Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘Nia Practice’

Nia White Belt P12 – Body + Life Transformation – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on September 21, 2020

This week we quickly reviewed Nia White Belt Principle 12.  It is a pretty involved principle and there is not a lot of time to really dig deep into it.  There are four triads to this principle.  That information alone is an indication of how complex this principle is.  Nia White Belt P12 – Body + Life Transformation with a tagline of Purpose – Potential – Possibility.

Like many places, here is where Nia and Nia training can translate into something that a person that doesn’t want to teach can benefit from.  Even twelve years ago when I participated in the Nia White Belt Intensive it was not ALL about teaching us how to teach Nia, but as Nia continues to grow it has shifted even further into being a “life style practice” to include those that don’t want to teach.  The description of this principle is Sensory Study of Personal Enrichment and Growth.  The first triad is about Past, Present, and Future with the center being Knowledge with wings of NiaTV and Nia Training.  Basically it’s representing oneself and indicating that we can continue to learn and gain knowledge with the things available to us.

The additional triads each have a tagline and description, which you can learn about when you take the training.  As often is the case, I don’t want to give it ALL away and really can’t get into each principle or triad in depth because I do – believe it or not – try to keep my posts from being too long.  P12 (t1) is about oneself with purpose, potential, and possibility making up the three corners of the triad.  Tapping into our ideal of ourselves.  P12 (t2) is very complex and is about potential with a top-level “map” on how a teacher learns a routine.  But, it can be applied to a student too as it represents loDance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via Zoom, Nia White Belt training via Zoomoking, moving, then sharing a routine.  It reminds us of how we blend science, craft, and art into our dance.  The science has us looking, listening, and imagining as tool to learn and do the moves.  Then we can energize the moves with the nine energies (movement forms), crafting the routine.  And the art is the part where we share, having really connected through the music we are able to dance to the music sharing the science and craft.

P12 (t3) is class, core, magic where we learn, embody, and share.  I feel like these two triads should be switched, but I also feel the main triad should have a different order.  Which reminds me, there are a lot of different ways people learn and to me I would Learn – Embody – Share Nia Routines (t3 tagline) as a way TO engage the Somatic Wheels of Transformation (t2 tagline), but I also see needing to engage them first in order to share Nia.

While for me, aspects of the principle that are related to teaching Nia are the most intriguing I see how it is all related.  That is what is amazing and fun about Nia . . . the principles can be applied to daily life.  One does not have to want to teach Nia to be able to relate it to life.

This principle is about purpose, potential, and possibility and the triads are little maps or signs to remind us of the tools that we have in our Nia toolbox.

Can you see how this (thinking about your purpose, potential, and possibilities of your life) can be MORE THAN just an fitness practice?

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Nia White Belt P6 – Base – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on August 10, 2020

Wow. We are already on Principle 6 of the Nia White Belt Principles in the first ever Nia White Belt Training Online. Remember this is somatic training so it is about the body. For people that have not taken any type of anatomy training or exercise training the information might be new, but since Nia is based on the body a lot of it is not new because we pretty much have had the same number of bones in our feet since they have been able to count all the bones in the feet (26 in each foot). Nia is based on science but the way Debbie relates it to your everyday life is what makes it fun and amazing. Nia White Belt P6 Base. It is about the base, our foundation, from our feet to our hip joint.  The triad consists of feet, legs, hip joints.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via ZoomI love to remind my students that feet need to be flexible in order to provide the shock absorption we need with each step. Also, in order to help with the entire health of the body they need to be strong, and also allow the energy to flow through. Nia refers to the feet as the Hands that touch the Earth.   Feet like hands relay a lot of information to the body.  In Nia we dance barefoot to not only receive that information through the hundreds of thousands of nerve endings in each foot, but to help with the health of our feet.  Nia has 52 Moves the routines focus on.  Twenty seven of them are associated with the base and each move can help keep feet flexible, strong, and allow energy to flow up to the body.

There are four categories associated with the base. The “Feet” category has 8 moves, the “Stances” category has 6 moves, the “Steps” category 9 moves, and the “Kicks” category has 4 moves.  Below is the list of “base” moves and links to my posts about them, except the Cha-Cha-Cha.

Foot Moves (8)
1.  Heel LeadDance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via Zoom
2.  Whole Foot
3.  Ball of the Foot
4.  Rele
5.  Rock Around the Clock
6.  Squish Walk
7.  Duck Walk
8.  Toes In, Out, Parallel

Stances (6)
9.  Closed Stance
10.  Open Stance
11.  “A” Stance
12.  Riding (Sumo) Stance
13.  Bow Stance
14.  Cat Stance

Steps (9)
15.  Sink and Pivot Table Wipe
16.  Stepping Back onto the Ball of Your Foot
17.  Cross Front
18.  Cross Behind
19.  Traveling in Directions
20.  Lateral Traveling
21.  Cha-Cha-Cha
22.  Slow Clock
23.  Fast Clock

Kicks (4)
24.  Front Kick
25.  Side Kick
26.  Back Kick
27.  Knee Sweep

If you have never been to a Nia class you might be amazed at how many ways you can do each of these moves. There are many ways . . . you could shift your intention, you could shift your energy, you could shift your focus, you could shift your weight . . . . all of these things would allow you to sense the move differently.  And the great thing about them is you don’t even have to be in a dance class to practice them.

Can you spot one you might call a favorite?

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Nia White Belt Principles 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 6, 2020

Back in December 2008 I took a training for a movement practice called Nia.  I had only taken a couple of classes and that was only to see if I liked it enough to teach it.  I liked it enough to want to teach it so I signed up for the week long training at the headquarters in Portland, Oregon.  I went having no idea what I was getting into and thinking I would walk out with routines learned enough to jump start into teaching.  Well, no, that is not what a week training for a Nia Belt is.  But it is pretty amazing.  Back then the TWO founders were still a part of Nia, whereas now-a-days it is just one of the founders.  Turns out Nia is a practice . . . like yoga is a practice.  You can do just the physical exercise part of it or you can add it to your life.  Adding it to your life is pretty easy since the main idea of Nia – to me – is to notice your body and how it moves.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, Zoom meetings, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exerciseOne thing Nia does is have principles for every “level” (called “Belts”).  I listed the principles of the (2008) White Belt in my post Nia Or Nia Technique Is A Specific Practice.  Then I wrote a post about each principle individually.  With an amazing and unprecedented opportunity to take the training again with one of the Founders online at an astronomically generous discount, I couldn’t say no.

It is the first time a Nia Belt has ever been offered online.  Nia is very much about the body and movement so it really does make sense to do it in person – to be in the same space with people learning and doing the same stuff.  But . . . Nia is amazing in its ability to adapt and change and do what needs to be done to continue on yet keep its members and participants safe, so we are doing it online.  Debbie Rosas (one of the founders) is determined to give it a personal feel and touch so we are on Zoom doing a portion of the training.  Then we are assigned to a POD, with over 200 people taking the training I thought the PODs would be big, but there were only five people on my POD list.

Anyway, the principles’ wording has changed a bit so I wanted to post an updated list.  With the slight changes I am confident that the principles are still the same.  I mean, that is what Nia is based on.  It is just that sometimes language can be updated, sometimes to more marketable friendly words.  But still stay the same.  We will see as I go through the training.  I never like to give too much away because it is something you need to experience for yourself, but I do plan to post more about it . . . the information and my experience.  That is the reason I started this blog in the first place.  I wanted to share Nia with everyone.  And now that so many things are having to be online, maybe you can experience it yourself.

Principle 1 – JOY OF MOVEMENT

Principle 2 – NATURAL TIME + MOVEMENT FORMS

Principle 3 – MUSIC + 8 BC SYSTEM

Principle 4 – FREEDANCE

Principle 5 – AWARENESS

Principle 6 – BASE

Principle 7 – PLANES + INTENSITY LEVELS

Principle 8 – CORE

Principle 9 – UPPER EXTREMITIES

Principle 10 – X-RAY ANATOMY

Principle 11 – CREATING A SENSORY LIFE

Principle 12 – BODY + LIFE TRANSFORMATION

Principle 13 – LIVING WHAT YOU SENSE

As I said I don’t think these have really changed, because if you compare lists they are basically the same but with slightly different wording.  Number 11 is what always changes the most.  I don’t know how many times it has changed, but I know I kinda didn’t care for some of the versions . . . but again, I think it is all BASICALLY the same.  I am looking forward to seeing.  This is not only new language to me, it is NEW to everyone . . . Nia just finished crafting it so this is really exciting.

As I said, I hope to be following up this post with more information as it unfolds.

Have you participated in any type of training or lesson online that you were/are enthusiastic about?

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Chop Cut, One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on February 22, 2017

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitWell, it looks like I haven’t posted a Nia move from the Nia 52 Moves in a long time.  When I started my blog and website I wasn’t actually planning on posting about each and every move, but with only nine left that I have not posted about, I really might as well finish the list.  It might not be done quickly, but I will get to them all.  Why not, right?  Only nine, well, eight after this one, to go!  So today I am posting about the Chop Cut.

As with most, if not all, of the 52 Moves of Nia there is a specific way to do it, but then a lot of different ways it is done.  I will go out on a limb to say this move, the chop cut, is a common move.  I am sure many, many people have done this move whether they are dancing, practicing martial arts, or not.  It is just a common move.  Or at least I think of it as a common move.

To practice it as a Nia move, one of 52, we chop the air with the edge of our hands.  The edge of the hand we refer to as the blade side.  Using one hand at a time, raise the arm from the shoulder and bring it down.  Slice, with the blade, from up to down.  Allow the elbow to be slightly bent.  All fingers are extended.  Keep the hands active and engaged even the one that is not doing the slicing.

The Nia Technique book states the benefits as:

an excellent exercise for affirming your personal power.  This move is effective for building strength in the arms and shoulders, and it is superb for releasing stress.

The move itself can release stress but when combined with sounding it can be really effective.  The book recommends saying, “because.”  I usually have my class say, “HA!”

The ideal Chop Cut is using the whole arm and the blade of the hand.  Sometimes we might use straight arms.  At times while we are dancing, we might just make the movement from our elbows.  Just letting our forearms move, chopping at the air in front of us fast.  That kind of movement can be done faster than using the entire arm.  At times the chop can just be from the wrists.  So just the hands move.  It requires loose wrists.  This move can be done really fast.  Sometimes when we chop with our hands, we move them in the space around us, so we are moving more than just our wrists.  So the chop is coming from the wrists so it is more of “just a chop” than a “chop cut”.  The Chop Cut when done according to “specs,” is a power move.  The other ones are great and sometimes they fit better into the dance.

So, am I right?  Have you done a Chop Cut before?  Were you dancing?

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Day Thirteen Of Your Daily Ten Minute Practice

Posted by terrepruitt on February 13, 2017

Ahh, I usually have Mondays off, but today I am subbing a class.  I will be teaching Nia when there is regularly Pilates.  I thought I would try Nia at the community center because this is the community center where I once taught gentle yoga and they wanted to know what Nia was.  Hopefully those that enjoyed the demo will show up and enjoy an entire hour of Nia.  So instead of Pilates at the Almaden Community Center today it will be Nia at 9:15am!

I will do my Daily 10 Minute Practice, after I get home.  We are on day thirteen.  When will you do yours?

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I haven’t marked off today, yet.  I will when I get it done.  🙂

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Day Twelve Of Your Daily Ten Minute Practice

Posted by terrepruitt on February 12, 2017

Here we are day twelve of the Daily 10 Minute Practice.  Here is where you post your comment.  I don’t know if I will doing my “practice” before or after I teach Nia.  Today (Sunday, February 12, 2017) is my day to teach Nia at the NW YMCA in Cupertino.  There are three of us Nia teachers that teach the Sunday class on a rotating basis.  It is nice to have a Sunday class, but nice to not have to teach it every Sunday.  Perhaps I will see you there.

When are you going to do your 10 minutes?

Posted in Ten Minute Daily Practice | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Cow Guy With Needle In Haunch

Posted by terrepruitt on September 5, 2016

What?  “cow guy with needle in haunch.”  That came up in the “top searches” on my blog.  I read it over and over thinking, “What?”  And even more disturbing . . . “it sounds familiar.”  The more I think about it, the more I think I know something about it, but I can’t remember what.  This situation is very weird and disturbing to me.  Cow guy with needle in haunch . . . . . . . . hmmmmm . . . it will come to me.  I bet just as I am about to press publish I will remember and then I will have to scrap this whole thing and think of another post.  It is at the edge of my brain.  I am sure it has to do with a TV show that my husband and I watch because I have no other connection to a “cow guy.”  I might have a connection to a needle in a haunch, but more like the skin of neck.  Hmmmmm . . . . don’t you hate that?  When you think something is familiar but you have no idea why?  It is like that thing on the tip of your tongue.  Or the thing on the edge of your brain or in the corner of your mind.  But what I don’t know is why that is a top search on my blog.  Even if I was searching for it because it has to do with a TV show we watch, why is it on my blog?

Next top searches are:  wrist blood pressure higher than arm, granola for gout, piyo satya.  The search terms used to be so much more useful but then a long time ago Google changed the way they did things and so the information we get on WordPress is pretty useless.  At least WordPress claims it was Google’s fault for the change.  I don’t really know.  I do know that at one point I used the searches to sometimes come up with post topics.  I figured if people were looking for the information I could write about it.

But in this case (“cow guy with needle in haunch”).  I got nothing.  I am somewhat wondering.  Is it the cow with the needle in its haunch or the guy who has something to do with cows?  Kinda sounds like there is a guy who has something to do with cows so he is called “cow guy” and HE has a needle in his haunch.  What kind of needle?  This search just really raises a lot more questions then there could ever be answers, don’t you think?

I kind of wish that people would have to explain WHY they were searching for the things they do.  But then I think about it more and realize that something like that could actually be pretty terrifying.  Eeeeek!

The highest search that comes up on my blog is the wrist monitor for blood pressure.  Always surprises me.  That is always the top search.  Which takes people to my post Blood Pressure Monitors – It’s All In the Wrist.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitIn regards to that, a few months ago, my father, my husband, and I were sitting around the table and my wrist blood pressure monitor happen to be on the table.  We were talking about the accuracy of it.  My husband took his blood pressure.  Then I took mine.  After I took mine, my father said, “Oh so it doesn’t work.  It must be broke.”  And I just smiled and said, “I don’t know.  Ok.  Take yours.”  Then he took his and it came up accurate according to his normal rates (my dad takes his blood pressure enough and has it taken enough he knows what his is).  And he said, “Oh.”  He felt it was pretty accurate.  I always take it three times when I take it.  I just took it now: 91/62  ❤ 55 and 103/65  ❤ 60 and 84/65  ❤ 60  I honestly think it has a lot to do with Nia.

Everyday I see more and more post on Facebook with links to how dance is really good for you.  I don’t read any of them, because I know.  I don’t read them because if you don’t like to dance then it doesn’t really matter.  Me telling you that they have done studies about how great it is for your health, if you don’t like to do it, you’re not just gonna start because it is good for you.  And I don’t need to read it for me, because I know.  I do believe Nia helps blood pressure, just like any mind-body or body-mind practice.

Anyway . . . I started off wondering about an odd search term and ended up on blood pressure which brought me to Nia because I think Nia helps with mine.  How is that for sitting down and just typing/writing?

What kind of search odd search terms do you see on your blog?  Do you do any type of mind-body or body-mind practice?  Yoga?  Pilates?  Meditation?  Chanting?

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More To Yoga Than Just Asana

Posted by terrepruitt on January 13, 2016

I have often mentioned how Nia is a cardio dance exercise that you can take to another level and make it a practice, like yoga.  Yoga is an exercise that you can take to another level by practicing some of the other limbs of yoga.  Yoga has eight limbs.  These limbs are things that one can work with throughout a lifetime.  They are not necessarily things that one masters – well, not things that I can master.  There could be days when it feels as if they have been mastered and then days when it feels like you had never even heard of them because the ideas or actions were just not present.  So . . . these things get “practiced”.  The physical, exercise part of yoga is just one of the limbs.  While Nia is not as . . . I’ll say, “preachey” as yoga we do have some things that can be practiced outside of the dance class, off the dance floor.  Things like noticing your movement and being aware of your relationship with others and things.  But yoga’s limbs are more like rules to live by.

The eight limbs of yoga are:

1)  The yamas.  There are five yamas.  They are often compared to restrictions.  Some think of them as restraints or ethical principles.

2)  The niyamas.  There are five niyamas.  They are often compared to rules.  Some think of them as observances or spiritual practices.

3)  The asana.  There are thousands of poses.  This is the physical limb of yoga.  This is the exercise that has become very popular.  Not only are there a lot of poses, there are many different types of yoga.  Some are ancient and some are very new.  Some types have created new poses.  And sometimes I think that the ancient text has been translated so many different ways we end up with different poses.

4)  Pranayama.  There are various types of pranayama.  This is the breath work of yoga.  I have posted about two types of pranayama, Ujjayi Breathing and Equal Breath
Since this was originally posted I have posted about additional types of pranayama:
Dirgha 03.12.18, and Sitali 06.19.17


5)  Pratyahara.
  This is the withdrawal of the senses.  The idea is that when the mind has control over the senses, can withdrawal them, then it can focus on the other limbs of yoga without distraction.

6)  Dharana.  This is concentration.  The idea of concentration of the mind on one thing leads to meditation.

7)  Dhyana.  This is meditation.  The idea is to be able to concentrate on one point.  Being able to breathe to a state of withdrawal of the senses.  Having complete control.  Then concentration is pure.  Meditation is supremely focused and then . . .

8)  Samadhi.  This is transcendence.  When one is in control over mind and body.

Each of these could definitely use a blog post of their own.  Not sure I will get to them all.  But, I will at least do a post on the yamas, a post on the niyamas, and a post on pranayama.  Probably multiple posts on each of them.  So, if you are interested stay tuned.

I had heard about the first two, and knew that poses and breathing were apart of yoga.  But was not and am not so familiar with the last four.  Did you know there were eight limbs to yoga?  Which ones are you familiar with?    

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Zorro Technique

Posted by terrepruitt on October 29, 2015

Back in 2010, I posted a bit about X-Ray Anatomy, principle #10 of the Nia White Belt.  It is what Nia Teachers, Yoga Teachers, Personal Trainers, and people in the profession of helping people move do to see how a body is moving.  We all do it, but Nia calls it X-Ray Anatomy.  We look at the posture of the body or the placement of the clothes to see the alignment of the bones or to see the movement of the muscle.  If we look at someone’s waist band and one side is higher than the other we can then look closer to see, if they were in a hurry when they pulled on their pants, hiking one side higher, or if their hips are actually askew.  We can look at shoulders, checking to see if one is tilted down.  We might check to see if a muscle is really tight causing an imbalance.  We look, then we go about guiding the person to adjustment, guiding them into ease.  Now . . . that is what we do for our students and/or clients.  But we wouldn’t do that to someone we just see on the street.  Even if we take a pad of paper to the park or to the mall or use our DVDs to practice with “Zorro”.

In the Nia White Belt Intensive I took, one of the tools that the co-founder of Nia, Carlos Aya-Rosas, gave us was “Zorro”.  Where you look at someone and with just a few strokes of the pen/pencil you draw their structure.  It is supposed to be quick, not a lot of details, just the things you are x-raying.  Just key bones or things (like a belt, pant legs, collars, etc.) to allow you to see posture and/or alignment.

Here are my “Zorros” from my White Belt in 2008.  We had split up into two groups and we faced each other.  Each group had a turn at making shapes and posturing and then “Zorroing”.

 

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique

 

 

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia TechniqueWhen I wrote my post back in 2010, I had said in a comment I was going to go out and do some X-Ray Anatomy Zorroing, but I hadn’t.  When I came across the comment again, I decided to do it.  Here is the result of me doing Zorro on a random video of people walking and of one of the Nia Routine DVDs.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYo, Nia Technique

This type of practice can help us see things quickly that might need adjustment while we are dancing.  Then we can cue some guidance to help people move in a safe way.  As an example, an easy thing to see is thigh bones, while we cannot actually SEE the thigh bone, if we look at the toe and it is pointed off in one direction we can conclude that the thigh bone is rotated . . . depending on what we are doing, that might not be the safest thing for the knee and hip.  So we can keep an eye on toes and practice X-Ray Anatomy.

I have confidence in thinking that you get the idea of this.  You can see how you can quickly look at someone and have an idea of the placement of the bones.  You can glance at someones clothes and use them to determine their alignment.  Is the clothing method 100% accurate?  No, people’s clothes might be sitting off for a number of reasons, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, perhaps someone just pulled their pants on crocked, but this is an idea.  But using the clothes is a quick way to perhaps get an idea of what the body is doing.  Sometimes a closer inspection or more attention is needed, but for just practicing clothes are great to help with Zorroing.

Can you see how “Zorroing” can help with X-Ray Anatomy?  So might you us your X-Ray Anatomy the next time you are out?

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Foot Fitness Workshop — Ahhhhh!

Posted by terrepruitt on April 11, 2015

This week my friend and Nia student, Dr. Tanya Baldwin, invited me to her Foot Fitness Workshop she was holding today.  I shy away from stuff that has me working on my feet.  I tend to think I have to “save” my feet for my classes.  But, it occurred to me that thinking like that might be backwards.  I started thinking it would be a good idea to see what type of exercises and care I could do for my feet.  I think that Nia and yoga are great ways to exercise the feet.  Since both are done barefoot they allow for an individual to practice using the feet the way there were designed to be used.  Nia is done barefoot so that we can bend and flex and move our feet to help them with strength and balance.  But this workshop was solely (ha, ha, ha!) for the feet.  It was an amazing workshop.  I would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone with feet.

It was very informative and FASCINATING.  First it wasn’t so surprising that each of us had different issues with our feet.  So along that same line it wasn’t surprising that the different exercises presented different challenges for each of us.  What was surprises was how somewhat tiring it was.  Some of the exercises were as much BRAIN exercises as foot/muscles exercises.  Somewhat like what some of the things we do in Nia are – brain stuff!  With a couple of them the movement we were supposed to do with our foot was opposite of what we normally do.  For example pointing and flexing the foot.  Now when you point your toes you “point” your foot.  And when you flex your foot, your toes flex, too.  In one exercise we were pointing our toes then flexing our foot yet keeping our toes pointed.  It was hilarious.  Because at first the foot just doesn’t do it . . . but then it will, but you have to really think about it.  Or for some, even HOLD your toes in the point.

There were other exercises that really require thought.  Which is always great because that means that you are changing up patterns – both movement patterns and brain patterns.  So it is a win-win.

We started out with a self-assessment so we could see where we were at the start then sense how we felt at the end.  This included holding a pen (or not) and writing (or not) with our toes.  Then we did eleven “manual releases” without any props.  So just using our hands and the floor.  Some of these were not enjoyable for me.  My foot that I injured a few years back is very “stuck”.  So it did not enjoy some of the movements we did.

Then we had a soft spiky ball that lit up.  YUP!  That was really part of the fun.  Dr. Baldwin mentioned that at first she didn’t care for the lighting up part, but then she realized it could serve as a tool to help you see if you are putting enough pressure on the ball.  With this spiky ball, after another self-assessment, we rolled our foot over it and performed an exercise or two.

Then, our next set of exercises was with a towel.  YUP, a towel, a hand towel.  So this was great because maybe you don’t want to purchase a soft spiky ball, but most people have hand towels.  We did a variety of grabbing and moving the towels with our toes.  This portion included some other exercises (doming, inchworm, tapping, and strumming toes) without the towel.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoThen we used a Theraband.  We did several exercises and stretches with the band.  This is the section where we did the pointed toes and flexed foot.  This section is the one that had me thinking a lot.  It was as if I had to keep my body from doing what it normally did.  It had to “forget” all that it has in its muscle memory.  The best tip from this section was when using the band to stretch the feet include the toes in the band.  I guess I think of the bands as stretching legs so I put the band over the arch of my foot.  Well, if the band is over the foot AND the toes, the toes can get involved in the stretching.  Ha!  Brilliant!

Then there was a section titled “Toe Corrector”.  Um . . . I don’t think my toes enjoyed being “corrected”.  We used a rubber band around our big toes and did various movements including walking, which was funny to me because — let’s just say I could use more practice walking.

The next section was Reflexology which sounds really nice, but it was the one that had us groaning the most.  This was done with a smaller than usual tennis ball.  We stood and rolled the ball under the various portions of our feet.  It is like that stretch or massage you know is good for you, but kinda doesn’t FEEL like it is good for you at the moment.

Then there was one last quick thing to help feet.  Kneeling with your toes curled.  By this time my right foot was tired so it didn’t care for the desired pose, where you are sitting on your heels.  But I was ok with the modifications where you take the weight off the toes by stretching forward and leaning on your arms.

This was a great workshop.  My feet are actually feeling pretty good.  Although I have to teach almost every day next week so I think I will soak them tonight just to help them recover further.

Easy(ish) things to do to help the feet.  Do you pamper your feet?  Do you specifically exercise your feet?

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