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 classes’

The City Of San Jose Has Two Different Exercise Programs

Posted by terrepruitt on July 24, 2017

I am going to address this again because so many people are not aware of the programs in San Jose that are available through the Parks and Recreation Department. Back in 2015 I wrote a post explaining the main difference of two of their programs. To summarize, there is the program that many of you are familiar with because many of us grew up with it, that is the program the city calls the Leisure Class Program. These are classes in the booklets the Parks and Recs Department prints and sends out. There are ALL types of classes – don’t let the name “Leisure” fool you. There are language classes, art and craft classes, music lessons, cooking lessons, dance classes, exercise classes . . . .and a lot more. They are set up in sessions where you register and pay for the entire session before the first class. The session consists of a set number of meetings and when you register you pay for all of them. You may be familiar with those types of classes . . you may have even signed up for one of those sessions and had it cancelled because not enough people signed up. That is always disappointing . . . that is why it is important to sign up early. Anyway . . . there is also another program called SJCITY Fit . . . it is a version of Group Ex which was discontinued in 2015. But it is somewhat the same in that it is like a gym membership. You pay monthly and you have access to all the classes that are in the SJCITY Fit program, PLUS the gyms at three locations.  The SJCITY Fit Program classes are exercise classes.

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, SJCityFitThere are a lot of people who are not aware of this program that the city offers. I talk to people all the time that think the exercise classes through the city of San Jose are just the leisure type of class. I teach both. I teach some SJCITY Fit classes and I teach some Leisure Classes. There are benefits to both, so it really depends on what works for you. But it is nice to know that you have options.

There are some people who like to go to a class everyday. For the people who just want to have a class to go to every day, the SJCITY Fit program is great. The SJCITY Fit classes are offered at three of the community centers in San Jose; Camden, Almaden, and Bascom. Some people like the convince of going to the community center that is closest to their house, so they might join the Leisure Classes. There are a lot more community centers that offer the Leisure Classes. It all depends on what works for you.

The SJCITY Fit classes are on-going . . . meaning there is no end. Yeah, sometimes there might be a cancelled class if the teacher has an emergency and can’t get a sub in time, but the class is scheduled to just go on and on.

I have all of my classes on my website, but since I teach for BOTH programs it might be confusing sometimes. I think it is important for you to know the difference so you can decide what class you want to take.

At the time of this post, under the Leisure Program, I teach two yoga classes. One class is at the Cypress Community Center and the other one is at the Willow Glen Community Center. You register for the session. Although Cypress is unique and will allow you to drop in. But typically, with Leisure classes, you need to register for the entire session.

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, SJCityFitAt the time of this post I teach THREE NIA classes under the SJCITY Fit program and one stretch class under the SJCITY Fit program. So for one monthly fee you can take all four classes a week. PLUS attend all the other classes that are offered through the SJCITY Fit program PLUS go to the gyms. If you don’t want to join the monthly membership you can drop in for $6.00 per class.

Usually . . . although I can’t say for sure . . . but usually . . the city has a special at the end of the year. They offer an annual membership for a great deal and you just buy that and you are set for the year. But they do not offer the annual membership all year. It is usually for a limited time. After that time is up any membership purchased is only monthly. We will see what they do at the end of this year. I will keep you updated.

I just wanted to share – trying to get the word out there – and try to clarify that there are two ways you can exercise with the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of San Jose: SJCITY Fit and Leisure Classes.  These are GREAT programs – hopefully you will take part in what the city has to offer!

Did you know that the City of San Jose has something akin to a gym membership? Did you know that “Leisure Classes” include EXERCISE classes, too?

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Leisure Classes Vs. Group Ex

Posted by terrepruitt on October 24, 2015

Many of you are familiar with Parks and Recreation Departments and classes they run through the Community Centers.  These are classes that are in the booklets.  There are ALL types of classes.  There are music lessons, arts and crafts, exercise classes, cooking classes, language classes . . . . just all types of classes.  They are set up in what many community centers call sessions.  There might be a flower arranging class that is an eight week session, just meaning that there are eight times that class will meet.  People must register and pay for all eight meetings prior to the first day of the class.  Some of us have experienced the disappointment when we register for a class only to find out a few days before it is supposed to start, that not enough people have registered so the class is cancelled.  That is always a bummer.  In the City of San Jose Parks and Recreation Department they call these classes leisure classes.  Presently there is also something in the San Jose Parks and Recreation Department called Group Ex.  Group Ex is exercise classes.  The Group Ex is more like a gym, in the sense that you pay a membership fee and then can attend any of the classes that are in the Group Ex program – plus the gym/exercise room – for that one fee.  The Group Ex structure also allows for “drop-ins”, where people can participate in a class for a fee without having pre-registered or to be a member.  These classes are on-going so they don’t have the same type of structure as a leisure/session class.

There arewere two ways you cancould become a member, one is monthly or you cancould purchase an annual membership.  Both ways allow the member to attend any exercise class that is part of the Group Ex program.  This program really got people out of the house and exercising.  The cost of membership was unbeatable.

Most of the people who come to my Nia classes go to multiple classes per week, sometimes multiple classes per day.  I hear them plan their weeks and their days with each other.  They have it all worked out . . . their workouts.

I have been wanting to post something about the differences between Group Ex and Leisure classes for a long time.  Because I teach both.  The differences confuse some people.  Some people are familiar with the leisure class way and they don’t even know there is something like Group Ex through the city.  Some people who have never taken a leisure class (before there was even such a thing as Group Ex) are not familiar with that.  So when I go to explain the different classes I teach it can be confusing.  So I have been meaning to post something about it to help clarify.

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 TechniqueWell, I guess the time is now.  It is now because the city of San Jose is discontinuing the Group Ex program as of January 31, 2016.  They are only going to have leisure classes.  So that means that any class they have that you might want to take will be offered in “sessions”.  So you will have to sign up for the entire session in order to take the class.

I want to let people know that just because the Parks and Recreation Department calls it a leisure class doesn’t mean it is just about “leisure”.  They still might be offering some of the same exercise classes that are presently a part of the Group Ex program that allow you to get your workout on.  It will just not be the type of format that you can just take anytime you want.  You will have to sign up in advance for the entire the entire session.

I don’t know what classes they plan on offering, but I wanted to finally get a post up about the difference between leisure classes and Group Ex so when the time comes people will know the difference.

We still have three months of Group Ex before the change occurs.  Next month on Wednesday, November 4, 2015, we are going to have a Nia class at 10:15 am at the Camden Community Center.  So there will be four Nia classes a week at the Camden Community Center until January 31, 2016.

Click here to see a copy of the notification sent out from the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services.

I hope you will come dance with us at the Camden Community Center before the end of January!

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An Important Addition To Any Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on October 14, 2014

You may be familiar with cycles of a cardio class.  Most modalities or classes have a warm-up, a “moving portion”, and a cool down.  Not every form of cardio class includes a “flexibility” portion.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was in a training recently and they include flexibility in their class structure.  That is awesome.  Their required class structure is:  warm-up, endurance phase (cardio), cool down, then flexibility.  I love that they are including flexibility.  It is great to see.  That is four portions.  As you may be aware, Nia has seven.  We call our sections of class cycles.  The cycles are:

1. Setting your focus and intent

2. Stepping In

3. Warm up

4. Get Moving

5. Cool Down

6. Floorplay

7. Stepping out

Nia’s cycle #4, the “Get Moving” is comparable to the endurance phase or the cardio phase.  That is where we really move.  We can use big movements and move through the planes to get the heart rate up, so our cardio does not consist of running and jumping.  In order to get the heart pumping we move our body up and down, using the muscles.  We also move our arms and hands — a lot.  Could be we are punching or it could be we are just moving them in a way consistent with the body’s way but that helps get the blood moving.

Nia’s cycle #6, Floorplay, is multiple types of movement.  It is stretching and/or strengthening.  It could be rolling on the floor or even crawling.  With floorplay we do exactly that . . . . we play on the floor.  There is definitely “flexibility” going on.

I was happy to see the flexibility component added.  In fact, it might be so new that it wasn’t even included in the copy of the slides that we received for hand outs.

Flexibility is important.  We there is tightness in the muscles sometimes they do not move properly.  Where there is tightness in the joints they do not move properly.  We our body does not move properly it tries to compensate and often ends up creating more issues.  Or the tightness does not allow us to fully straighten so it might feel as if it can’t move at all so then people stop moving.  It is somewhat a cycle.  Perhaps you would like to read Simple Stretches Could Bring Relief.

Working on flexibility is just as important as working on cardio and resistance training.  Flexibility is great to include in your workout routine.  It should be scheduled into your workout time.  Just like a savasana is done at the end of a yoga routine, stretching should be part of any workout routine you do.

It would be best if you stretched the muscles that you just worked in your workout.  Being specific would be good.  But in general it seems a safe bet would be to start at the top and work your way down.  Stretching each muscles/muscle group.  As I mentioned it would be best to stretch what you just worked so if you know how to do that, spend an extra minute or two on those muscles/muscle groups.  I know it might feel like you don’t have time for it, but it will actually prove to save you time in the long run.

Do you have stretching as part of your workout?  Do you work on your flexibility?

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Rockin’ The Block Or More Accurately My Nia Classes

Posted by terrepruitt on June 17, 2014

I teach Nia for the City of San Jose and the YMCA.  I have been teaching Gentle Yoga too, but that is different.  The Gentle Yoga classes are usually smaller both the actually room we are in and the number of people.  And with yoga we don’t need the music loud so often times my iPhone in the middle of the yoga mats serves us just fine.  But with Nia we need the music loud.  Not “Zumba-loud” because I still need to be heard over the music, but loud enough that I can hear my music cues and people can get a sense of the music.  With most of my classes the number of students is more than yoga and the venue is larger.  I actually have taught at some places where the audio system did not work so I tried using my phone and it did not have enough volume.  With Nia people follow my lead, but they also move their body in their own way so it helps them dance when there is music to dance too.  So since I teach in all different places and the audio system is not always the same I have a variety of speakers.  I had been looking at one for a couple of years, but never wanted to invest the money.  But one day my hubby and I were at Costco and we saw a device I had been looking at.  He wanted to get it.  I hemmed and hawed, but we came home with a Block Rocker.

I had almost bought one before but with every model they came out with something different so I was trying to decide which one to purchase.  Then they came out with a Bluetooth enabled version.  I wanted to know that I could still use an Aux cable because Bluetooth can be spotty.  I had not been able to determine that from my shopping online at first.  And then I forgot about it until I saw it in Costco.  We pulled it off the shelf and checked it out.  Read the box to make sure it would play music both ways — via Bluetooth or a cable.  And my hubby put it in the cart.  All the way around the store I kept thinking, “Yes.  No.  Yes.  No.”  and on and on.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaWe came home with it.  We plugged it in and hooked it up to our devices.  It was pretty cool.  Both my husband and I have used it around the house.  It does GREAT house sound.  Our house is an acoustical “weird-mare”, but it works great.  Both of us have used it out in the yard.  But none of that is in a big room with people in it.  And I am not complaining that the rooms I have been teaching in have sound systems.  That is GREAT.  I am very fortunate.  I have not had the opportunity to use my big speaker.

My Group Ex Nia Class with the City of San Jose on Tuesdays and Thursdays is normally held in the dance studio.  But this summer there is Summer Camp in there for the kids one week every month.  So at the beginning of the year my supervisor moved us from the dance studio to the Multipurpose room.  I didn’t know if this room had an audio system.  I have been telling my class for months that we were going to be in the MPR for a few classes this summer.  Then for the past two weeks I have been reminding them of the actual dates.  I would have been very upset with myself if I had shown up and not be prepared.  Here I have been preparing them for months and then I didn’t have music.  I am soooooooooo glad I thought about my Block Rocker.  This is EXACTLY what it is for.

I even remembered to charge it the night before.  Ya see it is a Bluetooth device and it has a rechargeable battery so it can be used totally cordless.  Squeeeee!

So I used it today and it worked GREAT.  I am super happy.  I love it when things work out.  I am so glad that Costco had it and it was such a good deal.  As I said, I had been shopping for them for a couple of years and was happy this one was priced lowest of them all.  Even though it was the newest model.

Here is some information copied from the ION website:

•Streams music wirelessly from any Bluetooth music-playing device or phone
•Works with iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android devices, and more
•Input for a microphone (came with a microphone), instruments and other audio sources
•High-quality microphone included
•Built-in digital AM/FM radio and retractable antenna
•USB port for charging iPad, iPhone, or other devices
•Built-in battery provides up to 50 hours of use
•Bluetooth range of up to 50 feet
•High-output powered 2-way speaker
•1/8-inch auxiliary input for amplifying other audio devices
•Recessed wheels and telescoping handle for portability
•Rugged design to withstand heavy use
•Projects high-fidelity sound up to 150 feet away
•Built-in cradle for your smartphone, iPad, or other device

It does not have an equalizer so it will not be “perfect” sound.  It is what it is.  It is great . . . in my opinon . . . for exercise classes.  Oooo, I am so excited.  You know me, I like to share when I am excited about things.  When I learn of something that helps make MY life easier I like to share.  I like to let you know so perhaps it can help one of you.

Can you see yourself owning one?  Do you think you could use one?  Do you like to have people over for outside grilling and/or BBQing?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Nia Technique’s Outstanding Routine DVDs

Posted by terrepruitt on May 28, 2013

In my post about Nia Routines in February of 2010, I stated I would explain more about what we receive on a Nia Routine Teacher DVD.  A comment with questions on a recent post (Nia Routines I’ve Learned), reminded me that I needed to do that.  Over three years later, I am explaining what we get. I also wanted to share what is in the Nia Training/Continued Education package as a whole.  We get a LOT.  It is more than just music and routine.  The amount of time and effort and all that goes into our training DVD/package is awesome.  I know that even though I see the results and I think it is a lot, there is probably so much more that goes on in the background I would be even more impressed.  Since we get so much I am finding as I type this that it is a longer explanation than I like to have in one post.  So this will be part one of what is in a Nia Routine Teacher Training package.  When a Nia Teacher receives a “Nia Routine” there is a CD and a DVD.  We used to receive a pamphlet within the package, but now we have to print those out ourselves if we want a hard copy.  But basically a training routine package is CD, DVD, and pamphlet.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

The CD and DVD are in a cardboard holder, one side has the list of songs with the 8BC and the time shown.  The other side has the Focus and Intent that the routine was created with.  The back of the holder states the name of the routine and the creator, along with a paragraph about Nia Technique’s thoughts on routines.

The CD is a typical music CD.  It has music on it.  But as a Nia Teacher or student you know there is nothing really typical about Nia routine music.  🙂  The songs play one after the other with no pause unless the song itself has a pause before the music begins or after the song ends.  Or I guess the engineer putting the CD together could put a pause in.

The DVD consists of five sections: the Focus, Move the Move, Learn the Move, Energize the Move, and the Music.  The “Focus” portion of the DVD is the creator (or one of them) talking about the focus and the intent of the routine.  Often times they explain a bit about how the focus relates to the choreography.  For example if the focus is “Steps and Stances” it might be mentioned that there are a lot of opportunities in the routine to experience all six stances.

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“Move the Move” is the routine filmed almost as if you were taking a class.  Sometimes they change the camera angle, but it is still basically as if you are taking a class.*  The music is playing and the teacher is teaching.  *There is one routine I have in which it was filmed with the class FACING the camera the entire time.  I do not care for that at all.  I like it when the camera is BEHIND the teacher with the mirror in the shot and it is as if I am standing behind the teacher taking a Nia class.  I don’t know if there are other routines in addition to Birth that is filmed with the teachers and the class facing the camera, but I will inquire before I purchase additional routines.

Often times in addition to the teacher demonstrating different LEVELS of a move, they will demonstrate a lot of different moves that CAN be done while doing the routine.  I always have to remind myself that just because they are showing us multiple ways to do the move or multiple ways in general to move to the music it does not mean I need to put them all into the routine when I am leading it.  They are just showing examples as to what can be done.  I find it very funny that a lot of the times Carlos was not even doing what he explained the choreography to be.  To me, he often just let his spirit go and he danced to the music that he clearly loved.  In his spirit dance he was able to show a lot of different things that could be done to the music.

As you can see this post is a bit long in itself.  I have only touched upon two of the sections included on the training DVD.  So stayed tuned for part two where I give a brief summary of the sections: Learn the Move, Energize the Move, and the Music.

Do you like to take lead follow exercise workout classes where the teacher is facing you?  Or would you rather have the teacher’s back to you?

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

Dried Garbanzo Beans

Posted by terrepruitt on April 27, 2013

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaYou might have gathered from my posts that I am not a fan of beans.  Beans are great for fiber and protein, but I just don’t like them all that much.  I was sometimes ok with garbanzo beans/chickpeas, but that was it.  I didn’t like any other type of bean, but I went to a friend’s house and she had this yummy two bean salad.  So I decided that I am ok with red kidney beans and garbanzo beans in this salad.  Then I came across a recipe that had kidney beans it in and I decided to use half kidney beans and half garbanzo beans.  This recipe is one of my husband’s and mine favorites.  I also like roasted garbanzo beans.  Recently I was in the area – after teaching a Nia class as a sub in south San Jose –  of a store that I have been hearing a lot about.  It is called Sprouts.  The name is “Sprouts Farmers Market: Healthy, Natural & Organic Grocery Stores”, which I don’t really understand, as it is NOT a farmer’s market and not everything is natural nor organic.  They have the produce section kind of set up like you might imagine a market on an actual farm in that nothing is in nice neat rows and it seems kinda hodgey-podgely put together . . . but that is it.  Their organic section of fruits and vegetables was no larger than the one at my “regular” grocery store.  But whatever, I digress (WHAT? ME?  NO!) . . . my post is actually about that fact that I bought some dried garbanzo beans.

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 first discovered the Red Beans and Rice recipe my friend and I were talking about dried beans and we wondered if we could buy dried garbanzo beans.  Later she reported back that she had seen some in the store.  I had asked my chef friend about them and she gave me some advice on how to process them.  And of course I forgot what she said.  But anyway . . . I finally was in a store that had them when I remembered to look.  So I bought some.

When you look up how to process dried beans on the internet you will probably come across two different methods.  There is the long soak and then the quick soak.  My idea was to do both and then report the results on my blog in one post.  But funny as it sounds, I have not had time — more accurately, I have not made time — to do the quick soak method.  I know, you would think that would be the easiest and fastest one to do.  But to me it was much easier to throw the beans in a bowl and let them soak for 13 hours and 45 minutes.  I’ve read they should soak for at least 4 hours.  Mine just turned into 13 hours plus.

Since I have not yet gotten around to doing the quick soak method I will report on what I found with the long soak method and then when I do the other one I will post about that.

The “long soak” method has no cooking involved.  I was interested in not cooking the beans.  Everything I read said that they double in size.  I don’t recall that happening.  NOTHING I read told me they would pop!  I kept hearing this odd sound and wondering what it was.  If you have a pet you might do as I do and the first thing I do when I hear something unfamiliar is I blame my pet and find her first to see if she was responsible.  But when I heard the pop she was right next to me.  So, I kept thinking it was coming from outside. Finally it dawned on me that it might be the beans and I stood by the bowl until I heard one!

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, ZumbaI had decided to split the bag in between the two methods.  So I got a huge bowl and put half of my beans in it.  Then I filled it with water.  I did this at 11:00 am on a Friday.  I changed the water twice.  I rinsed the beans both times.  My report is that beans themselves have gas.  My kitchen smelled gassy the whole time the beans were soaking.  I kept lighting a candle.  I drained the beans at 12:45 pm on Saturday.  I decided I was going to roast them.  So I drained them to let them start to dry out.

I roasted them.  They were gorgeous.  I like them because they seem less “mushy” than the canned beans.  And for me “mushy” is part of the reason I don’t like beans.  So I really liked this dried/soaking method.  I left the beans in the oven a tad bit too long.  I was doing too many things at once and when I took them out to check them I forgot to put the timer on when I put them back in.  I realized my error when I smelled burning beans.  So . . . . they are ok, but not as I would have liked them.

The verdict in regards to soaking beans is good.  I am going to do that.  I have a feeling that soaking them will turn out to be easier than the quick soak method.  We will see.

The questions I have been thinking about though is . . . . the canned beans I buy say “Organic” whereas the dried ones I bought did not.  So really which are better?  I will look for organic dried beans, but I am not sure where to find them.  I know I didn’t see them at the “Farmers Market” that claims to have healthy, natural, and organic food.  🙂  Well, at least I didn’t see a sign that claimed the dried beans were organic.

Do you used canned beans or dried?

Posted in Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Faking It Is Easy

Posted by terrepruitt on August 28, 2012

My husband and I used to dance.  We danced “Country Western”, we did the two step, the cha-cha, the waltz, and the west coast swing.  We liked to dance.  I sometimes would fake it though.  Yeah, I would.  We would go to a lesson and they would show us a move.  We would practice it during the lesson then usually there was a dance party after.  We would join the party.  My husband would always DO THE MOVE WE JUST LEARNED.  I would say, “Ack!  You’re doing the move we just learned!”  And he would look at me with a look that said to me, “Of course, Silly Woman, that is why we are here.  To learn stuff and then actually DO IT.”  But for me the time spent in the lesson was never enough to actually learn it.  Even though the leader’s part is much more difficult than the follower’s, I still couldn’t get it in one lesson.  So a lot of the times I would fake it.  And by fake it I mean, that if you were to look at my feet and KNOW where there were supposed to be, you would know my feet were not correct.  I could move in a way that if you were just casually looking you would think I was doing it right.  I would always make sure I was facing the right direction so you wouldn’t really know my feet were not doing the move correctly unless you knew the move yourself!  Since most people don’t stare at your feet the entire time I often got away with it.  I was good at faking it.  Faking it was easy in the fast songs.

Eventually I would learn the move correctly, but there were some moves that took me a long time to get.  Then somewhere along the way we decided to compete.  I mean, competing really is the only way to know if you are really improving and to spend all that money on lessons and not improve can be a silly thing.  So we decided to compete.  Do you know what that meant?  No more faking it.  I mean the whole point of competition is to have someone look at you and judge — among other things — your feet.  So I had to stop faking it.

I am learning a lot as I sub for different exercise classes.  I recently subbed a class and I was reminded of the faking it.  It is easy to fake it in some classes.  Let’s say Zumba for example, I’ve posted before about how Zumba is all agility (I have since learned otherwise, but I will reflect on that in a post at a later time).  Zumba is the fast start and stop.  Move stop the move and move the other direction, move stop, move stop.  The full range of motion is usually not achieved, you are moving to another move before you really get to finish the first one.  Start, stop, start, stop, start stop.  It is easy to fake.  The fast dances were always easy for me to fake. The good thing about faking it is you are still moving and that is good in a sense.  Even if you are not doing the move correctly you are moving and burning calories and often it is so fast the casually observer or someone standing next to you is not going to notice.  I think this is one of the things that people like about Zumba . . . you are moving and dancing even when you are faking it.

It is the slow dances that are difficult.  With Nia it is not as easy to fake.  With Zumba a move could be hopping from one leg to the other.  With Nia we might actually balance on one leg.  No speed to it, just lifting one leg off the ground and standing on one leg.  Strength and stability.  No faking.  I always invite participants to use a chair, a wall, the barre, or even their other foot, but either way you cannot FAKE standing on one leg.  Sadly, I think for some, not being able to fake it keeps them from joining in the joy of Nia.  The judgment from themselves is so great that they can’t let go and just do what they can because what they can do is not blurred by the start and the stop.  What they can’t do is not blurred by speed.  And they don’t give themselves the chance to learn how to do the moves.  They don’t allow themselves the time to get the muscles in a condition where they can move slow and controlled.  Faking it is easy, it is actually doing a move slow, controlled, and correctly where the difficulty comes in.

When I take a Zumba class I know I fake it often because I don’t know the move so I concentrate on being at the right place and/or facing the right direction at the right time.  Eventually I get the moves . . . well, most of the time.

I know this is my opinion, I don’t really KNOW, but it is coming from a place of judgment based on some things I have seen and heard.  You know I am always trying to figure out the differences between Zumba and Nia and why people like them.  And recently this was a thought because of something I heard and observed . . . the speed, the faking, the judgment.

Do you fake until you make it in your exercise class? 

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Open Stance In Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on September 15, 2011

Nia is a cardio dance workout (it is really much more, but on the surface, that is what I call it).  As with many cardio workouts done to music there are a lot of moves.  Since Nia is basically a dance workout there are a lot of common dance steps and movements that many of us were taught in different forms of dance.  Some are even from different forms of martial arts or other exercise classes and modalities.  Nia has a base of 52 moves.  We call them the 52 Nia Moves.  What Nia has done is put them into categories to allow you to see what areas of the body are most associated with the move.  One of the most common moves we use in Nia classes is the Open Stance.  I have been familiar with the open stance for as long as I can remember.  I took ballet and tap when I was young.  I have done Jazzercise and other types of dance exercise classes.  Many of these types of things have an open stance.  From the first time I can remember being taught the open stance it was taught as “feet hip width apart”.  Some of you might be familiar with that.  Well, I don’t know if other modalities meant it actually that way or if I had been misled, but in Nia the open stance is actually hip JOINT width apart.

dance exercise, Nia teacher, Nia class, Nia San Jose, Nia Los Gatos, Nia cardio dance workout, So you might be saying, “What?”  Well, go ahead, if you can . . . . stand up and into open stance.  I’m going to guess most of you don’t have a mirror in front of you . . . so look at your feet.  What do you see?  A somewhat wide stance?  Are your feet hip WIDTH apart?  Probably, because I believe that is the common instruction for “open stance”.  Stay there.  Touch your hips and thighs.  Sense how that stance feels.  Make note of the sensation of your leg muscles.  Picture your leg bones.  Are they at a slight angle?

dance exercise, Nia, Nia practice, Nia 52 moves, Terre Pruitt Nia teacherNow bring your feet closer together.  Picture your stance being hip JOINT width apart.  Most of us have hips that are larger than where our legs meet our hip socket.  Try this:  Imagine someone gently lifting you off of your feet by you head, imagine your legs are just hanging down from your hip JOINTS.  Then the huge hand that lifted you sets you gently down.  Your legs exactly in the same position as when you were hanging.  Your leg bones come straight out from your hip joints.  That is what Nia open stance is.

For me, it is much more narrow than I was taught open stance was.

My pictures are showing the difference between what I thought was open (the first one) and what I now think of as open (the second one).  I stood on the rug so the pattern would help show the difference.  Please keep in mind that everyone, everyBODY is different so the width of your feet will differ from mine, but if you keep in mind that open is not really hip WIDTH apart, but hip JOINT width apart then you too, might have an adjustment in your “open stance”.

Well, did you?  Were you taught open is hip width apart?  If you stand hip width apart is there a noticeable difference when you stand hip JOINT width apart?

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Nia and Tae Kwon Do

Posted by terrepruitt on November 28, 2009

As you might now be aware Nia includes elements from three disciplines from three different arts. From the martial arts, we borrow from Tae Kwon Do. Not just “moves” from Tae Kwon Do but also some of the other elements of it. With its kicks, punches, blocks, and stances it helps allow Nia to be a great leg workout and provide a stable base for some of our other moves.  Tae Kwon Do can also contribute to one’s confidence by providing exercises that allow one to become strong and stable.  These are the things Nia gains from Tae Kwon Do.

Nia calls Tae Kwon Do the Dance of Precision.*  So when delivering a punch, block, kick, etc. with the energy of Tae Kwon Do, it is done with precision and intent.  However, Nia likes to play so at times even though we might not be executing a punch or a kick, but we might choose to energize our movement with “Tae Kwon Do” like energy, and be forceful and aggressive even adding sound to our movement.

Adding the energy of one form to the moves of another is one of the things that make Nia fun and keeps is challenging.  It takes different muscles to skip with force and authority than to skip like a child without a care in the world.  That is an example of how Nia incorporates different moves with different energies.

In Nia we don’t “DO” Tae Kwon Do, things have been gleaned from it and brought into Nia and mixed in with aspects of  Tai Chi, Aikido, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance, Yoga, the Alexander Technique and the teachings from Feldenkrais, and the combination from each form is Nia.  A lot of Nia routines include moves and concepts from each discipline, but not always.  In an effort to keep each workout fresh, fun, and joyful teachers often mix things up.

If you are near San Jose, come to one of my Nia classes.  If not, I hope that you will find a Nia class near you and give Nia try.

*Both the Nia Technique Book and The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual state this. Both books are by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas. **V3 of The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nia and Tai Chi

Posted by terrepruitt on September 26, 2009

A Nia workout includes elements from three disciplines from three different arts.  

From the martial arts, we use moves from T’ai chi.  Actually it is not just “moves” from Tai Chi but also some of the “ideals” from Tai Chi.  Nia calls Tai Chi “The Slow Dance”.*  Tai Chi allows for the elements of grace, ease, precision, power, and lightness to be accessed and brought in to our dance that is our workout. 

So while we do not do the sequences of postures that form a Tai Chi routine or exercise we might have some of the Tai Chi moves incorporated into a routine.  And/or we might take a portion of the routine and execute it “Tai Chi like”, moving slow and graceful.  Being mindful of our movements and moving from the feet with relaxed joints establishing that fluid Tai Chi like flow.  We might also incorporate circular movements and shift our weight to assist in balance, all the while sensing the gentle flow of chi. 

Some things we do in class to assist us in moving “Tai Chi like” is leading with our heels when we step, using our eyes to allow for our head to be included in our movement, keeping our joints open and soft, focusing on moving from our energy center, using our breath to generate power and support for movement, and moving systemically.** 

Hopefully this post will serve to address some of the inquires about the aspect of Tai Chi in Nia. This will give you an idea of how Tai Chi is brought into Nia. 

I love to watch the people in the parks of San Jose doing Tai Chi.  I actually see them all over the Bay Area.  In Nia we don’t “DO” Tai Chi, we glean from it and allow what we’ve gleaned to mix with aspects of Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance, Yoga, the Alexander Technique and the teachings from Feldenkrais.  It is all combined to be Nia.

 
*Both the Nia Technique Book and The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual state this.  Both books are by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.

**V3 of The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »