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 White Belt’

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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Smooth Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on August 3, 2020

I am not sure when, but probably within the last five months I downloaded a solitaire game into my iPad.  I usually play it right before bed.  The game awards you little gold crowns on a calendar for every day you win the daily challenge.  If you win the daily challenge the day of the challenge you get a gold crown with jewels.  It is silly, but I like to win the hand on the day of the challenge so I am usually playing it after midnight when the new daily challenge comes out.  So, like I said right before I go to sleep.  Well, I was playing it recently and I was agitated.  The way the cards were “moving” or more accurately NOT moving was very agitating.  At first as I was playing I thought, “This is not relaxing!  Usually I am not feeling like this. What is up?”  Then, I noticed the cards were “behaving” oddly.  At first I thought I was imaging things and the cards were behaving like they always do, but the more I played the more I realized that they were not moving like they normally do.  I was sad because I thought there had been a change and that the cards were going to have this weird movement from now on.  It really is about movement and about what calms or agitates you.

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 ZoomAs I played I realized that the cards normally float either down into the pile or over to where they can be played.  The floating is kind of calming, but with this new thing the cards were just “phfth” and it was there.  The space where the card had been either just changed – ABRUPTLY – to the new card – or the space where there hadn’t been a card, a card would just appear.  The more I noticed it the more agitating it was.  I had to stop clicking on the cards to get them into play and I had to actually move it there myself.  That cut down on the weird movement a bit.  I still wasn’t 100% sure that it hadn’t always been this way, but I was 95% sure because I was going to have to give up the game because it was no longer soothing.  But to be sure I would see how the winning “ceremony” was.

When you win a hand the cards do various “dances”, sometimes they form a castle, sometimes they form a heart, sometimes just circles that spin around, but it is nice and smooth and it is like the equivalent of applause.  Then your crown appears and then floats to your calendar.  Well, after I won the hand it – I don’t know how to describe it but there was no fanfare just some glitching.  So I closed the application and re-opened it and —–ahhhhh!  It was back to floating cards and calmness.  I am so happy it was just a glitch and they didn’t change the way the cards moved.

But I found it so interesting that the movement of the cards had such an effect.  I made me realize how the floating cards are really a nice calming thing and the glitchy ones were aggravating.  Reminded me of how movement can be that way, nice smooth movement can calm the nervous system whereas frantic movement can aggravate it.  I thought it was fitting that I am re-taking the Nia White Belt which is all about movement and I happen to experience weird movement in the game and notice how it affected me.

Have you ever noticed frantic movement affecting your nervous system?  Do you play any calming games before bed? 

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 Zoom

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Nia White Belt P2 – Natural Time and Movement Forms – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 13, 2020

Principle 2 of the Nia White Belt has two parts. Nia White Belt Principle 2 is Natural Time and Movement Forms. As you may have seen, I am re-taking the Nia White Belt training online and so far, the information, the bones of this principle has not changed . . . and that is comforting. It is nice to know that we – from the first Nia White Belt that experienced these principles to now – are all still moving from the same point of reference. Back when I took the Nia White Belt training in December 2008 they were developing new images called triads. We were the first class to get a glimpse of them and be shown how they “worked”. Nia is still using the triads to help students learn and embody information, but as I mentioned in a previous post, we are being presented with the latest langage to be used by Nia, but so far the core of the principles have been the same. In addition to the BRAND NEW (not even been printed) Nia White Belt “Sense” Book (the training manual) we are also reading The Nia Technique Book. The Nia Technique Book has pages and pages devoted to Nia White Belt Principle 2 – Natural Time and Movement Forms.  It is a vast principle.

First of all, I want to remind you that Nia is amazing. It is a holistic model for movement and life so it has A LOT of depth. The training material they put out is ALWAYS mind blowing. And over the years they have added more and more things to the toolbox. So, I am not disclosing everything we learn, I am not sharing all of the information because it really is something one needs to experience for themselves. All of the stuff I share – ok, most of it – comes from the publicly available book The Nia Technique Book.

The first part of the principle: Natural Time. I don’t have much to add to my first post on Nia Natural Time. There is a triad for this, but, again, not sharing ALL of our training with you because that just wouldn’t be fair. The first part of P2 is about moving in your own time and using the 13:20, your 13 major joints and your 20 digits, for movement, and about what Nia calls measure which I equate to proprioception, where you know where your body is in relation to things around you and to your own body.  This is very helpful when you are dancing with a lot of people.  It is also VERY helpful nowadays when you are observing social distancing. You use movement and measure to move in your body’s way.

The second part of the principle is Movement Forms. There are three arts that each contain three different movement forms. Now, I say we may use moves from each art because when exercising and/or dancing you are probably going to do a punch or a kick and/or a shimmy or a cha-cha-cha. But I do need to be clear that we are not actually DOING any of these forms. We just use elements from each form or even more accurately we use the energy of each form.  Since we are still using The Nia Technique Book in training, I feel that my previous posts can serve as information regarding each art and its included form.

The “Arts” are Martial Arts (MA), Dance Arts (DA), and the Healing Arts (HA).  Within each art is the form from which we use energy.

T’ai chi is the slow dance
Tae Kwon Do is the dance of precision
Aikido is the dance of harmonious spherical motion

Jazz Dance is the dance of fun, showmanship, and expression
Modern Dance
is the dance of creating shapes in space
Duncan Dance is the dance of free-spirited, honest movement

Feldenkrais is the dance of conscious awareness of sensation,
the Alexander Technique is the dance of movement from the top
Yoga is the dance of conscious alignment of bones and joints

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I am sharing the hastily drawn triad regarding the movement forms because it helps with understanding the organization of them.

For our homework we spent time discovering our energy personalities in relation to the nine movement forms.  In our training we spent time dancing each movement form to see how the different energy allowed our bodies to move.  It is fun to explore and maybe learn new ways to move.

And there you have it Principle 2 of the Nia White Belt hopefully it gives you a little insight as to how we dance Nia and even how we move through life.

Might you play with dancing using one of the movement forms?  See what is your favorite form of expression?

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Joy Of Movement – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 8, 2020

I kind of figure I will be posting a bit about each of the “re-languaged” Principles as I go along, but we will see. Some of them might not need another entire post . . . but we will see. In looking back at my original post regarding Nia White Belt’s Principle 1 not much has changed. The way it is written up in the book and the way she talks about it may have changed, but – two things – the main brunt of it is the same and I don’t want to share everything exactly anyway because if you are the slightest bit interested you have to experience for yourself. The first Principle is the Joy of Movement. Sometimes referred to as JoM or maybe even JOM.

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 exerciseBack when I took the training originally the fact that sometimes you just aren’t feeling happy, was discussed and, of course that is going to happen. It came up this time, too, because that is reality – no one is happy all the time. And that is somewhat what this is about. You don’t have to FEEL happy to dance the Joy of Movement. It might help. Moving when you are happy definitely has a different energy. Try it. You can dance when you are happy and it will be different than when you are not. But when you feel happy that is an emotion, a feeling, when you dance the Joy of Movement that is a sensation. Something that comes from the body. Something that many people may need to learn (as in it doesn’t necessarily come naturally) and we need to practice.

The Joy of Movement allows you to dance no matter what. For some it is relaxing the body and letting it move. A body that moves in its own way pretty much can’t help but find joy. So that means even if you have aches, pains, and an injury, if you move in the way your body is able to move at that moment, you can find joy. So, for example, if your foot is injured and standing, walking, jumping on it would cause it pain, doing that would not be YOUR BODY’S WAY (at the moment), but maybe sitting down and moving would be the way your body could move and movement will make your body sense joy.

Note, that one key is moving in YOUR BODY’S WAY . . . if your body does not like to move fast then doing so will not allow you to find that Joy of Movement. Moving in ways your body is not able to is not going to allow you to find it either, you have to move in ways that bring you the sensation of joy.

If you are feeling sad, but you move in your body’s way, you may still FEEL sad, but your body and its sensation will be joyful and perhaps you will end up feeling less sad. Now dancing away your sadness is not the point of the Joy of Movement, going back to when I mentioned the fact that sometimes we feel sad, that is ok. This is not a practice that preaches to ignore your sadness (feelings), just dance them away . . . it is just a practice that is body center and is teaching that you can find joy in movement. It is a tool that can help you deal with life.

There is always going to be situations that make us sad, upset, out of sorts, angry, grumpy, whatever, but if you want a tool to help this is one of the many tools in the Nia toolbox. Again, this is not to say I am not allowed to be upset and it isn’t even saying when I dance or move I have to be happy, this is just saying I have the CHOICE. I can CHOOSE the SENSATION of joy and tap into the UNIVERSAL JOY that is out there and available to anyone and everyone. It is not an emotion, but a sensation.  With those three things I have . . . . . the Joy of Movement.

So what do you think?  Do you move for the joy of it?

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Online Changes

Posted by terrepruitt on May 25, 2020

Teaching online is different than teaching in person. As you can imagine. If you have taken an exercise class online, especially from your same teacher, you have probably noticed some differences. I thought I would just share some of the things I am doing different.

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-I am facing my students. When teaching Nia I like to face away from my students because one of the thirteen principles I was taught when I attended my White Belt training about 12 years ago was “Teach what you sense.” So it is easier for me to teach to my left arm (as an example) when I am actually USING my left arm. Now when I instruct students to use their left arm I am using my right.  So I am not using sensation to teach as much. When I had taught yoga in person I often faced my students, but pretty much always faced away when doing twists. It seems twists really twist people’s brains.

-I am moving “smaller”. For Nia, the space I am using is large enough to move around fully, but if I use the whole space it can take me off camera. So I try to stick to what the camera can see.  Staying in camera might have me focused on that at times.  Sometimes I might go out of view a bit, but hopefully that is on a repeated time and students know by what the choreography is – and this is in regards to Nia.  With yoga I make sure students can see head and feet and I am not moving enough to move out of frame.

-I am quieter. I used to be loud and make all kinds of sounds, while dancing, but since I am in a house where someone is working, I don’t make as much noise. I do hope my students do. I sometimes felt they didn’t make noise because they didn’t want to be the only one, but now that they are home, I am hoping they are taking advantage of the benefits sounding provides. I do make sounds, but not as loud.

-I point more. It is kinda like in Zumba where I point or make a hand signal because I am not sure they can hear me (and again I don’t want to shout all the time).  I talk less

-I “check in” differently. In-person I would ask how people are doing and encourage them to answer. That allowed me to know how they were doing and (instructor “trick”) forced people to breathe. Now I try to be very conscious of the pose/stretch because I don’t always want them moving their head or arm to give me a thumbs up. And we mute people because we are all doing this in our homes where there is other stuff going on. I have to restrict my “check-in” to in between poses/stretches.  So I am not getting to use the “trick ’em into breathing” instructor thing.

-We start standing then go to the earth. In stretch and yoga we used to start one way and then switch off. We would move up and down (or down and up) to enable us to retain that ability. But with the devices it is easier to start up and then when it is time to get down – stop and adjust the device, then get down. If I start yoga in corpse pose then I don’t instruct on any poses that I may need to see so we just leave the camera “up” and then when we get up it is set fine, then we do our standing poses then adjust and get down.

*****Update 05.26.20*****

I forgot one of the most important ones, I kind of said it when I said I point more, but that is for Nia.

-I don’t always demo the pose or DO the pose/stretch.  When I have my face on the floor or in my lap, no one can hear me.  When I am talking and my voice is too muffled for people to hear they look up to see what I am doing and they are not doing the pose.  So I don’t always do the pose/stretch.  I didn’t always put my face down when teaching in-person classes either, but online there are a few more poses/stretches I don’t do just so I can instruct.  And, honestly, sometimes I forget.  This morning while I was talking to my lap I realized I needed to be up and not folded over – AND, I realized I didn’t include this change in the post.

**********

I am very grateful to my students who have joined the Zoom classes. They have helped me keep teaching and I love that.  I hope to continue teaching online so I imagine these changes will change and adjust over time.

What have you noticed is different on your Zoom/online classes?  What changes have you seen in the way your instructor teaches?

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Some Basic Fitness Guidelines Found In The Nia White Belt Manual

Posted by terrepruitt on October 18, 2014

Sometimes when I need to write a blog post I am inspired. Sometimes I have an idea. Sometimes I have something to say. Sometimes I even have a few ideas lined up and I have to make a schedule of what I am going to post and when. Then sometimes, like today, like now . . . I got nothing. When I have nothing I usually look at all my books, all my pictures, all my notes on “things to blog about”, all my “stuff” and I usually can find some inspiration to come up with something, but today nothing is coming. I have been sitting here for hours and I’ve gone through what I have access to and I am not feeling a particular pull, so I am going to share some information from my Nia White Belt Manual.  I am going to remind you that I participated in the Nia White Belt Intensive in 2008.  My manual says, “The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual, March 2001, V3”  Which is not to say the information I am going to share is out of date . . . because a lot of it is pretty general to many, many, many fitness forms.  I state date and volume information for those of you that might have a Nia White Belt Manual but perhaps this information is no longer a part of it.  Or it is worded differently.  Because Nia is always adapting and, even though these guidelines are — for the most part — general, Nia might have changed the wording or taken this piece out of the manual.

These are the basics of Basic Fitness Guidelines found in the Nia White Belt Manual *directly from the manual*:

1.  *Do not eat for at least two hours before you work out.*

2.  Wear comfortable clothing you don’t mind sweating it.  Something that makes you FEEL good, but that you don’t mind getting down on the floor while wearing.

3.  *Start easy.*  As you become familiar with the moves you can add more intensity.  But, like all things, get the basics first – crawl before you walk, walk before you run, that type of thing.

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 classes, YMCA4.  *Move the way you walk, using your whole body.*  –  If that is not how you walk, practice it.  Move through the Nia workout using your entire body.  *Step heel to toe when you move to the side or to the front, and shift your weight from one foot onto the other.  Lead with your heel, gently rolling forward to the ball of your foot, and then push off to change directions as you feel your toes lightly touch the floor.*

5.  *Don’t force a motion.  Don’t strain.  Strive for a balance between control and relaxation as you listen to your body’s signals.*

6.  *Make the movements an expression of you.  This is your workout.*

7.  *Use “belly breathing.”  When you inhale, first feel your belly expand, then your ribs, laterally expand, and then your chest and clavicle rise.”

8.  *Step back onto the ball of your foot, keeping your knees soft and your heel high as you lower your body weight.*

9.  *Draw your knee up toward your chest before you kick out.*

10. *Use your arms to express your feelings, emotions, or mood.*

11. *Contract your abdominals to round the spine, don’t lean.*

12. *Get in as much non-stop movement as possible.*

13. *Take at least three classes a week.*

14. *Combine a good diet with internal and external exercise to balance your fitness program.*

 

Pretty basic stuff.  Some – perhaps – a little unique to Nia, but not so much so they can’t be applied to other fitness/dance exercise classes.

What do you think?  Do you follow these guidelines?

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Nia Belt System Previously

Posted by terrepruitt on July 24, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

The focus for Brown Belt is sensing and perceiving energy.

The focus for Black Belt is unlimited creativity.

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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Your Choice To Choose Then Tweak To Sustain Or Increase

Posted by terrepruitt on May 15, 2014

You might have seen my post Are You Happy – It’s Your Choice that used the “poster” created by Alex Kopblin.  It is a flow chart asking if you are happy with simple instructions on how to stay or become happy.  Well, I just connected that to Nia.  More accurately to two Nia Principles.  I was looking through my Blue Belt Book of Alchemy and it dawned on me that the triad for Principle #1 is kind of like Alex’s flow chart.  He asks the question “Are you happy?” whereas in Nia we choose it.  His flow chart goes through simple steps to get to happy, whereas the Nia triad leads us to sensation and guides us to “tweak” in order to “sustain” or “increase” our Universal Joy.  While I have been thinking about choosing “happy” and joy, I hadn’t thought about either of these ideals/posters.  Even though I have Alex’s on my wall, directly in my face.  And I certainly hadn’t thought about how they are slightly connected/the same, until right now.

I often feel that Nia and its principles apply to life.  That is why it is a practice and not just a cardio dance workout.  As I have said many times . . . it IS a cardio dance workout, and if that is all you want to get out of it . . . GREAT.  You will get a GREAT workout.  But if you want to learn more about it and see how it applies to life you will find things like this.

You will find that Nia and its principle align up with a lot of memes out there on Facebook  The information aligns up with so many things because it is body center and it makes sense.  Nia is not necessarily the creator of many of these things, but they do have an amazing way of packaging it up.  One way they package it up so well is to relate it to movement.  There we are back to the cardio dance workout.

Anyway . . . I was a bit surprised to realize both of these ideas pretty much matched up.  But then after my initial, “Oh wow!” I realized, as I stated above, Nia connects to a lot of things.  While happy and Joy – as in the Universal Joy might not be the same thing, both of these things (the poster and Nia’s principle) are telling us that we are in control.  We are in control of our happiness and we are in control of connecting to the Universal Joy.  Neither is always easy at all times . . . but they are both always available to us.

I also believe that sometimes we do not choose emotions, sometimes they just happen.  There are times in life when we might need to just let them be and experience them.  But that might not be where we want to stay and be all the time.

There are many ways to experience the emotion of happiness and there are many ways to connect to the Joy.  What is really amazing is that the ways to do so might not be the same for every one . . . everyBODY is different.

What do you think?  I am just thinking out loud and marveling at the Nia connection to things.  As I wonder – at times – about my choice of Joy.

How are you about finding your own happiness?  What do you do to experience your “happy”?  What do you do to connect to Joy?

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Jazz Square Using The Clock

Posted by terrepruitt on October 12, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Perhaps this will help.

Key things to remember:

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

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

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The Right Shoe

Posted by terrepruitt on September 26, 2013

Today after Nia Class a Nia White Belt and I were talking.  We were talking Nia over coffee and a friend from her past happened by.  So she joined us.  She was coming from Jazzercise and so, of course the conversation turned to us sharing some information about Nia with her.  She sounded as if she was willing to try it but also as if she was never going to move away from Jazzercise.  I love that she is moving.  I think it is important that people exercise and one of the ,best ways to ensure that is to find something you like or better yet — love.  I appreciate that there is so much out there for people to participate in.  Of course, I would love for you to come to my Nia class.  I would love for you to love Nia.  I think it is great because it addresses the BMES, but not everyone likes that in their exercise.  In the course of our conversation she said she tried Zumba, but it didn’t work for her that well.  She had already mentioned that she takes it easy on her knee so I felt justified in recommending the correct type of shoe.  I often hear people don’t like Zumba because it hurts their knees and it often has to do with the shoes they are wearing.  In Nia we dance bare foot.  We do not twist on our foot or scoot, we pick our feet up off the ground.  When doing a dance exercise or a fitness class, like Zumba the need for shoes is apparent.  In Zumba there is a lot of twisting, shuffling, and sliding.  You need the right shoe for that.

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 YogaExercise sneakers, tennis shoes, cross trainers, and running shoes are not the correct shoe for doing Zumba or any type of dance that requires shoes for that matter.  An exercise sneaker or tennis shoe has what you want in regards to cushion, construction and support.  A cross trainer has even more support in the shoe because with cross training you are moving forward, backward, side to side, and even up and down. So the shoe itself is made to support your foot and keep it secured in the shoe.  And running shoes are great for the cushion.  They cushion your step and help absorb the shock of your foot landing on the earth.  So these types of shoes are great, the “upper”, because they are built for impact and moving in different directions, but it is the sole you do not want to dance on.  These shoes are made for traction.  They are made to stop you from twisting and sliding.  When you are playing tennis, doing cross training, or running you don’t want to be slipping, sliding, and twisting around.  So the soles are made to keep that from happen.  I mean, have you seen some of those soles?  They look like tire treads.  Great for outdoors.

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 YogaNow a dance shoe, say a jazz shoe or a ballet slipper is perfect for dance.   Without all of the cushion and support that is an athletic shoe they are usually light and easy to lift and move in.  The bottom of the shoe has material that allows you to slide and glide, spin, turn, and twirl on the dance floor.  Perfect for moving to the music and getting your groove on.  And THAT is the kind of sole you want.  Something you can twist in.  Something you can slide in.  Something that won’t stop you foot dead as you dance across the floor.  But then again, those shoes have the SOLES you want, but not the support.  Since you are doing cross training type of motion (forward, backward, side to side, and even up and down) you want that type of support.  And it would be nice to have some cushion too, huh?

Well, do your knees a favor and do not do Zumba in tennis shoes, cross trainers, and running shoes.  And do your feet a favor and do not do Zumba in a jazz shoe or a ballet slipper.  What you need is a dance sneaker.  Someone, somewhere – I don’t know the origin of them – decided to combine the two.  Brilliant.  Someone added the support, cushion, and comfort of an athletic shoe to a sole that can slide and glide.  Whew!  This is genius.  This will help save your knees and other joints!

I know Zumba has a brand of shoe that has a great dance sole, I don’t know about the cushion and support of the shoe.  I bought Capezios because they don’t have a sole over the arch so they allow for the foot to really move.

Since you are investing in your health and wellness by going to a dance exercise class, please take it a one step further and splurge for those dance sneakers.  They don’t have to cost more than $50.00, and you will be saving yourself so much more in the long run.  You will be allowing your body to move with greater comfort on the dance floor.

What do you think?  Do you think a shoe that allows you to slide a bit is better for dancing?  Doesn’t it make sense to have a dance sneaker?

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