Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘portable mirrors’

Space Age Image

Posted by terrepruitt on July 17, 2014

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 YogaWhen I was first hired on with the Parks and Recreation Department with the City of San Jose, I was a substitute Group Ex Instructor.  I didn’t have a class of my own.  And we use that term “my class” loosely because we know it is not guaranteed to be a permanent thing and we can be replaced or things can change.  But for the sake of simplicity we call them our classes when we are asked to teach a weekly (or more) class at a specific time on a specific day.  I didn’t have a class at first.  So I was able to fill in as a substitute wherever I could.  I was also really happy to fill in with Nia because I wanted to introduce the community centers in San Jose to Nia.  So I would step up to teach when someone had a cardio class that needed subbing.  There are five different community centers that participate in the Group Exercise program.  Each center has at least two rooms where they might have a cardio class.  Not all rooms have mirrors — and many exercise classes use mirrors.  So when I first saw the portable mirrors at a community center I was so excited.  These “mirrors” are awesome.  It is not like a mirror image it is like a space age image!

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 YogaHave you ever seen these portable mirrors?  They are not really mirrors.  I don’t know what they are.  The material reminds me of the package that toner used to come in.  I am not sure how many of you have worked in an office where you had a big copier or printer that used the cartridges that were sealed in the shiny packages.  But THAT is what this stuff is like.  It is kind of like Mylar.  It is REALLY thin.  And VERY easily torn.  But the reflection when they are new and clean is amazing.

The first time I taught in front of one of these portable mirror things I kept expecting to dance right through to another dimension.  Now that might sound odd to some of you, but my husband is a science fiction buff and we watch a lot of science fiction so that is what I felt like because it seem clearer and cleaner and more crisp than a regular reflection.  It was more like something otherworldly.  It was rather funny because it was so amazing I was distracted a few times.

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 YogaSince these mirrors are not glass they are really lightweight and super easy to move.  They are really great for community centers I think.  Except I really wish they should come with some sort of handle.  There is NO WHERE to hold them without touching the reflective surface.  One could get down and use the “feet” to roll them but that is not very efficient nor a good way to be moving (the body).  I am always surprised that the city doesn’t simply add something to use to roll them around.  It would be so easy to add a strap or SOMETHING so people are not putting their fingers on them or THROUGH them.

The reflective surface really is very thin and sadly I have seen many “mirrors” with tears.  I just did a quick search and some sites are saying their mirrors ARE Mylar, while others are saying they are not.  Either way, they are great lightweight mirrors, but unfortunately they tear easy and I have yet to see any with handles.  But when they are not torn and they are clean, they are really fun to dance in front of because it is almost as if you are dancing with a partner instead of your reflection!

Have you seen these cool portable mirrors?  If you have, do you think they are more clear and crisp than a mirror?

 

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Mirrorless Inward Reflection

Posted by terrepruitt on July 15, 2014

I teach Nia at Community Centers in San Jose.  One of the things about community centers is they are for the community.  During the summer that means that they are kid central.  It is amazing all of the programs they have for kids during the summer.  It is so great to see the centers doing so much to keep the kids learning and active during the summer.  What a full community center sometimes translates to is regularly scheduled classes get shuffled around.  I was given about six months notice for this summer’s shuffle.  So our Nia class was prepared.  I had been telling them since January.  Then I put up a notice in June.  So we were aware.  It is a huge blessing that we just get moved to another room and not to a different time or cancelled altogether.  I am grateful that we still get to have a class while all these summer camps and kid fun is going on.  It is working out to be one week a month.  Last month the room we were moved to had the portable mirrors in the closet so we were able to roll them out and use them.  Today the closet was full of tables and chairs.  The mirrors were nowhere to be found.  The center is on what used to be a high school campus.  So it is very large and spread out.  I wasn’t certain that 25 minutes would be enough time to let someone know about the situation, find the mirrors, and move them all the way across the campus.  So we did Nia without mirrors today, using the opportunity to focus inward.

I have done Nia without mirrors before.  In fact I posted about it in my post Nia In The Mirror when I was teaching in San Carlos.  That is one reason when I started working at the San Jose Community Centers I was so impressed with their portable mirrors.  In fact I thought I did a post about them because they are sooooo cool.  (Well, I don’t see one, so that will probably be my next post!)

In a Nia class the teacher stands with her/his back to the students.  One way we connect with our students is eye contact in the mirror.  A Nia teacher can turn and face the students.  In fact, it is recommended at times to do so to change things up and to connect in another way to the students.  We even practiced it in the Blue Belt Intensive.  So it is up to the teacher to teach facing whichever way s/he wants.  Generally though we face away from the students.

Facing away makes it easier for some people to follow since we are moving the same side of the body and going in the same direction as opposed to the mirror image as was (and possibly still is) done in Jazzercise.  What I find is that I learn the routine SAYING it as if I am teaching with my back towards the students so for me to turn around I would be saying go left as I move left and we would not be dancing in mirror image.  So to turn and face the students while we are doing a dance that moves front or back or laterally is a challenge for me.  Especially when it is a new routine.  And right now, I am somewhat learning a routine.  In a routine there is usually a song or two where we are not moving left or right so we often face each other than.  I was able to do that today, but some I did with my back to them.

I think dancing without a mirror every once in a while is a good thing.  It helps the students dance with themselves.  The moment I found out we didn’t have mirrors I knew our intent and focus.  I set the focus to be the Conscious Personal Trainer, with the intent of being fully aware of and sensing your own body’s movements.  Without the mirror to distract us I thought it would be a great opportunity to focus more on one’s own body.  Without the mirror we don’t see ourselves nor the other people.  Without a mirror the possibility to draw ones attention in and keep it in seems better.

So, of course, I was very happy when one of my students said that dancing without the mirrors made it different.  It did allow her to focus more on her movements.  She said she was less distracted with the other students.  Yay!  I like that it worked for her.  I like that we were able to do it different, but we still danced and had fun.  I am very blessed to have such great students that can just go with the flow and DO Nia!  It is nice to have “no mirrors” give us the opportunity for something different.

When you take a lead-follow exercise class do you prefer the instructor FACE your or face away from you?

 

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