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

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle 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 Workout’

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?

 

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Nia Belt System Previously

Posted by terrepruitt on July 24, 2014

Recently someone asked me about the Nia Belt system.  I pointed him to my original post on Nia’s Belt System.  The one where I mentioned having seen many articles back then (in 2009) talking about the belt levels as if people had to progress through them in order to participate in Nia.  That is not the case.  Nia is a dance exercise.  It is a workout.  You can go to a Nia class just like you can go to a Zumba Fitness Class, a Jazzercize class, a UJAM class, a Hip-Hop class, a yoga class or any other class where you just walk in and do it.  You can just walk in and do Nia.  No strings (or belts — tee hee!) attached.  Just move your body to the music and enjoy the sensation.  Get a workout.  Get some exercise in.  Dance.  The belts are for people who want to learn more.

Nia has a “self discovery” program.  I don’t want to say self-improvement because some people might think, “I don’t need improving.” and you would be right.  The intensives are workshops of about 50 hours that show you how to experience movement in your body, show you how to relate to things.  The intensives show you many different things.  Each intensive is labeled with a belt color to help distinguish it from the others.  I also pointed him to my website which has the belt colors and the focuses of each belt.  But I was reminded that the information on my site, from 2012, is not the current information.  Nia is always updated herself.  She is like the co-creator, Debbie Rosas, she like to be current.  Below is the information from 2012.  I want to make record of it.  Plus I wanted to keep it available in case anyone was interested in remember it and/or comparing it to the newly worded focuses.  You can go to my site at Nia Belt Levels and Focuses  to see the newly worded focuses and intents for each belt.

In 2012 when I put the information on my site there was a White Belt, a Blue Belt, a Brown Belt, and a Black Belt available to anyone.  There is now a 1st Degree Black Belt.   There is a Green Belt for people who are teaching and have a Nia Livelihood Membership.

“Each of the four belts mentioned has a separate set of principles.  There are 13 principles for each belt, each belt also has a focus.

The focus for a White Belt is physical sensation.   (Terre earned her White Belt in December 2008.)

The focus for a Blue Belt is communication, relationship and intimacy.  (Terre earned her Blue Belt in November 2012.)

The focus for Brown Belt is sensing and perceiving energy.

The focus for Black Belt is unlimited creativity.

As I said, there is an intensive, Green Belt, that is just for Nia teachers, the focus for a Green Belt is the craft of teaching Nia.  This is an optional intensive.” **

 

When I originally took my White Belt in 2012, the Green Belt was just being created and the original thought was Nia was going to have White Belts that are teaching take it next, before blue.  But by the time I had enough money saved up to take my next belt (yes, it took FOUR years) they had relaxed that requirement and now allow people to take the Green Belt when and if they want.  I want to take it.  However there was a Blue Belt Intensive that was closer and did not require air travel and hotel expenses.  So I took the Blue Belt Training prior to the Green Belt Training.

Except for the Green Belt there is no testing as in a martial arts type of setting.  And the Green Belt test is written.  There IS 50+ hours of movement, lectures, thinking, sensing, learning, agreeing, disagreeing, discovering, connecting dots, ah-has, oh-nos, and ooo-ahs.  It is incredible and intense.  The training that Nia delivers is excellent.

My posts about the principles of the White Belt and the Blue Belt can help give you a better idea of what we study in the intensives (at least those two), but it is really something one has to experience for oneself.

I hope you click over to my site to see the new verbiage for the focuses and the added intents.

 

**The belt information was taken from the Nia Now website on November 14, 2012.

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Sweaty Goodness

Posted by terrepruitt on July 22, 2014

When a body moves it expends energy.  The bigger the movements the more energy expended.  The faster the movements the more energy expended.  The longer the body is in motion the more energy it expends.  I teach Nia.  It is not a boot camp where the higher ranked officer is yelling at you to move more, to more bigger to move longer.  It is a cardio dance workout where you get to move your body in your own body’s way.  You move to your level of movement.  You move to the level you want to move at the time you are in the class.  The more you move, the more energy you will use up.  For some of us, the more we move the more we sweat.  Honestly, if you don’t move you will not sweat.  A lot of people equate a “good workout” with sweat.  Not everyone sweats, but most people do sweat when they move.  In Nia we don’t yell at participants to run faster, to reach higher, to go lower, to do more.  We use words to help you move in a way that you want to move.  Some people cannot move their bodies without being told exactly how to move.  Some people just need the time and space and they either know exactly what to do OR they are able to just let go and let their bodies move.  I have experienced the type of person that tells me they don’t sweat in Nia and the type that does.

One time, after teaching a class, I was walking out and mopping my face and neck with a towel.  I was dripping wet.  And a woman approached me and said, “You don’t sweat in Nia, do you?”  I just looked at her and said, “No, YOU don’t.”  She was the one that stood behind me the entire class and I never saw her body.  I never saw her limbs and I never saw her.  Now, I am not the smallest of people so it is perfectly feasible that she could hide behind me and me not see her.  But it is NOT feasible to MOVE and not be seen standing behind me.  If she would have lifted her arm once, I would have seen it.  If she would have lifted her leg once, I would have seen it.  If she would have MOVED, her body MIGHT have produced some sweat.  I cannot tell you why she didn’t move her body except to stand behind me, but I can tell you since she did not she did not get a “good workout.”

Once a woman walked by me and a student talking after Nia class and she asked where the pool was.  We were confused.  Then we realized we were so wet with sweat we looked as if we had been swimming.

Then more recently, I experienced at participant in a class who, when we were done said, “Wow!  I got sweaty.”  And I said, “Yes, yes you did.”  And that was because she moved. She participated.  While she was not standing behind me, I did see her move in her own body’s way to the suggestions such as “dancing big”, “drumming the sky”, “body drum”.  She moved in her own way to all of the suggestions even though she had no idea what Nia was when she entered the dance studio.  But it was obvious she was there to get a “good workout” so she participated.  She moved.  She expended energy.  She got sweaty.

In Nia, as with ALL workouts, you get out of it what you put in.  If you don’t move, you are not going to expend energy.  If you don’t expend energy, you probably are not going to sweat.  You need to MOVE to get a workout.  It is not accurate to say that Nia is not a “good workout” when you do move.  If you don’t actually try it you can’t actually say whether it is good or not.

This is what I experience a lot.  Remember I am a substitute for other classes besides Nia.  So they are not always looking for something new and different.  Some are excellent sports and try it.  Some are not and so they don’t participate.  Again . . . . they get out of of it what they put in.

Have you noticed that you get less of a workout when you move less?  Do you agree that you get out of it what you put into it?

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Mirrorless Inward Reflection

Posted by terrepruitt on July 15, 2014

I teach Nia at Community Centers in San Jose.  One of the things about community centers is they are for the community.  During the summer that means that they are kid central.  It is amazing all of the programs they have for kids during the summer.  It is so great to see the centers doing so much to keep the kids learning and active during the summer.  What a full community center sometimes translates to is regularly scheduled classes get shuffled around.  I was given about six months notice for this summer’s shuffle.  So our Nia class was prepared.  I had been telling them since January.  Then I put up a notice in June.  So we were aware.  It is a huge blessing that we just get moved to another room and not to a different time or cancelled altogether.  I am grateful that we still get to have a class while all these summer camps and kid fun is going on.  It is working out to be one week a month.  Last month the room we were moved to had the portable mirrors in the closet so we were able to roll them out and use them.  Today the closet was full of tables and chairs.  The mirrors were nowhere to be found.  The center is on what used to be a high school campus.  So it is very large and spread out.  I wasn’t certain that 25 minutes would be enough time to let someone know about the situation, find the mirrors, and move them all the way across the campus.  So we did Nia without mirrors today, using the opportunity to focus inward.

I have done Nia without mirrors before.  In fact I posted about it in my post Nia In The Mirror when I was teaching in San Carlos.  That is one reason when I started working at the San Jose Community Centers I was so impressed with their portable mirrors.  In fact I thought I did a post about them because they are sooooo cool.  (Well, I don’t see one, so that will probably be my next post!)

In a Nia class the teacher stands with her/his back to the students.  One way we connect with our students is eye contact in the mirror.  A Nia teacher can turn and face the students.  In fact, it is recommended at times to do so to change things up and to connect in another way to the students.  We even practiced it in the Blue Belt Intensive.  So it is up to the teacher to teach facing whichever way s/he wants.  Generally though we face away from the students.

Facing away makes it easier for some people to follow since we are moving the same side of the body and going in the same direction as opposed to the mirror image as was (and possibly still is) done in Jazzercise.  What I find is that I learn the routine SAYING it as if I am teaching with my back towards the students so for me to turn around I would be saying go left as I move left and we would not be dancing in mirror image.  So to turn and face the students while we are doing a dance that moves front or back or laterally is a challenge for me.  Especially when it is a new routine.  And right now, I am somewhat learning a routine.  In a routine there is usually a song or two where we are not moving left or right so we often face each other than.  I was able to do that today, but some I did with my back to them.

I think dancing without a mirror every once in a while is a good thing.  It helps the students dance with themselves.  The moment I found out we didn’t have mirrors I knew our intent and focus.  I set the focus to be the Conscious Personal Trainer, with the intent of being fully aware of and sensing your own body’s movements.  Without the mirror to distract us I thought it would be a great opportunity to focus more on one’s own body.  Without the mirror we don’t see ourselves nor the other people.  Without a mirror the possibility to draw ones attention in and keep it in seems better.

So, of course, I was very happy when one of my students said that dancing without the mirrors made it different.  It did allow her to focus more on her movements.  She said she was less distracted with the other students.  Yay!  I like that it worked for her.  I like that we were able to do it different, but we still danced and had fun.  I am very blessed to have such great students that can just go with the flow and DO Nia!  It is nice to have “no mirrors” give us the opportunity for something different.

When you take a lead-follow exercise class do you prefer the instructor FACE your or face away from you?

 

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Nia’s Five Sensations, Well, Two and One Fourth

Posted by terrepruitt on May 29, 2014

Aaaahhhh!  I did it again.  I do it all the time.  I see things on Facebook that I want to look at but I don’t have time or when I see it is it not the right time to look at it so I open it in another window.  Then I can watch it, read it, do it (whatever) days later.  But then I forget who posted it.  This is a Nia video so I know that one of my Nia friends posted it.  It took me days to get around to watching it.  Then once I did watch it I was soooo disappointed.  It is a video of Carlos Rosas (NKA Carlos Aya-Rosas) at a conference talking about the 5 Sensations of Nia.  As he is talking I start looking at the time left and I keep thinking, he’s not going to make it.  I kept HOPING he would, but I kept thinking, he is not going to make it.  He didn’t.  He was halfway through (or so it seemed) his talk about Mobility when the video stopped.  Sad face.  That is why I was disappointed.  I was sad because we don’t get to hear all five sensations.  But . . . watching the ones he did get through are well worth it.  It is just a bummer that we didn’t get information on all five.

I am not sure what year it is, but you will see that they are being referred to as Debbie and Carlos Rosas.  Which I always thought that eventually they were referred to as Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.  But that is not the point of this post or the video I was just trying to see if I could have an idea of what year it was, but again . . . not that important because the information is tremendous.

The information is very helpful no matter when it was recorded.  Carlos first walks you through some things you can sense.  He connects them to the 5 Sensations.  If you’ve read a few of my posts about Nia you might be familiar with my belief that Nia takes everyday things you are familiar with and probably aware of and connects it to Nia ideas.   If you watch this you can get an example of them doing that in the time from 2:45 to 7:00.

After the initial connection to the five sensations, the first sensation Carlos defines is Flexibility.  He describes it as energy moving out.  So not just stretching, but energy moving out.  Then he talks about Agility.  He describes that as a quick start stop.  He uses the adjective “explode”.  This is a very entertaining part of the video.  Carlos is a very funny speaker.  Then he gets a few minutes into a mobility.  He describes that as continuous movement.  He talks you through a bit of it, then the video stops.

Even though we only get to see two sensations and a portion of mobility it is still great information.  I am not giving you too many details because I want you to watch it.  It is so much better from the creator than from me just typing what he is saying.

This was posted by Nia, in addition to watching this video you can go to the Nia Channel on Youtube (click here) and see other videos they have posted.  Also, you can go to NiaNow.com and watch recordings of classes.  From the home page scroll through the pages and you will find videos of Nia classes.  You can dance right along with Debbie and other trainers!

I invite you to watch the video and participate with his exercises to connect you with the sensation of Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Stability, and Strength (this is the first portion I mentioned).  Then stick with it for even more connection to Flexibility and Agility.

 

Well, what do you think?

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Generations Sharing Music

Posted by terrepruitt on May 10, 2014

I imagine I am like all dance exercise teachers, in that when I hear music I enjoy I think about how I can bring it to my Nia class.  I think about creating choreography to it.  I was thinking the other day about what music would appeal to one of my classes.  My train of thought took me on a little journey. First off – before I share my journey – this is not a rant about how modern technology has caused huge chasms between people because while there are some disconnects there are some great connections. This IS a little about how things have changed and how we miss out on somethings but it is more of a ride down a memory rail line then a rant. Many of you that lived through the time period that I am about to mention, have probably heard the “remember when” about when you had to listen to the radio “all” day before you could hear that song (ya know, whichever one you wanted to hear) again.  There was no device to turn to that could play it instantly. Unless you held your cassette recorder up to the radio and recorded it, you had to wait for it to be played on the radio. There was also the accidental sharing of music that today’s technology prevents happening.

When I wanted to listen to my music I had to go into the living room and play my records. I usually had to ask if I could.  Then I would turn on the stereo with the turntable for the whole house to hear. I am not saying that I played it loud, I am just saying that it was played through speakers so everyone had to suffer through me playing my latest obsession over and over and over.  That is why I had to ask permission to play my music.  If I was playing it, the people present would have to listen to it.  So I am sure my mom got to “know” my music. I shared with her that “latest” tune. The pop music. Now-a-days people have personal devices with which to listen to their music, so it could be that parents never actually hear what their kids are listening to. They don’t get to connect on that level.

Not that parents and kids ever connect on the same level when it comes to music, but sometimes it could happen.  I imagine my parents became very familiar with some of my music.  I bet they even learned some of the lyrics via pure repetition.  I bet that they even grew to like some of it.  With these thoughts rolling through my mind, like a leisure train, it made me think that this might be the case with some of my students.  I would love to bring music to my Nia classes that reminded them of connections with their children.  The connections could even be so tenuous as them not even really liking the song but the sense of familiarity and family would allow their bodies to connect to it.  They could move and enjoy the sensation of movement without really thinking about it.  They would be able to associate memories to the music.

Ha.  These are the thoughts of a Nia Teacher wanting to MOVE her students.  But, as I first mentioned, I bet other cardio dance workout teachers think the same way.  What do you think?  Do you think songs like that could get you moving?  Do you think songs with that type of connection could allow you to dance?

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Drink Smart and in Moderation

Posted by terrepruitt on February 20, 2014

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, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaThe various surprising health benefits of wine

For centuries, people have derived pleasure from drinking many different varieties of wine. Whether it’s a sensuously versatile Pinot Noir or a divine Chardonnay, drinking wine in moderate amounts has proven to be one of the more effective ways to unwind, relax and allow the stresses of the day to just slowly fade away into the ether. Various studies have emerged throughout the years espousing the health benefits of drinking a glass or two of high-quality wine.

Experts from the world-renowned Mayo Clinic have stated that there are certain substances in red wine called phytochemicals (specifically, flavonoids and resveratrol) that may help prevent heart disease and failure by performing two critical functions: increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (also known as the “good” cholesterol) and protecting against artery damage. It is worth noting that both resveratrol and flavonoids are also recognized as antioxidants (not all phytochemicals are antioxidants, though).

Resveratrol, in particular, is markedly more prevalent in red wine than in white wine; after all, red wine is fermented with grape skins for a longer period of time compared to white wine. Additionally, resveratrol has gotten a lot of attention due to possibly playing an important part in maintaining healthy cardiovascular function. Some of the existing research has linked resveratrol to reduced blood vessel damage, prevention of blood clots, and a decreased amount of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol). Dr. Eric Crampton, a highly respected University of Canterbury academic, has also opined that based on his interpretation of the current studies available, moderate drinking reduces mortality risk. Furthermore, according to Paul Jaminet of the Perfect Health Diet, animal studies have shown that the harmful effects of alcohol on the liver – fatty liver disease that inevitably leads to a scarred and damaged liver (cirrhosis) – occur only when it is combined with excessive intake of polyunsaturated fats.

Clearly, judicious consumption of red wine not only calms the senses; it’s also a healthful habit in moderation.

Image courtesy of M&S
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This post is a guest post.  The conclusion reached is that of the guest author.  My approach would be more from a “COULD be” healthful.  Many things we eat, drink, and do have the appearance of being healthful, but it always boils down to moderation AND the individual, so to me it is not so clear.

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Can’t See What Is Not There

Posted by terrepruitt on October 1, 2013

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 YogaI am playing a game on my iPad that is a hidden object kind of game. I like games where I don’t have to concentrate a lot, ya know, think too much – a little is good, but I like it to be fun. I have other things I have to think about so my games I want to be brainless and easy. This is kind of like that. Just look at pictures and pick out the objects. To me it is cool because it is not the same as the hidden objects games of my youth where the object is drawn into the scene. This game is tricky because the object are not necessarily hidden. Yeah, I know, they are right there in plain sight sometimes and it is still a challenge to see them. I find that really funny. I actually employ a theory of my husband’s about a phenomenon to play this game. It makes me laugh whenever I think of it. Especially when it works. My husband’s theory is: You can’t see what is not there.

That sounds obvious right? And it is, in reality you cannot see what is not there, but what he means when he says that is “I can’t see what I THINK is not there.” But the belief is so strong — it (the object you seek) is not there. So we don’t even bother with the “think” we just say, “I can’t see it because it is not there.” Because no matter what, once you believe it is not there it might as well not be.

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 YogaMy husband will often look for something then say, “Honey, can you look for the XXX (whatever) because I have been looking and it is not there.” Then I walk over without even looking and pick it up and give it to him. He says, “See? Sorry.” I say, “That’s ok. I get it.” Once you think it is not there — IT IS NOT THERE!

When I told him I was going to post about this he said it wasn’t originally his theory. He can’t remember whose it is. He kinda thinks it might have come from Sonny. Yeah, Sonny as in Sonny and Cher. But he can’t remember.

When you are looking for something that might truly not be there then this theory is difficult to get around. But in my game I can easily get around it. I know that the object on the list is there. So I have found myself thinking, “I will never find it.” Then I remember I can’t see things that aren’t there and I can’t see things if I think I can’t see them. So I take a breath and remind myself it is there and I can find it, and usually I find the object. I know it might sound silly to post about applying a theory to a game, but ya know, most of the time thinking is just a practice so if I practice it in a game situation, I can learn to practice it in real life. I just think it is funny because I believe the theory to be true so I work to counteract it in the game.

Also with the game I am not sure what the object will look like. So it is a good practice for opening my ideals of what things look like. Again, just a practice. As an example the object list might say bell. What did you picture? Bells can look a lot of different ways. As I typed this I thought of one of those bells that one used to ding for service. But it could be a bell like the liberty bell, or a school bell. You don’t always know. So in addition to letting go of not being able to see it because I THINK it is not there or I can never find it, I have to be open to recognizing what it might actually look like.

Ha. Just had a thought . . . just right now as I am typing . . . these ideas can be tied to Nia. Nia is not familiar to a lot of people so some think they will not get a good workout in a Nia class. Well, if that is what you think . . . then that is what you will get. If you walk in knowing it is a good workout then you will be able to participate fully. Also, when the participate releases the idea of what a workout “SHOULD” look like, they will be surprised that our skipping, moving, bending, dancing, etc. is great exercise.

So yeah, the theory can be applied to a lot of things so in some cases, when you don’t have a spouse to “see” it for you, you can be aware of the phenomenon and work to counteract it for yourself.

So are you aware of this phenomenon? Do you feel like this happens to you?

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Crossover Ideas

Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2013

If you’ve read a post or two of mine you know there are many things I love about Nia.  I think that Nia is a great workout, but I also think that a lot of the ideas, principles, values, and “things” can be used in everyday life.  That is one reason why I share so many things about Nia here.  I am working to get Nia out there so people know what it is, but I understand not everyone likes to do dance exercise as their type of workout, but there is a lot of Nia that can be applied to every day.  Nia has a lot of ideas that can be applied to more than just the original place you hear it.  For instance in the Nia White Belt, the manual states:

“New Ways – It Can Be a Stretch!

Some of this information may shake up your reality.  Nia may disrupt your normal methods of doing, being and communicating.  We do not intend to create disharmony or fear.  We have no desire to aggressively challenge who you are, what you believe in, or what you stand for.  The information we share with you is intended to assist you, inspire you, and to celebrate human potential.”

The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual March 2001, V3, page 1-5

I love that.  I love that when taking a Nia intensive it is explained that you might come across new things.  You might be shown a different way or something new, but they are not out to change you into what they believe, but to allow you to see something in a new way.  All that is really asked of you is to have an open mind, heart, and body.  It is even suggested not to examine or think about stuff too much.  The belief is that you will get what you need when you need it.  That is a great relief too because there is so much information it really takes the pressure off when it is understood that you will not get it all or remember it all upon first being exposed.

What is so tremendous is that this same information, this same philosophy can be brought into a Nia class.  If you have never done Nia before the first time can be a surprise.  It can surprise your senses, your body, your mind, your spirit.  It can leave some people feeling a little unsure.  I mean not every exercise class has you parting clouds, swimming in water, stepping in goo, and prancing like a pony.  Some of this type of stuff can shake up someone’s reality.  This type of movement might completely disrupt what they think of as normal methods of exercise.  They might not be able to “get into” prancing like a pony.  Prancing might not fit into their idea of exercise.  But I know that if they have an openness of mind they will wake up the next day and realize that ponies get in a good work out.  The “normal” methods of being might not have them pulsing their pelvis, shimmying their shoulders, or doing a sexy hip bump.  Nia doesn’t want to make people uncomfortable with these things, but this type of movement is “normal” for the body by design.  These moves aren’t meant to challenge you or what you believe in, they are meant to allow you to move your body as it was designed to move.

With the fun movements and ideas included in a Nia class it can easily inspire your and allow you to celebrate the human potential—to celebrate your body’s potential.  This can kind of go along with my last post about spirit.  It could be your spirit that lets you just let loose and gyrate those hips without fear.  The idea here is to come to a Nia class with an open mind.  Don’t let they way you’ve been taught exercise should be to keep you from experiencing something new.  Don’t let fear of something unknown and/or different scare you off.  Don’t think that just because it is unknown to you or different that the goal is to change you into something you are not.  Just come and let your body move and let IT tell you what it thinks of Nia.

This week (February 10 through February 16, 2013) I am teaching EIGHT Nia classes.  If you are local it would be GREAT to see you in at least one.  They are at all different times on different days in many different places (most in San Jose, one in Santa Cruz).  I bet there is one that would work for you: http://www.helpyouwell.com  Also, in case you are not local or one of the eight doesn’t work for you check out Nianow.com.  There are classes all over the world!  Dare to dance?

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A Look Back

Posted by terrepruitt on February 7, 2013

I found Nia back in 2008.  I was looking for an exercise that was more like dance.  I had several people in my life at that time that loved to dance, but their partners wouldn’t dance with them.  They claimed they would love to do exercise if it was more like dance.  I also had people in my life at that time that were younger than me, my age, and just slightly older and they couldn’t move very well.  They moved with pain and/or it was an extreme challenge for them to balance and just a mixed bag of things.  I believed that movement could help some of the issues facing them and many others.  I also loved to dance and thought it would be great to have an exercise class that was dance.  I looked at doing Jazzercise, but I think at the time the franchise thing (or however they did it/do it) was not something I wanted to do.  And back then Zumba was not yet the rage and I had thought it was ALL Latin music (I know better now).  I remember I came across a website that was talking about Trance Dance.  So I researched that a bit.  That sounded interesting, moving your body in your own way to music.  But the information I found said that you kept your eyes closed and/or were blindfolded while dancing and someone would watch to make certain people didn’t injure themselves.  That part and the fact that some sites stated there actually was a form of “Trance” that people entered into kept me from wanting to do that.  But somewhere there was a mention of Nia.  So I tried to find all the information I could on this Nia.  Back then it might have even been NIA.  I don’t remember when it changed and even now some places still call it Neuromuscular Integrative Action.  It has gone through a few name changes, but at present it is just The Nia Technique or Nia.

It IS non-impact aerobics and it IS Neuromuscular Integrative Action, but the name is Nia and it no longer “stands” for anything.  And in the four years that I have been doing it and learning about it, it has changed.  It was originally created by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas in the early 1980s from a desire to help people exercise in a different way, a way that addressed more than just the physical body.

When I joined Nia there were really starting to talk a lot about the next phase of Nia.  You see, even though Nia remains true to the original concept of a Joyful workout, it does change and it does grow.  Anything that wants to survive has to change or at least be flexible enough to endure the change that happens around it.  Nia changes, they change the way they deliver training from the routines to the intensive — so the continued education changes. Nia’s training material is phenomenal.  When you read through a newsletter or a manual or listen to a conference call you can sense the care taken in creating the material.  It is nice to be a part of Nia.

It is interesting.  It is amazing to see how far Nia has come and how much is has changed in the short time that I have been a teacher.  The roots of Nia are still there they are just always finding new ways to share it.

As with any an all certifications I have earned I did my research beforehand.  It is important to know how much the initial training cost and how the licensing and/or certifications works.  It is important to know about continued education and re-licensing or re-certifiying.  I liked everything I saw about Nia.  It took me four classes before I decided to invest the time and money needed to teach.

I took the training in December of 2008.  I started teaching in February 2009.  I have been teaching Nia ever since.  I have had the same Monday and Wednesday class since February 2009.  I have had other classes at other studios and gyms on different days and different times.  At this writing I am teaching Nia five times a week in San Jose – not including subbing dates.  I have three classes for the City of San Jose; a Tuesday morning and a Tuesday evening class.  I also have a Thursday evening class.  My schedule is update regularly on www.HelpYouWell.

I took a second Nia training in November 2012.  I just finished posting my way through the #13 principles of that belt (Blue Belt).

I am excited to have so many opportunities to share Nia with people each week.  As I said, I have five classes and as I said things change.  So when you are ready to join me in one check my site to confirm time and place and all those details.  I would like for the number to grow.  Just as Nia is growing, in leaps and bounds and for the better.

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