Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am

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

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 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!

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • My Bloggey Past

  • ******

    Chose a month above to visit archives, or click below to visit a page.

Posts Tagged ‘movement class’

Saving Bars

Posted by terrepruitt on September 2, 2014

If you have read more than one post on my blog you know (probably) that I teach a movement class called NiaNia is very much about “dancing” and moving to the music.  The training required in order to teach is called the Nia White Belt Intensive.  The training is over 50 hours long.  Believe it or not there is hardly anytime in that 50 hours learning a routine.  In fact, I don’t remember learning any part of a routine in my White Belt.  But I know people who have taken the training more recently and they said they did review a song.  I remember when I first arrived at the training I literally had NO IDEA what it was going to be like.  I signed up rather late and if there was any pre-training at that time, I didn’t get it.  I had thought I would walk out of the training ready to teach.  Ha.  Nope.  I was given tools to help me be ready to teach.  There might be people who are ready to teach when they walk out of the first training . . . but I wasn’t.  I wasn’t that familiar with Nia to begin with so the way we were taught to learn a routine was very new to me.  As you may know we were taught to map our music by “barring” the music.

I know that Nia is making an effort to make things easier on teachers.  Nia Headquarters actually documents the choreography on the bars now.  So, I feel that the focus has shifted a bit away from barring the music the way I was taught.  I think the way I was taught was very cool.  I love the way Nia had at one time had us learning the music.  But I also understand the need to learn quickly or to have tools available to allow people to do things faster.  That is just the way our society is.  Things need to be done fast.

I also understand that we all learn differently.  We all have our own ways of doing things.  I honestly don’t do EVERY step that I was taught to do.  I also mix it up and I don’t always do each routine EXACTLY the same.  But pretty much.

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, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes

For all the routines so far, I do bar the music myself.  Sometimes I have trouble with some of the songs so I might rely on the bars from HQ a little more than with other songs.  But I bar the music and I document the choreography myself.  I “fix” any discrepancies I might see on the DVD.  But I do this in steps.  First I bar the music.  I count the music and I dress my bars.  I have found the more detailed I am with the dressing the better it is for me.  I put as much detail as I want on there.  I don’t just put the sound I hear for the cue for the Nia routine.  I put the music on the page.  Then I scan the paper into my computer.  Now I have barred music.  So what I can do with that the barred page — without the Nia choreography on it — is use it for whatever I want.  I can add my own choreography.  I don’t just have the places marked where I would do or cue the already-created-Nia kata, I have sounds that I am familiar with document.  So noting my own choreography to the page is easy.

Then, on my paper I just scanned, I add the Nia choreography.  Once I do that then I scan my sheet again.  So now I have an electronic image of my complete and final bars.  I always know where it is.  I admit to taking my sheets of barred music with me either to teach or around the house, then I misplace them.  Or I mixed routines up so I have one song in with another routine.  Then after a year when I go to do a routine, I am missing a song.  I am pretty particular so I will look for it, but sometimes I let go and just look at my electronic copy.  I know that eventually I will find the hard copy so I just use the one I know where it is.

I am so happy though because I finally got a HANGING file system.  So much easier to file my routines that way.  I used to have them in a pile on a shelf in a cabinet.  So in order to get to them I had to take out the entire pile and go through it to find the routine I wanted.  Or to put one away . . . that is why I would end up with “lost” songs because I didn’t always want to take the time to take out the stack and deal with it.  But now, it is so much easier with them hanging!  Yay.

So, if you teach a dance class, how do you document your moves?  How do you note your choreography?  How do you store your notes?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

Setting Your Focus and Intent

Posted by terrepruitt on November 3, 2009

In a Nia workout class* there are seven cycles. The first cycle is setting your focus and intent. In my classes before we step in, cycle two, I state the focus and the intent of the class. Every once in awhile I do remind my students that they are welcome to set their own focus and intent, but there is always a class focus and intent.

Nia teachers are supplied with and can purchase routines. With our routines comes a focus and intent. We receive the routine DVD along with a pamphlet that explains what the routine’s original focus and intent was. Nia teachers are encouraged to change focuses and intents. In fact, in addition to the one main focus and intent, there is a list of optional foci and intents.

I was reminded on a Nia teleconference call recently, that a focus is what you give your attention to, in order to get a desired result. And not only can you have a focus and intent for the workout, but you can carry that focus and intent throughout the day.

As an example, let’s say the focus of the class is set on shoulders, with the intent of remembering to keep them down and not scrunch them up toward the ears. So during the entire Nia class, I will remind myself and the class that we are focusing on our shoulders. When we lift our arms to part the clouds we will be conscious of keep our shoulders down. When we swim as we do our side steps I might remind the class to keep a long graceful neck (which can be achieved by holding the shoulders down). Throughout the class with each movement we will be focusing on our shoulders which could assist in strengthening the muscles in our back and enable us to keep them down where they belong. Then after class the focus and intent can be carried out into the day.

If you find yourself holding your phone with your shoulder hunched up toward your ear you have the opportunity to stop, which would help you keep the intent. Since you have set your shoulders as a focus you would be more likely to notice. Or while you are on the computer you might notice your shoulders bunched up around your ears and you could be aware of that and choose to sit up straight and pull your shoulders down.

In class we move to music and sometimes students might be concerned that the first time they participate they cannot move their feet AND their arms, so I often set the focus as one or the other. I might set the focus on the upper extremities, with the intent to move them in a conscious manner connecting to the music. Then I remind them that as they concentrate on their hands and arms it is ok if their feet are not perfect. That sometimes helps people to move more freely and actually focus on the focus.

These are just examples of foci and intents. There are an endless number of foci and intents. These examples are body related, but you can, of course, make your focus anything to get the intent you desire.  If you were setting a focus and intent for your workout, what would it be?  What would it be if you were going to carry it from your workout into your day?

(Want a tip on how to remember your focus throughout your day?)

*I make the distinction because there is also the Nia 5 Stages classes which is different

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Nia and Yoga

Posted by terrepruitt on October 3, 2009

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

From the healing arts, we use moves and ideals from Yoga.  As with all the movement forms incorporated into Nia, Nia does not claim to be practicing Yoga.  It is understood that years of studying and practice can be involved in the practice of Yoga, and Nia respects that, that is why I say that we “use move and ideals”.  Nia recognizes the benefits that can result from Yoga and with that does its best to utilize some of its amazing power.  Nia calls Yoga “The Conscious Dance of Alignment”.*  It helps with the proper alignment of the bones. It also assists in increasing flexibility for all fitness levels.

We use the aspects of Yoga to help find balance in the body.  In Nia we can also call upon the focus that is evident in Yoga.

The White Belt Manual 3/2001 V3 states:

Witness the value this form provides to increasing and restoring the natural flow of energy throughout the entire body.  Recognize the specific principles that help to clear and calm the mind, bring balance to the nervous system, improve breath and posturing, and strengthen specific body parts.  Acknowledge the way Yoga unifies the body, mind, spirit, and emotional being, and how the internal, core body becomes soft and supple to provide real “energy” strength from the inside out.

So we might do some exercises of twists, bends, and poses in our workout, it is to help increase strength, flexibility, alignment and our conscious connection.

The breathing in Nia reminds me more of Pilates than to Yoga.  We inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, often times sounding.  I have not participated in a Yoga class that does chanting or is vocal so that is why I am reminded more of Pilates than Yoga.

Many of Nia’s teachers are also Yoga instructors or they attend Yoga classes.  I sometimes attend a Yoga class in San Jose.  The two forms of movement are a great compliment to each other.

***V3 of The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Yoga Is Very Nia-Like

Posted by terrepruitt on September 12, 2009

I have only taken two yoga classes.  One was this evening and throughout the entire class, while the teacher was instructing I kept thinking, “Oh that is so Nia.  Oh this is so Nia. . . . . .Oh THAT is so Nia.”  Even though earlier in the class I realized that maybe Nia was “so Yoga”.

Yoga was first.  It has been around for thousands of years.  For some it is rooted in religion, where as Nia has been around for 25 years and is rooted in the body.  I just couldn’t help thinking that this yoga class was so like a Nia class, except much slower.  Slower, in the sense that in this class the movement wass not to the music, but to the breath.  There was no rhythmic quality to the movement, just the flow of your breath.  Every once in awhile I would hear the music and to start sway to it and realize that I was supposed to be holding a pose so I would stop my body from moving but my spirit continued to boogey away.

This yoga class is about joy in yoga, allowing for another comparison, comparing to the first principle of the Nia White Belt which is the Joy of Movement.  The Joy of movement is actually found as a sensation and not a feeling.  In Nia it is something that is sensed in the body and not felts as an emotion.

The teacher started the class with the suggestion that you set an intention.  I actually wiggled with happiness at this because in every Nia class we set a focus and an intent (in cycle one).

This yoga class made me realize why so many people that practice yoga also practice Nia because there are many things in common.  In yoga there are poses that open areas of the body, in Nia we have movements and poses that open the body and get the joints juicy.  Yoga has muscle strengtheners and ligaments and tendon lengtheners and so does Nia.  But with yoga it is a pose and in Nia it is primarily movements linked together in a more cardio-dance fashion.  In the cool down we do poses or stretches and sometimes there are yoga poses.  It just amazed me how similar they were.  With the request of awareness that the teacher was giving during the ending meditation, something that we request during the entire Nia workout, I was extremely delighted to realize that yoga and Nia aren’t competing practices, but companion practices.  They are so similar that you can apply a lot of the principles to both.  You can have a non-impact booty shaking cardio and strength workout (Nia) that you balance with the complete stretching and strength workout (yoga).

I truly was amazed at how Nia has taken so much of what is “yoga” and created a practice that can be such a great companion.  With so many similarities it really allows for an expansion of exercise and workout possibilities for so many people who do yoga in San Jose and in the Bay Area.

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