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 ‘Nia dancers’

Answers To A Few Questions About Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on January 22, 2020

I think it is time to revisit some things.  A compilation of re-visitation.  How does that sound?  This is in regards to Nia.  I have all of this information spread out in various posts on my blog and in various places on my website but I thought I could revisit some information for a post.  This will help to get the information out there.  I will answer some questions that I have received recently as a new group of people are going to be treated to a Nia class.

How is Nia different than Zumba?
Well, based off of my Zumba and Nia training and based off of the Zumba and Nia classes I have attended the main difference is movement, both speed and type.  Zumba is regularly faster.  Nia can be fast, but in general is slower than Zumba.  Zumba’s movements tend to be more Latin; focusing on movement of the hips and feet, whereas Nia is more of an entire body movement type of dance class.  Nia incorporates three art forms into the dance (martial arts, dance arts, and healing arts – more about all of that can be found in the “The Nine Basic Movements Forms Of Nia” post.)

Is it sweaty?
Well, that is based entirely on you, the individual.  Some people dance Nia and don’t sweat, it could be that they just aren’t the type of body that sweats or it could be that they really didn’t move enough to sweat.  I remember teaching one class years ago and a student came up to me as I was toweling off and said, “You really don’t sweat much in Nia, do you?”  As I said, I was toweling off, my hair was wet, I was blind from sweat, and my glasses were fogged up.  And I said, “No, no YOU don’t.”  Because this person had stood behind me the entire class.  I never saw this student’s arms or legs or head.  So, in other words, this person didn’t move a lot, this person never lifted their arms up or out, nor did they kick out, so there wasn’t a lot of movement on their part so they didn’t sweat.  And that is fine, if that is what your goal is.  If you want to go to a cardio dance class and not sweat don’t move a lot.  If you are the type of person that sweats when you move and you decide to move in the class, then you will sweat.  It really is all about what you want for your body that day, during that class.

What do I wear?
Anything you want in order to feel comfortable.  Something you can move in and that you don’t mind being on the floor in.

Is Nia done barefoot?
Yes.  Nia is designed to be done barefoot.  Again, we do not jump – sometimes a trainer might get fancy and excited and include a little jump or two when s/he created the routine, but for the most part we do not jump.  We don’t typically twist on our feet, we pick up our feet.  There is a lot of foot work in Nia designed to stretch and strengthen the foot.  Nia believes that – while shoes can be lovely – they restrict the movement of the foot, so moving in bare feet allows the foot to move as it was designed.

What type of music is played in a Nia class?
All types of music.  Some routines run the gamut of tunes from rock to classical, some routines contain only one genre or one artist but the music for Nia as a whole varies.  You can click here and click around if you would like to hear some samples of the actual music in some of our routines.

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, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD, Yin YogaAs a note, people constantly confuse IMPACT with INTENSITY. We had been trained to think we have to move fast with high jumps up and down (impact) in order to get a “good” workout and in order to sweat. But if you stand with your feet in A stance (slightly wider than your shoulders) and do squats for three minutes, you might get a little sweaty. You will have done an INTENSE exercise, but not one that is high impact. Nia is not high impact, yet it can be intense.  People who do the moves in their bodies way, always come up to me and say what a great workout they just had in Nia.  The routines are created from movements that the body was designed to do, but Nia knows that not everyone’s body can move that way so dancers are encouraged to move in their own body’s way.  And with that in mind individuals get the workout they need.

Above I mentioned sweating in a Nia class, well, it could be you do sweat when you workout, but it could be that you are taking a Nia class in the middle of your work day or you are meeting friends for lunch after class so you don’t CHOOSE to move a lot and you want to take it easy – that is perfectly acceptable.  It is perfect to dance how you want to/how you are able to at that time.

So, these are the questions that I have received of late.  I can go on for pages talking about Nia . . . and I have if you look here on my blog you will find plenty of posts about Nia.  Or you can check out my website, here are some pages that might interest you:

Nia Information / Nia Class Cycles / Main Benefits of Nia / Tips for a Pleasurable Nia Experience / Principles of the Body’s Way / Nia Tips for Moving with Nia / Sounding Tips / Nia’s 52 Moves / Nia Belt Levels and Focuses

Also, feel free to contact me if you any other questions or want more information.  Yay to new Nia dancers!

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Dancing Close

Posted by terrepruitt on September 16, 2014

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 classesThere is a Nia Routine called Miracle.  It is fun routine.  Like many Nia Routines it has form and freedom.  There are two songs in which the foot work is pretty much the same throughout each song (form), but within the sameness you have the freedom to switch it up and add your own style.  The choreography gives you the steps, the area where your feet are to be in dancing to the music, but you can decide how to get there and how your foot will be placed into that area.  Form and Freedom.  There is also something in this routine that Carlos Rosas (NKA, Carlos Aya-Rosas) calls the “Nia Bundle”.  It is basically where the entire class gets very close together and dances.  This is not easy for people to do.  Why?  There are at least as many reasons why this challenges people as there are people.  But there are many benefits to dancing in a “bundle” and as a group.

One benefit of dancing in a close bundle is to practice our proprioception.  In close proximity to other Nia Dancers we want to be aware of where our arms are, where are feet are, where are hands are.  Are our limbs close to our body or are they out as far as they can go?  Are we going to step on someone’s toes?  Are we going to bump into someone?  While the goal is not to step on nor bump into anyone, it is understood there might be some contact . . . but not often.  For those in my classes that participate in the Nia bundles we do a good job being aware and moving in a close group.

Also dancing so close to each other helps us be aware of each other. Not just the physical presence of the other students, but there is eye contact, there is giggling, there is connection and a sense of community when you are brought really close together.  No one is in their own space, we are sharing space.  We move as one in space.  We move as individuals in a shared space.  We learn to dance together.

Another benefit could be that we – as individuals are pressed into moving in different ways.  Finding a new way to move our body in dance because we are so close to someone.  How can we move our elbows without elbowing someone?  How can we dance to the music and express our spirit in such close proximity to others?  Ahh . . . yes . . . new-to-your-body-moves just might be discovered.

I always laugh at the thought of someone looking in the dance studio at the community center and seeing all of the space with 12+ of us all clumped together in the middle or in a corner.  I imagine them thinking that odd.  I imagine them thinking, “WHAT are they doing?”  Then we throw our hands up in the air and sing.  It is quite fun!

So despite some people’s misgivings about dancing really close in a Nia bundle there are those who join in with gusto and reap the benefits.  Does your dance exercise class have a bundle?  What would you think if you were to peek in a class and see it?  Would you be a bundle dancer?

 

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Never Cease

Posted by terrepruitt on May 27, 2014

I teach Nia which is a cardio dance available to any age.  At both the low end of the age spectrum and the high end of the age spectrum, if you can safely move about the floor and follow basic movements you can do Nia.  So there are young and old Nia dancers.  I teach at facilities that have age restrictions, but that is only the facilities, not Nia.  Then I also teach gentle yoga to older adults.  The classes are held at the “Senior Centers” so while some of the classes are open to those 18 years and older the population in class tends to be older.  As I am sure many of you that teach at a facility with older people will attest, it is amazing to work with these people.  They come week after week and keep trying.  In my class I have a wide variety of experience levels.  They come back every week and do the poses to the best of their ability.  I am inspired by their drive to keep doing.

I check in with them to confirm that they are seeing and feeling some benefit to the class.  With many I can see it, but I want to confirm that they recognize it.  Recently one of my students was sharing some things he learned and he said, “I learned that I need to learn how to relax.”  I laughed and agreed.  It is not easy to do for some.  It is not always second nature to breathe and “rest” into a pose.  The corpse pose at the end of the class is one of those poses.  In fact one class asked if we “had to” do it.  I said yes.  To me that is part of yoga.  That is part of my class.  I believe that quieting the mind and relaxing for 5 to 10 minutes after a class is necessary.  For many it is a Challenging Easy Pose, it is difficult to be still.  Just now as I am typing I remember this person not being able to be still at all when we first started doing yoga.  Now there is stillness.  I believe every one can benefit from this moment of restfulness.  I love that even those who think it is unnecessary, keep trying.

A bit ago we did a pose that several students said is “hard”.  I agreed with them.  It is hard . . . that is why we are doing it.  We are doing a very modified version, but it is one of those poses that works many if not all the muscles in your body, so yes, it is “hard”.  And we do it so that they can benefit from it.  In working on so many muscles it is a balance pose, that requires flexibility and strength.  One of those awesome poses that does so much . . . so we do it.  And what spurred me to write this post is that while they were saying it was hard they were not saying, “It’s hard, I don’t want to do it.”  They were just saying, “Wow, this is hard.”  And then they moved into position to do it again.  Love it.  Love those inspiring active people in my classes!

I just wanted to share with you that I have some amazing inspirations in my life.

What about you?  Do you know any older adults that cause you to think, “I wanna be like that when I am their age”?  Some of those people that just keep trying?  They might not be doing it in a clearly recognizable way but they are still trying?

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Being Seduced By The Music Stage 2 of Nia FreeDance

Posted by terrepruitt on June 26, 2012

I have posted before about the 13 Principles in the Nia White Belt.  The fourth principle, FreeDance, has eight stages. I am working my way backwards posting about each stage.  This post is about second stage:  Being Seduced by the Music – The Art of Listening.  In the second stage of Nia FreeDance the exercise we perform is stillness.  We keep our bodies still while we listen to the music.  We allow ourselves to be seduced by the music and practice the art of listening.  When listening to a song that is not familiar or doesn’t have that “get-up-and-dance” beat it is not so difficult, but when the song is one that makes every part of your body want to move, when it is familiar, or one you love it is not easy sitting still.  It is not easy to sit with a tall spine that does not gyrate to the beat.  But when we do practice the art of listening with only our ears we might hear sounds we had not been aware of before.  While we are listening the idea is to name instruments and sounds that you hear.  Sometimes you might not know what you are hearing, either you don’t know the name of the instrument or it isn’t really an instrument at all, so you can give them their own names.  For instance something might sound like rushing water or trash can lids.  I know a Nia teacher whose husband is in a band and she is familiar with a lot of different instruments and the sounds they make.  She is very good at naming them when she hears them.  Me, if you look at my bars you will see a lot of spaceships.  There is a sound that I think of as a spaceship so I use that symbol to signify that sound.  I HEAR a spaceship.

This stage might sound a bit like RAW, where we are Relaxed, Alert, and Waiting while we listen to the music, but it is not.  Our bodies might be in the same position, of a lengthened spine and a relaxed state but in RAW we are just listening without opinion or too much thought.  We have no inner dialogue so there is no naming of sounds.  In RAW we are just waiting to receive.  With Being Seduced by the Music we are practicing the art of listening and naming what we hear.  We are engaged in the music even though we are not moving.

For me this stage of FreeDance might even produce a few pearls.  It could be that I don’t know the instrument so I think of what it sounds like which allows us to move “as if we are sloshing in mud”.  Or it could be that the sound just makes me think of a certain movement such as “throwing your arms in the air with a burst of sound”.  While I might not be purposefully trying to think of pearls with the seduction I just let my mind flow.  If there is a dialog then there is, if not, that is fine.  I just let the music flow and I listen giving names to this sound and that sound.

Listening to the music without giving it dance or without it allowing to move us in dance allows us a deep relationship with it.  We are not imposing our own ideals onto it as we move or we are not interpreting it, we are just letting it in.  We are just listening.  With that we learn about it.  We hear things we might have missed while floating about the space.  It is nice to be able to have that connection with the music.

Stage two of FreeDance, Being Seduced by the Music – The Art of Listening is just another toy in our toy box that Nia has given us to play with to become better teachers and better dancers.

Have you ever been sitting still listening to a song you have heard many times before and heard something you hadn’t heard before?

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