Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘kata’

New Way To Connect

Posted by terrepruitt on October 14, 2020

I was recently listening to a recorded meeting for Nia teachers and one of them came on camera to share something she was doing as a way for her to learn a routine and connect with students. The teacher said that she had “pop-up” Zooms where they just popped on for 15 or 20 minutes to review a song and that was it. I thought this was a great way to connect with community during this time when we can’t actually meet in person, so I tried it today. We had a great time.

This being the first time I decided to do this “pop-up” Zoom right after our regular Nia class. I was thinking that it would be easier for the students to just stay then if it were a separate meeting. I figured the Nia students would stay and more people could join.  I had notified people of the plan ahead of time.  My husband pointed out that advance notification makes it not truly a “pop-up”.  To which I responded, that since it was not in my monthly e-mail or on my website I was considering it a “pop-up”.

When everyone arrived I quickly spoke a bit about katas, what Nia calls a combination of moves. The katas were what I wanted to focus on, the arrangement of the katas can be changed and would take a lot longer than 15 minutes to learn so that was not what this meeting was for — AND THAT WAS THE PART I WAS TRYING TO LEARN. Simple review, me showing/explaining, then them doing.  I would check in after each kata and with a “thumbs up” response we would move to the next one.  I reviewed the three katas in the song, and then we basically did them to music in the order in which we reviewed them.  To me I often feel a review of moves does not prepare me for doing them with the music, so we did them to the song.  Then after a “thumbs up” all around we danced the entire song.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via Zoom, Nia White Belt training via ZoomThe moves were so easy and I didn’t talk too much beforehand so we finished – having danced the song twice – in 20 minutes.  We had a lot of fun.  I picked a really easy song so we could get through it and have fun.

Thanks to Joan T.  for her idea.  I think we are going to do it again!  Although the next time I will probably send out advanced notification and I might put it on my website so I might have to change the name to a “pop-in”.  Pop in, learn the song then go about your day.  I want it to be a quick thing so people will come and we can keep it light and fun.

What do you think?

Are you or your teachers finding ways to stay connected while we are not have in-person classes?  What are you all doing?

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Authentic Movement – Change – FreeDance Stage 5

Posted by terrepruitt on January 14, 2012

Nia, the dance exercise that I teach, is a great cardio workout.  Classes are fun and full of energy.  To become a Nia teacher one must take the White Belt Intensive.  It is 40+ hours of intense learning, discovery, play, dance, reading, listening, moving, sitting, and so much more.  A person that is just interesting in learning more about Nia as a practice may also take the intensive.  One does not have to have the intention of teaching to participate in an intensive.  In the Nia White Belt there are 13 Principles.  These principles are what teachers and practitioner use to expand their Nia practice.  Working and playing with the principles actually help bodies to move “better”.  Nia is a body centered exercise so these principles actually help us move our bodies.   The fourth Nia White Belt principle is FreeDance, this principle has eight stages.  The list of the eight stages is in my post Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3 – FreeDance Stage 8.  The fifth stage is Authentic Movement – Change.

Nia is “about” many things.  One thing Nia is about is Authentic movement.  Our dance is not a performance.  It is not meant to be pretty.  It is meant to allow us to move in our own body’s way.  The idea is that we will move in our own body’s’ way and we will move as we need to move.  With freedom and authenticity we will be working our bodies as they each individually need to be worked.  Yes, we do have specific steps in a kata or song.  But everyone’s body does the steps maybe a little differently — to their own body’s ability.  With practice the body will be able to do the steps and the moves in the Body’s Way, moving the way the body was actually designed to move.

With authentic movement we are letting the body move to the music in its own way.  We don’t think of how to move it, we just let it sense the music and it moves.  If one is practicing the Nia White Belt Principle #4, stage 5, then the authentic movement is done for two bars, two measures of how we count our music.  After two bars change the movement.  Do this for each song.  The idea is that after a few songs the body will have gone through all of its “normal” movements.  You will have danced out all of your movement tendencies.  You will have danced all of your bodies patterns and your body will seek new moves.  Your body will do things it does not usually do.  You might be one that often moves your hips a lot, but after a few songs and continually changing the way you move your hips you might realize that you are out of hip moves, so your body plants your feet and you end up kicking up one leg at a time.  Maybe kicking is not part of your typical dance move repertoire.  Maybe once your legs start kicking your arms start punching.  And this was not thought out or planned it just seemed natural.  Leg kick, arm punch.

So the idea is to exhaust the normal and journey into new territory.  If you have never done anything like this I want to warn you, you might be a little sore the next day.  If you are a booty shaker and you change to a “how-low-can-you-go-er” you will feel it the next morning.  If you always keep both feet on the ground and you start kicking or even just doing knee lifts to be different, your body will remind you the next day that you did something different.

If you let your body just dance to the music and switch it up, your body will give you great feed back on how you have never moved your foot/arm/head/butt/ankle/knee/whatever-you-moved-that-was-new the next day.  You will go to move foot/arm/head/butt/ankle/knee/whatever-you-moved-that-was-new and probably sense it.  This information will help you learn your movement tendencies and you can learn what new moves might help you improve your body’s movements.

Try it!  Put on some music and dance with Authentic Movement, then change.  Keep doing this through at least five songs and see where you end up.  See what new moves your body comes up with.  Ready?  Go!

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Levels of Teaching

Posted by terrepruitt on May 22, 2010

A lot of workouts have different levels of doing.  The second half* of Nia White Belt Principle #7 is (Intensity) Levels of Teaching.  So to a participant of Nia that would be levels of doing.  The different level in Nia are like most workout classes: level 1, level 2, and level 3.

In a Nia class, participants are always invited to try all the levels, if comfortable.  The idea is really to learn the value of each level. Trying the different levels allows the body to learn different things.  Also the changes in movements stimulates the brain.  Often times your energy level might dictate the actually level of intensity you are participating in during a particular class or kata, but that is up to you.  No level is “better” than the other one, the best one is what is good for you and your body. You, as the person that lives in your body everyday, are the only one that can truly decide which level is right for you, which level at any given moment is going to bring you most Joy.

As a Nia teacher, it is my job to show the participants three different levels.  It is also my job to encourage you to try each level.  It is important to remember that YOUR level 1 might not be the same as MY level 1, the same with levels 2 and 3.  It is up to you, as a participant, to find your different levels and play with and play in all three.

When you experience the different levels during your Nia workout you will learn to allow muscles that might be tired to rest and learn to stimulate other muscles.  In addition playing with the different levels will enable you to experience Nia routines in a new light and a different way.

So go.  In your next Nia class or your first Nia class try all three different levels.  Remember that everyBODY’s levels are different!

*The first half of Nia White Belt Principle #7 is the Three Planes of Movement.

Posted in Nia, Nia White Belt Principles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

FAMSS

Posted by terrepruitt on April 13, 2010

In Nia we refer to FAMSS.  We practice FAMSS.  We can use it for all types of things.  It stands for:

Flexibility
Agility
Mobility
Strength
Stability

And by “use” it I mean, it is often incorporated into each kata of a routine.  Or a kata might concentrate on just flexibility, the next one agility, the next one mobility, and so on.  Or we could use FAMSS as a focus OR an intention of a Nia class.  Either all of them (Flexibility AND Agility AND Mobility AND Strength AND Stability) or just one (Flexibility OR Agility OR Mobility OR Strength OR Stability).

But whatever we do with it or them, they are highly regarded as abilities needed to ensure one’s (high) quality of life.  So in Nia we honor them all.  In a Nia class we weave them into the workout.  In this post I am just referring to FAMSS in the physical.  They can certainly be applied to more than just our physical bodies, but that can be another post just by itself.

For now, I am just talking about our physical bodies needing to be flexible, agile, mobile, strong, and stable.  Just to move around in daily life these five things are very important.  In Nia we can bend down in a forward fold as in the familiar pose one might do in a yoga class, allowing our flexibility to be enhanced.  The music might encourage us to run, stop, run, stop, run, stop or move us to play the drums calling upon our bodies to display agility in legs, in arms, in our bodies as a whole.  We can move our bodies as if they are grass in a field or seaweed in the ocean, moving each part, each section, each muscle, and all major joints to help ensure their mobility.  We could crouch in a bow stance moving up and down exercising the strength in our legs.  Then we can we stretch, reaching to the sky as we look up, this can be stability practice, either on flat foot, on the ball of our feet, or in releve.  This could be one song in which all of this FAMSS is going on or it could be spread out over the entire routine.

Just tonight in my San Carlos class a woman told me that after her first class last week her hip felt better.  She said that after her hip felt better on that first night it encouraged her to do a few of the moves at home that we had done in class.  So she started working on her FAMSS in the first class, she was encouraged that movement was working to increase her FAMSS so she moved more.  With movement she felt more comfort and less pain.  FAMSS is necessary for a high quality of life.  Her ever day movements were better not because she did it once, but because she kept doing it.  Nia honors Flexibility and Agility and Mobility and Strength and Stability, so in Nia we practice it.

I hope one day you will attend one of my classes (I have two in San Jose and one in San Carlos*) to see how we can improve your FAMSS.

*Please see my website for my CURRENT class schedule.  Thank you!

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nia Routines

Posted by terrepruitt on February 4, 2010

I always get questions about the Nia Routines.  Are teachers given the routines?  Do teachers make up their own routines?  How many routines are there?  And more.  In this post I’ll just cover those three questions.

At the time of this writing there are 18 Nia routines showing on the teacher website for purchase.  I know in the 26 years that Nia has been around there have been a lot more.  I believe back when Nia started having routines, music rights and all that big business part of music was not an issue.  Now, I think, that portion of life has affected Nia and the routines.  I think they had to remove some from sale.

A routine is group of songs.  I think 8 to 10 is the average, but it depends on the length of the songs.  An average Nia workout class is about 55 minutes, give or take a few minutes.  At the time of this post Carlos and Debbie were the creators of the routines.

As a teacher, we purchase a routine which includes a DVD disc, a music CD, and an information pamphlet.  It is an amazing piece of educational material.  This post is not about the fabulous package of material we receive or about learning the routine, it is just general information about Nia routines.  But whenever I talk about the Nia routine packages I feel compelled to exclaim how wonderful they are. I will save the explanation of them for another post.

Teachers are encouraged to use their own creativity when leading a routine.  Nia routines are very well thought out and put together.  It is my understanding that with higher belt levels choreography is discussed, but with White Belts, Nia encourages them to use the routines that Nia has created.  But at the same time we are encouraged to do the katas to different music than we are given.

With the encouragement of using our own creativity, I believe comes the impression that we can do things in Natural Time and to me, that means we can adjust routines.  A kata might be less aerobic, but if we want to help make it more so we can add cha-cha-chas in place of a regular step, or just do fast side steps instead of a grapevine.

In addition to changing simple steps we are empowered with all of the different Movement Forms.  When we employ the energies of the different movement forms they can change the routine dramatically.

I do mix up the katas from various routines to “create” new routines.  To me this gives the participants a feeling of doing something new, yet at the same time they are moving to familiar patterns.  Or once, I had an out of town friend attending my classes, after the first class, she admitted she couldn’t do turns.  Well, if she were going to be my student for any length of time, you know I would put those in and work with her on them, but since she was only going to be in one more class, I put together katas that didn’t have turns so she would enjoy her workout more.

When I do mix it up, I make certain I adhere to the seven cycles of Nia.  I also try to make it a well-rounded routine.  I love it when I put something together and afterwards the class says, “Ahhh, I really liked that routine, what was it?”

I hope this helped to answer some of the questions about Nia routines.  Please let me know if you have other question.

I am going to continue to you invite you, my reader to a Nia class.  If you are ever visiting the San Jose/South Bay Area or you are local to me, please, come to one of mine :-).  If you are not local, look up a class near you and try Nia in your area.

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When I Sense It

Posted by terrepruitt on January 14, 2010

Recently I had a brief conversation with one of my Nia buddies regarding a routine. She had asked if it was easy to bar. I admitted to her that barring for me was difficult, but that some songs were easier to bar than others.

Later that same evening I was listening to music from a routine I have not learned yet.  I found myself stopping what I was doing and starting to do the dance that was associated with the song that was playing. I laughed because I realized that I was ready to learn the moves to the song. That is how it is with me. I will listen to the music over and over and over again. When I find myself saying, “What? What is this song? There is a kata to it?” When I don’t even recognize the song, then I know I am no where near ready to learn that set of movements. So I keep listening to the music over and over.  When I find myself stopping what I am doing to do the moves or at least going over the moves in my head as the song is playing then I know that is when my body, my brain, and my spirit is ready to learn the moves. Otherwise it is a struggle for me.

It is so much easier to learn the routine well, when you can sense the moves.  It is like you already basically know them and all you have to do is map out the music and put the moves on the paper where they actually belong.  Doing the workout to the routine DVD over and over is one of the steps in the first set of steps in learning the routine.  And I see why.  Listening to the music over and over is one thing that is recommended too.  And I see how these two things are important in learning a routine.

I also have learned that not only do I benefit from listening to it over and over, it helps to listen to the music on a variety of devices.  I teach in two different facilities and the sound system at the Park and Rec building in San Carlos is very different than the sound system at the studio in San Jose.  It it almost as if I need to learn different musical clues for each facility because the systems are so different.

As I said some music is easier for me to learn than others, but when I stick to learning it when I sense it, when I am ready to learn it, it works for me.

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Katas

Posted by terrepruitt on July 11, 2009

According to Wiki a Kata “is a Japanese word describing detailed choreographed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs.”

Even though we do not do it solo or in pairs, Nia has adopted that word to describe the movements we do to a song.  Nia classes are similar to other group exercises in that the teacher leads the group through moves.

Nia uses music and Katas strung together to form a routine.

The average seems to be between seven and ten katas to a routine.  Since one of the goals in Nia is to find health through movement, we move in all different ways to the music.  Sometimes the katas can be similar and sometimes they can be completely different.  One might have you swirling in place or moving around the room.  We often use the face of a clock as a pattern for our feet.  We will, as an example, step to 12:00, then 6:00 and then maybe out to 1:00, 2:00, or 3:00.  We might cross our right over to the left and step at 11:00 and/or our left over our right and step to 1:00.  All the while moving our arms, of course.

The most recent kata I learned is full of kicks, chops, blocks, shimmys, and rumbles.  It has front kicks, back kicks and side kicks.  It has downward chops and upward chops.  It has upward blocks, downward blocks, and outward blocks.  It is somewhat energizing because you can really put some “oomph” into your blocks—really contracting the muscles, then when you do the shimmy it is a nice relaxing release.

Nia is a full body workout.  The katas that are put together to form a routine  that gets the whole body moving.  Would you like to come see how its done?

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