Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘flexible joints’

Thirteen Joints Exercise

Posted by terrepruitt on January 23, 2014

In Nia we have this exercise or practice that is really easy yet packs a huge wallop!  If you have The Nia Technique it starts on page 11 and is called the Thirteen Joints Exercise.  In the back of the book, on pages 252 through 253, it is called the Thirteen Joints Renewal because they are doing it from a squatting position.  But basically you move through the same major thirteen joints.  This is one of those exercises that can be done fairly quickly, but can really help with the way you move through life.  It is basic and easy to do Thirteen Joints Exercise.

This exercise focuses on the 13 MAJOR joints in the body.  Starting with the left side you simple move your left ankle.  I instruct my Nia students to move it in all directions.  Think of how this joint is intended to move and move it that way.  There is the front back motion and the circling motion.  Circle it both ways.  I also include in my instructions the encouragement for the person to be comfortable, so if it is comfortable for them to lift their foot off the earth and do the movements then that is the way to move the ankle.  Some people are not comfortable balancing on one foot and it is perfectly fine to do the movement with the foot on the ground.  The toe can be on the ground to stabilize and then the heel.  The ankle can get the same type of circular motion with the foot on the ground.  However it is comfortable is how you should move it.  The left ankle is joint one.

Then traveling up the left side we come to joint two, the left knee.  Again, thinking about how this joint is intended to move allows us to move it in a way that is comfortable and beneficial.  Allowing the calf to swing forward and back.  Or if you want to keep your foot on the ground then you can lower yourself down on the left side as low as is comfortable and come up again.  This gets that joint moving.

Next is the left hip.  For this hip joint we move the left thigh.  For the person that is balancing on the right leg the left thigh can come up and be pressed back.  The thigh can circle.  If your foot is on the earth you can bend forward.  This affects the hip joint.  You can also “knock” your left knee, allowing it to go in and out.  Bumping the left hip gets some joint action going, too.  This joint is three.

Then we go to the left wrist.  Move that hand all over.  Flex it, extend it, wave it, circle it, just move, move, move it!  Use your fingers to get more wrist action!  This is our fourth joint.

Move up to the elbow.  Your left elbow is the fifth joint in our Thirteen Joints Exercise.  Swing that forearm around and move it all over.

We are still going up, so the next joint, the sixth joint, is the left shoulder.  Here you can shrug, you can circle, you can push it back and forth and to ensure joint action you want to use the arm.  Move the arm.  Circle the arm, move it forward and back, lift it the arm, lower the arm, swing the arm back.  Really get that arm moving to experience the action that was intended for that joint.

Now our seventh joint is really a group, it is not just one spot.  The seventh “joint” is our spine.  There are a lot of ways to move the spine.  As with ALL the movement we do in Nia, it is important that you keep in mind your own body’s way and move your body as it is comfortable.  The spine is put together so it can move in many ways, but there are many things that keep people from moving the way it was designed, so keep your own body’s way in mind as you move your spine.  My instructions include looking left and right, up and down, rolling the head, bending forward and back, bending to the sides, circling around, rolling up, and rolling down . . . again, any way the body can comfortably move.

Now we are on the right side.  We go down the right side of the body moving each joint as we did the left side.  Now, of course, it might not be exactly the same, but I imagine you know what I mean.  The right shoulder is joint eight.  The right elbow is joint nine.  The right wrist is joint ten.  The right hip is joint eleven.  The right knee is joint twelve.  The right ankle is joint thirteen.

Moving the joints helps keep them flexible and mobile.  This exercise can also help with drawing attention to areas that might be tight or stiff.  This practice can be done in as little as one minute.  As I just mentioned it could help make you realize there are areas that might need or want more attention so how long you spend on this is up to you.

So, how do you feel after doing this exercise?

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Loose Feeling Joints

Posted by terrepruitt on November 11, 2010

Recently in my San Jose Nia Class we used elbows as our focus for the class.  The intent was to sense the connection that our elbows have to our entire body.  As we moved we connected them to our hips, our ribs, our thighs, our knees, even our toes.  An easy and almost automatic connection is elbows to shoulders.  Well, for me, this focus allowed me to move my joints to a state of complete and utter looseness.  I felt very loose and relaxed all day long.

That same evening I went to an Ecstatic Dance class and I almost felt as if I could bend like a contortionists.  Notice I said ALMOST.  In reality I could not bend like that, but I was sensing a greater flexing in my joints than normal.  Since I was actually aware of this and sensing it I decided to move with caution.  When I get the opportunity to just Free Dance with others that are doing their own thing I really end up moving.  I work up a sweat and get a really great workout.  But this time since I felt my joints might be able to bend more than normal I kept reining myself in.  I didn’t want to end up injuring myself.

I thought of my former dance teacher who used to do very deep stretches with her legs.  Since she COULD stretch so deep she would do it all the time thinking she was doing her body good.  But it turned out that all of that stretching ended up putting too much strain on her ligaments.  She ended up having to have several surgeries on her knee.  She was double jointed or had knee joints that hyperextended.  If you are double jointed it is good to use caution when moving because just because you CAN move like that doesn’t mean it is good for you to do so repeatedly.   The focus of this post is more about loose joints and not double-jointedness.

It is very important to stretch and be flexible, but there sometimes is a point when we are too loose or more accurately too loose to just let loose.  We need to know when to rein it in and take it easy.  Listening to our body and using body knowledge and awareness we can help from allowing ourselves to get injured.  If you normally cannot do a particular move but today you sense that you can, stop and think can you really?  Is your body ready?  If you are sure then by all means do it because doing what we couldn’t do before but can do now, is how we grow and progress.  But if you are not sure then maybe you want to wait until you are certain because you don’t want to end up having to start all over if you injure yourself.  If your joints are not used to a deep stretches then work slowly into it.  If you have done a juicy yoga class or Nia has all your joints open and saying “Ahhh!” but your joints are not always that loose – proceed with care doing any additional exercise.  Be sure to enjoy the sensation of happy joints.

Have you ever sensed the sensation of loose joints?

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