Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia experience’

The Nature In And Of Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on March 7, 2013

At the present time I am fortunate enough to be holding Nia classes at four different locations in San Jose.  Each location allows me to meet different people.  At one of the locations I have been teaching for four years and some of my students have been coming to my classes that long.  At three of my locations I am a new teacher and Nia is new.  Most of the people are new to me.  It is exciting to met new people and discover new relationships.  There is the relationships between my students and me and there is the relationship between Nia and the students.  One of my students told me after one class that she loved the part of Nia where we compare things to nature.  The specific example she stated was “tickling the clouds”.  She said that the mention of nature in Nia reminded her of one of her favorite poets, Mary Oliver.  She asked me if I had heard of Mary Oliver or if I was familiar with her.  I said no.  I also said that I would look her up.  Well, the following week, my student came into class and handed me a copy of two poems.  As soon as she held out the paper, I remembered that I had said I would look up the poet and that I had forgotten.  I gratefully took the paper without reading the poems because class was about to start.  After our class there is another class so I did not stop at that time to read the poem either.  It was not until today I picked up the paper to read the poem.  On the second line I realized I HAD heard this before and I laughed.  This very poem or at least a portion of it is in the Nia White Belt Manual.

I thought it was funny that my student related Mary Oliver’s work to Nia and obviously so did the creators of Nia, Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, because they put this poem in the manual.  Only the first few lines are in the manual, but I recognized it right away.

The lines are:

“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

From Mary Oliver’s Wild Geese poem.

That portion of the poem is at the very beginning of the section which is Principle #1, The Joy of Movement.  The last line of that section really struck me.

I want to continue to share with my students that a Nia class is not just about learning the moves and doing a routine.  It is about doing what the body loves.  It is about their relationship to their body.  It is about their relationship to Nia.  To me that is why we do a routine over and over.  That is also HOW we do a routine over and over and not get bored with it.  If we move and let our body do what it loves then it is moving in a different way.  Once we have done a routine a few times we can play.  We can move lower . . . if that it what the body loves . . . we can move higher . . . if that is what a body loves . . . all the time moving in the general pattern of the routine.  It is when we are not in tune or when we cannot let go, that the routine is tiring or boring.  If we are only moving the way it was choreographed and not putting our spirit into the moves it is as if we are walking through a desert on our knees.  Suffering through a workout.  UGH!  Repenting for the cream we had in our coffee, the workout we missed yesterday, or the cookie we had at lunch.

I used to do a different routine every class.  I thought people would get bored with the same routine.  But then I realized that the more I knew the music and the choreography the more fun I had and the more playful I could be.  I asked my class and they said they liked the fact that after doing the routine a few times they, too, could be less concerned with the choreography and more aware of their own spirit, dance, and play.  So it is a relationship with Nia and the body that we are building and experiencing in a Nia class, we are not just learning a routine, we are not just moving through choreography.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I work on a routine schedule, playing with it to see what works.  I want to ensure my students don’t get bored, yet I want them to build a relationship with Nia.  I want them to be able to dance and play with the routines.

I love that my student shared her thoughts with me.  To me that is me being able to witness her budding relationship with Nia.  I love that because of my thoughts about repeatedly doing a routine, I was able to look at this poem and relate it to that.  Like many things I might look at it sometime from now and have it relate to something else.  My relationship with it might change, just as my relationship with my students and with Nia will change and grow.  That is the nature of it all.

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Music, Movement, Magic, Nia Blue Belt Principle #11

Posted by terrepruitt on January 24, 2013

Regular reader?  Familiar with Nia?  Then you know that Nia has different levels and that they use belt colors to distinguish between.  White, Blue, Brown, and Black.  Each belt has thirteen principles (except Green Belt*).  The trainings for the levels are called intensives and the intensives can be attended by people who just want a to explore self growth and/or learn how the body is connected to many things.  If you are a new reader and/or not familiar with Nia . . . . there you have it.  In November 2011 I took the Nia Blue Belt Training and I am using my blog to make notes on it.  It is taking me some time to get through the principles, but I am jotting down my thoughts that come to me as I thumb through my notes.  My intent is to continue to work and play with the 13 Nia Blue Belt Principles after my initial posts and come back to some of them and share some more.  The principles can be deep because they are very rich.  So like many things they have layers and the layers can be peeled back to expose more and more.  This post is about Nia Blue Belt Principle #11, Music, Movement, Magic – Manifesting the Ultimmmate Nia Experience.  Yes, ultimate is spelled with three m’s, representing music, movement, magic.

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 of the ways we learn to bring this to class is to use objective and subjective descriptions.  We can do this for many things.  We can do this when stating the class focus and intent.  We can do this when leading the class through a move.  We can do this when talking about music.  The following are examples:

Focus and Intent:

Objective  –  Today we are going to focus on the rhomboid muscles.  These are muscles in your upper back that assist with shoulder blade movement.  They pull your shoulders back and down.

Subjective  –  I like pay special attention to my rhomboids so I feel as if I am standing upright and not hunched over.  I feel they need extra love.  We can give them that during class with the intent to stand tall.

Move:

Objective  – Pull your shoulder blades down.

Subjective  – I feel as if my shoulder blades are in my back pockets!

Music:

Objective  – This music was part of an Oscar Winning Score.

Subjective  – This music makes me want to close my eyes and ride the peaceful notes to happy.

This objective and subjective way of looking at things is a key to Nia.  It can be compared to THE Body’s Way and Your Body’s Way.  There is a way the body was designed to move — objective.  There is a way that YOUR body, and my body moves — subjective.  There are specific ways to do the Nia 52 Moves — objective.  There is a way that each individual Nia participant does the Nia 52 Moves — subjective.  All of this helps to create the “magic” that is part of Nia.

The Music is the core.  We dance to the music.  The Movement is what we do.  We move.  We dance.  We play.  The Magic is what we bring, which with all of it put together there is resulting magic.

This is just a tiny portion of Nia Blue Belt Principle #11, just off the top of my head.  There is much, much more to Music, Movement, Magic – Manifesting the Ultimmmate Nia Experience and I look forward to delving into it more.

Have you experience the Nia Music, Movement, and Magic yet for yourself?

*Green Belt is specifically for Nia teachers.

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

South Bay Nia Jam

Posted by terrepruitt on August 7, 2012

Well, Palo Alto seems to be as close to as to what I consider the South Bay as we have gotten since I have been attending Nia.  I really want to have a Nia Jam in San Jose.  I am going to work on that for 2013.  The Nia Jam for San Francisco Bay Area Nia Association in the South Bay in 2012 was at a Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto.  As I have described before, a Nia Jam is a Nia class only longer with multiple teachers.  It is like a Nia class on steroids.  A typical Nia class is 60 minutes, a Nia Jam is usually 90 minutes.  In a Nia Jam there is a group of teachers who take turns teaching.  As with all Nia classes the Nia Jam had a focus and an intent.  The focus of this Nia Jam was Yin & Ying of Creative Play, with the intent of providing both a high energy experience and a quieter, more reflective experience as Nia can support either or both.  I have to be honest, I didn’t get a quiet, reflective experience out of this jam.  We were on fire!  The energy was so high it was tangible.  It was amazing!

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 am so glad that the energy is always so high because I had taught my Saturday morning class in San Jose.  Then I stayed at the studio and took a class, then I raced over to Palo Alto to teach at the Jam.  The energy energized me!

There were six teachers who taught.  It is so fun to dance and be led by a variety of teachers.  It is a wonderful thing to be able to experience a song, a kata, that you know, in a different way.  While usually the basics are there, there is often a little nuance that the teacher adds to the song.  It could be just a sound that is not normally made, a word not usually spoken, or it could be the addition of a different step or the removal of a step, it could just be their way of cueing that makes it different.  Whatever the difference it is so invigorating to do what you know a little differently.  I also love doing the unknown.  I don’t know all of the Nia routines and I love to get to dance katas I don’t know.

At the same time a Nia Jam is perfect for someone new to Nia because they get to dance with many different teachers and experience different styles.  They also can witness the warmth of the Nia community.  New participants can also enjoy the astronomical energy that is present at Nia Jams.  They can also confirm that Nia students and Nia teachers do sweat as Nia is a moving grooving cardio dance exercise.  They can corroborate what I have been sharing — a great workout does not have to be done extremely fast and hard it can be done with movements of the whole body.

Monday in class my students were still talking about the Nia Jam.  It was THAT fun!  It was THAT energizing.  It was great!  I know Nia is a great workout.  I invite you to go to a class, one of mine (click for schedule) or one you find near you (click for worldwide listings), but I implore you to go to a Nia Jam.  If there is one not far from you, go.  You will enjoy it for all the reasons I mentioned above, for reasons I have not mentioned, and for reasons of your own.  Nia Jams are always fun and the Nia Jam for the South Bay on the Peninsula did not disappoint!

For more pictures go to: http://www.helpyouwell.com/nia-jams.html

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Marketing Things I Have Learned

Posted by terrepruitt on June 28, 2012

I am not a marketing expert or guru or anything, I am just a Nia teacher trying to get the word out about Nia to as many people as possible.  As I go I realize that my past experiences have helped me learn a lot.  Plus I learn a lot as I go.  I have a lot of people who encourage me, and help me learn even more.  Here are a few things that I have learned that maybe you don’t know.  Or maybe you forgot, or maybe, like me, you need encouragement to do/use.

1–When posting a flyer or a poster make certain there is contact information on it.  Make certain the information stands out – whether it be a phone number, an e-mail address, or some other way to communicate.
Recently I received a call from someone wanting to take a different class (not Nia), but she claimed there was no phone number for the instructor she wanted to take a class from.  I took her name and number, looked up the instructor on the internet, called the instructor and gave her the prospective student’s name and number.  When I was able to look at the poster myself I saw the phone number on it, but it was somewhat camouflaged.  It blended in with the other text on the flyer.  Make your contact information stand out.  Make it bold, make it a different color, make it a different font, make it larger than the rest, or circle it.  Something that makes it the first thing people see.  Flash a sample at a friend and see if the contact info is the first thing they see.

2–Send e-mail.
I am hesitant to send out e-mails because I don’t like to “bother” people.  I don’t like to clog their in box with a lot of stuff.  I know we all get a lot of e-mails and I don’t want mine to be the one you don’t read because there is an e-mail from me all the time.  I try to keep my e-mail down to “need-to-know” stuff.  I work to only e-mail once a month.  With this past e-mail I sent out a handful of my students thanked me for the updates.  That made me feel better.  People appreciate being updated.

3–Use the subject line (when e-mailing) to get the info across.
When a fellow Nia teacher told me she sends e-mails reminding people to come to class, I shared I didn’t like sending out too many e-mails.  She gave me a great tip.  She said to put the information in the subject line.  If it is just a quick reminder of one thing then the subject line can hold all the info and the recipient doesn’t even have to open the e-mail.  “See you at class tomorrow.”  I thought that was brilliant.  I have employed that method and I love it.  Otherwise, I use my subject line to announce all the items contained in the e-mail.  As an example my last e-mail subject line was:  “Monday Evenings are cancelled / Subbing classes for City of San Jose / Fourth of July”  I bet you can guess without even having received the e-mail what it was about.  Big important news – class is cancelled.  Then exciting news – I’m subbing classes.  Then a note about Fourth of July.  This gives the recipient a chance to decide if they need to open it right away.  I know that sometimes I don’t have time to read all my e-mail in one sitting so I prioritize.  I usually have a few I have to come back and read.

4–Remind people.
In the e-mail I mentioned above, I did take the time to remind people of my regular class schedule, since I was sending out an e-mail anyway.  People get busy, people forget, people need to be reminded of what is happening.  I can keep track of MY schedule, I can have that in my head, but I can’t have other people’s too.  So when they remind me of what classes they have and when I appreciate it.  The same goes with blogs.  I have a few blogs I read consistently, but sometimes the ones I want to read don’t have consistent postings so I need to be reminded that they are there.  This is another thing I need to work on because, again, I don’t want to “bother” people, but when I DO post a link to my blog on FB people read it and they thank me for reminding them.  It’s ok to remind people.  If it truly bother’s them they will let you know.

5–Send Thank you Notes.
One Nia teacher I know would send out a thank you e-mail every once in a while after class.  Made me happy.  I was thankful to be able to attend her class, but she would send an e-mail thanking us all for attending.  Since it made me so happy, I figured it made others happy too.  Of course, you can also send an actual note via the US Post Office.  So many of us seldom get actual mail a thank you note would be a nice surprise.  I appreciate that my students take the time to come dance with me every week, sometimes twice a week.  So sending a note letting them know is important to me.  I didn’t even think of this as a marketing tool until I was writing this.  People liked to be thanked.  Clients deserved to be thanked.

So this is just a short list.  It is not trail blazing information, you probably already know these things.  It is just a reminder or maybe a little encouragement.  I have learned that I write and post things as much for me as for you.  I will probably stumble across this in the future and say, “Yeah, that’s right, sending an e-mail is not as bothersome as you think.”

So what do you think?  Even if you are not a business owner you are probably a customer on the receiving end of some of these things.  What do you think?  Do you have ideas you can share?

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Nia Jam in Palo Alto

Posted by terrepruitt on July 28, 2011

This past Sunday we had a Nia Jam in Palo Alto.  The San Francisco Bay Area Nia Association tries to have four Jams a year.  The peninsula one is in Palo Alto, but it is usually at Stanford, this time it was at a gym.  It was a nice day so it was great that people came inside to support the local Nia association.   As with a music jam session there are switches and changes that occur.   A Nia Jam is where teachers gather and switch off leading songs so there is a mix of music and styles.  The routine is created to be about 90 minutes.  Normally we have a lot of teachers teaching so we only get to do one or two songs.  This time the group of teachers was much smaller and we were able to do three to four songs each.  The energy is always very high and exciting at a Jam because the teachers are from all over the Bay Area and beyond, so the students come from near and far.  It is also a GREAT way to experience Nia for the first time because you get a taste of all the different approaches to teaching.  Nia is specific in the way that we teach, yet at the same time it allows for the personality of the individual teacher to shine through.  So a Nia Jam is great fun.

The theme for this Nia Jam was Summertime.  The focus was moving with lightness with the intent of bringing in lightness and a sense of “summertime”, effortlessness and joy.  It allowed for a lot of play, like kids playing during summer vacation.  Not only were we able to bring in the lightness in our minds, our physical bodies, and our spirits, but we had the extra special treat of a skylight.  The room we were dancing in has a huge skylight in the middle of the ceiling and a few glass doors to the outside so we were able to share in the beauty of the sun light and move with it.   Along with the skylight and doors and windows to the outside, the room has a huge wood floor and a mirror on one wall.  A small portion of the back wall is made of glass “windows” that looks into the workout room.  I saw many people stop their workout to peek in at the Joy that was whooshing around the room in spirals, releves, kicks, and punches.

Nia Jams are no different than Nia Workout Classes  in regards to what to wear.  As you can see everyone wears what they are comfortable in.  Whatever allows you to move freely and makes you feel good is perfect.  But you also have to be ok with getting on the floor in your dance outfit.  Like most Nia classes there is almost always Floorplay — even at a Nia Jam!

There is a wonderful  sense of community at a Nia Jam.  Teachers gathered to share the Joy of Nia.  Participants gathered to experience a Jam.  All of us gathered to do our favorite exercise.  All of us ready to workout.  All of us ready to dance.  All of us there to do Nia.  It is really fun stuff.  I hope that you will be able to join us for our next Jam.

You can visit my website to see all the pictures from the Nia Jam in July.  (The link MIGHT change in the future.)

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Nia Jam for Carlos AyaRosas

Posted by terrepruitt on July 31, 2010

So today (July 31, 2010) was the Nia Jam and it was the third one that I have taught in.  Cool.  It was awesome.  I just have to say, “Ahhhhhhhhhhh!”  I know many of you feel this way because I see you post it in blogs, on Facebook, and in tweets.  Just “Ahhhhhhhhhhh!”  When you are with people doing what you love and they are doing it too!  The Nia Jam was so beautiful and awesome.  There were teachers from all over and we just danced—-and our students let us and they followed along.  It was magical.

One of the creators of Nia is retiring at the end of this year.  I must admit that I don’t really believe it (yes, probably denial).  I mean, I believe he is leaving and I understand that, but I don’t believe that he will not be pulled back—by his own heart—into being involved somehow.  I can understand that he is ready to move away from the day-to-day and all that it must involve, but I have hope that he will be doing it somehow.  I picture him teaching in the city to which he is moving.  I guess I will see.

The focus of the Nia Jam today was a celebration of Carlos AyaRosas.  We did a jam using katas from his routines.  Our intent was a thank you and a gathering of “Carlos” energy.  I felt that we did a great job.  I felt that our hearts were alive with gratitude for the dances he has created for us and for Nia.  I felt there was a lot of “Carlos” energy!  I have a feeling that he would have been honored and he would have been proud of us for sharing our love of Nia using his katas.

A Nia Jam is a great way to experience Nia.  Teachers gather to co-teach.  Once the music starts we just go.  There is a trick sometimes to doing the microphone handoff, but it all works out in the end.  Today is was joy, it was magic, it was fun, it was Nia.  It was exactly what a jam should be.  I like to think it is what Carlos had in mind when he created the katas we danced today.

Thank you, my Fabulous Nia Teachers.  And thank you, Carlos for all that you have given to Nia.

Here is one song, this is not an example of Carlos’ choeography, because it is a Free Dance.  I didn’t want to miss one minute of his dances.  I could only bring myself to record a Free Dance.  🙂

Want more information regarding what Nia is, go to my site:  HelpYouWell.com.

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