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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Archive for the ‘Yoga/PiYo/Pilates’ Category

Yoga Etiquette – A List We Created

Posted by terrepruitt on March 29, 2017

When I participated in yoga training one of the things we did before we started with the training was to come up with what we thought was a list of “Yoga Etiquette.”  This was a great idea because everyone piped up with what they thought was proper etiquette for a yoga class.  And then, of course, we were to use the list and apply it to our yoga training and the classes we were to be participating in throughout the training.  Most studios will post a list of yoga etiquette on their website or in the studio.  It is helpful to know the different ideas of etiquette for each studio.  Some studios lock the doors so that the class, once it has begun, is not interrupted.  Since not all studios lock the door it is really good to know so you know that if you are 10 minutes late (or whatever their stated time is) you will not be allowed to enter.  That is just an example.  Here is the list that me and my fellow trainees came up with:

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I would say that most of these are fairly common rules of etiquette, but I will also say that even though they are common they are not commonly practiced.

Some of these might have you questioning the reason, or perhaps wanting more of an explanation.  If so, ask away.  One I will address because I often hear people ask what “appropriate clothing” is and why that matters.  I mean, many people feel that people should be allowed to wear what they want.  Especially now-a-days where clothing and what people wear is such a topic for debate.  But this is a pretty important one especially for teachers.  While someone might feel absolutely comfortable with a low cut top or bottom, when they bend over and all that the other participants in the class can see is either breasts or butt, it is somewhat off-putting and distracting.  Even if the wearer is comfortable exposing his or her chest or bum, yoga class is really not the place to let it all hang out.  Also really tight fitting clothing is not appropriate if it keeps you from moving.  I would say jeans whether loose or tight are not appropriate yoga wear.  The clothing should allow you to move and be comfortable, yet fit properly.  I also think for many yoga classes, layers are a good thing.  When the class first starts it might seem chilly, but then the body warms up.  At the end, shavasana, it could be the time to cover up again.  While the yoga studios that I have seen have not dictated what people wear, the do usually provide guidelines.

Do you agree with all of these rules?  Do you have any to add?  Do you have any you would like to see followed?

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Adding A Challenge To A Pose Mastered

Posted by terrepruitt on November 30, 2016

I teach two gentle yoga classes.  Gentle yoga doesn’t necessarily mean beginner yoga.  It can if the class is a beginner yoga class, but “gentle” doesn’t mean beginner.  The way I make the yoga class gentle is we don’t hold the poses for a long time.  We also don’t flow through a long combination of poses.  I usually do a sequence of two, three poses at the most, but the class is not a flow.  In my two regularly scheduled gentle yoga classes we actually just stop and get down (or stop and get up) because I feel that being able to get up off of the floor is very important.  We don’t use downward facing dog, forward folds, planks, or poses to get down and up.  We go at a comfortable pace slowly moving through poses.  The classes are not beginner classes because I have been teaching some of the same students for years.  So they are not beginners.  They know many poses and they know what their bodies should be doing in those poses, but they like to do yoga gently.  But we still need to add some challenge to some of the poses.  So, for a small group of students in my gentle yoga classes we have added a challenge to one of the poses that they have down.  For those that can balance fine, we have added the challenge of closing our eyes.

We are still doing the pose, but we close our eyes to add to the pose.  Just the simple act of closing our eyes causes us to get a little wobbly and therefore work more at standing upright.  Just like with our eyes open one side is easier than the other.  But this simple act gives the pose a new spin.

The inner ear plays a huge role in our balance, but so do our eyes.  Once we take vision out of the equation it makes balancing more challenging.  I believe practicing balancing with our eyes closed will allow us to get better at it over time.  While we are practicing we will be using those stabilizing muscles and that will help us be better balanced.  Just as practicing balance with your eyes open.

This is a fun thing to add to the balance practice because, as I said, my students can do this pose well, so it is kind of surprise that just closing one’s eyes makes it as if they can’t do the pose.  There are some “whoas” and “what the . . ” and giggles because it is just so funny that a pose we can do all of a sudden we can’t do it (as well).

For now we are only closing our eyes when doing the Stork pose, but once we have that down AND have more stability in some of our other balances poses we will add “eyes closed” to them.

So if you come to one of my regularly scheduled yoga classes you might experience this.  If you come to one I am subbing, I usually do things a little differently.  That is one thing that is so great about teaching yoga, it can be adjusted and modified so it is not always the same.  With the adjustments and modifications, hopefully, they are helping you improve your stability, flexibility, and strength.  Sometimes all it takes is something so simple as closing your eyes.

Did you try it?  Just standing with your eyes closed?  How about standing on one leg with your eyes closed?

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Withdrawal Of The Senses – WHAT?

Posted by terrepruitt on October 19, 2016

In January I started writing about the Eight Limbs of Yoga with a post called More To Yoga Than Just Asana.  They are 1-The yamas, 2-The niyamas, 3-The asana, 4- Pranayama, 5-Pratyahara, 6-Dharana, 7-Dhyana, and 8-Samadhi.  I finished posting briefly about the niyamas in April.  So it has been six months since I visited any of the limbs on my blog.  I thought I would pick up with the fifth limb – pratyahara and share a what I understand about it.  As I have said before, all the limbs and their smaller branches (like the yamas and the niyamas) can (and do) have volumes written about them.  I am only scratching the surface AND only exposing what I understand them to be at this time.  Pratyahara is the withdrawal of the senses.

That is what I have heard it described as.  I never really understood or agreed with the “withdrawal of the senses”.  The initial “scratch on the surface” was not enough for me to get on board with this limb.  As I looked briefly into the meaning or the idea, I think I understand it a bit more.  Now I can totally relate.

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In The Path To Holistic Health B.K.S. Iyengar said, “When the senses withdraw from objects of desire, the mind is released from the power of the senses, which in turn become passive.  Then the mind turns inward and is set free from the tyranny of the senses.  This is pratyahara.”  Ok, I feel that put me on the path to understanding.  Him saying “withdraw from objects of desire,” made me think, “Ok, we are not just shutting off our senses.”  I made me think that it is more of a form of concentration than a form of torture.

Then in The Heart of Yoga, I understand T.K.V. Desikachar’s to be saying that we might sense things but we ignore them, but we don’t really do it necessarily as a conscious practice, but because we are in the moment.  We are attuned to what we are doing.  We are focused. To me his explanation made a lot of sense because he was saying that our senses are not entirely withdrawn and shut off . . . we are just focused.  As an example, in an asana practice we are going to be aware of our body and sensing where our arms are in relation to our hips, but we are not going to be thinking about how we need to apply lotion to our arms or how our hips sway when we do the latest dance move.  While lotion and dance moves might not be examples of “objects of desire” they are examples of thoughts that distract us from the asana practice.

It also sounded to me like T.K.V. Desikachar was saying that we can – and more than likely have experienced Pratyahara before.  It could be when we are so focused on something we don’t realize what is going on around us.  Perhaps on the phone and not noticing someone is trying to get our attention.  Perhaps we turn everything out when focused on a task such as cooking, knitting, sewing, writing, drawing, etc.  Where the senses are withdrawn because the focus and concentration is so intense.  This goes along with T.K.V. Desikachar saying that pratyahara comes naturally.

I’m thinking that not having it be a conscious practice might depend on what you are doing.  I could be at first we might have to really focus on concentrating, but eventually it will just become a part of our practice.  I think the more we practice the better we can achieve pratyahara.  Light on Pranayama described pratyahara as quieting the mind saying that pranayama and pratyahara help with that.  I know that when I focus on my breathing it helps quiet the mind and I feel more focused.

So now that I feel that pratyachara is not just withdrawal of the senses to all that is around you, I feel that I could actually be practicing and doing this limb of yoga.  At this point it helps when I am in a class or following a yoga application and not just doing yoga on my own.  We all know how distracted I get when I do that.

How about you?  How well do you practice pratyahara when doing yoga?  Can you think of a time when you have experienced pratyahara when not doing yoga?

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Yoga At Home

Posted by terrepruitt on September 12, 2016

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 like to go to yoga classes because when I do yoga at home by myself, I tend to turn it into creating a yoga class.  I will start thinking about poses I can do with my students and I will start thinking about how to cue them.   Basically, I get distracted away from practice and it becomes a “choreography” session.  Or I see something that needs to be done/cleaned/fixed and I know that if I don’t do it right then I will forget.  Or the cats come in and BE right where I am trying to practice.  My focus just is not there.  Sometimes it is, but rarely.  So, that is one reason I like to go to yoga classes.  But sometimes I want to stay home.  It helps to have a yoga application, something telling me what to do.  I have one application that allows me to make up routines.  I have made up some routines.  I have them saved and I like that.  I use the application.  It is time consuming making up routines with that application, though.  So I use the ones I have but sometimes I want something different.  Sadly that application is no longer available, at least I can’t find it, so I can’t recommend it.  I would like to because it is really cool.  But I did find another one that I like.  I actually paid for the one that I mentioned, but this one, the new one, I am just using the free version and it is pretty cool.  It is called Down Dog.

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You have a choice of Sequence Type, Pace, Playlist Type, and Length.

Looks like you have to become a member to have access to the “Advanced” Sequence Type.  But in the free version in there is Beginner 1, Beginner 2, Intermediate, Beginner Restorative, and Intermediate Restorative.  That is pretty nice. I think.

In the free version you are limited in your choice of pace.  You can only choose “normal”.  As a member you can choose:  Slowest, Slower, Faster, and Fastest.  I feel that “Normal” is perfect.  I can’t imagine Faster or Fastest.  Wow.  I guess if you don’t want to stay in a pose at all.  I mean, I don’t feel like “normal” keeps me I a pose very long.  It is a nice paced vinyasa class.  Oh, and speaking of the length of time in a pose.  I am usually just listening to her and not looking so much.  I might look to make sure I am in the right pose, but WHILE I am in the pose, I don’t look at my iPad.  So it took me until the fifth time to notice that when she keeps us in a pose there is a little timer in the corner.  That is cool.  Sometimes knowing when it is going to end helps you stay in the pose.  At least for me.  Do you ever find that to be true?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, SJCityFit

Then there is the Playlist.  I tried the Alt. Beats, but it was not for me and my practice.  I actually have a lot of music that I like to play while practicing yoga.  I like to have a separate device playing the music.  I have found that in apps in order to hear the instruction I have to have it turned up really loud and they don’t always have separate volume for music so then the music ends up being too loud.  I cannot speak to how this music is in regards to that because I don’t use it.  But as a member you have more choices.

Then there is the Length of practice, the choices are:  15 minutes, 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 30 minutes, 35 minutes, 40 minutes, 45 minutes, 50 minutes, 60 minutes, 70 minutes, 80 minutes, and 90 minutes.  How cool is that?  She gives you the option to do a 15 minutes yoga practice.  Then you can go all the way up to 90 minutes.  Nice.

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After you choose between your options you touch “Start Practice” and the application lets you know it is putting your routine together.  Then she begins to speak and you are on your way.  When I first tried it I did the beginner routine and while I would say, “Ok, they are beginner routines.”  I would not say it is for someone new to yoga.  It is not “an introduction to yoga”.  It helps if you know some of the asana.  But, if you need assistance with learning the poses, there is a “Pose Breakdown” in the about section of the application.  That links to Youtube where it looks like Adrienne has recorded breakdowns of the poses.  So she has got you covered.

Another great thing about this application is, you can pause it.  That is so awesome.  I have done other ones where you can’t pause it.  And while I don’t want to make it a habit of pausing because that interrupts the flow, sometimes you HAVE to pause.  I don’t like to miss a second so it is nice to be able to pause it when I have to put my hair up, or adjust the volume of the music on my other device.  Or just give up (having the cats in the room) and kick the cats out of the room.  You can also repeat a pose or skip a pose.

So, of you are looking for a great free yoga application you might want to give Down Dog try.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you liked it so much you became a member.

How do you practice yoga at home?

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The Difference Between Yoga And Stretch

Posted by terrepruitt on September 9, 2016

Currently I am lucky enough to teach yoga classes and a stretch class.  And I say “lucky” because I was asked to do these classes but they can be cancelled at any time.  Class attendance needs to stay up or the classes can get cancelled.  This is the case with pretty much any type of exercise class at any type of place . . . a gym, a club, a parks and recs department, etc.  Ok, but where I am actually going with this post is: people ask me all the time what the difference is between yoga and stretch.  Well, my first thought is my post “More To Yoga Than Just Asana,” but that would only help to explain what yoga is and not what we do in a stretch class.  Because I teach gentle yoga classes people are curious about the difference.  It makes sense since they seem the same, but there are differences.  In addition to breathing yoga is different from stretch by a few points.

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In yoga we work on more than just flexibility, we also work on balance and strength.  In stretch we focus mainly on STRETCHING muscles and, to a lesser extent, connective tissue.  We are not working either in a stabilizing or strengthening capacity.

The poses in yoga have names, at least two, the English name and a Sanskrit name.  In stretch my instruction is usually something like, “move your arm here or there” as I show them how to get into the stretch.  Sometimes I do refer to an asana by name that is similar because many of the students do take yoga also, so they know what to do when I say the name of a pose.

Some people “can’t do” yoga, but they CAN stretch.  🙂  Seriously, invite someone to a yoga class and they will say, “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough.”  Invite them to a stretch class and they say, “Oh!  I need to stretch.”

With yoga, people seem to want to “get” somewhere.  They want to be able to “do” a specific pose.  With stretching, even though they might be able to bend deeper or more fully as time goes on, there doesn’t seem to be the urge or need to “get there”.  With stretch the journey seems more important than the destination.  Although it really is supposed to be the same way for yoga.

Another question I am always asked is, “Are you on the floor the whole hour?”  No, but we don’t go up and down as much as in my gentle yoga classes.  In both my gentle yoga classes and my stretch classes we do poses/stretches standing up and on the floor.

Stretching is so good for you.  We all should be doing it, even if we don’t weight train or run marathons, it is really good to stretch the muscles.  But many of us need a class, something we are committed to doing in order to actually take the time to stretch.  I am happy to help in that area and teach a class.

Do you stretch?

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It Really Should Be Called Waking Cat

Posted by terrepruitt on August 24, 2016

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, SJCityFitYou may have seen somewhere on the internet that I was going to teach yoga at San Jose’s cat adoption lounge, The Dancing Cat.  I mentioned it in one of my posts.  Well, some of you cat-like people (curious . . . get it?) might want to know how that went.  Afterwards, I received a lot of questions from people who didn’t attend asking what it was like.  Did the cats walk all over?  Was it difficult because there were cats all over?  What did the cats do?  Well, first of all it was really fun.  As you may have experienced, it is nice to gather with people with common interests.  So it was nice to gather with people who like cats and who like yoga.  We did gentle yoga for an hour and 15 minutes.  It was nice.

Now to answer some questions.  If you have or if you know cats, you are familiar that they all have routines.  While they may vary slightly, I think they are all basically the same.  Cats eat in the morning, then they nap the rest of the day.  In some cases they might get up to wander or play for a moment, but then they are right back to the napping.  It is so very important.  While we were all arriving the cats were up and about.  I am sure they were curious as to why all the furniture was being moved into a corner.  Some of them might have been at The Dancing Cat to have experienced a yoga class there before, but some have not.  The adoption lounge seems to have a revolving door when it comes to cats.  And that is a good thing!  They come, they are not there long, they get adopted, then there are new cats!  So, not all of them have seen this before.  So they were quiet active as we were arriving and setting up our mats.  Many cats, of course, made themselves at home on the rolled out mats.  I saw someone – I don’t remember who – chewing on and “back-footing” my mat.

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Then just as we were getting ready to start the class, the cats were busy making their way to their napping spots. So most of them were lounging around on the various cushions, chairs, cubbies, and cat trees while we did our yoga.  There was one cat who decided to be on my mat when we let out our lion roars.  I must do a good lion because he fled in a hurry.

Since we were doing yoga in the presence of cats, I had decided to do all the “cat” poses I know.  Of course we did CAT/cow,  with the emphasis on CAT.  We did lion, as I already mentioned, my roar scared one kitty.  We did, Utthita Marjaryasana which is Extended CAT.  Then we did CAT Tree, which is Vrksasana, but with your arms making the shape of whatever cat tree your cat has.  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, SJCityFitThe last cat pose I could think of was Sphinx, so we did that.  Even though we did Downward Dog, out of respect for the felines, since we were in their domain, I said, “Downward You-know-what, the animal that should not be named.”  Not that the cats were paying any attention at all.  I actually think it should be called Waking Cat, because that is what they all do when they wake up.

Then the last pose we did in honor of the special creatures that are cats, was pigeon.  I know it is not a “cat” pose as it doesn’t have cat in the name and it not really related to felines, but if you have a cat you may know where I took this pose.  Perhaps you are familiar with cats and the noise they make when they are tracking/watching birds.  But some people say, “Ick-ick-ick-ick”.  So while we were doing pigeon we all sounded “Ick-ick-ick-ick.”  This went over well, since all of the participants were cat owners.  I think many of them have heard that sound – they did it well.

If you are ever in the area and have an hour to spare, I hope you will visit The Dancing Cat.  I believe their plan is to be open through November 2016.

Are there any additional “cat” poses you can think of?  What did I leave out?

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Twists And Ten Benefits

Posted by terrepruitt on August 17, 2016

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I always teach to lengthen before moving, especially in a twist, so we want to lengthen on the inhale and twist on the exhale.  Sometimes inhaling/lengthening and exhaling/twisting bit further.  When we lengthen we allow for the space in between each vertebrae to get bigger and that allows for more room for the bones to move.

Twists help with flexibility in the back, the spine mobility and the muscles of the back.  The old “move-it-or-lose-it” that so often applies.  When we include twists in our practice we help to ensure that we will be able to do all the everyday things that include twisting.

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Seated twists can be done “open” or “closed”.  An “open” seated twist is where you are twisting away from the bent leg, in some cases putting your arm or shoulder against the bent leg.  In a sense allowing your chest to open away from your body.  A “closed” seated twist is where you turn TOWARD the bent leg, in some cases drawing the knee towards the chest.  If you have a leg bent in a seated twist it usually allows for a stretch into the hip area.

In B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga The Path To Holistic Health, he says, “Twists – These asanas teach us the importance of a healthy spine and inner body.  In twists, the pelvic and abdominal organs are squeezed and flushed with blood.  They improve the suppleness of the diaphragm, and relieve spinal, hip, and groin disorders.  The spine also becomes more supple and this improves the flow of blood to the spinal nerves and increases energy levels.”

So twists are good, in summary they:

1)  stimulate the adrenal glands
2)  stimulate the kidneys
3)  improve digestion
4)  massage the organs
5)  allow space in between each vertebrae
6)  help with flexibility in the spine
7)  help with flexibility in muscles of the back
8)  help to ensure that we will be able to keep twisting
9)  increase energy levels
10) feel pretty good

How do you feel about twists?  Do you include them in your practice?

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Flow Yoga? Vinyasa Yoga? Vinyasa Flow Yoga?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 18, 2016

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, SJCityFitYoga has been around for thousands of years.  There are so many translations of the documents that talk about yoga that there doesn’t seem to be a definitive way to do things.  The poses all seem to have different names, and when you hear a name you’ve heard before it can be done entirely different from what you were taught.  Pronunciation is all over the board.  There just doesn’t seem to be any way to know what you are getting . . . exactly.

I have been taking a few different classes to check things out.  And this is what I have come across.  There is “Flow Yoga”.  That is where the class is done in a flowing manner.  The participants move from pose to pose using the breath.  There might be poses where we stop and stay in it for a few breaths, but basically we are flowing from pose to pose.  Then there is the Vinyasa style.  Now Vinyasa is a flowing class.  It might not be called “Vinyasa Flow”, but that is usually what it is.  With a Vinyasa class participants flow from pose to pose and they are done on the breath.  There might be some stopping and holding, then flow to the next pose . . . but there is also “a Vinyasa”.  You can look it up and you’ll see vinyasa is defined as “arranging something in a special way.”  That can be applied to the class as already mentioned, but it can also be applied to a small sequence of poses.

In a Vinayasa class, in addition to flowing from one pose to the next, you “take a” or you “do a” vinyasa which is a specific set of poses.  It is generally the same, but it might be modified for the level of the class, but “a vinyasa” is typically plank pose, to knees-chest-chin or chaturanga dandasana, to cobra pose or upward facing dog pose, to downward facing dog pose.  The less intense vinyasa would be the one with the knees-chest-chin and cobra pose, whereas the more intense version would include the chaturanga dandasana and upward facing dog pose.  You could also do a combination and do knees-chest-chin with the upward facing dog or the chaturanga dandasana with the cobra pose.

What you also might experience in a class is something that really can’t be defined.  At some venues where they do yoga . . . like at an actual yoga studio . . . they might have classes that are separated into levels.  So a level one flow class will be different, probably less intense than a level two or three.  But at some places every class is expect to be an “all level” class . . . and that is where you will probably experience something that can’t be defined.

In order to allow “all levels” to participate the instructor will modify and change what she can in order to make certain that everyone can participate.  This, to me, is where a lot of the changes in yoga has come from.  So the need to alter it so it is accessible to the general public in combination with the fact that the translations are so varied has resulted in no definitive way of things being done or described.

So, my conclusion and definitions say:  Vinyasa yoga is flow yoga, but flow yoga is not vinyasa flow.  In Vinyasa yoga you do vinyasas.

The BEST way to know what you are getting is to talk to the instructor and/or take a class.  It helps to see for yourself.  You can always tell the teacher that you are taking the class to see if it a fit for you, then do the best you can.  If you like the class return to take it again.  If you don’t like it, you can always let the instructor know it was not what you were looking for.

When attending a class for the first time it is good to keep in mind that you might get a little different than you expected, but hopefully you will be able to enjoy the class for what it is.

What kind of yoga classes do you like?

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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.

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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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Socks Could Help You With The Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on May 23, 2016

I have written and posted about shavasana (savasana) before.  This asana can be used to start a class or be done anywhere in the sequence that you see fit to use it.  It is used in many yoga classes as the final pose.  I think of it as a Challenging Easy Pose.  It is a challenge because many of us have busy lives and things to do all the time.  Many of us have a lot to think about.  Many of us are challenged with quieting the mind.  Not necessarily having no thoughts because I am not sure that is even possible, but not having a lot of chatter in the mind.  Having focused thoughts.  The thoughts focusing on breath, body, and the practice just experienced.  Some people are further challenged with just being still.  So in addition to the busy, moving mind, there is the busy, moving body.  For some just relaxing and not fidgeting is a challenge.  I find that being comfortable really helps.  When doing shavasana as the final pose, I instruct my students to put on their jackets, if they want.  I encourage them bring blankets.  I almost plead with them to bring sock, nice, comfy, fluffy socks — and use them during shavasana.

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, SJCityFitI think this one simple thing will change your shavasana.  It doesn’t matter what the temperature is.  The room could be hot and the last thing you would think to do is put on socks, but I invite you to try it.  I reserve at least 7 minutes for shavasana.  I shoot for 10 minutes but sometimes that doesn’t work.  But we do at least 7 minutes.  So there is plenty of time to sink into relaxation.  It could be that in my classes, with all of that time the feet have a chance to cool off so socks are great.  When the feet are chilled it might keep you from completely relaxing.  You might not even realize they are chilled.  So socks can help.

Also air moving around your more than 7000 nerve endings (in each foot) might distract you.  With many yoga classes there are some standing poses, so you’ve activated the nerves in the feet.  Perhaps sensitized the feet during the class.  So nice socks could help keep the distraction to a minimum. COMFY socks might help bring some calm back to those nerves.  So if possible use warm and comfortable socks.  Not dress socks, because those do not help with warmth.

I am not sure the ancient yogis would endorse or even agree with such a recommendation, but I think of socks as a prop to help me achieve the purpose of the pose.  If props are used and recommended for other poses why not shavasana.  I do know that some people use bolsters when they are available, so why not use socks?

For me, once I started using socks, my shavasana changed.  I hadn’t even really thought about my feet affecting the pose until one day I decided to put on socks.  The few students of mine that have decided to use socks during their shavasana mentioned how it made a difference.  We all marvel at how it did!

So . . . whether you love shavasana or not . . . whether you are challenged by it or not . . . I suggest trying it with socks on.  See what you think.  Then let me know.

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