Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach yoga, Nia, and stretch online!

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Posts Tagged ‘Awareness’

Mindfulness

Posted by terrepruitt on December 17, 2015

Oh.  Recently someone posted a link to a video on Facebook.  So I watched this little video about “Mindfulness”.  It was a cartoon where these animals were talking about being mindful.  The example used was one of the animals was driving in traffic and something made him angry.  Now I can’t find the video to verify, but I thought that the animal, I think it was a cow was advised to not get mad or to not act upon his anger or to just let it go.  So basically what I got from the video was that “mindfulness” was not acting out on your emotions or your “bad” emotions.  Just observe them then let them pass.  I then looked up a few definitions of mindfulness and a few of them said the same thing.  Funny . . . to me, I always thought of mindfulness as being AWARE of things.  Being in the moment and paying attention to what you are doing.

I guess the videos definition and example can be that if that means you just let the moment go and don’t focus on it and stay angry, but still I felt it was a totally different definition and idea than what I think of as mindfulness.  To me the situation he was talking about was just letting things go.  I guess some people could call letting things go mindfulness.

I really think of mindfulness as being present and being aware.  Ya know, not brushing your teeth while doing other things (my prime example because that is what I often do).  Or not walking down the street with your head bent down to see your phone.  Or not texting while driving.  Or one I know many of us do — because I see many people go back — walk away from our cars not certain if we locked it and have to go back to check.  To me mindfulness is giving your full mind, your attention to your teeth brushing, walking, driving, and getting out of the car and locking it.  To me it is focusing on what you are doing.  Kind of like what we have in Nia, called Dancing Through Life.  Paying attention to what we are doing.  Making it a dance.  Noticing our movements.

I guess, mindfulness can have different meanings.  I mean, obviously, because that video said one thing and I’ve heard it defined other ways.

What about you?  What is your definition of mindful?  Or what would you use as an example of mindful?

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

Who Thinks About Their Knees?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 26, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Joy of Being In Relationship With The Nia Blue Belt Principles

Posted by terrepruitt on November 27, 2012

The Nia Blue Belt has 13 principles as does the Nia White Belt, Nia Brown Belt, and Nia Black Belt.  The principles for the Blue Belt were created to layer onto or weave through the Nia White Belt Principles.  The 13 Nia Blue Belt Principles are:

1. The Joy of Being In Relationship
2. The Power of Two
3. Awareness, Insight, Clarity
4. Developmental Anatomy
5. The Power of Three
6. Split, Ellipt, Blend
7. Nia Class Format
8. The Power of Silence & Sound
9. Form and Freedom
10. FloorPlay
11. Music, Movement, Magic
12. Observe, Listen, Guide
13. Vertical Routines

Even though I have been introduced to 13 new principles, I can still work with the 13 Nia White Belt Principles.  I still have a lot I can learn through them.  Nia actually made practicing them easy by creating the Blue Belt principles to weave into the White Belt Principles.  The Nia White Belt Principle #1 is The Joy of Movement.  http://www.helpyouwell.com/nia-information.htmlWhen Nia creates the principles they create catch phrases and other things to help explain what the principle is about and help people remember the principle and what it is about.  One of the things they use as a tool is a triad with words or phrases.  The triad for principle #1 in the Nia White Belt is the same as the triad for principle #1 in the Nia Blue Belt.  The triad is choose, sensation, and universal joy.

The Nia Blue Belt Principle #1, The Joy of Being In Relationship, the catch phrase is “with”, so you choose, sense the sensation, experience universal joy.  You are in relationship with all three in addition to “the other” you are in relationship with.  The “other” does not have to be a person, it can be a movement, a body part, a person, a thought, an idea . . . . anything.  As an example, you can be in relationship with your hips as they move when you walk.  You are not just aware of them, but you are in relationship with.  There is communication going on.  It is not just you moving them, you are listening, sensing, aware . . . in relationship with.  They move and you receive information from them.  Maybe you sense them tilting forward.  Why?  What is that the result of?  Can you move them so they are not tilting forward?  You ask.  They say yes.  You move in a way that adjust them.  You move on.  Energy and information going back and forth between you and “the other”.  This is applied to dancing Nia.  This is applied to teaching Nia.  This is applied to everything.  This is applied to life.  We choose.  We sense.  We have the opportunity to experience Universal Joy.  We have the opportunity to be in relationship with.

So this is a new idea for me.  This is how I am perceiving it today.  This is how I am understanding it today.  I welcome others who have taken the Blue Belt Intensive to comment.  I believe this principle is one of the things that takes practice.  It is something that can be played with and experienced.  And I actually feel as if my relationship with this principle changes.  So, yeah, there will probably more on this as I explore the Joy of Being In Relationship With!

Do you somewhat understand how you can be in relationship with?

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Awareness – Dancing Through Life

Posted by terrepruitt on May 4, 2010

Nia White Belt Principle #5 – Awareness – Dancing Through Life

I have been avoiding this principle because it can be very complex. To me, all of Nia’s White Belt Principles can be complex because they can be applied strictly to the cardio workout that is one aspect of Nia, they can be applied to Nia as a practice—which translates into, they can be applied to life, or they can just be applied to life.

Debbie Rosas Stewart talked about Principle #5 in this month’s Nia Teleconference for EveryBODY. She kept it simple. In all the calls she talks for about 15 minutes then she takes questions for the last 15. The call is 30 minutes. I will share with you what she said, but I recommend you listen to the call when they have it up on the site. They record each call every month.

Since I like to keep my posts relatively short, I have realized that I can post short summaries of Nia information and re-visit the information in additional posts.

One of the first things she said is very true, and I would like you to think about it. She pointed out that we are often aware of pain whereas we are not aware of pleasure. If we have a sore body part, we are aware of it. It makes its presence known and we listen. I personally don’t think we always listen to what it needs, but that is topic of another post. But we certainly don’t always pay attention to pleasure.

With Nia we seek pleasure. We seek to move away from the pain and go towards the pleasure.

There are a few things we can do to assist with that. One way is to be aware. Be aware of what brings us pleasure. As we move throughout our day we can make our movements a dance. While we are “doing”, we can dance through life. As you are reading this and you shift in your chair, notice the movement of your hips, notice to tilt of your head, do it like a dance.

While you are not moving, while you are “not doing”. Notice the stillness in your body. Allow the stillness to bring calm, relaxation, a sort of meditation, if you will. Notice what it is you are touching. Not just touching with your hands, but with your entire body. Are you sitting on a chair? Are you leaning on a desk? Benefit from that touch and that “not doing”.

Life as art so notice the art around you. Notice the noises and allow them to filter in as sound. Breath in the sensation of life. Not talking about “art” that would be in a museum art, but just the beauty of the world. Whatever you find beautiful.

There is so much about Nia I always find myself saying, “Another thing . . . one thing . . . Nia this . . . and Nia that. . .” but really. Another thing about Nia is that it is kind. Nia believes that we receive what we need to receive. We are not expected to hear something and walk away knowing it all or knowing it perfectly. With that in mind, understand that this is what I heard. These are the notes I took. Please, I invite you to listen for yourself and glean from it what you need. Focus on what resonates with you.  Take away something you can share.

My site shows Nia class schedule in San Jose and San Carlos. On Nia’s main site you can look up classes in your area. There are classes all over the world.

Touching and Being Touched / May 3, 2010 Teleconference call is the call I have summarized here.

Presently in your life, do you dance through it?  Do you practice awareness?  Do you notice life as art?

Posted in Nia, Nia White Belt Principles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »