Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

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

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

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

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

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia instructor’

My Organization of the Choreography for Close to My Skin

Posted by terrepruitt on April 16, 2015

The current Nia routine I am trying to learn is taking me a long time.  I have mentioned before that I feel it takes me a long time to learn a routine, but this one seems even longer.  The first thing I do is listen to the music.  I had been doing so for a couple of weeks, then I got busy for a couple of days and hadn’t turned it on.  When I went to the album in my iTunes I was shocked to see I had never listened past the sixth song.  In fact, at that point I had never made it through the entire sixth song (that is how annoying it is).  So I realized I needed to watch the Nia Training DVD.  Watching the choreography usually helps me get through a song that I don’t like because it gives me points of reference.  But this workout is filmed where the teacher and class are FACING the camera.  I don’t like this since I primarily teach with my back towards the class.  Back to the class really helps people copy the moves because they don’t have the whole “mirroring” issue to resolve.  When I am trying to learn a routine and the people on the DVD are facing me, I don’t care for it.  I do it as mirror, they are using their left foot and I am using my right, so I go right when they say “Go left”.   All trainers sometimes state the opposite side or direction, but when they are actually USING the left, but I am mirroring them, it confuses my brain.  In addition to the camera angle challenge (for me) this particular song is said to be a different version than they thought they were getting.  So the choreography appears to be being created as the routine is being filmed.  So it is very loose.  I often feel that Debbie Rosas, in her brilliance, has so many ideas about choreography for one song that she sometimes shares them all during the filming and there ends up being a lot of moves in one song.  I am grateful that the belts I have taken thus far have emphasized “less is more” and we have permission to pick a couple of moves from the song on the DVD and do them to the song.  So that is what I did with one of the songs.  I picked a few of the moves she did and organized them into something I can learn.

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I will work on learning it this way.  Although I will need a lot of practice because the song tends to mesmerize me and I lose my place.  Hopefully as I grow more familiar with the moves and music I can play with it as the Debbie did. Since I don’t watch the DVDs that are filmed with the class facing front as many times as I watch the other ones I need to have a map I can follow from the get go.  That is also the case for me when the song is very long and repetitive.  I need to have a pattern, even then I can get lost in a song like this.  And as I mentioned — just listening to it, trying to learn the song itself is not something I have been able to do.  Every time I turn it on to learn it, half way through I am so annoyed by it, I turn it off.  But moving to it is another thing.  That is why when I don’t like a song, I look to the choreography because often times when the choreography makes sense it allows me to get through the song.  More often than not I end up liking the song.  We will see what happens with this song.  It is like a dripping faucet.

Except for the class and the trainer facing the camera and the song titles not being shown as each song begins, the Nia training material continues to be stellar.  At the end of 2014, Nia HQ put out the new Routines.  I had ordered three earlier in the year, I just received the fourth one.  I am going to add the titles in with the AWESOME software I have on trial.  I have to do it before my 30 days is up.  Then I will continue learning the routine I am working on.  I will debut it to my class soon.

When you take group exercise classes do you like the instructor to face you?  Have you ever noticed how a lot of songs are very repetitive?

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Adding More Noise To The Mix

Posted by terrepruitt on June 10, 2014

We have sounding in Nia . . . where we make sounds as we are dancing.  Plus people are always invited and . . . in my class . . . encouraged to sing.  I’ve written several posts about sounding and put them in their own category under Nia.  (Click here for the link to those posts)  Although I do not think of making sounds as being regulated to Nia, I just have them as a sub-category under the category Nia.  I think sounds are appropriate to make during other exercises and workouts.  One that always comes to mind when people seem to need convincing of making noises and exercising is martial arts.  Once I remind them that “Hi-Ya!” is a common sound, they seem to relax into the idea a bit.  As I probably have mentioned before, I remember it being an unspoken rule that you didn’t make noise while you are doing Jazzercise, lifting weights, or working out at the Lady Spa.  Could have been ideal that it was unladylike to make noise.  I don’t know, because I never remember being told NOT to make a sound, I just know that no one did it.  It was almost as if even breathing heavy was taboo!  One reason I love Nia:   breathing and making sounds are encouraged.  But I think of these sounds as helping with the flow of oxygen and energy.  I think of them as stress relieving and joy bringing.  So when I was flipping through Yoga Journal and came across an article titled “How To Be Fearless” I thought, “Huh?  Interesting.”  Mark Moliterno, an opera singer and yoga instructor has paired yoga with voice to create YogaVoice.

This reminded me of one of Nia’s instructors who created Kivo® The Kinetic Voice . . . which is – according to her website – “a vocal practice that uses the whole body. It is designed to harness the power of vocal vibration and movement as transformational tools that unlock energy, activate your true radiance and empower you to go out and create the life you were born to live.”  So . . . back to the article when I looked at the chart within the article I realized that the pairings were for more than just overcoming public speaking jitters as the subtitle read.  It was for a list of different areas.

Just as we know certain sounds to be related to certain chakras and feelings, you probably also know poses are related to certain chakras and feelings.  When sounds and asanas are paired up they can be very beneficial.  I would bet many of you are familiar with “OM” as a yoga chant. Different sounds and different mantras can be used.  The information on the YogaVoice websites leads me to believe this is different from chanting while doing yoga, there are indications that it goes beyond that.

I just love that more sounding is coming into the workout.  Since I believe there is a lot more to sounding — a lot more benefits can be reaped than just breathing — I love movement forms that stem from sounding or that incorporate it.

Do you believe the is benefits to making noises while working out?  Do you make noises while exercising?

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Posted in Nia, Sounding, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Breathing – It’s A Good Thing

Posted by terrepruitt on July 11, 2013

Many people hold their breath while working out.  Or even just concentrating.  I was recently learning something and concentrating really hard and my husband said, “Are you holding your breath?”  I burst out laughing because I was in fact holding my breath.  I didn’t even realize it until he asked.  I thought it was funny that I was holding my breath and I thought it was extra funny because I remind people to breathe all the time.  Exercising and concentrating are two things that make people hold their breath so if they are concentrating while exercising it makes sense that it happens.  Also people tend to hold their breath when lifting something heavy.  This type of  maneuver or effect is called the valsalva maneuver or valsalva effect.  While some people who do heavy lifting claim it is good to do the valsalva maneuver and that it helps with the lifting others say it is not good and it does not help.  For me and my students breathing is ALWAYS in order.  How you breathe depends on what you are doing.  If you are lifting weights or doing exercises your breathing is different from when you are doing a cardio workout, such as Nia.

Breathing allows oxygen get to the muscles.  The muscles need that.  For me, I find that when I breathe I can move better.  That was actually the point of my husband asking me if I were breathing.  He could tell by the way I was moving that I was not breathing.  He was across the room and he could tell.  Even though the movement I was doing was very small by holding my breath my movements did not flow and were very sporadic.

One of my husband’s favorite sayings is “If you do not breathe correctly, you do not move correctly.”  He got that from a campy film called  Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins from 1985, but, I’ll be darned if it is not 100% accurate!

One way trainers and instructors ensure breathing is to have the client/student talk.  When you are talking you are breathing.  In Nia we sing, laugh, shout, and in general make all types of noises.  In Nia we call it sounding.  By engaging in sounding we are ensuring we are breathing.  It is necessary for the body, but it is also fun for the spirit.

A sound made my a sharp exhalation helps both with stabilization of the core, but to me it seems to do a better job of engaging the core muscles than just holding my breath.  This method could be utilized during lifting or an agility move.  Sometimes when doing an exercise that is challenging it can help to pant with either your tongue out as an animal would or with semi-pursed lips.  Also when a muscles seems fatigued it often helps to take that extra deep breath.  No matter how you breathe remember it really is important to do so.  And even though it might sound silly that we “forget” to breathe, it is a common occurrence.  So practice remembering to breathe.  Breathing is a good thing!

Do you ever find yourself holding your breath?  When?

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

Beets Have Better Overall Nutrition Than Dirt

Posted by terrepruitt on September 22, 2012

Since I am still busy with my Nia classes and I have my Zumba teaching debut coming up, it really helps to have produce delivered.  I know Nia and Zumba instructors that can learn a routine in an afternoon and teach it that night.  I am not one of those teachers.  It takes me a long time, so something that saves me a trip to the store is awesome.  But then I do spend a little time trying to figure out what to do with the new-to-me produce.  I also like to look up the nutrition.  One thing I didn’t remember when I received my beets is that the beet greens can be eaten.  I forgot about my own post Borscht Is Beets and I just chopped them off and threw them away.  Now I know.  I do have faith that beets have more nutrition than dirt, but I don’t actually know the nutrition value of dirt, so I really am just going off of faith.

As a reminder beets have anti-inflammatory affects along with antioxidant properties.  According to World’s Healthiest Food website here are some numbers on a cup of raw beet:

1.00 cup rawDance 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
136.00 grams
58.48 calories
folate 148.24 mcg
manganese 0.45 mg
fiber 3.81 g
potassium 442.00 mg
vitamin C 6.66 mg
tryptophan 0.03 g
magnesium 31.28 mg
iron 1.09 mg
phosphorus 54.40 mg
copper 0.10 mg

The website states that the phytonutrients in beets are called betalains and the longer the beets are cooked, the less there are in the root.  They “recommend that you keep beet steaming times to 15 minutes or less, and roasting times under an hour.”  So some of the nutritional value is higher the less they are cooked.  I had mentioned something similar in my Borscht post.

The paper that comes with the produce I have delivered states that the beets were gold beets.  Being unfamiliar with beets I say, “Ok.”, but they were not yellow.  They were deep red/purple — as you can see.  And I KNOW, I have seen yellow beets before.  I had a co-worker who loved beets and she would eat them in all the colors.  Maybe the yellow ones aren’t called gold beets and these really were gold beets?  I don’t know.  The red and yellow pigment in beets lose their “super powers” the more the beets are cooked.

Since I have had my first foray into cooking beets and making something with beets I think I can do it again.  I know I just made a salad, but it wasn’t terrible.  I think I need to move onto something my husband just loves.  In fact when I asked him if he liked beets he said yes and he reminded me that he loves borscht.  I forgot he loved borscht and I forgot I posted about it.  So I think I will actually purchase some beets and give it a try.

This is exactly one of the reasons I chose to have a produce box delivered.  I never would have bought beets — obviously since back in January 2011 I talked about them and STILL haven’t done it.  So now it is one of the things I can add to our list of vegetables for us to eat.  I have the tendency to buy the same vegetables over and over even though I know variety is good.  I just don’t buy it if I don’t know what to do with it.  But when it lands on my doorstep, I feel as if I have to find something to do with it.  I am so excited to be expanding my produce horizons.  I also love that so many people have ideas on what to do with these new-to-me items.

Do any of you like Borscht?  Do you have a recipe for it?  

Posted in Food, Vegetables | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Common Dance Turn – Four Point / Aikido

Posted by terrepruitt on July 9, 2012

In Nia there are 52 Moves that run through the Nia Routines.  One move that we do quite often is not on the list of 52 moves.  I call it a four-point turn because we take four steps to do it.  In one of the routines I recently learned the instructor calls it an Aikido turn.  Since Nia borrows moves and ideas from Aikido and associates Aikido with circular, spiral, and spherical motion, it makes sense this turn would be called an Aikido turn.  As with many dance exercises the moves can sometimes be done fast or slow depending upon the music.  Sometimes in a Nia routine we can do the same move at different speeds.  With the four-point – which is four step – or Aikido turn – the best way to accomplish it is by starting with the first step being a “toes out” type of step.  Point the foot out, away from the body in the direction you want to turn.  Allow the entire thigh to turn out.  Whether you are going to do a fast or slow turn, this first step is key in making it all the way around.  Another key is to LOOK!  Look the direction you want to turn.  Also helpful is hands and arms.  Allow your hand to follow after the eyes.  The order would be eyes/head, hand/arm, foot/leg.  While this is one arrangement of the order, sometimes your arms might actually be doing something else and that is fine too.  It could be that the hands and arms lead, but whatever the case your eyes can be a part of the turn.  Nia is a dance workout so sometimes we might have our arms dancing in another way to the music.

For a beginner learning the turn, I would make the previously mentioned suggestion of the order.  Eyes/head, hand/arm, foot/leg.  The thigh bone/foot turned out.  Then step on that “toes out” foot, weighting it 100%, as you step all your weight on it your body will turn in the direction you want to go.  Your free leg can be swung around to what seems like in front of your “toes out” foot, but by the time you step onto it, it will end up being besides the toes out foot because you will put all your weight into your second step and take the weight off the “toes out” foot so for a moment they will be side-by-side.  Then you will swing your free leg behind to land about in line with the heel of your weighted foot.  You will weight the foot that just was swung, and turn the other foot to parallel . . . making that the fourth point or step.

Maybe left and right indications will work better for you:  The order:  Turn your head/eyes to the left , allow your hand/arm to follow.  Move your LEFT FOOT to “toes out” turning your left thigh bone to the left.  Then step on your LEFT FOOT in a “toes out” position, put your weight on it 100%.  As you are stepping all your weight on your LEFT FOOT, allow your body to turn to the left, in the direction you want to go.  Swing your RIGHT LEG (free leg) around to what seems like in front of your LEFT FOOT.  Step onto your RIGHT FOOT,  toes pointing to the back of the room (or what started off as the back of the room), take the weight off the LEFT FOOT (“toes out” foot).  Swing your LEFT FOOT (free leg) behind to land about in line with the heel of your RIGHT FOOT (weighted foot).  You will stand on the LEFT FOOT, and turn the RIGHT FOOT to parallel . . . making that the fourth point or step.

Right to left works the same but start with your right foot.

To me, it is actually easier to do it fast than slow.  But either way the hips get great rotation in the sockets.  I was taught that we do not slide on our feet or spin on our feet.  We dance barefoot so it is very different than if you have dance shoes on.  There is not a nice layer of material that allows for easy sliding and spinning.  We pick up our feet so as not to get blisters and to better condition the feet and the legs.  So when we turn we are not spinning on the balls of our feet.  That is one reason why I call it a four-point turn because we are hitting “points” in our dance.  Points, steps, either way it is not a spin on the foot.  This is another reason why it is important to start the turn with the toes already turned out because we also always want to be gentle on our knees.  Also in Nia we are always reminded to remember our own body’s way.  It is more important to protect and love our knees than it is to make it all they way around when doing a turn!

This is a pretty common dance move in dance exercise classes, but it is not always easy and can present a challenge.  I believe it becomes particularly challenging when the person doing it wants to keep their eyes on the instructor.  The best way to do it is to allow the eyes to move with the turn.

This is also a very fun move because you never know what we are going to do at either end (after the 4th step).    Now that you got the turn down come to a Nia class and see what could be waiting at the end!  You got the turn down, right?

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Another Zumba and Nia Comparison

Posted by terrepruitt on June 30, 2012

I teach Nia.  I have been teaching Nia for three and a half years.  Not as many people who I talk to have heard of Nia as have heard of Zumba so I am constantly being asked the difference between Nia and Zumba. Since I am often asked I am often thinking about them and comparing them. First, they are actually the same in that music is played and participants dance to it.  Second, in both the instructor leads the participants through the various dance moves.  Third, participants of both claim they are both fun. One difference is Nia is an experience in five sensations, Zumba seems to concentrate on one.

The experience is such a big part of Nia we actually call them the five sensations of Nia.  I have posted about them before (FAMSS).  They are the sensation of flexibility, of agility, of mobility, of strength, and of stability.  In a Nia class your body will move in a way that allows you to sense the energy moving out and away.  You will bend and stretch to play with flexibility, either retaining what you have or improving upon it.  There are moves in the routines that require the start and the stop.  The movement that is agility could be done with our feet, our arms, our hands, our bodies, our heads or a combination of body parts but we sense the start and the stop.  With every routine there is a lot of mobility, some routines have more than others, but all of them that I have experienced have a lot.  With mobility it is just the same as agility in that it could be a body part that is moving or our whole body.  Whatever the case there is a lot of movement from each joint that helps create a healthy joint by allowing the fluid to move to it and within it.  Then we also play with strength.  We might squeeze our muscles sensing the energy moving in as if the bones are being hugged by the muscles.  We might do squats or sit-ups, punches and/or kicks, but there is time where we play with strength.  I say Nia is very big on balance because we do many moves that requires us to be stable.  Many of our moves are balancing on one leg, could be a kick, could be a stance, but it requires stability.  Moving from one move to the next often requires us to call upon our stability.  In a Nia routine we experience all of these sensations.  I’ve reached the conclusion that Zumba is primarily agility.

In Zumba the moves are always fast.  So it is a constant state of start and stop.  The only sensation I sense while doing Zumba is agility.  Fast start, fast stop . . . .  even when there is a stretch where your muscles are yearning for a second to move to their fullest length, it is a fast stretch that does not allow for the muscle to be fully stretched.  Doing a full hour of agility is not a bad thing at all.  It can be fun and it can produce a lot of sweat.  And many of us are programmed to think that sweat equals a good workout.  I think that if you are adding Zumba to a stretching program that has some balance practice in it that is great.

I am also a believer that there are a lot of things that compliment Nia too.  I actually think that if you like Nia and Zumba and you are able to do both that is a nice combination.  You get two different types of cardio.  One that is a workout in the sensation of agility and one that can move you through more use of the entire body to get that heart pumping.

I really believe that whatever gets you moving is GREAT.  I think that you have to like what you do in order to make it a constant in your life.  So Zumba, Nia, Jazzercise, U-Jam, yoga, kickboxing, bootcamp, weight training, whatever works for you is great.  Do what you will do!  That is the key!

It is that I am always asked about the difference between Zumba and Nia that I am always thinking about it and this was my latest thought after I did a Zumba class.  I think I posted before about how I am left wanting to extend and finish my moves in Zumba and it dawned on me that it is the sensation of agility that is predominant in Zumba.  Some Zumba classes I have attended do take a song to stretch at the end, but not all of them.  So I guess it depends on the instructor.  Nia instructors are encouraged to infuse their classes and the routines with their personalities, so I am sure that every Nia class has a few differences too.

Both Nia and Zumba are great cardio workouts.  It just depends on what you want to do during your workout and what you want to get out of it.  Do what you will do!

So, what is it that you do? 

Posted in Nia, Zumba | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Nia In The Mirror

Posted by terrepruitt on January 12, 2010

I went to San Carlos today to teach my first Nia class for the City of San Carlos Park and Recreation Department.  I wanted to get there at least 30 minutes early.  I was late, not for the class but for my getting there 30 minutes early.  The man at the desk was on the phone when I arrived and there was a woman in front of me needing assistance.

He was kind enough to get off the phone since he wasn’t able to help the person.  Sounded like a co-worker he said he would call back.  And he asked us if we needed help. The woman that was before me asked where the Nia class was and he asked her if she was the instructor at which time I pointed to myself.

So he took us to the room, helped with the music and the people started coming in.   (Thanks, Nick!)

There is always “business” to handle in a class.  Either signing in, or making sure everyone is signed up, or checking passes, or something.  So we handled that as people were coming in.

This class room was different as it has no mirror.  I have talked to a lot of people who prefer the teacher to face away from the students as we do in Nia, but I was not certain about that without a mirror to look at my participants in.  So I started off facing them.  Then when we got to a point when we would be moving right and left, I turned.

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, Community Center Classes

January 2010

Nia is so fun and amazing because even though I could not see the people in the mirror I could sense they were there and moving as I was.  When I turned around to look they were doing it just beautifully.  Was every doing it exactly the same?  No.  Was everyone perfectly on step?  No.  But it is so beautiful because when I turned to make sure everyone was ok, they would smile.  They would laugh.  They were ok, they were doing Nia.

Most of them were new to Nia.  We had a good time.  When we did some moving around the room using the space people were smiling and sounding.  It was good.  I felt as if even though I didn’t have a mirror in which to see my own face and my own body, I was still seeing my reflection.  I was seeing joy in movement.  Fun in exercise.  Happiness in the workout.  Nia.

Will all nineteen people come back?  Well, some of them will because they had registered.  Will the all thirteen that came for the “Try It”?  No, probably not all of them.  I know for a fact that one won’t because she has signed up for school with a class on that same night and she just came to try it.  And other people will not have the time, but at least we danced together.  We had fun.  I shared Nia with some people who didn’t know about it.  I am sure that even though they might not be able to make my class, they will be at others in the future.  I think that is good.

Next week I will leave San Jose a few minutes earlier and get there 30 minutes early!

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Nia In Many Forms

Posted by terrepruitt on November 7, 2009

There is always something Nia going on. Often times visting instructors will host a workshop or two. When they are in an area doing a workshop they often tack on a class or two so that even if you are not going to partake in the workshop you still can do Nia with them. It is a great way to other teachers from all over. This weekend there is a workshop that I am able to attend but I was able to go to the Nia class that was held the night before the workshop.

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It was an hour and a half class. Due to the huge amount of commute traffic from San Jose to Concord we missed the first 20 minutes, but we were able to jump right in and get a great workout in the time we had.

The visiting instructor was Winalee Zeeb. She has been doing Nia since 1991. She is a first degree Nia Black Belt, a Nia White Belt Trainer, and she has her own studio in Michigan called Heartdance.

The event is being held at The Big C Athletic Club. The class I went to was also at that location.  I had a great time moving on carpeted thick padded floor. We moved fast and slow, and experienced fire and soul. It was a great workout. Always amazing me because it never feels like exercise. I am always amazed when the class ends. It was the first time I had the pleasure of meeting Winalee. She said we did a bit of Aya and a bit of Velvet. I am not sure what other routines were in there, but it was a great time.

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I often post events on my site so if you are interested in attending Nia workshops and events in my area check my site.

I was still trying to get in the swing of things when I decided to snap a few photos.  I was planning on taking more, but since we had missed a few minutes already I didn’t want to take time standing around taking the pictures, but I snapped it and a couple more just to give you an idea.

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nia Jam

Posted by terrepruitt on August 8, 2009

You might have seen me “talk” about it somewhere. They have them four times a year in the wide Bay Area (and beyond) recently I went to my first one. Not only was it my first Nia Jam, but I was going to teach. Nice.

It is somewhat like a “Jam Session” we’ve all heard of, a bunch of musicians get together and play, sometimes certain songs, sometimes making stuff up as they go . . . whatever, it is a jam.

Well, with the Nia Jam they pick a focus and arrange the music to comply with the Nia Workout cycles and to assist in sticking with the focus. And then a group of teachers teach and just have a good time. Students that attend the jams get treated to a variety of styles and music. It is just like one big party.

It was so fun to be able to workout with all the different teachers getting a sample of all the different Nia classes around the area**.

The room we held the class in was awesome. It was in a open room at Stanford University in Palo Alto. The room was rectangle shape and there were mirrors on one of the longs walls and the other long wall opened up, it was glass doors. The floor was wood, I believe, I want to say it was cushioned because It felt somewhat like the floor at the studio where I teach in San Jose. We danced a lot and it didn’t feel like cement directly under the floor.

The wall that opened up, opened onto a patio we had all to ourselves. The weather was perfect.

The Nia Jam was fabulous, it was freeing, it was inspirational. I met a lovely group of Nia Teachers from around the area and beyond. It left me feeling really sweaty and alive. Very energized. I would like to invite you to our next one. When I have the details I will let you know.

 

**Check the main website for regular classes, if you don’t see one in your area call the nearest instructor, she might know about one that is NOT on the main website. NiaNow.com  Or visit my site for current information about classes in San Jose and Los Gatos.

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