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 ‘Nia DVD’

Beginner’s Mind

Posted by terrepruitt on October 11, 2014

In Nia there is something called “the beginner’s mind”. Since learning about it associated with Nia, I have heard about it in association with other things.  It might not always be called “beginner’s mind”, but it is the same concept, the same idea.  It is the idea of stepping into something – anything, even if is something you are well familiar with – with a mind as if you are a beginner.  Step into it as if you are hearing it, doing it, seeing it, or learning it for the first time.  Step in as if you are a beginner.

This is a wonderful tool.  When you walk into a situation with an empty cup, when it is not full of knowledge on the subject, it is able to be filled with all the information, new stuff is easy to learn, stuff you already “know” can be learned in a new way, and your cup gets filled again.

There are many reasons why you might want to practice the “beginner’s mind”.  It could be because you are required – perhaps through your company, your certifying board, or any number of things – to take a particular class.  It could be because – even though you know you don’t know everything there is to know . . . the timing of the class has you thinking it will be a waste of time.  It could be — as just mentioned — you know you don’t know everything, but the length of the class has you thinking you will only get two hours worth of information out of the twelve hours you are being required to attend.

When I take a Nia class I always step in with a beginner’s mind.  I know that no matter what routine is going to be taught it is going to be different.  Which is not to say that the teacher will not do it correctly or will not do it the way it was taught on the DVD, but it does allow me to easily accept.  I accept the way the teacher is teaching it.  It flows so much better if I am just receiving as opposed to trying to inject my knowledge and the way the routine is supposed to be done.  I accept that the teacher might not teach it exactly as I teach it.  The teacher might use different pearls.  The teacher use different cues.  She might have found that a slight change in the choreography works better for her students or even something for her.  And . . . with the idea that I am doing it as a beginner . . . instead of an expert who knows the routine . . . I can learn something.  If I just do as I am being instructed I might sense that the move she does is actually good for a particular audience.  Or the pearls that the teacher uses really matches well with the movements.  Instead of my inner dialog being the moves or worse something like, “Well, here I say, ‘XXX'” or here we move like XXX, with my beginner’s mind I am listening instead of “talking” over what is happening.  All of this could lead to discover of a new movement pattern.

In regards to a training where you are required to be, it could just make it be less dreadful than you thought it would.  If you accept the fact that it is a requirement and decide to walk in with a beginner’s mind being told stuff you already know is not such a waster of time.  Keeping the beginner’s mind and not telling your entire story to prove what you know gives you time to listen to what others know and learn about them.  And — as stated before — possibly hear the same information but in a new way.  Allowing yourself to let go and not be the expert is freeing and lets you relax into the learning process.

I was grumpy this past week because I knew I had to spend my Friday night (FRIDAY NIGHT) and all day Saturday in a training.  I was afraid that my grumpiness would keep me from learning and be recognized by others.  So I asked for help and was reminded of the beginner’s mind.  I was able to step into the class not as grumpy.  Of course, I did mention the fact to the trainer that it was a long training and the trainer – being an EXPERT trainer and pretty awesome – agreed, gave me the sympathy I wanted and boom!  I got over it.  🙂  With my “cup” empty . . . I learned some cool things!

Do you every have the opportunity to practice the “beginner’s mind”?  Have you every practice the “beginner’s mind”?  How did practicing the “beginner’s mind” work for you?  

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Nia Routine Training Packages

Posted by terrepruitt on June 4, 2013

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, ZumbaI have written a series of three posts describing what is contained in a Nia Routine Training Package.  I was reminded by a comment on one of recent posts about Nia Routines (Nia Routines I’ve Learned) that in 2010 I stated I would explain more about what we receive on a teacher routine DVD.  Because the package put together by Nia Technique is so packed with information and learning material, my explanation took up three posts to summarize all that you receive in a Nia Routine Training Packages for Teachers.  This post is just a quick summary and “map” so to speak of the three posts.  I hope all of this information helps you understand that “with love, we [Nia Technique] have carefully crafted this ‘body of work'[meaning each routine] to offer you an in-depth body, mind, emotions, spirit experience.”**  They do that so that we may pass on music, movement, and magic to our students.

When I RECENTLY mentioned I would write up a description I didn’t realize it would take so long and so many posts.  But back in 2010, I must have known on some level that it would be more than one post because it has taken me three years to do it!

Nia’s Routine Training Packages for Teachers consists of a Music CD, a DVD, and a pamphlet.

The first post – Nia Technique’s Outstanding Routine DVDs – explains the CD, the components of the DVD, and two of the components on the DVD, the Focus and Move the Move

The second post – DVDs Nia Teachers Learn From, Nia Technique’s Outstanding Routine DVDs (Part 2) – explains the last three components on the DVD.  DVD Components: Learn the Move, Energize the Move, and the music.

The third post – Nia’s Routine Pamphlets, Nia Technique’s Outstanding Routine DVDs (Part 3) –  explains the pamphlet.

Each post while a full post in itself still only briefly describes things.  I could write so much more and do many more posts, but I think I summarized it well enough to give you an idea of the training.  I hope that those of you that are interested in teaching have a good idea of what type of training you get when learning a routine.  If you are fortunate enough to live near Nia Headquarters in Portland, OR then you know that they often have workshops and things to even further your education regarding routines.  Sometime in my basic area they have immersions where two days are spent learning a routine.  We all learn differently and I am convinced that no matter how you learn, with all the different ways available to learn a routine there has to be something that will do it for you.

There is an annual license renewal required to teach Nia.  The fee includes four Nia Routines.  You get to choose the routines you want.  For more information see:  Nia Livelihood Membership for Body + Life Education

If you have any questions please ask.  If you are a Nia teacher or one that receives these wonderful training gems and you want to add anything please do.

**this is copied from the back of the CD/DVD holder.  It is just a portion of the paragraph.

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

Nia’s Routine Pamphlets

Posted by terrepruitt on June 1, 2013

Nia Technique’s Outstanding Routine DVDs (Part 3)

Nia Classes are led by Nia teachers who learn routines.  It is kind that we are only obligated by license to learn four Nia routines a year, because if we dive into the depths of a Nia routine it could easily take three months.  The training information they provide is incredible.  It is multi-faceted and multidimensional.  Three years ago I mentioned in a post that I would specify what came in Nia’s Routine for Teachers DVDs.   Well, in the three years there has actually been changes in how the information is presented.  I am using three posts to explain what I have in the routine packages that I have purchased and I am also sharing to the best of my knowledge what is in the newer ones.  At the basic level you receive a CD and a DVD and a pamphlet is available online.

This is the third post in this series.  In the first post I talked about everything that you get in the package and the sections on the DVD.  I made it through two of the sections:  the Focus and Move the Move.  The second post took us through: Learn the Move, Energize the Move, and the Music.  Here in this post I am taking a quick look at the pamphlet.

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 the wonderful Nia Class and explanations on the DVD there is a pamphlet.  As I said in post one of this series, the pamphlet used to be included in the routine package.  But now I believe you have to download it yourself.  I am not certain if the older ones still come with the pamphlet or not.  But if you look at the pamphlets online (must be a member) you can see how the material has changed.  I am certain that along with the morphing of the DVDs there has been a greater change over the years than I have even seen.  The routines that I own with pamphlets that came in the package have the focus and intent stated along with the “Routine Description”.  It also contains “Suggested Alternative Foci”.  It lists the 7 Cycles.  Under each cycle is gives a little information.  The cycles in which there is music it lists the song that is in that cycle and information on what it teaches you.  As an example the routine I am looking at states:

“Track 1: Sexy Teaches You To —

Move through the stances of Closed, Open, A, and Riding to ground, warm up the back and core and move from the inside out”

That is one bullet, as you can see each track has more than three bullets with information regarding what the choreography teaches you.  A lot of information!

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, ZumbaThe next section in the pamphlet gives you the 8BC’s.  Just the bars of the 8BC’s.  There is indicators as to what the sections are in the song, but no flowering, no dressing, no choreography.  Just the bars.  There is a lot left to still do with the bars.

With the new routines, the pamphlet is a bit different.  In addition to what I’ve previously mentioned and a lot of information reminding us of what we learn in the Nia White Belt Intensive there is new information.  Such as “Working With the Focus” and that the 7 cycles remain the same, but there is differences within each cycle depending upon different things, say the focus for example.  There is also a section with the shorthand for Nia’s 52 moves because now the bars come with choreography notes.

Now the bars are in color which is used to show the different sections.  The same colors taught in the Nia White Belt Intensive.  And as I mentioned, they have choreography notes.

The pamphlet also states that as of 2012, “videos include on-screen 52 moves choreography text. You will see this appear at the beginning of each new choreography sequence, and repeat throughout the routine.”  Which is great and news to me.  At the time of this writing I have obviously not learned a routine that was created and filmed in 2012 because I have not seen the text on the videos.  Cool.

The last thing that one of the “old” versions of the pamphlet had that I am not seeing on the new ones is the Music Credits.  The ones I have list the name of the number of the track, the name, the artist, and information about each song.  I find some of that information kind of interesting.  For instance the track 1 on Oshun is Sexy, by Illumine which was actually recorded Live at Studio Nia.

So maybe now you can see why the description of a Nia Routine Teacher Training DVD needed to be three posts.  There is a lot of training in each package.  There is a lot of information to absorb in learning a routine.  I will confess that I have not done all of this on all of the routines I lead.  My intent is as I go back and complete more of these steps as I revisit the routines.  Now that I basically know the music and the moves, I can watch the other portions of the DVD and I can read the pamphlet information.  With each section of time I lead the routine I can add something new to my learning.  Nia routines are very multidimensional.  The training has many aspects.  There is so much to learn and so many different ways to do it.  Just like Nia.

I hope this gave you some information you might need or like to know in regards to Nia Routine DVDs for Teachers.

Do you have any questions?  Is there any additional information you would like?

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Four-wall or Cooking – An Experience In All Sides

Posted by terrepruitt on April 7, 2012

In Nia we do something that is called cooking all four sides.  When I first learned this I thought it to be just when we were on the ground.  “Cooking” to me was the “side” of the body that was on the ground.  When you “cook” all four sides you allow your belly, your back, your left side, and your side to “cook” on the ground.  So basically you are lying on a different “side” at one point in the dance.  In one routine, I can’t remember which one, while we are standing we turn and face one wall, then turn again, then turn again, then turn again and Debbie called it cooking all four sides.  I thought, “Wow!  I hadn’t thought to call THAT cooking all four sides, because (as I mentioned) I think of ‘cooking’ as being on the floor.”  But it works.  We are “cooking” or facing all sides, all walls.  In country line dancing we call it a four-wall dance.  Often times there are a few steps then a turn, a few steps, then a turn, and so on, eventually you face all four walls.  There are two wall dances and maybe even three, but the point is you face a different direction.  Generally the back becomes the front and the front becomes the back.

ance Exercies, Nia, Nia Campbell, Campbell Nia, Nia classes in Campbell, evening Nia, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia,I’ve posted about Nia Routines before.  I explained a bit about how the routines are created and teachers can purchase them.  Nia routines used to be choreographed and performed on the training DVD by Debbie Rosas or Carlos Rosas or both.  I’ve also posted about the fact that Nia morphs and changes.  At the end of 2010 Carlos AyaRosas, the male co-creator of Nia retired.  As with any company that wants to continue on after a founder retires Nia had to make some changes.  To me it seems as if Nia had been thinking about this for a while.  I know when I attended my Nia White Belt Intensive both Debbie and Carlos talked about Nia continuing on after they leave.  So it seems to me that they had plans and ideas for how Nia will change.  I think it is evident in the way that Nia does not seem to be a flag flapping in the wind, it has true direction.  With the exit of Carlos a new era has been born.  Debbie is now co-creating routines with Nia Black Belt Trainers.  I love Nia and enjoy both the routines Debbie created and the ones Carlos created.  There are some I like more than others.  I am not saying that I like the new one I have seen more than I liked the “old” ones, I am just saying, “Yay!  Nia is not disappointing me.”  The new routine I have looked at is just as fabulous as the old routines I love. 

As a little background:  In order to teach Nia we must pay a licensing fee.  When we pay the fee we are purchasing the right to teach, continued education, and four Nia routines.  We are free to purchase additional routines when they are available, but four are included in the licensing fee and we are obligated to learn at least four a year.  I just recently renewed my license and ordered my routines.  I ordered two that are older (from 2007 and 2008) and two that are considered our new ones, dated 2011.  Usually I skim through all four before deciding which one to learn next.  One of them I ordered I have done once before in a class so I know that I like it and I was planning on learning that next, but my curiosity about one of the new ones got to me.  I decided to learn it next after having watched it.

I am very excited about this routine because it has the “four-wall” or cooking all four sides technique in it.  The routine I am currently teaching has it too but only briefly, this new routine has this technique in more than one song.  Since a Nia class is not a dance lesson we just lead follow like other cardio workout classes the cooking all four sides is to not a series of complicated steps, but it does allow us to face other directions.  In FreeDance there is always opportunities to face many directions and sometimes in the Nia movements alone one can be turning far enough to achieve facing another wall, but this is choreographed to have the entire class turn.  It allows the class to see a different perspective.  I think it is fabulous.
 
It could be making me nostalgic and thinking of country dancing days . . . but more so, I am excited to have this technique used in a Nia routine so my students can see things from the front if they are always in the back or the back, if they are always in the front.  It will help move the class in new directions and Beyond!

Have you ever thought about the fact that a cardio dance class is pretty much like a line dance? 

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Perfect In Our Imperfection

Posted by terrepruitt on February 2, 2012

In a post in which I spoke about learning a Nia Routine I said we need to know it perfectly.  I would like to explain.  First of all I have written before about how when I am learning a Nia routine there comes a point where I just can’t learn any more by myself and I have to take it to class.  Always fascinates me how I can spend weeks working on learning it then in one hour in class I learn more than all the time I had spent on it previously.  Dance exercise is like that.  Teaching something is always different learning, it is a different level.  Anyway I had recently said we have to know a routine perfect and what I mean by that is the better we know the music and the choreography, the closer to perfect we can get it, the better.  I can do a routine without flaw in my living room then when faced with trucks driving by, kids screaming at the school,  people laughing in the lobby I can get distracted.  If I don’t know my music perfectly, if I don’t know the choreography perfectly then I will obviously mess up.  But when I know it “perfectly” then I can not do it right, but still dance and lead the routine fine.   I can mess up without saying, “Oops!”   If I know where I am and what is coming I can keep going.  Maybe I missed my cue to change movement, but when I know the music I can decide if I just want to stay with the move we are on or go to the next one.  If I decide to go, do I want to cut the amount of times short because I was late or do the correct amount because it too fits perfectly with the music?  When I KNOW it perfectly, I am free to play and really let the dance of Nia show.  I can be perfect in my imperfection.

I might not teach the routine exactly as it is taught on the DVD, but I know what I am doing different and I know where I am going with the music.  We teach tight, but loose.  I know the moves, I execute them correctly, I do the choreography exactly as the DVD — when I can :-), but, when I mess up I am loose enough to keep going.  I am loose enough to see my students enjoying one particular combination of steps, so I can elect to stay and let them enjoy their movements.  I know my routine tight enough that when my earring falls off and I get a bit distracted, I can keep going AND expertly step over and around it as it lays on the dance floor.  I am loose enough to be able to change the choreography by having to HOP over the fallen jewelry instead of exectuing the normal step.  I am loose enough to have fun but tight enough that even when I mess up, I might be the only one that knows.  It could be that there are students in class who know the routine well enough that they recognize I am not doing the choreographed move, but they can keep following and dancing because I am tight enough to be able to lead and dance in the now.

Because Nia is about dancing in the moment and having fun we are allowed a lot of freedom.  I say this often because Nia allows for people to move in their own body’s way and that is an important part of Nia.  But I also like to remind people that Nia IS choreographed.  The moves fit the music well and there are proper and safe ways to do them.  I like to express the fact that Nia is not just a room full of bodies flaling about.  We are all encouraged to be perfect in our imperfection.  Our bodies might not move exaclty as they are designed, but we can move with awareness.  We can move with purpose.  That is how I teach.  I like it best when I know the routine so well that I can play and be perfect in my imperfection.

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

Continuing Education – Nia White Belt Principle #12

Posted by terrepruitt on September 6, 2011

Nia’s training, the Nia Intensives are something that anyone can take. If you are not planning on teaching you can still attend the intensives. Nia is a practice that can be applied to life without ever having to teach it. Nia has several different ways of helping with continued education both for the livelihood member and for teachers. First for a person that is planning on teaching, #12 of the White Belt principles is continued education. There are instructions and ideas on how to learn Nia routines.

There are three stages to learning a routine. When I took my White Belt Carlos was very adamant about not skipping any of these steps. I am glad I have decided to post this because I am being reminded that there are a few steps in each stage that I could be better about doing. In the first stage we are reminded to just simply do the DVD. With each routine we have a DVD and we are instructed to just do it. Do it as if we are taking a Nia class. Do it as you would do any exercise DVD. Move, listen, and enjoy the workout. This is obviously one step that can be done several times.

Another step is to listen to the music all the time.  Listen and allow it to seep into the body. Then we are encouraged to FreeDance to the music. We are instructed to dance six of the eight stages. Keep in mind this can be over the course of days or weeks, whatever it takes. Then they advise us to just WATCH the DVD without working out to it. The last step in Stage 1 is to do the bars.

Stage 2 is where we watch the DVD and note the separate portions of the body’s choreography. Three separate steps, first we watch and note the legs, then the core, then the arms.

Stage 3 of learning a Nia Routine is where we start to go deeper into the routine by starting to have an awareness of the musical cues that signal a change in movement. By now, with having danced the routine to the Nia DVD as a student, listened to the music, mapped out the music, noted the choreography, and become aware of the sounds that tell us when there is a movement change coming we are ready to pretend. We call that teaching or dancing with your bears. It is the example used when you are at a point in the learning process where you are ready to do the workout and pretend there are students. During my Nia White Belt Intensive Carlos said something like set up stuff bears or spoons or pillows, just set up something so you can have a focus. I think the bear scenario is used in all intensives because we all call it “teaching/dancing with your bears”. Step 3 of stage 3 is to even go deeper into the music. It is amazing how the music will sound different after you have taught your bears. I might realize I need to pick a different music cue because while I am moving the one I originally chose gets lost, or I hear a better one. Sometimes I stop and don’t move at all to make sure I am hearing the music correctly. More advice includes being the student, doing the routine again, but as the student and not the teacher and getting more technical with the moves. Once you have the basic choreography down it is time to get technical and make certain you have all the levels of intensity familiarized in your body. The Nia Routine training DVD also has many other tools on it to help us learn the routine. They have a portion where they talk about the energy that goes with each move and more about the technical aspect of each move. One of the last steps is the recommendation to dance the routine with a different focus. That is a great way to learn a routine because it becomes practically brand new and you discover so much. The last stage encourages us to change the music. Because we have mapped out music and know the count of it we can pick songs that match and put the choreography to different music.

In addition to these great stages and steps they have mapped out for us to assist us in learning a routine, Nia’s continue education includes articles and telecourses. They also film classes that they hold at Nia HQ so that people can watch and learn about more ideas that delve into Nia. In 2010 the course of study was the 13 Nia White Belt Principles. The course of study for 2011 is “Becoming A Sensation Scientist”, learning about senses of the body. I am not sure of what the course of study’s name is for 2012, but it looks as if it has to do with the body itself with title such as, “Awareness of Muscles” and “Awareness of Ligaments and Tendons.” So this is part of what I mean when I say Nia is so much more than a workout.

YES, Nia is a cardio dance workout where you can go to a class and move your body to music get sweaty and get exercise for your body. But if you want, it can be a practice, where you learn more about your body. Even if you are not a teacher or a livelihood member Nia does a monthly telecourse call where everyBODY can listen, I would like to encourage you to check it out. Go to the main website for Nia and see all the education they have to offer. You might be just amazed as I always am.

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The Ten Minutes Pilates – Workout DVD

Posted by terrepruitt on August 18, 2011

One of my favorite workouts DVD besides my Nia routines is a ten minute one.  It might be considered an old one as it is from 2004, but I love it.  They always sell these things as a “Don’t have time to exercise” type of thing, but doing only a ten minute workout all the time won’t get you far.  As I have said before  when I was sharing my little ten minute workout in June, it is good when that is all you have time for but only every once in a while, honestly more is needed to reach fitness and health goals.  This DVD, done by Lara Hudson, has five ten minute workouts on it.  It has capability built into the DVD that allows you to play one workout or pick more than one to make a longer workout and they will play right in a row.  You don’t have to start one, do it, then manually start another.  When you set up the workout you pick the order you want them to play in.  You can even pick one workout twice so you can do it two times.

Nia teacher doing Pilates, Pilates, Nia workout, Pilates workoutThe five workouts are an ab workout, a buns and thighs workout, an arm workout, a cardio workout, and a flexibility workout.  There are about 10 exercises per workout — even with the leg workout.  The number of times you do each exercise varies from 4 to 12.

I’ve actually only done the cardio workout once or twice because I prefer to do Nia or Turbo Jam as my cardio.  I also like to do more than 10 minutes of cardio, but it could be that all of these together would work for you.

Lara has an easy way about her.  The instruction is clear and easy to follow.  Some times in her instructions she ends the word in a high tone and it never fails to make me laugh.  She is pleasant to work out to.  She also is very good at reminding you throughout the video to concentrate on each movement.  She often says, “Controoool.” in a way that encourages you to keep the movement controlled.  Precision is another key to Pilates and she does a good job getting you to remember that, too.

In the ab workout there are various sit-ups and leg lifts.  There are roll ups and roll overs. Lara is very clear with her instruction regarding breathing, which is very helpful.  This workout is done lying down.

The leg workout is done on the floor also.  It contains the usual leg lifts and bridges, and maybe some other exercises that are not so usual.  This workout has you do a set of exercises for one leg, then switch to the other leg. Then there is another set you do for each leg.  Even though the workout is only ten minutes the pacing is nice and you really are able to get through about 10 different exercises.

They call the arm workout “Sculpting Pilates”.  It is bicep curls and triceps extensions.  There is shoulder and back work in there too.  There might be some exercises in each workout that are new to you, but nothing to drastic.  For this workout the basic stance is the Pilates V, heels together with the feet forming a V.  At times we separate the feet, but most of it is done standing in the V.

The cardio portion of this DVD is a series of planks, push ups, curls, dipping lunges, leg lifts, swimmers, and mermaids.  As with all of the workouts the flow is nice and Lara keeps you moving reasonable pace.  Also, as with all the workouts, she gets a stretch in there.  It isn’t a long stretch but just enough to help you “reset” if you need to.

The flexibility one consists of the cat and the cow, and other stretches that really get pretty much every part of your body — all in ten minutes.

I think this is a GREAT little Pilates workout DVD.  It could even be a nice way to start to doing Pilates.  If you have never done Pilates this could give you an idea of what to expect if you were to go to a class.  It could help you learn a bit of the concentration and breathing.  I really like this DVD.  I feel it is a great addition to any workout program.  It allows you to do from 10 minutes to 50 minutes in the order you want.

Have you ever done Pilates?

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Little Speaker for the iPad, iPhone, iPod, iTouch

Posted by terrepruitt on August 6, 2011

Not too long ago another Nia Teacher and I were practicing Nia in a local park.  She had brought her laptop so that we could look at the DVD and practice the routine.  As you might realize it is very difficult to see a laptop screen outside when you are not right in front of it.  We were dancing to the DVD, so we were not right in front of it.  She also brought a long a little round speaker.  She hooked it up to her laptop to help boost the sound.  When we finally gave up on the laptop she plugged the speaker into my iPhone.  Cool.  It was round and had pretty good sound.  It had a little leather looking case and was it just so cute.  Of course, I wanted one.  It is perfect to carry around “just in case”.  I pretty much always have my iPhone because I have my music on it, but not everyplace I have taught has a sound system so a little round speaker would be GREAT!  It could fit in my purse.

So to Amazon I went.  I am the type that looks at something online for a little while before I decide to buy it.  I have a house FULL of stuff.  I do not need anymore stuff.  I am a stuff collector.  So I tend to hesitate before I buy more stuff.  When I looked online I was seeing a little round speaker for more money than I need to spend on stuff I don’t need.  😉  Right?  I mean, when I am buying something I can live without I tend to have a limit as to how much I will spend.  So I looked around on the website.  I was finding some nice speakers.  I read some reviews.  I looked here and there.

iHome mini speaker, rechargeable speaker for iPad, iPhone, laptop, MP3 playerI spotted a BLUE one (uh-oh, BLUE?).  It was round and cute and it was blue!  It was rechargeable so it doesn’t take batteries.  I really like that.  It also expanded to give you “larger” sound.  But since it was blue, cute, expandable and rechargeable I thought it would be more than the other speakers I was looking at, but lo and behold it was LESS.  And totally in my self-alloted price range.  But I still hesitated because I really don’t need it and even though I thought it was completely affordable I could always use that money for something else.  So, in my normal style I didn’t buy it right then.  I like to “sit on it”.  But then you know what happens?  I think about it all the time.  I end up in situations where, “Oh it would be perfect if I had that (fill in the blank) that I wanted.”

iHome mini speaker, expandable speaker for iPad, iPhone, laptop, MP3 playerWhen I always find myself thinking about the item for a while, I usually give in.  And I am so glad I did.  It is so cute.  And the sound is pretty good for the price and what it is.  The sound is WAY better than the sound that comes out of the iPhone.  A mini-speaker.  Yay!  Does it give GREAT sound?  No.  Is it stereo?  No.  But it give really good sound and I can hear the music much better than on my iPhone.

The description on Amazon says: “Speaker works with any 3.5 mm headphone jack, perfect for laptops, cell phones, portable game devices, MP3 players, etc.”  So you can use it on all of your devices.

It doesn’t come with a nice leather case like my friend’s but it does have its own little bag.  That is good enough for me.  I just like something that fits the device AND its cord.  Something some people might like is that its audio cord does not come apart from its charging cord.  I know we end up having so many cords that it is easy to misplace (or as my friend says, “Put away so well.”) some of the cords.  When you have a cord to charge the device and a separate one to use it sometimes the power cord can get lost because you don’t use it as often.  Well, these two cords do not come apart.  There is a little plastic separator that hold them together, it is the little square below the USB connector and the audio plug, and they are connected near the end too and become one cord.  The cords also have a build in “clip” to keep them neat and tidy.  In this picture it is to the left of the bag, the black plastic square.  Cool.  All built-in!

Blue things make me happy.  Blue things that are cute make me happy.  Blue things that are cute that allow me to hear my Nia music and all music better make me really happy.  And that it was less than $20 makes me so happy I want share!

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Ball Massager

Posted by terrepruitt on July 7, 2011

While I was doing a Nia DVD today, I kept sensing some discomfort in my back.  I have a spot, a muscle I guess, that sometimes becomes “whiny”.  I think that particular spot on my back, directly next to my backbone to the right, right at the edge of my shoulder-blade, holds all of my stress and tension.  When it came to the floorplay exercise portion of the Nia workout I was focused on my back.  It was really getting my attention.  I have had a student assisting me with my toe/foot and she often says she is “releasing it”.  I wondered if I could touch my back and “release” it.  So I did.  I pressed on the spot that was speaking to me so loudly.  It seemed to help.  I believe in the power of touch.  But since it is a place on my back that is needing touch it is not easy for me to get the entire area.  While I was laying on the floor I was wishing I had a tennis ball to roll on.

Have you ever heard that?  Using a tennis ball to massage your back.  I had a friend who mentioned to me that she was told to put a couple of tennis balls in a sock and roll on them.  You can roll on them against a wall or on the floor, whichever is most comfortable for you.  I had heard to use the balls, but I hadn’t heard of the sock until she mentioned it.  The tennis balls could be used to massage more than just your back, you could roll it under your legs or on your arms.

I don’t have tennis ball, but I do have a rather large “super ball”.  I don’t know if that is what it is called, but that is what I remember we used to call them when I was young.  You know those balls that bounce really well?  It is a “The Incredibles” ball.  It is kind of old so it is yellowed.  It is also really hard.  Much more hard than a tennis ball and a little smaller.  I remembered that the last time I saw it I had used it for my foot and it was in the entertainment center.  How convenient?  It was right there.  YAY!

At first I tried using it while laying on the floor.  That didn’t work so well because it was difficult to roll on the floor without using my elbows which, in doing so, caused me to rise away from the ball.  Plus the ball is really hard.  So I used it with the wall.  I leaned on the ball while it was on the wall.  WOW!  Awesome.  I think the muscle that gets annoyed is small and there was almost a clicking sound as the ball rolled over it.  That is how tight and grumpy it was.  As I mentioned, I had used the ball on my feet before, it is a great foot massagerm just rolling it under my foot, but I hadn’t used it on my back.  Glad I thought of that.

So what do you think?  Have you heard of using tennis balls to massage sore muscles?  Have you ever tried it?  Do you use the sock method?  Oh do tell, I would love to hear about it.  It could definitely help with DOMS.  What do you say?

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Dynamic Ease

Posted by terrepruitt on January 21, 2010

With every Nia routine there is an original focus and intent.  On the Nia DVD either Debbie or Carlos* explain the focus and intent that was originally intended for the routine.  With the routine Sanjana Debbie explains the focus as being Dynamic Ease.

I remember Dynamic Ease as being Dynamic and Ease.  It can either be a stretch as one might do in Yoga or could be the sensation of the muscle squeezing the bone as in an isometric contraction.  When I do the routine with Dynamic Ease as the focus I often borrow Debbie’s words and explain it as: “the energy moving out as in flexibility or the energy packing against the bone as in strength”. 

The way we play with this is that we do a lot of the moves with one quality then the other.  So while we are moving arms upward we could be calling upon the dynamic energies of strength and really squeezing the bone with the muscle.  And the next time we can move our arms up with a big stretch move the energy out.  A punch could be done strong as if we were really punching something or could be done more like a stretch. 

The ease is just moving in a relaxed yet ready type of way.  When moving arms upward, as mentioned above, we can change the quality to a nice flowing easy movement.  Or a “punch” could just be the arms moving away from the body in a soft motion.  Its fun to play and try any exercise with the different energy qualities. 
 
We can do the same moves all three ways.  Practicing going back and forth between these qualities assists in both balancing the energy in the body and balancing the body itself.  An isometric contraction calls upon big muscles and small muscles and the combination is what is used in balancing. 

I believe that it helps with the flow of fluids and energy in the body.  I know that it leaves me feeling very energetic.  I did this routine with this focus twice this week, once for my San Jose class and once with my San Carlos class and both times I felt very great energy afterwards.  In addition to the energy I feel it brings me, I think dynamic ease can serve to add another element of challenge to the Nia workout.  Dynamic Ease is one of my favorite foci for this Nia routine.

*Debbie Rosas (Stewart) and Carlos Rosas (AyaRosas) the creators of Nia

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