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!

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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘strengthening muscles’

Progressive Overload

Posted by terrepruitt on November 9, 2010

I teach Nia which is a cardio-dance type workout and I say cardio-dance “type” because it is a cardio workout that we do to music.  Yet, it also allows the opportunity for strengthening of the muscles, increasing flexibility, improving stability and agility, and boosting mobility.  All of this could happen without you even realizing it because it is all done to music in a type of dance.  Or you could actually try to improve your abilities in progression.  In other fitness modalities they call it progressive overload.  You can actually decide to increase your abilities and work towards that.

Progressive overload is increasing the challenge in increments so that the body keeps adjusting accordingly to the new stress.  As long as the body perceives it as new the system will continue to adjust.  The challenge in Nia could be a variety of things; you could put your arms up higher to give you greater mobility in your shoulders, you could move them faster to increase your agility, or you could do all of this continually to increase your cardio vascular health. There is always an occasion in a routine where you can bend deeper which could strengthen the lower body and again this is a way to raise your heart rate especially if you do it at a great speed.

If you are doing something other than Nia the changes could be another wide variety of things; actually changing the exercise you are doing, doing exercises longer, doing more during a workout session, or increasing the amount of workout sessions.  If using resistance increasing the resistance would be considered an overload.  Whatever you want to improve you would increase the challenge in increments giving the body something new to learn and overcome.

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Setting Your Focus and Intent

Posted by terrepruitt on November 3, 2009

In a Nia workout class* there are seven cycles. The first cycle is setting your focus and intent. In my classes before we step in, cycle two, I state the focus and the intent of the class. Every once in awhile I do remind my students that they are welcome to set their own focus and intent, but there is always a class focus and intent.

Nia teachers are supplied with and can purchase routines. With our routines comes a focus and intent. We receive the routine DVD along with a pamphlet that explains what the routine’s original focus and intent was. Nia teachers are encouraged to change focuses and intents. In fact, in addition to the one main focus and intent, there is a list of optional foci and intents.

I was reminded on a Nia teleconference call recently, that a focus is what you give your attention to, in order to get a desired result. And not only can you have a focus and intent for the workout, but you can carry that focus and intent throughout the day.

As an example, let’s say the focus of the class is set on shoulders, with the intent of remembering to keep them down and not scrunch them up toward the ears. So during the entire Nia class, I will remind myself and the class that we are focusing on our shoulders. When we lift our arms to part the clouds we will be conscious of keep our shoulders down. When we swim as we do our side steps I might remind the class to keep a long graceful neck (which can be achieved by holding the shoulders down). Throughout the class with each movement we will be focusing on our shoulders which could assist in strengthening the muscles in our back and enable us to keep them down where they belong. Then after class the focus and intent can be carried out into the day.

If you find yourself holding your phone with your shoulder hunched up toward your ear you have the opportunity to stop, which would help you keep the intent. Since you have set your shoulders as a focus you would be more likely to notice. Or while you are on the computer you might notice your shoulders bunched up around your ears and you could be aware of that and choose to sit up straight and pull your shoulders down.

In class we move to music and sometimes students might be concerned that the first time they participate they cannot move their feet AND their arms, so I often set the focus as one or the other. I might set the focus on the upper extremities, with the intent to move them in a conscious manner connecting to the music. Then I remind them that as they concentrate on their hands and arms it is ok if their feet are not perfect. That sometimes helps people to move more freely and actually focus on the focus.

These are just examples of foci and intents. There are an endless number of foci and intents. These examples are body related, but you can, of course, make your focus anything to get the intent you desire.  If you were setting a focus and intent for your workout, what would it be?  What would it be if you were going to carry it from your workout into your day?

(Want a tip on how to remember your focus throughout your day?)

*I make the distinction because there is also the Nia 5 Stages classes which is different

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