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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Posts Tagged ‘The Nia Technique book’

Finger Flicks – A Nia 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on February 3, 2015

I did not intend to write a blog post on all of the 52 Moves in Nia.  My intent was to post a few and entice you into buying The Nia Technique Book.  It seems as if I just might get to all of Nia’s 52 Moves on my blog.  It so happens that sometimes I am at a loss as to what to post, so I turn to a move on the list of 52 Moves.  Or sometimes I am intrigued by one the moves because it is in a routine that I am currently dancing with my students.  Or I am intrigued by of the moves that it is in a Nia Routine that I danced with another Nia teacher.  OR I am intrigued by of the moves even though it is NOT in a Nia Routine – as in, it is not part of the original choreography, but we do it anyway.  That is the fun thing about Nia Routines and the 52 Moves.  You can kind of put them in anywhere.  And, I will say it again, because I think it is important to state that the moves that Nia includes on their list are not unique to Nia.  Nia is not claiming to have created them.  Also, it is nice to know that you will experience moves in Nia that you have experienced before.  The moves are on the lists and included in Nia Routines because there are benefits to doing them.  Some of them are so simple the benefits could be overlooked.  Some of them might seem odd to have included on a list of moves done in a dance exercise class.  But they have benefits.  One move that is simple and might seem random to have in an exercise class is Finger Flicks.

Yeah, you read that right, Finger Flicks.  Flicking your fingers.  This move can be done so many different ways.  Fast, slow, high, low, fingers up, fingers down, with an emotion, without an emotion, with the music, against the music, so many possibilities.  The benefits of this move include conditioning the muscles of the forearms and hands.  If you really use your thumb to resist the fingers the move contracts the forearm muscles and makes your fingers work!  The Nia Technique Book states that this move helps rid the hands of tension.

The how-to is simple enough.  I bet you know it already.  You form a loose fist with your hand, keeping the thumb on the outside of the fingers.  Then push with all four fingers against the thumb.  Allow your thumb to resist.  Then let your fingers push through.  Practice this move with your hand at different levels-as in high above your shoulders, at the same level as your shoulder, below your shoulders.  Let your arms hang, hold them out . . . in other words flick your fingers all over.  Use one hand, then the other, then both.  Just flick, flick, flick, flick.  Try doing it how I mentioned, fast, slow, high, low, fingers up, fingers down, with an emotion, without an emotion, with the music, against the music,  play with the possibilities.

You can practice this move while dancing around your home.  You probably do this move without even thinking about it after washing your hands.  You could probably check the mirrors above the sink to verify it.

Are you familiar with finger flicks?

 

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Claw Hand – Nia’s 52 Moves

Posted by terrepruitt on January 20, 2015

As you may know if you have perused my blog or website, Nia has moves called the 52 Moves of Nia or Nia’s 52 Moves.  Moves concentrated and focused on.  Generally moves included in all of the routines.  Not all the moves are included in all of the routines, but the routines are jam-packed with most of the moves.  The moves on the list have physical benefits.  Some are fun or silly so they can have mental or spiritual benefits.  And in this case I am talking about your spirit or inner child, the part of you that likes to have fun, the part of you that you might not get to display in your regular everyday work life.  So not the religious type of spirit but the kind of spirit that you think of when you say or hear “school spirit” or inner child.  The fun playful side of you.  To me, one of those moves is Claw Hand.

Claw Hand is a great move.  It is super easy.  It can be done all on its own.  You can just stand or sit and do claw hand.  You can add it to some foot work.  You can add it to some complicated choreography.  You can make it soft or hard.  You can do it fast or slow.  It is very versatile.

You can even make noises when you do it.  You can growl like a big cat or a bear.  You can meow like a kitty-cat.  You can make any noise you want.  It is fun stuff.

As I said you can do it standing or sitting and this moves gets done in to all the stances and steps in the Nia Routines.  The Nia Technique Book (by Debbie and Carlos Rosas) recommends it be practiced in all the stances and steps.  And that is a great idea since we use it with all of them.  The routine I am doing now even add it to blocks.  We block in with claw hand and we block out with claw hand.  Why not?

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose,  Nia at the San Jose Community Centers, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, PiYoYou can probably figure out what this move is from the description but I tell you what the book says:

“Mimic a claw with your finger and claw the air, as if you were in a cat fight.  Keep your wrists relaxed, and sound a cat’s hisses as you do the move.  Use both hands.”

The benefits can include strengthening your fingers and hands.

In addition to keeping a relaxed wrist I like to use the claw shape to bring tension into my entire arm.  I imagine I am really clawing something.  I figure I would need strength to do that so I put my entire arm into it.  You can use one had to “claw” and the other hand to feel the muscles in your arm (forearm and upper arm) contract.

The book states that this move can increase your sense of power.  When I am doing it with muscles contracted as if I am REALLY clawing something I do have a sense of power.  I imagine that is how an animal feels when they wield their claw.

This move allows you to practice bending your fingers too.  That helps with the mobility of the joints.  I like this move.  I like to add sounding to it.

Ok, so stop and try it?  What sound do you like to do best with your Claw Hand?

 

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Maps Can Help Get You Where You Want To Go

Posted by terrepruitt on September 9, 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 Yoga, Group Ex City of San Jose, San Jose Group Ex classesI am not sure many websites have Site Maps any longer.  Websites now-a-days are so full of bells and whistles not many have site maps.  Not many just have a place where you can go to one page to see a list of everything that is on the site.  I find sometimes when I am on a website, I am just going in circles trying to find the information I want and I think it would be nice if there was that one page . . . that site map . . . that showed me the list of pages so that I could click on the page I want instead of getting dizzy clicking around.  I think I have a lot of information on my site so I know that one might get a little overwhelmed.  I know that some of my pages repeat information on other pages.  I do that because when I am on a website sometimes I don’t see the information if it is only on one page, but the more it is repeated the better chance that I will see it.  But I do have a site map for my site.  I have a lot of information so I wanted to have a list that people can look at in case they wanted an idea of what the whole site contained.

Since I teach at several different places and I have both a FIXED (on-going) schedule and one that changes all the time it can be a bit much for people to keep track of.   In addition to my teaching schedule, I have information regarding Nia on the site because I want to educate people on the classes they can take from me.  So, yeah, there is a lot on there.  So here is what I have created to help.

 

What’s on www.HelpYouWell.com at a glance!  The BOLD indicates the links you see at the left, the others are in the drop down menu if you put your mouse over the links at the left.  And, you can just click the link from this site map. 
Home
New to Nia (links to help you navigate site)
What is Nia?
o Nia Practice
o Nia FreeDance
o Nia 5 Stages
Contact Terre
Nia Class Schedule (schedule of regular ON-GOING Classes)
o San Jose Nia Classes (M/W) (details about Wednesday classes)
Community Center Classes (regular classes with the City of San Jose – T/Th)
– City of San Jose – Nia (Classes SUBBING for the City of San Jose)
YMCA Silicon Valley Classes
YMCA Silicon Valley – Sub Dates (Classes SUBBING for the YMCA)
Present Nia Class Locations (locations at a glance)
Nia in the Evening
Nia on Saturday at 10 am
Nia Schedule at a glance (another way to look at Terre’s Nia schedule)
• Nia Information
Nia Class Cycles
Main Benefits of Nia
Tips for a Pleasurable Nia Experience
Principles of the Body’s Way
Nia Tips for Moving with Nia
Sounding Tips
Nia’s 52 Moves
Nia Belt Levels and Focuses
Indexes for The Nia Technique Book
   Index with Sections
   Index with separate list of subsections
• About Terre Pruitt
• Nia Class Fees (each location has different fees)
• Nia Monthly (information regarding Nia in the current month, sometimes additional info, check it out)
• Nia Jams
• Gentle Yoga
• ZUMBA
Zumba Fitness Class Schedule
• Pictures and Stuff
• San Medusa (a write-up about a Playshop with Helen Terry.  Link not shown on left.)
• Site Map

Hopefully this helps people navigate the site.  The site map is a list of all the pages on the site with hot links so you can click on the page you want to visit.  What do you think?  Do you ever get “lost” on a website?  It seems as if you are just going in circles?  Do you find many websites with site maps?

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Dead Bugs, Well, Actually, Creepy Crawlers

Posted by terrepruitt on March 11, 2014

In other forms of exercise I learned the dead bug.  Where you lie on your back and put your limbs up in the air as if you were a dead bug.  In Nia one of our 52 moves is called Creepy Crawlers.  I ALWAYS call it Creepy CrawlIES and sometimes I say, dead bugs. In Nia the move is part of the Upper Extremities in the Nia 52 moves, the hands to be exact.  It is where we turn our hands to allow the palms to face up and we wiggle our fingers.  Truly NOT a dead bug because dead bugs don’t wiggle there legs . . . in general.  I will work on calling it by the correct name Creepy CrawLERS.

This is a simple, simple move that provides great benefits.  I don’t know how often you are around the elderly if ever, but losing the use of their hands, losing the dexterity is a very common issue.  So as the Nia Technique Book says, “Practicing Creepy Crawlers helps your fingers, hands, and forearms remain strong, flexible, and agile.”  It is very important to move your hands.  And not all of the things we do in everyday life allows for that type of flexibility and agility.  So this move is so great.

To practice it according to the Nia Technique Book you just wiggle all of your fingers, including your thumb.  Keep the elbow bent which helps keep the shoulders and next relaxed.  Change palm directions.

This is one of those moves that is pretty much always teamed up with another move.  Usually we have a foot pattern while we do the Creepy Crawlers.  Or we are moving around the room.  Usually, but not always.  Sometimes it is nice to concentrate on the movement on the fingers.  Really wiggle them with intent.  Make certain ALL ten fingers are moving.  Notice how it affects the tendons in your hands and arms.  Watch the movement in your arms.

If you are constantly moving your fingers in a wiggly motion while doing choreography with your feet you are allowing that brain to work.  Most people understand that the brain needs to stay active . . . just like the body . . . in order to function well, so we consider it fun to get our brains going as part of our movement, as part of our dance.

So as with all of the Nia 52 Moves that I have explained.  Sometimes we do them a little different from perfect as described in the book.  Doing Creepy Crawlers in a routine might have us straightening our arms.  Or we might even be moving the hand all around while the fingers are wiggling.  But the point is the fingers.  Moving the fingers, wiggling the fingers.  Bending each and every joint in the finger.

This is also a really fun move to do with kids.  They love the idea of Creepy Crawlers, bug legs.  You know kids?  So many of them love anything to do with bugs.

So, I encourage you to do some Creepy Crawlers.  Especially if you work at a computer or do repetitive motions with your hands.  This will help keep them moving in different directions/ways.

So, did you try it?  See how easy it is?

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In Nia We Travel

Posted by terrepruitt on November 14, 2013

Nia is a cardio dance exercise that I teach.  It is more than that, but that is one way to describe it.  One of the ways it is more than that, is, it is a practice.  If you chose to treat it like a practice, as one might treat yoga as a practice, one would become aware of Nia’s 52 Moves.  There are 52 moves that get choreographed into the Nia Routines.  One of the moves is Traveling in Directions.  This is a great move for many reasons.

One reason Traveling in Directions is great is because it is very easy.  Another reason it is great is because it is very adaptable and can be used in almost every song and in every routine.  The main way to travel in a direction is to simply walk.  Using the Heel Lead technique just walk forward, then change the direction you are walking, then change the direction, etc.  With the simplest of forms you look where you want to go before you move in that direction.  So before your feet actually start going a different direction — LOOK.  There is a little bit of thinking involved because we look before we go.  Allow your arms to move freely.  Step confidently in whichever direction you choose to look.  Move your body as a whole.

The Nia Technique book states:  “Practicing Traveling in Directions keeps your body agile for moving through space in all directions, able to change direction with ease.”

When we use this move in our routines we have a lot of fun playing with it.  The move really is as easy as stated, the fun comes when changing directions quickly.  You can be the leader of your own movement or sometimes you are being directed by the teacher.  This makes agility one of the Nia sensations we practice with this move.  Moving one way then quickly stopping and going another way.  Stopping, changing, starting.  Varying the speed at times will allow for additional Nia sensations such as strength and stability to come into play.

When Traveling in Directions on your own you become aware of the direction you want to go, then you look, then you go.  As I said, there are times when you might be listening to the direction of the teacher, which would still mean you would need to become aware of the direction you want to go, but when being told where to go your body’s reaction is quicker.  There is a quick look then a move in that direction.  Less thought is involved for you as the participant because someone else thought of the direction you were going to go.

Often when this move is done in a class, quick thinking, quick moving, and quick reacting are additional skills that receive attention because we are dancing with others on the floor so we might have to switch our trajectory quickly to avoid a dance floor collision.

Modifications of the traveling can be done by going backwards or sinking low or even rising high.  So many ways to travel in directions.  All of them are great opportunities to try out the Nia Sensations, the more you do, the more ways you move your body.  If you want you can even skip.  Skipping in different directions adds a new dimension to the move.

Sometimes this move is choreographed into the Nia routine with specifics and sometimes is allowed more of a Free Dance.  However it is added to the Nia workout it is a wonderful way to dance.

How would you Traveling in Directions to your current favorite song?

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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?

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Shimmy From The Back

Posted by terrepruitt on September 3, 2013

I was looking for something to post about today and I thought, “Hmmm . . . . let’s check out the Nia 52 Moves list on my site and see what I have yet to write about.”  Much to my HUGE surprise, I have not posted about the shimmy.  I am shocked.  The shimmy is a very often used move in Nia Routines. . . heck, the shimmy is an often used dance move in many, many, many dances.  So I am shocked I have not addressed this before.  I think that the shimmy is somewhat misunderstood.  I believe, from what I have experienced, that many people think of the shimmy as a chest move.  I have sensed great hesitation in many people when it comes to executing the shimmy.  It seems as if people might consider it a boob shake.  Some women don’t want to do it and neither do some men.  I mean, why would either want to shake their breasts in a cardio dance exercise class?  To me, thinking it is a frontal shake is a misconception.  While, yes, for many people the front DOES shake and move in a shimmy, that is NOT where the concentration of the movement is.  The shimmy comes from the shoulder blades/back.

The Nia Technique Book* says:  “Vibrate and shake your shoulders, standing upright or moving front and back, as if you are shaking water off.”**

I think that once the focus of the move is taken off of the chest, some people feel more comfortable with the move.  It is not primarily moving your chest/breasts/boobs around.  It is moving your shoulders and your back.  Since our front is connected to the back, then, yes, our chest will move but the movement will be different than if you are purposefully just moving what is on the front side of your body.  There are several ways to learn and/or practice the shimmy, here is one.  First of all think: “BACK/SHOULDERS” not front of body.

With your thoughts and your intent shifted from the front to the back you can apply the correct motion.  One way to start from scratch with this move is to lie down.  Lie on your back, then lift one shoulder off the ground.  Push your shoulder blade forward, jutting your collarbone out.  Then bring that side back to the ground.  Then do the other side.  Push, jut, back down.  Now push the first side again and as you allow the shoulder to come to the earth push the other shoulder forward.  Continue to alternate.  Only allow one shoulder up at a time.  While you are pushing forward keep your shoulders down toward your hips (not down toward the ground).  Keep the space between your ears and your shoulders open.  So you are not shrugging your shoulders up to your ears, you are pushing them from the BACK to the sky.  Do this until you feel you have the sensation in your body that when you sit up you will still have the correct motion.  Vary the speed.  Play with the size of the movement.  Go for smooth and not jerky.

If you are not starting that far back, from scratch, then stand and concentrate on the shoulders going forward and back.  Again, keep the shoulders down.  This helps me with the forward back motion, otherwise they might start creeping up into that scrunching posture.  Eventually you will be able to just move your shoulders forward and back with nice relaxed (down) shoulders.  But in the beginning it might be something you have to think about in order to ensure the front back motion and not up and down.

This move is great for isolating the muscles that assist with good posture and balance.  It is also a great stress reliever.  It is fun to let out sound while you are shimmying.  You don’t even have to waver your voice if you are shimmying vigorously enough, the movement causes the waver.  FUN stuff!

As mentioned we do the shimmy a lot in our Nia Classes.  Since we do it a lot we do it in many different ways . . . fast, slow, by itself, with other moves . . . it is just one of those great moves to throw into the mix.

I see many, many, many people who are challenged by this move.  There are many reasons for that.  I also see a lot of people’s movement change once they adjust the focus from the front to the back.  I see those proverbial light bulbs come on!  Shift the focus and let your body move!

When you shimmy, where is your movement focus?  Did this post alter your movement focus?  Can you shimmy so vigorously that your voice wavers with your movement?

*written by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas / **page 138, The Core

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Nia – Sink and Pivot Table Wipe

Posted by terrepruitt on June 22, 2013

One of Nia’s 52 Moves is the Sink and Pivot Table Wipe.  Ha!  Sounds funny.  I always think of cleaning when I say this move in class, but not many people LIKE to clean so I don’t like to remind them of cleaning while we are in our Joy!  There are many other ways to describe the movement, but “table wipe” really gets the point across.  It could be a dramatic sweep of the table.  Regardless of what spirit might have me say in the midst of the move there is a particular way to do it.  As with all of Nia’s 52 Moves there is a specific way to do it.  And . . . as I have said . . . often times the specifics are adjusted to work into the song and the moment’s choreography.  To me the Sink and Pivot Table Wipe is a combination of an arm movement and a bow stance.

To practice the Sink and Pivot Table Wipe you start in an A Stance.  Doing one side at a time, say the left, you would place your left arm out.  As you lift up your left foot you turn your body towards the right, your left arm sweeps across the horizon to the right.  Your left foot lands gently on the earth on the ball of your foot and your left leg is bent.  Your right leg is also bent.  The bent legs become the “sink” part of the move.  Your arm sweeping is the wiping part of the move.  That “table” part is the imaginative part of the move to assist in knowing how the arms sweeps.  The arm is straight out and just moves parallel to the ground.  Doing the other side, you would you would place your right arm out.  As you lift up your right foot you turn your body towards the left, your right arm sweeps out and around to the left.  You place your right ball of foot gently on the floor with your right leg bent.  Your left leg is also bent.  The legs are similar to a bow 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, ZumbaIn most instances — the ones I can think of — in the choreography, I usually do a tiny hop so that my front foot ends up with the toes facing the same direction as the foot in the back, the foot that is “ball of foot”.  So as I continue to say, the instructions in The Nia Technique book* show the exact perfect way to do a move.  Which is the way to learn it, but then once you know the move the choreography dictates the exact way it is done.

The book recommends the word “Whoosh” be said while doing this move.  Of course that is just one of many words and sounds that can be made.  Sounds are dictated by so many things.  The “Whoosh” can be used in the practice of the move, if you would like.  When in a Nia class anything goes!

I believe this move is a great stability move because as I said I am normally moving both feet in order to sink, pivot, and wipe the table so I need to “land” stable.  Also, I think it is great for the legs because any sink type of move helps condition them.  It is also good for coordination because you are moving both the upper body and lower body at the same time, but in a little different manner.

Tee hee . . . . it is really great for a lot of things, depends on what you put into it.  The last couple of times I did it in the current Nia routine I am doing I had the class stretching the arm as far as they could reach as they wiped that table.  It was a HUGE table and we wanted to wipe it all in one pass!

So what do you imagine you are doing when you do this move?

*The Nia Technique written by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas

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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!

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Nia Stance Sounds

Posted by terrepruitt on January 5, 2013

There are a few posts on my blog about sounding in Nia.  I even have a separate category for it.  See over there to the left under categories, under Nia?  Sounding is what we call making noise in a Nia class.  Sounding is great for many reasons.  Sounding is a release.  It can help release tension, emotions, spirit . . . whatever needs “releasing”.  Sounding is fun.  Sounding can assist in the stabilization of the torso.  Sounding can help ground you . . . physically, emotionally, and your spirit.  Often times when I am doing Nia both when I am teaching and when I am a student, my spirit just makes a sound.  I don’t plan it, I don’t think about it, a noise just comes out.  I “woo” a lot.  But sometimes other sounds comes out.  Sometimes the sound I make makes me laugh because I really don’t think about the sound, something just comes out.  I could be thinking of something, for example, maybe the move we are doing reminds me of a swirling skirt, so then the sound could be a “whosh” as in the sound of a skirt, or it could be a giggle of a girl twirling in a skirt.  I don’t always think about the sound I just let it out.  Sometimes I do think of the sound.  Sounding can be purposeful.  The noise can have a purpose.  I have posted about healing sounds and sounds associated with the chakras.  This post is about the sounds that are associated with Nia stances, which are part of Nia’s 52 moves.

TheDance 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, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit picture in this post is an approximation of how MY feet would be placed in the various stances.  Remember that your stances would probably be slightly different.  The width would be according to YOUR body and your body’s way.  The picture is just to give you an idea and maybe help remind you of the various stances.  At this time I have a post associated with four of the six stances.

In Nia’s closed stance the sound is the vowel sound “o”.  The sound is made to “create volume in your chest cavity”.

In Nia’s open stance the sound is (to say) “balance” or “ground”.  Saying the word “balance” can assist you in your balance.  The word “ground” can assist with allowing you to feel grounded and sense balance.

The sound for Nia’s “A” stance is “aaaaahh!”.  You say it on an exhale.  Letting out all your breath until you are ready to inhale.

Sumo stance or riding stance (feet as wide apart as if you were riding a horse) has an explosive sound.  Say “ha!”  To me this helps with stabilization.

The bow stance has a sound of “u”.  The bow stance is done with either foot in front, not just with the left foot in front as shown in the example.

The cat stance (standing on one foot, with the other foot pressed against the standing leg) has the sound “wooooooo” associated with it.  This is done on the exhale.  This stance is also done on the other foot and not just the left one as in the example.

So as you are practicing the Nia stances you can use the sounds associated with them for added benefit and fun.  It is just fun to make noise.  To me it adds to the experience.  In my classes I encourage people to make any noise they want.  I also like to play with the noises, sounds, and words associated with the move.

Do you attend a dance exercise class  or exercise that encourages you to make noise?

Information regarding the sounds made with the Nia stances can be found in The Nia Technique book written by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas (NKA, Carlos AyaRosas).  The book can be purchased from Amazon.

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