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

    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!

  • 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’s Five Sensations’

Palm Directions

Posted by terrepruitt on September 28, 2013

We dance Palm Directions all the time in my Nia classes. It is an easy thing to do. Palm Directions is a great move to incorporate into freedance. It is also often one of the moves choreographed into a Nia routine. Palm Directions is one of Nia’s 52 Move.

It might not be something you think about, but the direction the palm is facing affects the shoulder joint. When the palm is facing down (or towards the body) the shoulder joint is closed and when the palm is facing up (or away from the body) the shoulder joint is open. When your arm is straight that is when the shoulder joint gets the open and closed action.  Along with the shoulder joint, the entire arm is affected. The arm bones are twisted with the movement of the palm.

It really is as simple as facing your palms in one direction then another. Unlike Webbed Spaces – another move in Nia’s 52 Moves (you can read about it by clicking here) – in Palm Directions the fingers are kept together. If practicing to affect the shoulder joint, lengthen the arm straight out in front of your body or straight down next to your body, then turn the palms up/face them out away from the body to open the shoulder, then turn the palms down/turn them towards your body to close the shoulder joint. You can observe the radius untwisting as it switches places with the ulna. You can sense the movement of your humerus, the upper arm bone.

In addition to opening the shoulder joint, the Nia Technique book reminds us that, “Palm Directions also express emotion. Palms up, for example, is a universal body language indicator of openness.” So it can open things other than the shoulder joint. Changing palm directions also moves the energy around. In Nia classes we move the arms all around the space around us, changing the palm directions, pushing and pulling and mixing up the energy.  Also, while we are dancing and our arms are moving around us with the palms facing different directions we vary the speed of our movement.  When Varying the speed that are arms are moving and our palms are changing direction allows us to play with agility – one of Nia’s five sensations (click here for more information on that).

This type of movement helps us connect with the space around us.  Palm Directions, the Nia Move, also helps with keep the shoulder joint mobile.

This move is also a great move with which Nia participant’s can practice their own body’s way.  The body was designed so the humerus rotates in the glenoid fossa or shoulder socket.  But life sometimes affects the body so that it cannot move the way it was designed, so all of us have different levels of how much we can move the arm.  So while playing with Palm Directions and dancing the arm around the space each individual can do it in their own body’s way.  This will allow them to get the work that their body is capable of and needs.

Ready?  Straighten your arms then change the direction of the palms.  Are you able to sense your arm bones twisting/untwisting?  Are you able to sense the action in the shoulder joints?  What do you sense when you move your arms around while playing with Palm Directions?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Finding Balance In The Gate

Posted by terrepruitt on September 14, 2013

In Nia we have the five sensations that we dance and move with. I always feel that one of them is a personal favorite of one of the co-founders of The Nia Technique. I think that Debbie Rosas really loves stability. I imagine she loves them all because she does a superb job of ensuring they are all included in a each Nia Routine, but sometimes I just get this feeling that practicing balance is her favorite. It could be because sometimes stability, being balanced, requires flexibility and/or agility and/or mobility and/or strength. So you can practice and play with all of the five sensations when practicing balance. In yoga there is at least three of the five sensations we experience in Nia. In yoga there is flexibility and/or strength and/or stability/balance. In the Gentle Yoga class I am teaching I really like to put a huge emphasis on balance. I think balance is very important and yoga is a great way to practice it. There are many poses in yoga that are balance poses. Not all of them are standing poses.

One pose I really like to use for enhancing balance is the Gate pose. This pose is a kneeling pose, somewhat.

In the gentle yoga class we start on our knees. Up off our calves, as in we are not sitting on our legs. Then we lean forward and over to one side, say the left. We lean forward to the left placing both our hands on the ground in front of the left knee. Then we swing our right leg out so it is pointed out to the side. The heel of the right foot is aligned with the left knee or slightly in front. The right foot is flat on the ground and the toes are pointed away from the body. We then lift up so we are kneeling on our left leg with our right leg posed out to the right of our body. Then the left arm comes up reaching straight over the head. Palm towards the right. The right hand is palm up resting on the right thigh. If stability and balance is achieved then those that are comfortable lean over to the right, allowing the right hand to rest lower on the leg, at the shin, not the knee. If comfortable we turn the head to gaze past our left arm. All the while the crown of the head is moving away from our body and the tail is moving in the opposite direction. We are lengthening our spine. The shoulders are being drawn back and down. Even though one arm is up we still keep the space between the ear and the shoulder open and large. The same with the side we are leaning towards.

Whether you are staying up right or leaning over to the side, keep your body from leaning forward. Stay in the pose for a few breaths. After you perform this pose on one side, do the other.

Parighasana, the Gate pose, is a nice way to pursue balance.  The foot that is out can be adjusted to a parallel (to the body) position if that allows it to be more comfortable or stable.  Or the foot can be lifted leaving just the heel on the ground.  The depth of the side bend is always a point that can be adjusted for the individual’s needs at the moment.

I love all the poses in yoga that allow for balance practice.  I think this is a great post with which to practice balance.

Are you familiar with the Gate pose?  Do you like this pose?

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

Turn In Nia And Other Dance Exercise Classes (Video)

Posted by terrepruitt on July 10, 2012

I wrote a post about a four-point turn, that is what I call one of the turns we do while we are doing Nia.  In Nia it is sometimes called an Aikido turn.  But it is a turn that is done in many dance exercise classes, including Zumba.  I realize that even if you are reading the post while trying to do it, it could be a bit confusing so . . . . . voila!  A video.

The first clip is of me facing away and I start with a RIGHT turn, then alternate.  Then the second clip is of me facing the camera.

As with my Aikido turn post maybe right and left indications will work better for you.  In my other post I decribed the left turn, so here I will write out the right turn.  And as stated, the right turn is the first turn I demonstrate.  Turn your head/eyes to the right, allow your hand/arm to follow. Move your right foot to “toes out” turning your right thigh bone to the right. Then step on your RIGHT FOOT in a “toes out” position, put your weight on it 100%. As you are stepping all your weight on your RIGHT FOOT, allow your body to turn to the right, in the direction you want to go. Swing your LEFT LEG (free leg) around to what seems like in front of your RIGHT FOOT. Step onto your LEFT FOOT, toes pointing to the back of the room (or what started off as the back of the room), take the weight off the RIGHT FOOT (“toes out” foot). Swing your RIGHT FOOT (free leg) behind to land about in line with the heel of your LEFT FOOT (weighted foot).  You will land standing on the RIGHT FOOT, and turn the LEFT FOOT to be parallel with the right foot. . . making that the fourth point or step.

Even though in the first clip on the right turn you can’t see my right foot “toes out”, I do the turn enough times in the video for you to see how the first step is a “toes out” move.  Starting the turn with the “toes out” and already turning the direction you want to go will go a long way in enabling you to get all the way around.  Even if it takes a lot of practice to get all the way around, starting that first step with the leg in outward rotation will help a lot.  I also said in my last post that I think it is easier to do this move fast as opposed to slow. So it might be a good idea to not try it really slow at first because it is not easy slow.  Just go.  Right toes out, left, right, left.  Or left toes out, right left right.   Remember we do not spin on our feet. We need to pick the feet up off the ground to avoid blisters and strengthen the leg.  Also you might notice that this turn is done on the balls of the feet.  You put all your weight on the ball of the foot.

While my fourth “point” or step I am exaggerating and pointing my toe in that might not always be the case.  When we are moving to the music the fourth “point” could end up being any number of things depending upon many number of things.  The choreography sometimes calls for different things.  Plus there is the individual body that is doing it to consider.  Sometimes people can’t get all the way around, it could be that the music is really moving and there isn’t enough time to get around and settle into that fourth step or it could be that this is one of those moves that will take practice.

It’s a great move that allows us to use ALL five Nia Sensations.  Flexibility on the “toes out” and as we place our feet, mobility in our joints, strength to get us around and stop, agility to stop, and stability to stay stopped.  Cool, huh?

So how are you doing with your turn?

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

FAMSS

Posted by terrepruitt on April 13, 2010

In Nia we refer to FAMSS.  We practice FAMSS.  We can use it for all types of things.  It stands for:

Flexibility
Agility
Mobility
Strength
Stability

And by “use” it I mean, it is often incorporated into each kata of a routine.  Or a kata might concentrate on just flexibility, the next one agility, the next one mobility, and so on.  Or we could use FAMSS as a focus OR an intention of a Nia class.  Either all of them (Flexibility AND Agility AND Mobility AND Strength AND Stability) or just one (Flexibility OR Agility OR Mobility OR Strength OR Stability).

But whatever we do with it or them, they are highly regarded as abilities needed to ensure one’s (high) quality of life.  So in Nia we honor them all.  In a Nia class we weave them into the workout.  In this post I am just referring to FAMSS in the physical.  They can certainly be applied to more than just our physical bodies, but that can be another post just by itself.

For now, I am just talking about our physical bodies needing to be flexible, agile, mobile, strong, and stable.  Just to move around in daily life these five things are very important.  In Nia we can bend down in a forward fold as in the familiar pose one might do in a yoga class, allowing our flexibility to be enhanced.  The music might encourage us to run, stop, run, stop, run, stop or move us to play the drums calling upon our bodies to display agility in legs, in arms, in our bodies as a whole.  We can move our bodies as if they are grass in a field or seaweed in the ocean, moving each part, each section, each muscle, and all major joints to help ensure their mobility.  We could crouch in a bow stance moving up and down exercising the strength in our legs.  Then we can we stretch, reaching to the sky as we look up, this can be stability practice, either on flat foot, on the ball of our feet, or in releve.  This could be one song in which all of this FAMSS is going on or it could be spread out over the entire routine.

Just tonight in my San Carlos class a woman told me that after her first class last week her hip felt better.  She said that after her hip felt better on that first night it encouraged her to do a few of the moves at home that we had done in class.  So she started working on her FAMSS in the first class, she was encouraged that movement was working to increase her FAMSS so she moved more.  With movement she felt more comfort and less pain.  FAMSS is necessary for a high quality of life.  Her ever day movements were better not because she did it once, but because she kept doing it.  Nia honors Flexibility and Agility and Mobility and Strength and Stability, so in Nia we practice it.

I hope one day you will attend one of my classes (I have two in San Jose and one in San Carlos*) to see how we can improve your FAMSS.

*Please see my website for my CURRENT class schedule.  Thank you!

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »