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 ‘Debbie Rosas’

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

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

Happy Nia Share

Posted by terrepruitt on July 30, 2013

I have been teaching Nia for over four and half years.  I have students that are Nia teachers.  I have students who have taken the training but are not teachers.  The Nia Intensives are open to people who do not intend to teach.  So I have people in my classes who have experienced the training, but this is the first time that I have people who are taking the Nia White Belt Training because I introduced them to Nia.  Well, one for certain, she did not know about it until she had taken my class and the other one I think didn’t know about it until she came to one of my Nia classes.  Now this is not me saying I am so great that I have inspired two individuals to take the intensive, this is me saying, “Yay!” to the power of Nia.  It is fun cardio dance exercise class . . . but if you want to take the intensive it is a lot more.

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, PiYoI am so excited.  I have not had a chance to talk to my student much.  She just returned and we have yet to meet so I can get the scoop, but she did express awe.  She is in my Tuesday morning class.  The Tuesday before she left for her training she was so kind she said that she was bringing a laptop and she would be able to send me some e-mails and we could communicate the week she was in the training.  I told her no we would not.  I told her that she is going to be so full she will not be able to e-mail.  For me, while I was in the intensive, any time that I was not actually IN the training, I was either trying to absorb it and remember and think about all that I had just heard or I was do a little bit of socializing.  The training is intense.  I have mentioned before.  It is not so physically intense that you feel as if you are at military boot camp, but it is physical.  There is a lot of moving.  I did send her an e-mail during the week and she said she was too tired to respond.  I laughed.  It is a lot.

Usually there is a Nia class at 7:00 in the morning or so.  And when I was in the training we were not required to go to them all, but why not?  So the day starts with movement at 7:00 am.  Then there is lectures and movement and all of it together.  And – something else I’ve said before – not everything you hear is a new concept or a new idea, but the way it is presented or tied into Nia and/or movement makes it seem new in the sense that your brain and your body want to examine it.  Learning can be exhausting.  Intensives are about 50 hours.  The day usually ends about 7:00 pm after an evening Nia class.  I know I said most of this just this past November when I took my blue belt.  But I am just so excited to have two students becoming Nia White Belts I wanted to share.  I want to shout it out!

The brief moments I did get to speak to my student she expressed exactly what one expects after a training.  She was happy and grateful and just full of new things.  She was amazed to see how much anatomy is part of the Nia training.  One of the co-founders wanted to be a doctor so she is very interesting in anatomy.  Plus knowing how the body is designed helps know how to create choreography that will allow the body to have a wonderful sensation while moving.  Nia is amazing.

I really just wanted to share my joy that one of my students took the next step in the amazing journey that is Nia.  She was very kind and as a thank you for introducing her to Nia, she brought me these lovely gladioli.

If you are interested in taking a class from me see my website www.HelpYouWell.com.  If you are anywhere else in the world and you want to see if there is a class near you see http://www.nianow.com/find/classes and if you want to learn about Nia trainings see  http://www.nianow.com/training

Well, what are you waiting for?

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Stepping Back Onto The Ball Of Your Foot – One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on June 27, 2013

Stepping Back Onto The Ball Of Your Foot is certainly not unique to Nia.  Many dance modalities incorporate this move.  In fact this move is incorporated into every day life.  How often are you moving forward only have to stop and move back?  You could be in line at the store or anywhere when the person in front of you moves back towards you so you take a step back.  While you might not “hang” out on the ball of your foot as we do in Nia you more than likely don’t take a step backwards heel first.  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, ZumbaSo, yes, Nia has taken moves that might be done in other dance practices, martial arts, and even everyday life and put them in their list of Nia’s 52 Moves.  Nia then weaves the moves into the Nia Routine choreography.  This move Stepping Back Onto The Ball Of Your Foot is part of our Base Moves.  It is done with the feet and legs and they are a part of the base.

This move is described on page 123 of the Nia Technique book written by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas and you can purchase it from Amazon.

As I have said many times there is a proper way to do all moves and while you are practicing them and learning them you do it the proper way.  Then as you come across it in a Nia class while doing a Nia routines your body will know the proper way yet be able to adapt to the choreography that you are dancing at the moment.

So to practice this move you can start in Open Stance.  Then with one leg step back onto the ball of foot.  When stepping back pull the leg straight behind not to either side.  Keep the foot parallel to the stationary foot, don’t turn the heel.  As is indicated step back onto the ball of the foot.  Keep the spine up and the heel high off of the earth.  Then shift your weight onto the foot of which you just stepped back on and take the other foot off the ground.  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, ZumbaYour torso is upright, pelvis, chest, shoulders, chin, eyes facing forward.  Do the same movement with the other foot.  You don’t necessarily always have to start in open stance.

After you are comfortable with the stationary start, walk around and stop and step into the move.

This move helps with the mobility and flexibility in the foot.  It also helps create or improve stability in the ankle.  It helps with balance, especially if you hang out for a measured amount of time on the ball of your foot!

At the moment I can think of one routine in which we step back onto the ball of foot as a large portion of one of the dances.  I know we step back all the time, but in this routine I think of one of the songs as “showcasing” this move.  The choreography calls for lifting the leg of the foot that is off the ground.  Or doing a knee lift.  So that is a good example of the variations that Nia choreography uses with its 52 Moves.

Well, what do you think about this move?  Can you see how it helps with mobility and flexibility in the foot?

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Nia – Sink and Pivot Table Wipe

Posted by terrepruitt on June 22, 2013

One of Nia’s 52 Moves is the Sink and Pivot Table Wipe.  Ha!  Sounds funny.  I always think of cleaning when I say this move in class, but not many people LIKE to clean so I don’t like to remind them of cleaning while we are in our Joy!  There are many other ways to describe the movement, but “table wipe” really gets the point across.  It could be a dramatic sweep of the table.  Regardless of what spirit might have me say in the midst of the move there is a particular way to do it.  As with all of Nia’s 52 Moves there is a specific way to do it.  And . . . as I have said . . . often times the specifics are adjusted to work into the song and the moment’s choreography.  To me the Sink and Pivot Table Wipe is a combination of an arm movement and a bow stance.

To practice the Sink and Pivot Table Wipe you start in an A Stance.  Doing one side at a time, say the left, you would place your left arm out.  As you lift up your left foot you turn your body towards the right, your left arm sweeps across the horizon to the right.  Your left foot lands gently on the earth on the ball of your foot and your left leg is bent.  Your right leg is also bent.  The bent legs become the “sink” part of the move.  Your arm sweeping is the wiping part of the move.  That “table” part is the imaginative part of the move to assist in knowing how the arms sweeps.  The arm is straight out and just moves parallel to the ground.  Doing the other side, you would you would place your right arm out.  As you lift up your right foot you turn your body towards the left, your right arm sweeps out and around to the left.  You place your right ball of foot gently on the floor with your right leg bent.  Your left leg is also bent.  The legs are similar to a bow stance.

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, ZumbaIn most instances — the ones I can think of — in the choreography, I usually do a tiny hop so that my front foot ends up with the toes facing the same direction as the foot in the back, the foot that is “ball of foot”.  So as I continue to say, the instructions in The Nia Technique book* show the exact perfect way to do a move.  Which is the way to learn it, but then once you know the move the choreography dictates the exact way it is done.

The book recommends the word “Whoosh” be said while doing this move.  Of course that is just one of many words and sounds that can be made.  Sounds are dictated by so many things.  The “Whoosh” can be used in the practice of the move, if you would like.  When in a Nia class anything goes!

I believe this move is a great stability move because as I said I am normally moving both feet in order to sink, pivot, and wipe the table so I need to “land” stable.  Also, I think it is great for the legs because any sink type of move helps condition them.  It is also good for coordination because you are moving both the upper body and lower body at the same time, but in a little different manner.

Tee hee . . . . it is really great for a lot of things, depends on what you put into it.  The last couple of times I did it in the current Nia routine I am doing I had the class stretching the arm as far as they could reach as they wiped that table.  It was a HUGE table and we wanted to wipe it all in one pass!

So what do you imagine you are doing when you do this move?

*The Nia Technique written by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas

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Nia Routines I’ve Learned

Posted by terrepruitt on May 9, 2013

I teach Nia.  I actually like to say I lead Nia because to me teaching a dance is more instructive.  What I think of as teaching is the type of class where the instructor demonstrates a step or two then the students do the steps a few times, then the instructor demonstrates more steps and the students practice them.  Eventually the steps are strung together in a dance.  But in my Nia cardio classes it is just lead follow.  I do – you follow.  I give verbal instructions and/or verbal guides but it is not the type of instructional class where I show you, then you do, then we practice and then we string all the steps together.  So I guess it is not an “instructional” or “instructed” dance class.  But I do teach by example.  You follow my lead.  In order to be a Nia teacher I had to take the Nia White Belt Intensive.  I have talked about this before, but to review the White Belt is the first level of Nia.  The White Belt Intensive is over 50 hours of instruction and is open to anyone.  Individuals do not have to have the intent to teach.  The Nia White Belt Intensive is about the body so anyone is welcome to join and learn.  In order to be a Nia teacher there is an additional licensing fee.  The fee is due annually and it includes four routines that we, as teachers, agree to learn per year.  I was just looking at my DVDs.  I have two routines that I have not learned.  I have 19 that I have learned.  I have been teaching almost four and half years so I am keeping up with the four per year schedule.

Now, I want to clarify that I have learned 19 routines.  That means that I basically did the bars and have shared 19 routines with my students.  That means I roughly know those 19 routines.  I could stand up right now and lead you through some of them, but some of them I would have to look at my bars, and some of them I would have to study my bars.  But I also feel I am better at just doing.  While I want to do the routine as per the choreography, I am not as afraid as I once was to just DO the routine.

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, ZumbaWhen I am preparing to do a different routine for my class sometimes I have a chance to practice and sometimes I don’t.  I will look at my bars for each song.  Sometimes I look at the first few lines and think, “Oh yeah, I know this one.”  Then when I am leading it my body and my mind don’t remember it as well as I thought and I just dance through it, but then when I get home I look more closely at my bars or re-watch the DVD.  It really is about moving and having fun.  As long as we are moving and we are doing it close enough then it is good.  Then, like I said, I come home to get the choreography better established in my head and body!

The routines I have learned are:

Alive – Carlos AyaRosas
Amethyst – Debbie Rosas
Aya – Carlos Rosas
Beyond – Debbie Rosas and Ann Christiansen
Birth – Debbie Rosas and Collaborators
Canta – Carlos Rosas
Clarity – Carlos Rosas
White Belt Dream Walker – Carlos Rosas
Earthsong – Carlos Rosas
Global Unity
Humanity – Carlos AyaRosas
Miracle – Carlos Rosas
Opal – Debbie Rosas
Passion – Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas
Sanjana – Debbie Rosas
San Medusa – Helen Terry
Sexi – Carlos Rosas
Velvet – Debbie Rosas
Vibe – Debbie Rosas

The names of the routines that I have on my shelf that I need to learn are Butterfly and Oshun.  I just renewed so I have four routines that I need to pick out as my new routines.  Picking routines is always a challenge because everyone has such different tastes.  Some people LOVE, LOVE, LOVE some of the routines I have and I don’t love them.  So for me it is a difficult decision.  I try to pick routines that I think my students will like, but then that is just a guess.  I know which ones they like out of the ones I teach because they request them often.

If you were just picking a routine from the name which one would you pick?  As a Nia student which one out of this list is your favorite?  What about Nia teachers, which is your favorite out of this list?

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Fifty-Two Movements – It’s A Class

Posted by terrepruitt on April 6, 2013

You might have read my post about a couple of Nia Celebrities coming to the San Francisco Bay Area (for that post, click here) and around this month (April 2013).  Well, they arrived this week and have been doing classes since Thursday.  Today was the class in Palo Alto at the Equinox (Gym).  The classes are scheduled around the North Bay, East Bay, and Peninsula.  The class was great.  The 52 in the title refers to what the classes was about.  All of the classes in this series are based on the 52 moves of Nia.  I have posted about the Nia Moves before.  They are not uniquely Nia moves, but Nia has compiled them and bases our routines on them.  Nia has also set guidelines as to how they are to be done.  As I have also mentioned in my posts about the 52 Nia Moves, when they are included in a dance sometimes they are not done exactly to specifications.  Anyway . . . this class was definitely interesting.  I love the gathering of Nia people.  And when a celeb is in town the energy is astronomical.  There are – as of today, April 06, 2013, a few chances left to take a class with Debbie Rosas (one of Nia’s founders) and Nia Trainer Kevin VerEecke.  If you can make it I recommend it.

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, ZumbaAs I just mentioned it is always fun to gather and dance with Nia people.  This time was really great for me because several of my students were in attendance.  I love that they were able to take a class with Debbie.  She is like many successful company leaders . . . dynamic and a force of her own.  I think that when you can be in the presence of the person who started something (whether it be a fitness craze, a company, a restaurant, whatever) you get a different understanding of the workout (company, restaurant, etc.).  Even if you are just in the same space as the person and you observe them without even talking to them . . . you get a better sense of things.  Being able to be in a Nia class led by the founder of Nia is really an education.

This type of class is a different direction for Nia.  It is not a dance exercise class it is an exercise class where we do a move from the 52 moves for a minute.  The moves and the timing is not based on the music they use a timer.  Most moves were done slow, then fast, and then as fast as you can.  They are calling it Interval Training, but it seems to copy the “Intermittent Training” formula that Zumba uses.  So it reminds me of a Zumba class without the dancing.  It is truly an exercise class with loud music and a lot of sweat!

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, ZumbaIt is easy to do all 52 Nia Moves in an hour especially if you are doing one a minute.  With nineteen of the 52 Nia Moves being movements done with the arms, hands, and/or fingers they are easily combined with foot and body movements.  So we were even able to do a few of the moves for more than one one minute cycle.  But not all Nia routines have all 52 moves so this is another way to get a great workout in!

I am usually torn at a Nia event because I want to dance . . . . I don’t want to miss a moment, but I also want to take pictures to document the event.  This exercise class was a little easier to break away from because they were either doing the move slow or fast, so I could jump right back in and be right on the mark.

Here are a few shots that I took.  As you can see everyone is happy, sweaty, and having a fabulous time!

Have you ever met the creator of something you love?  Did you find it exciting?  Are you going to make it to one of these Nia 52 Moves classes?

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Celebrity Visits

Posted by terrepruitt on March 23, 2013

Whether you do Nia, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, country western dance, motor-cycle race, play tennis, or just about anything there are the “Gods” or celebrities of the practice/dance/sport.  Often the “Gods” or gurus are the masters or the top teachers, but sometimes it is the CREATOR himself/herself.  That is when the event is really rockin’.  That is when the events sell out or get so crowded it is crazy.  Well, Nia is going through a lot of changes and they have been working for a couple of years training the top instructors to move up even further to become top trainers.  The male of the male-female combo that created Nia, Carlos AyaRosas (FKA Carlos Rosas) retired a bit ago, so that left the female creator to continue on.  She is coming to the San Francisco Bay Area . . . . . which is a rather large area.  She is going to be in the North Bay, the East Bay, and the Peninsula.  And it is going to be rockin’.  She and a top trainer are going to be here.

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

April 2013

Debbie Rosas is the (co-)creator of Nia.  Kevin VerEecke is a Nia Trainer.  They are going to be in the San Francisco Bay Area in the beginning of April (2013).  They are going to have seven classes.  It is going to be incredible.  Every thing has its superstars, its celebrities and these are ours.  It is really exciting.

I took my Nia White Belt Intensive at the Nia Headquarters in Portland.  The trainers doing the intensive were Debbie and Carlos.  Plus they were here for a “Spirit of Nia” tour within the last four years.  So I have met them both.  I have never met Kevin.

I am excited that Debbie and Kevin will be here sharing the Nia experience.  The classes that they are going to be doing are 52 Moves classes.  While we have a basic set of 52 Moves we don’t typically do all 52 in every Nia Routine.  We do many, but not usually all.  In these classes they are going to lead us through all 52 Moves.  There are going to be seven chances to check it out.

The first class that will be held will be with Keven VerEecke only in San Rafael.  Then Friday’s classes, Saturday’s Classes, and Sunday’s Classes will be both Debbie and Kevin.

The flyer indicates that all classes will have a different playlist.  I guess for some people that is important.  I know Nia enough to know that all seven classes could be the same EXACT playlist yet all seven classes could be totally different.  That is the beauty of Nia.  And with two masters leading the dance it wouldn’t matter.  BUT . . . the flyer does indicate all classes will have different play lists.

I hope you will take this opportunity.  Nia is always fun, but when you have the creator up in front of a room full of people who are there to dance, move, and have fun there is no way you can experience anything but MAGIC.

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The Nature In And Of Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on March 7, 2013

At the present time I am fortunate enough to be holding Nia classes at four different locations in San Jose.  Each location allows me to meet different people.  At one of the locations I have been teaching for four years and some of my students have been coming to my classes that long.  At three of my locations I am a new teacher and Nia is new.  Most of the people are new to me.  It is exciting to met new people and discover new relationships.  There is the relationships between my students and me and there is the relationship between Nia and the students.  One of my students told me after one class that she loved the part of Nia where we compare things to nature.  The specific example she stated was “tickling the clouds”.  She said that the mention of nature in Nia reminded her of one of her favorite poets, Mary Oliver.  She asked me if I had heard of Mary Oliver or if I was familiar with her.  I said no.  I also said that I would look her up.  Well, the following week, my student came into class and handed me a copy of two poems.  As soon as she held out the paper, I remembered that I had said I would look up the poet and that I had forgotten.  I gratefully took the paper without reading the poems because class was about to start.  After our class there is another class so I did not stop at that time to read the poem either.  It was not until today I picked up the paper to read the poem.  On the second line I realized I HAD heard this before and I laughed.  This very poem or at least a portion of it is in the Nia White Belt Manual.

I thought it was funny that my student related Mary Oliver’s work to Nia and obviously so did the creators of Nia, Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, because they put this poem in the manual.  Only the first few lines are in the manual, but I recognized it right away.

The lines are:

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

From Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese poem.

That portion of the poem is at the very beginning of the section which is Principle #1, The Joy of Movement.  The last line of that section really struck me.

I want to continue to share with my students that a Nia class is not just about learning the moves and doing a routine.  It is about doing what the body loves.  It is about their relationship to their body.  It is about their relationship to Nia.  To me that is why we do a routine over and over.  That is also HOW we do a routine over and over and not get bored with it.  If we move and let our body do what it loves then it is moving in a different way.  Once we have done a routine a few times we can play.  We can move lower . . . if that it what the body loves . . . we can move higher . . . if that is what a body loves . . . all the time moving in the general pattern of the routine.  It is when we are not in tune or when we cannot let go, that the routine is tiring or boring.  If we are only moving the way it was choreographed and not putting our spirit into the moves it is as if we are walking through a desert on our knees.  Suffering through a workout.  UGH!  Repenting for the cream we had in our coffee, the workout we missed yesterday, or the cookie we had at lunch.

I used to do a different routine every class.  I thought people would get bored with the same routine.  But then I realized that the more I knew the music and the choreography the more fun I had and the more playful I could be.  I asked my class and they said they liked the fact that after doing the routine a few times they, too, could be less concerned with the choreography and more aware of their own spirit, dance, and play.  So it is a relationship with Nia and the body that we are building and experiencing in a Nia class, we are not just learning a routine, we are not just moving through choreography.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I work on a routine schedule, playing with it to see what works.  I want to ensure my students don’t get bored, yet I want them to build a relationship with Nia.  I want them to be able to dance and play with the routines.

I love that my student shared her thoughts with me.  To me that is me being able to witness her budding relationship with Nia.  I love that because of my thoughts about repeatedly doing a routine, I was able to look at this poem and relate it to that.  Like many things I might look at it sometime from now and have it relate to something else.  My relationship with it might change, just as my relationship with my students and with Nia will change and grow.  That is the nature of it all.

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Nia Stance Sounds

Posted by terrepruitt on January 5, 2013

There are a few posts on my blog about sounding in Nia.  I even have a separate category for it.  See over there to the left under categories, under Nia?  Sounding is what we call making noise in a Nia class.  Sounding is great for many reasons.  Sounding is a release.  It can help release tension, emotions, spirit . . . whatever needs “releasing”.  Sounding is fun.  Sounding can assist in the stabilization of the torso.  Sounding can help ground you . . . physically, emotionally, and your spirit.  Often times when I am doing Nia both when I am teaching and when I am a student, my spirit just makes a sound.  I don’t plan it, I don’t think about it, a noise just comes out.  I “woo” a lot.  But sometimes other sounds comes out.  Sometimes the sound I make makes me laugh because I really don’t think about the sound, something just comes out.  I could be thinking of something, for example, maybe the move we are doing reminds me of a swirling skirt, so then the sound could be a “whosh” as in the sound of a skirt, or it could be a giggle of a girl twirling in a skirt.  I don’t always think about the sound I just let it out.  Sometimes I do think of the sound.  Sounding can be purposeful.  The noise can have a purpose.  I have posted about healing sounds and sounds associated with the chakras.  This post is about the sounds that are associated with Nia stances, which are part of Nia’s 52 moves.

TheDance 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, SJCityFit picture in this post is an approximation of how MY feet would be placed in the various stances.  Remember that your stances would probably be slightly different.  The width would be according to YOUR body and your body’s way.  The picture is just to give you an idea and maybe help remind you of the various stances.  At this time I have a post associated with four of the six stances.

In Nia’s closed stance the sound is the vowel sound “o”.  The sound is made to “create volume in your chest cavity”.

In Nia’s open stance the sound is (to say) “balance” or “ground”.  Saying the word “balance” can assist you in your balance.  The word “ground” can assist with allowing you to feel grounded and sense balance.

The sound for Nia’s “A” stance is “aaaaahh!”.  You say it on an exhale.  Letting out all your breath until you are ready to inhale.

Sumo stance or riding stance (feet as wide apart as if you were riding a horse) has an explosive sound.  Say “ha!”  To me this helps with stabilization.

The bow stance has a sound of “u”.  The bow stance is done with either foot in front, not just with the left foot in front as shown in the example.

The cat stance (standing on one foot, with the other foot pressed against the standing leg) has the sound “wooooooo” associated with it.  This is done on the exhale.  This stance is also done on the other foot and not just the left one as in the example.

So as you are practicing the Nia stances you can use the sounds associated with them for added benefit and fun.  It is just fun to make noise.  To me it adds to the experience.  In my classes I encourage people to make any noise they want.  I also like to play with the noises, sounds, and words associated with the move.

Do you attend a dance exercise class  or exercise that encourages you to make noise?

Information regarding the sounds made with the Nia stances can be found in The Nia Technique book written by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas (NKA, Carlos AyaRosas).  The book can be purchased from Amazon.

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Knee Sweep – One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on August 30, 2012

Now, I know that I’ve been doing the knee sweep a lot longer than I have been doing Nia.  So it is true that Nia’s 52 moves are not necessarily unique to Nia, but they are part of the core of Nia.  You will find a large portion of Nia’s 52 moves in every routine.  There are correct ways to do them, but Nia allows for the body’s way and also, I believe Nia allows for the move to be incorporated into the dance.  For instance, The Nia Technique book states that the starting position for a knee sweep is the sumo stance.  I am sure that I have done a knee sweep from a sumo stance at one time, but the first dance that pops into my head where we do the knee sweep it is not from a sumo position.  But the by the book (oh, yeah, that reminds me, “BUY THE BOOK!” 🙂 ), anyway, the by-the-book version of the knee sweep starts from a sumo position, complete with arms in ready position and everything.  Then the body rises as you come up on one leg bringing the other leg up with a bent knee.  The knee crosses the midline of the body, the opposite hand “pushes” the knee out.  The knee swings out so the pelvis is open.  Then the leg comes down and the foot lands on the earth.  That is the knee sweep of Nia’s 52 moves.

The book does not indicate that when your foot comes down it is in the toes-to-the-front position, but that is how I teach it.  I don’t want my students landing on their foot with their knee out to the side.  If we are just doing knee sweeps as an exercise, maybe I would have them do that, because they would be aware of the torque in their hip, but probably not.

When I was first doing this move in Nia I was trying to do it as the book shows and as many of the people on the Nia instructional DVDs do and as the instructor does (whether it be Debbie Rosas or Carlos AyaRosas).  And that was with the knee out to the side very wide.  REALLY opening the pelvis.  But when I did that I noticed a “something” – I don’t know what it was, but it was something – in my lower back.  So I decided that opening my hip that wide and having my leg out that far was not MY body’s way, so I do not do that.  I share with my students that I found the comfortable spot to be about as far as my forearms can reach.  I “glue” my elbows to my sides and hold my forearms out to the side.  As far as they can go is as far as I allow my knee to go.  That is what works for me.

Some of the time that we are doing the knee sweep it is at the end of a “up-two-three-four (knee sweep), back-two-three-four (knee sweep)”.  So that would not allow for the sumo position to be the start.  Other times we are standing upright.  As I said, I am sure I have done it from the sumo position because I bet it is in a routine I am not thinking of.  But the ones I am thinking of it is done from a walking or standing position.

The amazing thing about the knee sweep is that it calls for the knee to cross the midline of the body.  So that means that if you were doing a left knee sweep (with your left leg) your left knee would enter into the right hemisphere of your body.  If you were doing a right knee sweep (with your right leg) your right knee would enter into the right hemisphere of your body.  It is a great thing when your limbs cross the midline.  It helps stimulate the brain.  So there is a reason in many exercise routines and cardio classes that we have you do “cross overs”.

The knee sweep is one of those moves that requires balance.  Since at one point you are standing on one leg, you will be able to improve your balance or practice what you have.  Also the moving of the leg helps with that stability.  Standing on one leg helps with strength and opening the hip helps with mobility and flexibility.   The knee sweep of Nia’s 52 moves does a body and brain good!

Are you familiar with this move?  Have you done it before in your exercise class?  Did you give it a try?

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