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 ‘flexibility’

Adding A Challenge To A Pose Mastered

Posted by terrepruitt on November 30, 2016

I teach two gentle yoga classes.  Gentle yoga doesn’t necessarily mean beginner yoga.  It can if the class is a beginner yoga class, but “gentle” doesn’t mean beginner.  The way I make the yoga class gentle is we don’t hold the poses for a long time.  We also don’t flow through a long combination of poses.  I usually do a sequence of two, three poses at the most, but the class is not a flow.  In my two regularly scheduled gentle yoga classes we actually just stop and get down (or stop and get up) because I feel that being able to get up off of the floor is very important.  We don’t use downward facing dog, forward folds, planks, or poses to get down and up.  We go at a comfortable pace slowly moving through poses.  The classes are not beginner classes because I have been teaching some of the same students for years.  So they are not beginners.  They know many poses and they know what their bodies should be doing in those poses, but they like to do yoga gently.  But we still need to add some challenge to some of the poses.  So, for a small group of students in my gentle yoga classes we have added a challenge to one of the poses that they have down.  For those that can balance fine, we have added the challenge of closing our eyes.

We are still doing the pose, but we close our eyes to add to the pose.  Just the simple act of closing our eyes causes us to get a little wobbly and therefore work more at standing upright.  Just like with our eyes open one side is easier than the other.  But this simple act gives the pose a new spin.

The inner ear plays a huge role in our balance, but so do our eyes.  Once we take vision out of the equation it makes balancing more challenging.  I believe practicing balancing with our eyes closed will allow us to get better at it over time.  While we are practicing we will be using those stabilizing muscles and that will help us be better balanced.  Just as practicing balance with your eyes open.

This is a fun thing to add to the balance practice because, as I said, my students can do this pose well, so it is kind of surprise that just closing one’s eyes makes it as if they can’t do the pose.  There are some “whoas” and “what the . . ” and giggles because it is just so funny that a pose we can do all of a sudden we can’t do it (as well).

For now we are only closing our eyes when doing the Stork pose, but once we have that down AND have more stability in some of our other balances poses we will add “eyes closed” to them.

So if you come to one of my regularly scheduled yoga classes you might experience this.  If you come to one I am subbing, I usually do things a little differently.  That is one thing that is so great about teaching yoga, it can be adjusted and modified so it is not always the same.  With the adjustments and modifications, hopefully, they are helping you improve your stability, flexibility, and strength.  Sometimes all it takes is something so simple as closing your eyes.

Did you try it?  Just standing with your eyes closed?  How about standing on one leg with your eyes closed?

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The Difference Between Yoga And Stretch

Posted by terrepruitt on September 9, 2016

Currently I am lucky enough to teach yoga classes and a stretch class.  And I say “lucky” because I was asked to do these classes but they can be cancelled at any time.  Class attendance needs to stay up or the classes can get cancelled.  This is the case with pretty much any type of exercise class at any type of place . . . a gym, a club, a parks and recs department, etc.  Ok, but where I am actually going with this post is: people ask me all the time what the difference is between yoga and stretch.  Well, my first thought is my post “More To Yoga Than Just Asana,” but that would only help to explain what yoga is and not what we do in a stretch class.  Because I teach gentle yoga classes people are curious about the difference.  It makes sense since they seem the same, but there are differences.  In addition to breathing yoga is different from stretch by a few points.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitIn regards to the way I do my gentle yoga and my stretch classes here are some of the differences:

In yoga we work on more than just flexibility, we also work on balance and strength.  In stretch we focus mainly on STRETCHING muscles and, to a lesser extent, connective tissue.  We are not working either in a stabilizing or strengthening capacity.

The poses in yoga have names, at least two, the English name and a Sanskrit name.  In stretch my instruction is usually something like, “move your arm here or there” as I show them how to get into the stretch.  Sometimes I do refer to an asana by name that is similar because many of the students do take yoga also, so they know what to do when I say the name of a pose.

Some people “can’t do” yoga, but they CAN stretch.  🙂  Seriously, invite someone to a yoga class and they will say, “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough.”  Invite them to a stretch class and they say, “Oh!  I need to stretch.”

With yoga, people seem to want to “get” somewhere.  They want to be able to “do” a specific pose.  With stretching, even though they might be able to bend deeper or more fully as time goes on, there doesn’t seem to be the urge or need to “get there”.  With stretch the journey seems more important than the destination.  Although it really is supposed to be the same way for yoga.

Another question I am always asked is, “Are you on the floor the whole hour?”  No, but we don’t go up and down as much as in my gentle yoga classes.  In both my gentle yoga classes and my stretch classes we do poses/stretches standing up and on the floor.

Stretching is so good for you.  We all should be doing it, even if we don’t weight train or run marathons, it is really good to stretch the muscles.  But many of us need a class, something we are committed to doing in order to actually take the time to stretch.  I am happy to help in that area and teach a class.

Do you stretch?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Using Your Middle Finger

Posted by terrepruitt on May 4, 2016

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitIf you have ever taken a moment to look at the list of the Fifty-Two Nia Moves you might have wondered what the “Power Finger Crossover” is.  You probably figured out it has something to do with fingers as the name contains “finger” but perhaps that is as far as you had gotten.  You may have thought, “What is crossed over what?”  Well, the middle finger is considered the power finger in Nia.  It has a lot of power.  In some cultures it is considered a finger of communication ;-).  In Nia it is also called the balance finger.  With the power finger crossover in the 52 Nia Moves it can be used at many different times during a Nia routine.

First: how to – the way you do the power finger is to cross the middle finger, the power finger over the index finger.  Then you release the index finger and cross the power finger over the ring finger.  The arms remain long and extended.  The cross of the fingers is small.  Use both hands, doing the crossover at the same time on both hands.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitGo ahead, try it.

I can do the middle finger crossed over the index finger on both hands.  I can do the middle finger crossed over the ring finger on the left hand with out help.  But I have to use my left hand to cross my right middle finger over my right ring finger.  As you can imagine it takes a little strength and dexterity to cross the fingers over each other unaided.  It is obvious to me I need to practice more.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitThere is a routine in which we cross the ring finger over the pinky finger and for the longest time I could do it on my left hand, but had to help my right hand out.  But now I can cross both ring fingers over both pinky fingers without help.  So it really is just a matter of practice.

If you can do the crossing without helping great!  But if you can’t, it is fine to help your fingers until you can do it without the help of the other hand.  The fingers still get the benefit of flexibility.  And your brain gets the benefit of your digits being crossed.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitAccording to The Nia Technique (page 164) “practicing this move helps you extend energy along your arm bones and out through your hands, which keeps your neck and shoulders relaxes.  It creates positive tension in the hand and adds to awareness of the integration of the hand and arm.”

And as I said it helps strengthen the hands/fingers and brings dexterity to them.

This move is part of the moves of the upper extremities and is grouped under “Fingers”.  It can be done in combination with many of The Fifty-Two Nia Moves and during many of the Nia Routines.  It can be done at almost anytime in a Nia class.  During FreeDance or as part of a routine.   It can also be practiced throughout your day.

So did you try it?  Can you do it?  Can you do it on both hands without the help of the other hand?

 

 

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

I Don’t Like Fish, But I Like This

Posted by terrepruitt on October 30, 2014

I love twists. The folding, bending, twisting poses in yoga. Right now I’m thinking about Ardha Matsyendrasas or Half Lord of the Fishes Pose. This is the one where one leg is folded or bent and the other leg is over it and you’re twisted.  Twists can be challenging, but you can often find a level of execution that you can relax into.  And as with all poses the more you practice it well, the more you can twist as you gain flexibility.  Some twists – depending on the supporting factor – can be good to practice strength and stability.  Twists are good for flexibility and digestion.

I prefer to start this pose sitting on one hip (I’ll use the left hip in the example) with my feet to the (right) side.  Using the clock as we do in Nia, sit in the middle of the clock, with the left knee at 12 O’clock.  Reach with the crown of your head to the sky.  Lengthen the neck – create space between the ears and the shoulders.  Open the chest.  Draw the shoulders back and down.  Let those shoulder blades slide down the back.  Lift the ribs off of the hips.  Gently bring the right knee up and the right foot over the left knee to rest with whole foot on the floor at about 11 O’clock.  Use your left hand to gently hold the right knee as you twist your torso to the right.  Keeping the posture that you set up before you brought your right leg over the left (lengthened spine) allow your right hand gently press into the earth behind you . . . a few inches from your right buttock.  Both hips remain on the floor.  With your posture intact relax into it for a few breaths, then untwist, and bring your feet back to the right side.   Then switch your feet to the other side and proceed on this side.

That was the gentle version.  Stay with this until you are comfortable and confident that you can retain the long straight posture through your entire back and neck before you add the rest of the pose.  The additions could be using the crook of your elbow to hold your knee more snuggly up to your rotated torso.  The supporting hand would land on the floor more towards the center of your back as you increase the depth of the twist.  As you twist further you might find your right foot past the 11 O’clock position, straying towards 10 O’clock.  Find your comfortable place, keeping the whole foot on the ground.

A deeper twist would be to place the left elbow (keeping with the original example) on the outside of your right knee.  Your left hand could even rest on the left knee.  With this the supporting hand would land on the floor perhaps just a smidge more towards the center of your back as you increase the depth of the twist or not.  This is a different type of intensity but it might not take your supporting hand that much further back.

There is even a further step where you can thread your left arm (keeping with the original example) through your right leg under the knee and the right arm behind your back so they can link up.

There is also a way to decrease the intensity and that would be to straighten the left (keeping with the original example) leg.  It would remain active.  As in you would gently press it straight out and down.  Hip, knee, ankle and toes in alignment, with knee and toes to the sky.  The straight leg version can be used with any of the aforementioned “holds” (hand holding knee, crook of elbow, elbow on other side of knee).

This twist really helps with flexibility in the hips, knees, and ankles.  I think of it as one of those “pretzel-y” yoga poses.  I have experienced that it is best demonstrated with my back toward my students so they can bend, twist, turn, and hold the exact same sides.

Do you know this pose?  Do you practice this pose?  Do you like this pose?  How do you feel after you do this pose?

 

 

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

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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More On Downward Facing Dog

Posted by terrepruitt on July 1, 2014

I once briefly wrote about the Downward Facing Dog yoga pose in my post Down Dog. This is considered a resting pose. For many; those starting out or those wanting a gentle type of workout, it is not extremely restful. There are many muscles that are being used so it is a very active pose. This pose could be qualified as a “push exercise” or using the muscles that are used for pushing. Muscles on the back of the body are considered the “push muscles”. There are many benefits to this pose.

The lower body gets the biggest stretch. If you are able to straighten your legs and place your heels on the ground the back of your legs get the stretch. The hamstrings get a good stretch along with the calves. If your heels are up there is still a nice stretch going on. With many people working in office chairs and having the posture of bent legs, tight hamstrings is a very common situation. So having heels up and bent knees is a widely used modification.

No matter how your legs are (straight or bent) your arms are holding you up. This pose does require your arms to do some work. It is considered an arm supported pose. In conjunction with latissimus dorsi, the muscles by the ribs, and your deltoids the triceps are working. So for some their arms might feel fatigued. So even though this pose is allowing for a very big stretch in the back of the legs there are muscles working on the top half of the body.

Even though the focus is in pressing the tailbone to the sky we don’t ignore the front. The front of the legs get a bit of attention, as we are lifting the knee caps.  We also have a sense of our spine lengthening.

In addition to increasing flexibility in your legs, hips, and ankles. And strengthening arms and wrist, this pose relieves depression and helps calm the mind. Additional benefits include:
-Energizing the body
-Increasing circulation
-Improving digestion
-Relieving headache, insomnia, back pain, and fatigue
And it can be therapeutic for high blood pressure, asthma, flat feet, sciatica, sinusitis

I have learned to like this pose a bit more. I was reminded of what I tell my students and what we practice in Nia. Find the Joy in the movement, if you cannot tweak it until you do. I believe a portion of my dislike of this pose back when I first wrote about it, was that I was forcing it.  I was doing it in away that did not feel good for my back. Once I stopped the complete loose action of my spine, the pose became more comfortable. As it became easier there was room to move into the pose better and relax into it.

So, like many things it is good to do it at your level. As you improve it can be done better. The benefits can be received throughout the practice. It is a practice.

How is your Downward Facing Dog?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Nia’s Five Sensations, Well, Two and One Fourth

Posted by terrepruitt on May 29, 2014

Aaaahhhh!  I did it again.  I do it all the time.  I see things on Facebook that I want to look at but I don’t have time or when I see it is it not the right time to look at it so I open it in another window.  Then I can watch it, read it, do it (whatever) days later.  But then I forget who posted it.  This is a Nia video so I know that one of my Nia friends posted it.  It took me days to get around to watching it.  Then once I did watch it I was soooo disappointed.  It is a video of Carlos Rosas (NKA Carlos Aya-Rosas) at a conference talking about the 5 Sensations of Nia.  As he is talking I start looking at the time left and I keep thinking, he’s not going to make it.  I kept HOPING he would, but I kept thinking, he is not going to make it.  He didn’t.  He was halfway through (or so it seemed) his talk about Mobility when the video stopped.  Sad face.  That is why I was disappointed.  I was sad because we don’t get to hear all five sensations.  But . . . watching the ones he did get through are well worth it.  It is just a bummer that we didn’t get information on all five.

I am not sure what year it is, but you will see that they are being referred to as Debbie and Carlos Rosas.  Which I always thought that eventually they were referred to as Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.  But that is not the point of this post or the video I was just trying to see if I could have an idea of what year it was, but again . . . not that important because the information is tremendous.

The information is very helpful no matter when it was recorded.  Carlos first walks you through some things you can sense.  He connects them to the 5 Sensations.  If you’ve read a few of my posts about Nia you might be familiar with my belief that Nia takes everyday things you are familiar with and probably aware of and connects it to Nia ideas.   If you watch this you can get an example of them doing that in the time from 2:45 to 7:00.

After the initial connection to the five sensations, the first sensation Carlos defines is Flexibility.  He describes it as energy moving out.  So not just stretching, but energy moving out.  Then he talks about Agility.  He describes that as a quick start stop.  He uses the adjective “explode”.  This is a very entertaining part of the video.  Carlos is a very funny speaker.  Then he gets a few minutes into a mobility.  He describes that as continuous movement.  He talks you through a bit of it, then the video stops.

Even though we only get to see two sensations and a portion of mobility it is still great information.  I am not giving you too many details because I want you to watch it.  It is so much better from the creator than from me just typing what he is saying.

This was posted by Nia, in addition to watching this video you can go to the Nia Channel on Youtube (click here) and see other videos they have posted.  Also, you can go to NiaNow.com and watch recordings of classes.  From the home page scroll through the pages and you will find videos of Nia classes.  You can dance right along with Debbie and other trainers!

I invite you to watch the video and participate with his exercises to connect you with the sensation of Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Stability, and Strength (this is the first portion I mentioned).  Then stick with it for even more connection to Flexibility and Agility.

 

Well, what do you think?

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Never Cease

Posted by terrepruitt on May 27, 2014

I teach Nia which is a cardio dance available to any age.  At both the low end of the age spectrum and the high end of the age spectrum, if you can safely move about the floor and follow basic movements you can do Nia.  So there are young and old Nia dancers.  I teach at facilities that have age restrictions, but that is only the facilities, not Nia.  Then I also teach gentle yoga to older adults.  The classes are held at the “Senior Centers” so while some of the classes are open to those 18 years and older the population in class tends to be older.  As I am sure many of you that teach at a facility with older people will attest, it is amazing to work with these people.  They come week after week and keep trying.  In my class I have a wide variety of experience levels.  They come back every week and do the poses to the best of their ability.  I am inspired by their drive to keep doing.

I check in with them to confirm that they are seeing and feeling some benefit to the class.  With many I can see it, but I want to confirm that they recognize it.  Recently one of my students was sharing some things he learned and he said, “I learned that I need to learn how to relax.”  I laughed and agreed.  It is not easy to do for some.  It is not always second nature to breathe and “rest” into a pose.  The corpse pose at the end of the class is one of those poses.  In fact one class asked if we “had to” do it.  I said yes.  To me that is part of yoga.  That is part of my class.  I believe that quieting the mind and relaxing for 5 to 10 minutes after a class is necessary.  For many it is a Challenging Easy Pose, it is difficult to be still.  Just now as I am typing I remember this person not being able to be still at all when we first started doing yoga.  Now there is stillness.  I believe every one can benefit from this moment of restfulness.  I love that even those who think it is unnecessary, keep trying.

A bit ago we did a pose that several students said is “hard”.  I agreed with them.  It is hard . . . that is why we are doing it.  We are doing a very modified version, but it is one of those poses that works many if not all the muscles in your body, so yes, it is “hard”.  And we do it so that they can benefit from it.  In working on so many muscles it is a balance pose, that requires flexibility and strength.  One of those awesome poses that does so much . . . so we do it.  And what spurred me to write this post is that while they were saying it was hard they were not saying, “It’s hard, I don’t want to do it.”  They were just saying, “Wow, this is hard.”  And then they moved into position to do it again.  Love it.  Love those inspiring active people in my classes!

I just wanted to share with you that I have some amazing inspirations in my life.

What about you?  Do you know any older adults that cause you to think, “I wanna be like that when I am their age”?  Some of those people that just keep trying?  They might not be doing it in a clearly recognizable way but they are still trying?

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Squatting Does A Body Good

Posted by terrepruitt on February 8, 2014

One of my Blue Belt Sisters (a woman I attended the Nia Blue Belt Intensive with) posted a link on Facebook to an article about 5 reasons to do a full squat.  I love when I see information like that . . . information about why it is good to do “something”, something we do in Nia.  I love that.  I love when people confirm and promote Nia movement.  As you know, if you have read some of my Nia posts, Nia is not new.  Nia has been around for 30 years.  Nia incorporates moves and ideals from different modalities so most of it is not new.  HOW they incorporate it is often unique, but we use a lot of movements used in other exercise and workout programs.  Which is a great thing.  Not that just because something is done commonly makes it good, but since Nia is based on how the body was designed to move it makes sense that we do movements done in other practices and vice versa.  So I was excited to see an article talk about something we do in Nia.  Nia knows the benefits of squats.

I posted about the Garland Pose and I posted about what Nia 5 Stages calls “standing“.  Here I am going to touch upon some benefits of doing full squats.  A few of mine are different than the 5 mentioned, so check that out too.  First, the article reminds us that children squat to reach for things on the ground and will get into that position when playing on the ground.  Many things that children do we understand to be beneficial yet we no longer do them as adults.  In addition to the many physical benefits of a full squat, it can possibly help us remember that child-like position of play.  A Nia workout includes “exercising” the BMES (Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit) and many people claim that the play we do in Nia is great for their spirit.  Squat like a kid!

Small children have all that yummy flexibility.  Their bodies have not yet sat in chairs for years or worn shoes that either keep their ankles from moving in a full range of motion or even keep their foot in one position, possibly even shortening their calf muscles.  So they can easily squat with both feet fully on the ground, and their legs folded, and their chest to their thighs with their bum low to the ground.  So a squat allows for all of that.  Mobility and flexibility in the ankles.  Flexibility in the knee.  And balance.  Being able to squat with flat feet and stay stable is proof of good balance.  Think of all those muscles you use to stay tush down and upright . . . (if you need help “thinking”, do it now and just sense all of that).

If you are doing the “Garland” type squat with the wide knees you are really opening the hips and groin area.  It is important to have flexibility and mobility in the hips because those things help make walking more comfortable.  A body is able to stand more upright when the hip flexors aren’t tight.  So squatting can help the body allow for good posture.  The squat also helps with stretching the back of the legs.  Squats target the hamstrings and the glutes.

And if you push up to standing you are using your glutes, so standing up from a squat is a good bum strengthener/toner.  Sometimes we move into a deep squat position in Nia as part of a Nia routine.  We do squats as part of the Nia 5 Stages and we push up into a walk.  So as I said Nia knows the benefits of squatting.  What about you?

Are you a squatter?  Do you find yourself squatting during the day?  Is the squat something your body needs practice doing?

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What IS PiYo?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 9, 2013

I am very shocked and somewhat embarrassed that I have had this blog for over four years and I have never written a post explaining PiYo™.  PiYo is a combination of Pilates (Pi) and Yoga (Yo), brought to us by Chalene Johnson.  Chalene is the creator of Turbo Jam®, Turbo Kick®, TurboFire®, Hip Hop Hustle®, and ChaLEAN Extreme®.  These programs are put out by either Beachbody or her company, Powder Blue Productions.  With PiYo the idea is to combine the two mind/body practices in order to appeal to a large audience.  Pilates and yoga are somewhat similar to begin with, both have a component of connecting the mind and the body in conscious movement.  Both have ideals on breathing and breath.  Both are a way to improve flexibility, stability, strength, and balance.  Depending on which type of yoga practice there could be agility and mobility involved as in Pilates.  Now this might sound familiar if you know about Nia.  In Nia we have the five sensations flexibility, agility, mobility, strength, and stability (FAMSS) which we play with in our dance.  In PiYo the same sensations can be experienced.  The manual states:  “PiYo is considered a ‘Western’ approach to the practices of mind/body fitness.”

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 believe that many people think yoga has been “Westernized”.  Since there are so many types of yoga there might not always be a spirituality in the yoga class or chanting, meditating, or even the Sanskrit terminology.  That is true with a PiYo class.  It is more about the physical with an awareness.

PiYo combines yoga breathing and Pilates breathing.  In general a yoga pose is done with yoga breathing and a Pilates exercise is done with Pilates breathing.  Of course, students are encouraged to breath in a way that is comfortable to them and that works with their individual body, the aforementioned is just a general guide.

The PiYo class follows the tried and true module of a typical exercise class.  There is a section for warming up, a section for general strength and balance, a section with more of a focus specific area of the body (say a core, upper body, or lower body), then a cool down and relaxation section.  While yoga poses could meet all the requirement of each section and Pilates exercises could also, it is often the case that each section will have a majority of one or the other.  Although, you might be like me and think that there is such a huge cross over it is difficult with some moves to claim it is only a yoga move or only a Pilates move.  While I am certain the move did originate from one or the other practice specifically it seems as though currently there is a huge cross over.  That is one reason why I think Pilates and yoga marry ups so well.  They can be considered very similar.

So throughout the class there will be yoga poses and Pilates exercises.  It is up to the instructor and the make-up of the class as to whether the yoga poses will be held for a measured amount of time or done in a flow.  No matter which is chosen it will be a sequences of poses.  Whereas the Pilates exercises are done in repetition.  Generally sequences of repetitions.

A PiYo class is allowed the freedom of design.  As mentioned there is a class format, but then the way it is carried out is dependent on the instructor and students.  The consistence of a PiYo class is that it is for the body and the mind using both yoga poses and Pilates moves.

Do you practice yoga?  Do you practice Pilates?

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