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

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle 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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Posts Tagged ‘Nia participants’

Sound Mixing

Posted by terrepruitt on October 28, 2014

Whew!  I am so relieved.  Yesterday while I was thinking about starting to write my post for today, my computer froze.  Well, it was doing the “not responding” thing.  I had been in the process of shutting all my program so that I could start over, when one of them did that thing.  Usually it doesn’t respond for a few minutes then the program closes but this was taking longer.  I was impatient and I used my master switch to shut my computer down.  Well, it wouldn’t turn back on.  I don’t mean it started to boot up and then when wanky, I mean there was nothing.  Usually when I press on button the fans start working then the computer slowly turns on.  There was nothing.  My first thought was “OH NO!” and “Well, at least I know what to ask for as a Christmas present.”  I sent out a warning to my hubby.  I was warning him that he needed to be available as my “fix-it” guy.  Then I started to think about it.  The way it didn’t turn on.  The way there was NOTHING.  I was hoping it was an easy fix.  I couldn’t remember exactly what it was but there is a part that is the first place you start when the computer goes wanky.  Sometimes, as was the case with me the computer just won’t turn on, other times when the part is going bad it affects other things.  Anyway . . . I was hoping it was an easy fix.  I talked to my hubby and he reminded me of the part – power supply – and I told him that that was it.  The way it was not turning on was definitely power.  He agreed after he came home and looked at it.  So he grab me one during his day, came home and installed it and I am up and running again.  But I didn’t use the day without a computer to think of something to post.

I have a lot of things to post about and whatnot on my computer so when I don’t have something jumping out at me then I scrounge around my computer and find something.  Not having a computer would be the same problem I had on Saturday when I didn’t know what to post about.  I didn’t have access to my computer then either so I was floundering.

So, I am going to tell you what we did in Nia class today.  You know — if you’ve read a few of my post about my Nia classes — I am always wanting the participants in my Nia classes to sound.  I want them to make noise.  You may also know that many of the Nia students are getting much better.  You may also imagine that for people to make noise in a class while they are exercising it helps if they are all making the same noise.  People feel more comfortable.  One thing you probably don’t know is that I have one student who loves when we have “information” posted on the mirrors or in the class.  So I thought I would combine my desire to help people sound with her love of “post-ups”.

I have posted about Healing Sounds that I came across and I have posted about the sounds associated with the Chakras.  Well, I decided to use a combination of them.  I have a routine I put together of Nia songs.  I went through each one and thought of the prevailing sound in the song or a sound that would fit with a move in the song.  I made signs and taped them to the mirror.

In the first song the vocals are “AH” so we used AH as associated with helping to balance the Heart Chakra.  The next song, I don’t think are actual words, but to me it sounds as if the singer is saying, “Geee” so we had EEE (associated with the Crown Chakra).  We did some kicking in the third song so we sounded HAA, which is a healing sounds attributed to calming the heart and alleviating anger.  We used SHEE in our next song, the healing sound to relieve stress, tension, and anxiety.  Our fourth song had us dancing on one leg a lot so I thought the healing sound to help with balance would be good, SSS.  In one song we did something I call the Yo-Yo because I thought Carlos has called it that.  When we make that sound we say, “yo-yo”, so I thought the sound associated with the Solar Plexas Chakra – OH, as in “go” – would be good with that song.  In one song we danced stances and used our hips so I thought the OOO sound that helps with the Pelvic Chakra would be good to make while we danced.  The second to the last song, I picked SHOO, just because I like it and I think the situations associated with that healing sound is something to clear out.  That sound is for alleviating problems associated with depression.  The last song I decided that we could make the sounds associated with body temperature.  The Nia students could pick the one they felt they needed at the moment.  There is HOO for warming the body and FOO for cooling the body.

The idea was for them to have sounds in each song that we all would be making.  Although it was a set sound or even time.  We all made the sound as we wanted.  Sometimes someone would make it and we thought that sounded good so we would join in.  Sometimes I would lead, like for our kicks we said, “HAA!” and with our “yo-yo” move we said “OH, OH!”  But they were free to do what the were moved to do.  Also . . . we did not stick to the specifics of the sounds.  We were just saying them.  Sometimes we said it with our exhale in one long sound, sometimes we made it a chant . . . it was all up to the individual.  And, as I said, sometimes we would follow someone’s lead and do what they were doing.

It was great.  It was nice to have so much noise going on.  It was nice to have people making it their own.  It is always great when the Nia students sound.

Don’t you wanna join a Nia Class?  Don’t you wanna make some noise?

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

I Changed My Mind, I DO Teach Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on January 18, 2014

I know – well, I am pretty confident that I have mentioned before in a blog post that I don’t think of myself as teaching people Nia.  Even though I say I teach Nia, I usually prefer to say I lead Nia.  I wish I could find that post because I would like to check what I said exactly because I am feeling a bit different these days.  Or maybe I have it clarified in my mind better.  I believe I said that I don’t like to say I teach Nia because I feel that a dance teacher is one that demonstrates the steps and then has the student try to do them while the teacher watches.  Then maybe the teacher demonstrates again and the student does it again and then maybe there is some adjusting done by the teacher.  Or even in a group dance class setting the move is done over and over until it is somewhat learned and then the next move is added on.  Sometimes there is a sequence of moves that is demonstrated then practiced over a few times and then a new sequence added on.  That is what I think of as teaching dance.  So in THAT way I don’t teach Nia, but I DO teach Nia.

I do not show the move then have the students practice it over and over before we dance it, but sometimes when the song allows we do a preview and practice.  It could be that the song has a long introduction in which there is no specific choreography and in that time we demo a move.  While I might not tell a participant in particular a way to tweak the move I will look out into my class and see something that could use tweaking so I might say or even do something that I hope will lead to a change.  Say, we are doing a move using our toe and I look out and see someone using their heel, I might suggest using the toe like squashing a bug or testing the water (depends on what we are doing).  So in essence I hope to teach the students that we are using our toe.  I teach the move as we are doing it as opposed to the aforementioned way.

IN addition, I like to share things about Nia while we are dancing.  Sometimes I talk about how Nia incorporates the BMES (Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit)  I might explain Nia’s Five Sensations while we are moving on the floor.  Allowing the Nia students to be reminded of them and possibly use them in the floorplay.  I often remind the Nia class about Natural Time letting them know they are free to move through the movement/choreography in their body’s own natural way and timing.  Sometimes this is actually part of the song and if not people are always encouraged to move in this way.

So, I take it back if I said — as I believe I did — I don’t like to say I teach Nia, because I do teach Nia.  But I don’t teach it as if it were a dance, because it is not just a dance.  While we do dance, Nia is so much more.  Maybe I should say I lead people through Nia Routines and I teach Nia?

Have you ever taken a dance class like I describe – the demo-do-type?  Do you see the difference between two?

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 Yoga

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

Goodie Jar – Check In #42

Posted by terrepruitt on December 20, 2013

So here it is Friday again. Time goes so quickly it seems. Only ONE more check in! Wow!

So you might know I was hired on at the YMCA. It is somewhat the same as the City of San Jose was at first.  Right now I am teaching as a substitute without a regular class.  But with the YMCA I am actually subbing for Nia classes.  That is really nice.  The participants are there to do Nia.

Today I had one woman say as she was leaving that I made her smile for the first time all week.  -Oh.-  While that made me happy, Nia and I made her smile, I was also sad, it is FRIDAY and this was the first time she smiled.  I think something is going on in her life so I am so happy that I could allow her a moment of Joy.  I am grateful for Nia that I was able to do that.  So you KNOW, that is going in my goodie jar.

How about you?  What good things do you have going on?  I know there is a huge rush going on right now at this time of year.  The Holidays are almost here, but please take a moment to put something in your good things jar!

Posted in Good Things in the Goodie Jar | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Happy To Have Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on December 3, 2013

I have students who come to Nia that amaze and inspire me.  After Nia class recently I saw someone walk out of class I wish I had talked to before they left.  But they left before I could make it over to them.  But then when I left they were still outside.  It was a new student so I was so happy to be able to say hello and get their name.  I realized later that I didn’t introduce myself, but at least I got their name.  Anyway, we were talking about their participation in Nia and they shared one of the reasons why.  It reminded me that exercise is a great way to help against depression.  There are studies and research that go a long way in proving that exercise does the body good when combating depression.  This is the Holiday season and some people get depressed.  So getting up and moving is a great way to keep the blues at bay.  I was so happy to hear this student being proactive and not letting the circumstances that have been presented get them down.

Exercise increases the production of endorphins, it also DECREASES stress hormones.  So TWO things working at once.  The decrease in stress hormones AND the increase in endorphins.  Endorphins are the chemicals that make you feel good.  So exercise makes you feel good.  Endorphins also act as natural pain killers working to mask pain.  Sometimes pain is a symptom of depression so in addition to just feeling good you are not in pain — two ways you are feeling good.

According to WebMD, one study — way back in 2005 — revealed that “30 minutes of moderately intense exercise five days a week reduced symptoms of depression by nearly half after 12 weeks”.  This study was done at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Science Daily has a little article about how it is now believed that not only is exercise an effective way to treat depression it is also being considered as a way to prevent depression.  Seems to me like that would be a given considering all the benefits one can receive from exercise.  I mean, in addition to all the chemical reactions in the body you just have better stamina and/or mobility and/or strength and/or stability.

There is debate about what type of exercise, but what I am seeing is that it needs to affect the body . . . either get your heart pumping or your muscles changing.  Both is fine too.  It does not have to be extremely strenuous, but there should be a level of intensity that is not attained during your regular activities.

I would go out on a limb and say that most of us know exercise makes us feel better.  I don’t think we need to read the studies that the researchers are writing.  We have done it ourselves and KNOW without a doubt that working out makes us happy.  I think that it helps even more if the workout is something you enjoy.  But even if you are “doing time” on a treadmill it is better than sitting around.

So, again, I am so happily amazed by my students.

Often times the first thing that gets cut from a schedule when it starts to get busy is exercise.  Don’t let that fall off your calendar.

What about you?  Are you getting some exercise in?  What type of exercise makes you happy?

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 Yoga

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

The Creation Of Space

Posted by terrepruitt on November 30, 2013

I am certain that I have mentioned the fact that Nia changes.  Like many things it grows, it morphs, it improves, it changes, yet it remains the same.  The basics stay the same.  The core of it stays the same, but as time goes on it morphs.  Sometimes it is the verbiage and the names of things, but it basically stays the same.  It has been a year since I have taken the Nia Blue Belt Intensive.  In that intensive we were given a Manual from August 2006 and while we were being trained we were told that a new manual was soon to be released along with some new ways of explaining, talking, and learning things.  So part of what I quote here might be a little different from what is being taught now, but the idea and the process is the same.  The process is Creating Space.

In an intensive, before every session we gather and create the space.  This practice was discovered as something done in martial arts.  Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, the creators of Nia, recognized its value and brought it into Nia.  It is the responsibility of the participants to create the space.  It is the responsibility of trainers to hold the space.

The Blue Belt Manual states:  “Creating space is the conscious act of preparing the environment, which includes your body.”

It is an incredibly powerful act that enables an individual and a group to become prepared for receiving.  It is — at its core — coming into stillness.  In preparation for creating the space we use a prescribed process.  There is a schedule that is kept.  A bell is rung seven to ten minutes before we are to start creating the space.  This allows for people to wrap up any conversations they might be involved in and to do any last minute things that need to be done.  Then there is a five minute bell and another one at one minute.  Then, the students create a circle in which we sit quietly while we create the space.  The things we do is quiet the mind, stop the inner dialog and just let the mind rest and become open to hearing and receiving the teaching that is about to happen.  The body is also stilled.  The emotions are balanced and not taking over.  We are connected to our higher self . . . the manual says, “open, but you are not seeking at the moment”.

A main point is to not allow for distractions of any kind.  No physical distractions . . . that is one reason why we sit still.  No mental distractions . . .that is one reason why we stop the inner dialog and the thinking.  All four bodies, Body-Mind-Emotion-Spirit (BMES), are stilled.

The space we create is “a way to set up an energy environment that supports your practice and learning.”  It really is a very helpful and powerful tool to help with the learning process.  We continue to sit in the space until the trainer interrupts us by thanking us.

I believe that many things could benefit from the creation of space; a meeting, family dinner time, Nia classes, a yoga practice, any exercise, and many more.  I think it is a good idea sometimes to clear your head and body of distractions in order to concentrate fully on the “task” at hand.  I know that for me this practice really works well in the intensives.

Is this something that you think you could benefit from?  What types of tasks or activities do you think you could create space for?

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

Moving Into The Back

Posted by terrepruitt on November 9, 2013

In addition to teaching Nia classes for the city of San Jose, I was asked to teach a Gentle Yoga Class.  I have taught three sessions and we have one more before the year is over.  This last session before the holiday break is a short one, it is only four weeks.  In the classes there is a large variety of fitness levels.  Regardless of one’s level of fitness I believe it is very important for the emphasis to be on balance and flexibility.  They also like to practice inner reflection which I believe enables a connection to the body.  The connection is to allow for great stability and ease of movement.  In order to meet the varieties of levels we do a cross between flowing through poses and holding them.  I might have also mentioned before that we include getting up and down as part of our practice.  With this next session we are going to do a progression of backbend poses.  I have not yet decided on the progression of balance poses but I have the backbends progression planned. Since we only have four classes and there are five backbends I would like to progress through we will be doing two in the first class.  As with my Nia classes, my yoga students are continually encouraged to do things in their own bodies way.  Since yoga is a practice they can work into the poses.  For the series of backbends they will be encouraged to stay at the level that is acceptable for their own body.

The first backbend we will do will be the standing backbend.  Then, in the same class, we will progress to the Locust.  The Locust has many modifications some of which can be done with just legs lift or the head and shoulders lifted.

Then in our next class we will move onto the Sphinx.  I’ll probably include the Locust in the routine before moving on to the Sphinx, but the Sphinx will be the next in the progression.  Then the next meeting we will move onto the Cobra.  Excellent for strength, stability, and flexibility.  The last class before the long holiday break will be the Upward Dog.  Even though the idea will be for the students to progress through the backbends the modifications will be presented so each individual can progress only if they are ready.

Some students participate in yoga more than once a week so they are more likely to be able to participate in the progress whereas others will do so to a lesser extent – and modifications meet that need.  This is a great way to work on flexibility.  Everybody is moving in their own natural time through their yoga practice so I am excited to present this progression of backbends.  I will include other flexibility poses and balances poses as in all the classes.  I have been putting the emphasis on one or the other during a class which can still tie into the backbend progressions.

Of course, this is my plan prior to meeting with the class.  It could be that after our first meeting I have to adjust my plan and that will be fine.  I do like to see where the class is at and go from there, but it seems like our group has been pretty consistent.  But I can easily adjust my plan for any new body.

I am very grateful and inspired by the students that come to class every week.  It is very exciting to me to see their progress.  Stay tuned for more on the poses that I have yet to post about.

Do you participate in a yoga class?  How is it structured?  Is it an on-going class or is it a series of classes?

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

Floorplay

Posted by terrepruitt on January 22, 2013

One of Nia’s magic toys!  Floorplay.  This is where we actually get on the floor and play.  The most common comment I receive from people about floorplay is, “I don’t like to get down on the floor because I can’t get up.”  And sadly that is the most important reason one SHOULD get on the floor is so that they can LEARN to get up.  Even though most often with Floorplay we stay ON the floor, there is a time when we do get up.  Floorplay is both Nia Class Cycle #6 and the Nia Blue Belt Principle #10.  The tagline or second part of the principle is Movement on the Floor.

Floorplay can bring up all kinds of fun stuff.  It can bring up memories of infancy.  With the scooting, the crawling, the getting up to walk, and the falling.  It can bring up memories of childhood.  Children often play on the floor.  They do somersaults and gymnastic moves.  They drive their cars around and roll and play.  It is a fact of life that most adults lose their playful connection to the floor.  Watch a group of children when they are told in a room to go play.  The first thing most of them do is get down on the floor.  They go to their knees and start to play.  Most adults I know don’t ever think of the floor as a place to be.

Floorplay allows us to reconnect to the earth.  It allows us to reconnect to the ground.  It allows us to sense gravity and the strength and energy of the earth.  There is a pull that we can play with.  There is the sense of falling that we can use.

Floorplay is a way to explore.  It is a safe place and a safe time to move and sense the body.  Sometimes the floor can assist in a particular movement.  The gravity can work to enable additional flexibility.  It is truly a place of wonder to let go and move.  Rolling around, letting limbs fall to the earth, pushing and pulling, stretching and yawning . . . . floorplay is a magical toy in the Nia toy box.  It is a powerful time in the Nia workout for body, mind, and spirit.

Floorplay in a Nia class can be a choreographed cycle or a FreeDance.  Either way it is an important time to explore both The Body’s Way and Your Body’s Way.  It is an opportunity to play with movement and to progress to your ideal.  Even when the routine being done in class has choreographed Floorplay participants are free to do their own FreeDance.  I often encourage my Nia students to do a “body check” asking their body what desires attention.  If they want they are free to do what they need in order to give their body what it needs.

Because most Nia routines include this cycle.  It is recommended that Nia participants bring a mat to class in case they are more comfortable moving on a mat.  A mat sometimes is exactly what is needed to ensure bone comfort and let the student move more freely on the floor.  Most places I teach in San Jose have mats, sometimes there are just a few.

The Nia Blue Belt reminds us that being on the floor is not just about static postures and stretches, it is truly about movement on the floor.  That is why this cycle is called Floorplay and with the Blue Belt lens, the way we look at things, we are reminded to play and have fun.  We are encouraged to use all of Nia’s 5 Sensations along with gravity and the energy from the earth to connect to the vertical, horizontal, and spiral and to connect with our bodies in a dance on the floor that we call Floorplay.

So when is the last time you got on the floor and rolled around?  When is the last time you got on the floor and played?  What is stopping you?

Posted in Blue Belt, 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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Nia Classes Don’t Always Have To Be About The “Happy”

Posted by terrepruitt on September 11, 2012

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

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

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

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

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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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