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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Posts Tagged ‘Nia Blue Belt Principle #3’

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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Principle #7 of the Nia Blue Belt – Nia Class Format

Posted by terrepruitt on December 27, 2012

Principle #7 of the Nia Blue Belt is “Nia Class Format” with the tagline of “Delivering the Promise”.   Before starting to write this post I opened my Blue Belt Manual and started reading what it said about principle #7 and for a moment I couldn’t remember learning anything about the principle in the training.  In the manual there is six and a half page table comparing a “Body/Mind/Spirit Teaching Style” to a “Traditional Teaching Style”.  I found myself thinking, “well, not any longer”.  As in the traditional style is really “old school”.  A lot of classes now adopt the formula that has ALWAYS been a part of a Nia class. Nia is different from many other workouts.  I believe in the almost 30 years that Nia has been around fitness classes have changed a lot and Nia is not the only one that incorporates a more mind-body approach.  Although I say that Nia is more a body-mind approach because Nia actually STARTS in the body. So . . . hmmmm?  If other classes are now doing what Nia has always done it goes a long way in showing that it is the better way.

Here is an example of the table, this is copied directly from The Nia Technique – Blue Belt Manual, August 2006, V4.0, page 132:

 Class Element:  Body/Mind/Spirit Teaching Style:  Traditional Teaching Style: 
Use of Language Uses healing phrases, words, and
visualizations that foster a positive self image.
Often times makes negative comments in humorous ways
that devalue the human spirit and lessen a positive
self-image of the human being.
Individuality Stresses the importance of individuality. Stresses conformity.

 

These are just two examples, as I said there are six and a half pages.  And, this table is not saying that every class that is not Nia does the things listed under Traditional Teaching Style.  It is just a sample of what some styles are like.

I like the table in the manual.  I feel it is a great tool.  I can see that sometimes I am using the Traditional Teaching Style (neither of the ones previously mentioned) and that is exactly why I wanted to participate in the Nia Blue Belt Intensive.  I wanted to work more on “delivering the (Nia) promise”.  I had been taught to exercise via the traditional way so that is what I know or knew.  I like the reminder of the Body/Mind/Spirit Teaching Style.  I also need the reminder because other people have been taught the other way too so that is what they respond best too.  It really is up to me to show them the alternative.  It is up to me to deliver Nia with the Nia class formula so that they can see that there is another way to workout.

This principle is about Body, Mind and Emotion, and Spirit.  Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 will assist me with this principle.  They are all connected.

Two things I want to mention to help clarify, when Nia talks about spirit, it is not in the religious sense, it is comparable to spirit as in “class spirit” or “spirit week”.  Ya know, like they do in high schools?  It is about the inner “you”, your enthusiasm, what drives you, your “spirit”, not something related to religion.

And the other thing, I believe that Nia is working on re-writing, adjusting, and updating the training material.  Nia is always working to remain up-to-date.  The trainers were working off of slides that were not even final.

Are you curious enough yet about Nia to find a Nia class in your area?  Do you prefer a Body/Mind/Spirit Teaching Style or a Traditional Teaching Style when you take a class?

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Pearls And The Realms, Part Of Nia Blue Belt Principle #3

Posted by terrepruitt on December 11, 2012

Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity – Pearls and the Realms, is an exciting principle.  I found it really exciting because there are things that Nia teachers are supposed to do in Nia class that I really wanted to learn to do better.  There is a particular way we are supposed to teach or more accurately there is a tool that we have available to us to use while we teach.  The “tool” is called a pearl.  When I go to other Nia classes I often find myself wanting to stop moving and just write down what the other teachers are saying.  I often find their verbiage, their wording for something to be just what the move is about and so I want to use that in my class.  Since I don’t REALLY want to stop dancing I repeat it in my head while I am dancing and sometimes I can even convince myself that I will remember what they said.  Sometimes I do remember and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I have a vague recollection that leads to a pearl of my own that works out fine.  These pearls are what we use to enhance the class.  They are words that allow the participant to connect to a move, the music, a feeling, a sensation, almost anything . . . . and this in turn allows for a better experience.  Part of the Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity, was a lesson on how to come up with pearls.  It was insight into where they can come from.

As a reminder, in these first posts about the Nia Blue Belt Principles I am just writing quick about what I initially got out of it.  I am just sharing and getting it down in print as a tool to help processes it.  This principle has a lot more to it than just assist with what to say and how to describe things in a Nia class.  As I said the principle is Awareness, Insight, Clarity, with a tag line of Pearls and the Realms.  And it is the pearls that I have been longing to learn more about.  So that is what I gleaned most about this principle.  As I go back and read the manual I am sure I will even get more.  As I continue to teach even more will be revealed.

Have I mentioned before that the manual is 276 pages?  Yeah.  It is intense.  It is a lot of information.  It is amazing.

Anyway . . . this principle gives us the place that the pearls come from.  It helps categorize them.  In knowing where they come from it is easier to allow them to come.  In the categories or realms a Nia teacher can decide to utilize pears from all realms.  To me this can help balance a class.An example of pearls we could use for each realm in a class would be:

Everybody sense your ankle.  This would be from the physical realm.
Everybody feel lonely.  This would be from the emotional realm.
Everybody imagine you are a dog.  This would be from the mental realm.
Everybody wiggle and jiggle.  This would be from the spirit realm.

I was so excited to learn the different type of pearls.  Part of my excitement came from confirming pearls don’t have to be physical and part of it came from realizing I did use pearls more than I thought.  I thought I used them a lot less, so it was nice to learn I use them, I just didn’t know it.

So the pearl portion of Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity was a great eye-opening.  And, of course, you really can’t have the pearls without awareness, insight, and clarity, right?  I didn’t explain that here, but it’s true.  This post jumped right to the middle.  I may or may not do a post explaining about the first part.  I really think I should leave somethings for you to learn when you do your Blue Belt Intensive.  😉

Do you get excited when you think you are not doing something you are supposed to be doing but you find out you are doing it?

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