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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Posts Tagged ‘BMES’

WHOA! Releasing Tension In Psoas

Posted by terrepruitt on May 1, 2017

So this past Sunday I took a workshop at Mind Body Zone yoga studio in Fremont that was called Core Release and Restore™.  This is the second time I have attended this workshop.  It was so fascinating to me the first time I just had to do it again.  It is very educational.  The first part of the workshop is lecture, then the second part we move.  The presenter Joanne Varni first talks about the psoas muscle.  She sets the stage for the movement part of the class.  She first explains what type of muscle it is and what it should be like in a healthy state. She talks about how it is a muscles that is primal and instinctive, how it works with our brain and nervous system.  She explains how, because of that, it is hugely affected on the levels of BMES (Body/physical, Mind/brain, Emotional, and Spirit/energetic).  She clarifies how stress (all types) affect this muscle.  Then she instructs us through movements that can help bring some relief to our psoas and iliopsoas muscles.

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, SJCityFitOne technique she shares is neurogenic tremoring.  It is one of the oddest things I have ever experienced.  First we went through some asana to specifically slightly fatigue our legs and affect the psoas.  Some of the poses could be used on their own to help release the psoas.  Then we did Supta Baddha Konasana with our heels as close to our middle as we could get them.  We stayed there for a little while.  Then we brought our knees in, toward each other, one inch at a time over a long period of time.  We would bring them in an inch and then hold it there.  Then closed them by another inch and hold it.  This caused a tremor response in the legs.  Some people can continue to do so until their feet are flat on the ground, yet the tremors are still happening.

This was my second time doing it, so it was weird, but since I was expecting it, it wasn’t as odd as the first time.  But this is what I wrote after the first time:  “It was sooooo weird.  My legs were just moving on their own with no sensation.  It was so odd.  I mean, I have had my limbs shake from being weak or fatigued while I was doing something and that has a sensation (to me), but this was just waves of tremors.  Like an earthquake.  It was so odd.  Fascinating.  Yeah!  That’s it.  REALLY fascinating!”

Joanne specializes in helping those with trauma (including PTSD) and has attended and completed her Level II certification in TRE™ (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises) with Dr. David Bercelli. She is also certified as TSY teacher (Trauma Sensitive Yoga).

Keep in mind that this is called both Trauma Release and Tension Release.  So not everyone has trauma necessarily, but we all pretty much have tension.  Even it we don’t have stress, because of our lifestyles (in that we sit in chairs) we have tension in our psoas and iliopsoas muscles.  So while Joannes does not feel these muscles needs to be strengthened she does feel they need to be released and lengthened.

If you want to see a video example of the TRE™ (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises), you can click here and go to Joanne’s site where she has a video.

It is so very fascinating how our bodies hold and store tension and trauma.  I would recommend this class to anyone that is interested in helping their body cope with the stresses of living in our bodies.

Have you ever heard of this technique before?  Have you experienced this technique before?

Posted in Misc, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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?

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

The Routine Really is AMAZING

Posted by terrepruitt on May 11, 2016

You may have seen me announce that I was producing another Nia class with a guest teacher.  “Producing” just means that I communicate with the teacher, secure a venue, and promote it as much as I can.  The guest teacher does the routine or playshop work and presents the material.  I have had this guest teacher come teach a couple of times before.  Jason Alan Griffin is a first degree Nia Black Belt and he travels the country with his dog River, and he teaches Nia.  In March of 2015, he was going to be in our area so I invited him to present his FreeDance Playshop.  Then since he was going to be here on Friday, I asked him to do his based-on-Nia-routine Frankie Say Nia.  So we had a Nia class on Friday, then the playshop and a class on Saturday.  He happened to be passing through our area in August so I invited him back to do Frankie Say Nia again because it was so fun the first time.  This time around he was traveling with a few routines and the one I thought would be the best for the Nia community here was “Amazing”.  It is appropriately named.  A small group of us danced Amazing with Jason on Friday, May 06, 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, SJCityFitAmazing came about through Jason’s desire to share all the wonderful Nia energy he experiences during his trips.  He said he was bringing his work and sharing it, but sensed a lot of creativity out there and he wanted to embrace it.  So he invited Nia communities to contribute songs from their areas.  Then as he visited each area and each Nia community the choreography was revealed.  It was either revealed by the community already having done it or by a collaboration.

Now he is spending several months on the road bringing this routine to many Nia communities around the country.  He has a few other routines that are on the menu Orchestra, Woodstock Experience, and Floorplay . . . all sound super fun by their descriptions.

The focus of Amazing is on connections and directions.  We moved in all directions and were encouraged to sense the connection.  As with many things in Nia the connection could be one of or all of the BMES.  So we could have been connecting with the Body, the Mind, our Emotions, or Spirit.  We were invited to connect with people in the room, in the Nia community, and any where.  The intent was to explore something new and return home renewed.  And again, as with many things in Nia, that could relate to the BMES.  As an example we would extend our arm and try a new movement for our hand, then return our hand back to our center or our “home” and sense if there was a change or some new or different kind of sensation.

It was super fun.  A question occurred to me today as I was thinking about writing this post,  “Do I just think it is fun because I am not a student often and so any chance to dance Nia is fun?”  Then I pictured the e-mails I received telling me it was fun.  I remembered the comments after class.  It was fun.  We have fun when Jason teaches us.  So, even though he is planning on taking a year off from traveling, I am hoping that a quick jaunt down the coast to us won’t be considered “traveling” and he will come back next year to teach us again.  I really want to try that Orchestra class.

Below are some pictures from the class.  I do hope one day you’ll come dance with me!

 

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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

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

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

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

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

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

If you want to see MORE pictures and a video from the class please visit my site.

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

Not Silent About The Silence

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2015

Wow.  This non-verbal cueing that we did in Nia has brought up some stuff.  So here is another post about it!  I have really noticed since the “silent class” that cueing sometimes disrupts the dance for some participants.  Since people are so different, we all hear differently, see differently, concentrate differently, and learn differently, it is different for different people.  What I noticed is that when I mention something, some people stop or they look to be interrupted.  I had noticed this before, but it seems more obvious to me now that we had the silent class.  Nia teachers are supposed to cue at a specific point, to me it is so that the person has a moment to finish the move they are in the middle of, have a moment to know what is coming, then perhaps be able to seamlessly change to the next move.  That is the idea.  The idea is to NOT interfere with the dance.  I see it happens sometimes.  I see sometimes it does not.  So I think it might have to do with what the person is thinking while they are dancing.  It could be, if they are completely in their bodies there is no disruption of the movement, but if they are thinking something else while they are moving, then a cue is given, their thoughts are interrupted so their movements get choppy, then they either finish the present move or move onto the next.  I am not sure of the reason for what I am seeing, but it is very interesting.

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 FitI feel as if in the silent class they actually have to pay attention MORE.  They have to LOOK at me if they want to see what is happening.  When you have to LOOK at something, it might help with concentration.  It could be that the mind is not wandering and counting on the verbal cue to tell you what to do.

As I mentioned in the last post, the participants were in sync, but that was after the move was done at least once.  Without verbal cues there is no way for them to know what the move is after I clap until they see it.  So once they saw it, or sometimes in the middle of seeing it they knew what to do.

Since they were so synchronized and got there so quickly, I am also thinking that without verbal cues from ME they were letting their bodies cue them.  Muscles have memories and without the benefit of me telling them what to do, they just did what their bodies knew to do.  As I mentioned in the first post about the “silent class” we have been doing this routine for a few weeks.  Plus it is one they already “know”.

I have had people tell me either before or after classes that they need CONSTANT instruction.  They want the instructor to say each move through the entire song.  I have had people tell me that I don’t tell them what they are supposed to do enough.  I have had people tell me that they don’t like Nia because there is not enough of the teacher telling them what to do.  I share that to let you know, as I said before, there are different ways to learn and people like different things.

That is why Nia is so fun.  We can do it different ways.  If you like constant instruction, think of what new things you are being introduced to with less instruction.  If you don’t like any instruction, think of what new things you are being introduced to with minimal instruction.  It is all about keeping the body, mind, emotions, and spirit challenged (BMES).  Learning and doing new things or learning and doing “old” things but in a “new” way.  The BMES likes to be flexed and stretched and stimulated.

I love that the Nia participants that come to my Nia classes are so willing to try new things.  I love that they like to play and experiment.  This had opened some new doors for me.  It will allow us to have more fun!

Have you been to a Nia class yet?

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

Thoughts About The Absence Of Verbal Cues

Posted by terrepruitt on November 19, 2015

In order to keep my post from being really long – I personally like to read short posts . . . I started this story in my last post and I am finishing it up here.  In my last post I talked about the ways classes are led.  I talked about how Nia was designed to be a lead and follow, with cueing at a specific point, and even certain types of cues (pearls).  I also mentioned how Nia is about keeping things fun and new . . . always challenging the body, mind, emotions, and spirit (BMES).  With that in mind sometimes Nia teachers might teach classes without cueing.  Now the “cueing” is up for interpretation.  What we did was NO VERBAL CUEING.  I decided to clap to indicate that a change was coming.  And it ended up that, during two songs I pointed to indicate direction at a couple of areas in each song.

After the class, I asked what they observed.  One student said she like it.  I pressed a bit because I wanted to know WHY she liked it.  I wanted to know what she noticed about it.  Because I noticed things too.  So I wanted to know what SHE noticed.  She said that she felt as if she could do what she wanted more without the verbal cues.  She felt she could dance more.  Some others agreed.  A couple of people said they felt more connected to their bodies.  And it is my opinion that having a deeper connection with your body is one of the reasons why we play with no cueing.  However, what I observed was really interesting . . . I thought.  I noticed that the class was more synchronized.  They were all doing the moves together more than I have ever seen.

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 FitThere is this one part in this routine that people always “jump the gun” on.  There is always someone doing the “big” move before the big move.  But during the non-verbal cueing class . . . they all did it perfectly.  This synchronization struck me as I watched it, and then again when one of the students said she felt she could do what she wanted more without instruction.  Apparently they all want to dance perfectly in unison and my “interfering” as we call it, is keeping them from doing that.

When instructing a small group it seems as if there is less of a need to guide people.  In larger groups there seems as if the odds are someone seems to look as if they could use a cue.  And as a teacher, I want to help, so I might count, or repeat the instructions of the move.  In smaller groups there are less people so less opportunity for that.

This silent class had a fewer people than we have been having.

Some people expressed the opinion that they didn’t feel as much joy and/or energy in this silent class.  They shared they really like verbally cued classes better.  They were relieved to hear that this is not the norm or where my Nia classes are headed.  This was just play.  This was just a way to experience Nia different.  This was just an experiment with the body and dance.

It was fun.  But, at one point I put my fingers to my lips because I wanted to say something so badly, but I didn’t want to break the silence.  We did sound because that was the mood we wanted.  We wanted the energy and the play of sounding, but we wanted the introspectiveness of no verbal cueing.

We will be doing it again.  In fact, we have been dancing another routine I was thinking about trying it with so we will see.

Nia is so fun and so interesting.  Have you been to a Nia class yet?

Have you taken a silent Nia class?  What did you think?

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

Different Ways To Instruct

Posted by terrepruitt on November 17, 2015

Every type of group exercise in a class format has its own way of doing things.  Some formats might be the type in which the instructor is actually shouting and yelling at the participants.  Some might just have instructions posted around the area and people are to move along and follow the instructions.  A Zumba class is a lead follow type of format where – at least when I earned my certification – the instructions are supposed to be more hand motions than verbal.  The instructor is not supposed to talk as much as just point and gesture.  Nia is also a lead follow format, but with verbal guiding/instructing.  We have specific points in our music when we are supposed to guide the class into the next moves.  We, also are to use what we call “pearls” to help people move their bodies.  From what I understand and the training I received we are not supposed to talk the entire time.  Nia is body centered, so the instructors are supposed to be silent at times to let the students dance in their own way to the moves and the music.  I personally feel that I can use work on both my use of pearls AND of being silent.  One thing about Nia, though, is it is about play, exploration, experimentation, and doing new things in order to stimulate the BMES (the body, mind, emotions, and spirit).  One thing that I have always heard about is the silent class.

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 TechniqueSo, the silent class does not mean no music, it means no cueing.  Or at least that is what I thought it meant . . . turns out – just like many things – there are many ways to do it.  One of my students recently took the brown belt intensive and there she experienced a class with no cues.  She requested we try it.  Well, it so happened that I started on the path while she was gone so I asked a fellow Nia Teacher and Black Belt what she did in HER silent classes.  I was wondering if there was no cueing and NO SOUNDING.  I figured it would be a huge challenge for me not to cue, but I really was doubtful I could make it through a class without making a sound.  Her response surprised me in that she said she claps to indicate a move change.  Well, that just threw another wrench in the mix.  So . . . that meant that there was SOME type of cueing.  I mean cueing is alerting to a change.  LOTS of cueing is telling people what the change is and when and . . . etc.  But a clap is a cue.  So . . . to me that would mean it is a class with no VERBAL cueing.  She also mentioned that sounding would work depending upon the mood being sought for the class.  With her class — I think she does a specific routine — she does not sound.

So there are different ways to have a silent class.  There could be NO cueing at all.  There could be a clap to indicate the next move is a different one.  There could be pointing and indicating in some fashion something – either direction or side of body or body part or that something new is coming.  I really think that any of those ways is good.  Because all of them offer something different for the student.  And all of them allow the participant to focus on different things.

So for the past four weeks we have been dancing a routine with the intent of doing it without cueing.  I was going to dance it for three weeks, but I thought my student who requested this would be back for the fourth week (the planned silent class), but she wasn’t so I did it one more week so she could join the silent class.

We danced it without verbal cues today and it was very interesting . . . . .

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

Nia Crosses The Line

Posted by terrepruitt on September 27, 2014

I teach a cardio dance exercise called Nia.  But it is more than that.  At one point in its history Nia was NIA and stood for Neuromuscular Integrative Action.  I have mentioned this before.  I have also mentioned that I am not sure why the name has gone through many changes.  I personally think that Nia has changed its name trying to find a wide audience.  Trying to become more popular.  It is sometimes the way with things that there has to be a catchy name or something in order to get people’s attention.  Sometimes the name that best describes something is not catchy or marketable enough to attract people.   Neuromuscular Integrative Action is really a great name.  It describes Nia very well.  But I don’t think it is very catching.  It is difficult for some to remember, perhaps, and it might not come easy to understand to many people.  But it really is a perfect name for Nia.

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary states:

Full Definition of NEUROMUSCULAR:

of or relating to nerves and muscles; especially : jointly involving or affecting nervous and muscular elements

 

A Google search shows the following:

integrative:

serving or intending to unify separate things.

[In]  •    Medicine — combining allopathic and complementary therapies.

So the actions during the workout will have to do with nerves and muscles.  The movements, in addition to moving the entire body, also bring together the Body, Mind, Emotions, and Spirit (BMES).  So it truly is Neuromuscular Integrative Action.  But that truly is a mouthful.  Even though it is a great, descriptive name, I think it might have been decided it was too difficult.  I don’t know.  I am just speculating.

I mentioned in my post about Knee Sweeps how it is beneficial to the brain for our limbs to cross over the midline of the body.  I want to write a little more on that . . . . imagine you have a string that starts at the top of your forehead and it fall down the middle of your forehead, down the middle of your nose, in between your breast down the middle of your chest, over your belly button, continuing down in between your legs.  That is the MIDLINE of your body.  So when your cross your left hand/arm or foot/leg over to the right side of that line you are crossing the midline.  And vice-versa.  This type of action is good for your brain.  This type of action is good for your nervous system.  It is action relating to nerves and muscles.  You use your muscles in action and this stimulates your nervous system.

I often remind my class how we are “working” the brain when we cross the midline of the body, when it really is so much more than that.  Because, as you know, the each side of the body are controlled by opposite sides of the brain so when you cross the midline both sides of the brain are forced into working.  Both sides must communicate with each other.  This communication with the nerve-cell pathways linking both sides, but strengthening them.

Many exercise classes do this.  That is because it is important (I believe I have said this before.)  Even yoga does it in some of its asanas.  So the crossing does not have to happen in a cardio class or during a cardio exercise.  Crossing the midline in stretches also helps “stretch” the brain.  So even if you don’t participate in Nia, you can do things to help your brain.  But I just wanted to share again – I know I’ve mentioned some of this a few times – how Nia is a lot more than a dance exercise, it really is neuromuscular integrative action.

So, with the reminder that it is good for your brain and nervous system, are you gonna cross that line?

 

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Doesn’t Mean You Die Even When You Decide To

Posted by terrepruitt on April 1, 2014

HOLY MOLY!!!! Sigh. Ok, I feel that since I started it, I need to continue with it. Right? I mean, it is not my intention to make my blog all about death, but since I asked for love and support, I think it is only fair that I give you all an update. I sat with my mother in her hospital room for roughly seven days. During that time she was presented with an option that would have been extremely painful and risky. The surgeon gave three scenarios that could occur and two of them pretty much ended with immediate death, so she opted to skip the procedure and just spend her last days with a tube down her throat, unable to speak and unable to cry. She entertained visitors. Not many because it was exhausting to her. She also was asked to pick the day on which she would have the tube removed. The thoughts were that her trachea is so encroached with cancer and would be so traumatized by the tube that when they pulled it out she would not have much time before she died.

Regarding the procedure mentioned — for those that are curious — it was a stent. A stent was to be placed in the trachea. The idea was that it would hold open the collapsing trachea so that she could breathe. But, it would only be for a few days. The stent is not a permanent or even semi-permanent solution. It is also metal and rigid, it would not have flexed and moved. It would have been very uncomfortable/painful, because the trachea moves.

She did not want to go. She had a lot left she wanted to do. Knowing she couldn’t do ALL that she wanted to do before she died, she thought she could at least do SOMETHINGS. So she decided to have the tube removed on Monday. She made that decision on a Wednesday. It is MY belief that if she knew all that she would have to go through between Wednesday, March 26th, and Monday, March 31st she would not have picked that day. But she wanted to at least get her Easter cards written out. She also wanted to advise me of who gets what in the stack of Christmas gifts she already bought. She also wanted to spend as much time with her family as she could — who wouldn’t, right? But in order to do so she suffered a lot. The medical professionals taking care of her were always there to administer the drugs she needed so she wouldn’t be in pain, but those drugs made her groggy and unable to think clearly so sometimes I think she held off a bit. Plus the procedures that need to be done to allow someone to breath through a tube are not comfortable. So anyway . . .

Hand holding - for post 04.01.14We got to visit for several days. As I have said several times, she was unable to talk with the tube in her throat. She also was unable to cry because the contractions that happen when one cries caused too much pain. Normally I would not tell someone not to cry because crying is such a great release. I believe crying is good for the BMES – ha, yes, that is a Nia acronym. It helps clear the tear ducts and allows for a physical release. Crying helps clear the mind also. It is an emotional release as well as a spirit helper so to me, it is a good thing. So if you want to cry, cry — except while you are driving or you have tube down your throat and it hurts too much.

I was there until Friday night. I got home around midnight on Friday. I came home to do some laundry, teach a yoga class, do some paper work, and pick up my husband. We went back up Saturday night. We visited all day Sunday and waited around for 1:00 pm on Monday. We all were under the impression that at 1:00 pm it would happen. But we all forgot that “hospital time” is not exact. They do things — even scheduled things — around other things. So our 1:00 pm scheduled extubation turned into 2:28 pm. I trusted the medical staff (although it turned out not to be who we were told it would be) would see that she was not in pain, but we still didn’t know if there would be any gasping and gagging and who knows. I was confident that it would not be a long time after. I saw the MRI of the trachea/esophagus area. Nurses and doctors helped convince me that it would be quick. Well it was not. We are going into our 29th hour.  While my mom is so medicated she doesn’t know what is going on and she feels no pain . . . this is NOT what she would have wanted. Lingering on. In fact every visitor that came to visit her while I was there, her answer to their comment of “I’m praying for you.” was “Pray that I don’t linger.” Again, I am at a loss.

Yes, we all have ideas as to why she has not died . . . . she is not ready . . . . she is doing it in her own time (something we call Natural Time in Nia) . . . ALL TYPES of ideas . . . but really we don’t know. All that I know is that this is really hard on my dad. This is not a case where she might revive and be ok. This is not a hopeful, “Oh, I’ll sit by your bedside until you are awake.” This is a grueling death watch. Judge me anyway you want, I left last night. I didn’t want to see her as I know she would not want to be. I didn’t want to hear the “death rattle”. Ugh!  Since it is hard on my dad, if it drags on until the weekend I will go back up.

Well, this post is way longer than I like to have my post, but I really wanted to let you know what the status is. Also . . . I guess it helps to write it out. One more thing . . . I believe that I would not have been able to handle this if it weren’t for all of you. So many people have “come out of the wood work” to share and support and deliver sparkles. So thank you all for sharing and caring and giving. I have not been told I am loved or said, “I love you” this much in as many days before in my life.

Please keep up with those thoughts, prayers, stories, sparkles, and all that jazz.  It REALLY helps!

 

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Challenging Easy Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on February 25, 2014

I love my students. They are a great source to me; they teach me and they make me laugh. Recently one of my students happen to mention a policy that was told to her – a facility stated she could try the class for 10 minutes without charge, but would have to sign up for the class to stay longer. The comments from those that she was sharing this with was that 10 minutes was not really long enough to get a sense of the class and if they would like it. She said, “I know, if I would have only stayed 10 minutes I would have missed the nap time at the end!” That was the best. She, of course, was kidding . . . sort of. She was talking about Shavasana. A very important part, yet for many, one of the most difficult times in yoga.

She was kidding in the sense that we all know it is not nap time, but not having been familiar with yoga she would have missed seeing that part of the class if she had only been allowed to stay for 10 minutes. Shavasana is a pose of total relaxation. It is where you allow your body to rest and relax from the workout it just participated in. In some classes this is a necessary time for recuperation of the body, but in others it might not be so much about the body. In a Gentle Yoga class it could be more about the mind. In Nia we have BMES – Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit. We could say that shavasana is a time for those four things. So after a nice gentle class it could be more a time more for the mind, emotion, and spirit to relax. While the inner dialog should be kept to a minimum while practicing the asanas it is even more important to do so during shavasana. This is the time when the body absorbs all the goodness from the poses it just performed.

I had once thought that you DID shavasana IN the corpse pose, but the name comes from the Sanskrit words Shava meaning “corpse” or dead body and Asana meaning “posture”.*

One of the reasons shavasana is so difficult is because there is not supposed to be any inner dialog going on (as I just mentioned). This is not the time where you begin making your shopping list for your trip to the store after class, or where you decide what you are going to say to your boss/friend/spouse. This is a time of quiet, a time of reflection, a time where you do a “body check”. Check in with each body part or area of your body to see if it needs any attention, see if it needs to be relaxed and focus on allowing it to relax. Sometimes because of this relaxation one might fall asleep. When I first started every time I did shavasana I fell asleep. Now I don’t, I am better at being mindfully relaxed. It is a practice though. This might not be something that comes easy to you, it might be a challenge, but it is something worth practicing.

I’ve heard different ideas on how to hold shavasana in a class. Some say that a guided meditation is the way it should be done. Some say that total silence is the only right way. Some say some music or nature sounds should accompany this pose. In my classes I usually softly lead the participants into a relaxed state. Then I allow them quiet time with this pose — I do have sounds playing during class and I don’t turn that off, but sometimes I turn it down. Then after the time allowed I talk them back to awakening their bodies and moving again.

If this pose and time is not something that you include in your yoga practice, I encourage you to give it a go. Try it. If you fall asleep that is ok. But keep doing it and when you are able to achieve that relaxed state while staying awake you will see how powerful this simple pose is.

Do you practice shavasana? Have you ever fallen asleep during shavasana? How long do you stay in this pose?

*Wiki and Jaisiyaram

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Squatting Does A Body Good

Posted by terrepruitt on February 8, 2014

One of my Blue Belt Sisters (a woman I attended the Nia Blue Belt Intensive with) posted a link on Facebook to an article about 5 reasons to do a full squat.  I love when I see information like that . . . information about why it is good to do “something”, something we do in Nia.  I love that.  I love when people confirm and promote Nia movement.  As you know, if you have read some of my Nia posts, Nia is not new.  Nia has been around for 30 years.  Nia incorporates moves and ideals from different modalities so most of it is not new.  HOW they incorporate it is often unique, but we use a lot of movements used in other exercise and workout programs.  Which is a great thing.  Not that just because something is done commonly makes it good, but since Nia is based on how the body was designed to move it makes sense that we do movements done in other practices and vice versa.  So I was excited to see an article talk about something we do in Nia.  Nia knows the benefits of squats.

I posted about the Garland Pose and I posted about what Nia 5 Stages calls “standing“.  Here I am going to touch upon some benefits of doing full squats.  A few of mine are different than the 5 mentioned, so check that out too.  First, the article reminds us that children squat to reach for things on the ground and will get into that position when playing on the ground.  Many things that children do we understand to be beneficial yet we no longer do them as adults.  In addition to the many physical benefits of a full squat, it can possibly help us remember that child-like position of play.  A Nia workout includes “exercising” the BMES (Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit) and many people claim that the play we do in Nia is great for their spirit.  Squat like a kid!

Small children have all that yummy flexibility.  Their bodies have not yet sat in chairs for years or worn shoes that either keep their ankles from moving in a full range of motion or even keep their foot in one position, possibly even shortening their calf muscles.  So they can easily squat with both feet fully on the ground, and their legs folded, and their chest to their thighs with their bum low to the ground.  So a squat allows for all of that.  Mobility and flexibility in the ankles.  Flexibility in the knee.  And balance.  Being able to squat with flat feet and stay stable is proof of good balance.  Think of all those muscles you use to stay tush down and upright . . . (if you need help “thinking”, do it now and just sense all of that).

If you are doing the “Garland” type squat with the wide knees you are really opening the hips and groin area.  It is important to have flexibility and mobility in the hips because those things help make walking more comfortable.  A body is able to stand more upright when the hip flexors aren’t tight.  So squatting can help the body allow for good posture.  The squat also helps with stretching the back of the legs.  Squats target the hamstrings and the glutes.

And if you push up to standing you are using your glutes, so standing up from a squat is a good bum strengthener/toner.  Sometimes we move into a deep squat position in Nia as part of a Nia routine.  We do squats as part of the Nia 5 Stages and we push up into a walk.  So as I said Nia knows the benefits of squatting.  What about you?

Are you a squatter?  Do you find yourself squatting during the day?  Is the squat something your body needs practice doing?

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