Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘Eric Franklin’

Dance Conditioning Tips — Not Just For Dance

Posted by terrepruitt on October 13, 2011

Almost a year ago one of my Nia students let me borrow a book, Conditioning for Dance.  Even though I had it for a week I didn’t take time to look at it in-depth.  But I like what I saw enough to buy the book.  A year later and I still have not looked at it in-depth, but again, when I pick it up and thumb through it, pausing to read here and there I love what I see.  Eric Franklin’s idea coincide a lot with Nia and many mind body practices.  I touched upon this in my original post Dance Conditioning.

The ideas he has shared in this book are somewhat like the Nia White Belt Principles in that they can be applied to more than just the workout or the technique, they can be applied to life.  In th beginning portion of the book Franklin talks about how sometimes when dancers are unable to perform a step, often the first thought is it is because the dancer is not strong enough.  So the dancer then works to build strength in the muscles required to do the particular step.  But it is not always because they are not strong enough, sometimes it is because they have other issues.  So getting stronger to power through the move will not necessarily allow them to do the move correctly, but it allows the issues to be reinforced.  If you are doing something incorrectly because of other issues continuing to do it without resolving those issues just enforces the issues.

His tips in regards to the above can be applied to life.

-When doing a task sense your body.  Learn to recognize when it is out of alignment or what behavior causes it to be out of alignment then practice doing that same task in a different way that allows your body to stay in alignment.

I know so many people who are in physical pain, it is my belief that many of them are because we do things without thinking and we do things that actually cause our bodies to be out of alignment.  When sitting at your desk at work do a body check.  Are you sitting up or are you slouched over?  Are your legs crossed?  Is your mouse so far away from your hand that you have to lean forward and/or really extend your arm?  These types of things that we do over and over and actually work our bodies into a state of misalignment.  I remember walking into a friend’s cube while she was working and after watching for a second I asked her what she was doing?  She responded that she didn’t know what I was talking about.  I said she was having to practically get out of her chair as she leaned forward to use her mouse.  She looked confused and then shrugged.  I suggested she move her mouse pad closer to her and she shrugged and did.  No, my friend is not stupid, she was just focused on working and never stopped to really think about her body and its alignment.  She just “did” because that was the way it was.  There are probably a lot of things — little things, just like that — we can do to help our body’s alignment.  Just sense your body as you go through your daily tasks.

-Imagine yourself doing the task.  Imagine all that it will require to complete the job then go through it mentally.  While imagining, sense the muscles that are used.

This is an easy one to apply to everyday. Whatever it is that you want to do imagine doing it beforehand and it will help you be aware of your body before you even begin the task. And this could also allow you to think of things that might slow you down if you had not thought of it before had. It will allow you to be better prepared.

-Seek the help of experts.

People that have done what you want to do before are always a great resource in life.

-Think positive.  If there are problems or issues think about them work to find solutions, but don’t dwell on them and allow them to affect your performance.

Thinking positive is a great tool and becoming so much more widely accepted as actually having benefit. Everyone has problems. Thinking positive doesn’t mean you don’t have problems it just means you don’t dwell on them.

-Work on flexibility making sure it the body is balanced.

In life it is good to be flexible, but you also need to have balance. Can’t be so flexible you become wishy-washy.

-Participate in strength training and do exercise that will help you reach your goal.

Strength training has so many benefits in everyday life, it is good for anyone at any age.

-Find ways to increase alignment without causing tension.

Everyone has different ideas on how to be aligned and in balance. But it should become a source of great stress in your life, so try to find ways to be balanced that will add to the ease and relaxation.

In his book Franklin goes into more detail and relates it specifically to dance. Here I was using my own words and trying to “vague it” up a bit so that it would be obvious how dance training tips could be applied directly to anyone’s life.

So amazing.  I am always amazed how our Nia White Belt Principles that we use in our dance practice can be applied to life.  But then, to me, that is what makes it a practice.  So I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised .  . . and I really wasn’t, I was excited, that these tips for dance could be applied to more than just dance conditioning.

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Dance Conditioning

Posted by terrepruitt on November 4, 2010

One of my San Jose Nia class students lent me a book*.  With all that is going on I haven’t gotten to get into it in depth but I read the beginning and I love it.  I was very happy to see that this particular book addressed whole body conditioning.

The author, Eric Franklin (yes, THE Eric Franklin), says that aerobic training is necessary for dancers.  Yet, he states that dancers are able to achieve what they do because their training involves presence and awareness.  He is talking about the mind body connection.  In Nia we call it body mind connection because we go to the intelligence of the body.  Either way the idea is that they are both connected and when exercising the benefits are greater when they are working as one.

This book is wonderful because it states much of the same information that is incorporated into Nia.  That your state of mind and attitude has an effect on your movements and results.  That is just a small example.

It also states the same information we actually apply to personal training.  Such as, training specifically for a specific result—the Principle of Specificity.  Also it talks about the Principle of Progressive Overload–how you need to increase the intensity in order to improve.  But it also advises you to listen to your body and learn to work with it.

I need to spend more time reading it to see what else he has to say.  I will definitely do another post on it because it has much more information in it and it is so exciting to see that it mimics so many other things I have learned.  It matches up with so much information from other fitness modalities and the information they are saying.  It is nice to hear that so many people are recognizing the mind-body / body-mind connection.  It has been happening for awhile now, it is just nice that it is getting so “mainstream”.  It is exciting to see we are all on the same page—whole body conditioning is better conditioning.

*Conditioning for Dance you can purchase through Amazon, its under “Interesting Reading”.

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