Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘BMES’

8 Stages Of Nia White Belt P4 – FreeDance – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 29, 2020

As you know different people learn different ways and as we were only on stage 5 with just 20 minutes left in class on Monday, I was wishing that we had more time to explore the principles. I wanted to be able to be with each stage longer. This is my first time re-taking the Nia White Belt. After class, Debbie stays after to answer additional questions and receive comments and, funny enough, one person said she liked how fast we went through the stages. She felt she got more out of it instead of spending so much time on them. Someone else spoke up and “mirrored” that sentiment. I don’t think it was their first re-take. I would have loved to spend more time with it. For my blog, I thought I would at least separate the introduction of the principle from the stages, since for many people exercising without specific instructions is a new and challenging concept. Being able to move one’s body in their own body’s way in a dance exercise class is not the norm – unless you are in a Nia class. The Nia White Belt Principle #4 is FreeDance and it has eight stages.

With Nia FreeDance participants can dance what their body needs at the time they are in the class, but not everyone knows what to do with that freedom. Not everyone knows what their body needs. So there are eight stages we use in our practice that can help. I am not going to do a language comparison (between when I took it in 2008 and now) I am just going to say the verbiage has changed a bit but the message is the same. Here is the 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 8 stages with their tag lines and explanations, as usual there is a lot more, I am just sharing a bit.

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2 – Being Seduced By The Music ~ The Art of Listening: this is where you can stop moving. You may be surprised at what you hear when you are just listening to the music. And then once you start dancing again you may be moving differently because you actually heard something you hadn’t heard before. Or you may just have a different sense of the music.

3 – Feelings + Emotions ~ Pretend, Fake it, Act “as if”: this is where you pretend. You can pick an emotion . . . and act as if you are XXXX. You can pretend to be mad, angry, happy, sad, tired, bored, flirty . . . whatever and then you dance that. You let your body MOVE that emotion.

4 – Creative Source ~ Real You: here you remember a story and allow yourself to feel that emotion and dance that. You may find that you use less energy when you are actually tapping into a real emotion than when you are acting and the emotion is coming from your head. Dance your story and see where that emotion takes your movements.

5 – Authentic Movement ~ Change!!: this is about the way your body moves. We dance and as we are “forced” to change we find authentic movement. For those that know how to count the bars we change every two bars, but until you know that, just change often . . . let’s just say you should change about 15 times in an average speed 5 minute song.

6 – Witness ~ Neutral Observer: this is where we just notice what our body does. We aren’t supposed to change it we are just noticing what it does.

7 – Accidental Click ~ Music + Movement Integration: this is where we have a “click”, when we really feel our body move to the music and we know that that is how it is supposed to be moving. Something “clicks”. Once you sense that keep doing it.

8 – Body-Centered Choreography ~ Levels 1, 2, 3: this is where you can take that movement tendency or that click and dance through the three levels. The three levels are what we want to demonstrate in a Nia class so that everyBODY can have fun and get the workout their body needs at that time. Level one is less, smaller movements, two is more, and then three is the biggest and something you may not even be able to (or want to) maintain throughout the class. It is nice to visit all the levels so that you can experience the different sensations in the body.  Also, it is important to keep in mind that these levels relate to YOUR body.  My level one might be your level three, that person over there . . . their level three might be my level two . . . . so do YOUR BODY’S levels.

I wrote out the main things that I want to remember (pictured here) and posted here.

There you have a bit about the eight stages of the 2020 Nia White Belt Principle #4 – FreeDance. These can help people with their FreeDance practice.

I could go on and on, but I need to stop here.  I hope this gave you an idea about Nia FreeDance and maybe if gave you some ideas on how you can play and practice with dancing in order to stimulate your BMES.

Posted in 2020 Nia White Belt Principles, FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Still Zooming – More On Sound

Posted by terrepruitt on July 22, 2020

Well, many of us are still teaching classes via Zoom. In my area indoor exercise is not allowed and even when they thought they were going to allow it they had restrictions on indoor cardio and dance. And Nia is a cardio dance exercise. Because it is full of playfulness, taps into many types of movement forms, energies, and challenges and satisfies the BMES we don’t like to call it just a cardio dance exercise, but when classifying it for indoor activity purposes, that is what it is. So many of us are still doing it online. Some have moved outdoors, but that gets into all types of possible liabilities and issues I am not ready to take on just yet . . . so I continue to try to improve my delivery of the virtual class.

In my last “Zoom” post I wrote about how at the point of class starting my mic and music failed. That was a bummer. Then I had a great week and then it failed again. Some of it, I know is user (me) error, but sometimes I think it is internet or software error. As an example, last week I used a different USB port for my microphone and speaker and in doing so the transmitter was hanging and I think was not plugged in all the way. But then when we were doing our little chat after class, I couldn’t hear one of my students, the other students could, but I couldn’t. I didn’t do anything to fix it, but she exited the meeting then came back on and I could hear her. So it is crazy.

My students continue to be kind and understanding so I continue to try.

Lately I am using iTunes directly through Zoom. Zoom allows the host to share the screen and in this case the “screen” is just audio. This eliminates the issue of the music cutting out as would happen when I used a speaker and a microphone to pick up both my voice and the music. My fans would create background noise and interfere with music transmission.

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Here is the advanced screen where you can choose to just share sound.

The Kimafun microphone I got (box shown in my “struggles” post) came with a USB converter that allows me to plug the transmitter into it so it feeds directly into the computer/Zoom and it allows me to have a speaker attached so I hear the music that is being played through Zoom to my students.

I still have to rely on my students telling me if they can hear me and the music, but that will always be the case. I record myself and the music to test it, but it really boils down to what the students hear. So whoever shows up first gets to set the volumes because I adjust according to what they say.

I still feel I need more practice with the microphone. I usually teach without a microphone so I am used to projecting my voice and allowing myself to exhale with all the lovely sounding techniques that Nia encourages, but that gets LOUD with the microphone in my face. The recommendation I saw said to keep it two fingers away from your face and I am using three. Next week I am going to try four. Part of the issue is that it moves around as I dance so the set up changes. I readjust it when I remember. For the most part it is working out, but I will keep in mind that I need to keep trying to improve.

So . . . what do you do when you are teaching a class?  Or, if you don’t teach, what experiences have you had in regards to sounds when in a Zoom class or meeting?

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This is the basic screen share screen

 

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Zoom reminder and “stop” sharing

 

Posted in Nia, Online Classes, Zoom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Nia Fundamentals

Posted by terrepruitt on July 31, 2019

So Nia has a few fundamental ideas, this post is a brief summary of the information that can be found in The Nia Technique book. The book is by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas. It was first published in 2004. This information is on pages 16 through 19.

The Joy of Movement Is the Secret of Fitness. The idea is to not exercise. For many people exercising is not enjoyable. So stop, don’t exercise . . . MOVE. Move in a joyful way, not in a mechanical way that doesn’t bring any pleasure.

Fitness Must Address thev Human Being, Not Just the Body. Exercise that is done just to exercise is not fun and will probably be put aside after a little while. But movement that is fun and engages the mind, emotions, and spirit in addition to the body is something that one might stick with for a long time. Your body will benefit from exercise, but if you like the movement you are doing and if it is created to affect more than just the physical you can get more benefit from it. If you walk away from the activity with a clearer head, a happier and/or satisfied disposition, and a lighter spirit it is something you will want to do. Your health will be better overall.

Movement Must Be Conscious, Not Habitual. Haven’t there been studies that prove thinking about what you are doing, focusing on the movement results in greater gains? Being aware of your movement and the sensations of the body makes for a more fulfilling workout. Just hopping on the treadmill and turning on the TV is less satisfying. You also don’t affect the BMES.

Use Your Body the Way It Was Designed to Be Used. Replace the linear exercise with full range of motion movement. Vary the speed and intensity of movements. Move to improve your FAMSS!

Take the Path of Least Resistance. Move the way your body is. Not to say you cannot improve in areas that you want to improve in, but recognize that everyone cannot be a contortionist or run a mile in three minutes.

The chart is from page 19. I redacted some of it so that you would be encouraged to read it for yourself and have the opportunity to get new/additional information. 🙂

Remember that this was written in 2004 and it is really great to see that this type of information and way of thinking is becoming much more common.  Yay!

What is your favorite type of movement?

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

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.

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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 52 Moves (of Nia), 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.

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

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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?

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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?

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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 . . . . .

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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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