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

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

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    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Posts Tagged ‘levels of intensity’

Ride ‘Em Cowboy

Posted by terrepruitt on January 8, 2013

There is a stance in Nia called the Riding Stance.  It is part of Nia’s 52 Moves.  I actually think of it as the Sumo Stance.  It is called both.  I bet if I actually were to really let my body doing the thinking, my riding stance would be taller than my sumo stance.  Stop and think about it.  Do you picture a rider with legs straddling a horse and sitting up tall?  And a sumo wrestler as legs wider than a horse with his body lower to the ground?  A sumo wrestler is still upright and “tall”, but he is closer to the ground. with a wider stance than a horse  Ha!  I love that.  As I am typing and thinking, this is what I come up with.  An insight.  That is what I love about Nia.  Even though there is an ideal there is still the way a body does it.  And sometimes a body does it the way the mind thinks about it.  My body translates sumo stance as low to the ground.  I am going to go to class and use the different terms and see what my student’s bodies do!  The Nia Technique states the Riding stance is as if you are riding a horse.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaAs I stated, riding a horse – to me is at a higher level than a sumo wrestler.  So, I actually do this stance much lower and that is because I THINK of it as a sumo stance.  I am going to practice this stance as a RIDING stance and see where my body goes.

The book says:  “your knees slightly bent and your feet apart, as if you were riding a horse”.  I think I have always had a really wide horse!  Whether the horse is wide or not, the feet are parallel.

Again, to be clear, the Riding Stance in the Nia 52 Moves is with the knees slightly bent and the feet apart.  The feet are as far apart as if you are riding a horse.  As I recently posted the sound to make while doing this stance is “ha!”

I think that it would be fun to say, “Yehaw!”

This stance is a great way to condition the legs.  It is fun to play with this stance and try different levels.  By levels I mean both the planes and levels of intensity.  A level/intensity 1 would be a high plane.  Then a level/intensity 2, could be the middle plane.  And the level/intensity 3 could be the low plane and maybe more of  what I think of as a sumo stance.  With all moves in Nia the key is pleasure.  So the move is not meant to be painful.  If you are sensing pain in any part of the leg adjust your stance.  If you sense pain in the knees, check your feet, are your toes facing forward?  Are you evenly distributing your weight over your whole foot (feet)?  Ankle pain?  Are your legs/feet too wide apart?  So it is important to not always go as low or as wide as you CAN, but to go as low and as wide as is reasonably comfortable.

I love that as I write I learn.  That is one of the reasons I am writing a blog.  It is so helpful to put things in writing.  It is helpful to stop and examine what you already know, right?  Sometimes you see things differently.

Either way . . . . Riding or sumo stance, the stance is with knees bent, feet apart and parallel. Everyone’s stance, every BODY’s stance is different.  Got it?  Horse riding.  Ride ’em cowboy.

I am fortunate enough to have wonderful students that are willing to pose.  Here are the “riders” of the group.

Are you ready to ride?

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Nia Really Is For EveryBODY

Posted by terrepruitt on July 3, 2012

I often get e-mails and phone calls from people who say they have injured themselves and they ask if they can do Nia.  Well, I am not a doctor and I don’t know the extent of their injuries, but I explain to them one of the core philosophies (if you will) of Nia.  You do what YOUR body can do.  EveryBODY is different.  EveryBODY has something going on in their body and something going on in their life.  EveryBODY will be different every day.  So we encourage everyBODY to do what they can.  Of course, depending upon the injury, people should check with their physician and be cleared for aerobic activity and movement and when they get to class how much they do is up to them.

It is important to remember that each individual is responsible for his/her own body.  When someone has had a recent injury it is very important to remember to be their own Conscious Personal Trainer (CPT).   It is up to you to move in a way that is healthful.  You are the one that knows the extent of the injury and you are the one that has worked with a medical professional to be healed.  So here is where you really get to be aware of your body and do only what it can do.

I’ve also posted before about the levels of intensity.   In Nia we say that there are three levels of intensity and Nia teachers demonstrate three levels, but really there are many, many, many levels due to the fact that everyBODY is different.  My level one (which is deemed the lowest level of intensity) might be someone else’s level two.  My level three could be someone else’s level two AND in addition to that, it could change the very next day!  EveryBODY has different levels of intensity.  I might take BIG steps to the side, whereas the person right behind me might take little steps, and the person next to her medium steps, and the person behind him HUGE steps.  We all move in our own way.  It is up to each individual participant to do what works for them at that time.  If there is an injury involved maybe the level that used to be intensity level one, has now changed to level three intensity.  It could take some time for the body to adjust and heal and get back to its original levels of intensity.

Nia believes you do what your body can and by doing what you can you will feel good.  And when you feel good you will realize that you can do a lot.  So the next time you do it you might do more, then the next time more, then the next time—might be a rough day, you might do less—and Nia rejoices in that.  It is important to do what you can at the moment you are doing it.

I always encourage Nia participants in my classes to play with different levels.  I also encourage them to try new things, to not always do the same move they are comfortable with.  This could be something that one is required to do if they have injured a body part.  Any injury sometimes can be a chance to grow in other areas.  It doesn’t have to be a stopping point.  So I encourage people to keep moving – if they can – so, yes, people can do Nia if they have been injured.  As long as they have been cleared to do so by a doctor.  If they are fit to move Nia can easily be adapted to help them move in their new state and get them back to dancing with joy.

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

Choreography – The Accidental “Click” – FreeDance Stage 7

Posted by terrepruitt on January 5, 2012

The principles of the different belts in Nia provide a foundation for our Nia practice.  There are 13 Principles in the Nia White Belt.  The fourth principle is FreeDance, this principle has eight stages.  Eight things you can focus on that can become a part of FreeDance.  When I attended my Nia White Belt Intensive we danced through these stages when we danced FreeDance.  Dancing through the stages is something that can be done for fun.  It doesn’t have to be because you do Nia.  It can help you express yourself by turning on some music and applying the stages to the music.  Dancing through the stages is also used as a technique for Nia teachers to become better aquainted with the Nia music.  It is a tool that can help in learning a Nia routine.  The seventh stage of FreeDance is Choreography, the tagline is:  The Accidental “Click”.

I mentioned in my post about the eighth stage of FreeDance, Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3, that I often skip over dancing the first six stages of FreeDance when learning a Nia routine.  Part of the reason is because I actually forgot about it being a step.  I don’t skip them entirely, I do FreeDance about four of the stages to the music, but I don’t do all of them.  I do believe that doing all six can be a great tool, so as I mentioned, I am working on implementing this action back into my “learning of a Nia routine”.  Today in fact I started employing it with a the next routine I am learning.

Stage 7 of FreeDance, Choreography – The Accidental “Click”, is something that probably happens to all dancers and group fitness teachers alike.  It kind of seems to happen in more than just dance actually, but with dancers the “click” is to the music.  Often with the eight stages of FreeDance you are using more than one stage at a time.  With experiencing the accidental click there is going to be stage two going on.  There is going to be a lot of listening.  The listening is to ALL of the music; the silences, the beat, the tempo, the instruments, the words the vibrations–all of it.  With Nia we are taught to dance to all music, not just the kind that we turn on and can’t help but move too.  We are taught to move to music we might not actually like.  Many people are the type that when you turn music on something on their body starts moving.  A foot might start moving, a head might bob, fingers might tap, this happens often.  There seems to be some songs that EVERYBODY moves to, they just can’t help it.  But then there is music that often clears the dance floor.  The “everybody move to” music is easy to dance to.  But the floor clearing kind sometimes can be difficult to dance to.  In Nia we are taught to dance to it all.  We are taught to listen to it all.

I will be the first to admit that sometimes there are songs I don’t like in a Nia routine.  Sometimes there is just one noise that is to incessant or a beat that feels off, whatever the reason, I don’t like it all.  Sometimes I like the music but not the moves.   Sometimes I just can’t get the choreography and the music to mesh—in my head or in my body, whatever it just doesn’t work.  So I keep doing that kata until it “clicks”.  Eventually it will because Debbie Rosas Stewart and Carlos AyaRosas are great at creating routines, but sometimes it takes me a bit.  The “click” is what state seven is about.

Stage seven is connecting to the sensation of your body.  I think that often times I “don’t like it” (it being either the music or the move or whatever it is that is hanging me up) is all in my head.  So if and when I stop thinking and get into the sensation of the body, I will find that the moves DO go with the music, I was just thinking they didn’t.  Amazing how the thinking gets in the way of moving so often.

Here you have it the seventh stage of Nia FreeDance.  Yes, I am posting about them backwards, from 8 to 1.  It just happened that way.  The days I went to type up a post my eyes fell on “Nia Class – Leve 1, 2, 3 for inspiration.  So now I am going through the stages backwards.  I bet even if you aren’t trying to learn a dance routine you can think of or recognize things in your life that click.  Could be you are trying to remember a way to do something and you do it over and over and keep referring back to the instructions then one day “click”.  In Nia it’s Choreography where we eventually find The Accidental “Click”, but in life it could be with anything.  “Clicks” happen all the time.  Even if you aren’t learning a dance routine, you’re familiar with that click, right?

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

Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3 – FreeDance Stage 8

Posted by terrepruitt on December 27, 2011

In Nia there are 13 White Belt Principles.  The principles provide a foundation, something we can learn, practice, explore, and build on.  One Nia White Belt Principle, Principle number 7 has two parts.  The second part of the principle is levels of teaching.  I wrote about this when I was sharing about each Nia White Belt Principle.  The three levels of teaching come up again as the eighth stage in Nia FreeDance.  The eighth stage is Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3.

The eight stages of FreeDance are:

1-FreeDance
2-Being Seduced by the Music
3-Feelings and Emotions
4-The Creative Source
5-Authentic Movement
6-Witness
7-Choreography
8-Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3

In addition to learning, practicing, exploring and building on the 13 White Belt Principles, Nia teachers are taught to use the eight stages of FreeDance to learn our routines and also to expand our Nia Practice and to have fun with Nia.  FreeDancing to the music is often a step I skip.  So is might go without saying that dancing the first six stages of FreeDance is something I often don’t do when I learn a routine.  I am going to work on using this tool, FreeDance and its stages, to learn my routines going forward.  I am also going to use this tool when I go back and practice and delve deeper into the routines I already teach.

In regards to Stage 8 – Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3, this is something that Nia teachers need to be able to share in a class.  As I stated in my post about the second half of the 7th Nia White Belt Principle, everyone’s levels might be different, but the point is that I need to be able to show you different levels.  The move itself does not change, it just might be done bigger or covering more floor.  If the move is a cha-cha step, then my level 1 is a cha-cha, as well as my level 2, to make it more challenging in level 3 I don’t change it to a jazz square, I just make it bigger.  Or I might even show the example of it being more bouncy.  There are different ways to change the level and we all have different levels so we have different needs when it comes to changing the level.

Level 1, 2, and 3 does not necessarily mean “planes” as in low, middle, high, it means level of intensity.  Now how “intensity” is interpreted DOES depend on the move.  As I just mentioned it could mean bigger or more bouncy.  It all depends on the move itself, but either way the spirit and the energy remains the same.

I do find that sometimes I don’t have enough time to show all three levels for all of the moves.  Sometimes I just stick to level one if it appears that the move is challenging to most students.  Then I might briefly demonstrate level two, but go quickly back to level one because I can sense I am going to be leaving most of the class behind.  In that case, what happens is if there is a student that is ready for level three they get their on their own.  It is fabulous.

I do think that it is really good for me to continue to remind my students that EVERYBODY has a different level 1, which automatically means that their level 2 is different, which dominoes into the level 3 being different.  When playing with dancing freely to music it is fun as a student and a dancer to experiment with different levels of intensity of a move.  Sometimes the music dictates the intensity as the music itself might change intensity.  Sometimes it is just amusing to change it up to challenge the body, brain, and spirit.  So, even as a student of Nia or dancer that dances because you love to move you too can also experience different levels of dancing free.  This is a brief look into Nia’s FreeDance and Stage 8 Nia Class – Levels 1, 2, 3.

Ready to turn on some music and dance?

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