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 Intensive’

Guidance – Not A Personal Attack

Posted by terrepruitt on June 21, 2017

In the two Nia Intensives I have attended, one of the things we cover first is the Energy Allies or more commonly known as the Four Agreements. As I attend many classes and teach many classes I am reminded over and over again how important these ideals are.  In this post I am talking mainly in reference to #3 (Don’t take anything personally). What must happen is there needs to be an unspoken agreement that students and teachers have when they enter a class, the student agrees to not take things personally — a correction or attention given by the teacher is not personal, the student is there to learn and improve so guidance is given as needed and as time (in class and holding the pose) allows.  Perhaps  it would be a good idea to remind everyone at the beginning of a session of classes or a workshop.  A yoga instructor has to have confidence and faith that the students know they are not being picked on or singled out for any type of personal reason. The teacher is there to help them do the poses to the best of their ability. If the student feels picked on then they will not be open to adjustment and guidance. So while it is “personal” in the sense that it is to help you personally, it is not an attack on your person.

There are so many things going on in people’s lives and I understand that a student can walk in and be in a tender state, but if they are there to learn the instructor cannot be concerned with the question of “will adjusting their form hurt their feelings?”  And believe it or not, there is also the other side of the coin. Where some students feel if the instructor doesn’t correct them or give them attention the teacher is slighting them. See how this type of “taking things personal” can just completely affect the effectiveness in class?

If a person is new to yoga and has never been in a class, unless they are at risk for injury, I might not say anything. Yoga is so much about sensing your body, that I believe it is important to let the person get a sense of things. If I say to move the left foot forward about a foot and have the toes point forward, I probably won’t correct a new student right away if they move up a few inches and the toes point off to the side. I want to give them a chance to learn how their body responds. But, if we do that same move multiple times in the class, I might see if they can nudge their foot forward and turn their toes. But I try not to adjust them much in a first class situation. It just seems more appropriate to let them learn some before starting to adjust.

It is very helpful when the instructor knows the students. If a student has been coming to class for a while often times the instructor will learn what that person is capable of. And it could be that someone walks into one of my classes and sees things that they would “correct” if they were a teacher. But perhaps they don’t know that the person whose toes don’t turn out all the way just had leg surgery. Or the person barely bending over has back issues. Or it could be that a student has been adjusted before, but it is just more comfortable for them to do it they way they are doing it. There are so many reasons why an adjustment may not be done.

I just wanted to remind people that teachers do not “pick on” students. We see potential and we are there to help a student reach it. Try not to take it personal either way (if a teacher adjusts you or not).  Hopefully you are able to learn as you go and enjoy what you are getting.

Do you like it when a teacher adjusts you (either verbally or physically)?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nia Belt System Previously

Posted by terrepruitt on July 24, 2014

Recently someone asked me about the Nia Belt system.  I pointed him to my original post on Nia’s Belt System.  The one where I mentioned having seen many articles back then (in 2009) talking about the belt levels as if people had to progress through them in order to participate in Nia.  That is not the case.  Nia is a dance exercise.  It is a workout.  You can go to a Nia class just like you can go to a Zumba Fitness Class, a Jazzercize class, a UJAM class, a Hip-Hop class, a yoga class or any other class where you just walk in and do it.  You can just walk in and do Nia.  No strings (or belts — tee hee!) attached.  Just move your body to the music and enjoy the sensation.  Get a workout.  Get some exercise in.  Dance.  The belts are for people who want to learn more.

Nia has a “self discovery” program.  I don’t want to say self-improvement because some people might think, “I don’t need improving.” and you would be right.  The intensives are workshops of about 50 hours that show you how to experience movement in your body, show you how to relate to things.  The intensives show you many different things.  Each intensive is labeled with a belt color to help distinguish it from the others.  I also pointed him to my website which has the belt colors and the focuses of each belt.  But I was reminded that the information on my site, from 2012, is not the current information.  Nia is always updated herself.  She is like the co-creator, Debbie Rosas, she like to be current.  Below is the information from 2012.  I want to make record of it.  Plus I wanted to keep it available in case anyone was interested in remember it and/or comparing it to the newly worded focuses.  You can go to my site at Nia Belt Levels and Focuses  to see the newly worded focuses and intents for each belt.

In 2012 when I put the information on my site there was a White Belt, a Blue Belt, a Brown Belt, and a Black Belt available to anyone.  There is now a 1st Degree Black Belt.   There is a Green Belt for people who are teaching and have a Nia Livelihood Membership.

“Each of the four belts mentioned has a separate set of principles.  There are 13 principles for each belt, each belt also has a focus.

The focus for a White Belt is physical sensation.   (Terre earned her White Belt in December 2008.)

The focus for a Blue Belt is communication, relationship and intimacy.  (Terre earned her Blue Belt in November 2012.)

The focus for Brown Belt is sensing and perceiving energy.

The focus for Black Belt is unlimited creativity.

As I said, there is an intensive, Green Belt, that is just for Nia teachers, the focus for a Green Belt is the craft of teaching Nia.  This is an optional intensive.” **

 

When I originally took my White Belt in 2012, the Green Belt was just being created and the original thought was Nia was going to have White Belts that are teaching take it next, before blue.  But by the time I had enough money saved up to take my next belt (yes, it took FOUR years) they had relaxed that requirement and now allow people to take the Green Belt when and if they want.  I want to take it.  However there was a Blue Belt Intensive that was closer and did not require air travel and hotel expenses.  So I took the Blue Belt Training prior to the Green Belt Training.

Except for the Green Belt there is no testing as in a martial arts type of setting.  And the Green Belt test is written.  There IS 50+ hours of movement, lectures, thinking, sensing, learning, agreeing, disagreeing, discovering, connecting dots, ah-has, oh-nos, and ooo-ahs.  It is incredible and intense.  The training that Nia delivers is excellent.

My posts about the principles of the White Belt and the Blue Belt can help give you a better idea of what we study in the intensives (at least those two), but it is really something one has to experience for oneself.

I hope you click over to my site to see the new verbiage for the focuses and the added intents.

 

**The belt information was taken from the Nia Now website on November 14, 2012.

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

Jazz Square Using The Clock

Posted by terrepruitt on October 12, 2013

I took dance lessons when I was young.  I cannot remember a time when I didn’t know the Jazz Square.  Of course there had to be a time because one is not born knowing what a Jazz Square is much less how to do one.  But I don’t remember not knowing how to do it.  So I actually must have learned it prior to my dance lessons, because I was young when I took my lessons but not THAT young.  Whatever the case . . . . unfortunately it was all too long ago for me to truly know . . . I knew what a Jazz Square was when I entered my first Nia Class and when I took the Nia White Belt Intensive.  While the Jazz Square is not included as one of Nia’s 52 Moves it is something we do a lot in our routines.  It could be considered part of the Jazz Dance that is one of the Nine Movement forms that make up Nia.  Well, not everyone has had dance lessons or knows how to do a Jazz Square.  So we can use the clock to help them.

Nia has a core set of moves called Nia’s 52 Moves.  Three of them actually have “clock” in their names.  One is Rock Around the Clock, another is Slow Clock, and another is Fast Clock.  So it makes sense that with those moves we would use a clock image to do the move and/or help explain and instruct the move.  I have posted before about how we use the clock to help direct other moves.  Well, the Jazz Square is one of them.  While it is called a square it sometimes might be more of a rectangle, but the idea is to use the four corners.

First thing to know is that the Jazz Square is just four steps.  So often I will just have my students march or step four counts.  Sometimes we will get the dance going with that and then move to the square.  Some people stay with the marching and that is fine.  Another VERY important thing to know AND DO is to weight each step.  As in, put all your weight onto each step you take.  When you are learning the jazz square this is of the utmost importance.  This will ensure that you are taking a left, right, left, right (or right, left, right, left) approach and not trying to use the same foot – as in left, left, right, left – and just getting tangled up.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Zumba, PiYo, Gentle YogaLet’s do a Jazz Square left-over-right.  So we will be starting with our left foot and having it cross over the right foot to the right side.  The left foot comes over to the right and lands on 2 o’clock, the right foot comes back to the back right corner and lands on 4 o’clock.   Then the left foot steps back to the back left corner – 8 o’clock, then the right foot steps over to the upper left corner – 10 o’clock.  That is one jazz square.  To keep going the left foot swings around the right foot to the upper right corner – 2 o’clock and you continue on.

So right-over-left is: right foot to upper left corner (10 o’clock), left foot to back left corner (8 o’clock), right foot to back right corner (4 o’clock), left foot to upper right corner (2 o’clock).  To keep going the right foot must swing around the left foot back up to the upper left corner (10 o’clock).

Sometimes when we are doing a fast jazz square my square turns into a diamond with step one being more at 1 and the corners a little askew.  But I have corners!

As with many things sometimes it is easier for a person to do it one way than the other.  So it might be easy to do left foot over right foot, but when you switch it is not as easy.  Sometimes that is when a student will march.  Or they will do the jazz square but not the hand or body movement that we pair with it.  Continuing to move is the key so whatever they do is great.  Eventually with practice, the can do it!

Perhaps this will help.

Key things to remember:

  • FOUR steps
  • Put your weight on every step
  • Step to 2, 4, 8, 10 – left, right, left, right or
  • Step to 10, 8, 4, 2 – right, left, right, left
  • Marching is an option
  • Have fun

Do you do the Jazz Square?  Does this help?  Can you do the Jazz Square and a shimmy?  Both ways?

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

Nia’s Routine Pamphlets

Posted by terrepruitt on June 1, 2013

Nia Technique’s Outstanding Routine DVDs (Part 3)

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

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

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

“Track 1: Sexy Teaches You To —

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

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

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaThe next section in the pamphlet gives you the 8BC’s.  Just the bars of the 8BC’s.  There is indicators as to what the sections are in the song, but no flowering, no dressing, no choreography.  Just the bars.  There is a lot left to still do with the bars.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Crossover Ideas

Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2013

If you’ve read a post or two of mine you know there are many things I love about Nia.  I think that Nia is a great workout, but I also think that a lot of the ideas, principles, values, and “things” can be used in everyday life.  That is one reason why I share so many things about Nia here.  I am working to get Nia out there so people know what it is, but I understand not everyone likes to do dance exercise as their type of workout, but there is a lot of Nia that can be applied to every day.  Nia has a lot of ideas that can be applied to more than just the original place you hear it.  For instance in the Nia White Belt, the manual states:

“New Ways – It Can Be a Stretch!

Some of this information may shake up your reality.  Nia may disrupt your normal methods of doing, being and communicating.  We do not intend to create disharmony or fear.  We have no desire to aggressively challenge who you are, what you believe in, or what you stand for.  The information we share with you is intended to assist you, inspire you, and to celebrate human potential.”

The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual March 2001, V3, page 1-5

I love that.  I love that when taking a Nia intensive it is explained that you might come across new things.  You might be shown a different way or something new, but they are not out to change you into what they believe, but to allow you to see something in a new way.  All that is really asked of you is to have an open mind, heart, and body.  It is even suggested not to examine or think about stuff too much.  The belief is that you will get what you need when you need it.  That is a great relief too because there is so much information it really takes the pressure off when it is understood that you will not get it all or remember it all upon first being exposed.

What is so tremendous is that this same information, this same philosophy can be brought into a Nia class.  If you have never done Nia before the first time can be a surprise.  It can surprise your senses, your body, your mind, your spirit.  It can leave some people feeling a little unsure.  I mean not every exercise class has you parting clouds, swimming in water, stepping in goo, and prancing like a pony.  Some of this type of stuff can shake up someone’s reality.  This type of movement might completely disrupt what they think of as normal methods of exercise.  They might not be able to “get into” prancing like a pony.  Prancing might not fit into their idea of exercise.  But I know that if they have an openness of mind they will wake up the next day and realize that ponies get in a good work out.  The “normal” methods of being might not have them pulsing their pelvis, shimmying their shoulders, or doing a sexy hip bump.  Nia doesn’t want to make people uncomfortable with these things, but this type of movement is “normal” for the body by design.  These moves aren’t meant to challenge you or what you believe in, they are meant to allow you to move your body as it was designed to move.

With the fun movements and ideas included in a Nia class it can easily inspire your and allow you to celebrate the human potential—to celebrate your body’s potential.  This can kind of go along with my last post about spirit.  It could be your spirit that lets you just let loose and gyrate those hips without fear.  The idea here is to come to a Nia class with an open mind.  Don’t let they way you’ve been taught exercise should be to keep you from experiencing something new.  Don’t let fear of something unknown and/or different scare you off.  Don’t think that just because it is unknown to you or different that the goal is to change you into something you are not.  Just come and let your body move and let IT tell you what it thinks of Nia.

This week (February 10 through February 16, 2013) I am teaching EIGHT Nia classes.  If you are local it would be GREAT to see you in at least one.  They are at all different times on different days in many different places (most in San Jose, one in Santa Cruz).  I bet there is one that would work for you: http://www.helpyouwell.com  Also, in case you are not local or one of the eight doesn’t work for you check out Nianow.com.  There are classes all over the world!  Dare to dance?

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

Pearls And The Realms, Part Of Nia Blue Belt Principle #3

Posted by terrepruitt on December 11, 2012

Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity – Pearls and the Realms, is an exciting principle.  I found it really exciting because there are things that Nia teachers are supposed to do in Nia class that I really wanted to learn to do better.  There is a particular way we are supposed to teach or more accurately there is a tool that we have available to us to use while we teach.  The “tool” is called a pearl.  When I go to other Nia classes I often find myself wanting to stop moving and just write down what the other teachers are saying.  I often find their verbiage, their wording for something to be just what the move is about and so I want to use that in my class.  Since I don’t REALLY want to stop dancing I repeat it in my head while I am dancing and sometimes I can even convince myself that I will remember what they said.  Sometimes I do remember and sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes I have a vague recollection that leads to a pearl of my own that works out fine.  These pearls are what we use to enhance the class.  They are words that allow the participant to connect to a move, the music, a feeling, a sensation, almost anything . . . . and this in turn allows for a better experience.  Part of the Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity, was a lesson on how to come up with pearls.  It was insight into where they can come from.

As a reminder, in these first posts about the Nia Blue Belt Principles I am just writing quick about what I initially got out of it.  I am just sharing and getting it down in print as a tool to help processes it.  This principle has a lot more to it than just assist with what to say and how to describe things in a Nia class.  As I said the principle is Awareness, Insight, Clarity, with a tag line of Pearls and the Realms.  And it is the pearls that I have been longing to learn more about.  So that is what I gleaned most about this principle.  As I go back and read the manual I am sure I will even get more.  As I continue to teach even more will be revealed.

Have I mentioned before that the manual is 276 pages?  Yeah.  It is intense.  It is a lot of information.  It is amazing.

Anyway . . . this principle gives us the place that the pearls come from.  It helps categorize them.  In knowing where they come from it is easier to allow them to come.  In the categories or realms a Nia teacher can decide to utilize pears from all realms.  To me this can help balance a class.An example of pearls we could use for each realm in a class would be:

Everybody sense your ankle.  This would be from the physical realm.
Everybody feel lonely.  This would be from the emotional realm.
Everybody imagine you are a dog.  This would be from the mental realm.
Everybody wiggle and jiggle.  This would be from the spirit realm.

I was so excited to learn the different type of pearls.  Part of my excitement came from confirming pearls don’t have to be physical and part of it came from realizing I did use pearls more than I thought.  I thought I used them a lot less, so it was nice to learn I use them, I just didn’t know it.

So the pearl portion of Nia Blue Belt Principle #3 – Awareness, Insight, Clarity was a great eye-opening.  And, of course, you really can’t have the pearls without awareness, insight, and clarity, right?  I didn’t explain that here, but it’s true.  This post jumped right to the middle.  I may or may not do a post explaining about the first part.  I really think I should leave somethings for you to learn when you do your Blue Belt Intensive.  😉

Do you get excited when you think you are not doing something you are supposed to be doing but you find out you are doing it?

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The Joy of Being In Relationship With The Nia Blue Belt Principles

Posted by terrepruitt on November 27, 2012

The Nia Blue Belt has 13 principles as does the Nia White Belt, Nia Brown Belt, and Nia Black Belt.  The principles for the Blue Belt were created to layer onto or weave through the Nia White Belt Principles.  The 13 Nia Blue Belt Principles are:

1. The Joy of Being In Relationship
2. The Power of Two
3. Awareness, Insight, Clarity
4. Developmental Anatomy
5. The Power of Three
6. Split, Ellipt, Blend
7. Nia Class Format
8. The Power of Silence & Sound
9. Form and Freedom
10. FloorPlay
11. Music, Movement, Magic
12. Observe, Listen, Guide
13. Vertical Routines

Even though I have been introduced to 13 new principles, I can still work with the 13 Nia White Belt Principles.  I still have a lot I can learn through them.  Nia actually made practicing them easy by creating the Blue Belt principles to weave into the White Belt Principles.  The Nia White Belt Principle #1 is The Joy of Movement.  http://www.helpyouwell.com/nia-information.htmlWhen Nia creates the principles they create catch phrases and other things to help explain what the principle is about and help people remember the principle and what it is about.  One of the things they use as a tool is a triad with words or phrases.  The triad for principle #1 in the Nia White Belt is the same as the triad for principle #1 in the Nia Blue Belt.  The triad is choose, sensation, and universal joy.

The Nia Blue Belt Principle #1, The Joy of Being In Relationship, the catch phrase is “with”, so you choose, sense the sensation, experience universal joy.  You are in relationship with all three in addition to “the other” you are in relationship with.  The “other” does not have to be a person, it can be a movement, a body part, a person, a thought, an idea . . . . anything.  As an example, you can be in relationship with your hips as they move when you walk.  You are not just aware of them, but you are in relationship with.  There is communication going on.  It is not just you moving them, you are listening, sensing, aware . . . in relationship with.  They move and you receive information from them.  Maybe you sense them tilting forward.  Why?  What is that the result of?  Can you move them so they are not tilting forward?  You ask.  They say yes.  You move in a way that adjust them.  You move on.  Energy and information going back and forth between you and “the other”.  This is applied to dancing Nia.  This is applied to teaching Nia.  This is applied to everything.  This is applied to life.  We choose.  We sense.  We have the opportunity to experience Universal Joy.  We have the opportunity to be in relationship with.

So this is a new idea for me.  This is how I am perceiving it today.  This is how I am understanding it today.  I welcome others who have taken the Blue Belt Intensive to comment.  I believe this principle is one of the things that takes practice.  It is something that can be played with and experienced.  And I actually feel as if my relationship with this principle changes.  So, yeah, there will probably more on this as I explore the Joy of Being In Relationship With!

Do you somewhat understand how you can be in relationship with?

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

Communication, Relationship, and Intimacy

Posted by terrepruitt on November 15, 2012

I recently participated in the intensive that is the second level of training in the Nia practiceNia trainings are called intensives which is a great thing because it gives you an idea of what the training will be like —– INTENSE!  The second level is Blue Belt.  Nia borrows from other practices and uses belts and colors to signify levels.  The levels are White, Blue, Brown, and Black.  There is a Green for teachers that can be taken at anytime after white.  Part of the reason the trainings are intense is that they are over 50 hours of instruction.  The instruction includes lectures, dancing, participatory exercises, and workout classes.  Each level of the practice has its own focus, intent, and principles (except Green).  The Blue Belt focus is Communication, Relationship, and Intimacy.  While the concentration is on how these things relate to Nia it is probably easy to imagine how lessons involving these three things can be related to everyday life.  Since the training CAN be related to life outside of teaching Nia there are many people who take the intensives with no intent of teaching.  You might also be able to imagine how the focus can apply to many things in relation to Nia.  One way is how a Nia teacher communicates with a class, the teacher’s relationship with the choreography, and intimacy to the music.  This is just one little facet of the focus.  I am sharing it to give you an idea of what the focus of “Communication, Relationship, and Intimacy” means.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia at the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, ZumbaThe intent of the focus is to energize personal connection through self-discovery and communication by following The Body’s Way.  Since Nia is a body based practice we do our learning through the body.  As I mentioned in my I’m Blue, But No Tears Here post we were shown how to use the Nia 5 Stages or the Developmental Anatomy to answer questions about what stage we are in when learning something new.  Very amazing.  This is the part that I need to practice — really listening to my body and believing what it is telling me.  The believing part will take examination time . . . I’ll have to really figure out why my body says I am in one stage where I might THINK I am in another.  I might think I am in the beginning stage, embryonic, but my body might say I am in the crawling stage.  For me this means I need to pay attention to the details of what I actually know and what I still need to learn.  I could know 11 out of 15 things, but since the 15th thing seems to be so big to me, I might think I am just beginning whereas it turns out I know over 73%.  All part of the communication, relationship, and intimacy!

Also this training has familiar things you might have heard of in other trainings, for instance:  pay attention to what you sense, feel, think, and have within you then communicate accordingly.  I know that this type of idea has been taught in corporate trainings as an effective way to communicate.  A Nia related example would be:  Knowing the choreography and really know how to do the 52 moves, then having an intimate relationship with the music which will allow you to clearly communicate to the Nia participants.

I can almost talk myself into circles because it is all relates so well and ties in together and just connects.  The more I type the more things I think of so I really have to concentrate on just a tiny portion so my sharing does not get so confusing.  I am trying to share to clarify.  I want you to want more.  I want to understand that in addition to a great workout, Nia has stellar training and continued education.

Can you see how Communication, Relationship, and Intimacy is important for a teacher?

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First I Went Green, Now I’m Going Blue

Posted by terrepruitt on October 9, 2012

As I have shared with you before, there are four different levels to Nia Training; White, Blue, Brown, Black.  These are trainings anyone can take.  Each level has its own focus, intent, and principles.  You do not have to be interested in teaching.  If you are interested in teaching and hold a current license there is an additional level, Green, that may be taken.  The Green belt does not have its own principles because it focuses on teaching skills.  I have been a White Belt since December 2008.  In November 2012, I am going to be turning blue.  The focus for the Blue Belt is Communication, Relationship and Intimacy with the intent to energize personal connection through self-discovery and communication by following The Body’s Way.  I’m excited to see all that entails.  I do know that when I stepped into my White Belt I had NO IDEA the type of training I would be receiving.  I thought that I would spend 40 hours learning routines and learning how to teach.  But that is not what it was.  The White Belt is currently about (Focus) physical sensation with the intent to embody the foundation of Nia.  Back in 2008 is was (focus) the physical body, the anatomy of the body, the Nia Technique, and the Nia moves.  Which did not equate to learning routines.  I can’t wait to see what the Blue Belt Intensive has in store.

Nia’s training is very intense.  It is very deep.  It is very detailed, well-thought out, well presented, and well documented.  Recently a graduating Green Belt said it was “stellar”.  That is a great description.

Per the main Nia website the description for the Blue Belt states:

Blue Belt, the second level of Nia education, explores how to create healthy relationships through body-centered communication. This intensive introduces the next set of 13 Nia principles, which focus on the mental, emotional and spiritual realms of the body. While the White Belt curriculum focuses entirely on awareness of physical sensation, Blue Belt applies these skills to explore internal sensations as perceived through – but distinct from – physical sensations in the body.

Blue Belt Principle #1: The Joy of Being in Relationship, integrates the sensation of Joy with the awareness that Joy is something outside the self, which we can invite into our physical experience. As a result, we begin to deepen our ability to listen with clarity and sustain awareness of details outside our body.

If you have never been to a Nia Intensive it is impossible to describe, but I know it will be wonderful.  I know I will learn a lot.  I know that it is what I need because it is happening, so I am going to do my best to keep my energy allies present along with having a beginner’s mind so that I am able to get all that I can out of it.  You know that I will be sharing a lot when I get back.  I am so excited to be changing from White to Blue.  Just because I am moving to the next level doesn’t mean there won’t more posts about White Belt things, there is still a lot to share and learn about the White Belt, I will just have that much more to share!

Can I get a, “Woohoo Blue!”

**update:  I forgot to clarify and tie in to my title, silly me!  First I went Green as in drinking green smoothies and now I am going Blue.  I have not yet taken the Nia Green Belt.  I am hoping that there will be one in this area again.  There has only been one.

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The Creative Source – The Real You – FreeDance Stage 4

Posted by terrepruitt on February 9, 2012

In Nia we have FreeDance.  FreeDance allows for so many things.  One way we FreeDance is we dance to the music with no choreography.  We let our bodies sense the music and allow it to move us.  When we let our body move freely without thinking and without judging it is a great workout.  Many of the Nia Routines have songs where there is no choreography and we just FreeDance, and many of the routines have choreography in addition to FreeDance.  Our feet might have set patterns, but our arms and hands are free.  Or our arms and hands might have the pattern and our feet are free.  Many combinations of dance, choreography, and body parts.  Nia FreeDance also has stages.  A Nia teacher can call upon these stages for many things.  The stages in FreeDance are used for learning a new routine, they might be used as a focus in a class, they might be used for a playshop, we have many options.  In Nia FreeDance the fourth stage is The Creative Source – The Real You.

With this stage during the White Belt Nia Intensive I participated in, we were instructed to remember a situation and tell ourself the story of the situation and allow ourself to feel the emotion of that situation.  We all walked around the room telling ourselves a story.  Some of us talked out loud, some of us were silent.  All of us used the emotion the story evoked to move.  Our movements might not have been considered a dance by some, because in this stage we are not necessarily dancing.  We are not moving our bodies with the intent of dance, we are allowing the emotion from the story to move our bodies.  Depending upon the story it could appear as if our movements were a dance.  Yet, since we do “dance through life” in Nia, all of our movements are a dance . . . just not the typical dance.  In this stage we are not intent upon dancing.

The purpose of FreeDance is to the purpose of stimulate movement creativity.  So we use the stages to assist in that.  So using a story and the emotions along with the story can really allow for movement we might not have thought to bring to the dance floor.  Some stories we use to practice stage 4 might be happy, some might be sad, some might be filled with anger, whatever the story and the emotion it is what moves us.

In the intensive there was all types of movements when we practiced this stage.  There was stomping, jumping, running, rolling, skipping, punching, kicking, screaming, laughing, smiling, frowning . . . . all types as you can imagine would occure with a group of people with many different stories.  As stated this is a tool to awaken different movement.

When we dance I think that we have a tendency to move in the same pattern.  We might move in different patterns to different types of music or different beats, but there might just be a handful of different patterns.  When we are challenged by using the different tools of Nia, when we practice and play with the eight stages of FreeDance we move in different ways.  Sometimes muscles that don’t normally get to join us in our dance come alive.  They are happy to be allowed to join in on the dance.

Using different muscles than we normally do in our dance fuels the creativity even further.  When you let go and FreeDance you will be surprised.  Here I invite you to try this fourth stage of FreeDance.  I suggest choosing music without lyrics.  Sometimes lyrics and interfere with FreeDance when trying to practice specific stages because lyrics can sometimes compel certain movements or emotions.  So music without lyrics allows for you tell the story and listen to your body’s response to the emotion.

Well, what story are you going to tell?

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