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 ‘dance exercise’

Chop Cut, One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on February 22, 2017

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, SJCityFitWell, it looks like I haven’t posted a Nia move from the Nia 52 Moves in a long time.  When I started my blog and website I wasn’t actually planning on posting about each and every move, but with only nine left that I have not posted about, I really might as well finish the list.  It might not be done quickly, but I will get to them all.  Why not, right?  Only nine, well, eight after this one, to go!  So today I am posting about the Chop Cut.

As with most, if not all, of the 52 Moves of Nia there is a specific way to do it, but then a lot of different ways it is done.  I will go out on a limb to say this move, the chop cut, is a common move.  I am sure many, many people have done this move whether they are dancing, practicing martial arts, or not.  It is just a common move.  Or at least I think of it as a common move.

To practice it as a Nia move, one of 52, we chop the air with the edge of our hands.  The edge of the hand we refer to as the blade side.  Using one hand at a time, raise the arm from the shoulder and bring it down.  Slice, with the blade, from up to down.  Allow the elbow to be slightly bent.  All fingers are extended.  Keep the hands active and engaged even the one that is not doing the slicing.

The Nia Technique book states the benefits as:

an excellent exercise for affirming your personal power.  This move is effective for building strength in the arms and shoulders, and it is superb for releasing stress.

The move itself can release stress but when combined with sounding it can be really effective.  The book recommends saying, “because.”  I usually have my class say, “HA!”

The ideal Chop Cut is using the whole arm and the blade of the hand.  Sometimes we might use straight arms.  At times while we are dancing, we might just make the movement from our elbows.  Just letting our forearms move, chopping at the air in front of us fast.  That kind of movement can be done faster than using the entire arm.  At times the chop can just be from the wrists.  So just the hands move.  It requires loose wrists.  This move can be done really fast.  Sometimes when we chop with our hands, we move them in the space around us, so we are moving more than just our wrists.  So the chop is coming from the wrists so it is more of “just a chop” than a “chop cut”.  The Chop Cut when done according to “specs,” is a power move.  The other ones are great and sometimes they fit better into the dance.

So, am I right?  Have you done a Chop Cut before?  Were you dancing?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Affordable Wireless Earbuds

Posted by terrepruitt on April 27, 2016

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 Fit, SJCityFitI teach a cardio dance exercise called Nia.  It is dance, it is exercise, it is a cardio workout.  It is done to music.  Nia teachers pay a licensing fee and included in that are routines.  The Nia Technique creates routines.  One part to learning a routine is to listen to the music.  I listen to it a lot.  Sometimes I have difficulty or I feel I do, if I don’t like the music.  But most of the time I like it.  But either way, I listen to it a lot.  Sometimes I listen to it while I am cleaning, but when I have the vacuum on I can’t hear it so I have been wanting some Bluetooth headphones.  I have had my earbuds in with my phone in my pocket or tucked in somewhere when the wire has gotten caught and the earbuds RIPPED out of my ears or out of the phone.  Neither one is good.  So I thought it would be cool to have a wireless pair.  Originally I was looking for headphones.  Everything I found was expensive.  I didn’t even realize they made wireless earbuds!  My husband found some that were affordable.  It turned out he liked them and they worked well.  Sometimes the affordable things don’t always work well, so it is nice that these did.  So I went looking and I found a pair that looked almost exactly like his but were even less expensive.  I’m only talking $4.00, but, $4.00 is $4.00.  So I got some.  And I like ’em.  I like mine better than his.

Both pair are over the ear type of wearables.  Both pair stick IN your ear.  On mine, the earbud part seems to be made of metal whereas his are plastic.  Also, the over-the-ear holder on mine seems a little softer more flexible.  I liked that a lot better.  It made them more comfortable.  When I tried his on, one of my ears started to hurt.  With the softer holder they might flex more and allow for better movement with my glasses.

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 Fit, SJCityFitOf course, at $13.99 they are from a brand I have never heard of – Parasom.  But they work.  Who knows if they will keep working.  I have experienced many off-brand – or more accurately – not a name brand – product that has stopped working after a couple of months.  So we will see.

Mine also had a little clip, which I liked.  The control portion of the earbuds on mine is about an inch or so closer to the earbud than his, but that is ok for me.  I am not using mine while running like he is, so it is easy for me to stop what I am doing if I need to in order to work the controls.  Although they are pretty easy and pretty standard controls.

One button powers it on – and it says, “Power on” and off (it says “Power off”).  The same button starts the play of music and pauses it.  One button turns the volume up, goes to the previous song, and restarts the song.  Another button turns the volume down and advances the music to the next song.

I haven’t used it as a headset for phone calls because the first time I tried it with my hubby’s he said he didn’t like the quality of my voice, so I haven’t bothered trying mine.  I know when I am using my regular headset and driving I can’t be on the phone that long because the quality of the caller’s voice is distorted.  Probably has to do with the fact that it is only coming through one ear bud.

Anyway, I am always excited when I get a product that I think of as expensive at an affordable price AND it works.  So, I like to share.  So far, this was at an affordable price, it works, so I am sharing.  I would like to point out that I did NOT receive this product for free or at a discounted rate for my unbiased and impartial review.  But, hey, how do I do that?  I read A LOT of blogs and reviews where the people say that.  Sign me up for that!

Anyway . . . if you are looking for an affordable wireless headset the one my husband got is good or mine is – which I think is better.

Have you ever had your earbuds ripped out of your ears because the wire to the phone get caught on something?  Have you been thinking about a wireless pair?

Posted in Misc | 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

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 »

Sound And Common Business Ideas

Posted by terrepruitt on October 1, 2015

Recently I attended a Business Training type of workshop.  It was specifically for women.  The trainer feels that women – for many reasons – could use business training specifically for woman.  She didn’t get into explanations regarding her reasons, but some that have been tossed about before are things like, some woman are challenged in business because they are mothers/wives . . . just like any working woman, time used for work is time taken away from the family so they may feel guilty.  Plus . . . business is a “man’s world”.  Often times women are not taken as seriously as a man.  Some women have a difficult time stating their worth.  Some women are inclined to help so they feel “bad” charging for their services.  Those are just some reasons I’ve heard before.  Perhaps one or some of them are why this workshop was strictly for women.  It was a nice workshop.  The woman who presented it was very fun and had a lot of good information.  But, if you have taken the Nia White Belt Intensive, most of the same information was in that.  If you have taken any type of certification and it was a good one, then they would have covered the same type of business information that was in this workshop.  But if you have never taken anything before then it was a great one.

The first thing all the business trainings I’ve taken say is to diversify.  So in the context of Nia, the idea is to not just teach Nia classes.  But to do Nia Workshops, Nia retreats, Nia personal training, Nia sessions, Nia talks/webinars, in other words the idea is you have this great gift to share – don’t hold back.  And for something like Nia there really is so much to it, it can’t be all shared in just the dance exercise classes.  This training had to do with yoga, so she was using examples pretty much the same.  You could do all the same things; classes, workshops, retreats, sessions, webinars . . . etc.

The one thing that was different about this workshop was that the steps she recommended that needed to be taken she aligned with Goddesses.  So with the first step she said to “claim your power and passion with the Goddess Durga”.  Which according to the first thing on the internet Durga “is the root cause of creation, preservation and annihilation”.  Since, I am not going to be using Goddess in my business or my life, I didn’t take many notes that had to do with the Goddess part.  But this step was also the part that was connected to finding your niche.  Again, in context, there are a lot of different types of yoga so find one that is your passion.  Or find something that can complement yoga and concentrate on that.  With your passion you will be able to connect to people.  So let’s say you love to crochet, you could have a yoga crochet class (and workshop, retreat, sessions, webinar, etc.).

The next step was to release fears and doubts (with another Goddess).  And during this one we did a really great exercise.  She had us speaking from a place of fears and doubts, then she had us speaking form a place of confidence.  We all could really tell the difference.  This was a great (and very important) reminder for me.

The next step was to create your offering (with another Goddess) and she shared ideas on that.  She shared actual testimonies or information from some of her clients.  Step four was marketing (with another Goddess).  As you probably know there are many places to market.  With social media the ways to do it are encouraging.  So much of it can be free.

She shared some mistakes that people make, like no marketing or not doing enough, or boring marketing.  Not diversifying, not having a plan, trying to reinvent the wheel, and trying to do it on your own and not ask for help.

Like I said, it was good.  It was great if you have never heard any of it before.  As you may have read before on my blog, Nia has awesome training and business is one of the 13 principles in the Nia White Belt so they cover these things.  These are typical business ideas, attaching Goddesses to them, was new to me.

This workshop was just a taste of a longer more in-depth workshop.  The weekend one sounded amazing and fun, but my abundance doesn’t come from Goddesses, so I wasn’t interested.

I do have other things I want to share, but this post is long enough.  In another post I’ll share some things that this workshop didn’t cover but I think are good things to think about if you want to teach classes (like yoga or Nia).

If you have a certification in something did the training cover any business training?  Are you familiar with any of these business ideas?

 

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

Equal Breath

Posted by terrepruitt on September 3, 2015

You may be familiar with yoga.  You know those stretching exercises people do?  That is what many people think of as yoga, stretching and bending and making your body a pretzel.  Well, the poses, the postures, the asana are a part of yoga.  That is really only one part of eight.  There are eight limbs of yoga.  Another part is pranayama.  I mentioned one in my post Breath: Quiet and Safe.  In that post I also mentioned why I often compare Nia and yoga.  First of all I believe that Nia has incorporated many things from yoga into Nia, so that is one reason why I talk about yoga and Nia.  But I also talk about them being similar because Nia is a dance exercise and for many people that is all it is.  And since cardio exercise is beneficial I think that is fine, if that is as far as people want to go with it.  The same with yoga.  Yoga is an exercise.  You can just do the moves and, I believe through movement, gain many benefits.  However, if you want to get more out of it, there are these other things that you can practice, and one of them is pranayama.

Now, Iyengar says “attempt pranayama only when the yoga asanas have been mastered.”  Because that is what Patanjali says in the Yoga Sturas.  But for many of us that means we would never do pranayama or if we did it would be years and years AFTER we have been practicing.  Now, I am just starting to learn more about pranayama, so if you want to heed the master, by all means, please do.  I think, however, that pranayama is beneficial so I don’t want to wait until I have mastered the asana, because, quite honestly I might not “MASTER” them at all.

Now some people might hear pranayama and think that is just to woo-woo.  What is that anyway, just a bunch of crossed-legged people breathing?  Well, there are specific pranayamas.  And there are specific ways to do them.  And even specific times.  But let me ask you this:  have you EVER, EVER, just stopped and held your breath?  Perhaps someone said something that made you angry so you stopped and held your breath.  Perhaps someone in a store cut in front of you in line so you stopped and held your breath.  Or have you ever stopped to took a breath?  Perhaps you were just going, going, going and you realized you wanted to slow down so you took a breath?  Perhaps you looked outside your window and realized what a beautiful day it was so you took a breath.  Now, as I said, pranayama is specific so I am not saying THAT or THOSE breaths were pranayama, but I am saying that if you have ever stopped breathing or stopped and taken a breath for any reason you might be able to see how pranayama could be beneficial.

I mentioned the other post I wrote about pranayama, Ujjayi specifically.  Well there is another one that I think of as “easy”.  It is Samavrtti.  Sama means equal so it is a practice of equality in breathing.  But in this type of breath there are FOUR parts.  Typically I think of breathing as TWO parts, inhale and exhale.  Well, with this the other two are retention.  As in holding.  Pausing after the inhale then pausing after the exhale.  The reason I say this is “easy” with quotation marks is sometimes the retention is stress inducing.  Some people don’t like to hold their breath on the inhale and some people don’t like to hold their breath on the exhale.  So while the idea is that anyone can do this at anytime, you want to make sure that this is not something that will cause you anxiety.

With this, the idea is to inhale then hold, exhale then hold.  Keeping the SAMA in mind, the goal is to inhale, hold, exhale, hold equally.  So there are many ways to do it if you are counting as a way of keep track you can inhale 1,2, hold 1,2, exhale 1,2, hold 1,2.  If the holding causes anxiety, it is ok to build up to it.  Perhaps just holding after the inhale.  Or maybe just hold on whichever retention causes less anxiety.  Then perhaps graduating to inhale 1,2, hold 1, exhale 1,2, hold 1.  There are many combinations to do while you work up to EQUAL parts.

Remember that the breaths should be relaxed and even.  So the idea is not to inhale then hold so long that your exhale is a rush of air.  It should all be even and relaxed.

Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar states in his Light On Pranayama to practice in ratios retain only on the inhalation.  Once you achieve his stated ratios THEN move onto the retention after the exhalation.  But he begins that instruction stating you will not be able to retain on the exhale.  So it could be he means to follow the ratios is you really are unable to hold your exhale.  While in general I love to follow the instructions and guidelines of the masters and experts, sometimes if I restrict myself to their instructions I end up not doing it at all.  So . . . my recommendation is to try it and do what is comfortable for you.  Being mindful and cautious.

Some say the samavritt calms the mind and can help to create steadiness and focus even in the most challenging asanas.  And others say it calms the body and focuses the mind.

Do you practice any pranayama?  Do you ever take a deep breath?

 

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

He Got Me With Something New

Posted by terrepruitt on August 18, 2015

Oh my!  I bet you are relieved to hear that I only took a few pictures of the Nia event.  I say that because I took so many of the last two events that I couldn’t decide which ones to post, so I posted a lot.  In March Jason came to town and taught his Nia routine Frankie Say Nia and a Nia FreeDance Playshop.  We had a great time.  You can see pictures and videos on my posts What Did Frankie Say?, Dancing, Learning, Posting, Editing, The Nia FreeDance Playshop Was Awesome!, and What Do You Mean Nia FreeDance Tool?.  This time Jason was driving through California again so I invited him back to do what he is calling Franking Say Redux.  It is so fun.  One of the things he said was that we were going to do things we had never done before.  I teach Nia so I thought that was a tall order and I shared my skepticism.  But I was also eager to see what that might be.  Well, a song or two in he had us doing . . . . something I had never done before.  And I said, “Alright, here it is!”

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, PiYo, Nia TechniqueSo even though he was here in March and we did the same routine he did it a little different.  While he traveled throughout the United States he adjusted it.  Plus sometimes part of what a Nia Teacher does while teaching is adjust moves or what we say to encourage different movement.  The move was not only new to me but it was so funny I had to laugh while I was doing it.  It was a Cat Stance Tail Wag with Jazz Hands.  Now, if you know what that is get up and do it.  It is hilarious.  You don’t even need music to get a giggle out of it.  I am sure part of my laughter came from the fact that we were doing other things leading up to or right after the move that doing it was almost a joke because there was just so much going on!

Some of you may need a reminder:  a cat stance is balancing on one leg while the other leg is up, a tail wag is when you wag your tail (I like to do it with a release in my spine), and Jazz Hands are your fingers spread wide.  Yeah.  Ha, ha, ha.  Try it!

Loved it.  I can’t remember what was before or after, but I know the whole thing was very funny.

We had a small group, but we had a great time.  My supportive husband even joined us.  Jason is always fun and we always learn something.  I think I will just have to keep inviting him back until you come and see for yourself.

Doing something new is such a great way to stimulate the brain and with that the nervous system.  Doing something new and having it be physical is a way to stimilate the brain, nervous stystem, and the whole entire body.  Jason had us doing all kinds of stimulating things.  It was very fun.

Does your exercise class stimulate your brain?  Do you do knew things?

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

Taste Of The Nia 5 Sensations

Posted by terrepruitt on April 25, 2015

Today we had a workshop to talk about and discover the Nia Five Sensations.  Just like a lot of things we do and use in Nia, the five sensations are not unique to Nia, but they are tools we use to enhance our dance exercise.  In a Nia class we strive to be in sensation.  Being aware of the sensations allows us to choose and dance what we need at the time of the class.  We had a small turn out, but the number of attendants is never the measure of success.  One of my Nia Students and fellow Nia Blue Belt’s helped me present the workshop.  This workshop was held at the request of the Camden Community Center.  Our participants shared that they felt they had a better understanding of the sensations and would be able to apply awareness to them either in a Nia class or just in everyday life.

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, PiYoFirst we started off moving right away.  The participants walked in, we said hello then started dancing.  We danced to two songs.  Then we did a brief introduction of Nia then we shared the five sensations and how we experience them everyday.  We shared how they could be helpful to know and be aware of in a Nia class.   The 5 sensations are: Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Strength, and Stability (FAMSS).

Then we moved to each sensation.  As we talked we guided the students into the sensations.  We shared that flexibility is sensed as energy moving outward. It is the opening your body, the lengthening and yawning.  So we stretched and yawned our bodies open.  We reached out to lengthen our limbs.  We imagined our bones moving away from our center.  We practiced sensing the sensation even as our bodies showed no outward movement.

We talked about how agility can be sensed in the quick start and stop of a movement.  It is the physical feeling of pulling and pushing.  We hopped and jumped.  We chopped and slapped.  We “played” soccer and tennis.  We danced in a “strobe like” fashion.  We even stood still and let our gaze bounce around as our eyes moved with agility.

When talking about mobility we said it is sensed as energy in constant motion. It is youthful freedom.  (A description from the Nia Technique that I really like.) It is flowing movement, graceful, and easy.  We twirled and whirled around the room.  We let our bodies ebb and flow.  We rolled like the ocean.  We moved our arms.  We moved our legs.  We mobilized our spine.  We allowed the energy of constant motion to energize us.

We used the ballet bar and wall to start us off understanding that strength is sensed as energy moving inward.   With that first example it gives way to us sensing strength as a resisting, or a quality of weighted energy being moved in ways that allow you to sustain a movement or posture. It is the contraction of muscle.  It is the muscle squeezing bone.  We contracted and pushed.  We squeezed and resisted.  Allowing the effort to tire us a bit.

Then we experienced the calm of stability.  Stability is sensed as balance and comfort.  It is the physical feeling of harmony and peace combined with readiness for action.

After having practiced the sensations we then added them to the stances that are part of the 52 Moves of Nia.  We moved through the stances in the 5 sensations.  Then we put on the music and danced the stances in sensation.  After two songs we reviewed the kicks that are part of the 52 Moves of Nia.  We moved through the sensations doing the kicks.  Then onto dancing again.  We danced doing our kicks in sensation.

We finished off the workshop with two songs focusing on the sensations, but primarily using the Nia choreography and not so much sticking with the kicks and stances.  This allowed us to practice dancing in the sensations to whatever moves that come as part of a Nia routine.

It was a great little taste of the Nia 5 Sensations.  I can say that because no matter what I am teaching it is ALWAYS the students that make the class GREAT!

Are you aware of any of these sensations in your everyday life?

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Really, It IS Exercise

Posted by terrepruitt on April 21, 2015

Recently I was visiting with a friend and she was sharing with me her experience in an exercise class that she had attended a few days earlier.  She was sharing that the things they were doing in the class did not qualify as exercise.  She was saying that shimmying and doing the hand-around-your-head-move was not exercise.  She said she didn’t want to do that type of stuff in an exercise class.  I think she forgot who she was talking to.  I mean, she was talking to her friend who she was looking at to support her in the fact that neither the shimmy nor the hand-around-your-head-move was exercise.  But I think she forgot what I do for a job.  I made a comment about how if she didn’t want to use all her muscles, I could see why shimmying would not be something to do.  But she said she DID want to use all of her muscles.  I did not take the opportunity to elaborate on how the shimmy is a great exercise and uses — not all, but many, muscles.  It really was HER moment to share so I just listened.  It was obvious she didn’t want to use her muscles THAT WAY.  It was not my time to defend my craft or dance as an exercise.  It did make me laugh though.  It also reminded me why some people don’t like Nia.  Some people don’t want to dance as exercise.  Some people do not feel that moving to music is exercise.  There are many people who think that the only way to get exercise is to do something the same way — to move in the same way, to move in a linear way — over and over again.  Some people have very specific ideas about what they want to do as exercise.  And that is fine, I am not going to try to get them to a Nia class because they probably wouldn’t be able to participate enough to get a good workout.  But I do get my knickers in a twist when people say it is not exercise.

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, PiYoI think it is more accurate to say, “It is not movement that I like or that I consider exercise.”  But to say it is not exercise.  Not fair.  But, again, very much a common way of thinking.  I have posted about exercise as dance before.  I even mentioned how I liked Dancing with the Stars (even thought I don’t watch it) because I think it helped some people realize that you CAN get a good workout in while dancing.  If nothing else, moving around for an hour is great cardio — if you are moving enough to get your heart rate up.

Some dance exercise classes use jumping movements to get the heart rate up.  Some — like Nia use big movements, fast movements, low movements, high movements, all over body movements.  As, I have said before, it is all there for the participant to use, it is up to each individual to do as much as they want.

Many people don’t care for the shimmying but it really is a great movement that uses upper body muscles.  I have seen many of my regular Nia students go from not being able to do it — for whatever reason — to embracing it.  I think I have mentioned before that there is one song in one of our routines where I like to keep them at doing the shimmy for a bit.  I usually ask, “Are you feeling it?”  I just like for people to experience that the shimmy can be an move that can qualify as “an exercise”.  Their answer – by the way is usually a laugh with a “OHH yeah!”

Some people move differently once they understand that the shimmy is not shaking what is on the front, but moving from the back.  I have a post on that, Shimmy From The Back.

I think there are a lot of dancers at there that would say dance is exercise.  However if you don’t like to dance I understand you might not feel that way.  But, if you ever want to see what I mean about the shimmy or Nia as a good workout, look for a class near you.  There are classes all over the world.  There are several in San Jose, California . . . . I know, because I teach ’em.

What do you consider exercise?  Have you ever TRIED dance-as-exercise?

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The Nia FreeDance Playshop Was Awesome!

Posted by terrepruitt on April 9, 2015

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, PiYoAt the end of March (2015) there were two Special Nia Events in Campbell, California.  They were special for a lot of reasons.  One reason being is because a visiting teacher was going to be doing them.  It is always special when someone who does not live in the area comes and shares their talents.  Another reason is because the Nia Class is a one-of-a-kind-creation.  The visiting teacher created the routine and was going to lead us through it.  ANOTHER reason, they were special, was that one of the classes was a workshop or a playshop as we like to call them in Nia.  And it was also, the creation of the visiting teacher and it was something that I think anyone that dances Nia can benefit from.  Another reason they special was they were the first Nia Events that I produced.  Produced meaning, when I heard that the Nia Teacher who created the Playshop was coming to my area I contacted him to invite him to do these events.  I secured the location, I created marketing material, I promoted the events (as I am sure you have seen, I posted about them often), I worked to get participants to the events, and I worried about how it would all turn out. So, two special Nia Events.  I have posted two separate posts (What Did Frankie Say? and Dancing, Learning, Posting, Editing) about the Nia Class that was held on Friday, March 27, 2015.  This post is about the Playshop.

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, PiYoThe Playshop on Saturday, March 28, 2015 was a playshop regarding Nia FreeDance.  In a Nia class, there is normally choreography.  Nia Headquarters and the training staff create Nia Routines.  There are Nia Routine DVDs that Nia Teachers purchase.  We learn the routines and lead our students through them.  We have a lot of freedom with our classes.  We can follow the routines “exactly” or we can play with them.  We can create our own routines from a mix of Nia Routines or we can take the Nia choreography and add it to other music.  Or we can create our own routines with other non-Nia music.  But with almost every routine there is FreeDance.

FreeDance is where there is not specific choreography.  You are not told exactly how to move.  Now, I have heard the creators of Nia express very different opinions on FreeDance.  I heard one of them say in the past that FreeDance should ALWAYS be guided and the other one say that FreeDance can just be free.  So . . . there are different opinions on the matter.  I think that in keeping with the Nia White Belt Principle #4, Nia FreeDance does not need to be guided because “Anything Goes . . . movement-wise”.  But FreeDance in an exercise class is a challenge to many people.  There are many reasons as to why people cannot or will not just move their bodies in their own way in an exercise class.

This playshop was brought here to help people with that.  Many of the tools (ideas) Jason shared were covered in the Nia Intensives.  So if you have not attended a Nia White Belt Intensive or Nia Blue Belt Intensive, they would be new to you.  They are GREAT!  And they were the reminder and push I needed to pull them out to use them.  The most valuable things he shared with me though were not necessarily the guiding ideas, but more about how the individuals in class can be left to be.

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When I see people in my class not moving or seeming to struggle with FreeDance, I take responsibility and blame myself for not getting them to move with my suggestions and guidance.  But he brought up some very good points that I will now take to class and practice just letting those people be where they are, at that moment, in class.

Although I will still strive for the “When Harry Met Sally Moment” of wanting people to look at us and say, “I’ll have what SHE’S having.” I will also take into consideration that they could very well be doing my suggestion, but it looks different to me than I would do it.  Or that they are just not in a place to FreeDance.  Could be a case of Natural Time.

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, PiYoI learned a lot.  I had a lot of fun.  I am excited for Jason to come back again!  This video and the video on my website are the same song.  As I only stopped participating one time to video.  The videos are at different times so they are a little different.  Also shown here are a few of the pictures I took during the Playshop.  I took more pictures during the hour Frankie Say Nia class than I did during the 3.75 hours of the Nia FreeDance Playshop.

There might be one more blog post about this, but we will see.  These are the extent of pictures and videos.  Enjoy!

Please share your comments.  Please ask if you have any questions!
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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, PiYo

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, PiYo

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