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 ‘Heel lead’

Running, Lifting Weights, And Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on January 25, 2014

Nia is a body/mind type of practice.  Or mind/body . . . however you want to say it.  I tend to say body/mind because the first step is to get into the body.  But it is different from a lot of other exercises.  It is much more like yoga and Pilates then say . . . weight lifting or running.  I recently taught a class where a woman told me afterwards that she really loves it because she is very athletic, she runs, she plays other sports, but she wanted something that was more freeing and more connected so she decided try Nia and now she is hooked.  She still does all of the other stuff and continues to love it, she is just rounding out her workouts and exercise with Nia as a body/mind addition.  Nia is really great to add to any type of workout regime you have.

Since Nia focuses on allowing the participant to participate at their own level it can easily fit into your workout schedule.  I have had many people who love more traditional sports tell me that Nia is a great addition for them.  They all love that body/mind connection and the way it allows them to feel like a kid.  They love the play of it.

I have had people come up to me before class and say, “I can’t dance are you sure I can do this?”  The answer in The Nia Technique is “if you can walk you can do Nia.”  And that is true.  In a Nia class you might even fine tune your walking a bit.  We might train you to do that Heel Lead that often gets lost in a high heeled or runner’s gait.  Get that flex and extend back in the ankle.  But really anyone can do Nia.

I would bet that you have noticed the increase in the popularity of yoga . . . well, it is that mind/body connection that draws people to it.  Many people are understanding that even a regularly scheduled exerciser benefits from having that mind/body connection.  With Nia there is also the Emotions and Spirit.  The whole enchilada.  BMES.  Body, Mind, Emotions, and Spirit.

I’ve posted about Spirit before.  It is one of the things that many people really enjoy about Nia.  It can be compared to the “feeling like a kid” again.  The play in the exercise or workout.  The “Wooohooo!”

So the intention of this post is just to remind people – because I am sure I have said it before – that Nia is for everyBODY.  To remind you that people who like the more traditional exercise and workouts, the more athletic type of stuff, as in running and weight lifting, find they really like to add in Nia to the mix.  It actually helps them in their other type of workouts.  They claim — the ones that talk to me — they are more focused when they do run and/or lift weights.  So if you are one of those people who prefer the more traditional exercise, maybe break out of that for a Nia class and see how it works for you.

Check out my schedule on my website Nia Class Schedule or if San Jose is too far for you look at the Nia Classes on the main website.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to try something different for a workout?  Do you want to add something new to your exercise regime?

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

The Pelvic Moves Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on December 5, 2013

In the Nia 52 Moves there are moves clumped into groups.  There are moves of the base, which involve the feet, such as Heel Lead, Releve, Closed Stance, Bow Stance, Slow Clock, Fast Clock, front kicks, side kicks, etc.  There are upper extremities which include moves such as blocks, punches, sticks, chops, finger flicks, Creepy Crawlers and Catching flies. Then there is a group called the core which involves Pelvis, Chest, and Head.  Two of the moves that are pelvic moves are Pelvic Circles and Hip Bumps.  Two relatively easy moves, I am confident most people have done them in their life time.  As I said easy, but they pack a wallop!

The Pelvic circle begins in A Stance (feet a little wider than shoulder width apart) and you move the hips in a continuous circle as if you are using a hula hoop.  Just around and around.  Circling the hips.  Don’t forget to circle the hips in the opposite direction.  With this move the arms are free to move in any direction and any way they want.  This particular show belongs to the hips.

Hip circles are a common move both in dance and other exercises.  It is good for the waist and hips.

The other pelvic move is the hip bump.  In Nia we bump our hips in all directions not just to the side.  So for the hip bump stand in the A stance and move your hip to the side, then the other side, and the front and back.  A quick bump.  This is an agility move with the quick start and stop.  The arms involved in this are also freedance . . . they can do what they want.

Again, this move is not unique to Nia at all.

As with all the 52 moves there are ways to do them correctly while in practice.  Practicing them and getting them in the body’s muscle memory help when we incorporate them into a routine.  While doing both the Pelvic Circle and the Hip Bumps the arms are free to move, but it could be the arms have specific choreography tied to the moves in a routine.  Also the hip bump is in general done in all directions, but in a routine it could be part of the choreography that the hip just goes to one side then the other.

I am pretty confident that many, many, many people have done the hip bump.  It is a familiar move.

In the routine I am doing right now there is a hip bump or two.  My favorite is to assign a feeling to them.  Sometimes we do sexy hip bumps . . .kinda goes without saying.  But we also do angry hip bumps, silly hip bumps, and dramatic hip bumps.  Each of those hip bumps brings out a different movement and with each individual it is different.  It is so fun to see people interpret the feelings and emotions in a common move like the hip bump.

So these are two moves that are grouped into the Core moves in Nia’s 52 moves.  I think that you should get up right now and do some pelvic circles and hip bumps.  Your hips will thank you.

So are either of these moves movements you have done before?  When is the last time you bumped your hip?  How about a pelvic circle?  What would your angry hip bump look like?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

In Nia We Travel

Posted by terrepruitt on November 14, 2013

Nia is a cardio dance exercise that I teach.  It is more than that, but that is one way to describe it.  One of the ways it is more than that, is, it is a practice.  If you chose to treat it like a practice, as one might treat yoga as a practice, one would become aware of Nia’s 52 Moves.  There are 52 moves that get choreographed into the Nia Routines.  One of the moves is Traveling in Directions.  This is a great move for many reasons.

One reason Traveling in Directions is great is because it is very easy.  Another reason it is great is because it is very adaptable and can be used in almost every song and in every routine.  The main way to travel in a direction is to simply walk.  Using the Heel Lead technique just walk forward, then change the direction you are walking, then change the direction, etc.  With the simplest of forms you look where you want to go before you move in that direction.  So before your feet actually start going a different direction — LOOK.  There is a little bit of thinking involved because we look before we go.  Allow your arms to move freely.  Step confidently in whichever direction you choose to look.  Move your body as a whole.

The Nia Technique book states:  “Practicing Traveling in Directions keeps your body agile for moving through space in all directions, able to change direction with ease.”

When we use this move in our routines we have a lot of fun playing with it.  The move really is as easy as stated, the fun comes when changing directions quickly.  You can be the leader of your own movement or sometimes you are being directed by the teacher.  This makes agility one of the Nia sensations we practice with this move.  Moving one way then quickly stopping and going another way.  Stopping, changing, starting.  Varying the speed at times will allow for additional Nia sensations such as strength and stability to come into play.

When Traveling in Directions on your own you become aware of the direction you want to go, then you look, then you go.  As I said, there are times when you might be listening to the direction of the teacher, which would still mean you would need to become aware of the direction you want to go, but when being told where to go your body’s reaction is quicker.  There is a quick look then a move in that direction.  Less thought is involved for you as the participant because someone else thought of the direction you were going to go.

Often when this move is done in a class, quick thinking, quick moving, and quick reacting are additional skills that receive attention because we are dancing with others on the floor so we might have to switch our trajectory quickly to avoid a dance floor collision.

Modifications of the traveling can be done by going backwards or sinking low or even rising high.  So many ways to travel in directions.  All of them are great opportunities to try out the Nia Sensations, the more you do, the more ways you move your body.  If you want you can even skip.  Skipping in different directions adds a new dimension to the move.

Sometimes this move is choreographed into the Nia routine with specifics and sometimes is allowed more of a Free Dance.  However it is added to the Nia workout it is a wonderful way to dance.

How would you Traveling in Directions to your current favorite song?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Whole Foot

Posted by terrepruitt on June 26, 2010

Using the whole foot is another one of Nia’s 52 Moves. The whole foot is used for secure stability. It is a powerful base.

Moving on the whole foot or just standing on the whole foot–either on both feet or just one foot allows for the bones in the feet to act as support for the entire body. Stepping or standing on the whole foot can bring rest to either the heel or the ball of the foot. The whole foot stance or movement calls different muscles in the foot and the leg into play.  If you are accustomed to standing and/or walking on the balls of your feet, this technique might be a challenge to your leg muscles.

Stepping onto the whole foot encourages a gentle flex in the knee so as to help absorb any shock that might be felt as the whole foot touches the ground.

There are times in a Nia class when we actually dance on the whole foot—you might recognize the whole foot dancing as what Carlos (Rosas now known as AyaRosas) called micro dancing. We use the whole foot to gently slap the earth. Moving around the space. We might stomp, bringing the foot to rest gently on the ground.

The whole foot is the middle of a stride in the heel lead walk. We sometimes will step onto the whole foot instead of the heel or the ball, this as I mentioned, can be a restful for the heel or ball if you normally step on it either. The whole foot can be used in all of the stances.

While you move through your day, be aware of your feet. Notice when you are on your whole foot. Take a moment to shift your weight from foot to foot. Sense the stability and power in your base, in your whole foot.

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Heel Lead

Posted by terrepruitt on June 24, 2010

Often times in a Nia routine we are stepping or even walking. Since Nia’s movements are based upon the way the body was designed to move a Nia routine is often created with the step to be done with a heel lead.  The Heel Lead is one of Nia’s 52 Moves.

A lot of different types of dancing is done on the ball of the foot, cha-cha, two step, etc. Some dances are done on the toe as in ballet. With Nia we often are using our heel to lead and not the toe or the ball of the foot. This is a challenge sometimes. Sometimes it seems easier to step onto the ball of the foot or the toe. Using the heel lead technique really allows for our ankles to move through the full range of motion.

In addition to allowing the foot to move as it should, stepping on the heel gives the ball of the foot a chance to rest. If it is one’s habit to walk on the ball of the foot it can sometimes become a source of pain. The foot in its very architecture was designed to have the weight (when stepping) borne on the heel not the ball of the foot.

While I am leading a Nia class I frequently say, “Heel lead.” And most times it is to remind myself to use my heel. I tend to start dancing on the balls of my feet.

A lot of women’s high heeled shoes do not allow for a heel lead. In the case of some of the shoes if the heel were to lead and the weight were to be place on it, it would collapse. I know many, many women who love their high heels for so many reasons. I am not saying that people shouldn’t wear them, but I am saying that we dance Nia in bare feet, the routines are designed to allow the body to move as it was created, so embrace the heel lead.

Right now, if you are not wearing shoes that would inhibit the heel lead, try it. As you walk through your day actually consciously, place your heel down (not roughly, just place it down) first then roll through your foot. Notice how your ankle flexes and extends. Practice the heel lead. Enjoy the heel lead.

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »