Terre Pruitt's Blog

In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.

  • I teach yoga, Nia, and stretch online!

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    Stretch: Thurs at 10:00 am

    Please see my website for details!

    I am also teaching a yoga class for the City of San Jose on Wednesdays through June at 5pm

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training all virtual, of course!

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Posts Tagged ‘Workout cycles’

Who Thinks About Their Knees?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 26, 2014

We do!  Today in the group exercise class I was subbing, I did a Nia class. Our focus was the knee, with the intent of bringing awareness to the main muscles that help move the knee. So with that intent we were thinking about the quadriceps and the hamstrings. There are other muscles involved in the knee’s movement and stability, but we were keeping it simple and just focusing on those two sets of muscles. There are four muscles that make up the quadriceps and three that make up the hamstrings. The quadriceps are on the “front” of the thigh and the hamstrings are on the back of the thigh. To see my brief post on the Quadriceps click here. To see my brief post on the Hamstrings click here. The muscles of the quadriceps help straighten the leg. So they extends it. They pull the lower leg forward. The muscles of the hamstrings pull the lower leg back, what we call bending the knee. The knee gets straightened and bent a lot in a Nia dance exercise class, but there might not always be awareness of the muscles that are doing it. Today we brought awareness to the knee bending and straightening muscles.

Bringing awareness to muscles can be done in many ways. Often time the choreography of a Nia Routine has us doing specific steps and arm movements. In the first few songs of the routine I am doing I did not have the class do any touching of our legs. I just suggested that the class think about their legs, while, in the first song we moved our chest down and lowered our hips. Everyone moves to their own depth so not all of us were in a bend with chest on our thighs, but we were still able to bring awareness to our thighs with knees bent. The next few songs have us aware of our knees as we sink a bit to activate hips and move with front, back, and diagonal steps.

When we were at a song that is a free dance we wiggled our knees, we knocked them, we straightened them. We touched the front of our thighs while we moved our legs, opening and closing the knee joint. We kicked forward and back. While we danced we touched the back of our thighs. The act of touching allows us to sense the muscles as it moves the leg, extending and flexing. The act of touching helps us bring awareness to the muscles as we use them.

While we do a punching and blocking sequence we are aware of the stability we have in the wide stance with the knees slightly bent. This pose allows the opportunity for awareness of the full thigh activation.   Even while standing still we are sensing the dance of strength and stability.

I love that Nia incorporates a focus and an intent as one of the workout cycles. This gives us a chance to focus on many things. In this case the movement of the knee. This is a great way to keep both the body and mind active while bringing awareness of how the body moves into our dance exercise class.

Do YOU think about your knees?  Do you think about how your leg bends?

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review Blog Year – Top Ten

Posted by terrepruitt on December 31, 2009

So here it is the end of the year.  I have been blogging since March (2009).  I have posted 130 times.  This is 131.  I thought I would end the year with a review of some of my favorites and according to the numbers some of your favorites too.  Here they are, not in any order:

Lyrics Gone Wrong . . . I had entertained the idea of doing this once a month, but after the second month I ran out of songs to play with.

Interesting Picture – Marilyn Monroe Albert Einstein . . . I LOVE optical illusions and this one is a doosey.

Hummingbird Tongues . . . they still fascinate me and I am still surprising people with the fact that the birds have tongues and use them more than the beak is a straw.  And usually they tongues dart in and out so fast it is a rare treat to catch it out for a picture.  Yay!

A Poem Says A Lot . . . Fabulous!  We Have Come To Be Danced . . .

Nia Belt System . . . Before you can move onto the next belt they say a year must pass.   You do not have to get involved.  It is a great workout without being involved with the belts.  The belt system only comes into play if you care to get that involved in Nia.  Nia’s belts mimic some Martial Arts; white, green, blue, brown, black.    I am learning so much with my White Belt, I can see myself waiting at least another year before I move onto the next belt.  There is so much to learn and enjoy in each belt, I am not in a hurry.

Say: “I Am Wonderful” . . . I like to say this, I like to hear this song.  I like to remind people to go to iTunes each week to download the free song.

A Brief Look At Nia . . . still excited to share Nia with people.  It is a great body-mind practice and a workout that can make you sweat yet not really feel like exercise.  It is learning to follow the body’s way.

Wrapping Tips . . . WHAT?  I was shocked that everyone did not read my blog.  On Christmas Day and the day after the bags and bags and bags and bags of wrapping trash that I saw on the curbs just blew my mind. In this day and in these times, I was just utterly flabbergasted that people don’t re-use the wrappings.  It amazed and saddened me.

My Favorite Mugs . . . so I found out that not everyone got my little joke.  Ya know, back in the day (what day, I don’t know), they used to call faces mugs . . . get it now?

The Seven Cycles Of A Nia Workout . . . The workout has cycles, somewhat like Jazzercise.  I like to share this aspect of Nia so people have an idea of what a workout class will be like.  We set a focus and an intent, step in, warm up and move all the way through the cycles to the floor, and then we step out.

Well, thank you so much for joining me on my blog.  I hope that you continue to read, I hope you enjoy and learn.  I learn from your comments so keep them coming.  Thank you for a great year.  Here is to the NewYear.

But . . .before we jump into the New Year, share with me what your favorite post from my blog was?  AND/OR give me ideas on what you would like to see posted in the New Year.

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

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

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Collage Video

Posted by terrepruitt on October 24, 2009

There is no substitute for going to an exercise class.  The energy and the camaraderie you get from BEING IN a class is uncomparable, but sometimes class schedules don’t mix with yours or you want to just get a quick workout in.

Like me recently, my husband and I were going to go see a play at the last minute at a little theater in downtown San Jose, but before we went I wanted to do a workout.  I pulled out a few of my videos to see the “total workout time” and did a few quick calculations.  I decided on Turbo Jam Cardio Party two.  But it got me thinking about how I love Collage Video because they do a great job of breaking down the “total workout time” on a DVD.

Do you know what I am talking about?  Has something like the following happened to you?  You want an Aerobic workout DVD  because you want to get your cardio done at home, you buy a DVD and that states it is a 60 minute workout. You put it in your machine and what it actuually turns out to be is 15 minutes of warm up and 15 minutes of cool down leaving you really with only 30 minutes of an aerobic workout.  When you were expecting 60 minutes or at least 50 minutes and you only get 30, it doesn’t make for a satisfying purchase (or workout).

Unfortunately you can’t get Turbo Jam from Collage Video so you can’t see a breakdown of workout cycles of those DVDs, but Collage Video has hundreds of other DVDs.  One way you can pick the DVD is by workout type: Aerobics, Muscle Toning, Both (Aerobics & Toning), Stretch/Yoga/Tai Chi, Pilates, Interval training, Dance, Kickboxing, Latin & Salsa, Bootcamp.

Collage, then gives a detailed breakdown of the total workout time, just as I had mentioned before.  Which can be really helpful, when planning your workouts.  If you want to get a combo DVD with Aerobics and toning it is good to know how much you will get of each.  Here is an example.

The above shows you will get 4 minutes of warm-up, 37 minutes of floor aerobics, 11 minutes of standing toning, 6 minutes of toning, and 4 minutes of stretching.  This allows you to plan both your purchases and your workouts better.  You can see exactly how much time you will be spending on each cycle.  I think that is very important.

If you are going to be able to make it to your favorite class, do you have a favorite workout DVD that you do instead?

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

The Seven Cycles Of A Nia Workout

Posted by terrepruitt on May 5, 2009

Like Jazzercise classes and Yoga classes, Nia (TM)has cycles to each routine. Nia has seven cycles. Here is a very brief description of each cycles. For more details on each cycle click here.

Dance Exercise, Nia San Jose, San Jose Nia, Campbell Nia, Nia Campbell

1. Setting your focus and intent
In the first cycle we set our focus and intent. Usually there is a class focus and intent, but you can set your own focus and intent and make the workout what you need for that moment.

2. Stepping In
This is when we, well, step in. We step into the moment. We step into the sensation of our bodies. We step in, leaving behind all the chaos of the rest of the world.

3. Warm up
This is a song or two that we use to warm up. We start our bodies moving. We get our joints and muscle loose and ready to move.

4. Get Moving
This is the portion of the workout routine where we really start to use all of our muscles. Often the music speeds up and participants can work up a sweat. This is also the time where you are charged with being your own conscious personal trainer.

5. Cool Down
This is the part of the routine were we slow down and prepare our bodies for the floor.

6. Floorplay
This is where you get to work some more muscles and or do some more stretching out of the ones your work. It is ok to have a towel or a mat for our floorplay.

7. Stepping out
This is usually the time in the routine where people start looking at the clock and then their watches and then they start looking around to see if anyone else is experiencing that the clock and their watch is broken because there is NO Way that it has been (about) 55 minutes.

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »