Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach yoga and stretch! Nia is on hold for now.

    ALL CLASSES ARE ON ZOOM

    Yin Yoga: Mon  at 10:30 am

    Gentle Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Wed at 5:3- pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training all virtual, of course!

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Posts Tagged ‘Healing Arts’

Answers To A Few Questions About Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on January 22, 2020

I think it is time to revisit some things.  A compilation of re-visitation.  How does that sound?  This is in regards to Nia.  I have all of this information spread out in various posts on my blog and in various places on my website but I thought I could revisit some information for a post.  This will help to get the information out there.  I will answer some questions that I have received recently as a new group of people are going to be treated to a Nia class.

How is Nia different than Zumba?
Well, based off of my Zumba and Nia training and based off of the Zumba and Nia classes I have attended the main difference is movement, both speed and type.  Zumba is regularly faster.  Nia can be fast, but in general is slower than Zumba.  Zumba’s movements tend to be more Latin; focusing on movement of the hips and feet, whereas Nia is more of an entire body movement type of dance class.  Nia incorporates three art forms into the dance (martial arts, dance arts, and healing arts – more about all of that can be found in the “The Nine Basic Movements Forms Of Nia” post.)

Is it sweaty?
Well, that is based entirely on you, the individual.  Some people dance Nia and don’t sweat, it could be that they just aren’t the type of body that sweats or it could be that they really didn’t move enough to sweat.  I remember teaching one class years ago and a student came up to me as I was toweling off and said, “You really don’t sweat much in Nia, do you?”  As I said, I was toweling off, my hair was wet, I was blind from sweat, and my glasses were fogged up.  And I said, “No, no YOU don’t.”  Because this person had stood behind me the entire class.  I never saw this student’s arms or legs or head.  So, in other words, this person didn’t move a lot, this person never lifted their arms up or out, nor did they kick out, so there wasn’t a lot of movement on their part so they didn’t sweat.  And that is fine, if that is what your goal is.  If you want to go to a cardio dance class and not sweat don’t move a lot.  If you are the type of person that sweats when you move and you decide to move in the class, then you will sweat.  It really is all about what you want for your body that day, during that class.

What do I wear?
Anything you want in order to feel comfortable.  Something you can move in and that you don’t mind being on the floor in.

Is Nia done barefoot?
Yes.  Nia is designed to be done barefoot.  Again, we do not jump – sometimes a trainer might get fancy and excited and include a little jump or two when s/he created the routine, but for the most part we do not jump.  We don’t typically twist on our feet, we pick up our feet.  There is a lot of foot work in Nia designed to stretch and strengthen the foot.  Nia believes that – while shoes can be lovely – they restrict the movement of the foot, so moving in bare feet allows the foot to move as it was designed.

What type of music is played in a Nia class?
All types of music.  Some routines run the gamut of tunes from rock to classical, some routines contain only one genre or one artist but the music for Nia as a whole varies.  You can click here and click around if you would like to hear some samples of the actual music in some of our routines.

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, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD, Yin YogaAs a note, people constantly confuse IMPACT with INTENSITY. We had been trained to think we have to move fast with high jumps up and down (impact) in order to get a “good” workout and in order to sweat. But if you stand with your feet in A stance (slightly wider than your shoulders) and do squats for three minutes, you might get a little sweaty. You will have done an INTENSE exercise, but not one that is high impact. Nia is not high impact, yet it can be intense.  People who do the moves in their bodies way, always come up to me and say what a great workout they just had in Nia.  The routines are created from movements that the body was designed to do, but Nia knows that not everyone’s body can move that way so dancers are encouraged to move in their own body’s way.  And with that in mind individuals get the workout they need.

Above I mentioned sweating in a Nia class, well, it could be you do sweat when you workout, but it could be that you are taking a Nia class in the middle of your work day or you are meeting friends for lunch after class so you don’t CHOOSE to move a lot and you want to take it easy – that is perfectly acceptable.  It is perfect to dance how you want to/how you are able to at that time.

So, these are the questions that I have received of late.  I can go on for pages talking about Nia . . . and I have if you look here on my blog you will find plenty of posts about Nia.  Or you can check out my website, here are some pages that might interest you:

Nia Information / Nia Class Cycles / Main Benefits of Nia / Tips for a Pleasurable Nia Experience / Principles of the Body’s Way / Nia Tips for Moving with Nia / Sounding Tips / Nia’s 52 Moves / Nia Belt Levels and Focuses

Also, feel free to contact me if you any other questions or want more information.  Yay to new Nia dancers!

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Nia Bundle

Posted by terrepruitt on February 19, 2018

So you may know that I teach a cardio dance exercise called Nia. It includes Martial Arts (such as Tae Kwon Do), Dance Arts (such as jazz dance), and Healing Arts (such as yoga). It is body centered. Basically, it has many facets and can explained many different ways, but it is best for one to see for themselves what it really is. So I call it a cardio dance exercise. That lets people know that they will be dancing and getting a cardio workout. It clues them into the fact that if they move, they will sweat. The rest they just have to experience. One thing we do in Nia is we move around the room. It is great to experience the world from other perspectives and just moving away from your regular dance spot in your dance class can help you do that. Sometimes when we move from our regular spots we are moving around the room in FreeDance . . . perhaps taking up as much space as possible, moving about the entire room or dancing in all the corners. Sometimes when we move from our regular spots we dance in a “bundle”. Nia is also about community so this really helps exhibit that. We dance in a group, in a bundle, as a community.

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 is a particular kata in which I remember the training DVD to have encouraged us to dance close, as stated, in a bundle. So I always try to get people to get close. I suggest we all move gently in the tight bundle. I ask that everyone move through the middle of the bundle at least once. I also propose that people make eye contact. This is something I usually say to remind myself. I am getting better at doing so. I used to always look down, but now we are eyeing each other.

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, SJCityFitDuring one class I stepped outside of the bundle to turn up the music and thought it would be a great time to snap a photo. As you can see our little Nia community is great at doing the Nia Bundle. We always speculate as to what people who might see us would think when we have this large wonderful dance floor and we are all in the middle dancing. We also laugh about elbows and toes, acknowledging that you might run into one and being very careful not to step on the other. I believe the Nia Bundle is one of the things that makes Nia unique.

If you have read some of my other posts before, this one might sound pretty familiar as I wrote about the Nia Bundle in my post Dancing Close. This post pretty much explores the same information, but with this one there are pictures.

Not every Nia routine’s choreography contains a Nia Bundle . . . but a Nia teacher can use a Nia Bundle anytime. Since it is such a fun way to dance in community we might just sneak it in whenever we want. I tend to stick to using it when we dance the particular song that Carlos choreographed the Nia Bundle in . . . .but ya never know, since my students are so good at it, I might start using it more.

How would you feel about a “bundle dance”?

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The Nine Basic Movements Forms Of Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on March 31, 2009

Niais about joyful movement.  Move with joy.  Move for joy.  Move to joy.

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

From the martial arts, we use moves from T’ai chi, Tae Kwon Do, and Aikido.
From the dance arts we embrace styles from Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, and Duncan Dance
And from the healing arts we are mindful of teachings from Feldenkrais, the Alexander Technique, and Yoga.

At times we might move slow focusing on movements centered around the body’s inner core, as in T’ai chi.  We might kick or punch as one might do in Tae kwon do, and these movements might flow into a spiral motion that is associated with Aikido.  We could decide to play the showman and do the entire routine with a jazzy flair or just add movements of creating shapes, dropping and then recovering the body’s own weight as a modern dancer might do.  There is always a chance we could give in to our inner child and run free and honest with the playfulness of a Duncan dancer.  While we’re doing one these things we are keeping in mind the teaching of Moshe Feldenkrais and being conscious of sensations.  We could stretch to the top with utmost concentration one might contribute to the Alexander Technique, then move onto a dance of bone alignment increasing awareness, relaxation, and balance the could be thought of as Yoga.*

So in one workout you can experience all those things.  Strength is balanced with grace.  Fun is balanced with seriousness.  Body is balanced with mind.

The music is varied and is intended to promote the movement of the routine.  There is no doubt something for everyone.

*based on information from The Nia Technique by Debbie Rosas & Carlos Rosas

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »