Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 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 ‘focus and intent’

My Cootie Catcher For Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on April 22, 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, SJCityFitIn my last post I told you how I was recently reminded of the Cootie Catcher.  I explained how you can make your own.  Did you?  What did you use it for?  Well, I also mentioned that I would be using mine for picking a focus and an intent for Nia class.  Well, I used it today and I liked it.  It worked.  In Nia we set a focus and an intent for each class, which allows us so many different things.  It could help us move differently to a familiar routine, it could allow us to help work out some kinks in the body and mind, it can do many things.  It is a powerful tool in the Nia tool box.  Most often I ask my students if they have anything they would like to focus on.  Then we go from there deciding an intent.  One of the most requested focuses is shoulders.  So many of us hold tension in our shoulders.  Rarely is there a time when no one has something they want to focus on, but I thought it would be fun to mix it up giving us an alternative for picking the focus of the class.  Plus I thought it would be a good way to get some focuses in use that we don’t use that often.  So I made a cootie catcher to assist us.

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, SJCityFitI wrote four of the seven Nia Class cycles on the outside.  I used the number of the cycle.  Warm-up is cycle 3, Get Moving is cycle 4, Cool Down is cycle 5, and Floorplay is cycle 6.  I could have just used numbers but I wanted to remind people that Nia has cycles.  I wish I could have used all seven.  So we have someone pick the cycle, then we open and close the catcher that number of times.  Then someone picks a focus or I might have them choose a number . . . that way they won’t really know what focus they are picking.  Ha, I will probably do it both ways.  Anyway . . .we now have our focus.  Then the catcher is opened and closed as many times as the corresponding number.  Then someone picks another number and we open that triangle and read the intent that is behind it and that is our intent for the 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 Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitToday in class we picked Natural Time . . . to empower us to connect with our body.  NICE!

Each focus can work nicely with each intent.  So no matter what combination is picked it will work.

You may notice the underlining on the focuses (Joints is underlined, Extension is underlined), originally I was going to use the words, spelling them out to open and close the catcher, but I decided to go with the numbers.  But again, I might try that way, too.  There are so many ways you can do it.  That is one thing that makes it so fun!

There are many ways we can decide on a focus and intent, this is just one.  If you are going to make one to use to help with a focus and intent you need FOUR things for the outside (that is where I put the cycles).  Then you need EIGHT focuses and EIGHT intents.  So that would be the same formula for anything you are going to use the catcher for.  Four, eight, eight.

I would love to make more and have all kinds of different focuses and intents.  So, you Nia teachers and Nia students, share with me your favorite focus and intent!

 

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, SJCityFit

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, SJCityFit

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, SJCityFit

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Ideas For Focuses And Intents

Posted by terrepruitt on January 18, 2016

I have shared before that in a Nia class we have a focus.  In my classes we always have a focus and an intent.  Sometimes our focus and/or our intent might be loose or flexible or maybe even not clear, but we always have one.  Setting the focus and intent is the first of seven cycles in a Nia class.  I often ask my students what is going on with them and their bodies so that we can set the focus and intent together.  I think that if they are the ones coming up with the focus for the class then they will be more apt to stay focused on it.  A focus the take part in setting will be something more relevant to them and their bodies.  We focus on backs, shoulders, and necks a lot.  It seems as if a lot of us carry our stress in our shoulders.  And I say the because often times that seems to be what it is, but there are also a lot of reasons there is “something going on” with our neck and shoulders.  We do focus on other things, since there are so many things to focus on.  Here are some things we have focused on.

Focus on the shoulders with the intent of bringing relaxation to them.  Focusing on any body party with the intent of bringing relaxation to it/them, is a great one.  So often we hold tension in our body and this can help relieve some of that.  The focus could be the next with the intent of allowing it to relax.

Focusing on the shoulders with the intent of seeing how they are affected by the movement of our hands and arms.  Sometimes this one is a good one to do followed the next day by the first one because we can see how sometimes MOVEMENT can bring tension to a body part!

Focus on the toes with the intent of seeing how their movement affects the knees.  Focusing on a body part to allow awareness of how it is affected by other body parts is always interesting.

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, SJCityFitFocusing on the spine with the intent of creating length and space.  So this could help our posture.  We might dance taller as we reach up or reach away from our bodies with the crown of our heads to help bring a sensation of lengthening.

Sometimes we focus on a body part or area with just the intent of bringing awareness to it.  Sometimes as we move through life, since the world seems bent on teaching us to ignore things our bodies are telling us (“here take this pill to mask your symptoms and go on with your life”), it is important to just pay attention to our knees or our elbows (as an example).  It is important to check in with our hamstrings and/or our calves.  So sometimes we just dance with specific body parts or areas in mind.  This allows participants to think freely about something and receive sensation without a particular goal.

What do you think would be a good focus and intent for a Nia class?  What do you think would be a good focus and intent for you?

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Dancing Away The Stickiness

Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2015

More often than not in my Nia classes we have a physical focus.  A focus and an intent in an exercise class is not easy for some people.  So having a focus that is physical seems, for many, to be easier than a focus that is not.  I know I have mentioned this before because I know I have talked about focuses before.  Today, as always, I asked my class if “they had anything”.  Usually someone comes up with a physical thing . . . sore neck, tight hamstrings, aching back, tight shoulders . . . ya know, something physical.  Today someone said, “Unstuck.”  I had overheard her mention something about being “stuck” while I was getting ready to teach, and I thought that would be a great focus, but I wasn’t sure how to do that.  So I said, “Yeah, I heard you mention that, but I am not sure how to do that.”  Someone else piped in about being stuck, too.  And I laughed and commented that if I knew how to get “unstuck” I wouldn’t ever be stuck.  And the “stuck” we were talking about was a feeling of being stuck either in an emotion or a situation or just the feeling of being stuck!  So we focused on getting “unstuck”.

The person that originally mentioned feeling stuck was happy to hear that others sometimes felt that way.  That is something I learned about feelings they are like questions . . . if one person has it (the feeling or the question) there is at least one other person that does too.  There are no stupid feelings.  Now, I do believe there are no stupid feelings, but I will admit to being guilty of thinking and sometimes even saying that as a knee-jerk reaction to someone I love saying something I think of as not nice about themselves.  If one were to say, “I feel ugly.”  “I feel like a bad person.”  My automatic reaction is “that’s stupid you aren’t . . . ”  But if they FEEL that way that is not stupid.  So I am still learning to curb that reaction.  But I digress . . . back to getting unstuck.

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, PiYoAs I said, I wasn’t sure how to dance “unstuck”.  I wasn’t sure how to make that a focus, but then I decided . . . . because I believe . . . that sometimes just thinking about it can help things move along.  So my thoughts were that if you were feeling stuck, just acknowledging it and moving with it could be enough to unstick it.  Or it could be enough to think of an idea on how to “unstick” it.  Or it could just open you up to an idea that is going to come later.  Just all types of stuff.  We agreed that dancing with the focus of getting unstuck and the intent of being open to that and whatever it meant and however we could achieve that would be our focus and intent for the class.

One person mentioned not getting “too unstuck” which gave me the opportunity to remind people that we are dancing our own interpretation.  When I suggest people move as if they are floating in water, everyone moves in their own way.  They imagine their own “floating in water”.  The same with getting “unstuck”.  One can get as “unstuck” as they feel they need to be.  The person that mentioned this left early so I didn’t get to delve into what she meant . . . because it could mean so many things.

After class, I actually felt better and a little less stuck.  “Unstuck” could relate to letting go or being loose.  It is one of those things that if you are feeling anything related and you focus on it with the intent of acknowledging it or relieving it, it can just happen.

For those that are challenged with focusing on things that are not strictly physical “unstuck” works for that because one could have a tight muscle that is “stuck”.  Or a joint that might need some loosening because it feels “stuck”.  So dancing to “unstick” is really a great focus.

I am always amazed at how my class comes up with such great things to focus on.  I am further amazed at how so often what they come up with is something I am feeling the same need for.  Getting “unstuck” is great.

Do you ever feel “stuck”?  In what way?  What do you do to get “unstuck”?

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

Who Thinks About Their Knees?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 26, 2014

We do!  Today in the group exercise class I was subbing, I did a Nia class. Our focus was the knee, with the intent of bringing awareness to the main muscles that help move the knee. So with that intent we were thinking about the quadriceps and the hamstrings. There are other muscles involved in the knee’s movement and stability, but we were keeping it simple and just focusing on those two sets of muscles. There are four muscles that make up the quadriceps and three that make up the hamstrings. The quadriceps are on the “front” of the thigh and the hamstrings are on the back of the thigh. To see my brief post on the Quadriceps click here. To see my brief post on the Hamstrings click here. The muscles of the quadriceps help straighten the leg. So they extends it. They pull the lower leg forward. The muscles of the hamstrings pull the lower leg back, what we call bending the knee. The knee gets straightened and bent a lot in a Nia dance exercise class, but there might not always be awareness of the muscles that are doing it. Today we brought awareness to the knee bending and straightening muscles.

Bringing awareness to muscles can be done in many ways. Often time the choreography of a Nia Routine has us doing specific steps and arm movements. In the first few songs of the routine I am doing I did not have the class do any touching of our legs. I just suggested that the class think about their legs, while, in the first song we moved our chest down and lowered our hips. Everyone moves to their own depth so not all of us were in a bend with chest on our thighs, but we were still able to bring awareness to our thighs with knees bent. The next few songs have us aware of our knees as we sink a bit to activate hips and move with front, back, and diagonal steps.

When we were at a song that is a free dance we wiggled our knees, we knocked them, we straightened them. We touched the front of our thighs while we moved our legs, opening and closing the knee joint. We kicked forward and back. While we danced we touched the back of our thighs. The act of touching allows us to sense the muscles as it moves the leg, extending and flexing. The act of touching helps us bring awareness to the muscles as we use them.

While we do a punching and blocking sequence we are aware of the stability we have in the wide stance with the knees slightly bent. This pose allows the opportunity for awareness of the full thigh activation.   Even while standing still we are sensing the dance of strength and stability.

I love that Nia incorporates a focus and an intent as one of the workout cycles. This gives us a chance to focus on many things. In this case the movement of the knee. This is a great way to keep both the body and mind active while bringing awareness of how the body moves into our dance exercise class.

Do YOU think about your knees?  Do you think about how your leg bends?

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Mirrorless Inward Reflection

Posted by terrepruitt on July 15, 2014

I teach Nia at Community Centers in San Jose.  One of the things about community centers is they are for the community.  During the summer that means that they are kid central.  It is amazing all of the programs they have for kids during the summer.  It is so great to see the centers doing so much to keep the kids learning and active during the summer.  What a full community center sometimes translates to is regularly scheduled classes get shuffled around.  I was given about six months notice for this summer’s shuffle.  So our Nia class was prepared.  I had been telling them since January.  Then I put up a notice in June.  So we were aware.  It is a huge blessing that we just get moved to another room and not to a different time or cancelled altogether.  I am grateful that we still get to have a class while all these summer camps and kid fun is going on.  It is working out to be one week a month.  Last month the room we were moved to had the portable mirrors in the closet so we were able to roll them out and use them.  Today the closet was full of tables and chairs.  The mirrors were nowhere to be found.  The center is on what used to be a high school campus.  So it is very large and spread out.  I wasn’t certain that 25 minutes would be enough time to let someone know about the situation, find the mirrors, and move them all the way across the campus.  So we did Nia without mirrors today, using the opportunity to focus inward.

I have done Nia without mirrors before.  In fact I posted about it in my post Nia In The Mirror when I was teaching in San Carlos.  That is one reason when I started working at the San Jose Community Centers I was so impressed with their portable mirrors.  In fact I thought I did a post about them because they are sooooo cool.  (Well, I don’t see one, so that will probably be my next post!)

In a Nia class the teacher stands with her/his back to the students.  One way we connect with our students is eye contact in the mirror.  A Nia teacher can turn and face the students.  In fact, it is recommended at times to do so to change things up and to connect in another way to the students.  We even practiced it in the Blue Belt Intensive.  So it is up to the teacher to teach facing whichever way s/he wants.  Generally though we face away from the students.

Facing away makes it easier for some people to follow since we are moving the same side of the body and going in the same direction as opposed to the mirror image as was (and possibly still is) done in Jazzercise.  What I find is that I learn the routine SAYING it as if I am teaching with my back towards the students so for me to turn around I would be saying go left as I move left and we would not be dancing in mirror image.  So to turn and face the students while we are doing a dance that moves front or back or laterally is a challenge for me.  Especially when it is a new routine.  And right now, I am somewhat learning a routine.  In a routine there is usually a song or two where we are not moving left or right so we often face each other than.  I was able to do that today, but some I did with my back to them.

I think dancing without a mirror every once in a while is a good thing.  It helps the students dance with themselves.  The moment I found out we didn’t have mirrors I knew our intent and focus.  I set the focus to be the Conscious Personal Trainer, with the intent of being fully aware of and sensing your own body’s movements.  Without the mirror to distract us I thought it would be a great opportunity to focus more on one’s own body.  Without the mirror we don’t see ourselves nor the other people.  Without a mirror the possibility to draw ones attention in and keep it in seems better.

So, of course, I was very happy when one of my students said that dancing without the mirrors made it different.  It did allow her to focus more on her movements.  She said she was less distracted with the other students.  Yay!  I like that it worked for her.  I like that we were able to do it different, but we still danced and had fun.  I am very blessed to have such great students that can just go with the flow and DO Nia!  It is nice to have “no mirrors” give us the opportunity for something different.

When you take a lead-follow exercise class do you prefer the instructor FACE your or face away from you?

 

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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?

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I’m Blue, But No Tears Here

Posted by terrepruitt on November 13, 2012

Last week I cancelled my Monday and Wednesday Nia class and got a substitute for my Tuesday Nia class with the City of San Jose.  I decided to take the next level of Nia training.  I was a White Belt, now I am a Blue Belt.  Nia calls their trainings intensive.  I cannot assume to know why, but I am glad they do.  They are very intense.  The training is part lecture and part moving.  The moving can be dancing or types of exercises to further the learning process.  People tend to learn better when they are doing, so there is a lot of doing.  In my rough calculations it was about 53 hours of instruction, including the Master Classes.  It was Saturday through Friday.  It was exhausting.  It was energizing.  It was incredible.  As I have mentioned before and I will continue to mention Nia is a cardio dance exercise.  Come to a class.  Move.  Have fun.  Sweat.  Get your workout in.  But Nia is also a practice.  I compare it to yoga in that a person can go into a yoga class and work out and do the exercise and then leave and not give it a second though.  Or they could give it a second thought.  They could take on some of the aspects of yoga, they could practice breathing and/or meditating or anything else that might be attached to their yoga class on a deeper level.  That is what a person can do with Nia too.  So some people take the intensives for self-growth with no intention of teaching at all.  Even if they are not planning on teaching or are not currently doing so, the training is just as intense.

Each belt level has its own focus and intent.  Blue Belt focus is Communication, Relationship and Intimacy with the intent to energize personal connection through self-discovery and communication by following The Body’s Way.  Sounds like a lot.  Ok, it IS a lot.  LOL!

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, ZumbaIn addition to a focus and intent, each belt level (aside from Green) has its own set of principles.  With the Blue Belt, the principles were made to layer onto or over the White Belt Principles.  Some of the information is very close to being the same, but with a little more added to it.  It is very interesting the way Nia does things.  It is very amazing the training they come up with and the delivery of it.

In this training we were shown many things, one was an enlightened way to use the Nia 5 Stages or the Developmental Anatomy to measure all types of things and where we might be in a process.  It is a pretty cool tool.  It is part of the Body’s Way.

I am 100% positive I will have more posts regarding the Blue Belt Intensive, the Blue Belt Principles, and my thoughts on it all.  I am still processing it right now.  My mind is racing with thoughts, ideas, things I learned, things I didn’t learn, just a lot of things.  There is so much that I want to share.  There is also a lot I don’t want to share.  Nia is not a secret society by any means.  There are no secrets to the intensives, in fact most of the information is things that have been around for as long as I can remember.  The information is stuff you have probably heard before.  It is just the WAY they deliver it.  And the way it is connected to the body that is somewhat unique.  If I decide not to share something or talk vaguely about some things it is because I don’t want to ruin the surprise of some things for those of you that will be taking the Blue Belt.  Since the Blue Belt Principles are layered onto the White Belt Principles I will probably write more post about them too.  And we will see what comes up.  I have chosen to participate in Nia as a practice.  For now, I will revel in Blue!

Is there something that you have in your life you consider a practice?

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First I Went Green, Now I’m Going Blue

Posted by terrepruitt on October 9, 2012

As I have shared with you before, there are four different levels to Nia Training; White, Blue, Brown, Black.  These are trainings anyone can take.  Each level has its own focus, intent, and principles.  You do not have to be interested in teaching.  If you are interested in teaching and hold a current license there is an additional level, Green, that may be taken.  The Green belt does not have its own principles because it focuses on teaching skills.  I have been a White Belt since December 2008.  In November 2012, I am going to be turning blue.  The focus for the Blue Belt is Communication, Relationship and Intimacy with the intent to energize personal connection through self-discovery and communication by following The Body’s Way.  I’m excited to see all that entails.  I do know that when I stepped into my White Belt I had NO IDEA the type of training I would be receiving.  I thought that I would spend 40 hours learning routines and learning how to teach.  But that is not what it was.  The White Belt is currently about (Focus) physical sensation with the intent to embody the foundation of Nia.  Back in 2008 is was (focus) the physical body, the anatomy of the body, the Nia Technique, and the Nia moves.  Which did not equate to learning routines.  I can’t wait to see what the Blue Belt Intensive has in store.

Nia’s training is very intense.  It is very deep.  It is very detailed, well-thought out, well presented, and well documented.  Recently a graduating Green Belt said it was “stellar”.  That is a great description.

Per the main Nia website the description for the Blue Belt states:

Blue Belt, the second level of Nia education, explores how to create healthy relationships through body-centered communication. This intensive introduces the next set of 13 Nia principles, which focus on the mental, emotional and spiritual realms of the body. While the White Belt curriculum focuses entirely on awareness of physical sensation, Blue Belt applies these skills to explore internal sensations as perceived through – but distinct from – physical sensations in the body.

Blue Belt Principle #1: The Joy of Being in Relationship, integrates the sensation of Joy with the awareness that Joy is something outside the self, which we can invite into our physical experience. As a result, we begin to deepen our ability to listen with clarity and sustain awareness of details outside our body.

If you have never been to a Nia Intensive it is impossible to describe, but I know it will be wonderful.  I know I will learn a lot.  I know that it is what I need because it is happening, so I am going to do my best to keep my energy allies present along with having a beginner’s mind so that I am able to get all that I can out of it.  You know that I will be sharing a lot when I get back.  I am so excited to be changing from White to Blue.  Just because I am moving to the next level doesn’t mean there won’t more posts about White Belt things, there is still a lot to share and learn about the White Belt, I will just have that much more to share!

Can I get a, “Woohoo Blue!”

**update:  I forgot to clarify and tie in to my title, silly me!  First I went Green as in drinking green smoothies and now I am going Blue.  I have not yet taken the Nia Green Belt.  I am hoping that there will be one in this area again.  There has only been one.

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Three Day Weekends and Memorial Day’s National Moment Of Remembrance

Posted by terrepruitt on May 26, 2012

Don’t you love three day weekends?  I remember when I worked a corporate job, three day weekends were looked upon as revered things.  I had been in the mortgage business all my working life and for some reason there was a practice of companies closing a bit early the Friday before a three day weekend.  Rarely was it announced too far in advance, but just sprung upon us a little before lunch.  The management would let us know we would be getting out at 2:00 pm or 3:00 pm.  We would get to start our holiday early!  Eventually it became such a common practice that we kind of began to expect it.  And some companies would even be so kind as to announce the early departure time the day before so that people could actually make plans.  Ahhh, yes, the three day weekend is something corporate America loves.  Sometimes the actually Holiday is forgotten in the joy of having an extra day off.  Forgotten in the excitement of the prospect of gathering with friends.  Forgotten in the moment.  Usually there is a mention of it somewhere and we say, “Oh yeah, THAT’s why we have an extra day off.”  In the case of Memorial Day it really is more than an extra day off, isn’t it?  Because of the people who have served and died in the United States Military, we, in America, have so much more than a day off.

Memorial Day is actually May 30th.  In 1968 an Act was signed into law that changed the federal observance of some holidays to be on Mondays so that federal employees could have a three day weekend.  The Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect on January 1, 1971.   According to the all-knowing Wiki:

“The Act moved Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day from fixed dates to designated Mondays.

The Monday holiday dates this act established are:

Washington’s Birthday: third Monday in February (formerly February 22)
Memorial Day: last Monday in May (formerly May 30)
Columbus Day: second Monday in October (formerly observed on October 12)
Veterans Day: fourth Monday in October (formerly November 11 and subsequently moved back to November 11 effective 1978)

Though the holiday was not in existence at the time, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (established 1983) is celebrated on the third Monday in January, instead of King’s actual birth date, January 15, for the same reasons.”

So it is no wonder we might sometimes forget what the holiday actually was created for, because at one point it DID become about having a three day weekend.

I do hope that you take advantage of the time off and I hope you do enjoy yourself.  I really believe that having time off from work is necessary to help recharge the body, mind, and spirit.  While you are sharing good time with family and friends maybe you can take a minute to remember those that died serving in the military.  In fact, in 2000 there was a White House Memorandum issued that would be a wonderful thing to participate in.  It encourages “Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.”  Will you join me?

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Since Nia is a workout/dance/practice that recharges the body, mind, and spirit I am not taking Memorial Day off.  I will hold both my morning Nia class and my evening Nia class which will allow those that are normally working to participate. The focus will be sacrifice and freedom, the intent will be to express gratitude for the sacrifices made for our freedom.

I hope you enjoy your weekend.  If you have a three day weekend, I hope you take advantaqge of that extra day off.  I also hope you will join me for a minute at 3:00 pm this Memorial Day and every Memorial Day and take a moment to remember.

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Yin Yang

Posted by terrepruitt on April 28, 2011

I have written before about how we set a focus and intent for every Nia class.  With each Nia routine there is a set focus and intent, one that was used at the recording of the training DVD, but with Nia we are invited to use different focuses and different intents.  Using different focuses and intents allows for different sensations to be experienced with the Nia routines.  This week I am teaching the original focus and intent with the routine.  The focus is yin and yang.

I like this information I found regarding Yin and Yang, it states:  “Yin yang are complementary opposites that interact within a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, but either of these aspects may manifest more strongly in particular objects, and may ebb or flow over time. ”

With yin yang as a focus when we move our upper extremities in a manner akin to yin and our base in a yang manner we have complementary opposites moving the body which is the greater whole.  Additional yin yang sensations are hard and soft, rough and smooth, straight and curved, up and down, stable and wobbly, loud and quiet, silly and serious . . . . .ooooooh the list goes on and on.

Yin Yang is amazing.  It allows for many different movements, ideas, sensations, and feelings.  We move our bodies slow, then we move hips fast as our arms float slowly in the air, then its our whole body fast.  We hop reminding our legs of the sensation of agility, then we spend time with hands in a flutter so they can experience the fast start and stop of agility.  We invite our neurons to stretch and grow having one hand flutter and the other one move slowly through the air.  There are moments when the whole body is moving in unison in a yin way then it moves in unison in a yang way.  There are points where upper body is move in either yin or yang while the body is moving in yang or yin then there is a switch.  Yin yang is an exercise in coordination.  Also great balance practice.  As an example stand on one leg, then still standing on one leg move your arms around you in a quiet manner, then make them loud.  That yin yang really trains the intrinsic muscles for greater stability.

What made me think about sharing this was today while I was doing something at home I thought, “Do in yin and yang!”  So I did it fast then I did it slow, then I did it on two legs and then I did it on one leg.  Whatever I was doing I realized that I could bring the focus from my Nia class this week into my everyday household chores.  Yes, I know I have actually put this in a post before  . . . in Nia we do “Dance Through Life“.  This is dancing through life.  I just love when I am dancing through life and I can share it in a post easily.

I invite you to move through your day experiencing yin and yang.  So things fast then slow, move one arm fast and the other slow, move big, move little, move big and little at the same time . . . you understand.  Go.  Dance through life . . . be yin . . . be yang . . . be yin and yang!

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