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’

Running, Lifting Weights, And Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on January 25, 2014

Nia is a body/mind type of practice.  Or mind/body . . . however you want to say it.  I tend to say body/mind because the first step is to get into the body.  But it is different from a lot of other exercises.  It is much more like yoga and Pilates then say . . . weight lifting or running.  I recently taught a class where a woman told me afterwards that she really loves it because she is very athletic, she runs, she plays other sports, but she wanted something that was more freeing and more connected so she decided try Nia and now she is hooked.  She still does all of the other stuff and continues to love it, she is just rounding out her workouts and exercise with Nia as a body/mind addition.  Nia is really great to add to any type of workout regime you have.

Since Nia focuses on allowing the participant to participate at their own level it can easily fit into your workout schedule.  I have had many people who love more traditional sports tell me that Nia is a great addition for them.  They all love that body/mind connection and the way it allows them to feel like a kid.  They love the play of it.

I have had people come up to me before class and say, “I can’t dance are you sure I can do this?”  The answer in The Nia Technique is “if you can walk you can do Nia.”  And that is true.  In a Nia class you might even fine tune your walking a bit.  We might train you to do that Heel Lead that often gets lost in a high heeled or runner’s gait.  Get that flex and extend back in the ankle.  But really anyone can do Nia.

I would bet that you have noticed the increase in the popularity of yoga . . . well, it is that mind/body connection that draws people to it.  Many people are understanding that even a regularly scheduled exerciser benefits from having that mind/body connection.  With Nia there is also the Emotions and Spirit.  The whole enchilada.  BMES.  Body, Mind, Emotions, and Spirit.

I’ve posted about Spirit before.  It is one of the things that many people really enjoy about Nia.  It can be compared to the “feeling like a kid” again.  The play in the exercise or workout.  The “Wooohooo!”

So the intention of this post is just to remind people – because I am sure I have said it before – that Nia is for everyBODY.  To remind you that people who like the more traditional exercise and workouts, the more athletic type of stuff, as in running and weight lifting, find they really like to add in Nia to the mix.  It actually helps them in their other type of workouts.  They claim — the ones that talk to me — they are more focused when they do run and/or lift weights.  So if you are one of those people who prefer the more traditional exercise, maybe break out of that for a Nia class and see how it works for you.

Check out my schedule on my website Nia Class Schedule or if San Jose is too far for you look at the Nia Classes on the main website.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to try something different for a workout?  Do you want to add something new to your exercise regime?

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Goodie Jar – Check In #6

Posted by terrepruitt on March 8, 2013

Recently my husband took a couple of days off of work.  It is good to take some days off to just relax, I think.  It great to take days off when you have something planned, but sometimes it does the body, mind, and spirit REAL good when you just take the day off with no plans.  Just sit around and relax or work on a project.

Well, on one of the days he had off he decided to attend one of my Nia classes.  I was so excited.  It was great to have my hubby there.  For a moment I thought I would be nervous, but then I realized that he would be fine and I would just be doing what I always do.  And that is what we did.  He moved, I led, and we went out to breakfast after.

The whole morning was such a wonderful treat to me.  It definitely is in a Good Thing worthy of my Goodie Jar!

How is your good things jar doing?

Posted in Good Things in the Goodie Jar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Four Voices, Four Realms

Posted by terrepruitt on February 16, 2013

In Nia we have a lot of acronyms.  Seems as if all groups do that.  I know in the mortgage business there were many.  I know in the world of computers there are a lot.  That is just the way it is.  In Nia some of ours are FAMSS, OLG, TBW, SEB, and BMES to name just a few.  BMES stands for Body, Mind, Emotions, Spirit.  We can call these voices or realms.  I have recently posted about Spirit.  It is not the religious type of spirit, but the school-type or the team-type.  It is the part of you that — wheeee! — you just let out!  The others are pretty easy to describe, but it is very interesting to allow them into all aspects of Nia.  They are each separate and unto their own, yet they are all connected.

The body is the physical.  How we move, what we sense.  If we are open and listening to the body we can learn many things.  I know that sometimes I hear but I don’t listen.  I might “hear” my body tell me it is tired, but I don’t listen and do something about it because I am busy.  It can “tell” me it is tired by how many mistakes I make while typing, or that I keep nodding off while doing something.  But sometimes I don’t listen because I want to finish what I am doing.  In dance we can hear our body, we can choose to listen and act upon what we hear or we can continue on.  We could be moving a certain way and then feel pain (“hear”), and we can listen by giving that pain attention and tweaking our movement to remove the pain from our dance.  Also we can just let the body dance and in doing so without thinking it often moves in ways that it needs without our interruption or interpretation.

The mind is a powerful voice.  It can dictate our entire dance and life if we let it.  In Nia we use our mind to provide imagery that allows us to move our bodies in a particular way, but it is important to turn the critical part of our minds off.  We use our minds to progress us, not hold us back.  Letting thoughts flow through the brain and keeping what is useful in the dance.  Criticizing ourselves and others during Nia is not helpful or progressive.  We do not avoid moving a certain way because it looks “bad” or “not pretty”.  We do not avoid moving because people will think it is silly.  We move in safe and harmonious ways to bring FAMSS to our bodies, to relax, to rejuvenate, to allow our inner child out to play, but we don’t criticize.  We also practice turning off internal dialog or chatter.  We let our bodies dance us and not think about our to-do list.  We do use our minds when we dance, but we do not allow it to control our dance.

With our emotions we have an almost endless array of energy.  We can play with the emotions in our dance and they can provide movement and force.  While we dance we do not have to actually FEEL any of the emotions we call upon we just can ACT as if.  How would you walk around if you were angry?  Might you stomp?  How would you walk if you were happy?  Might you skip?  How would you walk if you were distracted?  Might you move slow or in an awkward pattern?  Emotions are a great part of Nia because they are feelings and feelings can be felt and/or experienced without taking over.  We can allow an emotion to happen or act as if, but in neither case does it have to control our dance.

As with many things in Nia this aspect or look at BMES is just one way to look at it.  Just one way we can connect to BMES.  Another way is with Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 where we use these realms to assist in teaching.  Nia is deep like that.  Many of the ideas, principles, “things”, can be separate and unto their own, yet they are all connected.  😉

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Vertical Routines – Conscious Transubstantiation

Posted by terrepruitt on February 5, 2013

I believe that in 2013 the training material for the Nia Blue Belt is going to change.  While it is not changing significantly the change will be significant.  🙂  The ideas will remain the same, but the verbiage and way it is delivered will be updated.  While I was attending the Nia Blue Belt Intensive in November of 2012 we were being shown the new slides.  The word that was used most often — or that I remember most is – simplify.  The idea was to simplify the training.  The Nia Blue Belt principle #13 in the manual* shows it as Vertical Routines. We were told it is going to change to Conscious Transubstantiation with Creating a Vertical Body and Life as the tagline.  Not a simplification to me, but . . . . there you have it.

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, ZumbaI will state again as I have been stating in many of my posts about the Nia principles, what I am sharing is somewhat off the top of my head, what I remember being discussed and it barely scratches the surface of each principle.  The principles are deep, I could write pages about them alone and the taglines add yet another dimension with even more information.  Here I am just sharing a little portion, just one aspect. Now for the purpose of Nia, transubstantiation does not mean the bread and wine will change into the body of Christ.  But Nia is using it to mean change and change the body.  🙂  So, maybe that is the tie in and the reason to use that word.  Nia is using the term Conscious Transubstantiation to mean consciously change your body to match the body of the teacher.

This somewhat ties back to Nia Blue Principle #12, which is funny because that also helps explain the vertical portion.  It is common for a participant in a lead follow type of dance exercise class to do the move and follow the leader trying to change at the exact moment the leader changes the move.  Even if the leader is excellent at cueing the participant could feel rushed into the next move.  Sometimes the participant is concentrating and doesn’t hear or see the next move only to look up and realize they are a step behind or not matching exactly so they rush to catch up and do what the teacher is doing.  Well with the conscious change it’s ok not to rush to catch up.  Get there when you can.  No need to disturb the nervous system and interrupt the flow, just catch the next round or the next step.  Consciously changing instead of rushing into the move because that is where you are “supposed” to be.  Allowing yourself to change consciously allows for a smooth transition.  While this is not exactly the same as Nia Blue Principle #12, it is similar in that you are not having to rush to the next move.

The “Vertical” means how things are connected and built upon one another.  The Nia Blue Belt Principles are built upon and woven into the Nia White Belt PrinciplesNia’s 52 Moves are built upon each other.  The “vertical” routines speaks to the moves in the a kata and how we change from move to move, the songs in a routine and the transition between the two and even the bigger picture of routine to routine.

So . . . in a Nia class you are encouraged to move in your own body’s way and “get to” the next move in your own natural time.  The idea is not to upset the body, mind, and spirit by feeling as if you are not doing it right because you are not RIGHT ON the mark of the change as it first happens, Conscious Transubstantiation.  Take your time and enjoy the movement and the moment you are in.  Allow yourself to change when you are ready enabling you to sense the “vertical-ness” of Nia so your workout can be one of Joy.

It might be a challenge to break the habit of interrupting your move to match the teacher when you notice the change, but you might be surprised at the effect it has on your body, mind, and spirit once you do get the hang of it.  What do you think?  Are you willing to give it a try?

*The Nia Technique – Blue Belt Manual August 206, V4.0

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Three Day Weekends and Memorial Day’s National Moment Of Remembrance

Posted by terrepruitt on May 26, 2012

Don’t you love three day weekends?  I remember when I worked a corporate job, three day weekends were looked upon as revered things.  I had been in the mortgage business all my working life and for some reason there was a practice of companies closing a bit early the Friday before a three day weekend.  Rarely was it announced too far in advance, but just sprung upon us a little before lunch.  The management would let us know we would be getting out at 2:00 pm or 3:00 pm.  We would get to start our holiday early!  Eventually it became such a common practice that we kind of began to expect it.  And some companies would even be so kind as to announce the early departure time the day before so that people could actually make plans.  Ahhh, yes, the three day weekend is something corporate America loves.  Sometimes the actually Holiday is forgotten in the joy of having an extra day off.  Forgotten in the excitement of the prospect of gathering with friends.  Forgotten in the moment.  Usually there is a mention of it somewhere and we say, “Oh yeah, THAT’s why we have an extra day off.”  In the case of Memorial Day it really is more than an extra day off, isn’t it?  Because of the people who have served and died in the United States Military, we, in America, have so much more than a day off.

Memorial Day is actually May 30th.  In 1968 an Act was signed into law that changed the federal observance of some holidays to be on Mondays so that federal employees could have a three day weekend.  The Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect on January 1, 1971.   According to the all-knowing Wiki:

“The Act moved Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day from fixed dates to designated Mondays.

The Monday holiday dates this act established are:

Washington’s Birthday: third Monday in February (formerly February 22)
Memorial Day: last Monday in May (formerly May 30)
Columbus Day: second Monday in October (formerly observed on October 12)
Veterans Day: fourth Monday in October (formerly November 11 and subsequently moved back to November 11 effective 1978)

Though the holiday was not in existence at the time, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (established 1983) is celebrated on the third Monday in January, instead of King’s actual birth date, January 15, for the same reasons.”

So it is no wonder we might sometimes forget what the holiday actually was created for, because at one point it DID become about having a three day weekend.

I do hope that you take advantage of the time off and I hope you do enjoy yourself.  I really believe that having time off from work is necessary to help recharge the body, mind, and spirit.  While you are sharing good time with family and friends maybe you can take a minute to remember those that died serving in the military.  In fact, in 2000 there was a White House Memorandum issued that would be a wonderful thing to participate in.  It encourages “Americans everywhere, to pause for one minute at 3:00 p.m. (local time) on Memorial Day, to remember and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many to provide freedom for all.”  Will you join me?

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Since Nia is a workout/dance/practice that recharges the body, mind, and spirit I am not taking Memorial Day off.  I will hold both my morning Nia class and my evening Nia class which will allow those that are normally working to participate. The focus will be sacrifice and freedom, the intent will be to express gratitude for the sacrifices made for our freedom.

I hope you enjoy your weekend.  If you have a three day weekend, I hope you take advantaqge of that extra day off.  I also hope you will join me for a minute at 3:00 pm this Memorial Day and every Memorial Day and take a moment to remember.

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Nia and Tae Kwon Do

Posted by terrepruitt on November 28, 2009

As you might now be aware Nia includes elements from three disciplines from three different arts. From the martial arts, we borrow from Tae Kwon Do. Not just “moves” from Tae Kwon Do but also some of the other elements of it. With its kicks, punches, blocks, and stances it helps allow Nia to be a great leg workout and provide a stable base for some of our other moves.  Tae Kwon Do can also contribute to one’s confidence by providing exercises that allow one to become strong and stable.  These are the things Nia gains from Tae Kwon Do.

Nia calls Tae Kwon Do the Dance of Precision.*  So when delivering a punch, block, kick, etc. with the energy of Tae Kwon Do, it is done with precision and intent.  However, Nia likes to play so at times even though we might not be executing a punch or a kick, but we might choose to energize our movement with “Tae Kwon Do” like energy, and be forceful and aggressive even adding sound to our movement.

Adding the energy of one form to the moves of another is one of the things that make Nia fun and keeps is challenging.  It takes different muscles to skip with force and authority than to skip like a child without a care in the world.  That is an example of how Nia incorporates different moves with different energies.

In Nia we don’t “DO” Tae Kwon Do, things have been gleaned from it and brought into Nia and mixed in with aspects of  Tai Chi, Aikido, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance, Yoga, the Alexander Technique and the teachings from Feldenkrais, and the combination from each form is Nia.  A lot of Nia routines include moves and concepts from each discipline, but not always.  In an effort to keep each workout fresh, fun, and joyful teachers often mix things up.

If you are near San Jose, come to one of my Nia classes.  If not, I hope that you will find a Nia class near you and give Nia try.

*Both the Nia Technique Book and The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual state this. Both books are by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas. **V3 of The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nia and Tai Chi

Posted by terrepruitt on September 26, 2009

A Nia workout includes elements from three disciplines from three different arts.  

From the martial arts, we use moves from T’ai chi.  Actually it is not just “moves” from Tai Chi but also some of the “ideals” from Tai Chi.  Nia calls Tai Chi “The Slow Dance”.*  Tai Chi allows for the elements of grace, ease, precision, power, and lightness to be accessed and brought in to our dance that is our workout. 

So while we do not do the sequences of postures that form a Tai Chi routine or exercise we might have some of the Tai Chi moves incorporated into a routine.  And/or we might take a portion of the routine and execute it “Tai Chi like”, moving slow and graceful.  Being mindful of our movements and moving from the feet with relaxed joints establishing that fluid Tai Chi like flow.  We might also incorporate circular movements and shift our weight to assist in balance, all the while sensing the gentle flow of chi. 

Some things we do in class to assist us in moving “Tai Chi like” is leading with our heels when we step, using our eyes to allow for our head to be included in our movement, keeping our joints open and soft, focusing on moving from our energy center, using our breath to generate power and support for movement, and moving systemically.** 

Hopefully this post will serve to address some of the inquires about the aspect of Tai Chi in Nia. This will give you an idea of how Tai Chi is brought into Nia. 

I love to watch the people in the parks of San Jose doing Tai Chi.  I actually see them all over the Bay Area.  In Nia we don’t “DO” Tai Chi, we glean from it and allow what we’ve gleaned to mix with aspects of Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance, Yoga, the Alexander Technique and the teachings from Feldenkrais.  It is all combined to be Nia.

 
*Both the Nia Technique Book and The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual state this.  Both books are by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.

**V3 of The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

The Nine Basic Movements Forms Of Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on March 31, 2009

Niais about joyful movement.  Move with joy.  Move for joy.  Move to joy.

A Nia workout includes elements from three disciplines from three different arts:

From the martial arts, we use moves from T’ai chi, Tae Kwon Do, and Aikido.
From the dance arts we embrace styles from Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, and Duncan Dance
And from the healing arts we are mindful of teachings from Feldenkrais, the Alexander Technique, and Yoga.

At times we might move slow focusing on movements centered around the body’s inner core, as in T’ai chi.  We might kick or punch as one might do in Tae kwon do, and these movements might flow into a spiral motion that is associated with Aikido.  We could decide to play the showman and do the entire routine with a jazzy flair or just add movements of creating shapes, dropping and then recovering the body’s own weight as a modern dancer might do.  There is always a chance we could give in to our inner child and run free and honest with the playfulness of a Duncan dancer.  While we’re doing one these things we are keeping in mind the teaching of Moshe Feldenkrais and being conscious of sensations.  We could stretch to the top with utmost concentration one might contribute to the Alexander Technique, then move onto a dance of bone alignment increasing awareness, relaxation, and balance the could be thought of as Yoga.*

So in one workout you can experience all those things.  Strength is balanced with grace.  Fun is balanced with seriousness.  Body is balanced with mind.

The music is varied and is intended to promote the movement of the routine.  There is no doubt something for everyone.

*based on information from The Nia Technique by Debbie Rosas & Carlos Rosas

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »