Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 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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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘dance floor’

Kids And Dance

Posted by terrepruitt on July 1, 2016

I teach classes at a city community center.  We are fortunate enough to have a dance studio at the community center.  Even though Nia is non- to very low impact, it is important to dance on dance appropriate flooring.  If you are going to a, let’s say a festival and planning on dancing on the pavement for a few hours one afternoon, that is fine, but if you are planning on going to an exercise class one to three times a week, the floor needs to be appropriate.  We have a nice floor at the community center.  It is in the dance studio which is right off of the front desk.  A lot seems to happen in the rooms past the studio.  I think the preschool or small children’s’ area is past the dance studio.  The dance studio has two doors.  It is so cute the number of small children that walk by and stop to look in at us.  Some stop to watch.  I think children are drawn to dance.

A couple of weeks ago, I looked up to see a small girl looking in at us.  Then I saw a hand reach out to grab hers, and she pulled away because she wanted to stay and watch.  She was mesmerized.  Her eyes were big and she was just standing there completely still watching.  Some kids start to move while they watch.  All of them get wide-eyed when any of us make eye contact with them, but as soon as we say, “Hi!” or wave, the face breaks into a smile.  So many want to join us.

I always want to stop the class to ask them what intrigues them.  Is it just dancing in general?  Is it that we are usually laughing and having fun?  Is that the was are making noises?  Could be they are attracted to the whooping or growling?  Could be my wild tie-dyed shirts?  Or the energy in the room?  I don’t know.  I often wish I could ask.  Especially to that little one who was mesmerized and really did not want to be dragged away.

Sometimes it is really fun because there will be a line of them . . . like a whole class walking by so we get to wave a lot and we get a lot of waves back.  Also, last week, we think a group was in line for the water fountain which is right outside the door.  That was funny.  Because we went, “WHOOO!” then we heard “WHOOO!” from the hall.  So then we went, “WHOOWHOO!” and we got a “WHOOWHOO!” back.  We were able to include them in our class via vocals for a couple of minutes.  It was super funny.

Kids are so drawn to dance.  You know, you’ve seen those videos of the little ones just dancing away to a song they hear in the store or in the car.  They have not yet learned to be self-conscious of their movement or care what other people are thinking.  They just hear the music and they move.  It is so wonderful to witness.  I wish we would never lose that.

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

Never Cease

Posted by terrepruitt on May 27, 2014

I teach Nia which is a cardio dance available to any age.  At both the low end of the age spectrum and the high end of the age spectrum, if you can safely move about the floor and follow basic movements you can do Nia.  So there are young and old Nia dancers.  I teach at facilities that have age restrictions, but that is only the facilities, not Nia.  Then I also teach gentle yoga to older adults.  The classes are held at the “Senior Centers” so while some of the classes are open to those 18 years and older the population in class tends to be older.  As I am sure many of you that teach at a facility with older people will attest, it is amazing to work with these people.  They come week after week and keep trying.  In my class I have a wide variety of experience levels.  They come back every week and do the poses to the best of their ability.  I am inspired by their drive to keep doing.

I check in with them to confirm that they are seeing and feeling some benefit to the class.  With many I can see it, but I want to confirm that they recognize it.  Recently one of my students was sharing some things he learned and he said, “I learned that I need to learn how to relax.”  I laughed and agreed.  It is not easy to do for some.  It is not always second nature to breathe and “rest” into a pose.  The corpse pose at the end of the class is one of those poses.  In fact one class asked if we “had to” do it.  I said yes.  To me that is part of yoga.  That is part of my class.  I believe that quieting the mind and relaxing for 5 to 10 minutes after a class is necessary.  For many it is a Challenging Easy Pose, it is difficult to be still.  Just now as I am typing I remember this person not being able to be still at all when we first started doing yoga.  Now there is stillness.  I believe every one can benefit from this moment of restfulness.  I love that even those who think it is unnecessary, keep trying.

A bit ago we did a pose that several students said is “hard”.  I agreed with them.  It is hard . . . that is why we are doing it.  We are doing a very modified version, but it is one of those poses that works many if not all the muscles in your body, so yes, it is “hard”.  And we do it so that they can benefit from it.  In working on so many muscles it is a balance pose, that requires flexibility and strength.  One of those awesome poses that does so much . . . so we do it.  And what spurred me to write this post is that while they were saying it was hard they were not saying, “It’s hard, I don’t want to do it.”  They were just saying, “Wow, this is hard.”  And then they moved into position to do it again.  Love it.  Love those inspiring active people in my classes!

I just wanted to share with you that I have some amazing inspirations in my life.

What about you?  Do you know any older adults that cause you to think, “I wanna be like that when I am their age”?  Some of those people that just keep trying?  They might not be doing it in a clearly recognizable way but they are still trying?

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I Changed My Mind, I DO Teach Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on January 18, 2014

I know – well, I am pretty confident that I have mentioned before in a blog post that I don’t think of myself as teaching people Nia.  Even though I say I teach Nia, I usually prefer to say I lead Nia.  I wish I could find that post because I would like to check what I said exactly because I am feeling a bit different these days.  Or maybe I have it clarified in my mind better.  I believe I said that I don’t like to say I teach Nia because I feel that a dance teacher is one that demonstrates the steps and then has the student try to do them while the teacher watches.  Then maybe the teacher demonstrates again and the student does it again and then maybe there is some adjusting done by the teacher.  Or even in a group dance class setting the move is done over and over until it is somewhat learned and then the next move is added on.  Sometimes there is a sequence of moves that is demonstrated then practiced over a few times and then a new sequence added on.  That is what I think of as teaching dance.  So in THAT way I don’t teach Nia, but I DO teach Nia.

I do not show the move then have the students practice it over and over before we dance it, but sometimes when the song allows we do a preview and practice.  It could be that the song has a long introduction in which there is no specific choreography and in that time we demo a move.  While I might not tell a participant in particular a way to tweak the move I will look out into my class and see something that could use tweaking so I might say or even do something that I hope will lead to a change.  Say, we are doing a move using our toe and I look out and see someone using their heel, I might suggest using the toe like squashing a bug or testing the water (depends on what we are doing).  So in essence I hope to teach the students that we are using our toe.  I teach the move as we are doing it as opposed to the aforementioned way.

IN addition, I like to share things about Nia while we are dancing.  Sometimes I talk about how Nia incorporates the BMES (Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit)  I might explain Nia’s Five Sensations while we are moving on the floor.  Allowing the Nia students to be reminded of them and possibly use them in the floorplay.  I often remind the Nia class about Natural Time letting them know they are free to move through the movement/choreography in their body’s own natural way and timing.  Sometimes this is actually part of the song and if not people are always encouraged to move in this way.

So, I take it back if I said — as I believe I did — I don’t like to say I teach Nia, because I do teach Nia.  But I don’t teach it as if it were a dance, because it is not just a dance.  While we do dance, Nia is so much more.  Maybe I should say I lead people through Nia Routines and I teach Nia?

Have you ever taken a dance class like I describe – the demo-do-type?  Do you see the difference between two?

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

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

In Nia We Travel

Posted by terrepruitt on November 14, 2013

Nia is a cardio dance exercise that I teach.  It is more than that, but that is one way to describe it.  One of the ways it is more than that, is, it is a practice.  If you chose to treat it like a practice, as one might treat yoga as a practice, one would become aware of Nia’s 52 Moves.  There are 52 moves that get choreographed into the Nia Routines.  One of the moves is Traveling in Directions.  This is a great move for many reasons.

One reason Traveling in Directions is great is because it is very easy.  Another reason it is great is because it is very adaptable and can be used in almost every song and in every routine.  The main way to travel in a direction is to simply walk.  Using the Heel Lead technique just walk forward, then change the direction you are walking, then change the direction, etc.  With the simplest of forms you look where you want to go before you move in that direction.  So before your feet actually start going a different direction — LOOK.  There is a little bit of thinking involved because we look before we go.  Allow your arms to move freely.  Step confidently in whichever direction you choose to look.  Move your body as a whole.

The Nia Technique book states:  “Practicing Traveling in Directions keeps your body agile for moving through space in all directions, able to change direction with ease.”

When we use this move in our routines we have a lot of fun playing with it.  The move really is as easy as stated, the fun comes when changing directions quickly.  You can be the leader of your own movement or sometimes you are being directed by the teacher.  This makes agility one of the Nia sensations we practice with this move.  Moving one way then quickly stopping and going another way.  Stopping, changing, starting.  Varying the speed at times will allow for additional Nia sensations such as strength and stability to come into play.

When Traveling in Directions on your own you become aware of the direction you want to go, then you look, then you go.  As I said, there are times when you might be listening to the direction of the teacher, which would still mean you would need to become aware of the direction you want to go, but when being told where to go your body’s reaction is quicker.  There is a quick look then a move in that direction.  Less thought is involved for you as the participant because someone else thought of the direction you were going to go.

Often when this move is done in a class, quick thinking, quick moving, and quick reacting are additional skills that receive attention because we are dancing with others on the floor so we might have to switch our trajectory quickly to avoid a dance floor collision.

Modifications of the traveling can be done by going backwards or sinking low or even rising high.  So many ways to travel in directions.  All of them are great opportunities to try out the Nia Sensations, the more you do, the more ways you move your body.  If you want you can even skip.  Skipping in different directions adds a new dimension to the move.

Sometimes this move is choreographed into the Nia routine with specifics and sometimes is allowed more of a Free Dance.  However it is added to the Nia workout it is a wonderful way to dance.

How would you Traveling in Directions to your current favorite song?

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

Day Ten Of Month Of Planking, First Day Of Nineteenth Year

Posted by terrepruitt on March 10, 2013

So, it is Sunday and we are on day ten of our month of planking challenge.  Even though it is only seconds out of our day, it is not always easy to fit it in.  That just amazes me.  Some of us find we have to do it first thing so we can be sure to do it.  Whenever you do it is great, as long as you are doing it.

So the title?  What is that about, right?  Well, as I said, today is our tenth day of planking and today marks eighteen years that have I have known my hubby.  Cool, huh?  I think so.

We met eighteen years ago today in a bar.  Yup, that’s right, we met the old fashion way in a bar, on a dance floor.  The bar was in San Jose and it is no longer there.  But the name was sold and moved to Fremont.  So The Saddle Rack is still around, it is just not the same bar.

Both planking and relationships take practice.  🙂  Something you have to work at everyday!

How is your planking going?  Are you adding time today?

Posted in Planking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Perfect In Our Imperfection

Posted by terrepruitt on February 2, 2012

In a post in which I spoke about learning a Nia Routine I said we need to know it perfectly.  I would like to explain.  First of all I have written before about how when I am learning a Nia routine there comes a point where I just can’t learn any more by myself and I have to take it to class.  Always fascinates me how I can spend weeks working on learning it then in one hour in class I learn more than all the time I had spent on it previously.  Dance exercise is like that.  Teaching something is always different learning, it is a different level.  Anyway I had recently said we have to know a routine perfect and what I mean by that is the better we know the music and the choreography, the closer to perfect we can get it, the better.  I can do a routine without flaw in my living room then when faced with trucks driving by, kids screaming at the school,  people laughing in the lobby I can get distracted.  If I don’t know my music perfectly, if I don’t know the choreography perfectly then I will obviously mess up.  But when I know it “perfectly” then I can not do it right, but still dance and lead the routine fine.   I can mess up without saying, “Oops!”   If I know where I am and what is coming I can keep going.  Maybe I missed my cue to change movement, but when I know the music I can decide if I just want to stay with the move we are on or go to the next one.  If I decide to go, do I want to cut the amount of times short because I was late or do the correct amount because it too fits perfectly with the music?  When I KNOW it perfectly, I am free to play and really let the dance of Nia show.  I can be perfect in my imperfection.

I might not teach the routine exactly as it is taught on the DVD, but I know what I am doing different and I know where I am going with the music.  We teach tight, but loose.  I know the moves, I execute them correctly, I do the choreography exactly as the DVD — when I can :-), but, when I mess up I am loose enough to keep going.  I am loose enough to see my students enjoying one particular combination of steps, so I can elect to stay and let them enjoy their movements.  I know my routine tight enough that when my earring falls off and I get a bit distracted, I can keep going AND expertly step over and around it as it lays on the dance floor.  I am loose enough to be able to change the choreography by having to HOP over the fallen jewelry instead of exectuing the normal step.  I am loose enough to have fun but tight enough that even when I mess up, I might be the only one that knows.  It could be that there are students in class who know the routine well enough that they recognize I am not doing the choreographed move, but they can keep following and dancing because I am tight enough to be able to lead and dance in the now.

Because Nia is about dancing in the moment and having fun we are allowed a lot of freedom.  I say this often because Nia allows for people to move in their own body’s way and that is an important part of Nia.  But I also like to remind people that Nia IS choreographed.  The moves fit the music well and there are proper and safe ways to do them.  I like to express the fact that Nia is not just a room full of bodies flaling about.  We are all encouraged to be perfect in our imperfection.  Our bodies might not move exaclty as they are designed, but we can move with awareness.  We can move with purpose.  That is how I teach.  I like it best when I know the routine so well that I can play and be perfect in my imperfection.

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