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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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Rosas’

Bringing More Fun Into Class

Posted by terrepruitt on July 25, 2018

Sometimes we end Nia class with the laughter “exercise”. You know that saying “fake it ’til you make it?” Well, since the brain can’t tell the difference between fake laughter and real laughter it releases the “happy hormones” regardless. There are many additional benefits to laughter:

–it can trigger the release of endorphins (the “happy” hormones mentioned)
–it can help lower your blood pressure
–it can reduce stress hormone levels
–it can give your abdominal muscles a workout
–it can help improve cardiac health
–it can improve your immune system by boosting T-cells
–it can give you a sense of well-being and help you look at the world more positively
–it helps relax the body
–it burns calories
–it may even help relieve pain

What better way to end an exercise class than laughter?

There are a lot of ways to do it, but one way is by laughing and “cooking all four sides”. Debbie Rosas uses that saying when referring to being on or using the “sides” of the body; front, back, left, right or tummy, back, left side, right side.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise ClassesSometimes in Nia class since we are already on the floor for the Floorplay cycle of class we will do the “exercise”. It is simple actually. While lying on your back just start to laugh. It doesn’t even have to be “real” laughter. Just start to chuckle or giggle. Or even just begin by saying, “Ha!” One loud HA! Then keep going. Pretty soon your “ha-s” will change into something else – again, it might not yet be real, but someone who has joined in will make a noise that will cause real laughter. Once one person has started, it just goes from there and the next thing you know everyone is really laughing. Even if or when it starts to die down something will happen, someone will think of something funny and start up again, or someone will snort (that is always good for a laugh), or someone will do that long sigh that always happens after a good laugh session and it will start back up again.

After about one minute roll to a side. Stay there and laugh for a minute. Just keep it going even if there are moments when it is not that real-from-the-belly kind of laugh. Then after a minute, roll to the other side. Stay there laughing for about a minute. Keep it going. Then roll to your tummy. Here is where you might start really sensing it in your belly, after three minutes of laughter your abs might already notice and when you roll on the belly and laugh more, they probably will be getting your attention a bit.

This is a really fun way to end the class. It reminds everyone that participates how fun laughing is. It reminds everyone how contagious laughing is. It reminds everyone that no matter what is going on there is a chance for laughter. It also reminds everyone that laughter can be a bit physical.

Of course you don’t have to be in a class to do this exercise. Perhaps there is someone in your home that would like to participate with you. Also you don’t have to do it for a minute on each side.

So what do you think? Is this an exercise you can enjoy?

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This Might Interest You

Posted by terrepruitt on March 5, 2018

I’ve been blogging for a long time. At least I think it is a long time. I know there are people out there who have been blogging for even longer, but to me nine years is a long time. In fact this month is my nine year anniversary to the blogging world. I started in March of 2009. Well, since I have been blogging so long and not all of you have been reading my blog that long, I thought I would point out some posts that you might be interested in. Keeping in mind the comments I have received and the conversations I have had with some of you. Also keeping in mind your blogs, here are a few posts that I thought I would point out in case any of you might be interested.

This is one about an amazing product that helps me with my bumps and bruises. Some of you may be interested.  The product is Zheng Gu Shui.

Foam Rollers are COOL! is a post about two stretches that you can do with a foam roller. Many of us need to stretch more often and many of us love it when we do. These are super easy ones some of you may like.

I teach Nia, you may have heard :-). One of the things I love about Nia is that a lot of our practices within the practice can be applied to life. Here is a post about Sustain, Increase, Tweak, we do it in Nia while dancing and it can easily be applied to our every day life.

I LOVE to watch birds taking a bath in our bird bath. We used to have blue jays that would come back every year to have their babies near by. One time I got a few photos of a baby taking a bath. Even though he may look big, he is a baby. The young ones usually look larger and fluffier than the adults. Pictures do not capture the joy this bird seemed to be experiencing! This post has is about a Baby Blue Jay Bath.

Hummingbirds’ beaks are not straws they suck through, they actually have really long tongues. You can see that in my Hummingbird Tongues post.

More for the bird lovers: Silhouettes

For the dog lovers: Honey, I Shrunk the Doberman Pinscher

The comments on this one are worth a read, Lyrics Gone Wrong. Too funny!

Some nice shots of a beach trip. Do you wanna see the ocean? Check out my post Santa Cruz, California

Ahh, this one I am posting just to remind myself . . . . I need a color for that! Color Me A Reminder

Ok, sorry, I have shared more than I was planning, because I want you to look at all of them, but ten might be too much. I might just have to do another post somewhere along the way to point out some of my old posts that might be of interest to you. And get them some love.

Thanks for taking a look.

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

Signs You Are Dancing In A Nia Class

Posted by terrepruitt on May 9, 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, SJCityFitSo, I was so blessed yesterday to have two fellow Nia Teachers attend the class I was teaching.  There are three of us that teach a Sunday Nia class at the Northwest YMCA in Cupertino on a rotating basis.  We have general “dibbs” on Sundays; Anita likes the first Sunday of the month, I like the second Sunday of the month, and Joan has the fourth Sunday of the month.  At one point we had a fourth teacher and she usually took the third Sunday.  But now that it is just us three, we each take the third Sunday when we are available.  It seems to work out amazingly well that when one (or even two of us) is not available the other two or at least one is.  So it works out.  Sometimes there is even a fifth Sunday and we make sure one of us is available.  Plus we work together when something comes up and we have to switch Sundays.  The class is at 12:30 so it is late enough that one can get up and enjoy a nice Sunday morning and not have to rush off to teach.  Then we teach and are home in time for a late lunch.  🙂

Well, after class yesterday we were talking about Nia, of course . . . and Anita asked us if we had seen her list of top ten signs you are dancing in a Nia class.  I had remembered seeing it, but I didn’t remember them until she started reading them.  Then I remembered I saw the list.  I had glanced at it, but saved the e-mail to read later.  When she brought it up I had asked her if I could share the list on my blog and she kindly agreed.  So here ya go:

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Anita Christensen’s top ten signs you are dancing in a Nia class:

1.    They like to freedance without judgement of themselves or others.

2.    They are the nicest people.

3.    They are all so grateful for the day she, Debbie*, took off her shoes.

4.    They make claws with their fingers and scratch the air….sounding grrr…healing emotional issues related to power, abandonment, fear, and anger.**

5.    They shimmy and shake their shoulders to express sassy gestures that play with each other in seductive and joyful ways.**

6.    They fully acknowledge and embrace that this is THEIR adult play time!

7.    They kick to the front, side, and back with authority settling on a supportive leg.

8.    As a collective group they yell out “yes” or “no” for all to hear.

9.    They choose, sustain, and tweak their JOY of movement to sense life force energy….

10.   They invite you to come and be open to a life affirming experience.

It is true Nia is fun, healing and joyful! Do you have anything to add to my top ten list? How I would enJOY hearing your top ten list! The bay area teachers are THRIVING and we want you to join us.”

*”Debbie” is Debbie Rosas is the founder and co-creator of Nia.

**Referenced from the Language of Nia

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Anita Christensen is Nia Black Belt and she teaches several classes in the South Bay and the Peninsula.  Check out her profile on NiaNow.com.

This is such a great list!  I am going to use some of these as focuses and/or intents in my Nia classes!!

As Anita invited readers at the end of her list . . . do you have any signs to add to the list?  Please share!

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

Claw Hand – Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on January 20, 2015

As you may know if you have perused my blog or website, Nia has moves called the 52 Moves of Nia or Nia’s 52 Moves.  Moves concentrated and focused on.  Generally moves included in all of the routines.  Not all the moves are included in all of the routines, but the routines are jam-packed with most of the moves.  The moves on the list have physical benefits.  Some are fun or silly so they can have mental or spiritual benefits.  And in this case I am talking about your spirit or inner child, the part of you that likes to have fun, the part of you that you might not get to display in your regular everyday work life.  So not the religious type of spirit but the kind of spirit that you think of when you say or hear “school spirit” or inner child.  The fun playful side of you.  To me, one of those moves is Claw Hand.

Claw Hand is a great move.  It is super easy.  It can be done all on its own.  You can just stand or sit and do claw hand.  You can add it to some foot work.  You can add it to some complicated choreography.  You can make it soft or hard.  You can do it fast or slow.  It is very versatile.

You can even make noises when you do it.  You can growl like a big cat or a bear.  You can meow like a kitty-cat.  You can make any noise you want.  It is fun stuff.

As I said you can do it standing or sitting and this moves gets done in to all the stances and steps in the Nia Routines.  The Nia Technique Book (by Debbie and Carlos Rosas) recommends it be practiced in all the stances and steps.  And that is a great idea since we use it with all of them.  The routine I am doing now even add it to blocks.  We block in with claw hand and we block out with claw hand.  Why not?

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, PiYoYou can probably figure out what this move is from the description but I tell you what the book says:

“Mimic a claw with your finger and claw the air, as if you were in a cat fight.  Keep your wrists relaxed, and sound a cat’s hisses as you do the move.  Use both hands.”

The benefits can include strengthening your fingers and hands.

In addition to keeping a relaxed wrist I like to use the claw shape to bring tension into my entire arm.  I imagine I am really clawing something.  I figure I would need strength to do that so I put my entire arm into it.  You can use one had to “claw” and the other hand to feel the muscles in your arm (forearm and upper arm) contract.

The book states that this move can increase your sense of power.  When I am doing it with muscles contracted as if I am REALLY clawing something I do have a sense of power.  I imagine that is how an animal feels when they wield their claw.

This move allows you to practice bending your fingers too.  That helps with the mobility of the joints.  I like this move.  I like to add sounding to it.

Ok, so stop and try it?  What sound do you like to do best with your Claw Hand?

 

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

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.

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

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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The Creation Of Space

Posted by terrepruitt on November 30, 2013

I am certain that I have mentioned the fact that Nia changes.  Like many things it grows, it morphs, it improves, it changes, yet it remains the same.  The basics stay the same.  The core of it stays the same, but as time goes on it morphs.  Sometimes it is the verbiage and the names of things, but it basically stays the same.  It has been a year since I have taken the Nia Blue Belt Intensive.  In that intensive we were given a Manual from August 2006 and while we were being trained we were told that a new manual was soon to be released along with some new ways of explaining, talking, and learning things.  So part of what I quote here might be a little different from what is being taught now, but the idea and the process is the same.  The process is Creating Space.

In an intensive, before every session we gather and create the space.  This practice was discovered as something done in martial arts.  Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, the creators of Nia, recognized its value and brought it into Nia.  It is the responsibility of the participants to create the space.  It is the responsibility of trainers to hold the space.

The Blue Belt Manual states:  “Creating space is the conscious act of preparing the environment, which includes your body.”

It is an incredibly powerful act that enables an individual and a group to become prepared for receiving.  It is — at its core — coming into stillness.  In preparation for creating the space we use a prescribed process.  There is a schedule that is kept.  A bell is rung seven to ten minutes before we are to start creating the space.  This allows for people to wrap up any conversations they might be involved in and to do any last minute things that need to be done.  Then there is a five minute bell and another one at one minute.  Then, the students create a circle in which we sit quietly while we create the space.  The things we do is quiet the mind, stop the inner dialog and just let the mind rest and become open to hearing and receiving the teaching that is about to happen.  The body is also stilled.  The emotions are balanced and not taking over.  We are connected to our higher self . . . the manual says, “open, but you are not seeking at the moment”.

A main point is to not allow for distractions of any kind.  No physical distractions . . . that is one reason why we sit still.  No mental distractions . . .that is one reason why we stop the inner dialog and the thinking.  All four bodies, Body-Mind-Emotion-Spirit (BMES), are stilled.

The space we create is “a way to set up an energy environment that supports your practice and learning.”  It really is a very helpful and powerful tool to help with the learning process.  We continue to sit in the space until the trainer interrupts us by thanking us.

I believe that many things could benefit from the creation of space; a meeting, family dinner time, Nia classes, a yoga practice, any exercise, and many more.  I think it is a good idea sometimes to clear your head and body of distractions in order to concentrate fully on the “task” at hand.  I know that for me this practice really works well in the intensives.

Is this something that you think you could benefit from?  What types of tasks or activities do you think you could create space for?

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

Touching – One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on September 17, 2013

I am not certain “touching” is included in any other workout.  I am not certain if it is included in any other cardio dance exercise.  Now I am not talking about “putting your hands on your hips as you shake them” or “putting your hands behind your head as you advance forward” or “touch your elbow to your knee” or “putting your hands on your shoulders”.  I am not talking about that type of touching.  I am talking about touching.  Touching for the sake of touching.  Touching to gather sensation from your hands.  Gathering information from the nerves in your fingers, palms, and the backs of your hands.  In Nia we touch.

Touching gives us a lot of information.  A Nia Routine might have us touching the air around us.  We touch to sense the air.  We touch the space around us.  All around us.  Above our heads, behind us, below us.  We use our open palms and webbed spaces.  We use the backs of our hands.  We push and pull the energy.  The Nia Technique book, by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, states “Practicing Touching is excellent training for increasing your Sensory IQ and for improving body awareness.”  Touching the space that surrounds the body also moves the energy around — as mentioned the push and the pull.  In addition to moving the energy you can draw energy in through the touch or send it out.

There is also the touching we do to things.  We can touch things while we dance in a Nia class or throughout our day.  In a dance class we can touch the floor, the walls, the mirror, the other things in the room.  They give us information through touch.

We can also touch our skin and our own bodies to gather information.  We can touch to create heat.  We can touch to supply energy to a specific body part.  We can touch to heal.  We can touch to allow for sensation or attention.  Touching brings awareness.  If you are touching your elbow, as an example, with the touch you receive information from two sources.  One is your hand that is doing the touching.  It senses your elbow.  It might feel dry skin, causing you to think you need lotion.  The second source is your elbow.  Your elbow senses the hand.  You might think, your hand is soft/warm/moist.  Exchange of information.  Awareness.  Attention.  Touch is amazing.

No matter whether we are touching the space around us, the things around us, or our own bodies we can use fingers, palms, and back of hands.  With different “touches” we are exchanging different information.  Moving and/or releasing and/or gathering energy.  Touch is a powerful tool in the Nia toy box.

Another way touch can be applied is in the common way of touching as measurement.  In the beginning of class, say, before your body is warmed up, you can only touch as far as your shins.  Then after was have moved warming the muscles all of the attachments you can easily bend all the way over to touch your toes.  Touch.  It is a great thing to use for many reasons.  In Nia we use touch.  Touching is one of Nia’s 52 Moves.

What sensations have you received today from things you have touched?

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Finding Balance In The Gate

Posted by terrepruitt on September 14, 2013

In Nia we have the five sensations that we dance and move with. I always feel that one of them is a personal favorite of one of the co-founders of The Nia Technique. I think that Debbie Rosas really loves stability. I imagine she loves them all because she does a superb job of ensuring they are all included in a each Nia Routine, but sometimes I just get this feeling that practicing balance is her favorite. It could be because sometimes stability, being balanced, requires flexibility and/or agility and/or mobility and/or strength. So you can practice and play with all of the five sensations when practicing balance. In yoga there is at least three of the five sensations we experience in Nia. In yoga there is flexibility and/or strength and/or stability/balance. In the Gentle Yoga class I am teaching I really like to put a huge emphasis on balance. I think balance is very important and yoga is a great way to practice it. There are many poses in yoga that are balance poses. Not all of them are standing poses.

One pose I really like to use for enhancing balance is the Gate pose. This pose is a kneeling pose, somewhat.

In the gentle yoga class we start on our knees. Up off our calves, as in we are not sitting on our legs. Then we lean forward and over to one side, say the left. We lean forward to the left placing both our hands on the ground in front of the left knee. Then we swing our right leg out so it is pointed out to the side. The heel of the right foot is aligned with the left knee or slightly in front. The right foot is flat on the ground and the toes are pointed away from the body. We then lift up so we are kneeling on our left leg with our right leg posed out to the right of our body. Then the left arm comes up reaching straight over the head. Palm towards the right. The right hand is palm up resting on the right thigh. If stability and balance is achieved then those that are comfortable lean over to the right, allowing the right hand to rest lower on the leg, at the shin, not the knee. If comfortable we turn the head to gaze past our left arm. All the while the crown of the head is moving away from our body and the tail is moving in the opposite direction. We are lengthening our spine. The shoulders are being drawn back and down. Even though one arm is up we still keep the space between the ear and the shoulder open and large. The same with the side we are leaning towards.

Whether you are staying up right or leaning over to the side, keep your body from leaning forward. Stay in the pose for a few breaths. After you perform this pose on one side, do the other.

Parighasana, the Gate pose, is a nice way to pursue balance.  The foot that is out can be adjusted to a parallel (to the body) position if that allows it to be more comfortable or stable.  Or the foot can be lifted leaving just the heel on the ground.  The depth of the side bend is always a point that can be adjusted for the individual’s needs at the moment.

I love all the poses in yoga that allow for balance practice.  I think this is a great post with which to practice balance.

Are you familiar with the Gate pose?  Do you like this pose?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Shimmy From The Back

Posted by terrepruitt on September 3, 2013

I was looking for something to post about today and I thought, “Hmmm . . . . let’s check out the Nia 52 Moves list on my site and see what I have yet to write about.”  Much to my HUGE surprise, I have not posted about the shimmy.  I am shocked.  The shimmy is a very often used move in Nia Routines. . . heck, the shimmy is an often used dance move in many, many, many dances.  So I am shocked I have not addressed this before.  I think that the shimmy is somewhat misunderstood.  I believe, from what I have experienced, that many people think of the shimmy as a chest move.  I have sensed great hesitation in many people when it comes to executing the shimmy.  It seems as if people might consider it a boob shake.  Some women don’t want to do it and neither do some men.  I mean, why would either want to shake their breasts in a cardio dance exercise class?  To me, thinking it is a frontal shake is a misconception.  While, yes, for many people the front DOES shake and move in a shimmy, that is NOT where the concentration of the movement is.  The shimmy comes from the shoulder blades/back.

The Nia Technique Book* says:  “Vibrate and shake your shoulders, standing upright or moving front and back, as if you are shaking water off.”**

I think that once the focus of the move is taken off of the chest, some people feel more comfortable with the move.  It is not primarily moving your chest/breasts/boobs around.  It is moving your shoulders and your back.  Since our front is connected to the back, then, yes, our chest will move but the movement will be different than if you are purposefully just moving what is on the front side of your body.  There are several ways to learn and/or practice the shimmy, here is one.  First of all think: “BACK/SHOULDERS” not front of body.

With your thoughts and your intent shifted from the front to the back you can apply the correct motion.  One way to start from scratch with this move is to lie down.  Lie on your back, then lift one shoulder off the ground.  Push your shoulder blade forward, jutting your collarbone out.  Then bring that side back to the ground.  Then do the other side.  Push, jut, back down.  Now push the first side again and as you allow the shoulder to come to the earth push the other shoulder forward.  Continue to alternate.  Only allow one shoulder up at a time.  While you are pushing forward keep your shoulders down toward your hips (not down toward the ground).  Keep the space between your ears and your shoulders open.  So you are not shrugging your shoulders up to your ears, you are pushing them from the BACK to the sky.  Do this until you feel you have the sensation in your body that when you sit up you will still have the correct motion.  Vary the speed.  Play with the size of the movement.  Go for smooth and not jerky.

If you are not starting that far back, from scratch, then stand and concentrate on the shoulders going forward and back.  Again, keep the shoulders down.  This helps me with the forward back motion, otherwise they might start creeping up into that scrunching posture.  Eventually you will be able to just move your shoulders forward and back with nice relaxed (down) shoulders.  But in the beginning it might be something you have to think about in order to ensure the front back motion and not up and down.

This move is great for isolating the muscles that assist with good posture and balance.  It is also a great stress reliever.  It is fun to let out sound while you are shimmying.  You don’t even have to waver your voice if you are shimmying vigorously enough, the movement causes the waver.  FUN stuff!

As mentioned we do the shimmy a lot in our Nia Classes.  Since we do it a lot we do it in many different ways . . . fast, slow, by itself, with other moves . . . it is just one of those great moves to throw into the mix.

I see many, many, many people who are challenged by this move.  There are many reasons for that.  I also see a lot of people’s movement change once they adjust the focus from the front to the back.  I see those proverbial light bulbs come on!  Shift the focus and let your body move!

When you shimmy, where is your movement focus?  Did this post alter your movement focus?  Can you shimmy so vigorously that your voice wavers with your movement?

*written by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas / **page 138, The Core

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