Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘concentration’

Vrksanana / Tree Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on April 27, 2020

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, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD, Yin Yoga, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yogaEven if you don’t practice yoga you are probably familiar with this pose. It is a pose that is seen often . . . everywhere. I mean, people that do yoga and travel will take a picture of themselves doing this pose in front of famous monuments/scenery. It seems like any type of figure that is made will have this pose as one of its choices. I would say this is a “common” yoga pose. And as with most “common” yoga asana you will see modifications of it. Tree pose is a standing balance pose. There are many balance poses that are on two feet, there are even some that are on hands and knees, just hands, or just knees, but we tend to think of standing balance poses as being on one leg. In my yoga classes, especially the gentle yoga classes, I remind my students that they don’t have to take their foot off the ground when practicing a standing balance pose. In the gentle yoga classes we often have chairs so that people can hold on if they feel the need to when they take their foot off the ground. One can use a chair, a wall, a table – anything that gives them security in knowing they have something to steady themselves if need be.

Vrksanana (Tree Pose)

To do this asana we start in mountain pose. We keep the spine lengthening and straight (neutral) for the entire pose. With a tall spine shift the weight to the right foot. Rotate the left thigh out, away from the body, let the left knee and toes point out to the left. Then bring the left heel up onto the inner ankle of the right leg/foot. If you can, bring your hands to prayer position in front of your heart center. If this feels like enough of a challenge to your balance, then stay for a few breaths then come back to mountain and repeat on the other side. If you feel you can, lift your left foot higher up on your right leg, letting the left toes point DOWN. Some may even grab the left foot and put the heel at the groin with the foot along the upper inner thigh and the toes pointing down.  The foot can go anywhere along the supporting leg (it is recommended to NOT have the heel press into the side of the knee of the supporting leg). If at any time the left knee starts to point forward lower the foot until you have the knee point directly to the left and allowing for the stretch in the inner thigh.

Put your hands wherever it best supports you in the pose. Some people like to have their hands in prayer position at heart center. Some people like their arms up with their hands over their head and facing each other. Some people like their arms to be out. When arms are lifted whether they are up or out, the shoulders need to remain relaxed. I remind my students that they are trees and their arms are branches and they can go wherever is best for them.

The supporting foot’s toes are not gripping. The foot is relaxed allow the toes to be like roots spreading out and giving support.

As with all balance poses looking at one spot can help steady you. Also breathing is key. Holding the breath may happen, but breathing is what will allow the pose to be held – so breathe.

Remember to do both sides. Also remember that, while our sides may have been created equally, they do not function the same so just honor each side and see what it can do.

Balance poses require concentration so the idea is if you are having trouble concentrating try doing a balance pose to help your mind focus. But remember to be safe and have a chair or wall nearby if need be. This pose helps strengthen legs and feet and may even help calm the nerves. If you sense an inner thigh stretch then you are getting some flexibility in the inner thigh and hip joint.

Do you include Vrksanana in your yoga practice?  Have you seen this pose before even if you don’t practice yoga?

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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?

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