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

    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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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

The Power Of Silence And Sound

Posted by terrepruitt on January 12, 2013

Have you ever listened to a song and had a rush of emotion?  Have you ever had a song take you somewhere else?  The song could transport you back to a place in time or a location.  The song could allow you to to be lost in thought, lost in feeling, lost in emotion.  All the world around you fades away and you are in another space.  Even if it is not such a strong pull that all the world disappears, have you ever had an emotional response to a song?  Have you ever stopped to think what the artists meant by the song?  Have you ever dissected a song to really try to figure out what emotion the artist was trying to convey?  Have you ever had the emotion you experience during a song seem completly different than what you think the artist is transmitting with the song?  Say “Happy Birthday to You” brings you to tears because of a sad birthday memory.  It is amazing how music can elicit emotion.  It is amazing how music can figuratively transport you to a different time, a different place, a different state of mind.  On the other hand have you ever been at a club or a party and just danced or bobbed your head to a song, not thinking about a personal emotional response or what the artist was feeling?  This is all part of Principle #8 of the Nia Blue Belt.  I say “part of” because as with all of the principles there is a lot more than I am posting about.  There is a lot more than I even have thought about.  This is just a little part.  This principle is The Power Of Silence And Sound.  Music, Emotion, Expression.

There is power in the music.  The music is both the silence and the sound.  There is emotion in the music – in the silence, in the sound.  The emotion can be expressed.  In Nia, for the purpose of this principle we are saying there are three emotional parts of a song.  There is the emotion of the artist.  What feeling is the artist trying to get across?  The next song you hear, think about it.  What do you hear?  Then there is the emotional part of YOU.  What do YOU feel when you hear the song?  As I mentioned sometimes what you feel is different from the emotion the artist was putting out there.  Sometimes it can be the same, but not always.  Sometimes it can be the same emotion but maybe you feel it more strongly, than the artist was.  Then there is the emotion that you express.  The emotion of the dance, the emotion of a Nia class.

In a class there is the choreography.  The moves have their own emotion.  In leading a class, in creating a class, in crafting a class a Nia teacher plays with all three.  The artist’s emotion, the personal emotion, and the Nia emotion.  Because Nia is a body mind dance exercise (to put it simply) and it is body focused the moves in a class do not always match the motion of the music.  Sometimes it is an exercise in itself to move slowly to a fast moving beat.  Or even to stop when the music begs for motion.  Or to move through a portion of silence.  But also, because it is Nia, it is fun to match the choreography to the music exactly.  It is fun to take the emotion that the artist is throwing out there and match it.  With Principle #8 of the Nia Blue Belt Nia teachers have a great tool in which they can learn and study the music.  It can be broken down to allow for all types of movements and emotions to erupt from the dance.  We get to play with The Power Of Silence And Sound.

If you want to play with The Power Of Silence And Sound, pick a song.  Listen to it to decide the emotion of the artist.  Then DANCE that emotion.  Then play the song again dancing your own emotion.  Then play it again and marry the two, the artist’s emotion and yours.  Have fun mixing it up!

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

The Joy of Being In Relationship With The Nia Blue Belt Principles

Posted by terrepruitt on November 27, 2012

The Nia Blue Belt has 13 principles as does the Nia White Belt, Nia Brown Belt, and Nia Black Belt.  The principles for the Blue Belt were created to layer onto or weave through the Nia White Belt Principles.  The 13 Nia Blue Belt Principles are:

1. The Joy of Being In Relationship
2. The Power of Two
3. Awareness, Insight, Clarity
4. Developmental Anatomy
5. The Power of Three
6. Split, Ellipt, Blend
7. Nia Class Format
8. The Power of Silence & Sound
9. Form and Freedom
10. FloorPlay
11. Music, Movement, Magic
12. Observe, Listen, Guide
13. Vertical Routines

Even though I have been introduced to 13 new principles, I can still work with the 13 Nia White Belt Principles.  I still have a lot I can learn through them.  Nia actually made practicing them easy by creating the Blue Belt principles to weave into the White Belt Principles.  The Nia White Belt Principle #1 is The Joy of Movement.  http://www.helpyouwell.com/nia-information.htmlWhen Nia creates the principles they create catch phrases and other things to help explain what the principle is about and help people remember the principle and what it is about.  One of the things they use as a tool is a triad with words or phrases.  The triad for principle #1 in the Nia White Belt is the same as the triad for principle #1 in the Nia Blue Belt.  The triad is choose, sensation, and universal joy.

The Nia Blue Belt Principle #1, The Joy of Being In Relationship, the catch phrase is “with”, so you choose, sense the sensation, experience universal joy.  You are in relationship with all three in addition to “the other” you are in relationship with.  The “other” does not have to be a person, it can be a movement, a body part, a person, a thought, an idea . . . . anything.  As an example, you can be in relationship with your hips as they move when you walk.  You are not just aware of them, but you are in relationship with.  There is communication going on.  It is not just you moving them, you are listening, sensing, aware . . . in relationship with.  They move and you receive information from them.  Maybe you sense them tilting forward.  Why?  What is that the result of?  Can you move them so they are not tilting forward?  You ask.  They say yes.  You move in a way that adjust them.  You move on.  Energy and information going back and forth between you and “the other”.  This is applied to dancing Nia.  This is applied to teaching Nia.  This is applied to everything.  This is applied to life.  We choose.  We sense.  We have the opportunity to experience Universal Joy.  We have the opportunity to be in relationship with.

So this is a new idea for me.  This is how I am perceiving it today.  This is how I am understanding it today.  I welcome others who have taken the Blue Belt Intensive to comment.  I believe this principle is one of the things that takes practice.  It is something that can be played with and experienced.  And I actually feel as if my relationship with this principle changes.  So, yeah, there will probably more on this as I explore the Joy of Being In Relationship With!

Do you somewhat understand how you can be in relationship with?

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Nia and the 8BC System

Posted by terrepruitt on January 5, 2010

Music and the 8BC System is Nia White Belt Principle #3. This is part 2 of the principle, a brief bit about the 8BC System.

To learn our music, us Nia teachers, literally map out our music. We measure our music using a system of notations called bars.  This is our map. We count out our music 1-and-2-and-3-and-4-and-5-and-6-and-7-and-8-and.  Each bar has 16 counts. We count out the song noting the bars on a page. Then we go through and “dress” the bars adding marks to the page making notes of the sounds we hear.  We use the noted sounds as cues for the choreography in a routine. No matter if the movements are matching the music or going opposite to it, the instruments and sounds are our cues.

By mapping our music, (“barring” our music) we get to know our music really well.  Knowing our music really well allows us to easily play with the choreography, while at the same time, sticking to the basics of it.  We can also take the music that we have learned while learning a routine and add different choreography to it.

Also practicing this barring system ensures that we can take any music and dance the Nia choreography to it.  We just match the Nia music up with music that has the same count and we can pretty much just “plug” in the Nia choreography.

All of this allows us to have fun while exercising and doing our Nia routines/Nia workouts.

I have taken to the practice of mapping out my music and then scanning it so that I will have a completely mapped out song so when I am ready to add different choreography to it, I can just print my music map and put in the movement portion on my barred music.

Mapping the music allows for so much creativity.  Instead of just dancing to the beat you can dance to one instrument, you can allow your body to “BE” the cymbal or the flute, or you can shimmy to the melody, or sway to the harmony.  It is fun to play with the music.  And you can do whatever you want and lead your class through it all because you have a map!

Since music is such a big part of Nia, I am sure that I will visit this topic often.  I might even come back to the Nia White Belt Principle #3.

Posted in Nia, Nia White Belt Principles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Nia and Music

Posted by terrepruitt on January 2, 2010

Music and the 8BC System is Nia White Belt Principle #3. This is part 1 of the principle, a brief bit about Nia and Music.

Nia is so much about the music.  As teachers we learn to dance to the music. So as we lead our participants through the workout routines it is more like dance than exercise.  Sometimes we count the number of our movements as we are leading the class, but when we know our music well, we are to go to the music and use its cues and not rely on the count of the moves.  So when I am leading a class and I am in a section where I am counting if I get distracted from my count, I can just listen to the music and know exactly where I am.  Honestly, some songs I know better than others and I can accomplish this, some I am still learning. It is a process. It is amazing. 

Music is powerful and has been used for teaching and healing.  Your entire body can listen.  Your body can respond to the music it senses.  The body can sense the vibration.

There have been studies done that equate specific tempos with specific moods and/or emotions, in Nia we play with all of that.  We can go with the music or play the opposite. A stereo-typical “happy” song, we might practice as sad and slow or excited and angry. It is a great exercise for the body as well as the mind and spirit to sense music one way and move to it in another, as an example, like previously mentioned; while “happy” is playing move to it as if you are sad or tired. It is a wonderful challenge.

It is energizing to play with the music. The rhythm or beat of the music is said to be the male or Yang energy of music.  The melody is the feminine or Yin side.  Harmony blends it together stimulating the spiritual energy. You can dance to the rhythm or the beat or move to the melody, or have your senses stimulated by the harmony. When you let your body sense the music you can dance it all.

There are so many ways to play with music. Another way to use music as a workout tool is to visualize what type of sound your body parts would make, match them up with the music as you listen and when you hear that sound activate that body part. Again, challenging your body, your mind, and your spirit. Getting the whole body workout that Nia is known for and at the same time letting the music be the motivation for the movement.

Nia is a workout, but it is a workout that allows you to exercise your body along with your mind and your spirit. It allows participants to be moved by the music in the body’s way. It really is so much about the music.

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