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!

  • 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 ‘dance class’

THAT’S Not Dance

Posted by terrepruitt on October 10, 2016

I know that I have written posts about how different people think of different things as exercise.  I have written about how some people don’t think that a shimmy is exercise.  Whether they don’t THINK of it as something that should be IN an exercise CLASS or they just don’t think they get any benefit from it.  Some people just don’t think of dance as exercise.  I know I even mentioned that TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have changed the way some people think.  Some people understand that dancing can be considered exercise.  But I don’t think I have ever talked about how some people don’t consider all dance dancing.  I might have but I don’t know that I have and it was something I was thinking about recently.  I was thinking that not all “dancing” is considered dancing by everyone.

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, SJCityFitI was asked to substitute teach a class called Dance Fit.  I had asked several times what “Dance Fit” was, but the response was that the students would be happy to just move to music.  I had a feeling that the person answering just wanted to make sure that they had a teacher so that they would have a class.  So I had been thinking about what I could do.  Then I was also thinking about how I was recently at a festival where I overheard some people talking about a particular person there dancing.  They were saying that he wasn’t really dancing.  They were saying that they thought he wasn’t hearing the music.  They just weren’t “getting” his movements.  And I was looking at him and I thought it was fine.  I could see how his movements fit with the music . . . to me.  I thought that he looked as if he was completely dancing in a way that his body was responding to the music.  He looked like he was in the moment.  He looked as if he was having fun.  It was fine to me.

But later I realized that not everyone thinks of all movement as dance.  A ballerina might not consider clogging dancing.  A ballroom dancer might not consider the pony (remember that move?) a dance.  Someone used to doing Latin motion with their hips might not consider a chorus line kick part of a dance.  So perhaps those women had specific ideas of what dance is and so they didn’t consider his body movements dance at all.

I think that might happen when it comes to Nia.  Some people might not consider a front kick or an upward block a dance movement.  People that are accustomed to all the Latin dance steps that are in Zumba they might not consider a jazz square a dance move.  Just like some people might not consider a shimmy something that should be in an “exercise class”, some people might think a move such as rock around the clock or a duck walk isn’t really dance and shouldn’t be in a dance exercise class.  I think I have overlooked that fact.  Hmmmm.

Well, I had decided to not try to create something or TRY to do something that the class MIGHT like – because I really had no idea.  I decided to do something tried and true.  I decided to do something I do best.  I decided to teach Nia.  And they loved it.  The supervisor was totally correct in saying that the class just loved to dance and they want to move.  They were fabulous.  We had a lot of fun.  Nia is a great “product”, it is a great technique.  And when people who like to move get to experience we get to have fun.  I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks where I get to fill in as a sub.  The students are all about movement of the body being dance and they do great.  I was concerned about it for no reason.

What about you?  Do you think of only certain moves as DANCE?  Do you have a broad definition of dance?

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

More To Yoga Than Just Asana

Posted by terrepruitt on January 13, 2016

I have often mentioned how Nia is a cardio dance exercise that you can take to another level and make it a practice, like yoga.  Yoga is an exercise that you can take to another level by practicing some of the other limbs of yoga.  Yoga has eight limbs.  These limbs are things that one can work with throughout a lifetime.  They are not necessarily things that one masters – well, not things that I can master.  There could be days when it feels as if they have been mastered and then days when it feels like you had never even heard of them because the ideas or actions were just not present.  So . . . these things get “practiced”.  The physical, exercise part of yoga is just one of the limbs.  While Nia is not as . . . I’ll say, “preachey” as yoga we do have some things that can be practiced outside of the dance class, off the dance floor.  Things like noticing your movement and being aware of your relationship with others and things.  But yoga’s limbs are more like rules to live by.

The eight limbs of yoga are:

1)  The yamas.  There are five yamas.  They are often compared to restrictions.  Some think of them as restraints or ethical principles.

2)  The niyamas.  There are five niyamas.  They are often compared to rules.  Some think of them as observances or spiritual practices.

3)  The asana.  There are thousands of poses.  This is the physical limb of yoga.  This is the exercise that has become very popular.  Not only are there a lot of poses, there are many different types of yoga.  Some are ancient and some are very new.  Some types have created new poses.  And sometimes I think that the ancient text has been translated so many different ways we end up with different poses.

4)  Pranayama.  There are various types of pranayama.  This is the breath work of yoga.  I have posted about two types of pranayama, Ujjayi Breathing and Equal Breath
Since this was originally posted I have posted about additional types of pranayama:  Dirgha.

5)  Pratyahara.
  This is the withdrawal of the senses.  The idea is that when the mind has control over the senses, can withdrawal them, then it can focus on the other limbs of yoga without distraction.

6)  Dharana.  This is concentration.  The idea of concentration of the mind on one thing leads to meditation.

7)  Dhyana.  This is meditation.  The idea is to be able to concentrate on one point.  Being able to breathe to a state of withdrawal of the senses.  Having complete control.  Then concentration is pure.  Meditation is supremely focused and then . . .

8)  Samadhi.  This is transcendence.  When one is in control over mind and body.

Each of these could definitely use a blog post of their own.  Not sure I will get to them all.  But, I will at least do a post on the yamas, a post on the niyamas, and a post on pranayama.  Probably multiple posts on each of them.  So, if you are interested stay tuned.

I had heard about the first two, and knew that poses and breathing were apart of yoga.  But was not and am not so familiar with the last four.  Did you know there were eight limbs to yoga?  Which ones are you familiar with?    

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Not Silent About The Silence

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2015

Wow.  This non-verbal cueing that we did in Nia has brought up some stuff.  So here is another post about it!  I have really noticed since the “silent class” that cueing sometimes disrupts the dance for some participants.  Since people are so different, we all hear differently, see differently, concentrate differently, and learn differently, it is different for different people.  What I noticed is that when I mention something, some people stop or they look to be interrupted.  I had noticed this before, but it seems more obvious to me now that we had the silent class.  Nia teachers are supposed to cue at a specific point, to me it is so that the person has a moment to finish the move they are in the middle of, have a moment to know what is coming, then perhaps be able to seamlessly change to the next move.  That is the idea.  The idea is to NOT interfere with the dance.  I see it happens sometimes.  I see sometimes it does not.  So I think it might have to do with what the person is thinking while they are dancing.  It could be, if they are completely in their bodies there is no disruption of the movement, but if they are thinking something else while they are moving, then a cue is given, their thoughts are interrupted so their movements get choppy, then they either finish the present move or move onto the next.  I am not sure of the reason for what I am seeing, but it is very interesting.

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, SJ City FitI feel as if in the silent class they actually have to pay attention MORE.  They have to LOOK at me if they want to see what is happening.  When you have to LOOK at something, it might help with concentration.  It could be that the mind is not wandering and counting on the verbal cue to tell you what to do.

As I mentioned in the last post, the participants were in sync, but that was after the move was done at least once.  Without verbal cues there is no way for them to know what the move is after I clap until they see it.  So once they saw it, or sometimes in the middle of seeing it they knew what to do.

Since they were so synchronized and got there so quickly, I am also thinking that without verbal cues from ME they were letting their bodies cue them.  Muscles have memories and without the benefit of me telling them what to do, they just did what their bodies knew to do.  As I mentioned in the first post about the “silent class” we have been doing this routine for a few weeks.  Plus it is one they already “know”.

I have had people tell me either before or after classes that they need CONSTANT instruction.  They want the instructor to say each move through the entire song.  I have had people tell me that I don’t tell them what they are supposed to do enough.  I have had people tell me that they don’t like Nia because there is not enough of the teacher telling them what to do.  I share that to let you know, as I said before, there are different ways to learn and people like different things.

That is why Nia is so fun.  We can do it different ways.  If you like constant instruction, think of what new things you are being introduced to with less instruction.  If you don’t like any instruction, think of what new things you are being introduced to with minimal instruction.  It is all about keeping the body, mind, emotions, and spirit challenged (BMES).  Learning and doing new things or learning and doing “old” things but in a “new” way.  The BMES likes to be flexed and stretched and stimulated.

I love that the Nia participants that come to my Nia classes are so willing to try new things.  I love that they like to play and experiment.  This had opened some new doors for me.  It will allow us to have more fun!

Have you been to a Nia class yet?

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

Thoughts About The Absence Of Verbal Cues

Posted by terrepruitt on November 19, 2015

In order to keep my post from being really long – I personally like to read short posts . . . I started this story in my last post and I am finishing it up here.  In my last post I talked about the ways classes are led.  I talked about how Nia was designed to be a lead and follow, with cueing at a specific point, and even certain types of cues (pearls).  I also mentioned how Nia is about keeping things fun and new . . . always challenging the body, mind, emotions, and spirit (BMES).  With that in mind sometimes Nia teachers might teach classes without cueing.  Now the “cueing” is up for interpretation.  What we did was NO VERBAL CUEING.  I decided to clap to indicate that a change was coming.  And it ended up that, during two songs I pointed to indicate direction at a couple of areas in each song.

After the class, I asked what they observed.  One student said she like it.  I pressed a bit because I wanted to know WHY she liked it.  I wanted to know what she noticed about it.  Because I noticed things too.  So I wanted to know what SHE noticed.  She said that she felt as if she could do what she wanted more without the verbal cues.  She felt she could dance more.  Some others agreed.  A couple of people said they felt more connected to their bodies.  And it is my opinion that having a deeper connection with your body is one of the reasons why we play with no cueing.  However, what I observed was really interesting . . . I thought.  I noticed that the class was more synchronized.  They were all doing the moves together more than I have ever seen.

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, SJ City FitThere is this one part in this routine that people always “jump the gun” on.  There is always someone doing the “big” move before the big move.  But during the non-verbal cueing class . . . they all did it perfectly.  This synchronization struck me as I watched it, and then again when one of the students said she felt she could do what she wanted more without instruction.  Apparently they all want to dance perfectly in unison and my “interfering” as we call it, is keeping them from doing that.

When instructing a small group it seems as if there is less of a need to guide people.  In larger groups there seems as if the odds are someone seems to look as if they could use a cue.  And as a teacher, I want to help, so I might count, or repeat the instructions of the move.  In smaller groups there are less people so less opportunity for that.

This silent class had a fewer people than we have been having.

Some people expressed the opinion that they didn’t feel as much joy and/or energy in this silent class.  They shared they really like verbally cued classes better.  They were relieved to hear that this is not the norm or where my Nia classes are headed.  This was just play.  This was just a way to experience Nia different.  This was just an experiment with the body and dance.

It was fun.  But, at one point I put my fingers to my lips because I wanted to say something so badly, but I didn’t want to break the silence.  We did sound because that was the mood we wanted.  We wanted the energy and the play of sounding, but we wanted the introspectiveness of no verbal cueing.

We will be doing it again.  In fact, we have been dancing another routine I was thinking about trying it with so we will see.

Nia is so fun and so interesting.  Have you been to a Nia class yet?

Have you taken a silent Nia class?  What did you think?

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

Deep, Not On The Surface

Posted by terrepruitt on March 24, 2015

A lot of movement forms, from different dances to different types of exercise regimes, use chest isolations.  One of Nia’s 52 Moves.  See, as I have said over and over, not unique to Nia, but something that we use in our routines.  Something we can say and people know what the move is.  Even if they can’t do it, they know what it is.  This move moves the chest so – as with a lot of moves that involve the movement of the chest – some people are hesitant to do it.  Some people think of moves that move the chest as moves that moves the breasts and for some people this creates a lot of issues.  As a woman, there are some moves that are just going to move the breasts but that is not the focus.  Often times when I encourage people to focus on what is actually the focus of the movement, they can release any feelings or ideas that might be blocking the movement.  I mentioned this in my post about the Shimmy.  I have seen relief or understanding pass over people’s faces when they take the focus off of what is part of the front of the body/chest and onto the back when it comes to the shimmy.  The same with the chest isolations.  Your chest is moving that means everything connected to it, but the focus is on the muscles and the bones.

The movement of the spine, the ribs, the sternum, and even the collar bones is a chest isolations.  See, even though it might feel like you are move the front (breasts) the focus is on all the other things.  The back muscles help move the spine side to side allowing the ribs to slide from side to side over the hips.  The sternum floats to different places over the hips.  The collar bones stay level.  You can just also press your ribs forward and pull them back.  Your arms are out to the side or you can place your hands on your hips to help ensure there is no movement in the hips.  You can make your ribs move in circles.

With the side to side motion I used to reference a typewriter carriage.  Remember those?  They would slide to one side of the machine and kind of hang over then you would use the return arm to get it to slide back.  That is a GREAT visual and I actually see some people replicate it.  But then I see others in class who don’t even know what a typewriter is.  And if they do it was certainly the electric version that didn’t have a visible moving carriage with a return arm-dohicky.  So we just focus on the slide.

The chest isolations help keep you spine flexible and mobile.  It also helps you use those muscle that are inside, the intrinsic muscles.  The little ones that help with balance.  While you are doing the chest isolation movement you can focus on the and sense them.

Another way to isolate the chest is you can do a more front-back movement. If you are doing the front back portion of the move it is as if you are closing your chest and opening your back.  And then opening your chest and closing your back.  Arms can help. Bring your elbows back and draw them together to help open the chest and close the back.  Then bring them forward to open the back and close the chest.

This is one of those moves you can do anywhere.  You can do it in your car while you are stopped at a traffic light.  Don’t worry, other people don’t look up from their cell phones they will never notice you sliding your ribs around.  Enjoy the relaxed sensation and flexibility.

Are you familiar with chest isolations?  Do you do them in your current dance class?  Do you do them in your exercise program?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Dancing Away The Stickiness

Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2015

More often than not in my Nia classes we have a physical focus.  A focus and an intent in an exercise class is not easy for some people.  So having a focus that is physical seems, for many, to be easier than a focus that is not.  I know I have mentioned this before because I know I have talked about focuses before.  Today, as always, I asked my class if “they had anything”.  Usually someone comes up with a physical thing . . . sore neck, tight hamstrings, aching back, tight shoulders . . . ya know, something physical.  Today someone said, “Unstuck.”  I had overheard her mention something about being “stuck” while I was getting ready to teach, and I thought that would be a great focus, but I wasn’t sure how to do that.  So I said, “Yeah, I heard you mention that, but I am not sure how to do that.”  Someone else piped in about being stuck, too.  And I laughed and commented that if I knew how to get “unstuck” I wouldn’t ever be stuck.  And the “stuck” we were talking about was a feeling of being stuck either in an emotion or a situation or just the feeling of being stuck!  So we focused on getting “unstuck”.

The person that originally mentioned feeling stuck was happy to hear that others sometimes felt that way.  That is something I learned about feelings they are like questions . . . if one person has it (the feeling or the question) there is at least one other person that does too.  There are no stupid feelings.  Now, I do believe there are no stupid feelings, but I will admit to being guilty of thinking and sometimes even saying that as a knee-jerk reaction to someone I love saying something I think of as not nice about themselves.  If one were to say, “I feel ugly.”  “I feel like a bad person.”  My automatic reaction is “that’s stupid you aren’t . . . ”  But if they FEEL that way that is not stupid.  So I am still learning to curb that reaction.  But I digress . . . back to getting unstuck.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoAs I said, I wasn’t sure how to dance “unstuck”.  I wasn’t sure how to make that a focus, but then I decided . . . . because I believe . . . that sometimes just thinking about it can help things move along.  So my thoughts were that if you were feeling stuck, just acknowledging it and moving with it could be enough to unstick it.  Or it could be enough to think of an idea on how to “unstick” it.  Or it could just open you up to an idea that is going to come later.  Just all types of stuff.  We agreed that dancing with the focus of getting unstuck and the intent of being open to that and whatever it meant and however we could achieve that would be our focus and intent for the class.

One person mentioned not getting “too unstuck” which gave me the opportunity to remind people that we are dancing our own interpretation.  When I suggest people move as if they are floating in water, everyone moves in their own way.  They imagine their own “floating in water”.  The same with getting “unstuck”.  One can get as “unstuck” as they feel they need to be.  The person that mentioned this left early so I didn’t get to delve into what she meant . . . because it could mean so many things.

After class, I actually felt better and a little less stuck.  “Unstuck” could relate to letting go or being loose.  It is one of those things that if you are feeling anything related and you focus on it with the intent of acknowledging it or relieving it, it can just happen.

For those that are challenged with focusing on things that are not strictly physical “unstuck” works for that because one could have a tight muscle that is “stuck”.  Or a joint that might need some loosening because it feels “stuck”.  So dancing to “unstick” is really a great focus.

I am always amazed at how my class comes up with such great things to focus on.  I am further amazed at how so often what they come up with is something I am feeling the same need for.  Getting “unstuck” is great.

Do you ever feel “stuck”?  In what way?  What do you do to get “unstuck”?

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

More Street Dancing

Posted by terrepruitt on October 2, 2014

Nia is a dance exercise . . . dare I say it?  It is much more if you want it to be.  Otherwise you can keep it just as that, an exercise class that you attend where you dance.  That is fine.  When you attend regularly you will more-than-likely experience more, but you do not have to take it any farther than that.  But . . . since I love dance and I teach a dance exercise class, I am going to post AGAIN about dancing.  I am not writing about dancing in an exercise class at the gym, community center, or dance studio, I am talking about dancing ON THE STREET!  My last post was about dancing on the street.  It was the fun idea of dancing while you are waiting for the crosswalk signal to change.  You can check it out HERE!  This post is highlighting yet another video about dancing on the street.  This time it is about dancing WHILE you are crossing the street.

Now it did cross my mind that some of these people looked almost as if they were doing Free Dance in Nia as they were very absorbed in their dance.  Some looked as if it might actually not be a safe thing to do.  But then I remembered that many people don’t pay attention when they cross the street as it is.  Many people have their face down and they are looking at their phone.  So I don’t feel that dancing while crossing the street is any more dangerous than the “phone-walk”.

This looks just as fun as dancing while waiting.  I think they should come up with a crosswalk sign that is ALL dance.  Dance while you wait, then dance across the street.

I do love how so many people seemed to dance while crossing the street.  So many people seemed to get into the moment and just go for it.  So fun.  I love the girl at the end.  She was completely surprised.  I was thinking that some of these people were “planted” and were dancing as part of the people filming the video.  And that could be true, but that girl’s shoe flying off her foot was not planned.  She was surprised.

Not everyone is into dancing or be what you might call a dancer.  That is one great thing about Nia you don’t have to be experienced in dance you just have to be willing to move.  Could be that you don’t have to dance while waiting for the crosswalk sign to change or you don’t have to dance while crossing the street, but you still could take a moment during your day to enjoy life.  That really is what all of this dancing is about.  The people who like to dance get enjoyment from it so they do so while waiting or crossing.  If dancing is not your “thing” that is fine, take a moment to do something that is.  Do something — if just for a moment — that brings you joy.

I love all this dancing!  Thanks, SoulPancake!  A friend of mine post this one on Facebook.  Have you seen this video yet?

(click the pic to watch the video)

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 classes

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

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?


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

Saving Bars

Posted by terrepruitt on September 2, 2014

If you have read more than one post on my blog you know (probably) that I teach a movement class called NiaNia is very much about “dancing” and moving to the music.  The training required in order to teach is called the Nia White Belt Intensive.  The training is over 50 hours long.  Believe it or not there is hardly anytime in that 50 hours learning a routine.  In fact, I don’t remember learning any part of a routine in my White Belt.  But I know people who have taken the training more recently and they said they did review a song.  I remember when I first arrived at the training I literally had NO IDEA what it was going to be like.  I signed up rather late and if there was any pre-training at that time, I didn’t get it.  I had thought I would walk out of the training ready to teach.  Ha.  Nope.  I was given tools to help me be ready to teach.  There might be people who are ready to teach when they walk out of the first training . . . but I wasn’t.  I wasn’t that familiar with Nia to begin with so the way we were taught to learn a routine was very new to me.  As you may know we were taught to map our music by “barring” the music.

I know that Nia is making an effort to make things easier on teachers.  Nia Headquarters actually documents the choreography on the bars now.  So, I feel that the focus has shifted a bit away from barring the music the way I was taught.  I think the way I was taught was very cool.  I love the way Nia had at one time had us learning the music.  But I also understand the need to learn quickly or to have tools available to allow people to do things faster.  That is just the way our society is.  Things need to be done fast.

I also understand that we all learn differently.  We all have our own ways of doing things.  I honestly don’t do EVERY step that I was taught to do.  I also mix it up and I don’t always do each routine EXACTLY the same.  But pretty much.

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 classes

For all the routines so far, I do bar the music myself.  Sometimes I have trouble with some of the songs so I might rely on the bars from HQ a little more than with other songs.  But I bar the music and I document the choreography myself.  I “fix” any discrepancies I might see on the DVD.  But I do this in steps.  First I bar the music.  I count the music and I dress my bars.  I have found the more detailed I am with the dressing the better it is for me.  I put as much detail as I want on there.  I don’t just put the sound I hear for the cue for the Nia routine.  I put the music on the page.  Then I scan the paper into my computer.  Now I have barred music.  So what I can do with that the barred page — without the Nia choreography on it — is use it for whatever I want.  I can add my own choreography.  I don’t just have the places marked where I would do or cue the already-created-Nia kata, I have sounds that I am familiar with document.  So noting my own choreography to the page is easy.

Then, on my paper I just scanned, I add the Nia choreography.  Once I do that then I scan my sheet again.  So now I have an electronic image of my complete and final bars.  I always know where it is.  I admit to taking my sheets of barred music with me either to teach or around the house, then I misplace them.  Or I mixed routines up so I have one song in with another routine.  Then after a year when I go to do a routine, I am missing a song.  I am pretty particular so I will look for it, but sometimes I let go and just look at my electronic copy.  I know that eventually I will find the hard copy so I just use the one I know where it is.

I am so happy though because I finally got a HANGING file system.  So much easier to file my routines that way.  I used to have them in a pile on a shelf in a cabinet.  So in order to get to them I had to take out the entire pile and go through it to find the routine I wanted.  Or to put one away . . . that is why I would end up with “lost” songs because I didn’t always want to take the time to take out the stack and deal with it.  But now, it is so much easier with them hanging!  Yay.

So, if you teach a dance class, how do you document your moves?  How do you note your choreography?  How do you store your notes?

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

Hang It Like A Ragdoll

Posted by terrepruitt on March 13, 2014

There is a move I do often at the end of my Nia Classes. I learned it as the Ragdoll Pose in yoga. Some say it is just a variation on the Uttanasana or the Forward Fold. Since it is a standing pose where you bend over I can see that. But the Forward Fold is a very active pose. You are using other muscles, you are actively lengthening your spine. Whereas in my classes, the move we do as the Ragdoll pose is just a hang. The idea is to hang, ya know, like a rag doll.

After all the movement we do in a cardio dance exercise class where moving your entire body is the key, it is nice to just hang around for a bit.  This pose made my list of favorite yoga poses but is not one of my sixteen favorites.  Kinda surprised me.

With the Ragdoll, as I said the idea is to hang like a rag doll folded over at the hips.  Your body goes limp.  Your arms can hang.  Your shoulders and hang.  Everything just hangs.  Legs can be straight or bent at the knee.  It is a relaxation pose so doing it to your optimum comfort is advised.  Let the weight of your head help lengthen and stretch your back and spine.  So you are not actively lengthening or straightening, it all comes from the weight of the head.  Even if you are resting you forearms on your thighs you are hanging.

One way that people do this pose is with the arms hanging overhead, but bent at the elbows.  The forearms are folded together allowing the hands to hold the opposite elbow.  This variation is just like the bent knees and/or the arms — or even hands — on the thighs, it is up to the individual at the time of the pose.

Bending over or doing an inverted pose is good for the systems in your body.  Such as the circulatory system, turning upside down helps blood flow which helps the respiratory system.  The lymphatic system is assisted by inversions which stimulates the body’s immune system.

It seems as if the body enjoys the break from the normal pull of gravity and it likes to be upside down every once in a while.  Calms the nerves, heightens the sense, and brings a little peace.  Only when done reasonably comfortable.  Poses should not be held if they cause pain or dizziness.  So when you are in any pose especially and inversion stay only as long as it is comfortable.

To me, the Ragdoll is one of those comfortable poses.  Usually just fold over and hanging.  But I do remember at least once when my neck was not aligned properly so the full on hang did not feel good, but bending my knees and resting on my thighs was the ticket.  Always remember that you do a pose for the moment you are in at the moment you are doing it.  So yesterday all the way down might have been the way, but maybe today it is not.  Do what your body wants in the moment.

Enjoy the weight of the head and the arms.  Let it stretch your spine and bring space into your back.  Hang as a rag doll would.

Do you like the Ragdoll pose?  Do you like inversions?  Which ones are your favorite?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »