Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia exercise’

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 »

Blender Banana Bread

Posted by terrepruitt on October 4, 2012

I don’t like to waste my bananas.  My husband won’t eat them if they have one little tiny spot of brown.  And I don’t usually eat that many bananas.  So you might have learned from some of my posts that I usually use the over ripe bananas in banana bread or Banana Oatmeal Walnut Cookies.  Both of these items are not low calorie nor low fat, they are just a way for me to use up my bananas and put a treat in my hubby’s lunch.  I have a great recipe I found on the internet for banana bread.  I think it was called the World’s Best Banana Bread and I actually think it is.  I have issues cooking it though, it never seems cooked all the way through, but that could because it is hand mixed and the bananas kind of chunk up in the batter.  Well, since I got a fancy new blender I have been trying to find things to use it for.  In the recipe book there is a recipe for banana bread so I thought I would give it a try.  Even though the ingredients get mixed in the blender the recipe calls for the bananas to be mashed.  Before I stared I grabbed my camera fully intending on taking pictures along the way.  The next thing I knew I was putting the pan in the oven.  DRAT!  I forgot to take pictures as I was making it. But I took some of the finished product.  Can you see how smooth it is?  Blender bread is really like “commercially made” bread.

I liked the taste ok.  It was actually good.  I think the vanilla yogurt added the extra sweet, yumminess.  Since it has no butter it has to be less calories and grams of fat then my other recipe.  And it really was good, but it was so . . . “commercial”.  It was like a loaf of bread from the store.  There was no texture, no chunks, no . . . personality.

In addition to using my blender the other reason I wanted to try this recipe is because it called for two bananas and that is what I had.

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 can’t find the recipe on the Blendtec website and, of course, I did some modifying anyway, so here is what I did:

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Blender Banana Bread

Using the WildSide Jar

2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1/2 C low-fat vanilla yogurt
3/4 C sugar
1/4 C olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 C wheat flour
3/4 C white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Add first six ingredients to the container and secure lid.  Select “Batters.”  After that has blended, add the remaining four ingredients to the container and secure the lid.  Press “Pulse” 3-5 times until dry ingredients are incorporated.  (Do not over blend.)  Pour batter into greased 9″X5″ loan pan.  Bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

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I guess the WildSide Jar and the FourSide Jar for this blender are very different because there are additional/different instructions if you are using the FourSide Jar.

Well, I know that I have been posting a lot about my blender, but . . . I am trying to get a fraction of the money’s worth out of it!  I will not turn this blog into a blender blog, I will post about Nia, exercises, other health stuff, and even Zumba, but I am getting some post out of my first uses of the blender.

Do you like your banana bread smooth?  Or do you like it more rustic and chunky?

Posted in "Recipes", Food | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Inner Thigh – Weighted Bar

Posted by terrepruitt on September 29, 2012

Squats are great for the legs.  The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of a squat is sitting in a chair.  So with the legs somewhat close together, the feet about shoulder width apart you then lowering your pelvis/buttocks down as if you are going to sit in a chair.  When in reality a squat CAN be with a wider stance.  I am vaguely remembering a “conversation” via comments on my blog about squats in Nia.  We were talking about Nia squats being different from the squats in my Ten Minute Workout.  I believe squats with weights are different from squats without weights.  And I think that since I was focused on squats with weights I was not really thinking about side squats.  We do side squats in Nia but now I think of that as Sumo Stance.  The routine I am looking at right now has many squats in it.  The squat works the legs, both front and back.  The wider apart the feet the more the movement works the inner thighs.  Since I am looking at a routine that has a lot of side squats or sumo stances it had me thinking . . . In addition to squats a way to get the adductors is to do movements where the leg is brought in towards the midline of the body.  One exercise you might be familiar with is the inner thigh lift/raise.  As with many exercises there are different versions and variations, but the basic of this one is lying on one side of your body with your torso propped up on your elbow.  The “top” leg is back behind you with your foot flat on the floor.  The other leg is straight down and lying on the floor.  Then you lift the leg up toward the sky, keeping it parallel with the earth.  So the inner thigh is being lifted toward the ceiling.

Well, this is a great one to use the weighted bar with.  I had forgotten about my bar until recently.  Then I remembered this exercise.  I would recommend using shoes with the bar.  I did it without shoes and I had to hold my foot at an odd angle to keep the bar from hurting my foot.  I decided to continue my set without putting on shoes – because I didn’t want to stop – but I made a mental note to use shoes in the future.

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, ZumbaOne end of the bar rests on the foot of your straight leg.  The bar runs the length of your body.  The other end is up near your hands where you can secure it to the ground.  Then you simply lift your leg.  Make sure that the bar is resting firmly on your foot so it does not roll off and cause an injury.  This exercise really targets the leg/hip adductors, the muscles that pull the thigh towards your body.

As I stated there are variations of this, some could be:  dumbbells place on the thigh (and held securely!), instead of using the weighted bar.  It can be done without any weights at all.  And/or without weight, the upper leg and be in front.

I think it is a great idea to do different exercises to target the same muscles.  Especially since when you do a different exercise to target a specific muscle or muscle group there are usually different or additional muscles that end up getting used.  So it is nice to switch it up.

Might you switch it up and do thigh raises instead of squats?  Are you familiar with the inner thigh lift?

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Going Green

Posted by terrepruitt on September 27, 2012

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, ZumbaYup, I am trying to do the Green Smoothie thing.  Awhile back, I posted about not having time to eat breakfast before my Nia Classes.  It is not that I don’t get up in time, it is that I don’t like to eat right when I get up.  Then I think some time needs to pass after eating before I teach an exercise class.  You might remember my post about how I was eating a banana on the way to class and I was ending up with heartburn.  So I either have to get up an hour earlier or eat right when I get up.  And/or maybe a green smoothie will help.  Although I need to work on getting more protein in them then.  Also, I am not sure about having that much liquid before class.  I have found that the smoothies make about two glasses.  Maybe I can drink one before class and save the other for after class.  Oh, and, yes, I do do a lot of my thinking out loud on my blog . . . . 🙂  My last post was about my birthday present.  So far I have used it five times.  I’ve made three different green smoothies.

My second green smoothie consisted of:

1 Cup water
1 apple chopped
1/2 of a large cucumber (cut up)
2 leaves of rainbow chard (cut up)
4 ice moons

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 started out with only one half of the apple.  But after blending it, I decided that I wanted more flavor so I added another half.  It seems that cucumbers are REALLY good at masking flavor, while they do have a distinct flavor it is very mild so it can somewhat cancel out some harsher flavors . . . . maybe . . . I will have to see.  That seems to be what I have found so far . . . on my SECOND green smoothie.

I read on one website (I can’t remember which one I have looked at so many) the idea that green smoothies taste better cold.  I think that is a valid opinion.  I tend to agree.

I am laughing as I look at my pictures though because the amounts and ingredients listed yield two glasses and have you ever seen people make smoothies?  And have you ever seen the pictures?  The blender container is full to the top.  Now I would say that two leaves of rainbow chard and a half of a cucumber is one serving of vegetables if not more, but AT LEAST one.  And a whole apple is one serving of fruit.  I think that is pretty good.  I am not sure I can DRINK more.  Plus I do still love to EAT my fruits and veggies.  I am just curious as to who actually drinks a full blender container full.  But we will see, maybe I will be that person. But for now I will drink my additional serving (or so) of veggies and my additional serving of fruit in my 24 ounces of green smoothie.

Would adding more veggies and less water yield as much?  Is that how on shows, cookbooks, and websites the blender container is so full?  Less water more vegetables?  What do you think?  Do you drink green smoothies?

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

Nia Classes Don’t Always Have To Be About The “Happy”

Posted by terrepruitt on September 11, 2012

I might have mentioned this about Nia before, but it came up again today so I am posting about it.  If I posted about it before, I can’t find it.  Nia is unique in many ways.  One way that Nia is unique is that we don’t shy away from issues or situations.  I have been instructed in other types of trainings to “always remain positive”.  As an instructor “to leave your problems at the door”.  I’ve been told it is the instructor’s job to create a positive atmosphere.  And while, I understand that, and I believe it to a certain extent, there are times when other feelings and life situations can be acknowledged.  Today is September 11th.  It is the anniversary of a very horrific attack that has affected the entire world.  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, NiaEveryone has their own opinions and feelings about the attack, the results, the anniversaries, and all, but for many it can be a time of sorrow.  Whether you knew someone who died in the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers or you just know that many things were taken away when those planes crashed into the towers, it is sad day to remember.  With many exercise classes it would not be in keeping with the training to bring that memory into the class.  I was teaching a new class today.  It was only my second time at this new location and with these new students.  I thought that maybe bringing something so “heavy” into the class (the second class!!) might not be the right thing to do.  But it crossed my mind that this is Nia, and in keeping with what Nia is, I could do that, because dancing and moving to issues and life events is something that we do in Nia.  We can dance our emotions, whether they are happy or sad.  We can dance our sorrow or our joy.  We can dance for people who have died or are in need of positive thoughts.  We can dance for beloved pets that are no longer here.  We can dance whatever we want.  We can dance our hearts.  We are not confined to being the “happy-up-beat-don’t-let-any-emotions-but-happy-show” type of exercise.  And my heart, my heart really, really, really, wanted to remember.  I wanted to remember all the lives that were lost in connection with the event.  I wanted to remember what we all lost on that day.  I wanted to remember what we still have.  I wanted to remember, to honor, to grieve, to rejoice, to share, to sense, to feel . . . . . I wanted to do Nia.

So I took my concerns to my class and I asked them if it was ok with them that we dance a dance of remembrance.  I explained to them how this is something unique to Nia, that we can dance anything.  I suggested a focus of remembering with an intent of doing so in our own way with our own feelings, I suggested feelings of both sorrow and joy.  Because as we all know it was tragic to have lost so many lives and so much freedom, but many did survive and many freedoms are still ours to enjoy.  The students were free to dance their own version of remembering.

As I said, this is a new class with mostly new-to-Nia students, having such a vague and “non-physical” type of focus is something I usually do with people who are not new to Nia.  I have found that many participants especially people new to Nia, appreciate having a physical or body related type of focus.  By physical or body related type of focus I mean a body part/area (“Let’s focus on our feet with the intent of sensing our whole foot.”).  But I also believe that people can do what they can do.  So if a non-physical focus and intent works for the participant then they will be able to incorporate it into their workout.  With a focus on something that affected everyone, even though it was non-physical, I sensed the participants could tap into the remembering that was significant to each as an individual.

I love that Nia allows for us to not only dance what we SENSE, but also what we feel when we feel the need to do so.  Today, I felt the need to dance what I feel.  I feel the need to honor the victims of September 11, 2001 — ALL of them, even the ones that are alive — because everyone was affected in some way and for some of us dancing is a great way to express it.  Nia classes don’t always have to be about the “happy” we can dance what we need to dance at that moment.

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

Faking It Is Easy

Posted by terrepruitt on August 28, 2012

My husband and I used to dance.  We danced “Country Western”, we did the two step, the cha-cha, the waltz, and the west coast swing.  We liked to dance.  I sometimes would fake it though.  Yeah, I would.  We would go to a lesson and they would show us a move.  We would practice it during the lesson then usually there was a dance party after.  We would join the party.  My husband would always DO THE MOVE WE JUST LEARNED.  I would say, “Ack!  You’re doing the move we just learned!”  And he would look at me with a look that said to me, “Of course, Silly Woman, that is why we are here.  To learn stuff and then actually DO IT.”  But for me the time spent in the lesson was never enough to actually learn it.  Even though the leader’s part is much more difficult than the follower’s, I still couldn’t get it in one lesson.  So a lot of the times I would fake it.  And by fake it I mean, that if you were to look at my feet and KNOW where there were supposed to be, you would know my feet were not correct.  I could move in a way that if you were just casually looking you would think I was doing it right.  I would always make sure I was facing the right direction so you wouldn’t really know my feet were not doing the move correctly unless you knew the move yourself!  Since most people don’t stare at your feet the entire time I often got away with it.  I was good at faking it.  Faking it was easy in the fast songs.

Eventually I would learn the move correctly, but there were some moves that took me a long time to get.  Then somewhere along the way we decided to compete.  I mean, competing really is the only way to know if you are really improving and to spend all that money on lessons and not improve can be a silly thing.  So we decided to compete.  Do you know what that meant?  No more faking it.  I mean the whole point of competition is to have someone look at you and judge — among other things — your feet.  So I had to stop faking it.

I am learning a lot as I sub for different exercise classes.  I recently subbed a class and I was reminded of the faking it.  It is easy to fake it in some classes.  Let’s say Zumba for example, I’ve posted before about how Zumba is all agility (I have since learned otherwise, but I will reflect on that in a post at a later time).  Zumba is the fast start and stop.  Move stop the move and move the other direction, move stop, move stop.  The full range of motion is usually not achieved, you are moving to another move before you really get to finish the first one.  Start, stop, start, stop, start stop.  It is easy to fake.  The fast dances were always easy for me to fake. The good thing about faking it is you are still moving and that is good in a sense.  Even if you are not doing the move correctly you are moving and burning calories and often it is so fast the casually observer or someone standing next to you is not going to notice.  I think this is one of the things that people like about Zumba . . . you are moving and dancing even when you are faking it.

It is the slow dances that are difficult.  With Nia it is not as easy to fake.  With Zumba a move could be hopping from one leg to the other.  With Nia we might actually balance on one leg.  No speed to it, just lifting one leg off the ground and standing on one leg.  Strength and stability.  No faking.  I always invite participants to use a chair, a wall, the barre, or even their other foot, but either way you cannot FAKE standing on one leg.  Sadly, I think for some, not being able to fake it keeps them from joining in the joy of Nia.  The judgment from themselves is so great that they can’t let go and just do what they can because what they can do is not blurred by the start and the stop.  What they can’t do is not blurred by speed.  And they don’t give themselves the chance to learn how to do the moves.  They don’t allow themselves the time to get the muscles in a condition where they can move slow and controlled.  Faking it is easy, it is actually doing a move slow, controlled, and correctly where the difficulty comes in.

When I take a Zumba class I know I fake it often because I don’t know the move so I concentrate on being at the right place and/or facing the right direction at the right time.  Eventually I get the moves . . . well, most of the time.

I know this is my opinion, I don’t really KNOW, but it is coming from a place of judgment based on some things I have seen and heard.  You know I am always trying to figure out the differences between Zumba and Nia and why people like them.  And recently this was a thought because of something I heard and observed . . . the speed, the faking, the judgment.

Do you fake until you make it in your exercise class? 

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

Fun, Beautiful, A Great Addition – San Jose Art

Posted by terrepruitt on August 25, 2012

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 I cannot believe it has been over a month since I was driving around to the Community Centers of San Jose that offer Group Ex classes checking out their floors!  Since we do Nia bare footed I wanted to see what community centers have dance studios.  While I was looking for the community centers is when I first noticed the painted utility boxes around.  I can’t believe it has been over a month since I was driving from my Nia class in Willow Glen and I noticed someone painting the utility box that I pass all the time.  Over a month ago!  Wow.  Time goes so fast.  I was hoping to have more pictures of more boxes, but I haven’t seen any since then.  I must not be in the areas where there are boxes — could also be that I am a little distracted and not noticing the boxes.  Sigh.  Anyway . . . I think the artist might have completed painting these boxes in one day.  I am not certain because I didn’t drive by again until the following Monday and I didn’t stop to take pictures until a week after I first stopped.  I was just waiting to post because I didn’t want to have the utility box posts right in a row.  I don’t mind having Nia posts, or exercise posts, or food posts consecutively, I just didn’t want to have utility box posts one after the other.  Before I knew it, it has been a month.  Wow.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

The first picture is a shot of the front of the boxes together straight on.  The next “picture” is a collage (obviously) of pictures of different angles so you can somewhat see the side of the boxes.  The second collage is pictures of the back of the boxes and the little label disclosing the artist and the sponsor.

Looks as if the birds are driving around in San Jose.  These boxes are on Bird Avenue so I think it makes total sense that birds are driving cars, vans, motorcycles, sports cars, and delivery trucks.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

You might have noticed that the artist incorporated the vent on the back of the box painting it as if it is the back of a truck.  Cute.  You may also have noticed that one truck seems to be carrying eggs.  I think Mr. Willis is showing his sense of humor by having a bird drive around as either an egg delivery service or perhaps a pickup service.

It is quite a cheery little mural.  Also very responsible.  You might not be able to see, but all of the birds on scooters or motorcycles have on helmets.  It is a law in California that you have to wear a helmet, so it is good of the artist to have legally correct drivers. I am not sure that any birds have been ticketed for not doing so, but it is still a good idea!

So what do you think?  Cute, huh?  Have you seen any painted utility boxes in your area?  If you have I would love to see.  Send me a picture with some information and I can post it.

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Simple Stretches Could Bring Relief

Posted by terrepruitt on May 12, 2012

We move our hips A LOT in Nia.  With all the hip movements we do I say we have juicy hips.  Not only do we shake and shimmy our hips we take time to stretch and open our hips.  Hip flexors are a group of muscles that move the thigh towards the chest.  These muscles can get short and tight, especially from sitting.  Office jobs usually mean sitting in a chair all day while at work.  Add the commute time to the sitting on the job and many people end up sitting over eight hours a day.  Sometimes the hip flexors can become so short and tight they can keep an individual from standing up straight.  In addition, the origin of one of the muscles in the hip flexor group is in the lower back, if this set of muscles is short and tight it can sometimes result in lower back pain.  For many individuals stretching and lengthening these muscles can bring relief from back pain and help individuals stand up straighter.

There are a lot of stretches that can help lengthen this group of muscles.  The yoga Pigeon Pose comes to mind.  This is a great pose because the leg that is straight out towards the back get the lengthening benefit and sensation, while the bent leg assist in opening the groin area and stretching those muscles.  The butterfly stretch really stretches the groin area, too.  The closer you can get your feet to your pelvis the bigger the stretch, and the close the knees to the ground the bigger the stretch.  This is a great stretch you will definitely feel in the inner thighs.  The spinal twist both supine and seated can bring great relief.  So whether you are laying down and allowing your legs to be on one side of you or whether you are sitting up with one leg out and hugging one bent knee, you still get a nice stretch for the pair of muscles whose origins starts in the lower back.

One stretch I love to do is somewhat like a spinal twist in that you let the legs twist to one side, but instead of bringing them over to one side as a pair you let one leg start its journey to the other side of your body and the other one follows in its own time.  Think of your legs as pages in a book.**  One leg goes then the other leg flips (as a page) slowly.  No rush.  Also if you allow one leg to fall to one side while the other is on the first side (think open book) it is similar to the butterfly stretch but with hips completely open.  Then “close the book” having your legs end up on one side while gently twisting to the other, you get the nice gentle stretch in your back.  In Nia our floorplay cycle often includes many of these.

Swinging your leg from front to back either in a standing position or lying down on your side can stretch the muscles.  Let the leg swing as far to the front as comfortable and then as far back as is comfortable.  In both the standing and lying position you want to keep you back straight.  Don’t let it get into the swing of things, just let your leg swing.

Some exercises can assist in stretching the muscles too.  The lunge, especially a long lunge, helps stretch and lengthen the muscles and open the hips a bit.  The leg that is stretch back with get the stretch in the front.  You can either do the lunge stepping forward or back, but the longer the step the bigger the stretch.

These are just some simple stretches that might help loosen up your hips if you have tight hip flexors.  If you tend to sit at a desk that could be something that is happening.  Make your hips juicy and happy by stretching them a bit.  It might even help you walk taller and with more ease.

**This image I learned from Debbie Rosas at my Nia White Belt Intensive. I use it all the time in class.

Do you ever sit so long when you stand up you kind of are bent over at the hips?

Posted in Exercise and Working Out | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Reasons for Sounding in Nia Class

Posted by terrepruitt on April 26, 2012

I’ve post about the Healings Sounds. I’ve posted about how we used the Healing Sounds in our Nia class. I’ve stated that making noise is a great way for people to know that you are breathing. There are other reasons to sound, one being it helps stabilize your core. In Nia or in other dance exercise classes there are times when you are moving and playing with balance so having a stable core can assist in proper balance. With the effort to stay stable there is also strengthening. On the exhale the abdomen is tightened.

In Nia we do a lot of movement where core stabilization is key. Some of the moves we do that require a stable core are punches, blocks, and kicks. In order to punch and/or block with strength and authority the spine needs to be straight, the ribs squeezing, and the abs tight. All of this can be accomplished with one loud sound, any sound can do it. Kicking is the same thing, even if you are doing a side kick where your body might be leaning, the spine is still straight and the torso needs to be tight. A joyful “HA!” can take care of all that!

Another reason to sound is release. We are often taught to be quiet. It could be as deep and as damaging as we were taught our opinions don’t matter. It could be more of a social “norm” where we were taught to respectfully keep one’s opinion to oneself or respectfully not sing, shout, or cry out loud because it would be inappropriate even though that is what we really want to do.  All of these social confines can lead to blocked energies.  Having to behave can lead to us feeling bad, so sounding in a Nia Class is a huge release. We can experience a release.  Healing sounds aren’t the only ones to be made, anything will do.

Often times for me I am busy with listening to the music, thinking of the next move, getting ready to cue, dancing, and breathing I don’t THINK about sound it just comes out. Sometimes a move makes its own sound. Also depends on the move. I did a routine recently where the moves were very quiet for me. It was odd. It was as if the moves had no sound. I am wondering if that is because it was so new. I am looking forward to doing it again to see if sounds reveal themselves.

In addition to breath, stabilization, strength, and release sounding is fun. Children are expected to shout, laugh out loud, and be joyfully noisy, but adults not so much.  Kids can run and scream on a playground, adult aren’t often afforded such a luxury, but in Nia we can.  It really is fun. It is fun to make noise. It is fun to HA, HOO, FOO, SHOO, HI-YA, WAHOO, WHOOO, and SHHHHH to the top of your voice. It is fun to play with the volume and the tone of the noises. All of this playfulness adds to the joy.  We can whoop it up as we did when we were young.  The vibrations of sound heal the body. The fun heal the spirit and the soul.

I often wonder how people are able to keep quiet in a Nia class.  I believe they have not yet experienced the good it will do for them.  There is the breath, the added stabilization, the strengthening, the emotional release, and the fun that it brings all good for the body, mind, spirit, and soul.

While I am saying we do sounding in Nia class, don’t think it is restricted to that.  So while you are exercising don’t forget to breath.  Try making some noise.  If you are in a class that doesn’t allow for it find a Nia class and whoop it up there!

Do you make noise while you exercise?

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Feel Good Sounds

Posted by terrepruitt on April 19, 2012

In a Nia class the participants are encouraged to make sounds.  There are many reasons to make sounds while you are working out.  One, is to ensure breathing.  As you are making a sound there is air going out, and in order to repeat it, there has to be air that was inhaled.  So making sounds during an exercise class is a great way to let the teacher know there is breathing going on.  There are also specific sounds related to specific things, but we don’t always have to be so particular.  Sometimes just any sound will do.  I did a post on Sounding in July of 2009.  That is when I was brand new to Nia and new to teaching.  I was still learning to be vocal.  I had no probably being vocal as I was teaching but as a student I didn’t always participate.  So I believe I understand some of the reasons a person might not want to sound and some of those reasons are the very reasons we SHOULD be making noise.  All of these points can easily lead to additional posts, and they just might (a sounding series?), but for this post I am going to share what I found a while ago about healing sounds.

There are sounds associated with the chakras so a while back I was thinking I could bring a list of them to my Nia classes and I could use them to encourage my Nia students to sound.  But I found a different list instead.  Before I share the information with you I want you to play along with me.  Pick one sound from the six below.  Just pick one that appeals to you right now as you are reading it.  Don’t think, just pick one.

SHOO, HAA, HOO, SSS, FOO, and SHEE.

Now keep playing along with me.  Inhale and then say the sound you picked out loud on the exhale.  Now do that six times.  How do you feel?

Well, according to Sales Creators, a business problem solving company, the above sounds are healing sounds related to specific problems or issues.  As I mentioned I had wanted to find some sounds that we could make in my Nia classes that would be fun and associated with chakras.  As I was looking I discovered this information.  At the time I didn’t know it was from a company that helped with business problems, I just discovered that now as I tried to locate the source of my information.  In glancing quickly at the website, it looks pretty interesting.  They actually speak to wellness of the entire person.  What?  REALLY?  On a sales and marketing consulting company’s website?  Yes.

Anyway here is what the information said in summary.

SHOO is a sound that helps alleviate problems associated with a sense of depression.  The information states that you will feel better after having repeated it six times.  The liver and the gall bladder is positively affected by the vibration of this sound.

HAA helps alleviate anger and helps calm the heart and regulate the small intestine.

HOO is a body temperature regulating sound.  It helps one to not become too cold and balances the spleen, pancreas, and stomach.

SSS is a balance sound.  SSS helps to regain equilibrium in the nervous system and the body.  The vibration of this sound cleanses the lungs and regulates the large intestine.

FOO is another body temperature regulating sound but this one helps with a high body temperature.  So to me is sounds as if you are typically hot making this sound will help cool you down.  This sound is said to stabilize the kidneys, bladder, and adrenal glands.

SHEE helps relieve stress, tension, and anxiety.  The instructions say that if you are under stress make this sound 36 times.  It helps with regulating the blood circulatory systems and the central nervous system.

I truly believe that vibrations affect us, so to me it makes sense that certain ones would affect us in certain ways.  I was hoping that without your knowledge, without you thinking about it you would gravitate to one of the sounds that would help you.

So, did the sound you randomly picked match up to what you were feeling?  And now that you know what is associated with each sound are they a few you might want to try out?  What do you think about vibrations and healing sounds?

Posted in Helpful Hints, Misc, Sounding | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »