Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach yoga, Nia, and stretch online!

    ALL CLASSES ARE ON ZOOM AT 10:00 AM PDT

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    Wednesday Nia

    Thursday Stretch

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    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training all virtual, of course!

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Posts Tagged ‘Online Classes’

Camera Off

Posted by terrepruitt on February 22, 2021

As you may know I teach a small variety of movement classes online. I am so fortunate that some of the students I taught in person wanted to keep moving and they were willing to do it online via Zoom. For me, part of the draw of doing it live via Zoom is that I get to see the students. I feel more connected to them when we are all online together and I am doing a live class. When I teach I have Zoom set to “gallery” so I can see all the students. But I feel I need to emphasize that having the camera on when you attend a class is not necessary. There are days when having the camera on may not work. I want to make sure that people know that they have that option.

I know there were some days when I just got up in enough time to take a class (when I am attending someone else’s class) and I don’t want to have the camera on. Sometimes when I am taking a class I don’t want to set up the computer at just the right angle in just the right spot. Sometimes it is easier for me to just have it where I can see the monitor and I don’t want to be concerned with what the instructor – and everyone in the class – is seeing. There are a million reasons why you may not want the camera on and that is ok. It is actually really great that we can “show up to an exercise class” and we don’t have to be concerned with what we look like or how bad the traffic is.

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 ZoomHaving the camera transmit the video is optional and it can change every time you take a class. In my classes I want to make sure no one is feeling pressured into having the camera on. I know sometimes when I am taking a class with hundreds of people I am confident no one is really going to be focused on me. I have small classes so chances are if someone has it set to gallery they are going to see you so it is completely up to you at the time of the class.

There are a lot of reasons why a student might sign on and say hello, then once we start moving turn the camera off . . . again, it is all up to you and how you want to do it that day – that class.

And, if you want to ensure the camera is not able to see what you don’t want it to see you can always buy something cover it with something like the little covers I bought. I really like those because even if you don’t have your camera on transmitting . . . it is still on.

Having a camera transmit during class is a person choice and there is no pressure to have it on. Check my website for my class schedule.

Cheers!

Posted in Online Classes, Zoom | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sometimes Ya Just Need A New One

Posted by terrepruitt on January 25, 2021

I broke down and bought a new phone/pad stand. I have one that I have had for years and still use it. It is simple and it folds “flat”. I love that. I didn’t use it that much so I had trouble opening it because I couldn’t remember how it opened, but I have been using it a lot these past 11 months, so opening was not the issue. Moving it was the issue. I have been using my phone to take some classes where the instructors have us going up and down and so I keep moving my phone. And it collapses very easily so every time I moved it, it would collapse. With an iPad or a laptop it doesn’t need to be moved that much because I can see it when it is up and I am down and vice-versa or whatever, but a phone is a bit small to see sometimes. Or when it is up on something but at the “wrong” angle for viewing from the floor. Now some of you may think a stand is silly, but I have talked to many people who have one or wished they did now that so much of what we do is online. There are SO many types of phone/pad/tablet holders out there. I am happy I got a new one.

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This one is blue . . . of course. And it moves in multiple ways. It is sturdy AND stays at the angle I put it in. I just got it so hopefully it will stay this tight and not become loose and collapse. It folds “flat”. I am excited to use it later and not have to stop the playback so I can open the stand every time I move the phone so I can see.

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Last April when we were told we were stuck at home for longer than they original said we started Zooming with some friends every week and her cat would knock her iPad around so I ordered her a pink stand that folds flat. The folding flat is a big deal to me because I feel it is easier to store and carry around if need be.

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As I said there are all types of stands. I have another one that is fine when I am not moving it around, but this one will work great being moved quickly. It will not collapse and will sit nicely without a lot of futzing.  Sometimes ya just need a new one to have it work the way you need it to.

So . . . you? Do you have a stand to hold your device while you watch something or read a recipe while cooking?

UPDATE:  February 03, 2021

I have actually used this every single day since i have gotten it.  It is exactly what I needed.  As I mentioned the other one is fine, but when I pick it up it collapses and this one is sturdy so I can pick it up and quickly move it.  It is great!

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Covering The Camera

Posted by terrepruitt on December 14, 2020

It is a widely known fact that our devices, especially certain applications, listen to us. So, I don’t necessarily trust that my camera is not on when I don’t want it to be. I like to be unable to see that it is able to take pictures. In addition to my phone, I use two devices with cameras, a laptop and a monitor to teach my yoga, Nia, and stretch classes via Zoom. On both the laptop and the monitor I used to have a folded piece of paper taped over the camera. I had assumed there were devices that would block the camera, but I assumed they were “big” and “bulky”. I was thinking that whatever could cover the camera would not allow the laptop to shut properly. But finally when my piece of paper fell off the last time I decided to actually shop – online, of course. And, of course, I found something on Amazon.

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, Nia White Belt training via ZoomThe pictures showed it to be very tiny. So tiny that you could put it on a phone to block that camera. I thought it would work on a laptop and monitor if it worked on a phone. So I ordered a 3 pack for $5.99.

They are so tiny, they work great. I don’t have one on my phone, but I put one on the laptop and the monitor. They can hardly be seen – I had a difficult time taking a picture of it. I love them. It is the peel and stick type of thing. I don’t know how long it will last, but I have an extra one since I only used two. They are cool. It is so much better than having a paper that falls off. As I mentioned the taped paper would fall off often, when I took the paper off and put it somewhere on the monitor so I could use it when I was done, it would fall off. I was constantly “losing” it. This device is just a little slide.

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The ones I bought are oval shaped, but they have rectangles. There are even some that have a red dot to indicate something – either open or closed, I don’t remember which, but that sounds like it would be handy. But I only saw the dot on the rectangle kind and I liked the oval ones, they looked smaller.

I know there is one laptop . . . at least there used to be a commercial on TV that showed you could visible cover the camera.  I don’t know if they still make that or if other laptops have that.  My husband has an external camera that has a little piece of plastic that flips over the camera. So . . . with all of these camera covers available I know I am not the only one that likes to visibly cover the camera.

How do you feel? Do you see the need for camera covers?

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Posted in Misc, Online Classes, Zoom | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

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 of a move and students know by then 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.

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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?

Posted in Online Classes, Zoom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Improve Your Zoom Class Sound

Posted by terrepruitt on May 11, 2020

I have not been feeling very bloggy lately. Sometimes when I have an idea I don’t have the energy to write it. And when I have the energy I don’t have any ideas. I have been wanting to share something regarding online classes so I thought I had better write it up so I can have it ready for Monday. Last month I taught a Nia live stream class and I was told the sound was good. The students could hear the music and me. Now keep in mind I do not have a studio nor equipment made especially for streaming classes. I am pretty much like most of the other dance exercise instructors that decided they needed to live stream classes. For Nia I am in my living room, most often having to try to not step on a cat. I am very lucky that we do have a laptop that I can use. And since my hubby is working from home he was able to lend me his home monitor and brought his work monitor home. Also, I am borrowing the office microphone. It is not a headset microphone, but it is super cool. For music I use my Block Rocker. I don’t know what they hear, I experimented with recording it before the actual class, but that was just a test . . . I don’t know what it sounds like when I do the actual class, but for the first class they said it was ok. But in between classes I have been visiting with people on Zoom and I had adjusted my mic volume and forgot. So my second Nia class had audio issues. They couldn’t hear me. There are so many things it could have been, so I went through everything and I just wanted to share some settings with you that might help your sound quality in your classes.

I know that Zoom has a lot of videos and instructions on many things. I get e-mails from them all the time saying they are holding classes regarding how to do this and how to do that. So they probably have some information out there regarding this but maybe not because they were originally designed to be a meeting platform. With what is going on in the world we all took it over and we are using it for everything.

The first thing I had to make sure wasn’t causing sound issues was the mic cord. So we got new ones to take care of that in case that was an issue. Then I went into the Zoom settings. Every time I use Zoom it needs an update so every time I update it I check my settings because I am afraid that they will be changed with the update and that is where I discovered I had turned down my mic. I had turned it down for a Zoom visit and didn’t turn it back up for the class.

So, I think the best way to get the best sound is to turn up your mic AND . . . go into advance settings and make sure you disable “Suppress Persistent Background Noise” and “Suppress Intermittent Background Noise” I think that having them on auto confuses the system when teaching. Originally I had both of them on “auto” because I was thinking . . . I don’t want the jackhammering outside my house to be heard, but then I thought what if the system is thinking my music/voice is background noise. Because my students had said that the music cut out once or twice. So I think, it either considers my voice or the music as “background noise”. Because, remember this platform was not designed for music and voice, and especially not designed for either/both to be directed at it from three feet away.

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Turn up the mic and speakers in the “Audio” section of “Settings” – Open settings by clicking on arrow next to audio in lower left hand corner

Now I am not sure how it sounds when the music isn’t louder than the background noise and there actually is background noise (like the jackhammer). But if you disable the suppressions it might give your students a more consistent sound. The last two classes I taught with the new cord and the adjusted settings, the students had said the music didn’t cut out and they could hear me fine.

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If I were in an uncarpeted space, I would change the “Echo Cancellation” to “Aggressive” because I have taken classes that sound so “tinny”, and I would hope that the change in setting would help that. But in both spaces where I teach I have carpet.

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I also have “Enable Original Sound” OFF because Zoom’s site states if your mic HAS auto enhancing capabilities then the sound from it will be enhanced, but if it DOES NOT, then you don’t want to use it. This might actually be the key to better sound as it allows the “Audio Processing” to work.

So, I think having music and talking as one does in a live streaming dance exercise class turning the suppressing settings to “Disable” are a good bet.

So have you taken any Zoom classes? How do they sound?  What do you think?

Posted in Nia, Online Classes, Zoom | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments »

ALWAYS Late To The Party

Posted by terrepruitt on April 1, 2020

Ok, if you ever read my blog you will know that I am always late to the party.  Two weeks ago when we were told to shelter-in-place, many of my with-it Nia cohorts jumped on this Zoom thing and started teaching.  My space is limited in many ways so I didn’t think to join in.  My circle was going on and on about all the Nia classes they were taking so I decided to take one.  It was fun.  Nothing beats an actual class- especially, when, as teacher, I dance to Nia DVDs/online routines all the time, but when you have no choice, it is nice to “be” with people.  And after a couple of weeks, I was getting a little pouty because I missed talking to people and so I asked a friend if she wanted to get together online to chat.  When we came done to figuring out when she asked if it was just us and we decided to invite a few more people.  With a little group of 4 (X2) we had a nice little visit.

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 classesI say 4 (X2) because it was actually four of us online, but our hubbies were there too.  But the meeting was really just four connections.

It was a very needed human connection time.  We had fun.  I didn’t take a picture when we were all online because it was really low key.  I mean, I talked a few of them into it by saying they could be in the dark.  The picture you see is just two of us having joined the meeting and I am only posting it BECAUSE it is blurry so . . . . protecting the people I didn’t ask for permission to post.  🙂

Well, it was fun and I want to do it again this Saturday.  But I am curious are YOU Zooming?  I also just learned that you can FaceTime with multiple people.  But when I do it with one it never works so I don’t understand how it would work with multiple people.

Anyway, let me know if you have taking a class via Zoom?  Or if you are gathering with friends via Zoom?  Or what you are using to visit with friends during this shelter-in-place period.

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »