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

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle 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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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘knees’

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 »

Sun Salutation – My Way

Posted by terrepruitt on May 4, 2013

The Sun Salutation is a sequence of asanas.  I have not yet included it in any of my Nia classes, but I am thinking about doing so.  In general modern day usage “asana” is what people call a yoga pose.  So the Sun Salutation is a sequence of yoga poses.  Now, if you look up Sun Salutation on the internet you will find a lot of variations.  There are certain asanas that you will consistently find in all of them, but then not all of the Sun Salutations will include the same EXACT ones.  I’ve seen anywhere from 9 to 13 poses in a single salutation.  Since yoga is considered a practice associated with religion, a meditation, a prayer, a movement form, and/or a straight out exercise it makes sense that there are so many difference ways to do the Sun Salutation.  If you are chosing to do the movement as a form of worship it might have different movements than if you are doing it to get a specific physical benefit.  Most of the instructions on how to do it agree that the movements are based on breath.  Inhale here, exhale there.  I have decided on a combination of what I have been trained with, what I have practiced in classes, what I practice at home, several applications, and things I have learned along the way.  I have decided on thirteen movements.  I move using the right leg through 11 asanas, then through them again using the left leg.  Two of the poses making the sequence 13 are only used only in very beginning and the end.

I start in Anjali mudra then go to the
Mountain Pose, then arms move out and up into an
Upward Salute, then I swan dive into a
Forward Bend, up into a
Standing Half Forward Bend, then I place the left leg back into a
lunge then the right leg back into a
plank then I move down onto knees into
knees, chest, chin/Ashtanga Namaskara or chaturanga up into
cobra, then I push back into
downward dog, I stay here longer than any other pose.  I breath.  Then I bring my right leg forward, so I am in a
lunge, then I bring my left leg forward then I
forward bend, then I come up a little into
Standing Half Forward Bend then lift my arms out and up as I rise into an
Upward Salute which I consider the start of the right sun salutation.  I go through the sequences again this time place my right leg back into the lunge.  When it is time to lunge again, I bring my left leg forward.

I find that as I move through the salutation, I like to change my Upward Salutes into more of a little back bend.  Only bending back as I warm up and it feels good.

Since this is my Sun Salutation, and I am not worshiping the sun . . . in fact I don’t even think of the sun at all, I just do it my way.  I do it in the way I feel like doing it that day.  Sometimes I time it with my breath inhaling on this move and exhaling on that move, sometimes I stay in each pose longer and while I am aware of my breath my movements are not dictated by it.  I do somewhat feel that is WAAAAAY contrary to the way it is “supposed” to be done, but then again it is MY movement.  It is MY practice.  It is MY meditation.  So I do it the way MY body feels like doing it that day.  I don’t usually decide how I am going to do it when I begin, I just begin and however I seem to move is how I do it that day at that time.  Sometimes I even time it to the music I am listening too.  Sometimes, unfortunately, I am in a hurry and I just want to get a few in so I do them.  It all depends.  That is why I think it is nice because YOU can do it how you want to do it to match the reason you are doing it.  After doing at least six, I end with the Mountain Post and the Anjali mudra.

Do you do a version of the Sun Salutation?  What asanas do you include in your salute?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »