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!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia dancing’

Mirrorless Inward Reflection

Posted by terrepruitt on July 15, 2014

I teach Nia at Community Centers in San Jose.  One of the things about community centers is they are for the community.  During the summer that means that they are kid central.  It is amazing all of the programs they have for kids during the summer.  It is so great to see the centers doing so much to keep the kids learning and active during the summer.  What a full community center sometimes translates to is regularly scheduled classes get shuffled around.  I was given about six months notice for this summer’s shuffle.  So our Nia class was prepared.  I had been telling them since January.  Then I put up a notice in June.  So we were aware.  It is a huge blessing that we just get moved to another room and not to a different time or cancelled altogether.  I am grateful that we still get to have a class while all these summer camps and kid fun is going on.  It is working out to be one week a month.  Last month the room we were moved to had the portable mirrors in the closet so we were able to roll them out and use them.  Today the closet was full of tables and chairs.  The mirrors were nowhere to be found.  The center is on what used to be a high school campus.  So it is very large and spread out.  I wasn’t certain that 25 minutes would be enough time to let someone know about the situation, find the mirrors, and move them all the way across the campus.  So we did Nia without mirrors today, using the opportunity to focus inward.

I have done Nia without mirrors before.  In fact I posted about it in my post Nia In The Mirror when I was teaching in San Carlos.  That is one reason when I started working at the San Jose Community Centers I was so impressed with their portable mirrors.  In fact I thought I did a post about them because they are sooooo cool.  (Well, I don’t see one, so that will probably be my next post!)

In a Nia class the teacher stands with her/his back to the students.  One way we connect with our students is eye contact in the mirror.  A Nia teacher can turn and face the students.  In fact, it is recommended at times to do so to change things up and to connect in another way to the students.  We even practiced it in the Blue Belt Intensive.  So it is up to the teacher to teach facing whichever way s/he wants.  Generally though we face away from the students.

Facing away makes it easier for some people to follow since we are moving the same side of the body and going in the same direction as opposed to the mirror image as was (and possibly still is) done in Jazzercise.  What I find is that I learn the routine SAYING it as if I am teaching with my back towards the students so for me to turn around I would be saying go left as I move left and we would not be dancing in mirror image.  So to turn and face the students while we are doing a dance that moves front or back or laterally is a challenge for me.  Especially when it is a new routine.  And right now, I am somewhat learning a routine.  In a routine there is usually a song or two where we are not moving left or right so we often face each other than.  I was able to do that today, but some I did with my back to them.

I think dancing without a mirror every once in a while is a good thing.  It helps the students dance with themselves.  The moment I found out we didn’t have mirrors I knew our intent and focus.  I set the focus to be the Conscious Personal Trainer, with the intent of being fully aware of and sensing your own body’s movements.  Without the mirror to distract us I thought it would be a great opportunity to focus more on one’s own body.  Without the mirror we don’t see ourselves nor the other people.  Without a mirror the possibility to draw ones attention in and keep it in seems better.

So, of course, I was very happy when one of my students said that dancing without the mirrors made it different.  It did allow her to focus more on her movements.  She said she was less distracted with the other students.  Yay!  I like that it worked for her.  I like that we were able to do it different, but we still danced and had fun.  I am very blessed to have such great students that can just go with the flow and DO Nia!  It is nice to have “no mirrors” give us the opportunity for something different.

When you take a lead-follow exercise class do you prefer the instructor FACE your or face away from you?

 

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

Messing Up Is Fun

Posted by terrepruitt on October 24, 2013

After Nia class once a month we meet for a visit.  We walk to a coffee house and get a beverage.  Some of us have coffee, some of us have tea, some of us have nothing, but that is not the point.  The point is that we visit.  It took almost two years for me to learn one of my students is a Naturopathic Doctor. As the teacher, often times I am busy with “teacher/business” duties.  I miss some of the interaction and conversations that my students have.  It is so fabulous to see friendships formed and conversations happen.  But I wanted to be in on some of the conversations and I wanted my students to be able to share with each other as a group.  I love when I can make a connection . . . when one person can meet the needs or desires of another.  So, so, so fulfilling.  It is difficult to learn about people while dancing . . . so an after-class visit is just the thing.  Students can share what they do and what is going on in their lives and we can get to know each other a bit off of the dance floor.  Also, I learn a lot of other things about my students and what they like about Nia.

I was sharing with one of my students something about the moves.  I was using a specific example and I said, “You know when I am talking about because you were giggling.”  And she said, “I was giggling because I messed up.”  She said after we did the move over and over and over she was still getting it wrong and so she was laughing.  She said messing up is one of her favorite parts of Nia.  I LOVE that.  I love that she “gets” that part of Nia.  Nia is not about doing it right.  Nia is about moving.  Nia understands that sometimes for so many reasons, you just don’t get it.  It could be a move you can normally do in your sleep but for some reason at that moment it is escaping you.  Instead of getting upset and frustrated with yourself and STOPPING, embrace the mistake and keep moving.  Use the opportunity to do the move in a totally different way.  If you are still able to move with the count, but the choreography is escaping you for the moment, move in a different way but with the same count.  If you are able to do the movement, but it is the count that you are having issues with, vary your speed even MORE.  Go faster or slower . . . what have you got to lose, not the count because you’ve already lost that!  Just IN JOY it, be in joy.  Have fun.

I love, love, love that my student loves messing up.  She embraces so much that is Nia.  She takes that as an opportunity to play.  To “be a kid again” and just not care.  You know how kids are — before they are taught differently — they just move and dance in their own way and they don’t care what opinion people have.  Also in the messing up and going with it, it is a lesson in letting go . . . . letting go of judgment, letting go of feeling you have to be perfect, letting go of making your body do something it is clearly not doing well – at the moment.  It is freeing to just move the best you can.

Now this is different from Nia Free Dance.  I mean Free Dance is where we are purposefully dancing to stimulate movement creativity, not dancing in a choreographed way.  Where we don’t think and we just move.  This, when you just can’t get a move and give into NOT getting it, is you dancing what you are capable at the moment in the choreography.  Get through it then join back in.  I would think you would keep trying to do it or continue with the modification you made, but it is not free dance.  It is more of a embrace-the-mess-up-and-have-fun kind of dance.

I was just very happy to hear that she was ok with messing up.  She was ok with allowing herself the freedom to not be perfect.  She was embracing and celebrating movement for Joy and not for moving exactly like the choreography.  She was having fun.  Awesome!

So do you enjoy messing up in a situation like an dance workout class?  Can you laugh it off and keep going?  Can you allow yourself to dance your way and get back on track when you are able?  Can you see the difference between this and Free Dance?

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

I’m Blue, But No Tears Here

Posted by terrepruitt on November 13, 2012

Last week I cancelled my Monday and Wednesday Nia class and got a substitute for my Tuesday Nia class with the City of San Jose.  I decided to take the next level of Nia training.  I was a White Belt, now I am a Blue Belt.  Nia calls their trainings intensive.  I cannot assume to know why, but I am glad they do.  They are very intense.  The training is part lecture and part moving.  The moving can be dancing or types of exercises to further the learning process.  People tend to learn better when they are doing, so there is a lot of doing.  In my rough calculations it was about 53 hours of instruction, including the Master Classes.  It was Saturday through Friday.  It was exhausting.  It was energizing.  It was incredible.  As I have mentioned before and I will continue to mention Nia is a cardio dance exercise.  Come to a class.  Move.  Have fun.  Sweat.  Get your workout in.  But Nia is also a practice.  I compare it to yoga in that a person can go into a yoga class and work out and do the exercise and then leave and not give it a second though.  Or they could give it a second thought.  They could take on some of the aspects of yoga, they could practice breathing and/or meditating or anything else that might be attached to their yoga class on a deeper level.  That is what a person can do with Nia too.  So some people take the intensives for self-growth with no intention of teaching at all.  Even if they are not planning on teaching or are not currently doing so, the training is just as intense.

Each belt level has its own focus and intent.  Blue Belt focus is Communication, Relationship and Intimacy with the intent to energize personal connection through self-discovery and communication by following The Body’s Way.  Sounds like a lot.  Ok, it IS a lot.  LOL!

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, ZumbaIn addition to a focus and intent, each belt level (aside from Green) has its own set of principles.  With the Blue Belt, the principles were made to layer onto or over the White Belt Principles.  Some of the information is very close to being the same, but with a little more added to it.  It is very interesting the way Nia does things.  It is very amazing the training they come up with and the delivery of it.

In this training we were shown many things, one was an enlightened way to use the Nia 5 Stages or the Developmental Anatomy to measure all types of things and where we might be in a process.  It is a pretty cool tool.  It is part of the Body’s Way.

I am 100% positive I will have more posts regarding the Blue Belt Intensive, the Blue Belt Principles, and my thoughts on it all.  I am still processing it right now.  My mind is racing with thoughts, ideas, things I learned, things I didn’t learn, just a lot of things.  There is so much that I want to share.  There is also a lot I don’t want to share.  Nia is not a secret society by any means.  There are no secrets to the intensives, in fact most of the information is things that have been around for as long as I can remember.  The information is stuff you have probably heard before.  It is just the WAY they deliver it.  And the way it is connected to the body that is somewhat unique.  If I decide not to share something or talk vaguely about some things it is because I don’t want to ruin the surprise of some things for those of you that will be taking the Blue Belt.  Since the Blue Belt Principles are layered onto the White Belt Principles I will probably write more post about them too.  And we will see what comes up.  I have chosen to participate in Nia as a practice.  For now, I will revel in Blue!

Is there something that you have in your life you consider a practice?

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

Not Seeing to Focus

Posted by terrepruitt on January 8, 2011

On Wednesday after my Nia Class in San Jose I was talking to one of my students.  Some how we ended up on a subject that had her telling me about a friend of hers who is blind but has no issue navigating the step that is not too far from her front entry way inside her home.  She was explaining that people have no problem with it on the way in, but on the way out they forget about it and usually stumble on it when leaving the house.  This led to many other tangents in our conversation but one thing it had me thinking about was sight/seeing and our focus.

I was thinking that the sighted people were focusing on the door on the way out of the house.  For me, I imagined myself leaving her house, part of my focus on her and saying our goodbyes, then another part on the door—–but with the door a multitude of other things would come into my mind and into my focus.  I would see the door and begin to think about my car, which would make me think about my drive, which would lead me to think about what I need to do on the way home, which (depending upon the hour of the day) might have me thinking about what to cook for dinner and if I needed to stop at the store on the way home—-all of which would make me trip.  I would not be focused at all on my feet and on the step and I am sure that I would stumble into the door.

With that in mind I had a focus and an intent for my next Nia class which was the one in Los Gatos.  The focus was Awareness, the intent was to connect to one’s body.  While I have used awareness as a focus before, and I have probably even used the same intent before, and I have even invited the participants to close their eyes, this time I did it more frequently.  With this routine there is a song where we are completely stationary so closing one’s eyes to allow for complete focus on one’s body is perfect.  There is also a song where we turn and face different walls (in line dancing it would be called a four-wall dance).  When we turn it often takes me and other people out of the line of sight which can often lead to one “having” to be aware of one’s own body.

To me one of the fundamentals of Nia is being in one’s body and dancing in your own body’s way, but I think that we often get distracted by the things we see.  I know that while I teach sometimes I will get distracted because I see my hair sticking up or I see something else I should not be concentrating on.  So I think that having Awareness, with the intent of connecting to the body and adding “eyes closed” to be a great tool.  We did not dance the entire routine with our eyes closed, just when it was safe to do so, when our movements were not far from our spot and there was no chance of bumping into someone.  Also, it was just an invitation to assist with the focus and intent it is not something that was required.

As the teacher I do not close my eyes as much as I would if I were the student because I am teaching and making certain that all is well in the class, but I know that the few times I did I was able to really embrace the focus and the intent.

What do you think?  Do you think that if you close your eyes you can focus more on your body?

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

Ball of the Foot

Posted by terrepruitt on June 29, 2010

We often step on the ball of our foot.  We often call it the toe.  The Ball of the foot is one of the 52 Moves of Nia.  Ballerinas are actually on their toes and they do it in special shoes that have a support in them where their toes are.  We usually are stepping onto the BALL of our foot when we step on the “toe”.  It is the ball portion of the foot that supports the weight when we are “on our toes”.

This is plantar flexion and assists with keeping the ankle joint flexible.  If you are standing on the foot you are flexing it can also assist with strength.

In a Nia workout class we do all types of movement and sometimes we are using the ball of our foot.  We could be stepping or standing.  The moment might call for us stepping ONTO the ball either forward, back, or even laterally.  Or it could be that we are standing and just rising up. This could be a position where we stay either in a display of balance or it could be a display of agility, a temporary place where we quickly move onto another move.  Either way it is all part of how the body was designed to be moved.

It might be a nice idea to keep in mind that moving and working the foot in different ways than it is used to being worked might cause some muscle soreness or tenderness through the entire leg.  If you are never on your the ball of your feet and suddenly your dancing a few moments on them, your calves might remind you of it later that day or even the next day.  Same goes for the whole foot, if you are not in the habit of moving on the whole foot your ENTIRE leg could end up letting you know you worked some leg muscles.

As with the whole foot, the ball of the foot can be used in the stances of Nia.

Just as I have done with the heel lead and the whole foot, I am going to suggest that you take note of this foot position.  As you walk notice when your stride gets to the point of the ball of your foot.  As you reach for something on the top shelf and you balance on your toes, notice the flex of your foot and the muscles in your calves.  As you walk through your day notice the ball of your foot.

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Excited and Intrigued

Posted by terrepruitt on April 23, 2009

I am so excited and intrigued by the Dance Anywhere idea, I wanted to blog more about it.  It is happening tomorrow (Friday, April 24, 2009 at noon PST), so I suggest you adjust your schedule and put it on your calendar.  Just think the world could look like those train station videos.  Have you seen them?

Ok, so the world probably won’t look like those videos, they are obviously choreographed and probably rehearsed, but so what?  How fun would that be?

If you look at Beth Fein’s site you will see (http://www.danceanywhere.org) that there are videos and pictures of past events.  There are people dancing on the street, on hiking trails, in homes, and all over the world.

Unfortunately I won’t be in San Jose, where I am confident the earth will be shaking (from the collective dancing), I am going to be driving to a Nia Intensive I want to audit.  But I did register so I am planning on dancing in my car.  The tricky part is going to be the picture . . . . hmmmm?  Maybe at noon I will have to plan a stop.  I can dance where ever I stop!  I think that is it!  What about you?  Where are you going to be?  Where ever you are, stop and dance it doesn’t have to be a big dance, just join us!

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »