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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Posts Tagged ‘exercise class’

An Additional Responsibility You Might Not Have Been Aware Of

Posted by terrepruitt on June 12, 2017

I want to share something with you that I imagine not everyone thinks about. But when you attend a training — at least the ones that I have attended — it is part of the training. Many people will easily admit to knowing that an instructor or teacher of an exercise class is responsible for instructing the students on how to do an exercise correctly. In Nia we talk about the Body’s Way . . . the way in which the body was designed to move and also YOUR body’s way . . . the way in which YOUR (each individual) body moves. So we encourage people to move in their own way, but we also keep in mind the general safety guidelines. In keeping with the way the body was designed a lot of safety is built in. As an instructor in a class we instruct the students on how to move and exercise safely. Part of our jobs as instructors is to watch the participants to make sure they are doing things – moving – in a safe way. That is something that all of my trainings have included and something that most people are aware of. Another thing, the thing that some might not think about, is that we are responsible for the students’ safety in other ways. We are responsible for ensuring that other things and other people do not affecting the safety of our class. So in other words, when someone comes into the room where the class is being taught to grab equipment. The instructor is responsible for making certain that the person does not drop equipment on or in the path of a student. So we have to adjust our attention away from teaching and away from our own students to keep an eye on the person that has come into the room. We are responsible for what goes on in the class we are teaching.

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, SJCityFitI feel that some people don’t think about that or perhaps they don’t understand it. Perhaps they have never taken a class where you are concentrating on what you are doing, so they don’t realize what a distraction it is when someone comes into the room. Also, they might not realize that the teacher is responsible for the students and their safety so the teacher gets distracted from their teaching when people come into the room to get equipment for another class. It happens often when an exercise room is also where the equipment is kept. I’ve even taught at places where there has been Audio-visual equipment kept in the room and it – apparently, needed to be retrieved during the middle of the class.

In many cases the instructors are instructed to not let people just take equipment out of the room, so not only are we responsible for the safety of the students, but for the safety of the equipment. Most venues don’t want people just walking in and removing equipment from the room. We, as instructors, are asked to keep that from happening. So not only is the teaching being interrupted, but the teacher is supposed to not let the person who has entered the room take equipment. It is completely disruptive. In addition to interfering with the class that is being taught, it puts the students safety at risk. The teacher has to turn her attention away from what the students are doing in order to give attention to the person that is removing equipment from the room. Even if it is a staff member it is completely disruptive. Despite the fact the person entering the room has authority to do so AND is allowed to move equipment, the instructor has to refocus away from the class onto the person that has entered the room.

One thing I am pretty certain about, the students in a class that is continually interrupted, they know. They know that the instructor has to stop teaching them to figure out what it going on. They know that the person entering the room is disrupting their focus and their class. It could all be chalked up to a lesson in living in the moment and focusing, but when it happens all the time they feel disrespected. They have paid to be in the class, they have taken time out of their schedule to be there, and then it gets interrupted. They know it is not right, because they too refocus, but for different reasons than the instructor.

If you’ve left a class and accidentally leave something behind and have to interrupt the next class to get your item, that is understandable. Ya run in, ya look apologetic, ya grab your item, and ya run out. That happens. We all forget things. It is when someone enters to remove equipment – even if it is quick, but especially if they have to move things and decide what they are taking – that the disruption occurs.

Sometimes it can’t be avoided that equipment is stored in the class.  Often times there are classes that use the equipment, but when the equipment is needed for a different class than is being held in the room, the equipment should be removed from the room beforehand.  The students deserve the respect of an uninterrupted class.  They also deserve to have the teacher watching to make sure they are moving safely for the entire class.

What do you think?  Have you ever had a class you were in be interrupted? 

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Foot Cramps – OWW!

Posted by terrepruitt on March 6, 2017

Muscle cramps are awful, especially when you are exercising and totally focused and then you get a cramp.  You could be in a yoga pose, feeling all zen, then the next thing you know – you are in pain.  Muscle cramps seem to affect everyone so know that you are not alone if it is happening to you.  I was told a long time ago that a muscle cramp COULD be from trying to recruit other muscles to do the job.  I cannot remember the specific details of the cramp I would get, but I do remember thinking, “Yeah, that sounds about right because what you are having me do is very difficult for me, so I can see my other muscle trying to do the work.”  It could also be that the limb is in an unusual position and it causes a cramp.  Or it is gripping too hard.  Seems to me that the most common muscle cramp I see is in the foot.

The poses that cause the cramps range from standing balance poses to sitting poses.  So the pose that causes the cramp is not all that common or the same, but a foot cramp seems to be the most common.

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, SJCityFitThe first thought that comes to mind when a cramp comes on is, “Are you hydrated?”  Cramps tend to occur when we are dehydrated.  So making sure that we have enough water especially before exercising is very important.

Then there are some nutrients that might be causing the issue if there is a deficiency.  Not enough potassium, calcium or magnesium could be the cause of cramps.  Perhaps having a banana before class could help.

Cramps could also be caused by lack of blood to the muscle or a compressed nerve.  So sometimes just moving the foot can help relieve the muscle contraction.

Movement that might help prevent cramps in the feet would be to point and flex the foot and circle the ankle.  Move the foot with the hands.  Take the foot in both hands and just manipulate it.  Move the foot all ways, bending and straighten out the arch, move each toe – remembering that the foot and ankle are made up of 26 bones and over 100 muscles.  Try to affect them all.  You want to ensure the foot is warmed up and ready to serve you.

The second thought that comes to me when someone has a cramp is: pinch your nose, the septum to be exact – really hard.  Most people look at me really odd.  But I learned that a long time ago when I had a cramp, someone told me to do it.  Recently someone else agreed with having heard that before, too.  I guess when I am having a cramp I pretty much am willing to do anything to make it stop so pinching my nose and causing pain elsewhere sounds good to me, as long as the cramp stops.  And, it usually does for me, I can’t get anyone else to try that method.  🙂

So, the other alternative is to move, as I mentioned before – perhaps get the blood flowing back to the muscle or perhaps relieve the pressure.  Also, massaging the foot might help.  Try relaxing the foot, sometimes that painful contraction happens during a standing balance pose so there are times less gripping of the standing foot can help.

There are things that can be done to hopefully help prevent the foot cramp and to relieve it when it happens.  But if it does happen know that you are not alone.  If it happens ALL the time, then it might be a good idea to see a doctor to make sure there is not an underlying cause.

Do you get cramps when you exercise?  Do you get cramps when doing yoga?  Is there a specific pose that leads to your muscles cramp?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

THAT’S Not Dance

Posted by terrepruitt on October 10, 2016

I know that I have written posts about how different people think of different things as exercise.  I have written about how some people don’t think that a shimmy is exercise.  Whether they don’t THINK of it as something that should be IN an exercise CLASS or they just don’t think they get any benefit from it.  Some people just don’t think of dance as exercise.  I know I even mentioned that TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have changed the way some people think.  Some people understand that dancing can be considered exercise.  But I don’t think I have ever talked about how some people don’t consider all dance dancing.  I might have but I don’t know that I have and it was something I was thinking about recently.  I was thinking that not all “dancing” is considered dancing by everyone.

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, SJCityFitI was asked to substitute teach a class called Dance Fit.  I had asked several times what “Dance Fit” was, but the response was that the students would be happy to just move to music.  I had a feeling that the person answering just wanted to make sure that they had a teacher so that they would have a class.  So I had been thinking about what I could do.  Then I was also thinking about how I was recently at a festival where I overheard some people talking about a particular person there dancing.  They were saying that he wasn’t really dancing.  They were saying that they thought he wasn’t hearing the music.  They just weren’t “getting” his movements.  And I was looking at him and I thought it was fine.  I could see how his movements fit with the music . . . to me.  I thought that he looked as if he was completely dancing in a way that his body was responding to the music.  He looked like he was in the moment.  He looked as if he was having fun.  It was fine to me.

But later I realized that not everyone thinks of all movement as dance.  A ballerina might not consider clogging dancing.  A ballroom dancer might not consider the pony (remember that move?) a dance.  Someone used to doing Latin motion with their hips might not consider a chorus line kick part of a dance.  So perhaps those women had specific ideas of what dance is and so they didn’t consider his body movements dance at all.

I think that might happen when it comes to Nia.  Some people might not consider a front kick or an upward block a dance movement.  People that are accustomed to all the Latin dance steps that are in Zumba they might not consider a jazz square a dance move.  Just like some people might not consider a shimmy something that should be in an “exercise class”, some people might think a move such as rock around the clock or a duck walk isn’t really dance and shouldn’t be in a dance exercise class.  I think I have overlooked that fact.  Hmmmm.

Well, I had decided to not try to create something or TRY to do something that the class MIGHT like – because I really had no idea.  I decided to do something tried and true.  I decided to do something I do best.  I decided to teach Nia.  And they loved it.  The supervisor was totally correct in saying that the class just loved to dance and they want to move.  They were fabulous.  We had a lot of fun.  Nia is a great “product”, it is a great technique.  And when people who like to move get to experience we get to have fun.  I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks where I get to fill in as a sub.  The students are all about movement of the body being dance and they do great.  I was concerned about it for no reason.

What about you?  Do you think of only certain moves as DANCE?  Do you have a broad definition of dance?

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

Try Something Other Than What You Want

Posted by terrepruitt on February 17, 2016

I know I have said that if you are trying an exercise class go at least three times before you decide you don’t like it.  Have you seen me say that before?  I think that in order for you to decide you honestly don’t like it you need to try it at least three times.  I think there are enough factors in a group exercise class that you have to experience it more than once to make an educated decision.  I also think that sometimes what you want is not what you need, so you might want to step out into the unknown.

As I said there are many reasons not to like a class, if you think it is the instructor, don’t condemn the whole modality.  If you go to a Jazzercise class and the instructor runs around the room shouting encouragement at individuals and that is not your style, try a different teacher.  If the Zumba teacher only plays one type of music instead of sticking to the Zumba formula, try a different teacher . . . but it doesn’t seem fair to you nor Zumba if you claim you don’t like Zumba.  If you can, it is really nice to give that instructor another chance, but time is short and so sometimes that might not be the answer.  Every teacher has her own style and it might not be one you like, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t like the exercise.

Also keep in mind that you are only seeing one routine, and those change.  If you go to a Nia class and think you don’t like it, try it again because the routines can be vastly different.  It is good to check out the different routines.  Also, find an appropriate class for your level.  If you take a circuit training class and it is too difficult try a different one or talk to the teacher.

When it comes to yoga, though, I would like to suggest a way to find the appropriate yoga class for you.  Try the opposite of what you WANT.  If you want to lie around on cushions in poses for 5 minutes at a time, try a more active class.  If you want a super aggressive active fast-paced class try a restorative class (lying around on cushions).  If you want gentle yoga try a class that you think might be tough.  You might walk out of class thinking, “Wow!  That was great.  I never would have thought.”

It could be that while you are in the class you are thinking that you wish the torture would end.  And by torture I mean, if you are a very active person and you want to be in a power yoga class and you take a restorative class and are having to lie still for ten minutes . . . that can be torture. If you just wanted to lie around on props and you are having to hold your left leg up for 45 seconds while twisting to the right and grabbing your right foot that might be torture.  But with the right teacher you will be able to do the yoga that is being taught in the class and you will walk out saying, “That is exactly what I needed.”

There are so many different types of yoga and yoga is only regulated when it is trade-marked and there are licenses to teach otherwise yoga class definitions vary.  Classes with the same names can vary greatly.

I am not saying to go to a class that is way beyond your level, but I am suggesting to try something you may not have normally thought of doing.  As I said, you might end up getting what you really need when you don’t go after what you want.

What type of yoga do you normally do?  What classes have your tried?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Practice Makes It Possible

Posted by terrepruitt on December 10, 2015

I’ve been thinking lately about when a student once asked me what exercises to do so that s/he would be able to do yoga.  My reply was to just do the poses.  I explained that doing the pose in the way that s/he could at that moment is the way to “do yoga”.  I got the feeling that this answer was not satisfactory, because the look on her/his face.  Then the following week after class, the student had a little booklet.  This person said that her/his spouse was given the booklet by their doctor and was told to do the exercises.  The question being asked was what exercise could the student do that would enable her/him to do yoga.  I softly sighed and took the booklet and flipped through the pages.  I pointed to the exercise that were pretty much like some of the poses we had just done.  I suggested s/he try them.  I’ve been thinking about this because of two things:  One, yoga is not about DOING a specific pose.  This is very difficult for people to accept.  And, two, I think I will start suggesting one pose that will help with all poses when asked this type of question.

I’ve been thinking about how yoga is not about “doing a pose”.  Doing yoga is so much more.  And I am specifically just talking about the asana here.  In regards to do the asana the way to do them is by doing them.  As we do them, they might get to be more than what it was when we started.  An asana is not like running a marathon.  One needs to plan and prepare for a marathon.  One needs to train to run a marathon.  One needs to build up to being able to run 26 miles.  But even the training for a marathon consists of running.  It consists of DOING the thing it is you are going to be doing.

Warming up the body with easier poses or very highly modified poses before doing the most challenging pose is recommended.  But doing other exercises so that you can do yoga is not necessarily the point of the postures.  Part of the beauty of yoga is that you do what you can when you can and you continue to do it until you can do more.  Then you continue to do what you can do, until you can do more.  You keep practicing until you think you have it perfect, then you do more.  “More” could be matching the perfect pranayama to the pose.  It could be concentrating so well that you can sense “every” muscle required to do that pose.  It could be making your mind quite.  It could be moving ever so slightly while in the “perfection” of that pose to see what it is like when you move a little more forward/back/up/down.  There is always “more” to a pose.

I was really trying to convey this to the student, but that was not the answer s/he wanted to hear.  S/he wanted to know what to do so that s/he could get into the poses and do the poses.  I know there are things in my life I am impatient for and I just want the end result without having to do/wait for it.  But with yoga there really is no end.  It is like life it is the journey.

But regardless, when I get this question again, I might just reply with the most challenging of all poses . . . . corpse pose or shavasana.  I might just suggest that the student try practicing shavasana for three to five minutes.  I think that might actually help.  Once the practice of being still (in the body) and being quiet (in the mind) is achieved or at least better understood, then maybe the answer about doing yoga to do yoga will be understood.

I’ve heard many people say there aren’t flexible enough to do yoga, well, you do yoga to GET flexible.

So, what do you think about doing something in order to do it?

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

Different Ways To Instruct

Posted by terrepruitt on November 17, 2015

Every type of group exercise in a class format has its own way of doing things.  Some formats might be the type in which the instructor is actually shouting and yelling at the participants.  Some might just have instructions posted around the area and people are to move along and follow the instructions.  A Zumba class is a lead follow type of format where – at least when I earned my certification – the instructions are supposed to be more hand motions than verbal.  The instructor is not supposed to talk as much as just point and gesture.  Nia is also a lead follow format, but with verbal guiding/instructing.  We have specific points in our music when we are supposed to guide the class into the next moves.  We, also are to use what we call “pearls” to help people move their bodies.  From what I understand and the training I received we are not supposed to talk the entire time.  Nia is body centered, so the instructors are supposed to be silent at times to let the students dance in their own way to the moves and the music.  I personally feel that I can use work on both my use of pearls AND of being silent.  One thing about Nia, though, is it is about play, exploration, experimentation, and doing new things in order to stimulate the BMES (the body, mind, emotions, and spirit).  One thing that I have always heard about is the silent class.

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 TechniqueSo, the silent class does not mean no music, it means no cueing.  Or at least that is what I thought it meant . . . turns out – just like many things – there are many ways to do it.  One of my students recently took the brown belt intensive and there she experienced a class with no cues.  She requested we try it.  Well, it so happened that I started on the path while she was gone so I asked a fellow Nia Teacher and Black Belt what she did in HER silent classes.  I was wondering if there was no cueing and NO SOUNDING.  I figured it would be a huge challenge for me not to cue, but I really was doubtful I could make it through a class without making a sound.  Her response surprised me in that she said she claps to indicate a move change.  Well, that just threw another wrench in the mix.  So . . . that meant that there was SOME type of cueing.  I mean cueing is alerting to a change.  LOTS of cueing is telling people what the change is and when and . . . etc.  But a clap is a cue.  So . . . to me that would mean it is a class with no VERBAL cueing.  She also mentioned that sounding would work depending upon the mood being sought for the class.  With her class — I think she does a specific routine — she does not sound.

So there are different ways to have a silent class.  There could be NO cueing at all.  There could be a clap to indicate the next move is a different one.  There could be pointing and indicating in some fashion something – either direction or side of body or body part or that something new is coming.  I really think that any of those ways is good.  Because all of them offer something different for the student.  And all of them allow the participant to focus on different things.

So for the past four weeks we have been dancing a routine with the intent of doing it without cueing.  I was going to dance it for three weeks, but I thought my student who requested this would be back for the fourth week (the planned silent class), but she wasn’t so I did it one more week so she could join the silent class.

We danced it without verbal cues today and it was very interesting . . . . .

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

It Is Ok To Do What You Need

Posted by terrepruitt on October 17, 2015

Remember when you attend a class (Nia, yoga, Zumba, Spin, Boot Camp, whatever), it is for you.  Remember that it is important to do what you need at the time you are in class.  So you don’t have to do the pose, say you are in a yoga class, to your fullest if you need to save your energy for other things you have to do in the day or the rest of your week.  You don’t have to prove to your instructor or other classmates that you can do it.  It is more important to do what your body needs.  Don’t be afraid to listen to your body intelligence.

I might have posted about this before.  If not an entire post, I know I have mentioned it, but sometimes we need reminding.  I recently took a class in which I was doing more than I should have.  It was what I was capable of doing, so I was doing it.  I had told myself before the class that I needed to hold back a little because I was feeling a bit fatigued and I had three more classes left to teach in the week, and I had a long weekend ahead.  My allergies had been bothering me, and if you have allergies (hay fever) then you know how exhausting they are.  I was tired.  My plan had been to do modified poses, but then I got caught up in just DOING the poses and not in doing what I needed.

I found myself thinking to myself, “Listen to what you always tell your students.  Do what you need to do at the time.  You know you need to conserve a bit of energy for the rest of the week.”  So I backed off.  I was actually more proud of myself for doing less because I needed to, than if I would have done more just to prove that I could.

In saving a bit of my energy I was able to teach my Nia class the next morning with renewed and full energy.  It was a great class.  So again, I was so glad I listened to what I always encourage my Nia and yoga students to do.

Now, I am not saying not to push yourself, I am just saying that there might be times when it is necessary to do less than you are capable of and that is ok.  I think you do more for your body, mind, emotions, and spirit if you respect your needs.  I have a feeling this is not new information to you, that is why I started out this post with “remember”.  However, it is one thing to know something and to actually do it.  As I said, before class I told myself to be mellow and then once in class I didn’t listen to myself at first.  I understand how easy it is to get caught up in the moment of doing, but with some modalities, like Nia and yoga, they are mindful practices.  A great exercise in a mindful practice is to do it mindfully, which could mean doing less.  Don’t be afraid to listen to your body intelligence.

Have you ever needed to do less in an exercise class?  Did you?  Did you have to keep reminding yourself?

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Really, It IS Exercise

Posted by terrepruitt on April 21, 2015

Recently I was visiting with a friend and she was sharing with me her experience in an exercise class that she had attended a few days earlier.  She was sharing that the things they were doing in the class did not qualify as exercise.  She was saying that shimmying and doing the hand-around-your-head-move was not exercise.  She said she didn’t want to do that type of stuff in an exercise class.  I think she forgot who she was talking to.  I mean, she was talking to her friend who she was looking at to support her in the fact that neither the shimmy nor the hand-around-your-head-move was exercise.  But I think she forgot what I do for a job.  I made a comment about how if she didn’t want to use all her muscles, I could see why shimmying would not be something to do.  But she said she DID want to use all of her muscles.  I did not take the opportunity to elaborate on how the shimmy is a great exercise and uses — not all, but many, muscles.  It really was HER moment to share so I just listened.  It was obvious she didn’t want to use her muscles THAT WAY.  It was not my time to defend my craft or dance as an exercise.  It did make me laugh though.  It also reminded me why some people don’t like Nia.  Some people don’t want to dance as exercise.  Some people do not feel that moving to music is exercise.  There are many people who think that the only way to get exercise is to do something the same way — to move in the same way, to move in a linear way — over and over again.  Some people have very specific ideas about what they want to do as exercise.  And that is fine, I am not going to try to get them to a Nia class because they probably wouldn’t be able to participate enough to get a good workout.  But I do get my knickers in a twist when people say it is not exercise.

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, PiYoI think it is more accurate to say, “It is not movement that I like or that I consider exercise.”  But to say it is not exercise.  Not fair.  But, again, very much a common way of thinking.  I have posted about exercise as dance before.  I even mentioned how I liked Dancing with the Stars (even thought I don’t watch it) because I think it helped some people realize that you CAN get a good workout in while dancing.  If nothing else, moving around for an hour is great cardio — if you are moving enough to get your heart rate up.

Some dance exercise classes use jumping movements to get the heart rate up.  Some — like Nia use big movements, fast movements, low movements, high movements, all over body movements.  As, I have said before, it is all there for the participant to use, it is up to each individual to do as much as they want.

Many people don’t care for the shimmying but it really is a great movement that uses upper body muscles.  I have seen many of my regular Nia students go from not being able to do it — for whatever reason — to embracing it.  I think I have mentioned before that there is one song in one of our routines where I like to keep them at doing the shimmy for a bit.  I usually ask, “Are you feeling it?”  I just like for people to experience that the shimmy can be an move that can qualify as “an exercise”.  Their answer – by the way is usually a laugh with a “OHH yeah!”

Some people move differently once they understand that the shimmy is not shaking what is on the front, but moving from the back.  I have a post on that, Shimmy From The Back.

I think there are a lot of dancers at there that would say dance is exercise.  However if you don’t like to dance I understand you might not feel that way.  But, if you ever want to see what I mean about the shimmy or Nia as a good workout, look for a class near you.  There are classes all over the world.  There are several in San Jose, California . . . . I know, because I teach ’em.

What do you consider exercise?  Have you ever TRIED dance-as-exercise?

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

The Nia FreeDance Playshop Was Awesome!

Posted by terrepruitt on April 9, 2015

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, PiYoAt the end of March (2015) there were two Special Nia Events in Campbell, California.  They were special for a lot of reasons.  One reason being is because a visiting teacher was going to be doing them.  It is always special when someone who does not live in the area comes and shares their talents.  Another reason is because the Nia Class is a one-of-a-kind-creation.  The visiting teacher created the routine and was going to lead us through it.  ANOTHER reason, they were special, was that one of the classes was a workshop or a playshop as we like to call them in Nia.  And it was also, the creation of the visiting teacher and it was something that I think anyone that dances Nia can benefit from.  Another reason they special was they were the first Nia Events that I produced.  Produced meaning, when I heard that the Nia Teacher who created the Playshop was coming to my area I contacted him to invite him to do these events.  I secured the location, I created marketing material, I promoted the events (as I am sure you have seen, I posted about them often), I worked to get participants to the events, and I worried about how it would all turn out. So, two special Nia Events.  I have posted two separate posts (What Did Frankie Say? and Dancing, Learning, Posting, Editing) about the Nia Class that was held on Friday, March 27, 2015.  This post is about the Playshop.

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, PiYoThe Playshop on Saturday, March 28, 2015 was a playshop regarding Nia FreeDance.  In a Nia class, there is normally choreography.  Nia Headquarters and the training staff create Nia Routines.  There are Nia Routine DVDs that Nia Teachers purchase.  We learn the routines and lead our students through them.  We have a lot of freedom with our classes.  We can follow the routines “exactly” or we can play with them.  We can create our own routines from a mix of Nia Routines or we can take the Nia choreography and add it to other music.  Or we can create our own routines with other non-Nia music.  But with almost every routine there is FreeDance.

FreeDance is where there is not specific choreography.  You are not told exactly how to move.  Now, I have heard the creators of Nia express very different opinions on FreeDance.  I heard one of them say in the past that FreeDance should ALWAYS be guided and the other one say that FreeDance can just be free.  So . . . there are different opinions on the matter.  I think that in keeping with the Nia White Belt Principle #4, Nia FreeDance does not need to be guided because “Anything Goes . . . movement-wise”.  But FreeDance in an exercise class is a challenge to many people.  There are many reasons as to why people cannot or will not just move their bodies in their own way in an exercise class.

This playshop was brought here to help people with that.  Many of the tools (ideas) Jason shared were covered in the Nia Intensives.  So if you have not attended a Nia White Belt Intensive or Nia Blue Belt Intensive, they would be new to you.  They are GREAT!  And they were the reminder and push I needed to pull them out to use them.  The most valuable things he shared with me though were not necessarily the guiding ideas, but more about how the individuals in class can be left to be.

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When I see people in my class not moving or seeming to struggle with FreeDance, I take responsibility and blame myself for not getting them to move with my suggestions and guidance.  But he brought up some very good points that I will now take to class and practice just letting those people be where they are, at that moment, in class.

Although I will still strive for the “When Harry Met Sally Moment” of wanting people to look at us and say, “I’ll have what SHE’S having.” I will also take into consideration that they could very well be doing my suggestion, but it looks different to me than I would do it.  Or that they are just not in a place to FreeDance.  Could be a case of Natural Time.

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, PiYoI learned a lot.  I had a lot of fun.  I am excited for Jason to come back again!  This video and the video on my website are the same song.  As I only stopped participating one time to video.  The videos are at different times so they are a little different.  Also shown here are a few of the pictures I took during the Playshop.  I took more pictures during the hour Frankie Say Nia class than I did during the 3.75 hours of the Nia FreeDance Playshop.

There might be one more blog post about this, but we will see.  These are the extent of pictures and videos.  Enjoy!

Please share your comments.  Please ask if you have any questions!
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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, PiYo

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, PiYo

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Deep, Not On The Surface

Posted by terrepruitt on March 24, 2015

A lot of movement forms, from different dances to different types of exercise regimes, use chest isolations.  One of Nia’s 52 Moves.  See, as I have said over and over, not unique to Nia, but something that we use in our routines.  Something we can say and people know what the move is.  Even if they can’t do it, they know what it is.  This move moves the chest so – as with a lot of moves that involve the movement of the chest – some people are hesitant to do it.  Some people think of moves that move the chest as moves that moves the breasts and for some people this creates a lot of issues.  As a woman, there are some moves that are just going to move the breasts but that is not the focus.  Often times when I encourage people to focus on what is actually the focus of the movement, they can release any feelings or ideas that might be blocking the movement.  I mentioned this in my post about the Shimmy.  I have seen relief or understanding pass over people’s faces when they take the focus off of what is part of the front of the body/chest and onto the back when it comes to the shimmy.  The same with the chest isolations.  Your chest is moving that means everything connected to it, but the focus is on the muscles and the bones.

The movement of the spine, the ribs, the sternum, and even the collar bones is a chest isolations.  See, even though it might feel like you are move the front (breasts) the focus is on all the other things.  The back muscles help move the spine side to side allowing the ribs to slide from side to side over the hips.  The sternum floats to different places over the hips.  The collar bones stay level.  You can just also press your ribs forward and pull them back.  Your arms are out to the side or you can place your hands on your hips to help ensure there is no movement in the hips.  You can make your ribs move in circles.

With the side to side motion I used to reference a typewriter carriage.  Remember those?  They would slide to one side of the machine and kind of hang over then you would use the return arm to get it to slide back.  That is a GREAT visual and I actually see some people replicate it.  But then I see others in class who don’t even know what a typewriter is.  And if they do it was certainly the electric version that didn’t have a visible moving carriage with a return arm-dohicky.  So we just focus on the slide.

The chest isolations help keep you spine flexible and mobile.  It also helps you use those muscle that are inside, the intrinsic muscles.  The little ones that help with balance.  While you are doing the chest isolation movement you can focus on the and sense them.

Another way to isolate the chest is you can do a more front-back movement. If you are doing the front back portion of the move it is as if you are closing your chest and opening your back.  And then opening your chest and closing your back.  Arms can help. Bring your elbows back and draw them together to help open the chest and close the back.  Then bring them forward to open the back and close the chest.

This is one of those moves you can do anywhere.  You can do it in your car while you are stopped at a traffic light.  Don’t worry, other people don’t look up from their cell phones they will never notice you sliding your ribs around.  Enjoy the relaxed sensation and flexibility.

Are you familiar with chest isolations?  Do you do them in your current dance class?  Do you do them in your exercise program?

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