Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach yoga, Nia, and stretch online!

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    Stretch: Thurs at 10:00 am

    Please see my website for details!

    I am also teaching a yoga class for the City of San Jose on Wednesdays through June at 5pm

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training all virtual, of course!

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia movements’

MBTs

Posted by terrepruitt on April 14, 2011

One Monday after my Nia Class, I went to a store down the street from the studio in San Jose.  I went to a shoe store in Willow Glen.  I had decided that I was going to buy myself some MBTs.  MBTs have been around since 1996.  I would say since 1997 I have wanted them.  But they were huge, clunky, and EXTREMELY expensive.  I had never even tried any on because I could never bring myself to spend over $200 on tennis shoes.

I am very excited to have FINALLY purchased a pair of MBTs.  I spent almost two hours in the store trying on different styles.  I was fortunate that I liked the ones that were on sale.  Yay!  Even though the price of tennis shoes has probably caught up to the price of MBTs.   I still couldn’t bring myself to spend $200 on tennis shoes.   I figured if they help me walk properly they really are worth it, but I am still glad I saved my Christmas gifts so I could splurge on these “shoes”.

What are MBTs you ask?

MBTs are the “antishoe”.  Their websites states:  “MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) was born in 1996 when we discovered that natural instability can have positive effects on the human body. We made this discovery by observing the wonderfully agile Masai people walking barefoot on natural, uneven ground.”  Because the shoes were designed to allow us to experience walking on uneven ground even as we walk on flat ground the idea is that one needs to give the body time to adjust.  I looked on the site to see if they have a guide as to how to acclimate the body, but I didn’t see anything.

Kind people keep telling me to go slow, but unfortunately I don’t think I will have the opportunity to get to that point where I need to take a break because my legs need a rest.  Ya see, as you might know, I injured my toe about five months ago.  I want it to be completely better and function as it used to, but it is not.  It is MUCH better, but nowhere near where it used to be.  It gets tired.  I still have to rest it.  I still have to pay way too much attention to it.  But that is what I have to do.  My toes are the reason I finally decided to treat myself to my long lusted after MBTs.

The sole of an MBT is curved so the idea is to encourage the wearer to walk heel toe.  Those of you familiar with Nia know that is one of the “body’s way” movements we practice doing.  The ankle was designed to flex and extend and walking heel first, rolling through the foot to the ball/toe is good for the ankle and lower leg.  With my toes as they are, I can’t roll through my foot so I thought the MBTs would be perfect to help me/allow me to do that.

Well, the shoes are great.  They do allow me to walk whole foot and through my whole foot.  It is easier to do that in these shoes than in regular shoes, but my toe still gets tired.  I think my toe gets tired and makes me take my shoes off long before my legs get to the point of being tired.  I think that my toe will be the guide I need to acclimate myself into using these shoes–or shoe I say these “anit-shoes”.  😉

Posted in Just stuff, Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Whole Foot

Posted by terrepruitt on June 26, 2010

Using the whole foot is another one of Nia’s 52 Moves. The whole foot is used for secure stability. It is a powerful base.

Moving on the whole foot or just standing on the whole foot–either on both feet or just one foot allows for the bones in the feet to act as support for the entire body. Stepping or standing on the whole foot can bring rest to either the heel or the ball of the foot. The whole foot stance or movement calls different muscles in the foot and the leg into play.  If you are accustomed to standing and/or walking on the balls of your feet, this technique might be a challenge to your leg muscles.

Stepping onto the whole foot encourages a gentle flex in the knee so as to help absorb any shock that might be felt as the whole foot touches the ground.

There are times in a Nia class when we actually dance on the whole foot—you might recognize the whole foot dancing as what Carlos (Rosas now known as AyaRosas) called micro dancing. We use the whole foot to gently slap the earth. Moving around the space. We might stomp, bringing the foot to rest gently on the ground.

The whole foot is the middle of a stride in the heel lead walk. We sometimes will step onto the whole foot instead of the heel or the ball, this as I mentioned, can be a restful for the heel or ball if you normally step on it either. The whole foot can be used in all of the stances.

While you move through your day, be aware of your feet. Notice when you are on your whole foot. Take a moment to shift your weight from foot to foot. Sense the stability and power in your base, in your whole foot.

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Heel Lead

Posted by terrepruitt on June 24, 2010

Often times in a Nia routine we are stepping or even walking. Since Nia’s movements are based upon the way the body was designed to move a Nia routine is often created with the step to be done with a heel lead.  The Heel Lead is one of Nia’s 52 Moves.

A lot of different types of dancing is done on the ball of the foot, cha-cha, two step, etc. Some dances are done on the toe as in ballet. With Nia we often are using our heel to lead and not the toe or the ball of the foot. This is a challenge sometimes. Sometimes it seems easier to step onto the ball of the foot or the toe. Using the heel lead technique really allows for our ankles to move through the full range of motion.

In addition to allowing the foot to move as it should, stepping on the heel gives the ball of the foot a chance to rest. If it is one’s habit to walk on the ball of the foot it can sometimes become a source of pain. The foot in its very architecture was designed to have the weight (when stepping) borne on the heel not the ball of the foot.

While I am leading a Nia class I frequently say, “Heel lead.” And most times it is to remind myself to use my heel. I tend to start dancing on the balls of my feet.

A lot of women’s high heeled shoes do not allow for a heel lead. In the case of some of the shoes if the heel were to lead and the weight were to be place on it, it would collapse. I know many, many women who love their high heels for so many reasons. I am not saying that people shouldn’t wear them, but I am saying that we dance Nia in bare feet, the routines are designed to allow the body to move as it was created, so embrace the heel lead.

Right now, if you are not wearing shoes that would inhibit the heel lead, try it. As you walk through your day actually consciously, place your heel down (not roughly, just place it down) first then roll through your foot. Notice how your ankle flexes and extends. Practice the heel lead. Enjoy the heel lead.

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

The Classic Nia Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on May 13, 2010

This information is taken directly from The Nia Technique Book.  Usually I use my own words from my own experiences and from what others have shared with me, I thought this time I would share with you a portion directly from the book.  I am hoping that this information and the information that I have shared will interest you enough so that you will purchase the book for yourself.

Classic Nia is for everyone—from neophyte to dancer to athlete.

Classic Nia is a learning experience, with an emphasis on gaining new knowledge about your body and the best ways to move.

In Classic Nia, it is reasonable and acceptable not to expect perfection in your movements.

Classic Nia is noncompetitive, meaning you grow and change in your own time and in your own way.

Classic Nia teaches you to play, have fun and express yourself.

In Classic Nia teaches  you to play, to have fun, and express yourself.

In Classic Nia, you focus at least as much on your Body’s Way as you do on the Body’s Way.

This is information taken from pages 168 and 169 of the Nia Technique Book written by Debbie Rosas (presently Debbie Rosas Stewart)  and Carlos Rosas (presently Carlos AyaRosas).

Please let me know if you have any questions.  I love both questions and comments.

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

Science, Craft, and Art

Posted by terrepruitt on May 11, 2010

There are a lot of tools used in Nia.  The way that Nia describes each principle includes the Science of the principle, the Craft of the principle, and the Art of the principle.

For instance, the latest principle I posted about was Nia White Belt Principle #5, a portion of that being Awareness.  The Science of awareness would be that you can make observations about your body as you move through your day.  You can be aware of your hand as you pull it back from the mug of coffee that was too hot.  You can be aware of the adjustment you make to your entire body to make it feel more comfortable in the seat belt.  Notice how you scrunch your toes in your shoes.  You can be conscious of the things that cause discomfort and maybe, in the future respond and change before the discomfort becomes pain.

With the awareness you can develop an ongoing conversation with your body that can help you move more freely and comfortable throughout your life.

The Craft of awareness is where you acquire the ability to sense with your entire body.  Utilize not just your eyes and your ears but your sense of smell and proprioception.  The craft are the exercises or the practices that we do in order to assist with the awareness.

Possible exercise, to increase awareness:

—brush your teeth with your eyes closed, sensing the tooth brush on each tooth
—brush your hair with your eyes closed, and notice the moment the brush comes in contact with your hair or head
—as you reach out to touch something image yourself touching it before you actually touch it
—then ask yourself; what will it feel like, what sensation will the nerves in my hand allow my brain to sense, will
touch it softly or roughly?

And as you go through your everyday movements observe if there is any tightness or discomfort.  Ask yourself is there an adjustment that can be made to your habitual movement–to the way you do it normally–that could easy that comfort?  Is there something you could do to tweak it and move your closer to pleasure?  Try it that way.

Recognize the body as a work of Art.  The Art of awareness is to be aware of the mechanics and beauty of the working body. Visuals could help with the art piece of awareness.  If there was an area of the body that was uncomfortable or there was a constriction of the movement, picture the blood full of life giving nutrients rushing to that area.  Picture the nutrients as different colors rushing in to saturate the discomfort and color as paint on a canvas.

Or picture any area of the body that could use relaxation as a tight ball of rubber bands and either just picture the ball become loose and opening and airy or picture it as you are moving and stretching that are.  All the while being aware.

This is just an example of how the Nia applies all three tools, Science, Craft, and Art to a principle.  The three are also used as tools for other purposes, but this is just to throw some light on the ways that Nia is shared, practiced, learned, taught, and enjoyed.

If you would like some tips on how to move with Nia, such as:

~Use visual imagery to make movements feel natural.

~Combine small movements with large movements.

~Use your Base, Core, Upper Extremities, breath and voice to add energy and power to your moves.

You can click here, and go to my website, HelpYouWell.com

I hope that you will have a day full of awareness that will allow you to dance through life.

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Awareness – Dancing Through Life

Posted by terrepruitt on May 4, 2010

Nia White Belt Principle #5 – Awareness – Dancing Through Life

I have been avoiding this principle because it can be very complex. To me, all of Nia’s White Belt Principles can be complex because they can be applied strictly to the cardio workout that is one aspect of Nia, they can be applied to Nia as a practice—which translates into, they can be applied to life, or they can just be applied to life.

Debbie Rosas Stewart talked about Principle #5 in this month’s Nia Teleconference for EveryBODY. She kept it simple. In all the calls she talks for about 15 minutes then she takes questions for the last 15. The call is 30 minutes. I will share with you what she said, but I recommend you listen to the call when they have it up on the site. They record each call every month.

Since I like to keep my posts relatively short, I have realized that I can post short summaries of Nia information and re-visit the information in additional posts.

One of the first things she said is very true, and I would like you to think about it. She pointed out that we are often aware of pain whereas we are not aware of pleasure. If we have a sore body part, we are aware of it. It makes its presence known and we listen. I personally don’t think we always listen to what it needs, but that is topic of another post. But we certainly don’t always pay attention to pleasure.

With Nia we seek pleasure. We seek to move away from the pain and go towards the pleasure.

There are a few things we can do to assist with that. One way is to be aware. Be aware of what brings us pleasure. As we move throughout our day we can make our movements a dance. While we are “doing”, we can dance through life. As you are reading this and you shift in your chair, notice the movement of your hips, notice to tilt of your head, do it like a dance.

While you are not moving, while you are “not doing”. Notice the stillness in your body. Allow the stillness to bring calm, relaxation, a sort of meditation, if you will. Notice what it is you are touching. Not just touching with your hands, but with your entire body. Are you sitting on a chair? Are you leaning on a desk? Benefit from that touch and that “not doing”.

Life as art so notice the art around you. Notice the noises and allow them to filter in as sound. Breath in the sensation of life. Not talking about “art” that would be in a museum art, but just the beauty of the world. Whatever you find beautiful.

There is so much about Nia I always find myself saying, “Another thing . . . one thing . . . Nia this . . . and Nia that. . .” but really. Another thing about Nia is that it is kind. Nia believes that we receive what we need to receive. We are not expected to hear something and walk away knowing it all or knowing it perfectly. With that in mind, understand that this is what I heard. These are the notes I took. Please, I invite you to listen for yourself and glean from it what you need. Focus on what resonates with you.  Take away something you can share.

My site shows Nia class schedule in San Jose and San Carlos. On Nia’s main site you can look up classes in your area. There are classes all over the world.

Touching and Being Touched / May 3, 2010 Teleconference call is the call I have summarized here.

Presently in your life, do you dance through it?  Do you practice awareness?  Do you notice life as art?

Posted in Nia, Nia White Belt Principles | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »