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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  • My Bloggey Past

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Archive for the ‘Nia’ Category

FreeDance Fridays

Posted by terrepruitt on March 20, 2017

Ahhh, I don’t think I talked about Friday FreeDance.  In November of last year we there were four Fridays.  Two of those Fridays were holidays for SJCity Fit.  So out of the four Fridays in November we were only going to have a Nia class for two of them.  So I had decided that we could do Friday FreeDance.  Now for some people who sounds totally awesome, but for some people it sounds totally scary or icky, as in not fun.  Not everyone is a fan of FreeDance.  I understand that.  Not everyone is comfortable dancing on their own especially in a dance exercise class.  Many people go to exercise classes to be told what to do.  A majority of the students that attend my Nia classes have been dancing Nia for years now, so I knew they would be able to FreeDance for an entire hour.  We did it, and I received some interesting feedback and information.

First of all, I do want to explain that it wasn’t an ENTIRE hour of strictly FreeDance.  I think for both Fridays I started with a choreographed first song.  And I ended with instructions in the last song.  Then the rest of the songs were mainly GUIDED FreeDance.  So there were some suggestions on what to do, but it was left up to the participants to do it in their own body’s way.  And in some case in their own mind’s way.  They might have had to think of what some of the suggestions would be moving like.

I might have suggested that they move as if they are skiing.  With that one usually has to think about it and then do it.  The fun part is, of course, that everyone does it different.  With no clarification as to what type of skiing there is so much room for interpretation.  Someone could be water skiing, some people down hill skiing.  Some people might be cross-country skiing.  And then of course, even with those qualifications it could look wildly different.  That is the fun of FreeDance.

I was very happy that most people liked it.  I wouldn’t have done it if I didn’t think they would like it and they could do it.  It took me four and half years to feel confident enough in the students love of Nia and FreeDance to do it.  And most people liked it. I am thinking they liked it as a Friday thing . . . I mean, they still like the choreography so they wouldn’t want to do FreeDance for the hour all the time.

There are a few people who wear pedometers in class and the majority of them reported that they got over 1,000 MORE steps in with FreeDance.  One student said she averages about 4500 steps in regular Nia class, but in the FreeDance class she was at 5700.  There definitely is the possibility to get in more steps.  But if you are one who needs instructions more than just a guide you would probably get less steps in during FreeDance.

I thought I had posted about this because I was really happy and excited that I finally did it AND that the class really enjoyed it.  And I was also really excited and happy that many people got more steps in.  I couldn’t find the post I thought I did.  So here.  And if this is a repeat, oh well.

I have been putting in more FreeDance into our routines because people do really enjoy it.  I think I will be doing a Friday FreeDance once a month.  I love how Nia brings joy through dance.

So how would you feel about Friday FreeDance?

Posted in FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Chop Cut, One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on February 22, 2017

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitWell, it looks like I haven’t posted a Nia move from the Nia 52 Moves in a long time.  When I started my blog and website I wasn’t actually planning on posting about each and every move, but with only nine left that I have not posted about, I really might as well finish the list.  It might not be done quickly, but I will get to them all.  Why not, right?  Only nine, well, eight after this one, to go!  So today I am posting about the Chop Cut.

As with most, if not all, of the 52 Moves of Nia there is a specific way to do it, but then a lot of different ways it is done.  I will go out on a limb to say this move, the chop cut, is a common move.  I am sure many, many people have done this move whether they are dancing, practicing martial arts, or not.  It is just a common move.  Or at least I think of it as a common move.

To practice it as a Nia move, one of 52, we chop the air with the edge of our hands.  The edge of the hand we refer to as the blade side.  Using one hand at a time, raise the arm from the shoulder and bring it down.  Slice, with the blade, from up to down.  Allow the elbow to be slightly bent.  All fingers are extended.  Keep the hands active and engaged even the one that is not doing the slicing.

The Nia Technique book states the benefits as:

an excellent exercise for affirming your personal power.  This move is effective for building strength in the arms and shoulders, and it is superb for releasing stress.

The move itself can release stress but when combined with sounding it can be really effective.  The book recommends saying, “because.”  I usually have my class say, “HA!”

The ideal Chop Cut is using the whole arm and the blade of the hand.  Sometimes we might use straight arms.  At times while we are dancing, we might just make the movement from our elbows.  Just letting our forearms move, chopping at the air in front of us fast.  That kind of movement can be done faster than using the entire arm.  At times the chop can just be from the wrists.  So just the hands move.  It requires loose wrists.  This move can be done really fast.  Sometimes when we chop with our hands, we move them in the space around us, so we are moving more than just our wrists.  So the chop is coming from the wrists so it is more of “just a chop” than a “chop cut”.  The Chop Cut when done according to “specs,” is a power move.  The other ones are great and sometimes they fit better into the dance.

So, am I right?  Have you done a Chop Cut before?  Were you dancing?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

THAT’S Not Dance

Posted by terrepruitt on October 10, 2016

I know that I have written posts about how different people think of different things as exercise.  I have written about how some people don’t think that a shimmy is exercise.  Whether they don’t THINK of it as something that should be IN an exercise CLASS or they just don’t think they get any benefit from it.  Some people just don’t think of dance as exercise.  I know I even mentioned that TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have changed the way some people think.  Some people understand that dancing can be considered exercise.  But I don’t think I have ever talked about how some people don’t consider all dance dancing.  I might have but I don’t know that I have and it was something I was thinking about recently.  I was thinking that not all “dancing” is considered dancing by everyone.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitI was asked to substitute teach a class called Dance Fit.  I had asked several times what “Dance Fit” was, but the response was that the students would be happy to just move to music.  I had a feeling that the person answering just wanted to make sure that they had a teacher so that they would have a class.  So I had been thinking about what I could do.  Then I was also thinking about how I was recently at a festival where I overheard some people talking about a particular person there dancing.  They were saying that he wasn’t really dancing.  They were saying that they thought he wasn’t hearing the music.  They just weren’t “getting” his movements.  And I was looking at him and I thought it was fine.  I could see how his movements fit with the music . . . to me.  I thought that he looked as if he was completely dancing in a way that his body was responding to the music.  He looked like he was in the moment.  He looked as if he was having fun.  It was fine to me.

But later I realized that not everyone thinks of all movement as dance.  A ballerina might not consider clogging dancing.  A ballroom dancer might not consider the pony (remember that move?) a dance.  Someone used to doing Latin motion with their hips might not consider a chorus line kick part of a dance.  So perhaps those women had specific ideas of what dance is and so they didn’t consider his body movements dance at all.

I think that might happen when it comes to Nia.  Some people might not consider a front kick or an upward block a dance movement.  People that are accustomed to all the Latin dance steps that are in Zumba they might not consider a jazz square a dance move.  Just like some people might not consider a shimmy something that should be in an “exercise class”, some people might think a move such as rock around the clock or a duck walk isn’t really dance and shouldn’t be in a dance exercise class.  I think I have overlooked that fact.  Hmmmm.

Well, I had decided to not try to create something or TRY to do something that the class MIGHT like – because I really had no idea.  I decided to do something tried and true.  I decided to do something I do best.  I decided to teach Nia.  And they loved it.  The supervisor was totally correct in saying that the class just loved to dance and they want to move.  They were fabulous.  We had a lot of fun.  Nia is a great “product”, it is a great technique.  And when people who like to move get to experience we get to have fun.  I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks where I get to fill in as a sub.  The students are all about movement of the body being dance and they do great.  I was concerned about it for no reason.

What about you?  Do you think of only certain moves as DANCE?  Do you have a broad definition of dance?

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

Cow Guy With Needle In Haunch

Posted by terrepruitt on September 5, 2016

What?  “cow guy with needle in haunch.”  That came up in the “top searches” on my blog.  I read it over and over thinking, “What?”  And even more disturbing . . . “it sounds familiar.”  The more I think about it, the more I think I know something about it, but I can’t remember what.  This situation is very weird and disturbing to me.  Cow guy with needle in haunch . . . . . . . . hmmmmm . . . it will come to me.  I bet just as I am about to press publish I will remember and then I will have to scrap this whole thing and think of another post.  It is at the edge of my brain.  I am sure it has to do with a TV show that my husband and I watch because I have no other connection to a “cow guy.”  I might have a connection to a needle in a haunch, but more like the skin of neck.  Hmmmmm . . . . don’t you hate that?  When you think something is familiar but you have no idea why?  It is like that thing on the tip of your tongue.  Or the thing on the edge of your brain or in the corner of your mind.  But what I don’t know is why that is a top search on my blog.  Even if I was searching for it because it has to do with a TV show we watch, why is it on my blog?

Next top searches are:  wrist blood pressure higher than arm, granola for gout, piyo satya.  The search terms used to be so much more useful but then a long time ago Google changed the way they did things and so the information we get on WordPress is pretty useless.  At least WordPress claims it was Google’s fault for the change.  I don’t really know.  I do know that at one point I used the searches to sometimes come up with post topics.  I figured if people were looking for the information I could write about it.

But in this case (“cow guy with needle in haunch”).  I got nothing.  I am somewhat wondering.  Is it the cow with the needle in its haunch or the guy who has something to do with cows?  Kinda sounds like there is a guy who has something to do with cows so he is called “cow guy” and HE has a needle in his haunch.  What kind of needle?  This search just really raises a lot more questions then there could ever be answers, don’t you think?

I kind of wish that people would have to explain WHY they were searching for the things they do.  But then I think about it more and realize that something like that could actually be pretty terrifying.  Eeeeek!

The highest search that comes up on my blog is the wrist monitor for blood pressure.  Always surprises me.  That is always the top search.  Which takes people to my post Blood Pressure Monitors – It’s All In the Wrist.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitIn regards to that, a few months ago, my father, my husband, and I were sitting around the table and my wrist blood pressure monitor happen to be on the table.  We were talking about the accuracy of it.  My husband took his blood pressure.  Then I took mine.  After I took mine, my father said, “Oh so it doesn’t work.  It must be broke.”  And I just smiled and said, “I don’t know.  Ok.  Take yours.”  Then he took his and it came up accurate according to his normal rates (my dad takes his blood pressure enough and has it taken enough he knows what his is).  And he said, “Oh.”  He felt it was pretty accurate.  I always take it three times when I take it.  I just took it now: 91/62  ❤ 55 and 103/65  ❤ 60 and 84/65  ❤ 60  I honestly think it has a lot to do with Nia.

Everyday I see more and more post on Facebook with links to how dance is really good for you.  I don’t read any of them, because I know.  I don’t read them because if you don’t like to dance then it doesn’t really matter.  Me telling you that they have done studies about how great it is for your health, if you don’t like to do it, you’re not just gonna start because it is good for you.  And I don’t need to read it for me, because I know.  I do believe Nia helps blood pressure, just like any mind-body or body-mind practice.

Anyway . . . I started off wondering about an odd search term and ended up on blood pressure which brought me to Nia because I think Nia helps with mine.  How is that for sitting down and just typing/writing?

What kind of search odd search terms do you see on your blog?  Do you do any type of mind-body or body-mind practice?  Yoga?  Pilates?  Meditation?  Chanting?

Posted in Misc, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Super Fun

Posted by terrepruitt on August 19, 2016

Earlier this month I taught a yoga class.  I was subbing for someone at a community center that I don’t teach at very often.  In the past when I taught there I was usually subbing a Zumba class with Nia.  I don’t care what class you are going to take, when you show up and it is not that class, it kinda is a bummer.  Some people get very upset.  Some people leave and even though they made all the effort to get to the class, they decide not to stay.  Some people shrug their shoulders and say, “Well, I am here.  I might as well give it a go.”  I don’t blame anyone for being upset.  As I said, it is kind of a bummer when you show up for one thing and there is another.  Oh, I digress . . before the yoga class a woman asked me if I taught Nia.  When I said yes she asked if I could do some Nia.  I told her that I would be happy to lead her through a song AFTER the yoga class if she would like.  The demo was awesome.  I was amazed.

After the yoga class, I asked a few of the members that regularly come to Nia if they would mind dancing a song with me and the student who asked about Nia.  So a few of the woman who dance with me regularly stayed to help out.  But others stayed too.  It was really cool.  I did one song and they were so enthusiastic, I did another song.  I bet I could have done an entire routine and they would have stayed for it.

It was really cool to have people who were new to Nia . . . who had never even heard of it . . . dance so enthusiastically.  And, the most amazing part to me . . . they sounded.  They shouted and whooped and hollered.  That was really amazing.  It is a challenge for so many of us to make noise while we exercise.  So many of us were taught to be quiet.  You weren’t supposed to grunt or huff-n-puff or even breathe loudly.  So not a lot of people are used to making noise.  These women jumped right in on it!

As I wrote in my post, One Person Making A Lot Of Noise, it only takes one person to help encourage the others.  I think the members that were from the regular Nia classes helped a lot.  It was really fun.

I am always happy and grateful when I get to introduce Nia to someone.  So this really made me super happy and grateful because I was able to introduce it to a handful of woman.  It helps a lot that the members that come to the Nia classes regularly talk about it to other students.

The members are really good and generous in talking about all the classes they like. They share with others all the information about each class and they encourage others to attend.  Somewhat like the sounding . . . they make noise and others join in.

I was sitting here wondering what to write about.  Needing to go make dinner and I thought of that class and it made me smile.  And I thought I would share.  While it might not make you smile . . . it will make me smile again, in the future when I read this post.  You know most of this is for me anyway.

I’ve talked about Sounding in Nia before.  Do you go to an exercise class where you make noise?  Perhaps a yoga class where you chant?  Perhaps another type of dance class where you hoot and holler?

 

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Kids And Dance

Posted by terrepruitt on July 1, 2016

I teach classes at a city community center.  We are fortunate enough to have a dance studio at the community center.  Even though Nia is non- to very low impact, it is important to dance on dance appropriate flooring.  If you are going to a, let’s say a festival and planning on dancing on the pavement for a few hours one afternoon, that is fine, but if you are planning on going to an exercise class one to three times a week, the floor needs to be appropriate.  We have a nice floor at the community center.  It is in the dance studio which is right off of the front desk.  A lot seems to happen in the rooms past the studio.  I think the preschool or small children’s’ area is past the dance studio.  The dance studio has two doors.  It is so cute the number of small children that walk by and stop to look in at us.  Some stop to watch.  I think children are drawn to dance.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked up to see a small girl looking in at us.  Then I saw a hand reach out to grab hers, and she pulled away because she wanted to stay and watch.  She was mesmerized.  Her eyes were big and she was just standing there completely still watching.  Some kids start to move while they watch.  All of them get wide-eyed when any of us make eye contact with them, but as soon as we say, “Hi!” or wave, the face breaks into a smile.  So many want to join us.

I always want to stop the class to ask them what intrigues them.  Is it just dancing in general?  Is it that we are usually laughing and having fun?  Is that the was are making noises?  Could be they are attracted to the whooping or growling?  Could be my wild tie-dyed shirts?  Or the energy in the room?  I don’t know.  I often wish I could ask.  Especially to that little one who was mesmerized and really did not want to be dragged away.

Sometimes it is really fun because there will be a line of them . . . like a whole class walking by so we get to wave a lot and we get a lot of waves back.  Also, last week, we think a group was in line for the water fountain which is right outside the door.  That was funny.  Because we went, “WHOOO!” then we heard “WHOOO!” from the hall.  So then we went, “WHOOWHOO!” and we got a “WHOOWHOO!” back.  We were able to include them in our class via vocals for a couple of minutes.  It was super funny.

Kids are so drawn to dance.  You know, you’ve seen those videos of the little ones just dancing away to a song they hear in the store or in the car.  They have not yet learned to be self-conscious of their movement or care what other people are thinking.  They just hear the music and they move.  It is so wonderful to witness.  I wish we would never lose that.

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

In The Looking Glass

Posted by terrepruitt on June 13, 2016

In Nia we teach facing a mirror with our backs to the students.  The mirrors help me stay connected to the class.  I can look in the mirror and make eye-contact with someone.  I can peruse the room and see what is going on.  It is different from the way it used to be when I took Jazzercise so many moons ago.  The teacher faced us and would do mirror actions.  When the class went left the teacher would actually go to his right.  When we went right the teacher went to his left.  When we moved forward the teacher also moved forward coming toward the class. When the class moved back the teacher would go back.  The teacher facing the class allowed for face-to-face connection.  The other day I was teaching a class and I was doing the “mirroring” and as I was pausing in the movement, I realized why I didn’t like “mirroring” as much as teaching with my back to them.  I couldn’t share my sensation.  I could not teach what I was sensing.

I think part of what makes Nia so joyful and fun is that the teacher is having fun.  We are taught to be in our bodies and dance.  We learn routines, but if while teaching the music motivates us to do something off from the choreography, that is fine.  We get to play.  We get to sense what is happening in our bodies and share it with the class.  Then the class gets motivated to dance what is in their bodies . . . their individual body.

When I was paused in that stretch I wanted to tell them what I was sensing and have them explore their bodies sensation, but I couldn’t.  I had to pause and adjust my mind and my words because we were not bending the same way.  So, yes, I could say, “side” leaving out which side, but it felt less authentic because we were not experiencing the same side.  Silly, I know, but it was a thought that popped into my head as I was teaching.  Sometimes there are no mirrors available in the classrooms I am assigned to teach in, so I have to teach facing the class and that is fine, but I really like having mirrors.

Also, I notice that when I am facing the students even when I used left or right or even use a landmark in the room . . . there are some that pause for a second in confusion.  They are looking at me and seeing me do the opposite from what I am asking them to do and you can just see the internal struggle in the face.   This is especially the case when instructing twists.  Twists are already a little challenge for the brain so when the arm goes up and around and the leg goes up and around, crossing over the mid-line of the body, the brain really likes to see it as the body is to do it.  The mirrored way really has people all twisted.

While we don’t have really complicated steps in Nia, it seems like the students learn them faster when they can see exactly how it is to be done.  They don’t have that extra brain work to do of adjusting for left and right.  They see my left foot going over to the right side and they get it.  It takes a lot to see the right foot going towards them and over to the left while I am telling them to take their left foot front and over to the right.

It is nice to dance without the mirrors sometimes, as I wrote about in my post Mirrorless Inward Reflection.  For some it helps them be less concerned about how they look while they are dancing.  It can allow people to be more introspective.  It can enable people to connect to their own Conscious Personal trainer.  It is a good thing and definitely something I / we can do when we do not have access to mirrors, I just happened upon an insight recently and thought I could share.

Do you like to take classes with mirrors?  Do you find it easier to follow when the teacher has his/her back to you?

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My Schedule

Posted by terrepruitt on June 10, 2016

I am just going to put this out there.  I have this on my website, but not everyone goes there and someone might see it here and . . . well, why not, right?  I could be teaching a class at a time when you want to take a class.  You could be somewhat curious about Nia, but maybe haven’t gotten around to clicking on my website to see my schedule.  It could be on your list of things to do.  Maybe you are looking for a yoga class.  I teach Nia three times a week.  I teach yoga twice a week.  I just started teaching a stretch class but we are taking an eight week hiatus (until August 11, 2016) during the busy summer months because the community center doesn’t have the room for us.  They have so many summer programs for kids, it is crazy (good).  I am subbing a gentle yoga class for three weeks at Mind Body Zone.  And I have one Sunday Nia class rotation at the NW YMCA this month.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit

Nia is a cardio dance . . . meaning it is an aerobic workout.  It is low impact, meaning we don’t jump high and land hard, but it can be INTENSE.  You control that part.  If you get low and reach high and move a lot you will get a big workout, if you don’t get down and keep your movements small then you will get a smaller workout.  You get to decide what type of workout you want when you attend class.  The music is varied from a little bit of Pop, with some Jazz, all the way to Rock.  It is a place you can go to get some “me” time and have fun.

Since there really is no standard definition of gentle yoga you might not know what you are getting when you go to a yoga class.  So you might want to know that I make yoga gentle by not holding the poses for a long time or flowing through poses.  We do a pose at least two times so that we can tryout the modifications.  If you know a pose we are doing and you want to get right into it right away, that is fine.  We general do a few poses either standing or on the floor then we switch.  It is an important thing to be able to get down on the floor and get up again.  So we make that part of the routine.  “Gentle yoga” does not mean beginner, it means that we do yoga gently.

In stretch we just work our way down the body.  We stretch from head to toe.  We hold the stretch from 20 to 30/40 seconds.  We do standing, sitting, supine/reclined (on the back), and even some prone (on the belly) poses.  Sometimes we use straps.  Everyone is encouraged to stretch honoring their own body.

Perhaps you see a class that interests you?

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Elbow Strikes – One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on June 6, 2016

You may know from reading my posts about Nia, or even other material about Nia, that it is made up of three groups of movement forms.  Those three groups of movement forms are made up of three movement forms.  The first group is Martial Arts, which include T’ai chi, Tae Kwon Do, and Aikido.  In martial arts we can have moves like punches, kicks, blocks, and strikes. The elbow strike is one of Nia’s 52 Moves.  Now remember, the 52 Moves of Nia are not moves that Nia claims are unique to Nia or that only Nia does.  The 52 Moves of Nia are named that because they are incorporated into the Nia Routines.  The Elbow Strike might even be able to be counted as three moves . . . perhaps not, but there are three ways to do it.  I am betting you understand that all three ways involve the elbow.  There is the elbow strike down, the elbow strike out, and the elbow strike back or the Downward Strike, the Outward Strike, and the Backward Strike.

To do this move you would first get into Riding Stance also know as Sumo Stance.  Have a strong and stable base.  Push into the earth with your feet. Engage through the core and the whole body.  The fists are in ready position, which is palms up, at chest height and at the side of the chest . . . so elbows are drawn back past the rib cage.  The downward strike is with the elbow moving downward into the open palm of the opposite hand.  The outward strike is the elbow moving out away from the body using the opposite hand to push the power through the elbow.  The backward strike has the opposite hand pushing the elbow backwards away from the body.  All of these are done on one side then the other.

As I have mentioned with all the moves, there is an exact way to practice it or them, in this case, if you are just practicing each move.  But when you are dancing the exactness can change.  In a Nia class, we might do elbow strikes from an A Stance or while we are stepping into a stance.  Or we might do them from a bow stance.  Sometimes we might not use the opposite hand to help push the power, or strike down into the open palm of the opposite hand.  It all depends on the dance.  The above is just to help you learn the move and how you would practice it on its own.

The Nia Technique Book says:  “Benefits:  Practicing Elbow Strikes is excellent for releasing stress and anxiety.  These moves will strengthen and define upper chest, back, hands, and arms and will enhance your sense of confident determination.”

Elbows strikes do feel powerful and give you a sense of confidence.  It is really fun to do them while sounding, perhaps saying, “HA!” or even just saying, “Strike!”

Well, what do you think?  Did you try it?  Can you feel the power in this move?

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Finger Extensions – One Of The Fifty Moves Of Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on May 13, 2016

Finger Extensions, one of the Fifty-two Moves of Nia.  Yeah, extending your fingers is a Nia move.  It may sound odd, but it makes sense.  Extending the fingers helps move energy.  Each finger holds its own energy.  The finger movements also have emotional connections so these type of movements tie in very well with the whole body experience, the Body, Mind, Emotion, Spirit (BMES) connection.  The finger extensions are the thumb, the index, the middle, the ring, and the pinky.

Each finger holds specific energy and whether you can think about that and believe it or not, when you really think about it you can believe it.  Each finger has an emotional association.  The thumb is associated with nurture.  It is the finger babies suckle, it gives them comfort.  The index finger is the desire finger.  It is the finger a child uses to indicate what she wants.  We use our “pointer” finger to point to what we desire.  The middle finger is our power finger.  When used with an extended arm pointing down it is the Balance Finger. Sometimes when pointed up it is used as a way of communication.

The ring finger is the commitment finger.  It is where engagement rings and weddings bands are placed to signify commitment.  It is the point in which a hand hold is fully committed.  The pinky finger is on the edge of the hand it represents the boundaries.  Boundaries that are respected yet can be nudged and expanded.

With the emotional attachments of each finger, can you see how there can be energy linked with each finger?  Can you acknowledge how extending your thumb might elicit energy associated with nurturing because we or babies we know have sucked their thumb?  Can you fathom how extending your desire finger might cause you to have an emotional response?  And with our emotions there is energy attached.

I know that when I am dancing in a Nia Class and I extend my various fingers it often affects my feet.  When I am extending my desire finger sometimes I feel happy because I am pointing at what I want.  Sometimes that happy translates to strong movements of my feet because I am identifying my desire.  Dancing my pinky, the edge, sometimes makes me feel brave.  When I feel brave my movements, the energy, is different than when I am relaxed or feeling timid.

So now that you have an idea of how a simply hand movement can be used in an exercise class, in a cardio dance class, let me share how we do them.  It really is somewhat simple.  Just extend your arm and then point each finger one at a time, then take a moment to sense the “different qualities of energy”.

Some benefits to doing these extensions, as stated in The Nia Technique book, are that it “helps move energy in and out of the upper body, and keeps it from getting clogged in the next and shoulders.”. Finger extensions also help you move your fingers in a precise way which exercises the brain and the body.

So really this is an easy move and some might not even think of it as an exercise, but it is important to keep our hands strong and flexible.  And if, when we do this it activates our brain, that is even better.  And . . . if we can do it while we are dancing and having fun, then why wouldn’t we?

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