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 exercise’

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 »

Space Age Image

Posted by terrepruitt on July 17, 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 YogaWhen I was first hired on with the Parks and Recreation Department with the City of San Jose, I was a substitute Group Ex Instructor.  I didn’t have a class of my own.  And we use that term “my class” loosely because we know it is not guaranteed to be a permanent thing and we can be replaced or things can change.  But for the sake of simplicity we call them our classes when we are asked to teach a weekly (or more) class at a specific time on a specific day.  I didn’t have a class at first.  So I was able to fill in as a substitute wherever I could.  I was also really happy to fill in with Nia because I wanted to introduce the community centers in San Jose to Nia.  So I would step up to teach when someone had a cardio class that needed subbing.  There are five different community centers that participate in the Group Exercise program.  Each center has at least two rooms where they might have a cardio class.  Not all rooms have mirrors — and many exercise classes use mirrors.  So when I first saw the portable mirrors at a community center I was so excited.  These “mirrors” are awesome.  It is not like a mirror image it is like a space age image!

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 YogaHave you ever seen these portable mirrors?  They are not really mirrors.  I don’t know what they are.  The material reminds me of the package that toner used to come in.  I am not sure how many of you have worked in an office where you had a big copier or printer that used the cartridges that were sealed in the shiny packages.  But THAT is what this stuff is like.  It is kind of like Mylar.  It is REALLY thin.  And VERY easily torn.  But the reflection when they are new and clean is amazing.

The first time I taught in front of one of these portable mirror things I kept expecting to dance right through to another dimension.  Now that might sound odd to some of you, but my husband is a science fiction buff and we watch a lot of science fiction so that is what I felt like because it seem clearer and cleaner and more crisp than a regular reflection.  It was more like something otherworldly.  It was rather funny because it was so amazing I was distracted a few times.

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 YogaSince these mirrors are not glass they are really lightweight and super easy to move.  They are really great for community centers I think.  Except I really wish they should come with some sort of handle.  There is NO WHERE to hold them without touching the reflective surface.  One could get down and use the “feet” to roll them but that is not very efficient nor a good way to be moving (the body).  I am always surprised that the city doesn’t simply add something to use to roll them around.  It would be so easy to add a strap or SOMETHING so people are not putting their fingers on them or THROUGH them.

The reflective surface really is very thin and sadly I have seen many “mirrors” with tears.  I just did a quick search and some sites are saying their mirrors ARE Mylar, while others are saying they are not.  Either way, they are great lightweight mirrors, but unfortunately they tear easy and I have yet to see any with handles.  But when they are not torn and they are clean, they are really fun to dance in front of because it is almost as if you are dancing with a partner instead of your reflection!

Have you seen these cool portable mirrors?  If you have, do you think they are more clear and crisp than a mirror?

 

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Dead Bugs, Well, Actually, Creepy Crawlers

Posted by terrepruitt on March 11, 2014

In other forms of exercise I learned the dead bug.  Where you lie on your back and put your limbs up in the air as if you were a dead bug.  In Nia one of our 52 moves is called Creepy Crawlers.  I ALWAYS call it Creepy CrawlIES and sometimes I say, dead bugs. In Nia the move is part of the Upper Extremities in the Nia 52 moves, the hands to be exact.  It is where we turn our hands to allow the palms to face up and we wiggle our fingers.  Truly NOT a dead bug because dead bugs don’t wiggle there legs . . . in general.  I will work on calling it by the correct name Creepy CrawLERS.

This is a simple, simple move that provides great benefits.  I don’t know how often you are around the elderly if ever, but losing the use of their hands, losing the dexterity is a very common issue.  So as the Nia Technique Book says, “Practicing Creepy Crawlers helps your fingers, hands, and forearms remain strong, flexible, and agile.”  It is very important to move your hands.  And not all of the things we do in everyday life allows for that type of flexibility and agility.  So this move is so great.

To practice it according to the Nia Technique Book you just wiggle all of your fingers, including your thumb.  Keep the elbow bent which helps keep the shoulders and next relaxed.  Change palm directions.

This is one of those moves that is pretty much always teamed up with another move.  Usually we have a foot pattern while we do the Creepy Crawlers.  Or we are moving around the room.  Usually, but not always.  Sometimes it is nice to concentrate on the movement on the fingers.  Really wiggle them with intent.  Make certain ALL ten fingers are moving.  Notice how it affects the tendons in your hands and arms.  Watch the movement in your arms.

If you are constantly moving your fingers in a wiggly motion while doing choreography with your feet you are allowing that brain to work.  Most people understand that the brain needs to stay active . . . just like the body . . . in order to function well, so we consider it fun to get our brains going as part of our movement, as part of our dance.

So as with all of the Nia 52 Moves that I have explained.  Sometimes we do them a little different from perfect as described in the book.  Doing Creepy Crawlers in a routine might have us straightening our arms.  Or we might even be moving the hand all around while the fingers are wiggling.  But the point is the fingers.  Moving the fingers, wiggling the fingers.  Bending each and every joint in the finger.

This is also a really fun move to do with kids.  They love the idea of Creepy Crawlers, bug legs.  You know kids?  So many of them love anything to do with bugs.

So, I encourage you to do some Creepy Crawlers.  Especially if you work at a computer or do repetitive motions with your hands.  This will help keep them moving in different directions/ways.

So, did you try it?  See how easy it is?

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

Squatting Does A Body Good

Posted by terrepruitt on February 8, 2014

One of my Blue Belt Sisters (a woman I attended the Nia Blue Belt Intensive with) posted a link on Facebook to an article about 5 reasons to do a full squat.  I love when I see information like that . . . information about why it is good to do “something”, something we do in Nia.  I love that.  I love when people confirm and promote Nia movement.  As you know, if you have read some of my Nia posts, Nia is not new.  Nia has been around for 30 years.  Nia incorporates moves and ideals from different modalities so most of it is not new.  HOW they incorporate it is often unique, but we use a lot of movements used in other exercise and workout programs.  Which is a great thing.  Not that just because something is done commonly makes it good, but since Nia is based on how the body was designed to move it makes sense that we do movements done in other practices and vice versa.  So I was excited to see an article talk about something we do in Nia.  Nia knows the benefits of squats.

I posted about the Garland Pose and I posted about what Nia 5 Stages calls “standing“.  Here I am going to touch upon some benefits of doing full squats.  A few of mine are different than the 5 mentioned, so check that out too.  First, the article reminds us that children squat to reach for things on the ground and will get into that position when playing on the ground.  Many things that children do we understand to be beneficial yet we no longer do them as adults.  In addition to the many physical benefits of a full squat, it can possibly help us remember that child-like position of play.  A Nia workout includes “exercising” the BMES (Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit) and many people claim that the play we do in Nia is great for their spirit.  Squat like a kid!

Small children have all that yummy flexibility.  Their bodies have not yet sat in chairs for years or worn shoes that either keep their ankles from moving in a full range of motion or even keep their foot in one position, possibly even shortening their calf muscles.  So they can easily squat with both feet fully on the ground, and their legs folded, and their chest to their thighs with their bum low to the ground.  So a squat allows for all of that.  Mobility and flexibility in the ankles.  Flexibility in the knee.  And balance.  Being able to squat with flat feet and stay stable is proof of good balance.  Think of all those muscles you use to stay tush down and upright . . . (if you need help “thinking”, do it now and just sense all of that).

If you are doing the “Garland” type squat with the wide knees you are really opening the hips and groin area.  It is important to have flexibility and mobility in the hips because those things help make walking more comfortable.  A body is able to stand more upright when the hip flexors aren’t tight.  So squatting can help the body allow for good posture.  The squat also helps with stretching the back of the legs.  Squats target the hamstrings and the glutes.

And if you push up to standing you are using your glutes, so standing up from a squat is a good bum strengthener/toner.  Sometimes we move into a deep squat position in Nia as part of a Nia routine.  We do squats as part of the Nia 5 Stages and we push up into a walk.  So as I said Nia knows the benefits of squatting.  What about you?

Are you a squatter?  Do you find yourself squatting during the day?  Is the squat something your body needs practice doing?

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Running, Lifting Weights, And Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on January 25, 2014

Nia is a body/mind type of practice.  Or mind/body . . . however you want to say it.  I tend to say body/mind because the first step is to get into the body.  But it is different from a lot of other exercises.  It is much more like yoga and Pilates then say . . . weight lifting or running.  I recently taught a class where a woman told me afterwards that she really loves it because she is very athletic, she runs, she plays other sports, but she wanted something that was more freeing and more connected so she decided try Nia and now she is hooked.  She still does all of the other stuff and continues to love it, she is just rounding out her workouts and exercise with Nia as a body/mind addition.  Nia is really great to add to any type of workout regime you have.

Since Nia focuses on allowing the participant to participate at their own level it can easily fit into your workout schedule.  I have had many people who love more traditional sports tell me that Nia is a great addition for them.  They all love that body/mind connection and the way it allows them to feel like a kid.  They love the play of it.

I have had people come up to me before class and say, “I can’t dance are you sure I can do this?”  The answer in The Nia Technique is “if you can walk you can do Nia.”  And that is true.  In a Nia class you might even fine tune your walking a bit.  We might train you to do that Heel Lead that often gets lost in a high heeled or runner’s gait.  Get that flex and extend back in the ankle.  But really anyone can do Nia.

I would bet that you have noticed the increase in the popularity of yoga . . . well, it is that mind/body connection that draws people to it.  Many people are understanding that even a regularly scheduled exerciser benefits from having that mind/body connection.  With Nia there is also the Emotions and Spirit.  The whole enchilada.  BMES.  Body, Mind, Emotions, and Spirit.

I’ve posted about Spirit before.  It is one of the things that many people really enjoy about Nia.  It can be compared to the “feeling like a kid” again.  The play in the exercise or workout.  The “Wooohooo!”

So the intention of this post is just to remind people – because I am sure I have said it before – that Nia is for everyBODY.  To remind you that people who like the more traditional exercise and workouts, the more athletic type of stuff, as in running and weight lifting, find they really like to add in Nia to the mix.  It actually helps them in their other type of workouts.  They claim — the ones that talk to me — they are more focused when they do run and/or lift weights.  So if you are one of those people who prefer the more traditional exercise, maybe break out of that for a Nia class and see how it works for you.

Check out my schedule on my website Nia Class Schedule or if San Jose is too far for you look at the Nia Classes on the main website.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to try something different for a workout?  Do you want to add something new to your exercise regime?

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Thirteen Joints Exercise

Posted by terrepruitt on January 23, 2014

In Nia we have this exercise or practice that is really easy yet packs a huge wallop!  If you have The Nia Technique it starts on page 11 and is called the Thirteen Joints Exercise.  In the back of the book, on pages 252 through 253, it is called the Thirteen Joints Renewal because they are doing it from a squatting position.  But basically you move through the same major thirteen joints.  This is one of those exercises that can be done fairly quickly, but can really help with the way you move through life.  It is basic and easy to do Thirteen Joints Exercise.

This exercise focuses on the 13 MAJOR joints in the body.  Starting with the left side you simple move your left ankle.  I instruct my Nia students to move it in all directions.  Think of how this joint is intended to move and move it that way.  There is the front back motion and the circling motion.  Circle it both ways.  I also include in my instructions the encouragement for the person to be comfortable, so if it is comfortable for them to lift their foot off the earth and do the movements then that is the way to move the ankle.  Some people are not comfortable balancing on one foot and it is perfectly fine to do the movement with the foot on the ground.  The toe can be on the ground to stabilize and then the heel.  The ankle can get the same type of circular motion with the foot on the ground.  However it is comfortable is how you should move it.  The left ankle is joint one.

Then traveling up the left side we come to joint two, the left knee.  Again, thinking about how this joint is intended to move allows us to move it in a way that is comfortable and beneficial.  Allowing the calf to swing forward and back.  Or if you want to keep your foot on the ground then you can lower yourself down on the left side as low as is comfortable and come up again.  This gets that joint moving.

Next is the left hip.  For this hip joint we move the left thigh.  For the person that is balancing on the right leg the left thigh can come up and be pressed back.  The thigh can circle.  If your foot is on the earth you can bend forward.  This affects the hip joint.  You can also “knock” your left knee, allowing it to go in and out.  Bumping the left hip gets some joint action going, too.  This joint is three.

Then we go to the left wrist.  Move that hand all over.  Flex it, extend it, wave it, circle it, just move, move, move it!  Use your fingers to get more wrist action!  This is our fourth joint.

Move up to the elbow.  Your left elbow is the fifth joint in our Thirteen Joints Exercise.  Swing that forearm around and move it all over.

We are still going up, so the next joint, the sixth joint, is the left shoulder.  Here you can shrug, you can circle, you can push it back and forth and to ensure joint action you want to use the arm.  Move the arm.  Circle the arm, move it forward and back, lift it the arm, lower the arm, swing the arm back.  Really get that arm moving to experience the action that was intended for that joint.

Now our seventh joint is really a group, it is not just one spot.  The seventh “joint” is our spine.  There are a lot of ways to move the spine.  As with ALL the movement we do in Nia, it is important that you keep in mind your own body’s way and move your body as it is comfortable.  The spine is put together so it can move in many ways, but there are many things that keep people from moving the way it was designed, so keep your own body’s way in mind as you move your spine.  My instructions include looking left and right, up and down, rolling the head, bending forward and back, bending to the sides, circling around, rolling up, and rolling down . . . again, any way the body can comfortably move.

Now we are on the right side.  We go down the right side of the body moving each joint as we did the left side.  Now, of course, it might not be exactly the same, but I imagine you know what I mean.  The right shoulder is joint eight.  The right elbow is joint nine.  The right wrist is joint ten.  The right hip is joint eleven.  The right knee is joint twelve.  The right ankle is joint thirteen.

Moving the joints helps keep them flexible and mobile.  This exercise can also help with drawing attention to areas that might be tight or stiff.  This practice can be done in as little as one minute.  As I just mentioned it could help make you realize there are areas that might need or want more attention so how long you spend on this is up to you.

So, how do you feel after doing this exercise?

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Happy To Have Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on December 3, 2013

I have students who come to Nia that amaze and inspire me.  After Nia class recently I saw someone walk out of class I wish I had talked to before they left.  But they left before I could make it over to them.  But then when I left they were still outside.  It was a new student so I was so happy to be able to say hello and get their name.  I realized later that I didn’t introduce myself, but at least I got their name.  Anyway, we were talking about their participation in Nia and they shared one of the reasons why.  It reminded me that exercise is a great way to help against depression.  There are studies and research that go a long way in proving that exercise does the body good when combating depression.  This is the Holiday season and some people get depressed.  So getting up and moving is a great way to keep the blues at bay.  I was so happy to hear this student being proactive and not letting the circumstances that have been presented get them down.

Exercise increases the production of endorphins, it also DECREASES stress hormones.  So TWO things working at once.  The decrease in stress hormones AND the increase in endorphins.  Endorphins are the chemicals that make you feel good.  So exercise makes you feel good.  Endorphins also act as natural pain killers working to mask pain.  Sometimes pain is a symptom of depression so in addition to just feeling good you are not in pain — two ways you are feeling good.

According to WebMD, one study — way back in 2005 — revealed that “30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week reduced symptoms of depression by nearly half after 12 weeks”.  This study was done at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Science Daily has a little article about how it is now believed that not only is exercise an effective way to treat depression it is also being considered as a way to prevent depression.  Seems to me like that would be a given considering all the benefits one can receive from exercise.  I mean, in addition to all the chemical reactions in the body you just have better stamina and/or mobility and/or strength and/or stability.

There is debate about what type of exercise, but what I am seeing is that it needs to affect the body . . . either get your heart pumping or your muscles changing.  Both is fine too.  It does not have to be extremely strenuous, but there should be a level of intensity that is not attained during your regular activities.

I would go out on a limb and say that most of us know exercise makes us feel better.  I don’t think we need to read the studies that the researchers are writing.  We have done it ourselves and KNOW without a doubt that working out makes us happy.  I think that it helps even more if the workout is something you enjoy.  But even if you are “doing time” on a treadmill it is better than sitting around.

So, again, I am so happily amazed by my students.

Often times the first thing that gets cut from a schedule when it starts to get busy is exercise.  Don’t let that fall off your calendar.

What about you?  Are you getting some exercise in?  What type of exercise makes you happy?

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

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The Right Shoe

Posted by terrepruitt on September 26, 2013

Today after Nia Class a Nia White Belt and I were talking.  We were talking Nia over coffee and a friend from her past happened by.  So she joined us.  She was coming from Jazzercise and so, of course the conversation turned to us sharing some information about Nia with her.  She sounded as if she was willing to try it but also as if she was never going to move away from Jazzercise.  I love that she is moving.  I think it is important that people exercise and one of the ,best ways to ensure that is to find something you like or better yet — love.  I appreciate that there is so much out there for people to participate in.  Of course, I would love for you to come to my Nia class.  I would love for you to love Nia.  I think it is great because it addresses the BMES, but not everyone likes that in their exercise.  In the course of our conversation she said she tried Zumba, but it didn’t work for her that well.  She had already mentioned that she takes it easy on her knee so I felt justified in recommending the correct type of shoe.  I often hear people don’t like Zumba because it hurts their knees and it often has to do with the shoes they are wearing.  In Nia we dance bare foot.  We do not twist on our foot or scoot, we pick our feet up off the ground.  When doing a dance exercise or a fitness class, like Zumba the need for shoes is apparent.  In Zumba there is a lot of twisting, shuffling, and sliding.  You need the right shoe for that.

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 YogaExercise sneakers, tennis shoes, cross trainers, and running shoes are not the correct shoe for doing Zumba or any type of dance that requires shoes for that matter.  An exercise sneaker or tennis shoe has what you want in regards to cushion, construction and support.  A cross trainer has even more support in the shoe because with cross training you are moving forward, backward, side to side, and even up and down. So the shoe itself is made to support your foot and keep it secured in the shoe.  And running shoes are great for the cushion.  They cushion your step and help absorb the shock of your foot landing on the earth.  So these types of shoes are great, the “upper”, because they are built for impact and moving in different directions, but it is the sole you do not want to dance on.  These shoes are made for traction.  They are made to stop you from twisting and sliding.  When you are playing tennis, doing cross training, or running you don’t want to be slipping, sliding, and twisting around.  So the soles are made to keep that from happen.  I mean, have you seen some of those soles?  They look like tire treads.  Great for outdoors.

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 YogaNow a dance shoe, say a jazz shoe or a ballet slipper is perfect for dance.   Without all of the cushion and support that is an athletic shoe they are usually light and easy to lift and move in.  The bottom of the shoe has material that allows you to slide and glide, spin, turn, and twirl on the dance floor.  Perfect for moving to the music and getting your groove on.  And THAT is the kind of sole you want.  Something you can twist in.  Something you can slide in.  Something that won’t stop you foot dead as you dance across the floor.  But then again, those shoes have the SOLES you want, but not the support.  Since you are doing cross training type of motion (forward, backward, side to side, and even up and down) you want that type of support.  And it would be nice to have some cushion too, huh?

Well, do your knees a favor and do not do Zumba in tennis shoes, cross trainers, and running shoes.  And do your feet a favor and do not do Zumba in a jazz shoe or a ballet slipper.  What you need is a dance sneaker.  Someone, somewhere – I don’t know the origin of them – decided to combine the two.  Brilliant.  Someone added the support, cushion, and comfort of an athletic shoe to a sole that can slide and glide.  Whew!  This is genius.  This will help save your knees and other joints!

I know Zumba has a brand of shoe that has a great dance sole, I don’t know about the cushion and support of the shoe.  I bought Capezios because they don’t have a sole over the arch so they allow for the foot to really move.

Since you are investing in your health and wellness by going to a dance exercise class, please take it a one step further and splurge for those dance sneakers.  They don’t have to cost more than $50.00, and you will be saving yourself so much more in the long run.  You will be allowing your body to move with greater comfort on the dance floor.

What do you think?  Do you think a shoe that allows you to slide a bit is better for dancing?  Doesn’t it make sense to have a dance sneaker?

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Practice Does Not Make Perfect

Posted by terrepruitt on September 5, 2013

When I typed in the word practice this is what came up in Google:

prac·tice  /ˈpraktəs/

noun
1. the actual application or use of an idea, belief, or method as opposed to theories about such application or use.

2. repeated exercise in or performance of an activity or skill so as to acquire or maintain proficiency in it.

verb
1. perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.
2. carry out or perform (a particular activity, method, or custom) habitually or regularly.

Nia is a practice.  Yoga is a practice.  Playing a musical instrument takes practice.  One does not just step into a Nia class and do it exactly right the first time.  One does not move into a yoga pose and get it exactly right the first time.  One does not start to play a song and do it exactly right the first time.  It all takes practice.  With Nia the emphasis is on the body’s way.  I have said it before, but I will say it again, there is a right way to do the moves, the body’s way, the way the body was designed to move.  But every body is different.  Some bodies do not move the way they were designed.  Some bodies never will, but some just need time.  Yoga is a little different in that the positions are a bit more exact, but still, if your body does not move or bend that way do not force it.  It could be that your body needs to work toward that pose, it needs to practice or it could be that the actual structure of your body will not allow for the exact post to be attained.  Either way it is a practice.

Nia is more forgiving.  Since it is a dance there is a lot of room for freedom.  With yoga people expect there to be one way to do the pose but again, not exactly true.  The individual’s body needs to be taken into account.  Some bodies will just not bend or fold certain ways.  They might be able to bend more or fold more than the first time a yoga asana is attempted, but it might never look exactly like that magazine picture.  Most pictures of people in yoga positions are just like that of high fashion and/or make up models.  They are the exception not the norm.  They are showing an example of what the pose in its absolute perfection is supposed to look like.  They should be required to disclose how many years that person has been doing yoga or how long they were actually in that pose.  JUST like people are telling young girls to give up the idea of looking like the women in magazines, some people need to go a little easier on themselves when it comes to yoga poses.

The idea is not “to look like the picture” but to be better and more comfortable at doing the pose as time goes on.  In the picture the person might have their elbows on the ground and when you start you can barely touch the floor.  Well, the proper way to learn (at least one way . . . another is props, but for this example we are using progression) is to practice until you can touch the floor.  Practice with good form.  Then practice until you can stay touching the floor – with good form.  Then practice until you can stay longer each time at touching the floor – with good form.  Don’t injure yourself trying to put your elbows on the ground and all the while not achieve good form.

I do not believe that practice makes perfect.  Practice just makes time get used up.  But good practice, practice with good form, practice that allows you to get better than you were is good.  “Perform (an activity) or exercise (a skill) repeatedly or regularly in order to improve or maintain one’s proficiency.”  Yeah that.  Being patient with oneself and allowing one to practice and make it good practice will get one further on a the path of proficiency than just trying to get to that pose without working into it.  While we all know this, I was reminded that many of us need to be reminded of this.

Nia is a practice.  Yoga is a practice.  Playing a musical instrument takes practice.

How are you are practicing?  Do you like the process of learning or do you like to just jump right in and do it right and all the way the first time?

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We’re Going To Do What?

Posted by terrepruitt on January 26, 2013

I know I have mentioned before that I teach Nia as a substitute Group Exercise teacher for the City of San Jose.  What that means is when a teacher can’t teach a class s/he will send out a message saying that a substitute is needed.  In order to give our clients/students what they want we work to keep the substituted class close to what the original class is.  If a Boot Camp teacher needs a substitute the first choice to have instead would not be yoga.  Or vice versa.  As you can imagine, when someone plans on going to a class and shows up and it is not what was expected it can take a little wind out of someones sails.  Sometimes in order to keep the class from being cancelled a different format will be allowed, but that is rare.  Usually someone is able to step in with a similar format.  It is a real challenge when people have not even heard of the type of dance exercise that you are going to do in substitution for their normal class.

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, ZumbaIt seems like with many people the first time they hear of something they are a little resistant.  To me this is understandable.  It seems like a natural thing to shy away from something that is unfamiliar.  And as I said, it really can be disheartening when you are looking forward to a specific thing/type of workout and you walk in and find it to be a class of something you have never heard of.  I don’t take it personal when people decide not to stay or leave in the middle of class.  I’ve learned a long time ago that Nia is for everyBODY it is just not for everyone.  It can be a HUGE step for some people.  It can be a huge switch in thinking and moving and a lot of things, I understand.   So when someone comes in not knowing what they are in for and completely embraces it — I love it.  I find myself thinking, “YES!”  I admire the person and their openness.

I have been teaching a class where I am listening to the music, dancing, cueing, sensing, and looking out into the room and as my eyes survey the students I will see someone who is completely new to Nia and utterly unfamiliar with it, dancing with all of their body, mind, and spirit.  It is so amazing.  For someone to come in and not having even heard of Nia before the class to just embrace something so fully–it is so wonderful.  That is one of the best moments ever.  The challenge for me is to keep going myself.  There are times when I just want to stop and watch because it is such a beautiful thing to see someone dance with all of their heart.  It is as if they are glowing and all of a sudden they are all I can see.  It is so incredible.

I appreciate the people who say, “I’m open to anything.”  Or even, “What the heck?  I am here.  I might as well try it.”  But it is really amazing to look out and see the ones that are just INTO it.  In a Nia class where people come to DO Nia, it is typical to see people dancing with everything they have, but to see it in a class that is usually not Nia . . . . ahhhhhhh!

I felt like sharing this today.  Thank you for letting me share a bit of joy with you.  Today has been a GREAT day.  Nothing spectacular or even note worthy has happen but there has been a lot of laughing and any day with a lot of laughing is a great day.  Don’t you think?

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