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.

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Posts Tagged ‘mind-body exercise’

Reasons for Sounding in Nia Class

Posted by terrepruitt on April 26, 2012

I’ve post about the Healings Sounds. I’ve posted about how we used the Healing Sounds in our Nia class. I’ve stated that making noise is a great way for people to know that you are breathing. There are other reasons to sound, one being it helps stabilize your core. In Nia or in other dance exercise classes there are times when you are moving and playing with balance so having a stable core can assist in proper balance. With the effort to stay stable there is also strengthening. On the exhale the abdomen is tightened.

In Nia we do a lot of movement where core stabilization is key. Some of the moves we do that require a stable core are punches, blocks, and kicks. In order to punch and/or block with strength and authority the spine needs to be straight, the ribs squeezing, and the abs tight. All of this can be accomplished with one loud sound, any sound can do it. Kicking is the same thing, even if you are doing a side kick where your body might be leaning, the spine is still straight and the torso needs to be tight. A joyful “HA!” can take care of all that!

Another reason to sound is release. We are often taught to be quiet. It could be as deep and as damaging as we were taught our opinions don’t matter. It could be more of a social “norm” where we were taught to respectfully keep one’s opinion to oneself or respectfully not sing, shout, or cry out loud because it would be inappropriate even though that is what we really want to do.  All of these social confines can lead to blocked energies.  Having to behave can lead to us feeling bad, so sounding in a Nia Class is a huge release. We can experience a release.  Healing sounds aren’t the only ones to be made, anything will do.

Often times for me I am busy with listening to the music, thinking of the next move, getting ready to cue, dancing, and breathing I don’t THINK about sound it just comes out. Sometimes a move makes its own sound. Also depends on the move. I did a routine recently where the moves were very quiet for me. It was odd. It was as if the moves had no sound. I am wondering if that is because it was so new. I am looking forward to doing it again to see if sounds reveal themselves.

In addition to breath, stabilization, strength, and release sounding is fun. Children are expected to shout, laugh out loud, and be joyfully noisy, but adults not so much.  Kids can run and scream on a playground, adult aren’t often afforded such a luxury, but in Nia we can.  It really is fun. It is fun to make noise. It is fun to HA, HOO, FOO, SHOO, HI-YA, WAHOO, WHOOO, and SHHHHH to the top of your voice. It is fun to play with the volume and the tone of the noises. All of this playfulness adds to the joy.  We can whoop it up as we did when we were young.  The vibrations of sound heal the body. The fun heal the spirit and the soul.

I often wonder how people are able to keep quiet in a Nia class.  I believe they have not yet experienced the good it will do for them.  There is the breath, the added stabilization, the strengthening, the emotional release, and the fun that it brings all good for the body, mind, spirit, and soul.

While I am saying we do sounding in Nia class, don’t think it is restricted to that.  So while you are exercising don’t forget to breath.  Try making some noise.  If you are in a class that doesn’t allow for it find a Nia class and whoop it up there!

Do you make noise while you exercise?

Posted in Nia, Sounding | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Dance Conditioning

Posted by terrepruitt on November 4, 2010

One of my San Jose Nia class students lent me a book*.  With all that is going on I haven’t gotten to get into it in depth but I read the beginning and I love it.  I was very happy to see that this particular book addressed whole body conditioning.

The author, Eric Franklin (yes, THE Eric Franklin), says that aerobic training is necessary for dancers.  Yet, he states that dancers are able to achieve what they do because their training involves presence and awareness.  He is talking about the mind body connection.  In Nia we call it body mind connection because we go to the intelligence of the body.  Either way the idea is that they are both connected and when exercising the benefits are greater when they are working as one.

This book is wonderful because it states much of the same information that is incorporated into Nia.  That your state of mind and attitude has an effect on your movements and results.  That is just a small example.

It also states the same information we actually apply to personal training.  Such as, training specifically for a specific result—the Principle of Specificity.  Also it talks about the Principle of Progressive Overload–how you need to increase the intensity in order to improve.  But it also advises you to listen to your body and learn to work with it.

I need to spend more time reading it to see what else he has to say.  I will definitely do another post on it because it has much more information in it and it is so exciting to see that it mimics so many other things I have learned.  It matches up with so much information from other fitness modalities and the information they are saying.  It is nice to hear that so many people are recognizing the mind-body / body-mind connection.  It has been happening for awhile now, it is just nice that it is getting so “mainstream”.  It is exciting to see we are all on the same page—whole body conditioning is better conditioning.

*Conditioning for Dance you can purchase through Amazon, its under “Interesting Reading”.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nia and Feldenkrais

Posted by terrepruitt on December 12, 2009

Now Feldenkrais in Nia is not so much a movement as it is the feeling, the sensation of movement.  With this technique as our guide we slow down, we become aware, we witness our movement.  The creators of Nia wanted a movement form that resulted in health, both physical and mental.

The Feldenkrais technique is specific and Nia does not claim to practice this technique, instead the idea of being able to create change in the body, by moving it and by focusing on the movement is what is incorporated into Nia.  The idea of change being possible.  The idea of slowing down and paying attention.   Or even if going fast—the idea is to pay attention.

I like to refer to Nia as a body-mind* practice/exercise/workout, because in White Belt we are instructed to go to the body.  Moving in the body’s way and in our own body’s way in particular is one reason why I think of it as body-mind.  But even though we go to the body that does not mean that we are not being aware.  We need to use our mind to listen to the body.  If a movement is being done in class and you copy it exactly, you need to be aware of the sensation your body is returning back to you.  Is doing the move EXACTLY how the teacher is doing it really what YOUR body needs?  Do you need to do it bigger?  Or smaller?  What is it that YOUR body is telling you?

Adding some of the concepts of Moshe Feldenkrais adds body awareness to Nia.  We feel the body as it moves.  We respond to it, we are aware of it.  We are connected to our bodies.  It is somatic movement.  It is movement with ease.

This is how a Nia workout includes elements from Feldenkrais.

The Nine Basic Movements Forms of Nia

*I think that is how Carlos Rosas (AyaRosas) refers to Nia also

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »