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

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle 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 ‘sanskrit’

Four Tattvas For Yin Yoga Practice

Posted by terrepruitt on September 16, 2019

I’ve been preaching about the four principles of a Yin Yoga practice. The Complete Guide to Yin Yoga calls them tattvas and it lists three.  Tattva is Sanskrit and it is said to mean truth or principle. Some say it stands for “thatness” or reality. So we could say that these are four intentions or goals of a Yin Yoga practice.

1) Come into the pose at the appropriate depth.

I was actually taught to come into a pose about 80% of what I can do or could do. So, first of all, there is a difference between what you can do in a 30 second hold and what you can do in a three to five minute hold. Start in a pose at 80% of what you can do and hold. Then see how it goes. There is always time to go further into the pose. Often time there is “sinking” or “relaxing” into a pose and if you started out at that 100% mark there would be no room to sink and relax. So starting out at about 80% gives you room to lengthen into it.

2) Resolve to be still.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD, Yin YogaIt is such a challenge to be still. Sometimes movement might not even come because there is discomfort we might just feel the NEED to move our hair, adjust our clothes, or examine that spot/lint/crumb on our pants/leg/mat. But the change comes from the stillness. The Qi moves when there is relaxation in the muscles and there isn’t something – a muscle contraction – blocking it. So resolve to be still, this does not include the sinking or relaxing into a pose. What I have experienced and what I see is that just happens and is almost imperceptible if not something that the participant is not even that aware is happening.  It is the actually moving around that you don’t want to do.

3) Hold for a time.

Since the tissue we are working with is not elastic and it really won’t stretch in the same way a muscle can be stretched it needs time to change and “lengthen”. Again, most of that sinking from relaxation doesn’t even come until after the one minute mark so the longer you can hold the more time the tissue will have to change.

4) Play your edge.

This comes after the “appropriate depth” idea. Once you have come into a pose at the 80% of what you can do, you want to push the boundary. That does not mean push into a pose that just means allow your body to sink into or relax into it until you are sure you can’t go any more. That doesn’t even mean go to you 100%, necessarily, it could . . . but it just depends. Remember every time we come to the mat it is different. There are days that we know we shouldn’t be doing what we consider to our 100% and then there are days that we are convinced we can do 110%. So that edge, that 100% is constantly changing and we can play that edge every time. That is where we affect the change.

So these are four principles that I learned that should be applied every time we come to the mat for a Yin Yoga Practice.  Starting at 80% will allow us space to sink/relax and give the body a change to lengthen.  Staying still will allow the Qi to flow.  Holding the pose give our bodies the time it needs for us to sink/relax and the Qi to flow.  And playing that edge ensures we will allow for change.

Do you have any tattvas you bring to you mat when doing Yin Yoga? 

Posted in Yin Yoga | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

So Ancient, There Are A Lot Of Differences

Posted by terrepruitt on November 12, 2015

So I was told that Sanskrit is an ancient language.  About 14,000 years old.  It was not a written language, it was mostly just an oral language.  It was not written until 5000BC.  Sanskrit is known as the language of the gods.  It is a sacred language.  It is the oldest language.  It is the root of many languages.  That is what I was told.  I imagine that if it is actually the oldest language it would be the root of many languages.  Since it was first an oral only language and is so old I believe it has changed.  I believe it has changed A LOT.  How I think about it first off is like that game telephone, I mean if the language wasn’t written for thousands of years that is a lot of ways it can get changed.  Then once it gets written things get lost in translation.  And it just gets more and more morphed from there.  So there are a lot of translations out there where it comes to Sanskrit texts.

Originally I found it VERY, VERY annoying that almost every yoga pose I researched had different names or slightly different names.  Now, since I can understand how things could have gotten mixed up and changed it is only annoying.  Sometimes it makes learning and even teaching difficult because there are so many translations out there, and then on top of that so many versions and modifications . . . but finding one and sticking to it is a good way to keep your practice consistent.  For me that translates into meaning when I meet someone who says it different or has a slightly different name for it, they aren’t wrong, it just means that I have my path that I am following and they have theirs.  Some words, things, poses are more common and people have seem to agree on them, but some seem to be different no matter what.

One thing that can help with learning poses is to have some of the words memorized.  A break down of the asana name.

Here is what I am going with.

adho   — downward
agni     — fire
anga     — limb
angusta     — big toe
ardha     — half
baddha     — bound
baka     — crane
bala     — child
bandha     — formation
bharadvaja   — ancient sage
bheka     — frog
bhujanga     — snake
chandra     — moon
chatur     — four
danda     — staff
eka     — one
go     — cow
hala     — plow
hasta     — hand
janu     — knee
jathara     — stomach
kapota     — pigeon
kararu     — doing, making, action
karna     — ear
kona     — angle
krouncha     — heron
kurma     — tortoise
marichi     — sage / ray of light
marjari     — cat
Matsyendra   — lord of the fishes
mayura     — peacock
mukha     — facing
nata     — dancer
nava     — boat
pada     — foot
padma     — lotus
parivartana   — turning, rolling
parivrtta   — rotated / revolved
parsva     — side
paschim     — west
pida     — pain
pinca     — feather
raja     — king
salabha     — locust
salamba     — supported
sarvanga     — all the limbs
sarvanga     — entire body
setu     — bridge
simha     — lion
sirsa     — head
supta     — reclined
svana     — dog
tada     — mountain
tan     — stretch
tri     — three
triang     — 3 parts of the body
upavista     — seated
urdhva     — upward
ut     — intense
utkata     — intense fierce
uttana     — intense
utthita     — stretch / extended
virabhadra   — warrior
varja     — thunderbolt
vasistha     — celebrated sage
viparita     — turned around/inverted
vira     — hero, warrior, chief
vrksa     — tree

 

I reserve the right to change, too.  But for now, I am using these translations to add to my yoga practice and yoga teaching.  I am going to learn the Sanskrit names of the asana by this list/translation.

Does your yoga teacher say the poses in Sanskrit?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Challenging Easy Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on February 25, 2014

I love my students. They are a great source to me; they teach me and they make me laugh. Recently one of my students happen to mention a policy that was told to her – a facility stated she could try the class for 10 minutes without charge, but would have to sign up for the class to stay longer. The comments from those that she was sharing this with was that 10 minutes was not really long enough to get a sense of the class and if they would like it. She said, “I know, if I would have only stayed 10 minutes I would have missed the nap time at the end!” That was the best. She, of course, was kidding . . . sort of. She was talking about Shavasana. A very important part, yet for many, one of the most difficult times in yoga.

She was kidding in the sense that we all know it is not nap time, but not having been familiar with yoga she would have missed seeing that part of the class if she had only been allowed to stay for 10 minutes. Shavasana is a pose of total relaxation. It is where you allow your body to rest and relax from the workout it just participated in. In some classes this is a necessary time for recuperation of the body, but in others it might not be so much about the body. In a Gentle Yoga class it could be more about the mind. In Nia we have BMES – Body, Mind, Emotion, and Spirit. We could say that shavasana is a time for those four things. So after a nice gentle class it could be more a time more for the mind, emotion, and spirit to relax. While the inner dialog should be kept to a minimum while practicing the asanas it is even more important to do so during shavasana. This is the time when the body absorbs all the goodness from the poses it just performed.

I had once thought that you DID shavasana IN the corpse pose, but the name comes from the Sanskrit words Shava meaning “corpse” or dead body and Asana meaning “posture”.*

One of the reasons shavasana is so difficult is because there is not supposed to be any inner dialog going on (as I just mentioned). This is not the time where you begin making your shopping list for your trip to the store after class, or where you decide what you are going to say to your boss/friend/spouse. This is a time of quiet, a time of reflection, a time where you do a “body check”. Check in with each body part or area of your body to see if it needs any attention, see if it needs to be relaxed and focus on allowing it to relax. Sometimes because of this relaxation one might fall asleep. When I first started every time I did shavasana I fell asleep. Now I don’t, I am better at being mindfully relaxed. It is a practice though. This might not be something that comes easy to you, it might be a challenge, but it is something worth practicing.

I’ve heard different ideas on how to hold shavasana in a class. Some say that a guided meditation is the way it should be done. Some say that total silence is the only right way. Some say some music or nature sounds should accompany this pose. In my classes I usually softly lead the participants into a relaxed state. Then I allow them quiet time with this pose — I do have sounds playing during class and I don’t turn that off, but sometimes I turn it down. Then after the time allowed I talk them back to awakening their bodies and moving again.

If this pose and time is not something that you include in your yoga practice, I encourage you to give it a go. Try it. If you fall asleep that is ok. But keep doing it and when you are able to achieve that relaxed state while staying awake you will see how powerful this simple pose is.

Do you practice shavasana? Have you ever fallen asleep during shavasana? How long do you stay in this pose?

*Wiki and Jaisiyaram

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

Standing Still

Posted by terrepruitt on February 23, 2013

Just as there are specific moves in Nia (Nia’s 52 Moves), there are different asanas or poses in yoga.  There is an asana (pose) in yoga that is standing still, but it is called Mountain Pose.  In Sanskrit, what I think of as the language of yoga, it is Tadasana.  While this pose is a still pose and the body is standing erect, it is an active pose.  The body is not just upright and relaxed, there are muscles engaged and energy moving.  It is more than likely that there is no straining involved and one might look relaxed and even feel relaxed yet there is more than just standing there happening.  Mountain Pose is an active pose often used as a transitional pose.  Yet can stand on its own, no pun intended.

In Tadasana toes touch and feet are parallel.  Of course, as with many things, there are many variations, and people have their own way of doing them.  In this post in the pose our toes touch, feet are parallel forming a stable base.  For some the heels might need to be fanned out a bit or feet may need to be separate.  The goal is to have a stable base so adjust the feet as necessary in order to ensure stability.  One way to assist with stability is to relax your feet allowing the toes to spread.  Imagine your feet becoming wide and open.  The feet do not grip the earth, they spread out.  Weight is evenly distributed.  Take time to sense all points of the feet.

The ankle joints remain open.  The shins and calves are rooted into the floor.  The knees are not locked, yet they sense stability because the quadriceps are reaching up lifting the knee caps.  The thighs are turned ever-so-slightly in.  The buttocks are lifted yet there is no arching in the lower back.  The belly (abdominals) are engaged.  The spine is long.

With the crown of your head reach for the sky, lengthening the entire back.  Keep the chin parallel to the earth and your head in alignment with your chest, hips, knees, and feet.  Shoulders are gently pulled back with shoulder blades down, the chest does not stick out, yet the sternum is presented up allowing the collar bones to open wide.  Arms are along the side of the body, not hanging, not touching the body, not rigid, but active.  Hands are active with fingers gently fanned open.

Energy is moving up allowing for the lengthening of the entire body, yet there is a sense of being rooted and stable.  As I mentioned this pose is often used as a transition.  You might see it performed in between standing poses.  It is perfect to reset the body in order to correctly move into another position.  It can also be used as a resting pose.  Even though it is an active pose, it still can be a rest for the body.

As you can tell, if you got up to try it, this is not a passive pose.  There is a lot of muscle engagement, so maybe you can see why this pose could be practiced on it’s own and not just used as a transition.  It is not just standing still, it is a strong, stable pose, like a mountain.

So if you didn’t already do it, are you ready?  Get up and try it!

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »