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!

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Posts Tagged ‘Sanjana’

Sounds – Singing – Its All The Same

Posted by terrepruitt on January 14, 2014

You might have read my post about Sounding in Nia.  That is what we call it when we make noise in a Nia class — sounding.  You might have read my post about Reasons for Sounding in a Nia Class.  Even if you did not read that post, I bet you are aware of some of the reasons to make noise in an exercise class.  One of the biggest ones is to ensure breathing.  If you are making noise you are breathing.  Knowing the students are breathing is a HUGE relief to an instructor.  Some of the other reasons sounding is good are it can help stabilize your core, it can act as an emotional, spiritual, or physical release, and it can be really fun.  Sounding can be noises/words such as HA, HI, HEE, HOO, WAH, WAHOO, etc.  Sounding can also be singing. With “Nia Music” sometimes singing is just sounds.

I always invite the Nia participants to sing.  Often times I tell them it is really easy because there are no words.  I have often wondered how the singer sings.  I have often pondered how it is done.  Then Nia put out this video*.  It is an interview with Carl Tietze whose song Am I The One, is on the Sanjana Album.  Sanjana is the first Nia routine I learned.  In the interview Carl talks about how he invited a vocalist, Jen Folkner, to listen to the song.  He said he put the headphones on her and most of what we hear on the song is from her first time hearing the music.

She is sounding.  Granted, she is doing is beautifully.  I don’t want to put the pressure on and say this is what we do or need to do in a Nia class.  No, not at all.  I am just saying that it is fine to MAKE NOISE.  I did laugh when I heard this interview because I kind of imagined that songs that have no real words but are just a singer making noise was done like this.  I imagined the musicians just saying, “Go!” and the singer just letting her/his voice come out.

I was recently very amazed and in awe of a woman who had never been to a Nia class before – in fact, before class she asked me what it was.  So she didn’t even know what type of exercise/workout it was.  And yet, while she was moving to moves she had never done, she was singing.  The song was one of those songs without words, but she was just making noise in a “singing voice”.  It was great!  I was very impressed.

Making sounds or singing in a group workout class is not something that comes easy to everyone.  Sounding while learning moves doesn’t come easy to people who normally make noise, so it was especially fun to have her in class.  Plus she had that much more fun and received the benefits of sounding.

I hope this interview helps give you a glimpse into making sounds.  I hope you are able to experience the benefits of making noise while do your cardio dance.  You know it is fun.

Do you sing while you dance in your fitness dance class?  Don’t you love the way singing and dancing makes you feel?

*Click here to go to Nia’s website to sign up for the monthly newsletter!

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Nia Routines I’ve Learned

Posted by terrepruitt on May 9, 2013

I teach Nia.  I actually like to say I lead Nia because to me teaching a dance is more instructive.  What I think of as teaching is the type of class where the instructor demonstrates a step or two then the students do the steps a few times, then the instructor demonstrates more steps and the students practice them.  Eventually the steps are strung together in a dance.  But in my Nia cardio classes it is just lead follow.  I do – you follow.  I give verbal instructions and/or verbal guides but it is not the type of instructional class where I show you, then you do, then we practice and then we string all the steps together.  So I guess it is not an “instructional” or “instructed” dance class.  But I do teach by example.  You follow my lead.  In order to be a Nia teacher I had to take the Nia White Belt Intensive.  I have talked about this before, but to review the White Belt is the first level of Nia.  The White Belt Intensive is over 50 hours of instruction and is open to anyone.  Individuals do not have to have the intent to teach.  The Nia White Belt Intensive is about the body so anyone is welcome to join and learn.  In order to be a Nia teacher there is an additional licensing fee.  The fee is due annually and it includes four routines that we, as teachers, agree to learn per year.  I was just looking at my DVDs.  I have two routines that I have not learned.  I have 19 that I have learned.  I have been teaching almost four and half years so I am keeping up with the four per year schedule.

Now, I want to clarify that I have learned 19 routines.  That means that I basically did the bars and have shared 19 routines with my students.  That means I roughly know those 19 routines.  I could stand up right now and lead you through some of them, but some of them I would have to look at my bars, and some of them I would have to study my bars.  But I also feel I am better at just doing.  While I want to do the routine as per the choreography, I am not as afraid as I once was to just DO the routine.

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, ZumbaWhen I am preparing to do a different routine for my class sometimes I have a chance to practice and sometimes I don’t.  I will look at my bars for each song.  Sometimes I look at the first few lines and think, “Oh yeah, I know this one.”  Then when I am leading it my body and my mind don’t remember it as well as I thought and I just dance through it, but then when I get home I look more closely at my bars or re-watch the DVD.  It really is about moving and having fun.  As long as we are moving and we are doing it close enough then it is good.  Then, like I said, I come home to get the choreography better established in my head and body!

The routines I have learned are:

Alive – Carlos AyaRosas
Amethyst – Debbie Rosas
Aya – Carlos Rosas
Beyond – Debbie Rosas and Ann Christiansen
Birth – Debbie Rosas and Collaborators
Canta – Carlos Rosas
Clarity – Carlos Rosas
White Belt Dream Walker – Carlos Rosas
Earthsong – Carlos Rosas
Global Unity
Humanity – Carlos AyaRosas
Miracle – Carlos Rosas
Opal – Debbie Rosas
Passion – Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas
Sanjana – Debbie Rosas
San Medusa – Helen Terry
Sexi – Carlos Rosas
Velvet – Debbie Rosas
Vibe – Debbie Rosas

The names of the routines that I have on my shelf that I need to learn are Butterfly and Oshun.  I just renewed so I have four routines that I need to pick out as my new routines.  Picking routines is always a challenge because everyone has such different tastes.  Some people LOVE, LOVE, LOVE some of the routines I have and I don’t love them.  So for me it is a difficult decision.  I try to pick routines that I think my students will like, but then that is just a guess.  I know which ones they like out of the ones I teach because they request them often.

If you were just picking a routine from the name which one would you pick?  As a Nia student which one out of this list is your favorite?  What about Nia teachers, which is your favorite out of this list?

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Three of Nia’s Nine Movement Forms

Posted by terrepruitt on March 12, 2011

I believe that I have mentioned before Nia allows us—even encourages us—to do routines with different focuses. I know I have posted about focuses before. This past week I led my classes in the Nia routine called Sanjana. I believe this is a routine created by Debbie Rosas NKA Debbie Rosas-Stewart. It is an awesome routine (well, yeah . . . its Nia). I decided that I would do one of the nine movement forms per class. I know I have posted about Nia’s Nine Movement Forms before, too.  I had used some of the movement forms previously with this routine, so I decided the ones we did this week would be ones I had not paired up with Sanjana. Monday in my San Jose Nia class we did the ideas of Moshe Feldenkrais. For Wednesdays Nia class in San Jose we utilized the energy of Tae Kwon Do. My Los Gatos class on Friday experienced Sanjana with the Modern Dance flair.

I love this about Nia. I love that doing the same routine, but doing it with different energies allows for different movement, different sensations. Each movement form has its own energy, that is how we apply them to a routine and come up with something unique. I chose Feldenkrais for Monday because often times participants are a bit sleepy on Monday mornings.  Sometimes we prefer something that moves us but something more along the lines of a stretch or a healing art.  It could be that too much was done over the weekend or not enough, so Mondays are a little different.  With this conscious movement as our guide we were able to focus on the sensation of the body as we moved. The dance was conscious.  We could concentrate on areas that needed attention, either from the over-use during the weekend or lack of use.  Whatever the case, the idea is ease.  Move with ease into one’s own power and strength.  This is a gentle movement form but that does not mean it is not intense.  We can still move our bodies to get a great strength and/or cardio workout when playing with the healing arts, but it is with greater awareness.

By the middle of the week, Wednesday’s class was perfect for Martial Arts.  Nia students have “recovered” from the weekend so the whole body can be used.  We have the strength to utilize the power of the Tae Kwon Do energy.  The dance can be precise, by this time of the week.  Two days are behind, only three are left (class is in the morning), the desire and focus needed to push on is there.  Sanjana has great opportunity for dynamic ease to be exercised.  There are katas that allow for the fluid moves of martial arts with dance, kicking, punching, blocking, and striking.  In fact the “Exercises” listed in The Nia Technique White Belt Manual* under the Tae Kwon Do craft seems as if they were written expressly for Sanjana.

Friday, unknown to me at the time I planned my dance week, was a great day to do Modern Dance.  With the tsunami that hit Japan over the night (Thursday night for us, Japan’s Friday) it was a great time for dance. Modern Dance calls you to express yourself.  This movement form is one of imagination.  You can be big and/or small, fast and/or slow, a tree, a rock, sand, water, air, even a feeling.  People can truly dance whatever they want.  So while we are still practicing our stances the feelings put into it are those of the participant.  Movements led by me are executed by whatever sense is being experienced.  Many people had different issues and feelings to work through.  Even if some of those feelings were a celebration with the understanding that life is short and precious so we need to celebrate what we have while we have it.  This form is that of balance–both on and off, flexibility, strength, power, drama, emotions . . . whatever fits.  It was a great way to let our bodies move while our hearts went out to all that were affected.

Nia is awesome like that.  We danced the same routine for all three classes this week.  With each class it was different while we paired up the routine with different movement forms.  While the movement forms were able supply the energy, the “feel”, the sensation that was required for the day.

(Thoughts and prayers go out to ALL that are/were/and will be affected by the earthquake in Japan on March 12, 2011 and the subsequent tsunami.)

*March 2001, V# Page 2-19 thru 2-20

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Dynamic Ease

Posted by terrepruitt on January 21, 2010

With every Nia routine there is an original focus and intent.  On the Nia DVD either Debbie or Carlos* explain the focus and intent that was originally intended for the routine.  With the routine Sanjana Debbie explains the focus as being Dynamic Ease.

I remember Dynamic Ease as being Dynamic and Ease.  It can either be a stretch as one might do in Yoga or could be the sensation of the muscle squeezing the bone as in an isometric contraction.  When I do the routine with Dynamic Ease as the focus I often borrow Debbie’s words and explain it as: “the energy moving out as in flexibility or the energy packing against the bone as in strength”. 

The way we play with this is that we do a lot of the moves with one quality then the other.  So while we are moving arms upward we could be calling upon the dynamic energies of strength and really squeezing the bone with the muscle.  And the next time we can move our arms up with a big stretch move the energy out.  A punch could be done strong as if we were really punching something or could be done more like a stretch. 

The ease is just moving in a relaxed yet ready type of way.  When moving arms upward, as mentioned above, we can change the quality to a nice flowing easy movement.  Or a “punch” could just be the arms moving away from the body in a soft motion.  Its fun to play and try any exercise with the different energy qualities. 
 
We can do the same moves all three ways.  Practicing going back and forth between these qualities assists in both balancing the energy in the body and balancing the body itself.  An isometric contraction calls upon big muscles and small muscles and the combination is what is used in balancing. 

I believe that it helps with the flow of fluids and energy in the body.  I know that it leaves me feeling very energetic.  I did this routine with this focus twice this week, once for my San Jose class and once with my San Carlos class and both times I felt very great energy afterwards.  In addition to the energy I feel it brings me, I think dynamic ease can serve to add another element of challenge to the Nia workout.  Dynamic Ease is one of my favorite foci for this Nia routine.

*Debbie Rosas (Stewart) and Carlos Rosas (AyaRosas) the creators of Nia

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