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, Fri at 10:15 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!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia Dance’

Chop Cut, One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on February 22, 2017

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitWell, it looks like I haven’t posted a Nia move from the Nia 52 Moves in a long time.  When I started my blog and website I wasn’t actually planning on posting about each and every move, but with only nine left that I have not posted about, I really might as well finish the list.  It might not be done quickly, but I will get to them all.  Why not, right?  Only nine, well, eight after this one, to go!  So today I am posting about the Chop Cut.

As with most, if not all, of the 52 Moves of Nia there is a specific way to do it, but then a lot of different ways it is done.  I will go out on a limb to say this move, the chop cut, is a common move.  I am sure many, many people have done this move whether they are dancing, practicing martial arts, or not.  It is just a common move.  Or at least I think of it as a common move.

To practice it as a Nia move, one of 52, we chop the air with the edge of our hands.  The edge of the hand we refer to as the blade side.  Using one hand at a time, raise the arm from the shoulder and bring it down.  Slice, with the blade, from up to down.  Allow the elbow to be slightly bent.  All fingers are extended.  Keep the hands active and engaged even the one that is not doing the slicing.

The Nia Technique book states the benefits as:

an excellent exercise for affirming your personal power.  This move is effective for building strength in the arms and shoulders, and it is superb for releasing stress.

The move itself can release stress but when combined with sounding it can be really effective.  The book recommends saying, “because.”  I usually have my class say, “HA!”

The ideal Chop Cut is using the whole arm and the blade of the hand.  Sometimes we might use straight arms.  At times while we are dancing, we might just make the movement from our elbows.  Just letting our forearms move, chopping at the air in front of us fast.  That kind of movement can be done faster than using the entire arm.  At times the chop can just be from the wrists.  So just the hands move.  It requires loose wrists.  This move can be done really fast.  Sometimes when we chop with our hands, we move them in the space around us, so we are moving more than just our wrists.  So the chop is coming from the wrists so it is more of “just a chop” than a “chop cut”.  The Chop Cut when done according to “specs,” is a power move.  The other ones are great and sometimes they fit better into the dance.

So, am I right?  Have you done a Chop Cut before?  Were you dancing?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Day Thirteen Of Your Daily Ten Minute Practice

Posted by terrepruitt on February 13, 2017

Ahh, I usually have Mondays off, but today I am subbing a class.  I will be teaching Nia when there is regularly Pilates.  I thought I would try Nia at the community center because this is the community center where I once taught gentle yoga and they wanted to know what Nia was.  Hopefully those that enjoyed the demo will show up and enjoy an entire hour of Nia.  So instead of Pilates at the Almaden Community Center today it will be Nia at 9:15am!

I will do my Daily 10 Minute Practice, after I get home.  We are on day thirteen.  When will you do yours?

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit

I haven’t marked off today, yet.  I will when I get it done.  🙂

Posted in Ten Minute Daily Practice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Day Twelve Of Your Daily Ten Minute Practice

Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2017

Here we are day twelve of the Daily 10 Minute Practice.  Here is where you post your comment.  I don’t know if I will doing my “practice” before or after I teach Nia.  Today (Sunday, February 12, 2017) is my day to teach Nia at the NW YMCA in Cupertino.  There are three of us Nia teachers that teach the Sunday class on a rotating basis.  It is nice to have a Sunday class, but nice to not have to teach it every Sunday.  Perhaps I will see you there.

When are you going to do your 10 minutes?

Posted in Ten Minute Daily Practice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

THAT’S Not Dance

Posted by terrepruitt on October 10, 2016

I know that I have written posts about how different people think of different things as exercise.  I have written about how some people don’t think that a shimmy is exercise.  Whether they don’t THINK of it as something that should be IN an exercise CLASS or they just don’t think they get any benefit from it.  Some people just don’t think of dance as exercise.  I know I even mentioned that TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance have changed the way some people think.  Some people understand that dancing can be considered exercise.  But I don’t think I have ever talked about how some people don’t consider all dance dancing.  I might have but I don’t know that I have and it was something I was thinking about recently.  I was thinking that not all “dancing” is considered dancing by everyone.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitI was asked to substitute teach a class called Dance Fit.  I had asked several times what “Dance Fit” was, but the response was that the students would be happy to just move to music.  I had a feeling that the person answering just wanted to make sure that they had a teacher so that they would have a class.  So I had been thinking about what I could do.  Then I was also thinking about how I was recently at a festival where I overheard some people talking about a particular person there dancing.  They were saying that he wasn’t really dancing.  They were saying that they thought he wasn’t hearing the music.  They just weren’t “getting” his movements.  And I was looking at him and I thought it was fine.  I could see how his movements fit with the music . . . to me.  I thought that he looked as if he was completely dancing in a way that his body was responding to the music.  He looked like he was in the moment.  He looked as if he was having fun.  It was fine to me.

But later I realized that not everyone thinks of all movement as dance.  A ballerina might not consider clogging dancing.  A ballroom dancer might not consider the pony (remember that move?) a dance.  Someone used to doing Latin motion with their hips might not consider a chorus line kick part of a dance.  So perhaps those women had specific ideas of what dance is and so they didn’t consider his body movements dance at all.

I think that might happen when it comes to Nia.  Some people might not consider a front kick or an upward block a dance movement.  People that are accustomed to all the Latin dance steps that are in Zumba they might not consider a jazz square a dance move.  Just like some people might not consider a shimmy something that should be in an “exercise class”, some people might think a move such as rock around the clock or a duck walk isn’t really dance and shouldn’t be in a dance exercise class.  I think I have overlooked that fact.  Hmmmm.

Well, I had decided to not try to create something or TRY to do something that the class MIGHT like – because I really had no idea.  I decided to do something tried and true.  I decided to do something I do best.  I decided to teach Nia.  And they loved it.  The supervisor was totally correct in saying that the class just loved to dance and they want to move.  They were fabulous.  We had a lot of fun.  Nia is a great “product”, it is a great technique.  And when people who like to move get to experience we get to have fun.  I am looking forward to the next couple of weeks where I get to fill in as a sub.  The students are all about movement of the body being dance and they do great.  I was concerned about it for no reason.

What about you?  Do you think of only certain moves as DANCE?  Do you have a broad definition of dance?

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

What Do You Mean Nia FreeDance Tool?

Posted by terrepruitt on April 18, 2015

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoSome of you may be wondering what I mean when I say Nia FreeDance Tools.  Recently I invited First Degree Black Belt Nia Teacher, Jason Alan Griffin, to present a playshop of his creation.  The playshop was him sharing some Nia FreeDance Tools.  I have talked about what Nia FreeDance is before, it is where there is no assigned choreography and we just dance to the music (or not).  But it is not the type of dancing you would see in a club.  It is not the type of dancing that has specific names for the dance moves . . . yeah a cha-cha, jazz square, or a pirouette might sneak its way in, but primarily it is not that type of dancing.  So some of the tools we have to practice Nia FreeDance are the 8 Stages of Nia FreeDance.  And within those stages can be additional tools.

First of all as a reminder we do FreeDance to allow our bodies to move in different ways.  To move in ways that are not our normal ways of dancing . . . so if you ARE a ballerina, the idea is to let your body dance outside of the ballet mold.  If you are tap dancer perhaps in FreeDance your feet don’t tap.  It is a way to practice different moves to music and allow our bodies to experience something away from its regular patterns.

There are other reasons and ways a Nia Teacher uses Nia FreeDance, but I am just going to keep this post on the path of tools.  So within the tool box are the 8 Stages as I mentioned.

Now, in the playshop Jason did not mention these tools in association with the stages, but a lot of the tools he shared were introduced to me in connection with the first 5 stages of Nia FreeDance.

So with Stage 1: FreeDance (Catch Phrase: Anything Goes, Movement-Wise) . . . almost all of the tools could be associated with this stage but one that sticks out for me is being silly, acting goofy.  This is super fun and is pretty close to guaranteed to get you to move in a different way to music than you might be used to.

Tools I associate with Stage 2: Being Seduced by the Music (Catch Phrase: Art of Listening) are as it says, being seduced by the music.  So just letting the music take you away.  I imagine most of you have had a song play where you can just get carried off by it.  You can just move without thinking and dance away.

There is also Tempo Change . . . this involves the art of listening because you are listening for the tempo and then dancing against it or with it or faster than it or slower than it or opposite of it.  Just listening and moving to it — in your own way.

There is also a tool that we use called “Forget the music” where you just dance in your own way — period.  People might look at you and wonder what you are hearing because it might look to them as if you are not dancing to the music.  And you could not be.  Perhaps you don’t like the song that is on or you like a different version that you know so your dance is not “to” the music.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoStage 3: Feelings and Emotions (Catch Phrase: Pretend, Fake It, Act As If ).   This stage has a lot of tools that connect to it, if you are dancing the “Feelings and Emotions” you act “as if” you are ___________ (fill in the blank with an emotion).  You could be ACTING “as if” you are angry so you stomp around the room.  Or you are ACTING “as if” you are jealous or ACTING “as if” you are happy.  Allowing your body to move in ways that it would move if you were feeling those emotions is a great way to move.

Or you could PRETEND you are playing an instrument.  I always say that I have become the greatest musician since I started teaching Nia.  Or you could act as if you are playing a sport or a child’s outdoor game.  This type of pretending is not sticking strictly to the stage and catch phrase, but it can be connected to it because there is pretending, faking, and acting.

Stage 4: The Creative Source (Catch Phrase: The Real You).  This is where there is no story or no acting “as if”, you are moving with your true emotions.  The tool would be no choreography allowed, in fact the dance is suspended and you are moving in your own way as an emotional being.

Stage 5: Authentic Movement (Catch Phrase: Change!!).  Here is where the tool of changing every two bars comes in.  The movement is authentic.  The real you, nothing fancy just the way your body goes, but changing it every two bars.  Or the change could be applied to directions or levels.  You could dance going one direction and quickly change to go another directions.  Or you could be dancing in the high plane and switch to the low or the middle.  The idea is to CHANGE!

So that is what we mean by “tools”.  Basically ideas of how to move.  There are a lot of tools that can be used, there are so many ways to move.  One of the most fun things to experience is an individual actually practicing these tools and then coming up to me after class and saying what a great workout they received.  Many say they didn’t realize that  FreeDancing could be such a great workout.  That is one reason why we FreeDance . . . it really is a GREAT workout!  Having a lot of tools makes it fun!

Does this give you a better idea as to what the “tools” are?  Does this give you ideas for your next dancing-in-your-living-room session?  Or ideas on how to conduct your next car-dancing moment?

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

Squished Lemons In a Jar

Posted by terrepruitt on April 14, 2015

I have some friends on Facebook that I have never met.  They are friends I have through Nia.  Nia is like any other group exercise or activity, you tend to “gather” in a group.  In addition to the average things people share on Facebook (recipes, family pictures, proud parent moments, pet pictures, meal pictures) we do share about our classes.  We make announcements about up coming events.  We talk about the routines and the “stuff” going on in Nia.  So I have a group of “Nia people” I am friends with on Facebook.  One of them was having a conversation with one of her friends and I jumped in because it sounded interesting.  You might know from some of my previous posts that I have a lemon tree.  You may also know that I am not really a fan of lemon flavor.  I never think to add it to any meat I am cooking.  I never think to use it to flavor marinades or dressing.  Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, City of San Jose Group X, Zumba, PiYoI only use it in lemon cookies . . . which I don’t make often any longer.  Every once in a while I zest some into our rice.  But I don’t think of using the lemons to cook so I am always on the lookout for ways to start using them more.  Well, the conversation they were having was about lemons.  So I butted in and said, “Hey, what is this about lemons?”

Georgia, my Nia friend on Facebook, shared the recipe she uses to preserve lemons.  She said to put them in a jar with salt, let them sit for a month, then use them as you need them.  Her instructions stated a quart jar.  Well, I don’t have one and have yet to remember to buy one.  I really wanted to try this, so I started thinking I didn’t need such a large jar.  I might not like it so I decided to start small.  So this past week, I smushed some lemons in a jar.  I did not do it correctly because I got more involved with cutting and getting them into the jar than actually following the instructions.  I did not have the instructions in front of me and I so was just guessing.  Of course after I was done I looked them up.

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Preserved LemonsDance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, City of San Jose Group X, Zumba, PiYo

You’ll need a large jar that will not leak when it is flipped over.  (In her picture it looks like she might have used a large pickle jar.)
About 7 or 8 organic lemons (I only used two and a half because my jar was so small)
salt

First make sure the jar is clean.  Then make sure the lemons are clean and dry.  Then cut the lemons – not all the way through – in an X pattern.  Cutting from one end to the other, leaving one end intact.  I did not do that because the lemons were bigger than my jar.  So I actually cut the lemons into wedges.

Put about two tablespoons of salt in the bottom of the jar.  Then put a cut lemon in the jar.  Smush it down so the juices come out.  Then put more salt, then another lemon – smushing it down, getting more juice.  Continue this process until the jar is full.  Georgia said you cannot have enough salt.  She also said you can add other flavors; herbs, cinnamon sticks, cloves, bay leaf, dried red chili peppers . . . . whatever flavor you would like.

If you need to, put more lemon JUICE in the jar to make certain the lemons are covered.  Then you leave the jar on your counter for 30 days.  Flipping it over every day.

After 30 days you put the jar in your refrigerator and use a lemon or a piece every time you want to flavor something with lemon.  Pick what you want out of the jar, rinse it, then use it.  You can chopped it up using both the rind and the pulp.  Use it with chicken, beef, pork, fish, pasta, salad . . . whatever you want.

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Her recipe said that you can always add more juice and salt as you use the slices.

She said that the sour goes away and an intense yummy lemon flavor comes out.

Now . . . . I just did this . . . and by JUST . . . I mean I am in the 30 day flipping stage.  So once my 30 days are up you will be reading about it again to see what I think.

In looking at her post again she indicated this was a Moroccan delicacy.  So I looked it up and there is a lot of information regarding it on the internet.  I will post more when I actually get to taste them.

Perhaps some of you already do this so you can share?  What do you think?

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Crystal Breath

Posted by terrepruitt on April 7, 2015

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoThe Special Nia Events that I held at the end of March were held at a dance studio in Campbell called Range of Motion.  Well, the owner of the dance studio opened a store next door called Range of Wellness.  It sells supplements in the form of vitamins, minerals, and protein powders.  It  has a few lotions and shampoos.  It even has a few things for pets (treats, supplements, shampoos).  When I was there completing business with the owner I noticed there was some essential oils on her desk.  She just got them in.  I picked up Crystal Breath and loved the way it smelled.

I didn’t even know what it claimed to do but I loved the way it smelled so I wanted it.  I use my oils as aroma therapy.  The “therapy” part can be loosely defined.  I usually just go by the smell I feel like smelling at the moment.  That is why I purchased the Crystal Breath without knowing its intent.  It smells so good.

It is manufactured by a company new to me called Nature’s Fusion.  The blend contains eucalyptus dives, laurel leaf, peppermint, ravensara, eucalyptus radiata, lemon, rosemary, tarragon, tea tree.  The bottle does say is is a respiratory blend, which means nothing to me.  It is somewhat “mentholatum-y”, so I thought it might help with clearing sinuses.  The company’s website says:

“This blend opens pathways and increases clarity.

Clear breathing, odor control

Usage Methods: Apply to hands and breathe deeply, diffuse, rub in a 5% dilution on chest or upper lip

Research & Fun Facts

  • Filling a room with Crystal Breath can be a great way to eliminate other odors.
  • Apply to hands and breathe during intense activity or respiratory stress for open thoughts and increased clarity.
  • Some people suffer from asthma, or exercise-induced asthma. During an asthma attack, the airways tighten and close, restricting air supply to the lungs. Drinking plenty of fluids, slowly warming up to physical activity, practicing active relaxation techniques, and breathing moist, warm air can help reduce dangerous attacks.
  • In a pinch, Crystal Breath works as a topical deodorant. Dilute in water or alcohol and apply sparingly.”

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoI’d like to point out, the website does NOT say this essential oil blend is good for people with asthma.  The website just has facts:  “Some people suffer from asthma, or exercise-induced asthma. During an asthma attack, the airways tighten and close, restricting air supply to the lungs.”  And then states what probably most asthma sites, doctors, and asthma suffers would recommend.  This is an important thing to notice . . . this site is not making a claim regarding asthma, although it is claiming that applying it to hands will open thoughts and increase clarity.

I just like the way it smells.  I have put it on my wrists to allow me to smell it as I breathe.  I cannot attest to it opening my thoughts or increasing clarity, but I can say it makes me smile because l like the fragrance.

Since it is one of the few oils I have actually applied to my skin, I have bothered to add it to a candle to burn.  I just dab some on my wrists.  The other oils I don’t “wear”, I put drops in my candles.  So I don’t know what the effect is in a burning candle.

So, there you have it, a new to me oil blend.  What about you?  Are you using essential oils?  What blends do you like? 

Posted in Essential Oils | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Dancing Away The Stickiness

Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2015

More often than not in my Nia classes we have a physical focus.  A focus and an intent in an exercise class is not easy for some people.  So having a focus that is physical seems, for many, to be easier than a focus that is not.  I know I have mentioned this before because I know I have talked about focuses before.  Today, as always, I asked my class if “they had anything”.  Usually someone comes up with a physical thing . . . sore neck, tight hamstrings, aching back, tight shoulders . . . ya know, something physical.  Today someone said, “Unstuck.”  I had overheard her mention something about being “stuck” while I was getting ready to teach, and I thought that would be a great focus, but I wasn’t sure how to do that.  So I said, “Yeah, I heard you mention that, but I am not sure how to do that.”  Someone else piped in about being stuck, too.  And I laughed and commented that if I knew how to get “unstuck” I wouldn’t ever be stuck.  And the “stuck” we were talking about was a feeling of being stuck either in an emotion or a situation or just the feeling of being stuck!  So we focused on getting “unstuck”.

The person that originally mentioned feeling stuck was happy to hear that others sometimes felt that way.  That is something I learned about feelings they are like questions . . . if one person has it (the feeling or the question) there is at least one other person that does too.  There are no stupid feelings.  Now, I do believe there are no stupid feelings, but I will admit to being guilty of thinking and sometimes even saying that as a knee-jerk reaction to someone I love saying something I think of as not nice about themselves.  If one were to say, “I feel ugly.”  “I feel like a bad person.”  My automatic reaction is “that’s stupid you aren’t . . . ”  But if they FEEL that way that is not stupid.  So I am still learning to curb that reaction.  But I digress . . . back to getting unstuck.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoAs I said, I wasn’t sure how to dance “unstuck”.  I wasn’t sure how to make that a focus, but then I decided . . . . because I believe . . . that sometimes just thinking about it can help things move along.  So my thoughts were that if you were feeling stuck, just acknowledging it and moving with it could be enough to unstick it.  Or it could be enough to think of an idea on how to “unstick” it.  Or it could just open you up to an idea that is going to come later.  Just all types of stuff.  We agreed that dancing with the focus of getting unstuck and the intent of being open to that and whatever it meant and however we could achieve that would be our focus and intent for the class.

One person mentioned not getting “too unstuck” which gave me the opportunity to remind people that we are dancing our own interpretation.  When I suggest people move as if they are floating in water, everyone moves in their own way.  They imagine their own “floating in water”.  The same with getting “unstuck”.  One can get as “unstuck” as they feel they need to be.  The person that mentioned this left early so I didn’t get to delve into what she meant . . . because it could mean so many things.

After class, I actually felt better and a little less stuck.  “Unstuck” could relate to letting go or being loose.  It is one of those things that if you are feeling anything related and you focus on it with the intent of acknowledging it or relieving it, it can just happen.

For those that are challenged with focusing on things that are not strictly physical “unstuck” works for that because one could have a tight muscle that is “stuck”.  Or a joint that might need some loosening because it feels “stuck”.  So dancing to “unstick” is really a great focus.

I am always amazed at how my class comes up with such great things to focus on.  I am further amazed at how so often what they come up with is something I am feeling the same need for.  Getting “unstuck” is great.

Do you ever feel “stuck”?  In what way?  What do you do to get “unstuck”?

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

Finger Flicks – A Nia 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on February 3, 2015

I did not intend to write a blog post on all of the 52 Moves in Nia.  My intent was to post a few and entice you into buying The Nia Technique Book.  It seems as if I just might get to all of Nia’s 52 Moves on my blog.  It so happens that sometimes I am at a loss as to what to post, so I turn to a move on the list of 52 Moves.  Or sometimes I am intrigued by one the moves because it is in a routine that I am currently dancing with my students.  Or I am intrigued by of the moves that it is in a Nia Routine that I danced with another Nia teacher.  OR I am intrigued by of the moves even though it is NOT in a Nia Routine – as in, it is not part of the original choreography, but we do it anyway.  That is the fun thing about Nia Routines and the 52 Moves.  You can kind of put them in anywhere.  And, I will say it again, because I think it is important to state that the moves that Nia includes on their list are not unique to Nia.  Nia is not claiming to have created them.  Also, it is nice to know that you will experience moves in Nia that you have experienced before.  The moves are on the lists and included in Nia Routines because there are benefits to doing them.  Some of them are so simple the benefits could be overlooked.  Some of them might seem odd to have included on a list of moves done in a dance exercise class.  But they have benefits.  One move that is simple and might seem random to have in an exercise class is Finger Flicks.

Yeah, you read that right, Finger Flicks.  Flicking your fingers.  This move can be done so many different ways.  Fast, slow, high, low, fingers up, fingers down, with an emotion, without an emotion, with the music, against the music, so many possibilities.  The benefits of this move include conditioning the muscles of the forearms and hands.  If you really use your thumb to resist the fingers the move contracts the forearm muscles and makes your fingers work!  The Nia Technique Book states that this move helps rid the hands of tension.

The how-to is simple enough.  I bet you know it already.  You form a loose fist with your hand, keeping the thumb on the outside of the fingers.  Then push with all four fingers against the thumb.  Allow your thumb to resist.  Then let your fingers push through.  Practice this move with your hand at different levels-as in high above your shoulders, at the same level as your shoulder, below your shoulders.  Let your arms hang, hold them out . . . in other words flick your fingers all over.  Use one hand, then the other, then both.  Just flick, flick, flick, flick.  Try doing it how I mentioned, fast, slow, high, low, fingers up, fingers down, with an emotion, without an emotion, with the music, against the music,  play with the possibilities.

You can practice this move while dancing around your home.  You probably do this move without even thinking about it after washing your hands.  You could probably check the mirrors above the sink to verify it.

Are you familiar with finger flicks?

 

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Ways To Practice Rock Around The Clock

Posted by terrepruitt on January 15, 2015

I have said it many, many times, but I am going to say it again.  Nia has 52 Moves which we incorporate into the Nia routines.  These moves have a specific way to be done.  But the way they are done is adjusted, like many things, when you are doing them in a routine.  There is or was a debate about one of the moves called the bow stance.  The debate is or was about how the weight of the body should be distributed. The reason I am saying “is or was” is because I don’t know if the debate was ever settled.  The discussion regarding it — at least one that I had seen — was on Facebook and it was a long discussion.  I don’t know what the end result was or what the “official” decree is because to me, I want to teach balance, so if I am JUST doing a bow stance then I would instruct people to have their weight evenly distributed.  Usually I am not doing JUST a bow stance.  If I am showing people the bow stance it is because it is in the routine and there are other steps prior to or after it and with other moves on either side the weight gets distributed according to the need.  So, in other words, we adjust the move to fit the dance and choreography.  So that is what my class and I are experiencing right now with the Nia 52 Move called Rock Around the Clock.

If you read my original post about it, the one that explains what it is, the instructions state to start the rock on the heels.  But in the routine I am leading my class through currently we start the rock on the toes.  Then we roll (or rock) to either the left or the right.  We actually go both ways and like many things, the different “sides” or directions are very different in regards to sensation and difficulty level.  One side is easier than the other . . . at least that is the consensus with my students.  So it is very beneficial to practice “rocking” both ways.

With this post I am doing two things; 1) I am reminding you to practice moves going both directions.  Just like we do both sides.  If we are doing a move with the left side we do it with the right.  We – trainers – often say to keep the body even and it really is to work both sides of the body AND the brain!  2)  Share with you a different or additional WAY to practice Rocking Around the Clock.

My original post says something about this being an example of an easy move.  It is not necessarily “easy”, what I probably should have said was the Rock Around the Clock was not a high intensity move.  So for those that are really starting out learning this move you might even want to sit down and do it.  Since feet are in shoes for a large part of the day and those shoes might not allow for a lot of ankle mobility, it could be that your ankles just don’t want to move in the way that is required with this move.  So it is a great idea to sit down and allow the ankles to loosen up.

For me, my feet want move opposite of each other.  So each foot wants to be on the opposite edge, so training my feet and my brain to be on the same edge it interesting.  Sitting in a chair while doing this move allows my feet and brain to understand that this move is “same edge”.  Once you get your feet and brain on the same page, then you can stand up.  (FYI:  Sitting and practicing this move is very different from trying to take pictures of your feet while sitting and practicing this move.  But hopefully you will get the idea from the pictures even though they are not very good.)

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When you are standing you can use something to hold onto like a counter, table, chair, wall, something that is sturdy and can assist you in balancing.  Having something to steady you while your feet get used to supporting your weight on the edges is nice.  The support also allows you to really exaggerate your foot movements to help get the movement into your muscle memory.

This move helps build strength in the ankles and the feet.  This is also a very “mental move”.  It is one of those moves you might have to really think about in order to do it correctly.  Then, with practice, it will become one of those moves you can do without thinking so much about.  And your feet and ankles will benefit greatly.

So have you tried it?  Can you do it sitting down?  Can you do it standing up?  Can you see how it is an interesting move?

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