Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • My Bloggey Past

  • ******

    Chose a month above to visit archives, or click below to visit a page.

Posts Tagged ‘cardio dance class’

Sounds – Singing – Its All The Same

Posted by terrepruitt on January 14, 2014

You might have read my post about Sounding in Nia.  That is what we call it when we make noise in a Nia class — sounding.  You might have read my post about Reasons for Sounding in a Nia Class.  Even if you did not read that post, I bet you are aware of some of the reasons to make noise in an exercise class.  One of the biggest ones is to ensure breathing.  If you are making noise you are breathing.  Knowing the students are breathing is a HUGE relief to an instructor.  Some of the other reasons sounding is good are it can help stabilize your core, it can act as an emotional, spiritual, or physical release, and it can be really fun.  Sounding can be noises/words such as HA, HI, HEE, HOO, WAH, WAHOO, etc.  Sounding can also be singing. With “Nia Music” sometimes singing is just sounds.

I always invite the Nia participants to sing.  Often times I tell them it is really easy because there are no words.  I have often wondered how the singer sings.  I have often pondered how it is done.  Then Nia put out this video*.  It is an interview with Carl Tietze whose song Am I The One, is on the Sanjana Album.  Sanjana is the first Nia routine I learned.  In the interview Carl talks about how he invited a vocalist, Jen Folkner, to listen to the song.  He said he put the headphones on her and most of what we hear on the song is from her first time hearing the music.

She is sounding.  Granted, she is doing is beautifully.  I don’t want to put the pressure on and say this is what we do or need to do in a Nia class.  No, not at all.  I am just saying that it is fine to MAKE NOISE.  I did laugh when I heard this interview because I kind of imagined that songs that have no real words but are just a singer making noise was done like this.  I imagined the musicians just saying, “Go!” and the singer just letting her/his voice come out.

I was recently very amazed and in awe of a woman who had never been to a Nia class before – in fact, before class she asked me what it was.  So she didn’t even know what type of exercise/workout it was.  And yet, while she was moving to moves she had never done, she was singing.  The song was one of those songs without words, but she was just making noise in a “singing voice”.  It was great!  I was very impressed.

Making sounds or singing in a group workout class is not something that comes easy to everyone.  Sounding while learning moves doesn’t come easy to people who normally make noise, so it was especially fun to have her in class.  Plus she had that much more fun and received the benefits of sounding.

I hope this interview helps give you a glimpse into making sounds.  I hope you are able to experience the benefits of making noise while do your cardio dance.  You know it is fun.

Do you sing while you dance in your fitness dance class?  Don’t you love the way singing and dancing makes you feel?

*Click here to go to Nia’s website to sign up for the monthly newsletter!

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

Knee Sweep – One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on August 30, 2012

Now, I know that I’ve been doing the knee sweep a lot longer than I have been doing Nia.  So it is true that Nia’s 52 moves are not necessarily unique to Nia, but they are part of the core of Nia.  You will find a large portion of Nia’s 52 moves in every routine.  There are correct ways to do them, but Nia allows for the body’s way and also, I believe Nia allows for the move to be incorporated into the dance.  For instance, The Nia Technique book states that the starting position for a knee sweep is the sumo stance.  I am sure that I have done a knee sweep from a sumo stance at one time, but the first dance that pops into my head where we do the knee sweep it is not from a sumo position.  But the by the book (oh, yeah, that reminds me, “BUY THE BOOK!” 🙂 ), anyway, the by-the-book version of the knee sweep starts from a sumo position, complete with arms in ready position and everything.  Then the body rises as you come up on one leg bringing the other leg up with a bent knee.  The knee crosses the midline of the body, the opposite hand “pushes” the knee out.  The knee swings out so the pelvis is open.  Then the leg comes down and the foot lands on the earth.  That is the knee sweep of Nia’s 52 moves.

The book does not indicate that when your foot comes down it is in the toes-to-the-front position, but that is how I teach it.  I don’t want my students landing on their foot with their knee out to the side.  If we are just doing knee sweeps as an exercise, maybe I would have them do that, because they would be aware of the torque in their hip, but probably not.

When I was first doing this move in Nia I was trying to do it as the book shows and as many of the people on the Nia instructional DVDs do and as the instructor does (whether it be Debbie Rosas or Carlos AyaRosas).  And that was with the knee out to the side very wide.  REALLY opening the pelvis.  But when I did that I noticed a “something” – I don’t know what it was, but it was something – in my lower back.  So I decided that opening my hip that wide and having my leg out that far was not MY body’s way, so I do not do that.  I share with my students that I found the comfortable spot to be about as far as my forearms can reach.  I “glue” my elbows to my sides and hold my forearms out to the side.  As far as they can go is as far as I allow my knee to go.  That is what works for me.

Some of the time that we are doing the knee sweep it is at the end of a “up-two-three-four (knee sweep), back-two-three-four (knee sweep)”.  So that would not allow for the sumo position to be the start.  Other times we are standing upright.  As I said, I am sure I have done it from the sumo position because I bet it is in a routine I am not thinking of.  But the ones I am thinking of it is done from a walking or standing position.

The amazing thing about the knee sweep is that it calls for the knee to cross the midline of the body.  So that means that if you were doing a left knee sweep (with your left leg) your left knee would enter into the right hemisphere of your body.  If you were doing a right knee sweep (with your right leg) your right knee would enter into the right hemisphere of your body.  It is a great thing when your limbs cross the midline.  It helps stimulate the brain.  So there is a reason in many exercise routines and cardio classes that we have you do “cross overs”.

The knee sweep is one of those moves that requires balance.  Since at one point you are standing on one leg, you will be able to improve your balance or practice what you have.  Also the moving of the leg helps with that stability.  Standing on one leg helps with strength and opening the hip helps with mobility and flexibility.   The knee sweep of Nia’s 52 moves does a body and brain good!

Are you familiar with this move?  Have you done it before in your exercise class?  Did you give it a try?

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

South Bay Nia Jam

Posted by terrepruitt on August 7, 2012

Well, Palo Alto seems to be as close to as to what I consider the South Bay as we have gotten since I have been attending Nia.  I really want to have a Nia Jam in San Jose.  I am going to work on that for 2013.  The Nia Jam for San Francisco Bay Area Nia Association in the South Bay in 2012 was at a Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto.  As I have described before, a Nia Jam is a Nia class only longer with multiple teachers.  It is like a Nia class on steroids.  A typical Nia class is 60 minutes, a Nia Jam is usually 90 minutes.  In a Nia Jam there is a group of teachers who take turns teaching.  As with all Nia classes the Nia Jam had a focus and an intent.  The focus of this Nia Jam was Yin & Ying of Creative Play, with the intent of providing both a high energy experience and a quieter, more reflective experience as Nia can support either or both.  I have to be honest, I didn’t get a quiet, reflective experience out of this jam.  We were on fire!  The energy was so high it was tangible.  It was amazing!

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 I am so glad that the energy is always so high because I had taught my Saturday morning class in San Jose.  Then I stayed at the studio and took a class, then I raced over to Palo Alto to teach at the Jam.  The energy energized me!

There were six teachers who taught.  It is so fun to dance and be led by a variety of teachers.  It is a wonderful thing to be able to experience a song, a kata, that you know, in a different way.  While usually the basics are there, there is often a little nuance that the teacher adds to the song.  It could be just a sound that is not normally made, a word not usually spoken, or it could be the addition of a different step or the removal of a step, it could just be their way of cueing that makes it different.  Whatever the difference it is so invigorating to do what you know a little differently.  I also love doing the unknown.  I don’t know all of the Nia routines and I love to get to dance katas I don’t know.

At the same time a Nia Jam is perfect for someone new to Nia because they get to dance with many different teachers and experience different styles.  They also can witness the warmth of the Nia community.  New participants can also enjoy the astronomical energy that is present at Nia Jams.  They can also confirm that Nia students and Nia teachers do sweat as Nia is a moving grooving cardio dance exercise.  They can corroborate what I have been sharing — a great workout does not have to be done extremely fast and hard it can be done with movements of the whole body.

Monday in class my students were still talking about the Nia Jam.  It was THAT fun!  It was THAT energizing.  It was great!  I know Nia is a great workout.  I invite you to go to a class, one of mine (click for schedule) or one you find near you (click for worldwide listings), but I implore you to go to a Nia Jam.  If there is one not far from you, go.  You will enjoy it for all the reasons I mentioned above, for reasons I have not mentioned, and for reasons of your own.  Nia Jams are always fun and the Nia Jam for the South Bay on the Peninsula did not disappoint!

For more pictures go to: http://www.helpyouwell.com/nia-jams.html

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

If it doesn’t fit, try Again

Posted by terrepruitt on January 11, 2011

As I was putting Christmas Ornaments away (yes, I am still putting “Christmas” away) I was reminded of Nia. My thoughts then morphed to working out and exercise.  Ya see, I was trying to put an ornament in its box. I have trouble with this ornament every year.  Do you have any of those ornaments where you store them in the box they came in?  I have a lot of those ornaments and every year there are some that give me trouble.  I try putting it in this way, then I have to take it out and turn it, then try again, and try again, and after a few tries finally get it in the right way with a resulting “Ahhh . . . . . .”

That is what made me think of Nia.  Nia is made for everyBODY.  The exercises we perform, the movements we do, the entire workout is designed around the design of the body.  Often times people are not accustomed to moving their body in the way it was designed.  Some people don’t turn their heads which can loosen the spine and muscles in the back or gyrate their hips which can loosen the hips and possible allow you to stand up taller.  It might not be for everyONE, because in Nia participants are not told exactly how to move.   It IS one of those things that you have to ACTUALLY try.  It also helps to try it more than once.  Try going to classes when they have different routines.  Try it with different teachers.  Try treating it differently; treat it as a cardio workout, treat it like an exercise, or treat it like a dance.  Try all different ways.  If you don’t love it instantly, then don’t give up, try again.  You could find that when you keep trying and do it a different way you’ll be saying, “Ahhhh . . . ”

If not, Nia, there are so many other things that you can try.  Find something you like.  Keep trying.  Don’t give up and think you don’t like exercise or working out because it comes in so many different forms, I am sure you can find something you would like.  You can always contact me and we can talk about it.

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »