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, Fri at 10:15 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!

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Posts Tagged ‘plank’

Sun Salutation – My Way

Posted by terrepruitt on May 4, 2013

The Sun Salutation is a sequence of asanas.  I have not yet included it in any of my Nia classes, but I am thinking about doing so.  In general modern day usage “asana” is what people call a yoga pose.  So the Sun Salutation is a sequence of yoga poses.  Now, if you look up Sun Salutation on the internet you will find a lot of variations.  There are certain asanas that you will consistently find in all of them, but then not all of the Sun Salutations will include the same EXACT ones.  I’ve seen anywhere from 9 to 13 poses in a single salutation.  Since yoga is considered a practice associated with religion, a meditation, a prayer, a movement form, and/or a straight out exercise it makes sense that there are so many difference ways to do the Sun Salutation.  If you are chosing to do the movement as a form of worship it might have different movements than if you are doing it to get a specific physical benefit.  Most of the instructions on how to do it agree that the movements are based on breath.  Inhale here, exhale there.  I have decided on a combination of what I have been trained with, what I have practiced in classes, what I practice at home, several applications, and things I have learned along the way.  I have decided on thirteen movements.  I move using the right leg through 11 asanas, then through them again using the left leg.  Two of the poses making the sequence 13 are only used only in very beginning and the end.

I start in Anjali mudra then go to the
Mountain Pose, then arms move out and up into an
Upward Salute, then I swan dive into a
Forward Bend, up into a
Standing Half Forward Bend, then I place the left leg back into a
lunge then the right leg back into a
plank then I move down onto knees into
knees, chest, chin/Ashtanga Namaskara or chaturanga up into
cobra, then I push back into
downward dog, I stay here longer than any other pose.  I breath.  Then I bring my right leg forward, so I am in a
lunge, then I bring my left leg forward then I
forward bend, then I come up a little into
Standing Half Forward Bend then lift my arms out and up as I rise into an
Upward Salute which I consider the start of the right sun salutation.  I go through the sequences again this time place my right leg back into the lunge.  When it is time to lunge again, I bring my left leg forward.

I find that as I move through the salutation, I like to change my Upward Salutes into more of a little back bend.  Only bending back as I warm up and it feels good.

Since this is my Sun Salutation, and I am not worshiping the sun . . . in fact I don’t even think of the sun at all, I just do it my way.  I do it in the way I feel like doing it that day.  Sometimes I time it with my breath inhaling on this move and exhaling on that move, sometimes I stay in each pose longer and while I am aware of my breath my movements are not dictated by it.  I do somewhat feel that is WAAAAAY contrary to the way it is “supposed” to be done, but then again it is MY movement.  It is MY practice.  It is MY meditation.  So I do it the way MY body feels like doing it that day.  I don’t usually decide how I am going to do it when I begin, I just begin and however I seem to move is how I do it that day at that time.  Sometimes I even time it to the music I am listening too.  Sometimes, unfortunately, I am in a hurry and I just want to get a few in so I do them.  It all depends.  That is why I think it is nice because YOU can do it how you want to do it to match the reason you are doing it.  After doing at least six, I end with the Mountain Post and the Anjali mudra.

Do you do a version of the Sun Salutation?  What asanas do you include in your salute?

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

Four More Days Of Plankin’

Posted by terrepruitt on March 28, 2013

Here we are with four more days left of our Plank A Day For A Month Challenge.

I’ve decided I like doing my plank on Thursdays before my evening Nia class, otherwise I tend to almost forget!

Are you going to make it the last four days?

Posted in Planking | Tagged: , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Day Twenty-Five Of Planking

Posted by terrepruitt on March 25, 2013

Just a week to go in a Plank A Day For A Month Challenge . . . . . wow!  Can’t believe it.  So . . . . you are still here.  That is awesome.  I hope you are feeling even better about your planks!

One day, I felt I went backwards, but that was one day.  Even a few days is ok to take a few steps back.  Because then eventually you get moving forward again, right?

So where are you at?

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

Sunday Planking

Posted by terrepruitt on March 24, 2013

It is day twenty-four of our Plank A Day Challenge or Plank Every Day For A Month Challenge.  For some it is easier to make adjustments at the beginning of the week.  Is today an adjustment day for you?  Are you adding time onto your plank?

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

It’s A Bird, It’s A Plank

Posted by terrepruitt on March 23, 2013

What?  You try to come up with thirty-one days of titles for the basically the same thing.  Not easy.  And please, even if you lie to me, can you say at least one so far has made you smile?

Here it is day twenty-three.  Plank A Day For A Month Challenge.  How’s it going?

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

Double Planking

Posted by terrepruitt on March 20, 2013

So have you found yourself doing more than one plank a day yet?  This is day twenty of our Plank A Day For A Month Challenge and I was just wondering if you think about it during the day after you’ve done the plank for the challenge or not and decide to do another one.  Why not, right?  It is only 15+ seconds out of your day?

Posted in Planking | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Plank Muscles

Posted by terrepruitt on March 19, 2013

While you are doing your plank you might notice some of the muscles involved in doing the plank.  As I am sure you know, there are many variations to the plank.  Many movement practices/exercise disciplines do planks.  There is a plank in yoga, in Pilates, in weight training . . . you probably have seen it all over.  That alone tells you that it is an exercise/pose worth doing right?  We even do planks in Nia.  If there is a version in so many different disciplines it could be that is because does a body good.  The plank we are doing in our Plank A Day Challenge is the plank on our forearms as opposed to the plank where your arms are straight (the position of the “top” of a push-up).  There are a lot of muscles used in this plank.

The muscles being used in a plank are the abdominal muscles, the back muscles, the muscles in the arms, the shoulders, leg muscles, and butt muscles.  So pretty much muscles in every muscle group.  You can understand why it is such a great exercise.  It is a full body workout.  So, while it might not utilize every muscles it calls upon a lot of them.  If you are participating in the challenge you might even notice that the endurance in the muscles is improving.

I often think of the plank as a great exercise to work on your core.  You might have heard “core” and “core muscles” before.  You might even wonder what they are.  And just like so many things there are so many answers.  I think of the core as a muscle group.  I think of the core muscles as the group that allows your body to remain stable and/or upright.  So sometimes that could include your quads if you are standing or doing a plank.

Having a strong and stable core helps us accomplish everyday things.  From sitting, to walking, to doing things with our arm as in pushing, pulling, carrying, etc.  A strong trunk helps us when we need to work with are arms.  Especially with our arms extended.  If we are do something with our arms out, say opening a window, grabbing a grocery bag and bringing it towards you, or pushing something in to a vehicle for transport, you rely a lot on your torso.  So when it is strong and stable it can support you while you do these task.

On top of the strong core having arms that are able to open windows, grab and hold groceries, pull them towards you or push things help with every day life too.  Be able to do all of these everyday things might be one reason the plank is in so many exercise disciplines.  It is a great functional exercise.  It is understood that it can assist with muscle strength and endurance.  And it is one of the exercises that gets a lot of muscles all at once!

Are you participating in our challenge?  Are you feeling your muscles?  You have probably felt the muscles used in a plank, right?

Posted in Core Muscles, Muscles, Planking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review The Plank Form

Posted by terrepruitt on March 12, 2013

Let’s do a little form check on our planks.  We are doing our month of daily planks (and beyond?) on our elbows/forearms.  Let’s review how we are doing them.

–Rest on elbows and forearms
–Upper arm bones come straight down, so elbows should be directly under the shoulders
–Elbows are shoulder width apart, elbows are directly under the shoulders
–Shoulder blades are pulled down (putting them in your back pockets)
–Face is facing down, eyes looking at the earth (assisting with proper head alignment)
–Head is in line with shoulders, hips, knees, and feet
–The entire spine is straight
–Hips are not bowing up or sagging down (part of the “alignment” is that they are doing neither)
–Muscles are squeezing and active; abdominals, glutes, qudriceps
–Rest on the toes, heels off the ground
–Feet are in open stance, which is hip JOINT width apart*

*As with many exercises there are variations and modifications, but for this plank challenge we are keeping our feet in open stance.  (For an “open stance” reminder, click here)  With the feet in open stance it encourages the hips to stay in alignment.  Also in open stance your bones are in alignment with your joints.

Try doing the plank with your feet apart (like in “A” stance) and you might notice how much “easier” it is for the hips to start to sag down.

If you are still learning and really want to focus on form, doing the plank on your knees is always another option.  If you are doing the plank on your knees the stance is the same.  The knees are straight out from your hip joints just as if you were standing in open stance.  Your feet are also in “open stance”.

Be very conscious of your arm bones.  You want to make certain they are perpendicular to the floor.  Don’t allow your toes to push you forward.  Check to see that your shoulders are directly over your elbows.  An idea that might help with this is to press back with your heels.  Your heels are in the air but imagine the bottoms of your heels are reaching out to press against something.  This also helps with activating your thigh muscles, while on your toes.  If you are doing the modified plank on your knees you can still press with your heels you just would not be using your thigh muscles to help.

As with all exercise remember to breathe.  How you breathe is up to you, if panting helps you, then pant, if slow inhales and fast exhales help you, then do that.  Breathe however it is best for you, but don’t hold your breath.  Your muscles need oxygen so give it to them.

Remember to keep your form every time and through out the duration of your plank.  If your form starts to “suffer” then stop.  No use doing a minute of “planking” if your bum is high in the air or your hips are on the ground. Let’s make sure we are doing quality over quantity.  So every time you plank, review your form!

Do you have any questions?  Is this clear for you?

Posted in Exercise and Working Out, Planking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Ninth Day Of Our Month Of Planking

Posted by terrepruitt on March 9, 2013

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

Saturday and our ninth day of planking.  The nice thing about this challenge is even if it is your “rest” day in your workout schedule you can still get in some planking time!

I have another idea on how to time yourself.  Once you feel you have good form, your body is aligned properly, you can use a stopwatch type of timer.  I have one on my iPhone.  I would imagine other phones have something like it.  I know there are a lot of apps for timers.  Get into your plank position and then press start on the timer.  Check your form, get comfortable, settle in and then look at your timer.  I bet by the time you look at the stopwatch you will have already done the time you think you can do.  Then if you want you can hold it for a few seconds more.

This is a way for you to find out how long you really can do it.  Then you can add accordingly.

Also remember there might be days where the duration is less than normal.  It is ok to have a day that is a bit off.  Just get back to it the next day!

Whatever way you choose to time yourself is great.  This is just another way to do it!

How is your planking going?

Posted in Planking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Plank It, Plank It Good! (Day Eight)

Posted by terrepruitt on March 8, 2013

So, even though we eventually want to add time to the duration of our plank, we also want to make certain that our plank is “good”.  So before you add on some time, make certain that you are in proper form.  As I mentioned before, a mirror would be helpful.  If you don’t have a mirror maybe you have a camera with a timer and you can set it up to take a picture of you while you are planking so you can see the position of your body.  Or if you have an iPad you can set it up so the camera is on you while you are looking at the display.  Or if you have someone that can take a picture for you, do that.  I would strongly recommend YOU looking at you as opposed to you asking someone, “Hey, how do I look?” or “Am I in alignment?”  When you ask someone they might not really know what you mean by “straight” or “in alignment” so they might say yes and you aren’t.  Or, they might say no but you really believe you are so you don’t really think they know what they are talking about.  Or a hundred other possibilities.

I am not sure if I’ve shared this before, but once I was working with a trainer and she told me to bring my foot straight back.  And I did.  I did the exercise again and she told me to try to bring my foot straight back next time.  So I did the exercise again, and she said, bring your foot straight back.  Every time I brought my foot back I THOUGHT I was going straight back.  Finally I just asked her to move my foot to where “straight back” actually was.  I stopped and sensed the difference and said, “Oh.”  I was really off.  But I didn’t realize it.  I thought I was going straight back.  So you might think you are in alignment so it really helps to be able to SEE for YOURSELF.  That way you can also figure out how much of an adjustment you need.  Maybe your hips are sagging so you need to move them up.  Maybe your hips are too high.  Whatever it is YOU can see with your own eyes and then use your body sense to adjust!

So . . . are you?  Are you planking it?  Are you planking it good?

Posted in Planking | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »