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

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle 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!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘cardio’

An Important Addition To Any Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on October 14, 2014

You may be familiar with cycles of a cardio class.  Most modalities or classes have a warm-up, a “moving portion”, and a cool down.  Not every form of cardio class includes a “flexibility” portion.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was in a training recently and they include flexibility in their class structure.  That is awesome.  Their required class structure is:  warm-up, endurance phase (cardio), cool down, then flexibility.  I love that they are including flexibility.  It is great to see.  That is four portions.  As you may be aware, Nia has seven.  We call our sections of class cycles.  The cycles are:

1. Setting your focus and intent

2. Stepping In

3. Warm up

4. Get Moving

5. Cool Down

6. Floorplay

7. Stepping out

Nia’s cycle #4, the “Get Moving” is comparable to the endurance phase or the cardio phase.  That is where we really move.  We can use big movements and move through the planes to get the heart rate up, so our cardio does not consist of running and jumping.  In order to get the heart pumping we move our body up and down, using the muscles.  We also move our arms and hands — a lot.  Could be we are punching or it could be we are just moving them in a way consistent with the body’s way but that helps get the blood moving.

Nia’s cycle #6, Floorplay, is multiple types of movement.  It is stretching and/or strengthening.  It could be rolling on the floor or even crawling.  With floorplay we do exactly that . . . . we play on the floor.  There is definitely “flexibility” going on.

I was happy to see the flexibility component added.  In fact, it might be so new that it wasn’t even included in the copy of the slides that we received for hand outs.

Flexibility is important.  We there is tightness in the muscles sometimes they do not move properly.  Where there is tightness in the joints they do not move properly.  We our body does not move properly it tries to compensate and often ends up creating more issues.  Or the tightness does not allow us to fully straighten so it might feel as if it can’t move at all so then people stop moving.  It is somewhat a cycle.  Perhaps you would like to read Simple Stretches Could Bring Relief.

Working on flexibility is just as important as working on cardio and resistance training.  Flexibility is great to include in your workout routine.  It should be scheduled into your workout time.  Just like a savasana is done at the end of a yoga routine, stretching should be part of any workout routine you do.

It would be best if you stretched the muscles that you just worked in your workout.  Being specific would be good.  But in general it seems a safe bet would be to start at the top and work your way down.  Stretching each muscles/muscle group.  As I mentioned it would be best to stretch what you just worked so if you know how to do that, spend an extra minute or two on those muscles/muscle groups.  I know it might feel like you don’t have time for it, but it will actually prove to save you time in the long run.

Do you have stretching as part of your workout?  Do you work on your flexibility?

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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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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?

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Confessions Of This Nia Teacher

Posted by terrepruitt on August 4, 2012

I have a confession to make.  It is one I might have even confessed before.  I know I have done it before.  It is easy for me to get caught up.  I want to please people.  I want the supervisor to know that I am working to keep the students IN the class.  I want the students attending the class to like it and want to be there.  When you are a substitute instructor leading a different format than is usually taught it is very different from when you are teaching a class of the expected format.  Many people are taught that cardio – aerobic exercise – is extremely fast, high impact, and difficult so it is very hard to change that mindset.  I was asked by someone who understands both the fact that cardio does not have to be extremely fast or high impact and that people are trained to think it is, if I could do Nia a little higher because people expect cardio to be a specific way.  So caught up in wanting to give the students what they are accustomed to getting I put together a routine . . . kind of rushed . . . that didn’t have ALL the elements that a Nia class normally has.  It was not good.  It felt “off”.  I was trying to make Nia something it is not.  Nia is not Zumba.  Nia is not Cardio-Sculpt.  Nia is not extremely fast, rushed, and high impact.  Nia is not Jazzercise.  Nia is not UJAM.  Nia is not all of or any of these other names that there are for classes that are fast, rushed, and high impact.  Nia is an amazing practice.  Nia is a great workout.  Nia is a wonderful cardio dance exercise.  And I need to stop trying to make it be something it is not just because people are used to cardio a specific way.

So I did a routine that didn’t feel right to me.  I thought I would get up the next morning and do the same routine for the class I was asked at the last minute to sub, I was going to try to “bring it” to the students.  As I was getting into bed a little agitated from the “not feeling right class”, it washed over me like a refreshing revelation . . . . DO NIA!  Duh!  Bring “IT”, and make that “IT” Nia.  I got caught up and in my trying to bring the students what they are used to, I didn’t allow them the richness of something new.  The richness of Nia.

Now, I want you to understand that the Nia Technique creates wonderful routines and all we teachers have to do is learn them and teach them.  But we are also allowed to use other music, make up our own routines, mix and match the routines they have created, and make up our own katas.  Of course, we need to follow the Nia class formula and the seven cycles which contain the traditional warm-up, move it, and cool-down.  I also think when creating a routine/class – in general – it should be balanced; as an example not all songs/movements should be lateral ones or forward and back ones, there should be a mix of movement and the 52 Nia moves.  I create routines from Nia routines all the time.  So it was not the fact that I put songs together that created the not feeling right routine, it was ME.  It was ME trying to make Nia something it is not.

I need to center myself.  I need to stick to what I know and not try to give people the class they are used to.  I KNOW Nia is amazing and awesome and does need to try to be anything it is not.  I KNOW THAT.  I just get caught up.

Another point I want to make is, I am not saying those other formats are bad.  In fact, I like some of the other formats I have tried.  One of these days I might even teach another cardio format.  I am saying Nia is Nia, it is not any of the other formats and I need to remember that and let it stand on its own.  I need to remember to trust Nia and allow it to touch the people it needs to touch and let the others attend the other dance classes.  I need to remember that when I am asked to sub a class I am going to sub it with Nia and not try to make Nia be what that class usually is.  I keep thinking to myself, “DUH!”

Thank you for letting me confess and do a public face-in-the-hand-plant!

Do you EVER do that in any section of your life – try to make something be something else even though what you have is just perfect the way it is?

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Teaching What You Sense

Posted by terrepruitt on September 29, 2011

Nia White Belts focus on the body.  The body is what we can use to teach.  It is fascinating.  By the time we teach a routine in front of a class we should know the music and the choreography so well we don’t have to think about it.  I know I have shared before about how there is a point where I can’t learn any more without taking it to the class.  That is not necessarily the way we were trained to do it, but that is how I do it.  I have worked on learning a routine, got as far as I felt I could go, taken it to class and only done it for one class before I go back and work on learning it some more.  With that one class I was able to get past the learning plateau.  But for the most part we know the music and the routine well by the time we share it with our Nia students.  This allows us to concentrate on what we are sensing.  This is White Belt Principle #13, Teaching What You Sense.

One of the Nia White Belt Manuals says:

While Nia impacts every aspect of our lives, it is first and foremost a somatic practice rooted in physical sensation.

© 2010 Nia Technique, Inc. | NiaNow.com Principle 13 Lesson Plan | 1

Teaching what we sense, what we are experiencing in our own bodies allows us to connect with what is going on in our students’ bodies.  When I feel the stretch in my side, I can say, “Everybody sense your side.”  This allows each participant, each individual body to sense what is going on in his or her own body.  It could be a stretch.  It could be a twinge which might be a signal to tweak the movement.  Whatever is sensed belongs to the individual.  I am not saying, “You SHOULD feel . . ”  I don’t know exactly what they should sense.  Each person is different.  Nia teachers invite Nia students to SENSE parts of the body so each person can get the workout their body needs.

While we are dancing the moves we are showing the Nia students the Nia choreography, we are also guiding them with our words.  In addition to guiding them through the Nia routine’s choreography we are guiding them through a somatic workout.  A workout that is rooted in the Body’s Way.  By teaching what my body is sensing participants learn what THEIR bodies are sensing and in turn we all learn our our own individual’s body’s way.

Learning all of this in a cardio dance workout class might seem like a lot, but it is something that happens over time.  It might also sound different than other exercise classes, and that is because it is different.  It is unique.  Each class brings new awareness.  When students desire to they can take what we touch upon in class out into their lives.  Being aware of the body’s sensation as we live and go about our everyday chores and pleasures.  We could call it “Noticing what we sense.”  But for me, as a Nia teacher/student I am encouraged to teach what I sense and it makes a world of difference in the workout you receive.

Posted in Nia, Nia White Belt Principles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

It’s Out There

Posted by terrepruitt on February 5, 2011

I teach Nia.  I found Nia while looking on the internet for a workout that was exercise as well as dance.  Dance is exercise and with so many people enjoying dancing I was hoping to find a combination of both that I could teach.   Nia is a non-impact cardio dance.  The “non-impact” often causes people to think that it is low intensity, but with Nia you regulate your own intensity.  Nia was created using The Body’s Way, and designed so that you can practice is in Your Body’s Way.  So participants receive the workout their body needs at that moment.

I believe that is one of the great things about Nia, but it is also one of the things that greatly challenge people.  Some people do not know how to listen to their own bodies and give them what they need.  They are accustomed to being told what they need and what to do.  So Nia might not be for everyone.  But there is something out there that is.

In the Fall 2010 issue of Conscious Dancer, they shared 100 modes of movement.  They highlighted movements from A-Z.  They pointed out AcroYoga, AlivEmotion, BeachDance, Bellyfit, Biodanza, Chakradance, Dancing with Pain, DolphinDance, 5Rhythms, Gyrotonic Expansion System, Hoop Dance, InterPlay, Jazzercise, Laughter Yoga, Nia, Pilates, Shake Your Soul, Soul Motion, SpritisDancing, Trance Dance, Wowzacise, Yoga Booty Ballet, YogaFit, Zumba, and more.

From yoga to yoga dancing, spiritual exercise, water workouts, healing, structured, non-structured, standing, sitting, rolling, running, jumping, bouncing, everything from here to there and anything you can thing of and more.  So what is your excuse?  Maybe there isn’t a Nia class in your area or that is convenient to you or your schedule.  What about a Zumba class?  Get some of your Latin on.  Zumba not your thing?  What about BellyFit?  Maybe there is a class near you and a form of fitness that has a bit of yoga, meditation, and Pilates in it is something you would like?  Laughter Yoga (who doesn’t like to laugh?) is in 60 countries.  Maybe you would like the group type of moving mediation that is 5Rhytms.  Or you wanna take it back to your childhood circling your hips and other body parts in a Hoop Dance.  Have you tried Jazzercise lately?  Even though it has been around since the 60’s it has kept up with the times.  Like Nia, you learn that the joy of dance that is Shake Your Soul can be a healing experience.  What about Wowzacise?  Created by Wowza it is a form of fitness done on different size stability balls. Yoga Booty Ballet is a set of workouts that is yoga, cardio, and ballet and there are DVDs so you don’t even have to go out to do that one.

See?  So as I am often saying there is soooooo much out there.  If you don’t like one thing try another.  Take into consideration your goals and what you really like to do, then go out there and find it.  It has to be there.  Even though Nia is for everyBODY, it really is not for everyone, but please find something that is for you and do it and stick to it!

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

Yoga Is Very Nia-Like

Posted by terrepruitt on September 12, 2009

I have only taken two yoga classes.  One was this evening and throughout the entire class, while the teacher was instructing I kept thinking, “Oh that is so Nia.  Oh this is so Nia. . . . . .Oh THAT is so Nia.”  Even though earlier in the class I realized that maybe Nia was “so Yoga”.

Yoga was first.  It has been around for thousands of years.  For some it is rooted in religion, where as Nia has been around for 25 years and is rooted in the body.  I just couldn’t help thinking that this yoga class was so like a Nia class, except much slower.  Slower, in the sense that in this class the movement wass not to the music, but to the breath.  There was no rhythmic quality to the movement, just the flow of your breath.  Every once in awhile I would hear the music and to start sway to it and realize that I was supposed to be holding a pose so I would stop my body from moving but my spirit continued to boogey away.

This yoga class is about joy in yoga, allowing for another comparison, comparing to the first principle of the Nia White Belt which is the Joy of Movement.  The Joy of movement is actually found as a sensation and not a feeling.  In Nia it is something that is sensed in the body and not felts as an emotion.

The teacher started the class with the suggestion that you set an intention.  I actually wiggled with happiness at this because in every Nia class we set a focus and an intent (in cycle one).

This yoga class made me realize why so many people that practice yoga also practice Nia because there are many things in common.  In yoga there are poses that open areas of the body, in Nia we have movements and poses that open the body and get the joints juicy.  Yoga has muscle strengtheners and ligaments and tendon lengtheners and so does Nia.  But with yoga it is a pose and in Nia it is primarily movements linked together in a more cardio-dance fashion.  In the cool down we do poses or stretches and sometimes there are yoga poses.  It just amazed me how similar they were.  With the request of awareness that the teacher was giving during the ending meditation, something that we request during the entire Nia workout, I was extremely delighted to realize that yoga and Nia aren’t competing practices, but companion practices.  They are so similar that you can apply a lot of the principles to both.  You can have a non-impact booty shaking cardio and strength workout (Nia) that you balance with the complete stretching and strength workout (yoga).

I truly was amazed at how Nia has taken so much of what is “yoga” and created a practice that can be such a great companion.  With so many similarities it really allows for an expansion of exercise and workout possibilities for so many people who do yoga in San Jose and in the Bay Area.

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A Brief Look At Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on March 7, 2009

I want to talk to you about Nia.  I was looking for a different form of exercise when somehow (in the vastness that is the internet) I came across Nia.  I had never heard of it.  It has been around for 25 years.  At one point it was known as Non-Impact Aerobics, then it was called Neuromuscular Integrative Action, then at one point it was the Nia Technique, now it is just Nia.

Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas created it in the early 1980s from a need and a desire to help people exercise.  When I read the book and listen to Carlos, I believe that they wanted more than just traditional exercise because they really wanted to help people feel good.  They were being drawn towards something that addresses the whole body.

Nia is a teacher led dance workout that allows you the freedom to get exactly the workout that your body needs.  Nia is really awesome because it is done in bare feet to all kinds of music.  With the absences of shoes, we are reminded that we do not have to have harsh impact to get a great work out.  With Nia, the level of intensity is regulated by the participant.  A workout includes movements of all of the 13 major joints and I believe that this is one of the key factors that make people feel so good after they do a Nia workout.  Throughout our day we don’t always move each joint as it was built to move, so sometimes they can become stiff.  In a Nia class you move them throughout the routine and it helps the balance in the body’s systems.

Nia is similar to Jazzercise in the sense that there are segments or cycles to the routine:  warm-up, cardio, strength, floor, and a cool down.

A lot of people just want to go to a workout class and be told what to do, I am going to be honest with you because I want you to enjoy your experience, you need to concentrate a little.  What you are concentrating on is not so much what the teacher is doing, but more what you are sensing.  You are encouraged to listen to your own body and do what it is telling you it needs.  It might not need what the teacher is doing.  And with Nia, that is fine.

In a Nia class there is no judgment if you cannot bend, stretch, jump, kick, shout, shimmy, shake, punch, chop, cha-cha-cha, hula, jazz square, modern dance, or anything like your teacher or neighboring participant, because it is all about YOU and whatever you can do.  You must seek your own Body’s Way and what gives it pleasure.  With Nia you can get a great workout at the same time.

Does your present workout invite you to seek pleasure during your workout?

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