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 ‘Bow Stance’

Ways To Practice Rock Around The Clock

Posted by terrepruitt on January 15, 2015

I have said it many, many times, but I am going to say it again.  Nia has 52 Moves which we incorporate into the Nia routines.  These moves have a specific way to be done.  But the way they are done is adjusted, like many things, when you are doing them in a routine.  There is or was a debate about one of the moves called the bow stance.  The debate is or was about how the weight of the body should be distributed. The reason I am saying “is or was” is because I don’t know if the debate was ever settled.  The discussion regarding it — at least one that I had seen — was on Facebook and it was a long discussion.  I don’t know what the end result was or what the “official” decree is because to me, I want to teach balance, so if I am JUST doing a bow stance then I would instruct people to have their weight evenly distributed.  Usually I am not doing JUST a bow stance.  If I am showing people the bow stance it is because it is in the routine and there are other steps prior to or after it and with other moves on either side the weight gets distributed according to the need.  So, in other words, we adjust the move to fit the dance and choreography.  So that is what my class and I are experiencing right now with the Nia 52 Move called Rock Around the Clock.

If you read my original post about it, the one that explains what it is, the instructions state to start the rock on the heels.  But in the routine I am leading my class through currently we start the rock on the toes.  Then we roll (or rock) to either the left or the right.  We actually go both ways and like many things, the different “sides” or directions are very different in regards to sensation and difficulty level.  One side is easier than the other . . . at least that is the consensus with my students.  So it is very beneficial to practice “rocking” both ways.

With this post I am doing two things; 1) I am reminding you to practice moves going both directions.  Just like we do both sides.  If we are doing a move with the left side we do it with the right.  We – trainers – often say to keep the body even and it really is to work both sides of the body AND the brain!  2)  Share with you a different or additional WAY to practice Rocking Around the Clock.

My original post says something about this being an example of an easy move.  It is not necessarily “easy”, what I probably should have said was the Rock Around the Clock was not a high intensity move.  So for those that are really starting out learning this move you might even want to sit down and do it.  Since feet are in shoes for a large part of the day and those shoes might not allow for a lot of ankle mobility, it could be that your ankles just don’t want to move in the way that is required with this move.  So it is a great idea to sit down and allow the ankles to loosen up.

For me, my feet want move opposite of each other.  So each foot wants to be on the opposite edge, so training my feet and my brain to be on the same edge it interesting.  Sitting in a chair while doing this move allows my feet and brain to understand that this move is “same edge”.  Once you get your feet and brain on the same page, then you can stand up.  (FYI:  Sitting and practicing this move is very different from trying to take pictures of your feet while sitting and practicing this move.  But hopefully you will get the idea from the pictures even though they are not very good.)

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When you are standing you can use something to hold onto like a counter, table, chair, wall, something that is sturdy and can assist you in balancing.  Having something to steady you while your feet get used to supporting your weight on the edges is nice.  The support also allows you to really exaggerate your foot movements to help get the movement into your muscle memory.

This move helps build strength in the ankles and the feet.  This is also a very “mental move”.  It is one of those moves you might have to really think about in order to do it correctly.  Then, with practice, it will become one of those moves you can do without thinking so much about.  And your feet and ankles will benefit greatly.

So have you tried it?  Can you do it sitting down?  Can you do it standing up?  Can you see how it is an interesting move?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The Pelvic Moves Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on December 5, 2013

In the Nia 52 Moves there are moves clumped into groups.  There are moves of the base, which involve the feet, such as Heel Lead, Releve, Closed Stance, Bow Stance, Slow Clock, Fast Clock, front kicks, side kicks, etc.  There are upper extremities which include moves such as blocks, punches, sticks, chops, finger flicks, Creepy Crawlers and Catching flies. Then there is a group called the core which involves Pelvis, Chest, and Head.  Two of the moves that are pelvic moves are Pelvic Circles and Hip Bumps.  Two relatively easy moves, I am confident most people have done them in their life time.  As I said easy, but they pack a wallop!

The Pelvic circle begins in A Stance (feet a little wider than shoulder width apart) and you move the hips in a continuous circle as if you are using a hula hoop.  Just around and around.  Circling the hips.  Don’t forget to circle the hips in the opposite direction.  With this move the arms are free to move in any direction and any way they want.  This particular show belongs to the hips.

Hip circles are a common move both in dance and other exercises.  It is good for the waist and hips.

The other pelvic move is the hip bump.  In Nia we bump our hips in all directions not just to the side.  So for the hip bump stand in the A stance and move your hip to the side, then the other side, and the front and back.  A quick bump.  This is an agility move with the quick start and stop.  The arms involved in this are also freedance . . . they can do what they want.

Again, this move is not unique to Nia at all.

As with all the 52 moves there are ways to do them correctly while in practice.  Practicing them and getting them in the body’s muscle memory help when we incorporate them into a routine.  While doing both the Pelvic Circle and the Hip Bumps the arms are free to move, but it could be the arms have specific choreography tied to the moves in a routine.  Also the hip bump is in general done in all directions, but in a routine it could be part of the choreography that the hip just goes to one side then the other.

I am pretty confident that many, many, many people have done the hip bump.  It is a familiar move.

In the routine I am doing right now there is a hip bump or two.  My favorite is to assign a feeling to them.  Sometimes we do sexy hip bumps . . .kinda goes without saying.  But we also do angry hip bumps, silly hip bumps, and dramatic hip bumps.  Each of those hip bumps brings out a different movement and with each individual it is different.  It is so fun to see people interpret the feelings and emotions in a common move like the hip bump.

So these are two moves that are grouped into the Core moves in Nia’s 52 moves.  I think that you should get up right now and do some pelvic circles and hip bumps.  Your hips will thank you.

So are either of these moves movements you have done before?  When is the last time you bumped your hip?  How about a pelvic circle?  What would your angry hip bump look like?

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

Nia – Sink and Pivot Table Wipe

Posted by terrepruitt on June 22, 2013

One of Nia’s 52 Moves is the Sink and Pivot Table Wipe.  Ha!  Sounds funny.  I always think of cleaning when I say this move in class, but not many people LIKE to clean so I don’t like to remind them of cleaning while we are in our Joy!  There are many other ways to describe the movement, but “table wipe” really gets the point across.  It could be a dramatic sweep of the table.  Regardless of what spirit might have me say in the midst of the move there is a particular way to do it.  As with all of Nia’s 52 Moves there is a specific way to do it.  And . . . as I have said . . . often times the specifics are adjusted to work into the song and the moment’s choreography.  To me the Sink and Pivot Table Wipe is a combination of an arm movement and a bow stance.

To practice the Sink and Pivot Table Wipe you start in an A Stance.  Doing one side at a time, say the left, you would place your left arm out.  As you lift up your left foot you turn your body towards the right, your left arm sweeps across the horizon to the right.  Your left foot lands gently on the earth on the ball of your foot and your left leg is bent.  Your right leg is also bent.  The bent legs become the “sink” part of the move.  Your arm sweeping is the wiping part of the move.  That “table” part is the imaginative part of the move to assist in knowing how the arms sweeps.  The arm is straight out and just moves parallel to the ground.  Doing the other side, you would you would place your right arm out.  As you lift up your right foot you turn your body towards the left, your right arm sweeps out and around to the left.  You place your right ball of foot gently on the floor with your right leg bent.  Your left leg is also bent.  The legs are similar to a bow stance.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaIn most instances — the ones I can think of — in the choreography, I usually do a tiny hop so that my front foot ends up with the toes facing the same direction as the foot in the back, the foot that is “ball of foot”.  So as I continue to say, the instructions in The Nia Technique book* show the exact perfect way to do a move.  Which is the way to learn it, but then once you know the move the choreography dictates the exact way it is done.

The book recommends the word “Whoosh” be said while doing this move.  Of course that is just one of many words and sounds that can be made.  Sounds are dictated by so many things.  The “Whoosh” can be used in the practice of the move, if you would like.  When in a Nia class anything goes!

I believe this move is a great stability move because as I said I am normally moving both feet in order to sink, pivot, and wipe the table so I need to “land” stable.  Also, I think it is great for the legs because any sink type of move helps condition them.  It is also good for coordination because you are moving both the upper body and lower body at the same time, but in a little different manner.

Tee hee . . . . it is really great for a lot of things, depends on what you put into it.  The last couple of times I did it in the current Nia routine I am doing I had the class stretching the arm as far as they could reach as they wiped that table.  It was a HUGE table and we wanted to wipe it all in one pass!

So what do you imagine you are doing when you do this move?

*The Nia Technique written by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas

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

Nia’s Cat Stance

Posted by terrepruitt on January 10, 2013

There are six stances in the 52 Moves of NiaClosed Stance, Open Stance, “A” Stance, Riding (Sumo) Stance, Bow Stance, and the Cat Stance.  Each stance has a sound associated with it for practice.  There are benefits to doing each stance.  All of them help with balance.  With the cat stance the balance is on one foot.  The cat stance is a stance in which you stand on one leg, using your whole foot.  The leg you are standing on is not rigid, but the knee is soft, as if you were going to pounce.  The spine is upright, hips are level, not pointing down nor up.  The foot that is off the ground is pressing with the side against the standing leg, the foot relaxed, toes hanging towards the earth. Elbows are bent, relaxed.  Either both elbows are at the sides or one slightly forward.  The arms and hands are engaged.  The cat stance is done on alternating legs.  These are the specifics of Nia’s Cat Stance.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaThere are specific ways to do a stance, the body’s way.  But your body’s way is also recognized.  So different bodies will do it different ways.  Some will do it their own way until the body can adjust to the specifics and some bodies will continue in their own way.  For instance some bodies will use the power finger/balance finger hand technique to assist them in standing on one leg.  In addition to each body having its own way to do each move sometimes the way the move is done in a routine alters the specifics.  The specifics stated above are according to The Nia Technique book, however in the routine Birth, the cat stance in one of the katas consists of hooking the bent leg’s foot around the standing leg.  In this particular dance, while we are in the cat stance with our foot hooked around the standing leg, our hands and arms are different from is described in the ideal cat stance stated above.  One of our hands “hooks” around our face.

This is often the case.  There is a specific way to do each of Nia’s 52 Moves, but each individual has their own body’s way that adjust the specifics AND the specifics are sometimes adjusted according to move in the routine.  But it is important to know the specifics and the basics.  It is also fun to practice the specifics and the basics.

The basics of the cat stance help with balancing on one leg.  This can also be considered a strengthener, the standing leg’s muscles can be strengthened through the practice of supporting all of one’s weight.  If this move is being done solely as a practice of the move, then agility can come into play.  The practice of walking then stopping and moving quickly into cat stance would allow for the agility.  Alternating with a light hop from whole-foot-cat-stance on one leg to the other is an exercise in agility.  While this type of movement might also be something we do in a Nia routine it is not always the case.  Sometimes we move into cat stance and from there do kicks.

As with all of Nia’s 52 Moves we play with them.  All of Nia’s routines consist of playing with movement and music.  With the cat stance you have the specific way to do it, then just like a cat you can play as you practice.  You can “meow” and use claw hands.  The cat stance is a fun way to play with balance and sounding.  Practice the specifics then let the animal in you out!

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

Nia Stance Sounds

Posted by terrepruitt on January 5, 2013

There are a few posts on my blog about sounding in Nia.  I even have a separate category for it.  See over there to the left under categories, under Nia?  Sounding is what we call making noise in a Nia class.  Sounding is great for many reasons.  Sounding is a release.  It can help release tension, emotions, spirit . . . whatever needs “releasing”.  Sounding is fun.  Sounding can assist in the stabilization of the torso.  Sounding can help ground you . . . physically, emotionally, and your spirit.  Often times when I am doing Nia both when I am teaching and when I am a student, my spirit just makes a sound.  I don’t plan it, I don’t think about it, a noise just comes out.  I “woo” a lot.  But sometimes other sounds comes out.  Sometimes the sound I make makes me laugh because I really don’t think about the sound, something just comes out.  I could be thinking of something, for example, maybe the move we are doing reminds me of a swirling skirt, so then the sound could be a “whosh” as in the sound of a skirt, or it could be a giggle of a girl twirling in a skirt.  I don’t always think about the sound I just let it out.  Sometimes I do think of the sound.  Sounding can be purposeful.  The noise can have a purpose.  I have posted about healing sounds and sounds associated with the chakras.  This post is about the sounds that are associated with Nia stances, which are part of Nia’s 52 moves.

TheDance 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 picture in this post is an approximation of how MY feet would be placed in the various stances.  Remember that your stances would probably be slightly different.  The width would be according to YOUR body and your body’s way.  The picture is just to give you an idea and maybe help remind you of the various stances.  At this time I have a post associated with four of the six stances.

In Nia’s closed stance the sound is the vowel sound “o”.  The sound is made to “create volume in your chest cavity”.

In Nia’s open stance the sound is (to say) “balance” or “ground”.  Saying the word “balance” can assist you in your balance.  The word “ground” can assist with allowing you to feel grounded and sense balance.

The sound for Nia’s “A” stance is “aaaaahh!”.  You say it on an exhale.  Letting out all your breath until you are ready to inhale.

Sumo stance or riding stance (feet as wide apart as if you were riding a horse) has an explosive sound.  Say “ha!”  To me this helps with stabilization.

The bow stance has a sound of “u”.  The bow stance is done with either foot in front, not just with the left foot in front as shown in the example.

The cat stance (standing on one foot, with the other foot pressed against the standing leg) has the sound “wooooooo” associated with it.  This is done on the exhale.  This stance is also done on the other foot and not just the left one as in the example.

So as you are practicing the Nia stances you can use the sounds associated with them for added benefit and fun.  It is just fun to make noise.  To me it adds to the experience.  In my classes I encourage people to make any noise they want.  I also like to play with the noises, sounds, and words associated with the move.

Do you attend a dance exercise class  or exercise that encourages you to make noise?

Information regarding the sounds made with the Nia stances can be found in The Nia Technique book written by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas (NKA, Carlos AyaRosas).  The book can be purchased from Amazon.

Posted in Nia, Sounding | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Measuring Instead Of Weighing

Posted by terrepruitt on August 21, 2012

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaSo if you are participating in the little challenge of not getting on the scale for either 21 days or 30 days, today is the 21st day.  I assigned 21 days so that is would land on a posting day (I post Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays).  I will let you know that due to more “stuff” as I had posted about before, I got off to a late start on my own challenge!  So how is it going for you?  Has it been a challenge to stay off the scale?  Have you noticed that you are not obsessing about the number the scale displays because you are not looking at it?  Now the thing with measuring with a measuring tape instead of scale means you need to keep doing what you’re doing.  So if you were doing some type of cardio three times a week and adding some strength training in and weighing yourself, looking for that number to change when you stop using the scale it doesn’t mean to stop doing the other stuff.  It is just a different way to track progress.  And for some it could be a little bit of a reprieve IF they allow the scale to affect their mood.  I found it funny that today on FaceBook someone posted about the scale stealing motivation and she reminded people it doesn’t tell the whole story.  That is what I am saying too.  That is why I thought it would be nice to change it up.

I know that some people don’t even have a scale.  Some people don’t even use one.  Everyone is different.  I just hear a lot about people being upset because they didn’t lose a pound “today” and they’ve been trying so hard.  So I think that maybe for those people it is nice to try a different way to track progress.

My schedule is a bit “off” this month as I am spending time dealing with “stuff” and I have picked up a lot of classes that I am subbing for the City of San Jose.  I picked up eleven classes which is great but I have not been able to concentrate as much on my resistance training as I would like.  My numbers did not change as much as I was hoping to see when I thought of this challenge.  What about you?  Did you see a change in numbers?  Are you stopping at day 21 or going to continue on and see what 30 days will do?

Not only do I have the added class times to do I have a little bit of added prep time for each class and the travel time to and from each class.  Since I am subbing in Nia for other classes such as Zumba, Zumba Gold, Pilates, Kick Boxing, and Cardio Toning, I do try to pick Nia routines that will fit.  I am not changing Nia to fit the class, because I explained how that turned out in a post earlier this month, but I do try to pick routines that might fit a little better.  With a Zumba Gold class I might do a Nia routine that is a bit mellow or doesn’t have a lot of bow stances.  And with subbing a Zumba class I might put together a lot of the higher energy “get moving songs”. So all of that cuts into my plan.  But I’m going to buckle down a bit because I have some stuff that I needed to get done this month behind me.  I am going to keep up with this little challenge myself and see where that tape leads me.

Well?  How are you still with me?  Are doing the challenge?  How is it going?  Doing it for 21 days?  Doing it for 30 days?

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

Closed Stance in Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on May 3, 2012

Nia has a different closed stance than some other dances and exercises I know. In Pilates the stance is heels touching and toes apart. I’ve heard it called a Pilates V. The Pilates V is done in more positions than standing. Sometimes there are exercises done while on the reformer where we will place our feet in Pilates V. It is nice to have positions that are specific. It helps a lot. I as a teacher can just say, “Closed stance.” and the Nia students will know what that means. Instead of forming a V as in the Pilates stance we form more of a rectangle. A basic closed stance is simple. It is stable. Nia’s closed stance is the side of the big toes touching and heels apart. It is as if all four corners of a rectangle are in contact with the edge of the foot. This allows for a very stable base. In the basic closed stance the arms hang. The back is straight, we are standing tall, lengthening the spine. Knees are relaxed as well was the feet. Weight is balanced evenly on both feet. Simple closed stance.

Dance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, NiaClosed stance is one of the six stances in the Nia 52 Moves. There is Closed Stance, Open Stance, A Stance, Sumo (or Riding) Stance, Bow Stance, and Cat Stance. I believe that in its basic form closed stance is the easiest. But when other elements are added that might not hold true.

We can practice our agility by walking quickly then stopping in closed stance. We might choose to be in closed stance while we allow just our arms to be agile . . . moving around in a starting and stopping fashion. We could just let our closed stance be stable as our arms are mobile. We could do an entire body dance . . . close stance dance. For some this is a challenge, even though our feet are formed into a rectangle and the idea is of a stable base it is still a practice in balance to have your feet secured to the earth while the rest of your body moves around.  As I said, what we do with a close stance might not be so simple.

Practicing walking and stopping in closed stance is a good check to make certain you are not landing in “toes in“. The heels shouldn’t be that far apart as if you are doing toes in. Yet the toes should be touching. Coming from other stances to closed is good for conditioning the legs. Moving from Sumo to closed, or from at to closed is something to practice. Again we don’t want our heels to land too far apart making us pigeon toed.

I know of several routines that have us going through the stances. We start out in closed, then go to open stance, then go to A stance, then go to sumo. In some routines we work back through the stances, but in some we do move right into closed from sumo.  I can’t think of one where we go from closed to sumo, but I bet there is one and I just can’t put my finger on it.  Nia loves to mix up the moves to get the most out of the workout.

Can you sense the stability in the Nia Closed Stance?

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

Sore Hamstrings

Posted by terrepruitt on June 12, 2011

My Ten Minute Workout is done.  I do believe that ten minutes is not that long and it can be done, but one does have to manage their time properly and I did not do that yesterday.  I had plenty of time in which to do it, but I kept getting delayed.  Also, I was sensing my hamstrings wanting a rest.  I didn’t really think they NEEDED a rest, they are not injured or really sore, but I am aware of them when I get up.  The Nia routine I did most of last week has a lot of bows in it.  The name of the Nia routine is Passion and when the music is in fully swing it allows the passion of dance to be experienced and I have been taking my bows low.  I am experiencing some soreness in my hamstrings.

But the main reason for me not doing my Ten Ten in Ten is my poor time management.  Unless I am in a lot of pain and think that further movement will damage my muscle for me the best course of action is to work through it, even if I tone the volume of movement down.  This workout MIGHT cause DOMS to be experienced and that is when you have to decide what it best for you.

How are you doing today?

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Before Nia – 10-10-10

Posted by terrepruitt on June 3, 2011

I have a Nia Class to teach today.  I decided to do my Ten Minute Workout before I teach.  I was mellow on my left step forward in my long lunges because my right foot is still learning to be strong again and so I didn’t want to push it before I teach.  I am saving my bow stance for Nia class.  But I got my Ten Ten in Ten in (I made it through twice).  I left the equipment out in case I want to do it again when I get back.

How about you?

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Nia White Belt Principle #7

Posted by terrepruitt on May 25, 2010

The first half of Nia White Belt Principle #7 is the Three Planes of Movement.  The second half is Levels of Teaching.  (You can learn more about Nia’s Belt Levels here)  The three planes of movement in Nia can be easily described as low, medium, and high.  The planes are used to allow our bodies to practice agility and mobility.  We use the floor, the space in between, and the “high”.  We bend and fold.  We reach out and stretch up.  We move in space both horizontally and vertically.

With all the movements available to us in the three planes we have the opportunity to experience energy as it moves around us.  In addition to the possibilities of energies the journey should be to pleasure and comfort.   As you move through the planes part of practice of  Nia is to observe how our joints open and move more freely.

Just like the three levels of intensity Nia encourages everyBODY – regardless of fitness level – to work and play in all three planes.  Keeping in mind everyone’s low, middle, and high is unique to their own body.

Moving through the planes can tie into the levels of intensity.  For example if doing the bow stance, the lower or deeper you go could be considered a level of 3 intensity because going down and coming back up would require greater effort and be more intense than staying “high” and not lowering into a deep bow.

Strength, stability, and flexibility will also be a result of working through and in all the planes.  The more we play in all of these areas we develop more ability in all of them, the more we can maintain balance in the entire body.

If you want to join me in a Nia class please look at my San Jose Nia class schedule or my San Carlos Nia class schedule.  I look forward to seeing you.

Posted in Nia, Nia White Belt Principles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »