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

    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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Posts Tagged ‘Ball of foot’

Lateral Travel

Posted by terrepruitt on February 11, 2014

In Nia we have a base of 52 Moves. Not surprising they are called The 52 Moves of Nia. As I have stated before they are not unique to Nia. You have probably done some of them at one point in your life. If you have taken dance or you participate in a group exercise class that is dance oriented then you more than likely have done some of them. They are just gathered into a group for Nia because of their benefits and fun. So they are included in the Nia Routines. Not all of them are in every routine, but a good portion appear in each routine. Plus whenever there is Free Dance they might make an appearance. One of the base moves . . . . moves we do primarily with the base of our body . . . is Lateral Traveling.

Lateral Traveling is specific and different from Traveling In Directions. Traveling in Directions is a move done in all directions . . . . Lateral Traveling is done to the side. The Nia Technique (have you gotten your copy yet? Click here to go to Amazon to order your copy.) describes Lateral Travel as a step together step or a grapevine. The specifics are to start in a closed stance, then take one step to the side, then place your feet together (moving the other leg to the first leg that stepped), then take one step to the side, then move the leg toward the other one, but instead of placing it next to your leg cross it back.

A grapevine is where you step one leg to the side then the next step is BEHIND, then step to the side, where the next step goes depends. Sometimes you can land on the heel or behind or with the knee up. Grapevines are a nice replacement for four point turns. There are many reasons why people don’t turn so using this lateral move, the grapevine, is perfect.

With both methods the instructions say to use your hands to lead you. Have them out in the direction you are going. The instructions also say, “When you step behind, step onto the back ball of the foot and keep your knees spring loaded and your spine vertical.” For clarification, the “back ball of the foot” is the foot that is in the back or behind.

This is a “two side” move. To practice you do to one side then the other. To the left, then to the right. (Or to the right, then the left.)

So this is the specific Lateral Travel: Step together step or grapevine. I have found my self using the phrase “travel laterally” at times when I am leading my San Jose Nia class (or any Nia class for that matter) and I am not instructing them to do the specific Lateral Travel. But I guess that is the difference. There is “travel laterally” and do the “Lateral Travel” move.

Many moves in Nia are good for the coordination. This is one. Step together step is not necessarily a difficult move but depending on the speed and what comes before it and after it, it can call upon your coordination. Although, I would say this is one of the easier 52 Moves of Nia.

Varying the speed and adding some movement to the body can change it up a bit and perhaps add a some challenge to it.

So there you have it another move in Nia’s 52 Moves.

You probably find yourself doing this one often, huh? Even when you are not on the dance floor?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

More Dance Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on September 24, 2013

I have stated in previous posts that we do moves in Nia that are not exclusive to Nia.  Since Nia is three different arts; Martial Arts, Dances Arts, and Healing Arts, with three different movement forms in each art there is a large possibility that you have experienced the move before if you have participated in any of the movement forms.  The nine basic Nia movement forms are T’ai chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance, Feldenkrais, the Alexander Technique, and Yoga.  Even if you have not practiced any of the movement forms you still might have found yourself doing the cha-cha, a jazz square, a side kick, or sitting cross legged.  Nia does however have moves that are a part of Nia, say the core movements.  We call them the 52 Moves of Nia or Nia’s 52 Moves.  Two of the 52 moves are crosses.  There is the Cross Front and the Cross Behind.  The action of the cross is done with the feet.

The Cross Front is where you step across your body to the other side.  Some what like taking a diagonal step forward.  To practice this you can stand in an open stance and use one leg to step in a forward and diagonal direction.  The ideal of the Cross Front is with a heel lead.  Practice is done with arms and hands swinging freely.

The Nia Technique book states that benefits from this move is the strengthen of your inner thigh muscles.

This is a great practice in stability.  Especially since often when we are doing the cross front it is combined with another move.  We do not normally cross front continually from a standing still open position.  So the cross front often takes on a personality of its own.  Knowing how to do it in it simplest form allows for the energy and playfulness that it is normally supplied while dancing to come out.  This is often a move used to play with agility because in the dance we are moving and there is a start and a stop as we cross front.

The Cross Behind, like all moves, even the one mentioned above, has its proper way to be done.  To practice the cross behind start in an open stance then step with one foot back/behind on the diagonal so the moving foot comes behind and to the side of the stationary foot.  The moving foot lands on “ball of foot“.  The end result is the ankles look like an “x” is being made.  With this further practice can be done to allow for you to sink into a lower position . . . just a little bend in the knees.  But you keep the foot that crossed behind on the ball of foot.  Further practice has you rising on BOTH feet onto the ball of your foot. This move helps with mobility and stability in the legs.

Again, that is the way to do it in practice.  While moving, practicing, and playing with all the moves.  There are routines that call for the movement to be done exactly like stated.  We have our ankles crossed in the X and we are on ball of foot.  That is a true cross behind.  But in dancing it is often adjusted into looking a little different.

It could be that the ankles do not land that close together as we start to sense the music and dance it in our own bodies way.  Could be we land on whole foot.  There are many ways to dance and find this move adjusted.  But as with many things, it is important to learn the base, the correct way to do it and then play from there.

So as you can tell we do a lot of moves in Nia that are familiar.  I would not be surprised at all if you have done these on the dance floor at a club or a wedding reception.  Maybe not exactly as we do in Nia when executing them with precision to allow us the flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability available, but in a way that would make doing it in a Nia class familiar.

So where have you done the Cross Front?  And the Cross Behind?  Are you a grocery store dancer?

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

Morning Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on June 14, 2011

I am actually going to get to bed earlier tonight than I have been getting to bed.  The plan is to get up a little earlier and do my Ten Minute Workout.  I want to actually have it done before noon.  Since I don’t have a Nia class on Tuesday I can get my ten (or twenty) ten in ten done in the morning.  Not necessarily early morning just morning as in before noon.  What about you?

Also, how are you doing with the ten?  Are you getting through ten repetitions of all ten exercises?

Well, I shall return to actually check-in with my “I’m done!”

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June 14, 2011 at 9:46 am

Okey-dokey.  I did my Ten Minute Workout.  I am averaging at least twice through, but, as I’ve said before I am convinced it is because my lunges aren’t that long, BUT . . . . . they ARE lunges.  Yay!  I am getting on the ball of my right foot (while my left leg is forward) AND pushing off on it when the right leg is forward. I am working on distributing the weight through the entire width of my foot (ball of foot) and all five toes, because I sense that I am still putting the majority of the weight on the actually “ball” of my foot (metatarsal head).

So are you ready to give the ten a try?  Remember we all have different goals so do what YOU can, not what I am saying I am doing.  Let me know how it is going for you.

Posted in Ten Minute Workout check-in | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Long Lunges

Posted by terrepruitt on June 4, 2011

We do lunges in Nia all the time. We call them the “bow stance”.  Different Nia routines have different “lunges”.  Sometimes we do them fast, sometimes slow. Sometimes the music allows us to do a deep lunge, sometimes it might just be a shallow or a high one. Lunges are great for the quadriceps and glutes. In my original design of my Ten Minute Workout I wanted the concentration to be in the glutes, so I decided to do a long lunge. A long lunge gets the backside more.

Holding weights down at your sides adds to the work your leg and butt muscles have to do. Standing up from the long step requires much more effort. As a reminder only step as far as will allow you to stand back up. Also be certain that in addition to being able to stand back up you are stable, so your legs are wide enough that you cannot be easily pushed over.

As you step out also remember that it is a controlled step. The foot that is stepping out should land softly and not in a stomp. These do not need to be done fast.  When including this exercise in the ten minute workout I was thinking of a long controlled step.  The movement is solid and fluid.

The foot that remains stationary ends up with the heel raised (completely vertical if you can get there), weight on the ball of the foot and toes.  Since this is a long lunge, the stationary leg could end up with the knee almost on the ground or on the ground.

The idea is to step one leg out then back, then the other leg steps out then back. Alternate legs, each step out is “one”. There are other ways to do lunges, modifications that can be made, but for now, this is the explanation of the exercise chosen to be included in this ten minute workout. Eventually I will post some information on different ways to do the lunges.

What questions do you have about the long lunges?

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All out in Nia Class

Posted by terrepruitt on June 4, 2011

I subbed a Nia Class this morning.  Nia is a lot “about” the music.  We dance to the music.  Today while I was teaching I really just let the music take me and I danced.  I didn’t hold back much because of my foot.  I don’t put my weight on my right foot when I am in ball of foot position or bow stance, but I was DOING ball of foot (a GREAT step forward in my healing process).  During the class once or twice I wobbled or missed a beat because my foot kind didn’t want to support me.  At another point I realized I was on the EDGE of my right foot (another HUGE step forward in my healing process).  I had enough time in which to think about that and while it seemed ok, I was glad when the music told me it was time to move again because it didn’t seem like I should be doing that for much longer.  I really worked my foot this morning.  I went all out in Nia class.  That led me to not wanting to do my Ten Minute Workout.  I was really dreading the lunges because I am not ready to put weight on my right foot in ball of foot position—-and that is what a lunge is!!!

I came upstairs to do it.  Then I sat down at my computer, did an e-mail or two and I decided my foot really was too tired to do it.  I logged onto my blog to post that I was skipping Terre’s Ten Ten in Ten today, but when I saw the picture of my “gym” I thought, “It is really only 10 minutes.  And it is really just the first exercise that you are dreading.  So . . . do it LESS.  Even more “less” than you have been.”  So . . . . I did it.  It is obvious to me that I spend a lot of time in my long lunges — when I do them fully on a stable foot — because I thought that I was not going to make it two times through and when I looked at my timer I had plenty of time left and I was on the stability ball pass for the second time.  When I do lunges little it takes me less time.

I did my little workout, how about you?  What are you finding while you do these exercises?

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Ball of the Foot

Posted by terrepruitt on June 29, 2010

We often step on the ball of our foot.  We often call it the toe.  The Ball of the foot is one of the 52 Moves of Nia.  Ballerinas are actually on their toes and they do it in special shoes that have a support in them where their toes are.  We usually are stepping onto the BALL of our foot when we step on the “toe”.  It is the ball portion of the foot that supports the weight when we are “on our toes”.

This is plantar flexion and assists with keeping the ankle joint flexible.  If you are standing on the foot you are flexing it can also assist with strength.

In a Nia workout class we do all types of movement and sometimes we are using the ball of our foot.  We could be stepping or standing.  The moment might call for us stepping ONTO the ball either forward, back, or even laterally.  Or it could be that we are standing and just rising up. This could be a position where we stay either in a display of balance or it could be a display of agility, a temporary place where we quickly move onto another move.  Either way it is all part of how the body was designed to be moved.

It might be a nice idea to keep in mind that moving and working the foot in different ways than it is used to being worked might cause some muscle soreness or tenderness through the entire leg.  If you are never on your the ball of your feet and suddenly your dancing a few moments on them, your calves might remind you of it later that day or even the next day.  Same goes for the whole foot, if you are not in the habit of moving on the whole foot your ENTIRE leg could end up letting you know you worked some leg muscles.

As with the whole foot, the ball of the foot can be used in the stances of Nia.

Just as I have done with the heel lead and the whole foot, I am going to suggest that you take note of this foot position.  As you walk notice when your stride gets to the point of the ball of your foot.  As you reach for something on the top shelf and you balance on your toes, notice the flex of your foot and the muscles in your calves.  As you walk through your day notice the ball of your foot.

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »