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 workout’

Breathing – It’s A Good Thing

Posted by terrepruitt on July 11, 2013

Many people hold their breath while working out.  Or even just concentrating.  I was recently learning something and concentrating really hard and my husband said, “Are you holding your breath?”  I burst out laughing because I was in fact holding my breath.  I didn’t even realize it until he asked.  I thought it was funny that I was holding my breath and I thought it was extra funny because I remind people to breathe all the time.  Exercising and concentrating are two things that make people hold their breath so if they are concentrating while exercising it makes sense that it happens.  Also people tend to hold their breath when lifting something heavy.  This type of  maneuver or effect is called the valsalva maneuver or valsalva effect.  While some people who do heavy lifting claim it is good to do the valsalva maneuver and that it helps with the lifting others say it is not good and it does not help.  For me and my students breathing is ALWAYS in order.  How you breathe depends on what you are doing.  If you are lifting weights or doing exercises your breathing is different from when you are doing a cardio workout, such as Nia.

Breathing allows oxygen get to the muscles.  The muscles need that.  For me, I find that when I breathe I can move better.  That was actually the point of my husband asking me if I were breathing.  He could tell by the way I was moving that I was not breathing.  He was across the room and he could tell.  Even though the movement I was doing was very small by holding my breath my movements did not flow and were very sporadic.

One of my husband’s favorite sayings is “If you do not breathe correctly, you do not move correctly.”  He got that from a campy film called  Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins from 1985, but, I’ll be darned if it is not 100% accurate!

One way trainers and instructors ensure breathing is to have the client/student talk.  When you are talking you are breathing.  In Nia we sing, laugh, shout, and in general make all types of noises.  In Nia we call it sounding.  By engaging in sounding we are ensuring we are breathing.  It is necessary for the body, but it is also fun for the spirit.

A sound made my a sharp exhalation helps both with stabilization of the core, but to me it seems to do a better job of engaging the core muscles than just holding my breath.  This method could be utilized during lifting or an agility move.  Sometimes when doing an exercise that is challenging it can help to pant with either your tongue out as an animal would or with semi-pursed lips.  Also when a muscles seems fatigued it often helps to take that extra deep breath.  No matter how you breathe remember it really is important to do so.  And even though it might sound silly that we “forget” to breathe, it is a common occurrence.  So practice remembering to breathe.  Breathing is a good thing!

Do you ever find yourself holding your breath?  When?

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

It’s Nice To Hear Someone Agree With Agility

Posted by terrepruitt on October 18, 2012

I teach a Nia Class for the city of San Jose.  The city has it set up pretty cool in that instructors can have a day and a time at a specific community center that we can call “my” class and we can also teach other people’s classes as a substitute.  We have this forum where we post requests and needs.  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, ZumbaMany instructors have full time jobs and kids so they have other responsibilities that call them away from their regularly schedule class.  Plus there is always a cold, a serious illness, or a bump/bruise or strain.  This network of teachers allows us to live our lives and take care of ourselves when necessary.  It also helps expose our community to different types of workouts and different teachers.  I have shared before how at one point I was trying to make Nia be more like whatever it was I was subbing for.  If you haven’t read that post, I am sure you might be able to imagine how that turned out.  It made this Nia teacher very unhappy and I don’t think it was a great service for the attendees either.  One of the reasons I applied for the job with the city was so that I could share Nia with the community.  Recently I taught Nia as a substitute class for Zumba, and my thoughts on Zumba and agility were confirmed.

A few of the student came up afterwards to talk to me about Nia.  Some shared how they like it because it was gentle yet allowed them to work up a sweat and get a great workout.  One woman made me giddy because she said the same thing that I had just decided about Zumba.  It took me a while to get to this conclusion and she jumped to it her very first time.  She said that Nia is more complete.  She said that she loves Zumba, she does it three times a week, but the moves are not completed.  She said it was nice to be able to finish a move.  Nia allows you to move through the entire range of motion, through the entire range of the joint.  I loved that she was able to get that from one class.  I also love and appreciate that she can like both, Nia and Zumba.  They are both cardio dance exercise workouts, but they are different.  Seeming to always have to explain the two together, I am always thinking about it and just recently reached the agility conclusion. I explained in one of my posts how I feel Zumba seems to only move in one sensation.  Well, having gone to a training and experienced the Zumba Fitness Program I believe a Zumba class can move in all five, but it concentrates on agility and touches on the rest.  But they are in there if you know to look for them.

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 this student who was talking to me after class picked up on that fact that in Nia we move through all five sensations and Zumba focuses on one.  This is not to say that is bad, this is just again pointing out how they are different.  Also this is me sharing that it is not just other Nia teachers and my Nia students that think that, it is other people who are more familiar with Zumba than Nia.  This is just a happy confirmation post sharing that I felt I got it right when I explained Nia and Zumba in that way.  Yay.

Both Nia and Zumba are great fun.  I encourage you to do whatever it is that will get you up and moving!  If you decide what type of movement you want it can help you decide what you can do to get it.

Do you like to take different types of exercise classes?  Do you like to just stick to one type of class?

Posted in Nia, Zumba | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Another Zumba and Nia Comparison

Posted by terrepruitt on June 30, 2012

I teach Nia.  I have been teaching Nia for three and a half years.  Not as many people who I talk to have heard of Nia as have heard of Zumba so I am constantly being asked the difference between Nia and Zumba. Since I am often asked I am often thinking about them and comparing them. First, they are actually the same in that music is played and participants dance to it.  Second, in both the instructor leads the participants through the various dance moves.  Third, participants of both claim they are both fun. One difference is Nia is an experience in five sensations, Zumba seems to concentrate on one.

The experience is such a big part of Nia we actually call them the five sensations of Nia.  I have posted about them before (FAMSS).  They are the sensation of flexibility, of agility, of mobility, of strength, and of stability.  In a Nia class your body will move in a way that allows you to sense the energy moving out and away.  You will bend and stretch to play with flexibility, either retaining what you have or improving upon it.  There are moves in the routines that require the start and the stop.  The movement that is agility could be done with our feet, our arms, our hands, our bodies, our heads or a combination of body parts but we sense the start and the stop.  With every routine there is a lot of mobility, some routines have more than others, but all of them that I have experienced have a lot.  With mobility it is just the same as agility in that it could be a body part that is moving or our whole body.  Whatever the case there is a lot of movement from each joint that helps create a healthy joint by allowing the fluid to move to it and within it.  Then we also play with strength.  We might squeeze our muscles sensing the energy moving in as if the bones are being hugged by the muscles.  We might do squats or sit-ups, punches and/or kicks, but there is time where we play with strength.  I say Nia is very big on balance because we do many moves that requires us to be stable.  Many of our moves are balancing on one leg, could be a kick, could be a stance, but it requires stability.  Moving from one move to the next often requires us to call upon our stability.  In a Nia routine we experience all of these sensations.  I’ve reached the conclusion that Zumba is primarily agility.

In Zumba the moves are always fast.  So it is a constant state of start and stop.  The only sensation I sense while doing Zumba is agility.  Fast start, fast stop . . . .  even when there is a stretch where your muscles are yearning for a second to move to their fullest length, it is a fast stretch that does not allow for the muscle to be fully stretched.  Doing a full hour of agility is not a bad thing at all.  It can be fun and it can produce a lot of sweat.  And many of us are programmed to think that sweat equals a good workout.  I think that if you are adding Zumba to a stretching program that has some balance practice in it that is great.

I am also a believer that there are a lot of things that compliment Nia too.  I actually think that if you like Nia and Zumba and you are able to do both that is a nice combination.  You get two different types of cardio.  One that is a workout in the sensation of agility and one that can move you through more use of the entire body to get that heart pumping.

I really believe that whatever gets you moving is GREAT.  I think that you have to like what you do in order to make it a constant in your life.  So Zumba, Nia, Jazzercise, U-Jam, yoga, kickboxing, bootcamp, weight training, whatever works for you is great.  Do what you will do!  That is the key!

It is that I am always asked about the difference between Zumba and Nia that I am always thinking about it and this was my latest thought after I did a Zumba class.  I think I posted before about how I am left wanting to extend and finish my moves in Zumba and it dawned on me that it is the sensation of agility that is predominant in Zumba.  Some Zumba classes I have attended do take a song to stretch at the end, but not all of them.  So I guess it depends on the instructor.  Nia instructors are encouraged to infuse their classes and the routines with their personalities, so I am sure that every Nia class has a few differences too.

Both Nia and Zumba are great cardio workouts.  It just depends on what you want to do during your workout and what you want to get out of it.  Do what you will do!

So, what is it that you do? 

Posted in Nia, Zumba | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Four-wall or Cooking – An Experience In All Sides

Posted by terrepruitt on April 7, 2012

In Nia we do something that is called cooking all four sides.  When I first learned this I thought it to be just when we were on the ground.  “Cooking” to me was the “side” of the body that was on the ground.  When you “cook” all four sides you allow your belly, your back, your left side, and your side to “cook” on the ground.  So basically you are lying on a different “side” at one point in the dance.  In one routine, I can’t remember which one, while we are standing we turn and face one wall, then turn again, then turn again, then turn again and Debbie called it cooking all four sides.  I thought, “Wow!  I hadn’t thought to call THAT cooking all four sides, because (as I mentioned) I think of ‘cooking’ as being on the floor.”  But it works.  We are “cooking” or facing all sides, all walls.  In country line dancing we call it a four-wall dance.  Often times there are a few steps then a turn, a few steps, then a turn, and so on, eventually you face all four walls.  There are two wall dances and maybe even three, but the point is you face a different direction.  Generally the back becomes the front and the front becomes the back.

ance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,I’ve posted about Nia Routines before.  I explained a bit about how the routines are created and teachers can purchase them.  Nia routines used to be choreographed and performed on the training DVD by Debbie Rosas or Carlos Rosas or both.  I’ve also posted about the fact that Nia morphs and changes.  At the end of 2010 Carlos AyaRosas, the male co-creator of Nia retired.  As with any company that wants to continue on after a founder retires Nia had to make some changes.  To me it seems as if Nia had been thinking about this for a while.  I know when I attended my Nia White Belt Intensive both Debbie and Carlos talked about Nia continuing on after they leave.  So it seems to me that they had plans and ideas for how Nia will change.  I think it is evident in the way that Nia does not seem to be a flag flapping in the wind, it has true direction.  With the exit of Carlos a new era has been born.  Debbie is now co-creating routines with Nia Black Belt Trainers.  I love Nia and enjoy both the routines Debbie created and the ones Carlos created.  There are some I like more than others.  I am not saying that I like the new one I have seen more than I liked the “old” ones, I am just saying, “Yay!  Nia is not disappointing me.”  The new routine I have looked at is just as fabulous as the old routines I love. 

As a little background:  In order to teach Nia we must pay a licensing fee.  When we pay the fee we are purchasing the right to teach, continued education, and four Nia routines.  We are free to purchase additional routines when they are available, but four are included in the licensing fee and we are obligated to learn at least four a year.  I just recently renewed my license and ordered my routines.  I ordered two that are older (from 2007 and 2008) and two that are considered our new ones, dated 2011.  Usually I skim through all four before deciding which one to learn next.  One of them I ordered I have done once before in a class so I know that I like it and I was planning on learning that next, but my curiosity about one of the new ones got to me.  I decided to learn it next after having watched it.

I am very excited about this routine because it has the “four-wall” or cooking all four sides technique in it.  The routine I am currently teaching has it too but only briefly, this new routine has this technique in more than one song.  Since a Nia class is not a dance lesson we just lead follow like other cardio workout classes the cooking all four sides is to not a series of complicated steps, but it does allow us to face other directions.  In FreeDance there is always opportunities to face many directions and sometimes in the Nia movements alone one can be turning far enough to achieve facing another wall, but this is choreographed to have the entire class turn.  It allows the class to see a different perspective.  I think it is fabulous.
 
It could be making me nostalgic and thinking of country dancing days . . . but more so, I am excited to have this technique used in a Nia routine so my students can see things from the front if they are always in the back or the back, if they are always in the front.  It will help move the class in new directions and Beyond!

Have you ever thought about the fact that a cardio dance class is pretty much like a line dance? 

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

Authentic Movement – Change – FreeDance Stage 5

Posted by terrepruitt on January 14, 2012

Nia, the dance exercise that I teach, is a great cardio workout.  Classes are fun and full of energy.  To become a Nia teacher one must take the White Belt Intensive.  It is 40+ hours of intense learning, discovery, play, dance, reading, listening, moving, sitting, and so much more.  A person that is just interesting in learning more about Nia as a practice may also take the intensive.  One does not have to have the intention of teaching to participate in an intensive.  In the Nia White Belt there are 13 Principles.  These principles are what teachers and practitioner use to expand their Nia practice.  Working and playing with the principles actually help bodies to move “better”.  Nia is a body centered exercise so these principles actually help us move our bodies.   The fourth Nia White Belt principle is FreeDance, this principle has eight stages.  The list of the eight stages is in my post Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3 – FreeDance Stage 8.  The fifth stage is Authentic Movement – Change.

Nia is “about” many things.  One thing Nia is about is Authentic movement.  Our dance is not a performance.  It is not meant to be pretty.  It is meant to allow us to move in our own body’s way.  The idea is that we will move in our own body’s’ way and we will move as we need to move.  With freedom and authenticity we will be working our bodies as they each individually need to be worked.  Yes, we do have specific steps in a kata or song.  But everyone’s body does the steps maybe a little differently — to their own body’s ability.  With practice the body will be able to do the steps and the moves in the Body’s Way, moving the way the body was actually designed to move.

With authentic movement we are letting the body move to the music in its own way.  We don’t think of how to move it, we just let it sense the music and it moves.  If one is practicing the Nia White Belt Principle #4, stage 5, then the authentic movement is done for two bars, two measures of how we count our music.  After two bars change the movement.  Do this for each song.  The idea is that after a few songs the body will have gone through all of its “normal” movements.  You will have danced out all of your movement tendencies.  You will have danced all of your bodies patterns and your body will seek new moves.  Your body will do things it does not usually do.  You might be one that often moves your hips a lot, but after a few songs and continually changing the way you move your hips you might realize that you are out of hip moves, so your body plants your feet and you end up kicking up one leg at a time.  Maybe kicking is not part of your typical dance move repertoire.  Maybe once your legs start kicking your arms start punching.  And this was not thought out or planned it just seemed natural.  Leg kick, arm punch.

So the idea is to exhaust the normal and journey into new territory.  If you have never done anything like this I want to warn you, you might be a little sore the next day.  If you are a booty shaker and you change to a “how-low-can-you-go-er” you will feel it the next morning.  If you always keep both feet on the ground and you start kicking or even just doing knee lifts to be different, your body will remind you the next day that you did something different.

If you let your body just dance to the music and switch it up, your body will give you great feed back on how you have never moved your foot/arm/head/butt/ankle/knee/whatever-you-moved-that-was-new the next day.  You will go to move foot/arm/head/butt/ankle/knee/whatever-you-moved-that-was-new and probably sense it.  This information will help you learn your movement tendencies and you can learn what new moves might help you improve your body’s movements.

Try it!  Put on some music and dance with Authentic Movement, then change.  Keep doing this through at least five songs and see where you end up.  See what new moves your body comes up with.  Ready?  Go!

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

Dance Exercise

Posted by terrepruitt on December 8, 2011

I was talking about Nia with my Nia students recently after our Nia Class.  They were telling me what they think Nia is.  They said that Nia should come up if they were doing a search on the internet using the term dance exercise.  I was really happy to hear that.  I always get stuck when people ask me what Nia is because to me it is a lot of things.  If you have read any of my posts on this blog about Nia you know how its principles can be applied to life and how at its very basic level it is a workout.  But way beyond that it is a practice.  When people ask me about it my enthusiasm takes over and I want to tell them ALL about Nia, when I could just stick to the basic level –  it is dance and dance is exercise.

Even though it is exercise and it is a workout it is fun.  I love that “Dancing With The Stars” really helped show people what a great workout dancing is.  Dancers have always known that dancing is a great workout–both aerobic and strength.  I think people have always known to some extent that PROFESSIONAL dancers get a workout, but I think that show opened the door to more people understanding that dancing even if you aren’t a professional is a workout.  Yes, the “stars” do end up dancing as much as professionals to learn the dances, but still for some reason it seems like it enabled people to see that dancing is exercise—but it is fun!

As with any workout the participants can put what they want into it.  If you really want to get a workout you can move bigger, farther, higher, lower, faster . . . whatever works for you to get the workout you need and want.  The possibility to move small, slow, and just be mellow is always there.  It is very versatile.  It is cardio but if you really move — especially during floorplay — it can be a great strength training workout.

I actually started teaching Nia because it was a dance exercise.  I don’t know if I have mentioned that before in this blog, but I was looking for something to teach that was very dance-y yet was exercise.  I knew a lot of women who said they loved to dance and they would like to dance but their partners didn’t like it, so they thought that a workout that was dance would be great.  It is.  It is very fun.  We dance to all types of music.  There is a lot of opportunity for self-expression.  Even when we are doing specific steps there is a lot of room for one’s own movements.

Nia was created to be fun, to address the entire being.  Debbie Rosas-Stewart and Carlos Aya-Rosas brought us this wonderful movement practice through years of hard work and research, that started in 1983.  Carlos retired at the end of 2010, and Debbie is moving Nia forward in a great direction.  Body-centered, spirit-filling, and mind-blowing.  We are dancing up a storm and loving it.  It is dance, it is exercise, it is dance exercise and if you try it you will love it.

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

Open Stance In Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on September 15, 2011

Nia is a cardio dance workout (it is really much more, but on the surface, that is what I call it).  As with many cardio workouts done to music there are a lot of moves.  Since Nia is basically a dance workout there are a lot of common dance steps and movements that many of us were taught in different forms of dance.  Some are even from different forms of martial arts or other exercise classes and modalities.  Nia has a base of 52 moves.  We call them the 52 Nia Moves.  What Nia has done is put them into categories to allow you to see what areas of the body are most associated with the move.  One of the most common moves we use in Nia classes is the Open Stance.  I have been familiar with the open stance for as long as I can remember.  I took ballet and tap when I was young.  I have done Jazzercise and other types of dance exercise classes.  Many of these types of things have an open stance.  From the first time I can remember being taught the open stance it was taught as “feet hip width apart”.  Some of you might be familiar with that.  Well, I don’t know if other modalities meant it actually that way or if I had been misled, but in Nia the open stance is actually hip JOINT width apart.

dance exercise, Nia teacher, Nia class, Nia San Jose, Nia Los Gatos, Nia cardio dance workout, So you might be saying, “What?”  Well, go ahead, if you can . . . . stand up and into open stance.  I’m going to guess most of you don’t have a mirror in front of you . . . so look at your feet.  What do you see?  A somewhat wide stance?  Are your feet hip WIDTH apart?  Probably, because I believe that is the common instruction for “open stance”.  Stay there.  Touch your hips and thighs.  Sense how that stance feels.  Make note of the sensation of your leg muscles.  Picture your leg bones.  Are they at a slight angle?

dance exercise, Nia, Nia practice, Nia 52 moves, Terre Pruitt Nia teacherNow bring your feet closer together.  Picture your stance being hip JOINT width apart.  Most of us have hips that are larger than where our legs meet our hip socket.  Try this:  Imagine someone gently lifting you off of your feet by you head, imagine your legs are just hanging down from your hip JOINTS.  Then the huge hand that lifted you sets you gently down.  Your legs exactly in the same position as when you were hanging.  Your leg bones come straight out from your hip joints.  That is what Nia open stance is.

For me, it is much more narrow than I was taught open stance was.

My pictures are showing the difference between what I thought was open (the first one) and what I now think of as open (the second one).  I stood on the rug so the pattern would help show the difference.  Please keep in mind that everyone, everyBODY is different so the width of your feet will differ from mine, but if you keep in mind that open is not really hip WIDTH apart, but hip JOINT width apart then you too, might have an adjustment in your “open stance”.

Well, did you?  Were you taught open is hip width apart?  If you stand hip width apart is there a noticeable difference when you stand hip JOINT width apart?

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

The Ten Minutes Pilates – Workout DVD

Posted by terrepruitt on August 18, 2011

One of my favorite workouts DVD besides my Nia routines is a ten minute one.  It might be considered an old one as it is from 2004, but I love it.  They always sell these things as a “Don’t have time to exercise” type of thing, but doing only a ten minute workout all the time won’t get you far.  As I have said before  when I was sharing my little ten minute workout in June, it is good when that is all you have time for but only every once in a while, honestly more is needed to reach fitness and health goals.  This DVD, done by Lara Hudson, has five ten minute workouts on it.  It has capability built into the DVD that allows you to play one workout or pick more than one to make a longer workout and they will play right in a row.  You don’t have to start one, do it, then manually start another.  When you set up the workout you pick the order you want them to play in.  You can even pick one workout twice so you can do it two times.

Nia teacher doing Pilates, Pilates, Nia workout, Pilates workoutThe five workouts are an ab workout, a buns and thighs workout, an arm workout, a cardio workout, and a flexibility workout.  There are about 10 exercises per workout — even with the leg workout.  The number of times you do each exercise varies from 4 to 12.

I’ve actually only done the cardio workout once or twice because I prefer to do Nia or Turbo Jam as my cardio.  I also like to do more than 10 minutes of cardio, but it could be that all of these together would work for you.

Lara has an easy way about her.  The instruction is clear and easy to follow.  Some times in her instructions she ends the word in a high tone and it never fails to make me laugh.  She is pleasant to work out to.  She also is very good at reminding you throughout the video to concentrate on each movement.  She often says, “Controoool.” in a way that encourages you to keep the movement controlled.  Precision is another key to Pilates and she does a good job getting you to remember that, too.

In the ab workout there are various sit-ups and leg lifts.  There are roll ups and roll overs. Lara is very clear with her instruction regarding breathing, which is very helpful.  This workout is done lying down.

The leg workout is done on the floor also.  It contains the usual leg lifts and bridges, and maybe some other exercises that are not so usual.  This workout has you do a set of exercises for one leg, then switch to the other leg. Then there is another set you do for each leg.  Even though the workout is only ten minutes the pacing is nice and you really are able to get through about 10 different exercises.

They call the arm workout “Sculpting Pilates”.  It is bicep curls and triceps extensions.  There is shoulder and back work in there too.  There might be some exercises in each workout that are new to you, but nothing to drastic.  For this workout the basic stance is the Pilates V, heels together with the feet forming a V.  At times we separate the feet, but most of it is done standing in the V.

The cardio portion of this DVD is a series of planks, push ups, curls, dipping lunges, leg lifts, swimmers, and mermaids.  As with all of the workouts the flow is nice and Lara keeps you moving reasonable pace.  Also, as with all the workouts, she gets a stretch in there.  It isn’t a long stretch but just enough to help you “reset” if you need to.

The flexibility one consists of the cat and the cow, and other stretches that really get pretty much every part of your body — all in ten minutes.

I think this is a GREAT little Pilates workout DVD.  It could even be a nice way to start to doing Pilates.  If you have never done Pilates this could give you an idea of what to expect if you were to go to a class.  It could help you learn a bit of the concentration and breathing.  I really like this DVD.  I feel it is a great addition to any workout program.  It allows you to do from 10 minutes to 50 minutes in the order you want.

Have you ever done Pilates?

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Workout Distractions

Posted by terrepruitt on July 9, 2011

It is difficult for me to do Nia at home.  In Nia we actually move our head.  “Huh?”  You say.  Well next time you are in a cardio workout out class or an exercise class you might notice that you don’t often (or at all) move your head around purposefully.  In Nia we look up, we look around, we look down, we out.  We could just be moving our head to sense the sensation of it, or we could be doing it to allow action to follow intention or . . . well, whatever idea we are using at the moment to move our head, we move our head.  ALL AROUND.  Which, makes it difficult for me to workout at home. When I look up I see spider webs.  When I look around I see dust.  When I look down I see Spot.  When I look out I see squirrels.

We have cathedral ceilings, so there is never a time when we don’t have spider webs or something way up there.  When I see it I start thinking, “I need to get the duster and the ladder and get that.”  Then there is the dust.  The dust never seems to NOT be there even right as I am dusting.  Then there is the cat.  She either wants to go out, or be pet, or  she just chooses to lay right in the middle of my workout floor.  And I have learned that I absolutely have to keep my curtains closed.  I don’t care what the weather is, I don’t care what the temperature is, I have to keep my curtains closed because I get REALLY distracted when I don’t.  Here are two examples of what I see.

First he comes to the door.  Tentative.  Then he will stand that like that for a long time.  I have tried to just keep on going and just let him watch me dance, but after a while I feel bad.  He will just stand there with his paws at his chest and look at me.  He has stood like that for at least an entire song.  I always end up stopping and giving him or, more accurately, them nuts.  When one gets peanuts the others come along.

 

Then this is what they do.  This was taken on a very hot day.  The mat was in the shade and had been for a while so he just plopped down.  I think he was enjoying the shade.  A little snack in the shade.  He just looked at me while he ate his snack.

They have come up to the doors and windows and put both paws on the glass and looked inside.  I imagine I hear, “Hey, you in there!  Where are the peanuts?”  It is rather funny.  I am not certain, but I think it is one in particular that does that.  My hubby named him Brutus.  When he comes up to the door, he will stay there and take a peanut from me.  Sometimes he barely lets me put the peanut out the door.

Yes, one of the things we do in Nia is to not think about things like spider webs, dust, the grocery list, the things we need to do after class and when I am outside of my home I can do that much better.  In my house I get distracted.  There are so many distractions.  So one way I eliminate at least one is I keep the curtains shut.  On the days that I took these pictures I had obviously not done so.

Posted in Just stuff, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Three of Nia’s Nine Movement Forms

Posted by terrepruitt on March 12, 2011

I believe that I have mentioned before Nia allows us—even encourages us—to do routines with different focuses. I know I have posted about focuses before. This past week I led my classes in the Nia routine called Sanjana. I believe this is a routine created by Debbie Rosas NKA Debbie Rosas-Stewart. It is an awesome routine (well, yeah . . . its Nia). I decided that I would do one of the nine movement forms per class. I know I have posted about Nia’s Nine Movement Forms before, too.  I had used some of the movement forms previously with this routine, so I decided the ones we did this week would be ones I had not paired up with Sanjana. Monday in my San Jose Nia class we did the ideas of Moshe Feldenkrais. For Wednesdays Nia class in San Jose we utilized the energy of Tae Kwon Do. My Los Gatos class on Friday experienced Sanjana with the Modern Dance flair.

I love this about Nia. I love that doing the same routine, but doing it with different energies allows for different movement, different sensations. Each movement form has its own energy, that is how we apply them to a routine and come up with something unique. I chose Feldenkrais for Monday because often times participants are a bit sleepy on Monday mornings.  Sometimes we prefer something that moves us but something more along the lines of a stretch or a healing art.  It could be that too much was done over the weekend or not enough, so Mondays are a little different.  With this conscious movement as our guide we were able to focus on the sensation of the body as we moved. The dance was conscious.  We could concentrate on areas that needed attention, either from the over-use during the weekend or lack of use.  Whatever the case, the idea is ease.  Move with ease into one’s own power and strength.  This is a gentle movement form but that does not mean it is not intense.  We can still move our bodies to get a great strength and/or cardio workout when playing with the healing arts, but it is with greater awareness.

By the middle of the week, Wednesday’s class was perfect for Martial Arts.  Nia students have “recovered” from the weekend so the whole body can be used.  We have the strength to utilize the power of the Tae Kwon Do energy.  The dance can be precise, by this time of the week.  Two days are behind, only three are left (class is in the morning), the desire and focus needed to push on is there.  Sanjana has great opportunity for dynamic ease to be exercised.  There are katas that allow for the fluid moves of martial arts with dance, kicking, punching, blocking, and striking.  In fact the “Exercises” listed in The Nia Technique White Belt Manual* under the Tae Kwon Do craft seems as if they were written expressly for Sanjana.

Friday, unknown to me at the time I planned my dance week, was a great day to do Modern Dance.  With the tsunami that hit Japan over the night (Thursday night for us, Japan’s Friday) it was a great time for dance. Modern Dance calls you to express yourself.  This movement form is one of imagination.  You can be big and/or small, fast and/or slow, a tree, a rock, sand, water, air, even a feeling.  People can truly dance whatever they want.  So while we are still practicing our stances the feelings put into it are those of the participant.  Movements led by me are executed by whatever sense is being experienced.  Many people had different issues and feelings to work through.  Even if some of those feelings were a celebration with the understanding that life is short and precious so we need to celebrate what we have while we have it.  This form is that of balance–both on and off, flexibility, strength, power, drama, emotions . . . whatever fits.  It was a great way to let our bodies move while our hearts went out to all that were affected.

Nia is awesome like that.  We danced the same routine for all three classes this week.  With each class it was different while we paired up the routine with different movement forms.  While the movement forms were able supply the energy, the “feel”, the sensation that was required for the day.

(Thoughts and prayers go out to ALL that are/were/and will be affected by the earthquake in Japan on March 12, 2011 and the subsequent tsunami.)

*March 2001, V# Page 2-19 thru 2-20

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »