Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch! SIX group classes a week!

    Nia: Tues and Thurs at 9 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:15 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!

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • My Bloggey Past

  • ******

    Chose a month above to visit archives, or click below to visit a page.

Posts Tagged ‘Nia workout’

What Do You Mean Nia FreeDance Tool?

Posted by terrepruitt on April 18, 2015

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, PiYoSome of you may be wondering what I mean when I say Nia FreeDance Tools.  Recently I invited First Degree Black Belt Nia Teacher, Jason Alan Griffin, to present a playshop of his creation.  The playshop was him sharing some Nia FreeDance Tools.  I have talked about what Nia FreeDance is before, it is where there is no assigned choreography and we just dance to the music (or not).  But it is not the type of dancing you would see in a club.  It is not the type of dancing that has specific names for the dance moves . . . yeah a cha-cha, jazz square, or a pirouette might sneak its way in, but primarily it is not that type of dancing.  So some of the tools we have to practice Nia FreeDance are the 8 Stages of Nia FreeDance.  And within those stages can be additional tools.

First of all as a reminder we do FreeDance to allow our bodies to move in different ways.  To move in ways that are not our normal ways of dancing . . . so if you ARE a ballerina, the idea is to let your body dance outside of the ballet mold.  If you are tap dancer perhaps in FreeDance your feet don’t tap.  It is a way to practice different moves to music and allow our bodies to experience something away from its regular patterns.

There are other reasons and ways a Nia Teacher uses Nia FreeDance, but I am just going to keep this post on the path of tools.  So within the tool box are the 8 Stages as I mentioned.

Now, in the playshop Jason did not mention these tools in association with the stages, but a lot of the tools he shared were introduced to me in connection with the first 5 stages of Nia FreeDance.

So with Stage 1: FreeDance (Catch Phrase: Anything Goes, Movement-Wise) . . . almost all of the tools could be associated with this stage but one that sticks out for me is being silly, acting goofy.  This is super fun and is pretty close to guaranteed to get you to move in a different way to music than you might be used to.

Tools I associate with Stage 2: Being Seduced by the Music (Catch Phrase: Art of Listening) are as it says, being seduced by the music.  So just letting the music take you away.  I imagine most of you have had a song play where you can just get carried off by it.  You can just move without thinking and dance away.

There is also Tempo Change . . . this involves the art of listening because you are listening for the tempo and then dancing against it or with it or faster than it or slower than it or opposite of it.  Just listening and moving to it — in your own way.

There is also a tool that we use called “Forget the music” where you just dance in your own way — period.  People might look at you and wonder what you are hearing because it might look to them as if you are not dancing to the music.  And you could not be.  Perhaps you don’t like the song that is on or you like a different version that you know so your dance is not “to” the music.

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, PiYoStage 3: Feelings and Emotions (Catch Phrase: Pretend, Fake It, Act As If ).   This stage has a lot of tools that connect to it, if you are dancing the “Feelings and Emotions” you act “as if” you are ___________ (fill in the blank with an emotion).  You could be ACTING “as if” you are angry so you stomp around the room.  Or you are ACTING “as if” you are jealous or ACTING “as if” you are happy.  Allowing your body to move in ways that it would move if you were feeling those emotions is a great way to move.

Or you could PRETEND you are playing an instrument.  I always say that I have become the greatest musician since I started teaching Nia.  Or you could act as if you are playing a sport or a child’s outdoor game.  This type of pretending is not sticking strictly to the stage and catch phrase, but it can be connected to it because there is pretending, faking, and acting.

Stage 4: The Creative Source (Catch Phrase: The Real You).  This is where there is no story or no acting “as if”, you are moving with your true emotions.  The tool would be no choreography allowed, in fact the dance is suspended and you are moving in your own way as an emotional being.

Stage 5: Authentic Movement (Catch Phrase: Change!!).  Here is where the tool of changing every two bars comes in.  The movement is authentic.  The real you, nothing fancy just the way your body goes, but changing it every two bars.  Or the change could be applied to directions or levels.  You could dance going one direction and quickly change to go another directions.  Or you could be dancing in the high plane and switch to the low or the middle.  The idea is to CHANGE!

So that is what we mean by “tools”.  Basically ideas of how to move.  There are a lot of tools that can be used, there are so many ways to move.  One of the most fun things to experience is an individual actually practicing these tools and then coming up to me after class and saying what a great workout they received.  Many say they didn’t realize that  FreeDancing could be such a great workout.  That is one reason why we FreeDance . . . it really is a GREAT workout!  Having a lot of tools makes it fun!

Does this give you a better idea as to what the “tools” are?  Does this give you ideas for your next dancing-in-your-living-room session?  Or ideas on how to conduct your next car-dancing moment?

Posted in FreeDance, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

My Organization of the Choreography for Close to My Skin

Posted by terrepruitt on April 16, 2015

The current Nia routine I am trying to learn is taking me a long time.  I have mentioned before that I feel it takes me a long time to learn a routine, but this one seems even longer.  The first thing I do is listen to the music.  I had been doing so for a couple of weeks, then I got busy for a couple of days and hadn’t turned it on.  When I went to the album in my iTunes I was shocked to see I had never listened past the sixth song.  In fact, at that point I had never made it through the entire sixth song (that is how annoying it is).  So I realized I needed to watch the Nia Training DVD.  Watching the choreography usually helps me get through a song that I don’t like because it gives me points of reference.  But this workout is filmed where the teacher and class are FACING the camera.  I don’t like this since I primarily teach with my back towards the class.  Back to the class really helps people copy the moves because they don’t have the whole “mirroring” issue to resolve.  When I am trying to learn a routine and the people on the DVD are facing me, I don’t care for it.  I do it as mirror, they are using their left foot and I am using my right, so I go right when they say “Go left”.   All trainers sometimes state the opposite side or direction, but when they are actually USING the left, but I am mirroring them, it confuses my brain.  In addition to the camera angle challenge (for me) this particular song is said to be a different version than they thought they were getting.  So the choreography appears to be being created as the routine is being filmed.  So it is very loose.  I often feel that Debbie Rosas, in her brilliance, has so many ideas about choreography for one song that she sometimes shares them all during the filming and there ends up being a lot of moves in one song.  I am grateful that the belts I have taken thus far have emphasized “less is more” and we have permission to pick a couple of moves from the song on the DVD and do them to the song.  So that is what I did with one of the songs.  I picked a few of the moves she did and organized them into something I can learn.

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, PiYo

I will work on learning it this way.  Although I will need a lot of practice because the song tends to mesmerize me and I lose my place.  Hopefully as I grow more familiar with the moves and music I can play with it as the Debbie did. Since I don’t watch the DVDs that are filmed with the class facing front as many times as I watch the other ones I need to have a map I can follow from the get go.  That is also the case for me when the song is very long and repetitive.  I need to have a pattern, even then I can get lost in a song like this.  And as I mentioned — just listening to it, trying to learn the song itself is not something I have been able to do.  Every time I turn it on to learn it, half way through I am so annoyed by it, I turn it off.  But moving to it is another thing.  That is why when I don’t like a song, I look to the choreography because often times when the choreography makes sense it allows me to get through the song.  More often than not I end up liking the song.  We will see what happens with this song.  It is like a dripping faucet.

Except for the class and the trainer facing the camera and the song titles not being shown as each song begins, the Nia training material continues to be stellar.  At the end of 2014, Nia HQ put out the new Routines.  I had ordered three earlier in the year, I just received the fourth one.  I am going to add the titles in with the AWESOME software I have on trial.  I have to do it before my 30 days is up.  Then I will continue learning the routine I am working on.  I will debut it to my class soon.

When you take group exercise classes do you like the instructor to face you?  Have you ever noticed how a lot of songs are very repetitive?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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?

Posted in Nia, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nia’s Five Sensations, Well, Two and One Fourth

Posted by terrepruitt on May 29, 2014

Aaaahhhh!  I did it again.  I do it all the time.  I see things on Facebook that I want to look at but I don’t have time or when I see it is it not the right time to look at it so I open it in another window.  Then I can watch it, read it, do it (whatever) days later.  But then I forget who posted it.  This is a Nia video so I know that one of my Nia friends posted it.  It took me days to get around to watching it.  Then once I did watch it I was soooo disappointed.  It is a video of Carlos Rosas (NKA Carlos Aya-Rosas) at a conference talking about the 5 Sensations of Nia.  As he is talking I start looking at the time left and I keep thinking, he’s not going to make it.  I kept HOPING he would, but I kept thinking, he is not going to make it.  He didn’t.  He was halfway through (or so it seemed) his talk about Mobility when the video stopped.  Sad face.  That is why I was disappointed.  I was sad because we don’t get to hear all five sensations.  But . . . watching the ones he did get through are well worth it.  It is just a bummer that we didn’t get information on all five.

I am not sure what year it is, but you will see that they are being referred to as Debbie and Carlos Rosas.  Which I always thought that eventually they were referred to as Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas.  But that is not the point of this post or the video I was just trying to see if I could have an idea of what year it was, but again . . . not that important because the information is tremendous.

The information is very helpful no matter when it was recorded.  Carlos first walks you through some things you can sense.  He connects them to the 5 Sensations.  If you’ve read a few of my posts about Nia you might be familiar with my belief that Nia takes everyday things you are familiar with and probably aware of and connects it to Nia ideas.   If you watch this you can get an example of them doing that in the time from 2:45 to 7:00.

After the initial connection to the five sensations, the first sensation Carlos defines is Flexibility.  He describes it as energy moving out.  So not just stretching, but energy moving out.  Then he talks about Agility.  He describes that as a quick start stop.  He uses the adjective “explode”.  This is a very entertaining part of the video.  Carlos is a very funny speaker.  Then he gets a few minutes into a mobility.  He describes that as continuous movement.  He talks you through a bit of it, then the video stops.

Even though we only get to see two sensations and a portion of mobility it is still great information.  I am not giving you too many details because I want you to watch it.  It is so much better from the creator than from me just typing what he is saying.

This was posted by Nia, in addition to watching this video you can go to the Nia Channel on Youtube (click here) and see other videos they have posted.  Also, you can go to NiaNow.com and watch recordings of classes.  From the home page scroll through the pages and you will find videos of Nia classes.  You can dance right along with Debbie and other trainers!

I invite you to watch the video and participate with his exercises to connect you with the sensation of Flexibility, Agility, Mobility, Stability, and Strength (this is the first portion I mentioned).  Then stick with it for even more connection to Flexibility and Agility.

 

Well, what do you think?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Squatting Does A Body Good

Posted by terrepruitt on February 8, 2014

One of my Blue Belt Sisters (a woman I attended the Nia Blue Belt Intensive with) posted a link on Facebook to an article about 5 reasons to do a full squat.  I love when I see information like that . . . information about why it is good to do “something”, something we do in Nia.  I love that.  I love when people confirm and promote Nia movement.  As you know, if you have read some of my Nia posts, Nia is not new.  Nia has been around for 30 years.  Nia incorporates moves and ideals from different modalities so most of it is not new.  HOW they incorporate it is often unique, but we use a lot of movements used in other exercise and workout programs.  Which is a great thing.  Not that just because something is done commonly makes it good, but since Nia is based on how the body was designed to move it makes sense that we do movements done in other practices and vice versa.  So I was excited to see an article talk about something we do in Nia.  Nia knows the benefits of squats.

I posted about the Garland Pose and I posted about what Nia 5 Stages calls “standing“.  Here I am going to touch upon some benefits of doing full squats.  A few of mine are different than the 5 mentioned, so check that out too.  First, the article reminds us that children squat to reach for things on the ground and will get into that position when playing on the ground.  Many things that children do we understand to be beneficial yet we no longer do them as adults.  In addition to the many physical benefits of a full squat, it can possibly help us remember that child-like position of play.  A Nia workout includes “exercising” the BMES (Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit) and many people claim that the play we do in Nia is great for their spirit.  Squat like a kid!

Small children have all that yummy flexibility.  Their bodies have not yet sat in chairs for years or worn shoes that either keep their ankles from moving in a full range of motion or even keep their foot in one position, possibly even shortening their calf muscles.  So they can easily squat with both feet fully on the ground, and their legs folded, and their chest to their thighs with their bum low to the ground.  So a squat allows for all of that.  Mobility and flexibility in the ankles.  Flexibility in the knee.  And balance.  Being able to squat with flat feet and stay stable is proof of good balance.  Think of all those muscles you use to stay tush down and upright . . . (if you need help “thinking”, do it now and just sense all of that).

If you are doing the “Garland” type squat with the wide knees you are really opening the hips and groin area.  It is important to have flexibility and mobility in the hips because those things help make walking more comfortable.  A body is able to stand more upright when the hip flexors aren’t tight.  So squatting can help the body allow for good posture.  The squat also helps with stretching the back of the legs.  Squats target the hamstrings and the glutes.

And if you push up to standing you are using your glutes, so standing up from a squat is a good bum strengthener/toner.  Sometimes we move into a deep squat position in Nia as part of a Nia routine.  We do squats as part of the Nia 5 Stages and we push up into a walk.  So as I said Nia knows the benefits of squatting.  What about you?

Are you a squatter?  Do you find yourself squatting during the day?  Is the squat something your body needs practice doing?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Running, Lifting Weights, And Nia

Posted by terrepruitt on January 25, 2014

Nia is a body/mind type of practice.  Or mind/body . . . however you want to say it.  I tend to say body/mind because the first step is to get into the body.  But it is different from a lot of other exercises.  It is much more like yoga and Pilates then say . . . weight lifting or running.  I recently taught a class where a woman told me afterwards that she really loves it because she is very athletic, she runs, she plays other sports, but she wanted something that was more freeing and more connected so she decided try Nia and now she is hooked.  She still does all of the other stuff and continues to love it, she is just rounding out her workouts and exercise with Nia as a body/mind addition.  Nia is really great to add to any type of workout regime you have.

Since Nia focuses on allowing the participant to participate at their own level it can easily fit into your workout schedule.  I have had many people who love more traditional sports tell me that Nia is a great addition for them.  They all love that body/mind connection and the way it allows them to feel like a kid.  They love the play of it.

I have had people come up to me before class and say, “I can’t dance are you sure I can do this?”  The answer in The Nia Technique is “if you can walk you can do Nia.”  And that is true.  In a Nia class you might even fine tune your walking a bit.  We might train you to do that Heel Lead that often gets lost in a high heeled or runner’s gait.  Get that flex and extend back in the ankle.  But really anyone can do Nia.

I would bet that you have noticed the increase in the popularity of yoga . . . well, it is that mind/body connection that draws people to it.  Many people are understanding that even a regularly scheduled exerciser benefits from having that mind/body connection.  With Nia there is also the Emotions and Spirit.  The whole enchilada.  BMES.  Body, Mind, Emotions, and Spirit.

I’ve posted about Spirit before.  It is one of the things that many people really enjoy about Nia.  It can be compared to the “feeling like a kid” again.  The play in the exercise or workout.  The “Wooohooo!”

So the intention of this post is just to remind people – because I am sure I have said it before – that Nia is for everyBODY.  To remind you that people who like the more traditional exercise and workouts, the more athletic type of stuff, as in running and weight lifting, find they really like to add in Nia to the mix.  It actually helps them in their other type of workouts.  They claim — the ones that talk to me — they are more focused when they do run and/or lift weights.  So if you are one of those people who prefer the more traditional exercise, maybe break out of that for a Nia class and see how it works for you.

Check out my schedule on my website Nia Class Schedule or if San Jose is too far for you look at the Nia Classes on the main website.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to try something different for a workout?  Do you want to add something new to your exercise regime?

Posted in Nia | 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 »

In Nia We Travel

Posted by terrepruitt on November 14, 2013

Nia is a cardio dance exercise that I teach.  It is more than that, but that is one way to describe it.  One of the ways it is more than that, is, it is a practice.  If you chose to treat it like a practice, as one might treat yoga as a practice, one would become aware of Nia’s 52 Moves.  There are 52 moves that get choreographed into the Nia Routines.  One of the moves is Traveling in Directions.  This is a great move for many reasons.

One reason Traveling in Directions is great is because it is very easy.  Another reason it is great is because it is very adaptable and can be used in almost every song and in every routine.  The main way to travel in a direction is to simply walk.  Using the Heel Lead technique just walk forward, then change the direction you are walking, then change the direction, etc.  With the simplest of forms you look where you want to go before you move in that direction.  So before your feet actually start going a different direction — LOOK.  There is a little bit of thinking involved because we look before we go.  Allow your arms to move freely.  Step confidently in whichever direction you choose to look.  Move your body as a whole.

The Nia Technique book states:  “Practicing Traveling in Directions keeps your body agile for moving through space in all directions, able to change direction with ease.”

When we use this move in our routines we have a lot of fun playing with it.  The move really is as easy as stated, the fun comes when changing directions quickly.  You can be the leader of your own movement or sometimes you are being directed by the teacher.  This makes agility one of the Nia sensations we practice with this move.  Moving one way then quickly stopping and going another way.  Stopping, changing, starting.  Varying the speed at times will allow for additional Nia sensations such as strength and stability to come into play.

When Traveling in Directions on your own you become aware of the direction you want to go, then you look, then you go.  As I said, there are times when you might be listening to the direction of the teacher, which would still mean you would need to become aware of the direction you want to go, but when being told where to go your body’s reaction is quicker.  There is a quick look then a move in that direction.  Less thought is involved for you as the participant because someone else thought of the direction you were going to go.

Often when this move is done in a class, quick thinking, quick moving, and quick reacting are additional skills that receive attention because we are dancing with others on the floor so we might have to switch our trajectory quickly to avoid a dance floor collision.

Modifications of the traveling can be done by going backwards or sinking low or even rising high.  So many ways to travel in directions.  All of them are great opportunities to try out the Nia Sensations, the more you do, the more ways you move your body.  If you want you can even skip.  Skipping in different directions adds a new dimension to the move.

Sometimes this move is choreographed into the Nia routine with specifics and sometimes is allowed more of a Free Dance.  However it is added to the Nia workout it is a wonderful way to dance.

How would you Traveling in Directions to your current favorite song?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Touching – One Of Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on September 17, 2013

I am not certain “touching” is included in any other workout.  I am not certain if it is included in any other cardio dance exercise.  Now I am not talking about “putting your hands on your hips as you shake them” or “putting your hands behind your head as you advance forward” or “touch your elbow to your knee” or “putting your hands on your shoulders”.  I am not talking about that type of touching.  I am talking about touching.  Touching for the sake of touching.  Touching to gather sensation from your hands.  Gathering information from the nerves in your fingers, palms, and the backs of your hands.  In Nia we touch.

Touching gives us a lot of information.  A Nia Routine might have us touching the air around us.  We touch to sense the air.  We touch the space around us.  All around us.  Above our heads, behind us, below us.  We use our open palms and webbed spaces.  We use the backs of our hands.  We push and pull the energy.  The Nia Technique book, by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas, states “Practicing Touching is excellent training for increasing your Sensory IQ and for improving body awareness.”  Touching the space that surrounds the body also moves the energy around — as mentioned the push and the pull.  In addition to moving the energy you can draw energy in through the touch or send it out.

There is also the touching we do to things.  We can touch things while we dance in a Nia class or throughout our day.  In a dance class we can touch the floor, the walls, the mirror, the other things in the room.  They give us information through touch.

We can also touch our skin and our own bodies to gather information.  We can touch to create heat.  We can touch to supply energy to a specific body part.  We can touch to heal.  We can touch to allow for sensation or attention.  Touching brings awareness.  If you are touching your elbow, as an example, with the touch you receive information from two sources.  One is your hand that is doing the touching.  It senses your elbow.  It might feel dry skin, causing you to think you need lotion.  The second source is your elbow.  Your elbow senses the hand.  You might think, your hand is soft/warm/moist.  Exchange of information.  Awareness.  Attention.  Touch is amazing.

No matter whether we are touching the space around us, the things around us, or our own bodies we can use fingers, palms, and back of hands.  With different “touches” we are exchanging different information.  Moving and/or releasing and/or gathering energy.  Touch is a powerful tool in the Nia toy box.

Another way touch can be applied is in the common way of touching as measurement.  In the beginning of class, say, before your body is warmed up, you can only touch as far as your shins.  Then after was have moved warming the muscles all of the attachments you can easily bend all the way over to touch your toes.  Touch.  It is a great thing to use for many reasons.  In Nia we use touch.  Touching is one of Nia’s 52 Moves.

What sensations have you received today from things you have touched?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »