Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘group exercise class’

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?

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

Cool Facts About The History Of The YMCA

Posted by terrepruitt on December 7, 2013

So, as a group exercise instructor one usually has a few jobs or venues to teach at. I have Nia classes at a studio where I rent the space, at a community center for the City of San Jose, and soon at some local YMCAs. In order to teach for the City of San Jose I had to go through the hiring process. Same with the YMCA. Today I spent a good portion of the day at a YMCA orientation. While a lot of the information they cover is common sense and a lot of it is information I have received at almost every job I have worked at some of it was unique to the YMCA. Such as the history of the YMCA. I admit I learned a lot. I knew what Y.M.C.A stood for (Young Men’s Christian Association), but that is about it. It helped that the trainer was clearly very enthusiastic about the history of the Y. As always when I learn something I think is interesting I like to share with you. Plus, when I document it via my blog, I have the information where I can always find it! So here are some facts I thought were cool about the history of the YMCA.

—-The YMCA was founded in 1844 in London, England
—-In 1859 a sea captain led the formation of the YMCA in Boston
—-In 1856 German immigrants participated in the first-known English as a Second Language class
—-Andy Rooney, Dan Rather, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jack Kerouac, and Andrew Young (U.S. Ambassador), have all stayed at the YMCA
—-In 1869 the first YMCA buildings constructed with gyms were opened
—-In 1875 in San Francisco, to serve the Chinese population, YMCAs serving Asians were established
—-In 1879 Thomas Wakeman founded a YMCA for U.S. Native Americans
—-In 1917 a Japanese YMCA was founded
—-In 1891 James Naismith, a physical education teacher at the International YMCA Training School, invented basketball
—-In the 1890s William Morgan, a YMCA instructor thought basketball was too strenuous for businessmen so he invented volleyball
—-By 1950 YMCAs operated 20 colleges in cities across the country
—-During World War II, the YMCA staff organized clubs and activities for children in the Japanese Interment camps — all in secret
—-In 1950 Joe Sobek, a YMCA volunteer, invented raquetball
—-In 1967 racial discrimination was banned in all YMCAs
—-In the mid 1970’s the Youth Basketball Association (YBA) was created by the YMCA and the NBA Players Association. The YBA promotes skills and teamwork over winning at any cost
—-In 2008 the YMCA and the Department of Defense and the YMCA partnered to fund memberships and child care services for families facing the hardship of military deployment
—-In 1891 a triangle was used a the logo, the equal sides representing “man’s essential unity, body, mind and
spirit, each being a necessary and eternal part of man, he being neither one alone . . . ”

I especially loved the last one as Nia has many triads and is greatly focus on Body, Mind, and Spirit.  We add Emotion so we have BMES, but it is very much the same thing.  Anyway . . . these are some of the main things I thought were interesting.  Since the YMCA has been around so long it really has a long history.

Which YMCA history fact(s) is new to you?  Which ones did you know?  What do you know about the Y that I have shared? 

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

Nia Or Nia Technique Is A Specific Practice

Posted by terrepruitt on April 11, 2009

I want to remind everyone that Nia or Nia Technique® is a specific practice.**  It was created in 1983 by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.  They were married and now they are not, but Nia is such an important part of their lives and so important to them, that they continue to work together.

Nia has different belt levels; White Belt, the newly added Green Belt, Blue Belt, Brown Belt, and Black Belt.  Each Belt has its own set of principles, except for Green.  You must wait a year in between belts before you can take the next intensive.  (Except for green because it a newly added in the system to assist teachers.)

Click here for more info on classes and Nia

I am a White Belt, so I continue to work with the thirteen White Belt Principles:

1–The Joy of Movement
2–Natural Time and the Movement Forms
3–Music and the 8BC System
4–FreeDance
5–Awareness – Dancing Through Life
6–The Base; Feet and Legs
7–The Three Planes and the Three Levels of Intensity
8–The Core of the Body; Pelvis, Chest, and Head
9–Creative Arm and Hand Expressions
10–X-Ray Anatomy
11–Business and Marketing
12–Continuing Education
13–Dance What You Sense / Teach What You Sense

When I talk about Nia it is based on what Debbie and Carlos have created.  They have been working and growing with Nia for 25 years.  And if you look at their work and information you will see that it has morphed a little.  It is the same basic practice but I believe it gets refined as they grow and change.

So please keep in mind when I talk about Nia, I am talking about something wonderful and specific and it is entirely based on the work of Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.

Please join me in San Jose for a Nia class.  Visit my website for the schedule http://www.helpyouwell.com/

**This post is to explain that “Nia” and “Nia-things” I talk about are primarily from the creators of Nia BUT please keep in mind . . . . Nia is also a workout that can be experienced, just like a Yoga, Zumba, Jazzercise, or any group exercise class.  One can show up to class and just move and get a great workout.  One does not have to participant in the intensive and the belt levels.

Visit Nia’s main website at:  www.nianow.com

Posted in Nia, Nia White Belt Principles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »