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 ‘mind-body workout’

Practicing Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Posted by terrepruitt on November 5, 2013

Nia is a cardio dance workout.  Come to a class, dance, sweat, get a workout.  Nia is also a practice, like yoga is a practice.  Just like yoga you can go to a class, participate, and get a good workout in and go home.  Or you can take some of the ideas and principles with you into your daily life.  If you chose, you can decide to apply some of the body mind “stuff” to your daily life.  All up to you.  Now the reason I explain all that is because – keeping in mind that Nia is a practice (for those that want to take it that far) – there are a lot of things to, well, practice.  And Nia HQ is great about creating and supplying continue education for its members.  Also, it is great about writing articles to help people learn more about the practice of Nia.  One such article that was recently posted is Move Beyond Your Comfort Zone.

It talks about how each individual has different comfort zones so that “moving beyond” would be something different to each individual.  It reminds us that moving beyond the place where we feel comfortable is “the best thing to keep the body and brain strong”. It shares a story and gives examples of comfort zones. I do hope you click the link above and pop over to NiaNow to read it.

Here I am going to share other ways that Nia helps us do “the best thing to keep the body and brain strong” by helping us out of our comfort zone.  One way is dancing to music we don’t like.  I know . . . I can hear a lot of people say, “But WHY?”  Well, that is part of moving out of our comfort zone.  There seems to be some beats that just call to everyone.  That one song that is popular on the radio that gets everyone’s foot tapping and head bobbing.  Those songs are easy to dance to.  The universal dance song.  But the songs that come on that you might find yourself reaching for that tuning knob are great songs to step out of the comfort zone to dance to.  They are the ones that your regular, normal, COMFORTABLE dance moves just might not fit with.  The song that might have you using different muscles than you are used to.  The song that might have you moving in an entirely different way . . . . away and out of your comfort zone.  That is one reason why that Nia routine might have one of THOSE songs in it.

Then there is the song you just love.  The second it begins to play in class you are so ready to just sink into it, then your teacher says to move in a way that is in COMPLETE contradiction to the tone of the song.  “WHAT?  You want me to do a strong block to this sweet, sweet melody?”  Moving in a way that seems opposite from what the music is “telling” you can be WAY out of some people’s comfort zones.  It is a great way to keep the body and brain strong.

Playing with emotions and acting “as if” can be beyond some comfort zones.  Allowing yourself to just let go and dance without caring what you look like or if your “form” is perfect can be a big step away from some people’s comfort zones.  In one of my posts recently, I wrote about “messing up” . . . . . that can be MILES away from some people’s comfort zones.  Sounding can really be a big stretch for some individuals.  Not everyone is used to making noises while they workout.

These are just a few examples of what we do in Nia classes to help us step out of our comfort zones.  As stated, the reason is to work the brain as well as the body.  Moving out of our comfort zone helps mix it up.  Keeps the body and brain moving in different ways.  So the next time you feel resistance, let go and know you are doing something good for your body and brain.

Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone?  

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Chakra Vowel Sounds — AH!

Posted by terrepruitt on April 28, 2012

When I first discovered Nia I bought The Nia Technique Book to see if I would be able to do it.  I don’t mean do it as in do the moves and participate in a class, I mean do it as in “get into it”, as in understand it.  It sounded a bit “woo-woo” to me.  Listening to your body, voices of the body, energy this, moving energy that.  I wasn’t sure I could sync it up with my beliefs.  But as I studied it more I realized that it is based on science.  It involves human kinetics.  Most of the moves, although called the 52 Nia moves are quite common and are seen in many other types of exercises and workouts.  The ones that I consider unique are probably part of some other dance I am not familiar with.  And the “woo-woo” part, well, I realized that it is woo-woo – at least that is how many people think of certain things like energy, chakras, mind-body, and body-mind practices.  I mean look at yoga, when I was young that was one of the “woo-wooest” things around and now people have embraced it.  There are so many types of yoga it is difficult to keep track.  For some they just ignore the woo-woo while others embrace it because they realize it makes sense.  I mean cultures have been using “woo-woo” stuff for centuries.  There is meditation, herbs, chanting, drumming — all types of other things that some people think of woo-woo.  The woo-woo must not be too far off base though because it seems to work.  Recently my posts have been about healing sounds and making sounds, this post is about the vowel sounds related to the chakras and I am sure to some people it sounds a little, or maybe even a lot, “woo-woo”.  But I like to imagine that if you are reading this you are somewhat open to new things — even woo-woo things.  So you might be willing to try the healing sounds or even the vowel sounds of the chakras.

The vowel sounds related to the chakras are as follows:

CROWN CHAKRA:  EEE as in “me”

BROW/THIRD EYE CHAKRA:  AAA* as in “say”

THROAT CHAKRA:  EYE as in “my”

HEART CHAKRA:  AH as in “ma”

SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA:  OH as in “go”

PELVIC CHAKRA:  OOO as in “you”

ROOT CHAKRA:  UH as in “cup”

The idea is to say these sounds in a specific note.  If you have a keyboard or a phone with an app that has a keyboard or an app that can give you examples of the notes it might help you.  Or you might be musical and know what the notes sound like.

EEE is to be made in the B note
AAA is to be made in the A note
EYE is to be made in the G note
AH is to be made in the F note
OH is to be made in the E note
OOO is to be made in the D note
And UH is to be made in the C note

These sounds are to help open and heal the chakras.  Or to keep them balanced, all depends on your needs and your practice.

As with everything there is a wealth of information out there on how to “do” the vowels.  The commonalities I am seeing is to sit comfortable with a lengthened spine.  Be relaxed.  Use a normal breath.  Repeat each sound seven times.

I have used these sounds in my Nia classes when we are using a chakra as a focus.  I am going to take this list and use the vowels sounds just as I did the healing sounds.  The focus can be the chakra vowel sounds and we can create an intent from there.  Yay!  I love thinking of things to use as focuses in my classes.  I also think that sitting down to make these sounds as a specific exercise is a good idea. What do you think about chakra vowels?  Might you try the exercise?

*Many places note this as “AYE” but to me that is AYE, as in what a pirate says.  So I noted it as AAA, like Fonzie would say.  🙂

Posted in Chakras, Nia, Sounding | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

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 »