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 ‘Carlos Aya Rosas’

Nia Bundle

Posted by terrepruitt on February 19, 2018

So you may know that I teach a cardio dance exercise called Nia. It includes Martial Arts (such as Tae Kwon Do), Dance Arts (such as jazz dance), and Healing Arts (such as yoga). It is body centered. Basically, it has many facets and can explained many different ways, but it is best for one to see for themselves what it really is. So I call it a cardio dance exercise. That lets people know that they will be dancing and getting a cardio workout. It clues them into the fact that if they move, they will sweat. The rest they just have to experience. One thing we do in Nia is we move around the room. It is great to experience the world from other perspectives and just moving away from your regular dance spot in your dance class can help you do that. Sometimes when we move from our regular spots we are moving around the room in FreeDance . . . perhaps taking up as much space as possible, moving about the entire room or dancing in all the corners. Sometimes when we move from our regular spots we dance in a “bundle”. Nia is also about community so this really helps exhibit that. We dance in a group, in a bundle, as a community.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitThere is a particular kata in which I remember the training DVD to have encouraged us to dance close, as stated, in a bundle. So I always try to get people to get close. I suggest we all move gently in the tight bundle. I ask that everyone move through the middle of the bundle at least once. I also propose that people make eye contact. This is something I usually say to remind myself. I am getting better at doing so. I used to always look down, but now we are eyeing each other.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitDuring one class I stepped outside of the bundle to turn up the music and thought it would be a great time to snap a photo. As you can see our little Nia community is great at doing the Nia Bundle. We always speculate as to what people who might see us would think when we have this large wonderful dance floor and we are all in the middle dancing. We also laugh about elbows and toes, acknowledging that you might run into one and being very careful not to step on the other. I believe the Nia Bundle is one of the things that makes Nia unique.

If you have read some of my other posts before, this one might sound pretty familiar as I wrote about the Nia Bundle in my post Dancing Close. This post pretty much explores the same information, but with this one there are pictures.

Not every Nia routine’s choreography contains a Nia Bundle . . . but a Nia teacher can use a Nia Bundle anytime. Since it is such a fun way to dance in community we might just sneak it in whenever we want. I tend to stick to using it when we dance the particular song that Carlos choreographed the Nia Bundle in . . . .but ya never know, since my students are so good at it, I might start using it more.

How would you feel about a “bundle dance”?

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Zorro Technique

Posted by terrepruitt on October 29, 2015

Back in 2010, I posted a bit about X-Ray Anatomy, principle #10 of the Nia White Belt.  It is what Nia Teachers, Yoga Teachers, Personal Trainers, and people in the profession of helping people move do to see how a body is moving.  We all do it, but Nia calls it X-Ray Anatomy.  We look at the posture of the body or the placement of the clothes to see the alignment of the bones or to see the movement of the muscle.  If we look at someone’s waist band and one side is higher than the other we can then look closer to see, if they were in a hurry when they pulled on their pants, hiking one side higher, or if their hips are actually askew.  We can look at shoulders, checking to see if one is tilted down.  We might check to see if a muscle is really tight causing an imbalance.  We look, then we go about guiding the person to adjustment, guiding them into ease.  Now . . . that is what we do for our students and/or clients.  But we wouldn’t do that to someone we just see on the street.  Even if we take a pad of paper to the park or to the mall or use our DVDs to practice with “Zorro”.

In the Nia White Belt Intensive I took, one of the tools that the co-founder of Nia, Carlos Aya-Rosas, gave us was “Zorro”.  Where you look at someone and with just a few strokes of the pen/pencil you draw their structure.  It is supposed to be quick, not a lot of details, just the things you are x-raying.  Just key bones or things (like a belt, pant legs, collars, etc.) to allow you to see posture and/or alignment.

Here are my “Zorros” from my White Belt in 2008.  We had split up into two groups and we faced each other.  Each group had a turn at making shapes and posturing and then “Zorroing”.

 

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique

 

 

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia TechniqueWhen I wrote my post back in 2010, I had said in a comment I was going to go out and do some X-Ray Anatomy Zorroing, but I hadn’t.  When I came across the comment again, I decided to do it.  Here is the result of me doing Zorro on a random video of people walking and of one of the Nia Routine DVDs.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique

This type of practice can help us see things quickly that might need adjustment while we are dancing.  Then we can cue some guidance to help people move in a safe way.  As an example, an easy thing to see is thigh bones, while we cannot actually SEE the thigh bone, if we look at the toe and it is pointed off in one direction we can conclude that the thigh bone is rotated . . . depending on what we are doing, that might not be the safest thing for the knee and hip.  So we can keep an eye on toes and practice X-Ray Anatomy.

I have confidence in thinking that you get the idea of this.  You can see how you can quickly look at someone and have an idea of the placement of the bones.  You can glance at someones clothes and use them to determine their alignment.  Is the clothing method 100% accurate?  No, people’s clothes might be sitting off for a number of reasons, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, perhaps someone just pulled their pants on crocked, but this is an idea.  But using the clothes is a quick way to perhaps get an idea of what the body is doing.  Sometimes a closer inspection or more attention is needed, but for just practicing clothes are great to help with Zorroing.

Can you see how “Zorroing” can help with X-Ray Anatomy?  So might you us your X-Ray Anatomy the next time you are out?

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Sound Mixing

Posted by terrepruitt on October 28, 2014

Whew!  I am so relieved.  Yesterday while I was thinking about starting to write my post for today, my computer froze.  Well, it was doing the “not responding” thing.  I had been in the process of shutting all my program so that I could start over, when one of them did that thing.  Usually it doesn’t respond for a few minutes then the program closes but this was taking longer.  I was impatient and I used my master switch to shut my computer down.  Well, it wouldn’t turn back on.  I don’t mean it started to boot up and then when wanky, I mean there was nothing.  Usually when I press on button the fans start working then the computer slowly turns on.  There was nothing.  My first thought was “OH NO!” and “Well, at least I know what to ask for as a Christmas present.”  I sent out a warning to my hubby.  I was warning him that he needed to be available as my “fix-it” guy.  Then I started to think about it.  The way it didn’t turn on.  The way there was NOTHING.  I was hoping it was an easy fix.  I couldn’t remember exactly what it was but there is a part that is the first place you start when the computer goes wanky.  Sometimes, as was the case with me the computer just won’t turn on, other times when the part is going bad it affects other things.  Anyway . . . I was hoping it was an easy fix.  I talked to my hubby and he reminded me of the part – power supply – and I told him that that was it.  The way it was not turning on was definitely power.  He agreed after he came home and looked at it.  So he grab me one during his day, came home and installed it and I am up and running again.  But I didn’t use the day without a computer to think of something to post.

I have a lot of things to post about and whatnot on my computer so when I don’t have something jumping out at me then I scrounge around my computer and find something.  Not having a computer would be the same problem I had on Saturday when I didn’t know what to post about.  I didn’t have access to my computer then either so I was floundering.

So, I am going to tell you what we did in Nia class today.  You know — if you’ve read a few of my post about my Nia classes — I am always wanting the participants in my Nia classes to sound.  I want them to make noise.  You may also know that many of the Nia students are getting much better.  You may also imagine that for people to make noise in a class while they are exercising it helps if they are all making the same noise.  People feel more comfortable.  One thing you probably don’t know is that I have one student who loves when we have “information” posted on the mirrors or in the class.  So I thought I would combine my desire to help people sound with her love of “post-ups”.

I have posted about Healing Sounds that I came across and I have posted about the sounds associated with the Chakras.  Well, I decided to use a combination of them.  I have a routine I put together of Nia songs.  I went through each one and thought of the prevailing sound in the song or a sound that would fit with a move in the song.  I made signs and taped them to the mirror.

In the first song the vocals are “AH” so we used AH as associated with helping to balance the Heart Chakra.  The next song, I don’t think are actual words, but to me it sounds as if the singer is saying, “Geee” so we had EEE (associated with the Crown Chakra).  We did some kicking in the third song so we sounded HAA, which is a healing sounds attributed to calming the heart and alleviating anger.  We used SHEE in our next song, the healing sound to relieve stress, tension, and anxiety.  Our fourth song had us dancing on one leg a lot so I thought the healing sound to help with balance would be good, SSS.  In one song we did something I call the Yo-Yo because I thought Carlos has called it that.  When we make that sound we say, “yo-yo”, so I thought the sound associated with the Solar Plexas Chakra – OH, as in “go” – would be good with that song.  In one song we danced stances and used our hips so I thought the OOO sound that helps with the Pelvic Chakra would be good to make while we danced.  The second to the last song, I picked SHOO, just because I like it and I think the situations associated with that healing sound is something to clear out.  That sound is for alleviating problems associated with depression.  The last song I decided that we could make the sounds associated with body temperature.  The Nia students could pick the one they felt they needed at the moment.  There is HOO for warming the body and FOO for cooling the body.

The idea was for them to have sounds in each song that we all would be making.  Although it was a set sound or even time.  We all made the sound as we wanted.  Sometimes someone would make it and we thought that sounded good so we would join in.  Sometimes I would lead, like for our kicks we said, “HAA!” and with our “yo-yo” move we said “OH, OH!”  But they were free to do what the were moved to do.  Also . . . we did not stick to the specifics of the sounds.  We were just saying them.  Sometimes we said it with our exhale in one long sound, sometimes we made it a chant . . . it was all up to the individual.  And, as I said, sometimes we would follow someone’s lead and do what they were doing.

It was great.  It was nice to have so much noise going on.  It was nice to have people making it their own.  It is always great when the Nia students sound.

Don’t you wanna join a Nia Class?  Don’t you wanna make some noise?

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Dancing Close

Posted by terrepruitt on September 16, 2014

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, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classesThere is a Nia Routine called Miracle.  It is fun routine.  Like many Nia Routines it has form and freedom.  There are two songs in which the foot work is pretty much the same throughout each song (form), but within the sameness you have the freedom to switch it up and add your own style.  The choreography gives you the steps, the area where your feet are to be in dancing to the music, but you can decide how to get there and how your foot will be placed into that area.  Form and Freedom.  There is also something in this routine that Carlos Rosas (NKA, Carlos Aya-Rosas) calls the “Nia Bundle”.  It is basically where the entire class gets very close together and dances.  This is not easy for people to do.  Why?  There are at least as many reasons why this challenges people as there are people.  But there are many benefits to dancing in a “bundle” and as a group.

One benefit of dancing in a close bundle is to practice our proprioception.  In close proximity to other Nia Dancers we want to be aware of where our arms are, where are feet are, where are hands are.  Are our limbs close to our body or are they out as far as they can go?  Are we going to step on someone’s toes?  Are we going to bump into someone?  While the goal is not to step on nor bump into anyone, it is understood there might be some contact . . . but not often.  For those in my classes that participate in the Nia bundles we do a good job being aware and moving in a close group.

Also dancing so close to each other helps us be aware of each other. Not just the physical presence of the other students, but there is eye contact, there is giggling, there is connection and a sense of community when you are brought really close together.  No one is in their own space, we are sharing space.  We move as one in space.  We move as individuals in a shared space.  We learn to dance together.

Another benefit could be that we – as individuals are pressed into moving in different ways.  Finding a new way to move our body in dance because we are so close to someone.  How can we move our elbows without elbowing someone?  How can we dance to the music and express our spirit in such close proximity to others?  Ahh . . . yes . . . new-to-your-body-moves just might be discovered.

I always laugh at the thought of someone looking in the dance studio at the community center and seeing all of the space with 12+ of us all clumped together in the middle or in a corner.  I imagine them thinking that odd.  I imagine them thinking, “WHAT are they doing?”  Then we throw our hands up in the air and sing.  It is quite fun!

So despite some people’s misgivings about dancing really close in a Nia bundle there are those who join in with gusto and reap the benefits.  Does your dance exercise class have a bundle?  What would you think if you were to peek in a class and see it?  Would you be a bundle dancer?

 

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Nia’s Five Sensations, Well, Two and One Fourth

Posted by terrepruitt on May 29, 2014

Aaaahhhh!  I did it again.  I do it all the time.  I see things on Facebook that I want to look at but I don’t have time or when I see it is it not the right time to look at it so I open it in another window.  Then I can watch it, read it, do it (whatever) days later.  But then I forget who posted it.  This is a Nia video so I know that one of my Nia friends posted it.  It took me days to get around to watching it.  Then once I did watch it I was soooo disappointed.  It is a video of Carlos Rosas (NKA Carlos Aya-Rosas) at a conference talking about the 5 Sensations of Nia.  As he is talking I start looking at the time left and I keep thinking, he’s not going to make it.  I kept HOPING he would, but I kept thinking, he is not going to make it.  He didn’t.  He was halfway through (or so it seemed) his talk about Mobility when the video stopped.  Sad face.  That is why I was disappointed.  I was sad because we don’t get to hear all five sensations.  But . . . watching the ones he did get through are well worth it.  It is just a bummer that we didn’t get information on all five.

I am not sure what year it is, but you will see that they are being referred to as Debbie and Carlos Rosas.  Which I always thought that eventually they were referred to as Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.  But that is not the point of this post or the video I was just trying to see if I could have an idea of what year it was, but again . . . not that important because the information is tremendous.

The information is very helpful no matter when it was recorded.  Carlos first walks you through some things you can sense.  He connects them to the 5 Sensations.  If you’ve read a few of my posts about Nia you might be familiar with my belief that Nia takes everyday things you are familiar with and probably aware of and connects it to Nia ideas.   If you watch this you can get an example of them doing that in the time from 2:45 to 7:00.

After the initial connection to the five sensations, the first sensation Carlos defines is Flexibility.  He describes it as energy moving out.  So not just stretching, but energy moving out.  Then he talks about Agility.  He describes that as a quick start stop.  He uses the adjective “explode”.  This is a very entertaining part of the video.  Carlos is a very funny speaker.  Then he gets a few minutes into a mobility.  He describes that as continuous movement.  He talks you through a bit of it, then the video stops.

Even though we only get to see two sensations and a portion of mobility it is still great information.  I am not giving you too many details because I want you to watch it.  It is so much better from the creator than from me just typing what he is saying.

This was posted by Nia, in addition to watching this video you can go to the Nia Channel on Youtube (click here) and see other videos they have posted.  Also, you can go to NiaNow.com and watch recordings of classes.  From the home page scroll through the pages and you will find videos of Nia classes.  You can dance right along with Debbie and other trainers!

I invite you to watch the video and participate with his exercises to connect you with the sensation of Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Stability, and Strength (this is the first portion I mentioned).  Then stick with it for even more connection to Flexibility and Agility.

 

Well, what do you think?

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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? 

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