle.  The idea is to CHANGE!

So that is what we mean by “tools”.  Basically ideas of how to move.  There are a lot of tools that can be used, there are so many ways to move.  One of the most fun things to experience is an individual actually practicing these tools and then coming up to me after class and saying what a great workout they received.  Many say they didn’t realize that  FreeDancing could be such a great workout.  That is one reason why we FreeDance . . . it really is a GREAT workout!  Having a lot of tools makes it fun!

Does this give you a better idea as to what the “tools” are?  Does this give you ideas for your next dancing-in-your-living-room session?  Or ideas on how to conduct your next car-dancing moment?

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My Organization of the Choreography for Close to My Skin

Posted by terrepruitt on April 16, 2015

The current Nia routine I am trying to learn is taking me a long time.  I have mentioned before that I feel it takes me a long time to learn a routine, but this one seems even longer.  The first thing I do is listen to the music.  I had been doing so for a couple of weeks, then I got busy for a couple of days and hadn’t turned it on.  When I went to the album in my iTunes I was shocked to see I had never listened past the sixth song.  In fact, at that point I had never made it through the entire sixth song (that is how annoying it is).  So I realized I needed to watch the Nia Training DVD.  Watching the choreography usually helps me get through a song that I don’t like because it gives me points of reference.  But this workout is filmed where the teacher and class are FACING the camera.  I don’t like this since I primarily teach with my back towards the class.  Back to the class really helps people copy the moves because they don’t have the whole “mirroring” issue to resolve.  When I am trying to learn a routine and the people on the DVD are facing me, I don’t care for it.  I do it as mirror, they are using their left foot and I am using my right, so I go right when they say “Go left”.   All trainers sometimes state the opposite side or direction, but when they are actually USING the left, but I am mirroring them, it confuses my brain.  In addition to the camera angle challenge (for me) this particular song is said to be a different version than they thought they were getting.  So the choreography appears to be being created as the routine is being filmed.  So it is very loose.  I often feel that Debbie Rosas, in her brilliance, has so many ideas about choreography for one song that she sometimes shares them all during the filming and there ends up being a lot of moves in one song.  I am grateful that the belts I have taken thus far have emphasized “less is more” and we have permission to pick a couple of moves from the song on the DVD and do them to the song.  So that is what I did with one of the songs.  I picked a few of the moves she did and organized them into something I can learn.

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I will work on learning it this way.  Although I will need a lot of practice because the song tends to mesmerize me and I lose my place.  Hopefully as I grow more familiar with the moves and music I can play with it as the Debbie did. Since I don’t watch the DVDs that are filmed with the class facing front as many times as I watch the other ones I need to have a map I can follow from the get go.  That is also the case for me when the song is very long and repetitive.  I need to have a pattern, even then I can get lost in a song like this.  And as I mentioned — just listening to it, trying to learn the song itself is not something I have been able to do.  Every time I turn it on to learn it, half way through I am so annoyed by it, I turn it off.  But moving to it is another thing.  That is why when I don’t like a song, I look to the choreography because often times when the choreography makes sense it allows me to get through the song.  More often than not I end up liking the song.  We will see what happens with this song.  It is like a dripping faucet.

Except for the class and the trainer facing the camera and the song titles not being shown as each song begins, the Nia training material continues to be stellar.  At the end of 2014, Nia HQ put out the new Routines.  I had ordered three earlier in the year, I just received the fourth one.  I am going to add the titles in with the AWESOME software I have on trial.  I have to do it before my 30 days is up.  Then I will continue learning the routine I am working on.  I will debut it to my class soon.

When you take group exercise classes do you like the instructor to face you?  Have you ever noticed how a lot of songs are very repetitive?

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Squished Lemons In a Jar

Posted by terrepruitt on April 14, 2015

I have some friends on Facebook that I have never met.  They are friends I have through Nia.  Nia is like any other group exercise or activity, you tend to “gather” in a group.  In addition to the average things people share on Facebook (recipes, family pictures, proud parent moments, pet pictures, meal pictures) we do share about our classes.  We make announcements about up coming events.  We talk about the routines and the “stuff” going on in Nia.  So I have a group of “Nia people” I am friends with on Facebook.  One of them was having a conversation with one of her friends and I jumped in because it sounded interesting.  You might know from some of my previous posts that I have a lemon tree.  You may also know that I am not really a fan of lemon flavor.  I never think to add it to any meat I am cooking.  I never think to use it to flavor marinades or dressing.  Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, City of San Jose Group X, Zumba, PiYoI only use it in lemon cookies . . . which I don’t make often any longer.  Every once in a while I zest some into our rice.  But I don’t think of using the lemons to cook so I am always on the lookout for ways to start using them more.  Well, the conversation they were having was about lemons.  So I butted in and said, “Hey, what is this about lemons?”

Georgia, my Nia friend on Facebook, shared the recipe she uses to preserve lemons.  She said to put them in a jar with salt, let them sit for a month, then use them as you need them.  Her instructions stated a quart jar.  Well, I don’t have one and have yet to remember to buy one.  I really wanted to try this, so I started thinking I didn’t need such a large jar.  I might not like it so I decided to start small.  So this past week, I smushed some lemons in a jar.  I did not do it correctly because I got more involved with cutting and getting them into the jar than actually following the instructions.  I did not have the instructions in front of me and I so was just guessing.  Of course after I was done I looked them up.

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You’ll need a large jar that will not leak when it is flipped over.  (In her picture it looks like she might have used a large pickle jar.)
About 7 or 8 organic lemons (I only used two and a half because my jar was so small)
salt

First make sure the jar is clean.  Then make sure the lemons are clean and dry.  Then cut the lemons – not all the way through – in an X pattern.  Cutting from one end to the other, leaving one end intact.  I did not do that because the lemons were bigger than my jar.  So I actually cut the lemons into wedges.

Put about two tablespoons of salt in the bottom of the jar.  Then put a cut lemon in the jar.  Smush it down so the juices come out.  Then put more salt, then another lemon – smushing it down, getting more juice.  Continue this process until the jar is full.  Georgia said you cannot have enough salt.  She also said you can add other flavors; herbs, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaf, dried red chili peppers . . . . whatever flavor you would like.

If you need to, put more lemon JUICE in the jar to make certain the lemons are covered.  Then you leave the jar on your counter for 30 days.  Flipping it over every day.

After 30 days you put the jar in your refrigerator and use a lemon or a piece every time you want to flavor something with lemon.  Pick what you want out of the jar, rinse it, then use it.  You can chopped it up using both the rind and the pulp.  Use it with chicken, beef, pork, fish, pasta, salad . . . whatever you want.

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Her recipe said that you can always add more juice and salt as you use the slices.

She said that the sour goes away and an intense yummy lemon flavor comes out.

Now . . . . I just did this . . . and by JUST . . . I mean I am in the 30 day flipping stage.  So once my 30 days are up you will be reading about it again to see what I think.

In looking at her post again she indicated this was a Moroccan delicacy.  So I looked it up and there is a lot of information regarding it on the internet.  I will post more when I actually get to taste them.

Perhaps some of you already do this so you can share?  What do you think?

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Foot Fitness Workshop — Ahhhhh!

Posted by terrepruitt on April 11, 2015

This week my friend and Nia student, Dr. Tanya Baldwin, invited me to her Foot Fitness Workshop she was holding today.  I shy away from stuff that has me working on my feet.  I tend to think I have to “save” my feet for my classes.  But, it occurred to me that thinking like that might be backwards.  I started thinking it would be a good idea to see what type of exercises and care I could do for my feet.  I think that Nia and yoga are great ways to exercise the feet.  Since both are done barefoot they allow for an individual to practice using the feet the way there were designed to be used.  Nia is done barefoot so that we can bend and flex and move our feet to help them with strength and balance.  But this workshop was solely (ha, ha, ha!) for the feet.  It was an amazing workshop.  I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone with feet.

It was very informative and FASCINATING.  First it wasn’t so surprising that each of us had different issues with our feet.  So along that same line it wasn’t surprising that the different exercises presented different challenges for each of us.  What was surprises was how somewhat tiring it was.  Some of the exercises were as much BRAIN exercises as foot/muscles exercises.  Somewhat like what some of the things we do in Nia are – brain stuff!  With a couple of them the movement we were supposed to do with our foot was opposite of what we normally do.  For example pointing and flexing the foot.  Now when you point your toes you “point” your foot.  And when you flex your foot, your toes flex, too.  In one exercise we were pointing our toes then flexing our foot yet keeping our toes pointed.  It was hilarious.  Because at first the foot just doesn’t do it . . . but then it will, but you have to really think about it.  Or for some, even HOLD your toes in the point.

There were other exercises that really require thought.  Which is always great because that means that you are changing up patterns – both movement patterns and brain patterns.  So it is a win-win.

We started out with a self-assessment so we could see where we were at the start then sense how we felt at the end.  This included holding a pen (or not) and writing (or not) with our toes.  Then we did eleven “manual releases” without any props.  So just using our hands and the floor.  Some of these were not enjoyable for me.  My foot that I injured a few years back is very “stuck”.  So it did not enjoy some of the movements we did.

Then we had a soft spiky ball that lit up.  YUP!  That was really part of the fun.  Dr. Baldwin mentioned that at first she didn’t care for the lighting up part, but then she realized it could serve as a tool to help you see if you are putting enough pressure on the ball.  With this spiky ball, after another self-assessment, we rolled our foot over it and performed an exercise or two.

Then, our next set of exercises was with a towel.  YUP, a towel, a hand towel.  So this was great because maybe you don’t want to purchase a soft spiky ball, but most people have hand towels.  We did a variety of grabbing and moving the towels with our toes.  This portion included some other exercises (doming, inchworm, tapping, and strumming toes) without the towel.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoThen we used a Theraband.  We did several exercises and stretches with the band.  This is the section where we did the pointed toes and flexed foot.  This section is the one that had me thinking a lot.  It was as if I had to keep my body from doing what it normally did.  It had to “forget” all that it has in its muscle memory.  The best tip from this section was when using the band to stretch the feet include the toes in the band.  I guess I think of the bands as stretching legs so I put the band over the arch of my foot.  Well, if the band is over the foot AND the toes, the toes can get involved in the stretching.  Ha!  Brilliant!

Then there was a section titled “Toe Corrector”.  Um . . . I don’t think my toes enjoyed being “corrected”.  We used a rubber band around our big toes and did various movements including walking, which was funny to me because — let’s just say I could use more practice walking.

The next section was Reflexology which sounds really nice, but it was the one that had us groaning the most.  This was done with a smaller than usual tennis ball.  We stood and rolled the ball under the various portions of our feet.  It is like that stretch or massage you know is good for you, but kinda doesn’t FEEL like it is good for you at the moment.

Then there was one last quick thing to help feet.  Kneeling with your toes curled.  By this time my right foot was tired so it didn’t care for the desired pose, where you are sitting on your heels.  But I was ok with the modifications where you take the weight off the toes by stretching forward and leaning on your arms.

This was a great workshop.  My feet are actually feeling pretty good.  Although I have to teach almost every day next week so I think I will soak them tonight just to help them recover further.

Easy(ish) things to do to help the feet.  Do you pamper your feet?  Do you specifically exercise your feet?

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The Nia FreeDance Playshop Was Awesome!

Posted by terrepruitt on April 9, 2015

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoAt the end of March (2015) there were two Special Nia Events in Campbell, California.  They were special for a lot of reasons.  One reason being is because a visiting teacher was going to be doing them.  It is always special when someone who does not live in the area comes and shares their talents.  Another reason is because the Nia Class is a one-of-a-kind-creation.  The visiting teacher created the routine and was going to lead us through it.  ANOTHER reason, they were special, was that one of the classes was a workshop or a playshop as we like to call them in Nia.  And it was also, the creation of the visiting teacher and it was something that I think anyone that dances Nia can benefit from.  Another reason they special was they were the first Nia Events that I produced.  Produced meaning, when I heard that the Nia Teacher who created the Playshop was coming to my area I contacted him to invite him to do these events.  I secured the location, I created marketing material, I promoted the events (as I am sure you have seen, I posted about them often), I worked to get participants to the events, and I worried about how it would all turn out. So, two special Nia Events.  I have posted two separate posts (What Did Frankie Say? and Dancing, Learning, Posting, Editing) about the Nia Class that was held on Friday, March 27, 2015.  This post is about the Playshop.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoThe Playshop on Saturday, March 28, 2015 was a playshop regarding Nia FreeDance.  In a Nia class, there is normally choreography.  Nia Headquarters and the training staff create Nia Routines.  There are Nia Routine DVDs that Nia Teachers purchase.  We learn the routines and lead our students through them.  We have a lot of freedom with our classes.  We can follow the routines “exactly” or we can play with them.  We can create our own routines from a mix of Nia Routines or we can take the Nia choreography and add it to other music.  Or we can create our own routines with other non-Nia music.  But with almost every routine there is FreeDance.

FreeDance is where there is not specific choreography.  You are not told exactly how to move.  Now, I have heard the creators of Nia express very different opinions on FreeDance.  I heard one of them say in the past that FreeDance should ALWAYS be guided and the other one say that FreeDance can just be free.  So . . . there are different opinions on the matter.  I think that in keeping with the Nia White Belt Principle #4, Nia FreeDance does not need to be guided because “Anything Goes . . . movement-wise”.  But FreeDance in an exercise class is a challenge to many people.  There are many reasons as to why people cannot or will not just move their bodies in their own way in an exercise class.

This playshop was brought here to help people with that.  Many of the tools (ideas) Jason shared were covered in the Nia Intensives.  So if you have not attended a Nia White Belt Intensive or Nia Blue Belt Intensive, they would be new to you.  They are GREAT!  And they were the reminder and push I needed to pull them out to use them.  The most valuable things he shared with me though were not necessarily the guiding ideas, but more about how the individuals in class can be left to be.

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When I see people in my class not moving or seeming to struggle with FreeDance, I take responsibility and blame myself for not getting them to move with my suggestions and guidance.  But he brought up some very good points that I will now take to class and practice just letting those people be where they are, at that moment, in class.

Although I will still strive for the “When Harry Met Sally Moment” of wanting people to look at us and say, “I’ll have what SHE’S having.” I will also take into consideration that they could very well be doing my suggestion, but it looks different to me than I would do it.  Or that they are just not in a place to FreeDance.  Could be a case of Natural Time.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoI learned a lot.  I had a lot of fun.  I am excited for Jason to come back again!  This video and the video on my website are the same song.  As I only stopped participating one time to video.  The videos are at different times so they are a little different.  Also shown here are a few of the pictures I took during the Playshop.  I took more pictures during the hour Frankie Say Nia class than I did during the 3.75 hours of the Nia FreeDance Playshop.

There might be one more blog post about this, but we will see.  These are the extent of pictures and videos.  Enjoy!

Please share your comments.  Please ask if you have any questions!
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