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 songs’

Additional Play With The Nine Movement Forms (of Nia)

Posted by terrepruitt on October 16, 2014

I am learning a Nia Routine and the focus is the Nine Movement Forms (of Nia).  All routines can be an opportunity to connect with the Nine Movement Forms, but when it is the designed focus of the routine it really helps to emphasize each one.  There are nine songs to the routine and each song was created with the specific movement form in mind.  It is an easy way to practice each form.  It is a wonderful way to learn more.  There are three arts and three movement forms from each art.  The Arts are Healing Arts, Martial Arts and Dance Arts.  The movement forms are the Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais, Alexander Techinique, Yoga, T’ai chi, Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, and Duncan Dance.

Each movement form can be used to guide the movements.  Each movement form can energize the moves.

The below is from the Nia Technique (page 101)

(Healing Arts)

“Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais:  Reflective, healing, conscious.  Move with sensory awareness and feel life as it happens.

Alexander Technique:  Transformative, exploratory, natural.  Move as a whole person, connected up and balanced.

Yoga:  Timeless, linked, expansive.  Move in ways that link your body, mind, and spirit to the outer world.

(Martial Arts)

T’ai chi:  Flowing, tender, fluid.  Float like a balloon, and move like a willow tree in the wind.

Tae kwon do:  Sharp, powerful, active.  Move with confidence, and feel* your own speed and strength.

Aikido:  Harmonizing, peaceful, cooperative.  Connect and blend with everything around you.

(Dance Arts)

Jazz dance:  Playful, peppy, sexy.  Move with pizzazz and express your most passionate emotions.

Modern dance:  Languid, moody, balanced.  Create different shapes with your body.  Play with balance and contrasts.

Duncan dance:  Soulful, spontaneous, unbounded.  Move like a child enchanted by life.”

*I believe that should say “feel”

In the song matched up with the Teachings of Moshe Feldenkrais we move in the space.  Sensing our bodies and the space around us.  Sensing the space with our bodies.  The T’ai Chi song has us moving fluidly both slow and fast.  The movement is a flow.  The third song takes us to a dance art and it is jazzy.  We do jazz squares and move with pep and we snap our moves.  In the song where we are focusing on Modern dance we make shapes with our bodies.  We also sense the moods created by the different shapes.  In the Duncan dance focus song we play rushing in and rushing out.  The sixth song has moves that are to be done sharp and powerful.  It is presented first slow than fast.  And that gives the participant options to do either speed.  In the song that focuses on Aikido we do a lot of turns . . . Aikido turns or four point turns.  With the eighth song we are doing a cool down and use the idea of “long bones” and “short bones” which allows us to expand and stretch connecting to the sensation of yoga.  The last song inf our floorplay, we explore the Alexander Technique by moving from the top.

Just a different way to experience the Nine Movement Forms (of Nia).  A great way to delve deeper into Nia and its movement forms.

What do YOU think of when you think of these movement forms?  What do you think of when you think of Moshe Feldenkrais?  Are you familiar with the Alexander Technique?  What comes to mind when you think of Yoga?  What do you know of T’ai chi?  Have you ever done Tae kwon do?  Does thinking about Aikido make you dizzy?  What could you show me about Jazz dance?  Are you into Modern dance?  Do you know who created Duncan dance?

 

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Worst Part Of My Job

Posted by terrepruitt on October 7, 2014

I often tell my students at the end of class that making them get up is the worst part of my job.  I have posted blog posts about savasana.  The restful period of time at the end of a yoga class where you take time to relax letting the body and mind absorb the benefits to be had from the asanas that were just practiced.  Let the body remember the stability and strength.  Give the body time to become accustom the space that was created.  Allow the mind to reflect on the stillness.  Well, in Nia we often end the routine in Floorplay.  Floorplay is either playing with gravity to experience the muscles or stretching or . . . it can be a combination of both.  There are a lot of ways to play on the floor.  There are a lot of ways to end the class.  Our Nia training DVDs have floorplay and ending movements, but they are not choreographed.  So there is a lot of freedom in the last songs.  Nia teachers can either duplicate what the trainer does on the DVD or they can create their own movements to the songs and end the class in their own way.  I know I sometimes do what I sense the class needs so sometimes I lead the class through movements and sometimes I instruct them to do their own free dance.  Often times we end by lying on the floor in a restful pose.  Just like in my yoga classes I don’t like to have to make my students get 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 Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classesIn the studio I rent, I think that I should rent an extra 30 minutes so we can just lie there.  Sometimes I sense the class could easily just stay there for an extra 30 minutes beyond the one hour Nia class.  In the classes I teach for the San Jose Park and Recs Department, I sense they could do that too, but we need to end on time.  Sometimes there is a class right after us so our restful period is interrupted.  But when it is not, it is a challenge to know when to interrupt the peace.

Recently I taught a class and I really didn’t want to tell them to get up.  The clock in the room was not working so I snuck up to check my phone and as I was returning to the circle I saw such peace and relaxation I didn’t want to bother them.  I toyed with the idea of just letting them stay an extra 5 or 10 minutes.  But without having planned that in advance, I didn’t want someone lying there past the hour and not knowing it.  Many people workout on their breaks so they need to get back to work.  Or they just need to get on with their day.  So as much as I don’t like interrupting their peace and as much as I would like to just let them relax, I need to keep to our schedule.  But it really is the worst part of my job when I feel they would love to just stay.

But, on the other hand, it really is a great part of my job when I can be in the presence of those that can just relax and let go.  After dancing and getting all sweaty it is so nice that they can just take a deep breath and melt into the earth and relax.  I get a huge sense of peace when I am in the presence of their stillness . . . . that is why it is so hard to disturb them.

Do you take moments out of your day to just relax and experience peace?

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Dancing Close

Posted by terrepruitt on September 16, 2014

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, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classesThere is a Nia Routine called Miracle.  It is fun routine.  Like many Nia Routines it has form and freedom.  There are two songs in which the foot work is pretty much the same throughout each song (form), but within the sameness you have the freedom to switch it up and add your own style.  The choreography gives you the steps, the area where your feet are to be in dancing to the music, but you can decide how to get there and how your foot will be placed into that area.  Form and Freedom.  There is also something in this routine that Carlos Rosas (NKA, Carlos Aya-Rosas) calls the “Nia Bundle”.  It is basically where the entire class gets very close together and dances.  This is not easy for people to do.  Why?  There are at least as many reasons why this challenges people as there are people.  But there are many benefits to dancing in a “bundle” and as a group.

One benefit of dancing in a close bundle is to practice our proprioception.  In close proximity to other Nia Dancers we want to be aware of where our arms are, where are feet are, where are hands are.  Are our limbs close to our body or are they out as far as they can go?  Are we going to step on someone’s toes?  Are we going to bump into someone?  While the goal is not to step on nor bump into anyone, it is understood there might be some contact . . . but not often.  For those in my classes that participate in the Nia bundles we do a good job being aware and moving in a close group.

Also dancing so close to each other helps us be aware of each other. Not just the physical presence of the other students, but there is eye contact, there is giggling, there is connection and a sense of community when you are brought really close together.  No one is in their own space, we are sharing space.  We move as one in space.  We move as individuals in a shared space.  We learn to dance together.

Another benefit could be that we – as individuals are pressed into moving in different ways.  Finding a new way to move our body in dance because we are so close to someone.  How can we move our elbows without elbowing someone?  How can we dance to the music and express our spirit in such close proximity to others?  Ahh . . . yes . . . new-to-your-body-moves just might be discovered.

I always laugh at the thought of someone looking in the dance studio at the community center and seeing all of the space with 12+ of us all clumped together in the middle or in a corner.  I imagine them thinking that odd.  I imagine them thinking, “WHAT are they doing?”  Then we throw our hands up in the air and sing.  It is quite fun!

So despite some people’s misgivings about dancing really close in a Nia bundle there are those who join in with gusto and reap the benefits.  Does your dance exercise class have a bundle?  What would you think if you were to peek in a class and see it?  Would you be a bundle dancer?

 

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Upward Salute

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2013

As with all workouts, it is important to warm up before beginning.  In a Nia class our warm up is one or two songs.  When I was young and was first learning to exercise the way to warm up was to perform a series of static stretches.  Science has proved that static stretching can actually increase relaxation and in a sense put your muscles to sleep.  Research has now shown that the best type of warm up is to actually prepare your body for the activity it is about to do.  So moving in a slower and more gentle way that you will be moving in the activity you are preparing for is a great way to actually warm up the muscles.  Walking and/or a slow jog is always a great way to warm up the entire body — depending upon the planned workout.  For a yoga practice a warmup could include moving the muscles that you will be using as you do the sequence of poses in your practice for the day.  It is important to warm up the muscles before you put them into a full on stretch or expect them to hold you in a pose.  A warmed muscle moves more easily and can stretch better than a “cold” muscle.  In the beginning of our classes we often do an Upward Salute.  I think it is a great way to start the warming up process.

The Upward Salute is sometimes called Extended Mountain Pose / Mountain Pose with Upward Stretch / Mountain Pose with Arms Overhead.  The basis of the pose is the Mountain Pose.  To do this pose first position your body in the mountain pose.

Summary of Mountain Pose: Toes touch and feet are parallel sense a stable base.  Distribute the weight over the entire foot – both feet.  Your legs are active and rooting you to the earth.  The abdominals are engaged.  The crown of your head is reaching up creating a long spine.  Your muscles are active.  Once you are comfortable in the Mountain Pose (for more details about the pose click here) turn your palms out and raise your arms up in a sweeping motion.  Allow your arms to reach over the top of your head.  Your palms come together.  You gently look up.

If it is not comfortable to look up then keep your gaze forward.  If it is not comfortable for you to bring your palms together then keep them apart, but facing each other.  No matter if you are looking up or your palms are touching your shoulders are down. There is space between your shoulders and your ears.  You have the idea of your shoulder blades sliding down into your back pockets.  Allow the energy to flow down your arms, through your shoulders, through your back and your spine.  Let it travel through your legs.  Enjoy this nice stretch.  Let it warm your entire body.

Staying here in this pose is a great warm up.  If you would like more of a stretch and warm up for the back allow yourself to bend backwards.  With this pose as a warm up the backbend is not deep.  Your shoulders remain back and down even though you move your head tilts back while your gaze is up.  Remain in this pose for a few breaths.  Then move into Mountain and repeat several times.

Now, I am aware that many people have back issues either with their actually back bone, or their spinal cord, or the nerves, so these poses are to be done with the utmost caution.  Keep in mind your OWN back situation and do only what is good for your own body.  It could be that your body gets the stretch it needs by just standing in Mountain Pose with your arms raised and your gaze looking slightly up . . . that is fine.  If that is a stretch for your back, then stay there and enjoy it.  Yoga is not about competing.  It is about doing what your body can do.  Then as you do what your body can do there is a possibility that it will be able to do more.  But there is no rush.  Yoga is a practice.  Enjoy the journey.  This is a wonderful pose to stretch and warm up the body.  And, of course it can also be done at the end of the session in the cool down when getting ready for Savasana.

Do you practice this gentle backbend?

Some Benefits Of Doing Back Bends

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