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 ‘class format’

Different Ways To Instruct

Posted by terrepruitt on November 17, 2015

Every type of group exercise in a class format has its own way of doing things.  Some formats might be the type in which the instructor is actually shouting and yelling at the participants.  Some might just have instructions posted around the area and people are to move along and follow the instructions.  A Zumba class is a lead follow type of format where – at least when I earned my certification – the instructions are supposed to be more hand motions than verbal.  The instructor is not supposed to talk as much as just point and gesture.  Nia is also a lead follow format, but with verbal guiding/instructing.  We have specific points in our music when we are supposed to guide the class into the next moves.  We, also are to use what we call “pearls” to help people move their bodies.  From what I understand and the training I received we are not supposed to talk the entire time.  Nia is body centered, so the instructors are supposed to be silent at times to let the students dance in their own way to the moves and the music.  I personally feel that I can use work on both my use of pearls AND of being silent.  One thing about Nia, though, is it is about play, exploration, experimentation, and doing new things in order to stimulate the BMES (the body, mind, emotions, and spirit).  One thing that I have always heard about is the silent class.

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 TechniqueSo, the silent class does not mean no music, it means no cueing.  Or at least that is what I thought it meant . . . turns out – just like many things – there are many ways to do it.  One of my students recently took the brown belt intensive and there she experienced a class with no cues.  She requested we try it.  Well, it so happened that I started on the path while she was gone so I asked a fellow Nia Teacher and Black Belt what she did in HER silent classes.  I was wondering if there was no cueing and NO SOUNDING.  I figured it would be a huge challenge for me not to cue, but I really was doubtful I could make it through a class without making a sound.  Her response surprised me in that she said she claps to indicate a move change.  Well, that just threw another wrench in the mix.  So . . . that meant that there was SOME type of cueing.  I mean cueing is alerting to a change.  LOTS of cueing is telling people what the change is and when and . . . etc.  But a clap is a cue.  So . . . to me that would mean it is a class with no VERBAL cueing.  She also mentioned that sounding would work depending upon the mood being sought for the class.  With her class — I think she does a specific routine — she does not sound.

So there are different ways to have a silent class.  There could be NO cueing at all.  There could be a clap to indicate the next move is a different one.  There could be pointing and indicating in some fashion something – either direction or side of body or body part or that something new is coming.  I really think that any of those ways is good.  Because all of them offer something different for the student.  And all of them allow the participant to focus on different things.

So for the past four weeks we have been dancing a routine with the intent of doing it without cueing.  I was going to dance it for three weeks, but I thought my student who requested this would be back for the fourth week (the planned silent class), but she wasn’t so I did it one more week so she could join the silent class.

We danced it without verbal cues today and it was very interesting . . . . .

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

The Zumba Fitness Program Really Is a Program

Posted by terrepruitt on September 13, 2012

Zumba is astronomically popular.  The marketing and “it’s a party” advertising has attracted MILLIONS of people.  My first few Zumba classes were fun but I left feeling as if Zumba was not a very safe product.  Not all the classes contained a warm up and a cool down.  Most had no instruction, just the teacher pointing and making other hand signals I was not familiar with.  After having taken the required Zumba Instructor Training, I see that the Zumba Fitness Program is constructed to be safe and meets with the general fitness guidelines.  It could have been that the classes I had taken were not following the program with the prescribed class format.
 
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, ZumbaA standard guideline for fitness classes that is considered safe for the general pubic is 10 to 15 minutes warm-up and at least a 5 minute cool down. Since Zumba is marketed as being something everyone can do, the program incorporates these guidelines. Zumba instructors are trained to follow this set formula for the safety of all participants.  It is understood that many people who attend a workout class come in “cool”, it could even be that their muscles and bodies have been in one position for most of the day.  Muscles need to warm up and get blood flowing in order for there to be less risk of injury.  A warm up is necessary for the body, it is also nice for the brain so that one can “shake off” the happenings of the day and embrace the workout that is ahead.

In addition to the Zumba Fitness Program following the standard fitness guidelines in regards to a warm up, a “formula” for the warm-up section of the class was created.  The formula has three components, and if they are used correctly they should allow for a nice smooth transition into the remainder of the class.  The warm up is built into the Zumba Fitness class model to prepare you for the bulk of the class.  The bulk of the class, as you may know, has a very unique formula.

Zumba was not created to be an elite fitness class, it was meant for everyone to enjoy themselves.  There are moves and steps to follow, but each participant is allowed to add their own style and their own “flavor” — as it is called in the Zumba world.  That means not everyone will be doing it the exact same way.  Not everyone can shake their hips as the instructors do on the training DVDS and I don’t think anyone is as loose a Beto. 

While I was taking the Zumba Instructor training I kept wondering if the creator of Zumba, Alberto “Beto” Perez and the co-creator of Nia, Carlos AyaRosas know each other, even though one is from Columbia and the other one is from Mexico.  Some of the same ideas and philosophies are in both exercise/fitness programs.  To me they have a lot of ideas in common.  I had no idea how similar the programs were until I attended the Zumba Instructor training.

I have posted a bit in the past about Zumba because people are familiar with what Zumba is but not with what Nia is so they often ask me for comparisons so they can understand.  Well, in the past my answers were coming from the perspective of a Nia Teacher who had taken a few Zumba classes.  Now my answers and my comparisons will be from an instructor of both Nia and Zumba.  So I will be posting more about Zumba in the future.  I will be sharing and clarifying a bit about the actual Zumba Fitness Program.  I will also be doing my best at delivering the Zumba Fitness Program making my Zumba Fitness classes fun and accessible for everyone.

I’ll see you in class!

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

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?

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