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 ‘the body’s way’

An Additional Responsibility You Might Not Have Been Aware Of

Posted by terrepruitt on June 12, 2017

I want to share something with you that I imagine not everyone thinks about. But when you attend a training — at least the ones that I have attended — it is part of the training. Many people will easily admit to knowing that an instructor or teacher of an exercise class is responsible for instructing the students on how to do an exercise correctly. In Nia we talk about the Body’s Way . . . the way in which the body was designed to move and also YOUR body’s way . . . the way in which YOUR (each individual) body moves. So we encourage people to move in their own way, but we also keep in mind the general safety guidelines. In keeping with the way the body was designed a lot of safety is built in. As an instructor in a class we instruct the students on how to move and exercise safely. Part of our jobs as instructors is to watch the participants to make sure they are doing things – moving – in a safe way. That is something that all of my trainings have included and something that most people are aware of. Another thing, the thing that some might not think about, is that we are responsible for the students’ safety in other ways. We are responsible for ensuring that other things and other people do not affecting the safety of our class. So in other words, when someone comes into the room where the class is being taught to grab equipment. The instructor is responsible for making certain that the person does not drop equipment on or in the path of a student. So we have to adjust our attention away from teaching and away from our own students to keep an eye on the person that has come into the room. We are responsible for what goes on in the class we are teaching.

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, SJCityFitI feel that some people don’t think about that or perhaps they don’t understand it. Perhaps they have never taken a class where you are concentrating on what you are doing, so they don’t realize what a distraction it is when someone comes into the room. Also, they might not realize that the teacher is responsible for the students and their safety so the teacher gets distracted from their teaching when people come into the room to get equipment for another class. It happens often when an exercise room is also where the equipment is kept. I’ve even taught at places where there has been Audio-visual equipment kept in the room and it – apparently, needed to be retrieved during the middle of the class.

In many cases the instructors are instructed to not let people just take equipment out of the room, so not only are we responsible for the safety of the students, but for the safety of the equipment. Most venues don’t want people just walking in and removing equipment from the room. We, as instructors, are asked to keep that from happening. So not only is the teaching being interrupted, but the teacher is supposed to not let the person who has entered the room take equipment. It is completely disruptive. In addition to interfering with the class that is being taught, it puts the students safety at risk. The teacher has to turn her attention away from what the students are doing in order to give attention to the person that is removing equipment from the room. Even if it is a staff member it is completely disruptive. Despite the fact the person entering the room has authority to do so AND is allowed to move equipment, the instructor has to refocus away from the class onto the person that has entered the room.

One thing I am pretty certain about, the students in a class that is continually interrupted, they know. They know that the instructor has to stop teaching them to figure out what it going on. They know that the person entering the room is disrupting their focus and their class. It could all be chalked up to a lesson in living in the moment and focusing, but when it happens all the time they feel disrespected. They have paid to be in the class, they have taken time out of their schedule to be there, and then it gets interrupted. They know it is not right, because they too refocus, but for different reasons than the instructor.

If you’ve left a class and accidentally leave something behind and have to interrupt the next class to get your item, that is understandable. Ya run in, ya look apologetic, ya grab your item, and ya run out. That happens. We all forget things. It is when someone enters to remove equipment – even if it is quick, but especially if they have to move things and decide what they are taking – that the disruption occurs.

Sometimes it can’t be avoided that equipment is stored in the class.  Often times there are classes that use the equipment, but when the equipment is needed for a different class than is being held in the room, the equipment should be removed from the room beforehand.  The students deserve the respect of an uninterrupted class.  They also deserve to have the teacher watching to make sure they are moving safely for the entire class.

What do you think?  Have you ever had a class you were in be interrupted? 

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Nia “Standing”

Posted by terrepruitt on February 6, 2014

My last post was about the Garland Pose or Malasana.  That is a yoga pose.  The Garland Pose post was long enough so I didn’t talk about the advanced positions of that pose.  In Nia the pose could be compared to “Standing” which is the fourth stage in Nia’s 5 Stages.  In Nia it is also a little different. Nia’s 5 Stages is a movement practice through the five stages of human development.  While I have mentioned Nia’s 5 Stages before in my blog I have not written about them in depth and this post will not be in depth either.  I am just touching upon the fourth stage, including it in my little series about squatting.  Squatting is important and Nia knows that.  Nia recognizes it as a stage of human development.  Although Nia does not believe it should be abandoned and that is why we have the 5 Stages as a movement practice and why we include squatting in many of our routines.  As I said standing is the fourth stage and it is somewhat like a squat.

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 YogaThe Nia 5 Stages are the stages we go through in development.  Stage one is Embryonic.  Stage two is Creeping.  Stage three is Crawling.  Stage four is Standing.  Stage five is Walking. First we are in the womb, then most of us creep, then we crawl, we stand (squat), then walk.  Stages of human development.  Stage four, “Standing”, is a low or full squat.

I have posted about squats before.  In fact when I did I mentioned that we don’t do them in Nia.  And we don’t — or I hadn’t done the type of squats I was writing about.  I was writing about squats done in a way that is more in line with weight training.  Using weights and other equipment.  I believe there are weight lifting competitions where people do really low squats with weights, but . . . I am not going to go there.  There are a lot of things that elite athletes do that I would STRONGLY recommend the average person NOT do . . . . EVER.

I DO recommend full squats (without weights) . . . providing your body is able to do them I believe you should.  And by able I mean there is no medical reason you can’t, you have joints and body parts that will allow you to do them.  Doing squats will help you in so many ways.

With Nia’s fourth stage – standing – we are coming from a crawling position.  The way we move from crawling to “standing” is we open our feet wider than our knees while our knees are still on the ground.  Then curl our toes then push back onto our feet.  Since the 5 stages of human development are based on the way the body was designed to move and how we develop ideally, the idea is to push back onto feet that are flat on the ground.  However, Nia is a practice done in YOUR OWN BODY’S WAY so it is possible that both feet cannot be flat on the ground.  So we take the stages in stages.  What works for many is to have ONE foot flat on the ground while the other one has a heel up.  Then we just alternate.  This allows for each foot to engage in ankle flexibility.

The next stage in this stage is to raise the torso up, have the chest facing forward and not down . . . if you are doing the alternating of the feet.  If both feet are flat on the earth the chest is probably already facing mostly forward because the buttocks are lowered and the legs are folded over so the chest is somewhat up against the thighs.  In both positions lift the chest up further, sternum to the sky.  When ready the arms also come up, reaching to the sky.

We stay in this stage as long as the present workout dictates.  Could be just a second or two . . . could be a bar (of a song) . . . whatever is appropriate for the moment.  Then we rise up – nose leading the way – onto our toes and into the fifth stage which is walking.

Squatting is important because of the benefits it provides.  Being able to come up from a squat provides even more benefits.  Like push-ups and/or planks, squats could easily be one of the “must haves” in ANY workout or exercise program.  Nia understands the benefits.  So when I said we didn’t do squats in Nia, I wasn’t talking about this type of squat or what Nia’s 5 stages calls standing.

What benefits can your body receive from Nia’s standing/squatting? 

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Palm Directions

Posted by terrepruitt on September 28, 2013

We dance Palm Directions all the time in my Nia classes. It is an easy thing to do. Palm Directions is a great move to incorporate into freedance. It is also often one of the moves choreographed into a Nia routine. Palm Directions is one of Nia’s 52 Move.

It might not be something you think about, but the direction the palm is facing affects the shoulder joint. When the palm is facing down (or towards the body) the shoulder joint is closed and when the palm is facing up (or away from the body) the shoulder joint is open. When your arm is straight that is when the shoulder joint gets the open and closed action.  Along with the shoulder joint, the entire arm is affected. The arm bones are twisted with the movement of the palm.

It really is as simple as facing your palms in one direction then another. Unlike Webbed Spaces – another move in Nia’s 52 Moves (you can read about it by clicking here) – in Palm Directions the fingers are kept together. If practicing to affect the shoulder joint, lengthen the arm straight out in front of your body or straight down next to your body, then turn the palms up/face them out away from the body to open the shoulder, then turn the palms down/turn them towards your body to close the shoulder joint. You can observe the radius untwisting as it switches places with the ulna. You can sense the movement of your humerus, the upper arm bone.

In addition to opening the shoulder joint, the Nia Technique book reminds us that, “Palm Directions also express emotion. Palms up, for example, is a universal body language indicator of openness.” So it can open things other than the shoulder joint. Changing palm directions also moves the energy around. In Nia classes we move the arms all around the space around us, changing the palm directions, pushing and pulling and mixing up the energy.  Also, while we are dancing and our arms are moving around us with the palms facing different directions we vary the speed of our movement.  When Varying the speed that are arms are moving and our palms are changing direction allows us to play with agility – one of Nia’s five sensations (click here for more information on that).

This type of movement helps us connect with the space around us.  Palm Directions, the Nia Move, also helps with keep the shoulder joint mobile.

This move is also a great move with which Nia participant’s can practice their own body’s way.  The body was designed so the humerus rotates in the glenoid fossa or shoulder socket.  But life sometimes affects the body so that it cannot move the way it was designed, so all of us have different levels of how much we can move the arm.  So while playing with Palm Directions and dancing the arm around the space each individual can do it in their own body’s way.  This will allow them to get the work that their body is capable of and needs.

Ready?  Straighten your arms then change the direction of the palms.  Are you able to sense your arm bones twisting/untwisting?  Are you able to sense the action in the shoulder joints?  What do you sense when you move your arms around while playing with Palm Directions?

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Music, Movement, Magic, Nia Blue Belt Principle #11

Posted by terrepruitt on January 24, 2013

Regular reader?  Familiar with Nia?  Then you know that Nia has different levels and that they use belt colors to distinguish between.  White, Blue, Brown, and Black.  Each belt has thirteen principles (except Green Belt*).  The trainings for the levels are called intensives and the intensives can be attended by people who just want a to explore self growth and/or learn how the body is connected to many things.  If you are a new reader and/or not familiar with Nia . . . . there you have it.  In November 2011 I took the Nia Blue Belt Training and I am using my blog to make notes on it.  It is taking me some time to get through the principles, but I am jotting down my thoughts that come to me as I thumb through my notes.  My intent is to continue to work and play with the 13 Nia Blue Belt Principles after my initial posts and come back to some of them and share some more.  The principles can be deep because they are very rich.  So like many things they have layers and the layers can be peeled back to expose more and more.  This post is about Nia Blue Belt Principle #11, Music, Movement, Magic – Manifesting the Ultimmmate Nia Experience.  Yes, ultimate is spelled with three m’s, representing music, movement, magic.

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, ZumbaOne of the ways we learn to bring this to class is to use objective and subjective descriptions.  We can do this for many things.  We can do this when stating the class focus and intent.  We can do this when leading the class through a move.  We can do this when talking about music.  The following are examples:

Focus and Intent:

Objective  –  Today we are going to focus on the rhomboid muscles.  These are muscles in your upper back that assist with shoulder blade movement.  They pull your shoulders back and down.

Subjective  –  I like pay special attention to my rhomboids so I feel as if I am standing upright and not hunched over.  I feel they need extra love.  We can give them that during class with the intent to stand tall.

Move:

Objective  – Pull your shoulder blades down.

Subjective  – I feel as if my shoulder blades are in my back pockets!

Music:

Objective  – This music was part of an Oscar Winning Score.

Subjective  – This music makes me want to close my eyes and ride the peaceful notes to happy.

This objective and subjective way of looking at things is a key to Nia.  It can be compared to THE Body’s Way and Your Body’s Way.  There is a way the body was designed to move — objective.  There is a way that YOUR body, and my body moves — subjective.  There are specific ways to do the Nia 52 Moves — objective.  There is a way that each individual Nia participant does the Nia 52 Moves — subjective.  All of this helps to create the “magic” that is part of Nia.

The Music is the core.  We dance to the music.  The Movement is what we do.  We move.  We dance.  We play.  The Magic is what we bring, which with all of it put together there is resulting magic.

This is just a tiny portion of Nia Blue Belt Principle #11, just off the top of my head.  There is much, much more to Music, Movement, Magic – Manifesting the Ultimmmate Nia Experience and I look forward to delving into it more.

Have you experience the Nia Music, Movement, and Magic yet for yourself?

*Green Belt is specifically for Nia teachers.

Posted in Blue Belt, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Nia’s Cat Stance

Posted by terrepruitt on January 10, 2013

There are six stances in the 52 Moves of NiaClosed Stance, Open Stance, “A” Stance, Riding (Sumo) Stance, Bow Stance, and the Cat Stance.  Each stance has a sound associated with it for practice.  There are benefits to doing each stance.  All of them help with balance.  With the cat stance the balance is on one foot.  The cat stance is a stance in which you stand on one leg, using your whole foot.  The leg you are standing on is not rigid, but the knee is soft, as if you were going to pounce.  The spine is upright, hips are level, not pointing down nor up.  The foot that is off the ground is pressing with the side against the standing leg, the foot relaxed, toes hanging towards the earth. Elbows are bent, relaxed.  Either both elbows are at the sides or one slightly forward.  The arms and hands are engaged.  The cat stance is done on alternating legs.  These are the specifics of Nia’s Cat Stance.

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, ZumbaThere are specific ways to do a stance, the body’s way.  But your body’s way is also recognized.  So different bodies will do it different ways.  Some will do it their own way until the body can adjust to the specifics and some bodies will continue in their own way.  For instance some bodies will use the power finger/balance finger hand technique to assist them in standing on one leg.  In addition to each body having its own way to do each move sometimes the way the move is done in a routine alters the specifics.  The specifics stated above are according to The Nia Technique book, however in the routine Birth, the cat stance in one of the katas consists of hooking the bent leg’s foot around the standing leg.  In this particular dance, while we are in the cat stance with our foot hooked around the standing leg, our hands and arms are different from is described in the ideal cat stance stated above.  One of our hands “hooks” around our face.

This is often the case.  There is a specific way to do each of Nia’s 52 Moves, but each individual has their own body’s way that adjust the specifics AND the specifics are sometimes adjusted according to move in the routine.  But it is important to know the specifics and the basics.  It is also fun to practice the specifics and the basics.

The basics of the cat stance help with balancing on one leg.  This can also be considered a strengthener, the standing leg’s muscles can be strengthened through the practice of supporting all of one’s weight.  If this move is being done solely as a practice of the move, then agility can come into play.  The practice of walking then stopping and moving quickly into cat stance would allow for the agility.  Alternating with a light hop from whole-foot-cat-stance on one leg to the other is an exercise in agility.  While this type of movement might also be something we do in a Nia routine it is not always the case.  Sometimes we move into cat stance and from there do kicks.

As with all of Nia’s 52 Moves we play with them.  All of Nia’s routines consist of playing with movement and music.  With the cat stance you have the specific way to do it, then just like a cat you can play as you practice.  You can “meow” and use claw hands.  The cat stance is a fun way to play with balance and sounding.  Practice the specifics then let the animal in you out!

Posted in 52 Moves (of Nia), Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Communication, Relationship, and Intimacy

Posted by terrepruitt on November 15, 2012

I recently participated in the intensive that is the second level of training in the Nia practiceNia trainings are called intensives which is a great thing because it gives you an idea of what the training will be like —– INTENSE!  The second level is Blue Belt.  Nia borrows from other practices and uses belts and colors to signify levels.  The levels are White, Blue, Brown, and Black.  There is a Green for teachers that can be taken at anytime after white.  Part of the reason the trainings are intense is that they are over 50 hours of instruction.  The instruction includes lectures, dancing, participatory exercises, and workout classes.  Each level of the practice has its own focus, intent, and principles (except Green).  The Blue Belt focus is Communication, Relationship, and Intimacy.  While the concentration is on how these things relate to Nia it is probably easy to imagine how lessons involving these three things can be related to everyday life.  Since the training CAN be related to life outside of teaching Nia there are many people who take the intensives with no intent of teaching.  You might also be able to imagine how the focus can apply to many things in relation to Nia.  One way is how a Nia teacher communicates with a class, the teacher’s relationship with the choreography, and intimacy to the music.  This is just one little facet of the focus.  I am sharing it to give you an idea of what the focus of “Communication, Relationship, and Intimacy” means.

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, ZumbaThe intent of the focus is to energize personal connection through self-discovery and communication by following The Body’s Way.  Since Nia is a body based practice we do our learning through the body.  As I mentioned in my I’m Blue, But No Tears Here post we were shown how to use the Nia 5 Stages or the Developmental Anatomy to answer questions about what stage we are in when learning something new.  Very amazing.  This is the part that I need to practice — really listening to my body and believing what it is telling me.  The believing part will take examination time . . . I’ll have to really figure out why my body says I am in one stage where I might THINK I am in another.  I might think I am in the beginning stage, embryonic, but my body might say I am in the crawling stage.  For me this means I need to pay attention to the details of what I actually know and what I still need to learn.  I could know 11 out of 15 things, but since the 15th thing seems to be so big to me, I might think I am just beginning whereas it turns out I know over 73%.  All part of the communication, relationship, and intimacy!

Also this training has familiar things you might have heard of in other trainings, for instance:  pay attention to what you sense, feel, think, and have within you then communicate accordingly.  I know that this type of idea has been taught in corporate trainings as an effective way to communicate.  A Nia related example would be:  Knowing the choreography and really know how to do the 52 moves, then having an intimate relationship with the music which will allow you to clearly communicate to the Nia participants.

I can almost talk myself into circles because it is all relates so well and ties in together and just connects.  The more I type the more things I think of so I really have to concentrate on just a tiny portion so my sharing does not get so confusing.  I am trying to share to clarify.  I want you to want more.  I want to understand that in addition to a great workout, Nia has stellar training and continued education.

Can you see how Communication, Relationship, and Intimacy is important for a teacher?

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Year End Review Of Terre’s 2011 Important Posts – Part II

Posted by terrepruitt on December 31, 2011

Not all of my posts on my list of Year End Review Of Terre’s 2011 Important Posts are Nia posts, but some of them are,  Here are the remaining four of nine that I thought were important enough to re-share.  This is the second half of my Year End Review Post.  When I wrote it as one post, it just seemed too long so I split it up.  Thanks for checking in.  As with the first half, I am just going to give a little summary so you can have the main point right here and you don’t have to go to the original post. But if you WANT to go to the original post (and comment even) please do! I am listing these in order of when they were posted.

I think of this post Muscle Weighs More Than Fat as being something we all need to be reminded of. Muscle DOES NOT weigh more than fat. The saying that muscle weighs more is one of those things that a lot of us say, but it is not correct. A pound of muscle weighs as much as a pound of fat. A pound of anything cannot weigh more than a pound of something else. A pound of muscle will take up a lot less room than a pound of fat as you will see in the picture on this post if you click over. 😉

If you are interested in a dance class that is pretty, a class that produces a performance then Nia is probably not what you are looking for. Nia Might Not Be Pretty — To Some. Nia is about authentic movement. Nia is about moving the body the way it was designed to be moved. Not everyBODY can move the way it was designed. There might be injuries, defects, tightness, or just plain ol’ non-use involved so it might not be pretty as we learn to move. But it is beautiful. This post reminds you that it is what it is and what it is not is a performance. A Nia class is freedom of movement, something to be enjoyed from the angle of the participant and not someone watching.

I have a post about listening with love, but the title is Let Love Be Your Ears. Ya know sometimes titles need to intrigue a potential reader, I was hoping that is what this title was. But the post is about listening with love. We all have heard and some of us might try to live by the old “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But LISTENING with love is different. Not that common of a “golden rule”. We are not always taught we need to love ourselves, so we might not listen as if people are talking to us with love and not accusations and criticisms.  This might be something we have to practice.  Also listening with love can include giving the person talking a lot of “benefit of the doubt”.  Trying to see where they might be coming from.

Another post is about dance being exercise. It is a reminder that you can have fun and get exercise at the same time. Nia is just that!

So that is the last four on my list of posts I think really could use repeating. I know I picked a few because I need to work on some of them/it myself. I hope that you enjoyed either the summary or the posts themselves. I thank you very much for taking the time to read this. If you have been reading my blog and you recognize some of these I thank you.  I really appreciate you taking the time to read.  If you take the time to read and comment, I am really grateful and I very much appreciate it.

And, of course, I wish you a very happy and safe New Year’s Eve.  I wish you many, many, many opportunities to embrace happiness and experience joy in 2012.  Happy New Year.

Posted in Exercise and Working Out, Misc, Muscles, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Year End Review Of Terre’s 2011 Important Posts – Part I

Posted by terrepruitt on December 29, 2011

Many bloggers are posting end of the year posts. Some posts are the best, some posts are their favorites, everyone has a different take on it. Some are a review of the year, either in posts or pictures. I thought about doing a post about my favorites, but I was afraid they would all be my Nia posts. As I was going through my posts from the last year I came up with an eclectic bunch . . . . just like my post. I can’t say they are my favorites, but I can say they are ones that I want to point out again. I actually found twenty-three posts that I wanted to re-share. TWENTY-THREE! But that is way too many to summarize and share. I narrowed it down to nine. These nine are ones I think are the most important of the ones I’ve posted this past year.  I still think nine is a lot so I am going to do this year in review in two parts. I am just going to give a little summary so you can have the main point right here and you don’t have to go to the original post. But if you WANT to go to the original post (and comment even) please do! I am listing these in order of when they were posted.

One of the most important things I have posted about is Balance. The post is called Nia Balance and I was sharing about how balance was challenging because of my injured toe, but the main point of the post is that balance is really important and that our Nia routines are full of opportunities in which we can practice our balance. Since balance is so important you can practice it throughout your day without really changing the way you do things too much. Balance is so important, especially as we age.

It’s Out There is my post about how great Nia is! Ha, ha! Well it is a little bit about Nia, but a lot about the fact that there are many, many, many other movement forms out there. There are so many different forms of movements that there really has to be something for everyone. Nia is for everyBODY as it was created to move the body in the body’s way, but it is not for everyone. There is something out there for everyone! If you look you can find a class for you!

I posted about Feeling Vs. Sensing. Feeling is emotion. Feelings are how you FEEL. Sensing is what your body does. You FEEL happy. Your body senses heat. You FEEL sad. Your body senses cold. Knowing the difference can help you give your body and/or your emotional self, your spirit the workout it needs.

I made up a list of ten exercises that can be done in ten minutes. There is actually a lot of different ways you can do the list of ten exercises, but the idea was to get a full body workout in ten minutes. The hope was that the ten in ten would be an inspiration and a catalyst for actually doing more.

This past week I had company and they were here through the dinner hour. I didn’t know that they would be here that long so I didn’t have anything planned for dinner that would feed all four of us, but I still wanted to feed my husband when they left. So about the time they were talking about leaving I went into the kitchen. I was in the kitchen all of seven minutes. I washed the rice, turned on the rice maker, chopped the end off the asparagus, rinsed them, put them in a pan then put them in the oven, and dumped the marinated chicken in a pan and put it in the oven. I then set the timer for 20 minutes at which time dinner would be ready. I achieved a 30 minutes meal. All because when I froze the chicken I made a sauce for it at the same time. So when I took it out to defrost it was already marinating or doing so as it defrosted. So it really took seven minutes for me to make dinner. My friends didn’t even miss me because I was only gone seven minutes. This post is about Shopping Step to help Dinner Prep. After shopping before you freeze the meat make your marinade right inside the bag. It has really helped me get dinner ready much faster! Love it!

So this is five on my list out of nine post I think really could use repeating.   I hope you check back Saturday to see the rest of the list.  I thank you very much for taking the time to read this. If all of these or some of these are “repeats” to you, then I really thank you. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate you reading and if you are a commenter . . . I appreciate you even more!!!  See you back here on Saturday for the rest of the review of my Year End Review!

Posted in Food, Misc, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nia Might Not Be Pretty — To Some

Posted by terrepruitt on October 20, 2011

Nia routines are choreographed movements to music.  Nia’s choreography is pretty.  In fact in many cases it is beautiful.  Most Nia katas are based on the 52 Nia moves.  Steps and moves have been carefully selected to fit with the music, for the most part.  There are times when we are invited to just dance without a design.  No matter the choreography we are always encouraged to dance in our own way–and that just might not be “pretty” to some people.  The body — our bodies — the human body is put together in a specific way.  Our parts are connected in a specific way.  Movement is allowed and restricted by the way the body is constructed.  Some bodies cannot move as was intended.  Some bodies might have actual physical limitations that do not allow for soft, fluid, “pretty” movement.  For some lifting their arm over their head might cause discomfort.  It could be that they are not accustomed to lifting their arm that high so it might not be easy—at first.  Some might have tight hamstrings or other muscles so their movement might be less than natural.  But Nia is a journey, a practice.  Over time the joints will loosen with practice and/or the muscles will become more flexible and be able to move with ease.  It could become “pretty” or not.  Nia might not be pretty, but it is authentic.  It is not a performance.  It is how our bodies move.  Your body, my body, not the same body so we will move differently and it could be pretty or not.  What I might think is pretty you might not.   Let it be authentic.

Some bodies have other types of restrictions, could be mental or emotional.  It could be, having been taught all her life “ladies” don’t move their hips “like that”, there is an automatic stop placed in her mind so her hips don’t thrust or gyrate.  It could be that she thinks that movement is “ugly” so she won’t allow her body to do it.  It could be that chipping away at that barrier will take time.  And the learning might not be “pretty”.  It might be choppy and not happen all at once.  It could be that there is an emotion attached to a particular movement.  An emotion can act as another type of mental block and not enable or allow the Nia participant to move as the body was designed.  And that could, in turn, result in something that isn’t “pretty”.  Nia might not be pretty, but it is authentic.

It could also be as previously mentioned — some have an idea of what moves are “pretty” and what moves are not, so for them maybe the “ugly” moves should be kept off of the dance floor, but Nia is not a performance.  It is authentic movement of the body.

It could be an arm-raising, hair-whipping, sweat-dripping, face-reddening, body-jiggling, foot-stomping, voice-howling, eyes-crying, heart-softening, spirit-raising, mind-opening, body-moving dance exercise which, to some, just might not be pretty.  It is not a show, it is not a performance it is a movement, it is a practice, it is a dance, it is an exercise, it is a workout, it is an experience, it is authentic.  It is what you allow your body to do.  It is what you want it to be.  It is what you sense.

When we allow our bodies to move in an honest way we defer to the body’s intelligence.  The body speaks to us, but we need to listen.  It will tell us if what we are doing is causing pain so we can tweak the movement and move towards pleasure.  Also we can learn which areas of our bodies would benefit from more flexibility or more strength if we listen.  All the while, to someone who is expecting a performance this might appear “not pretty”.  But to those who have experienced the freedom of listening to the body’s intelligence we see it as beautiful.  We know there is a path, there is a journey.

I personally feel that it is beautiful when a participant moves to the music in a way that only s/he can move.  Sometimes I might catch a glimpse of one of my Nia students and I have to remind myself that I too need to move according to the sense of the music because otherwise I would stop and watch.  It is an amazing wonder to witness a surrender to the music. To some it might not be “pretty”, but it is truly beautiful.  So dance your dance.  Dance in your body’s way.  Don’t judge.  Don’t worry about if it is “pretty”. Movement is a glorious and beautiful gift to be enjoyed and not stifled.  Let your movements be authentic and don’t worry about those who might think it is not pretty.

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Teaching What You Sense

Posted by terrepruitt on September 29, 2011

Nia White Belts focus on the body.  The body is what we can use to teach.  It is fascinating.  By the time we teach a routine in front of a class we should know the music and the choreography so well we don’t have to think about it.  I know I have shared before about how there is a point where I can’t learn any more without taking it to the class.  That is not necessarily the way we were trained to do it, but that is how I do it.  I have worked on learning a routine, got as far as I felt I could go, taken it to class and only done it for one class before I go back and work on learning it some more.  With that one class I was able to get past the learning plateau.  But for the most part we know the music and the routine well by the time we share it with our Nia students.  This allows us to concentrate on what we are sensing.  This is White Belt Principle #13, Teaching What You Sense.

One of the Nia White Belt Manuals says:

While Nia impacts every aspect of our lives, it is first and foremost a somatic practice rooted in physical sensation.

© 2010 Nia Technique, Inc. | NiaNow.com Principle 13 Lesson Plan | 1

Teaching what we sense, what we are experiencing in our own bodies allows us to connect with what is going on in our students’ bodies.  When I feel the stretch in my side, I can say, “Everybody sense your side.”  This allows each participant, each individual body to sense what is going on in his or her own body.  It could be a stretch.  It could be a twinge which might be a signal to tweak the movement.  Whatever is sensed belongs to the individual.  I am not saying, “You SHOULD feel . . ”  I don’t know exactly what they should sense.  Each person is different.  Nia teachers invite Nia students to SENSE parts of the body so each person can get the workout their body needs.

While we are dancing the moves we are showing the Nia students the Nia choreography, we are also guiding them with our words.  In addition to guiding them through the Nia routine’s choreography we are guiding them through a somatic workout.  A workout that is rooted in the Body’s Way.  By teaching what my body is sensing participants learn what THEIR bodies are sensing and in turn we all learn our our own individual’s body’s way.

Learning all of this in a cardio dance workout class might seem like a lot, but it is something that happens over time.  It might also sound different than other exercise classes, and that is because it is different.  It is unique.  Each class brings new awareness.  When students desire to they can take what we touch upon in class out into their lives.  Being aware of the body’s sensation as we live and go about our everyday chores and pleasures.  We could call it “Noticing what we sense.”  But for me, as a Nia teacher/student I am encouraged to teach what I sense and it makes a world of difference in the workout you receive.

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