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 ‘Yoga class’

Pretty Yard

Posted by terrepruitt on August 11, 2017

I teach at several different places. I teach yoga at two different community centers and I teach Nia at one community center and two different YMCAs. This is what I consider the “backyard” of one of the YMCAs. It is so pretty with the different color trees. One day while I was waiting to teach class I noticed how gorgeous it was outside and I snapped a few pictures. When I am looking through my pictures I always see this and want to post it. I think I posted it . . . or one like it . . . on Facebook when I first took it. But I thought I would post it here as a Friday Photo.

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Yellow Friday Photo

Posted by terrepruitt on August 4, 2017

Sometimes there is just a pretty flower that catches your eye. I was talking with my students after yoga class one day and I noticed this in the landscaping at the community center. My students were laughing at me because they knew the names of all the flowers and plants and I had no idea. I thought this one was pretty.

To me, it is a flower for today’s Friday Photo. Do you know what it is?

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Shavasana Three Different Ways

Posted by terrepruitt on May 31, 2017

This will be the fourth post that is showing an example of three different ways to cue. The three basic ways to cue that I’m talking about are: just referencing body parts and how to move them, that is Anatomic. Then there is where you talk about how the pose or movement is sensed in the body, that is Sensory. A third way is using images and known movements to help people to get into a pose, that’s Imagery. I am confident that most teachers do a mixture and most students probably aren’t even aware of the three different ways. There really is no need to be aware of them and see the difference. I just think it is interesting. It is really interesting – to me – as a teacher to see how different students respond to different cues. Sometimes I find that I have to cue a movement with more than one way in order to get everyone to move. But that doesn’t happen often. For now, this will be my last “Three Cue” post. I can see myself picking more asana in the future to cue the three different ways, but for now I am going to end with Shavasana.  I don’t know how to add just audio to a post, so I did it as a video.  Just me talking while filming a candle burning.  But they are short, so hopefully you’ll listen.

Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Anatomic
Lie on your back and close your eyes. Before you relax lengthen your spine, reaching the crown of your head away from your neck, and your ribs away from your hips. Allow your legs to relax, your feet falling comfortably as they may. Let collar bones move away from each other, opening your chest. Your arms are on the floor running the length of your body. Your hands are at hip level wider than shoulder width, so somewhat away from your body. Palms are up. Fingers are relaxed so they might curl. Breathe and relax. Becoming heavy on the floor.

Sensory
Lie on your back gaze toward the sky even with your eyes closed. Sense your head moving away from your shoulders. Sense your shoulders relax. Create space between your ribs and your hips. And create space between each rib. Sense your spine lengthen. Your legs are soft so your feet may fall gently outwards. Your arms feel the earth down their entire length, because they are straight and resting comfortably on the earth. Feel the ground with the back of your hands, as your palms face the sky. Your hands are down near your hips but away from them, wider than your shoulders. Breathe, let the relaxation be a sense of pleasant heaviness.

Imagery
As you lie down close your eyes and imagine you are floating on a cloud. Everything is comfortable. Your entire body is happy because of the practice you just did. Your elongated spine has a lot of comfortable space between each back bone. Your legs are relaxed allowing your feet to gently fall where they may. Your arms are straight with back of palms on the cloud. There is space between your hips and hands. As you float your arms become heavy, sinking into the softness of the cloud. Your breath is even and relaxed. Every muscle from your head to your toes relaxes into the fluffiness of the cloud.

So there you have it.  Perhaps bringing a new awareness to your practice and your poses with knowing about the three different ways.  Perhaps not.  As I said, not something you really need to know, just something cool, if you are interested in that type of stuff.

Any thoughts on the three different ways to cue?  Any thoughts on the cuing of this pose?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Cobra Three Ways

Posted by terrepruitt on May 24, 2017

I am continuing to share three different ways that the same pose can be cued.  I am talking about cuing via Anatomic way, Sensory way, or a way using Imagery.    The first one is just using body parts as in “move your hand to your foot”.  Or the sensory way where you might say “allow yourself to feel your foot”.  Or the cues using imagery you might say, “start to untie your shoe”.  Each way appeals to different people.  Often times we aren’t even aware of what works best.  We just hear and do.  I think it is fun to see the different ways clear cut and separated out from each other.  These are just examples of what could be said to cue Cobra pose.

Bhujangasana (Cobra)

Anatomic
Lie on your stomach with your forehead on the floor.  Legs together, tops of your feet are on the floor, big toes together, heels slightly apart allowing for a slight inward rotation of your thigh bones.  Place your palms on the floor next to your chin, wrists right under your shoulders.  Slightly tuck your tail bone.  Using your back muscles raise your upper chest off the floor into a small back bend.  Your back muscles pull and hold you up.  Your elbows are close to your ribs, they can be bent.  Your arms are supporting, but not doing all the work.  Shoulders are down away from your ears.  Your shoulders are solid.  Your chest open.  The arms do not necessarily straighten in Cobra. For a bigger stretch in the abdominals and a deeper bend in the back you can straighten your arms, but since the back muscles are primarily doing the work, straight arms are not necessary. Your legs remain together with firm thighs and glutes.

Sensory
Lie on your front side, spine/neck in neutral position, forehead on the ground.  Feel the ground on the front of your legs and feet, as they lengthening out behind you.  Place your palms on the ground next to your chin.  Sense the earth between your open fingers.  Feel your wrists at your shoulders.  Your hands remain rooted, grounded to the earth.  The crown of your head is reaching away from your shoulders.  Sense the space between each vertebra.  When you are ready push, activate your back muscles and let them pull your shoulders and chest off the ground as you push gently down with your pelvis connecting to the earth. Sense the small bend in your back.  The sense is of the strength in your back, you are using your arms lightly.  They are not the strength in this pose.  Feel the slight pressure from your elbows as they hug your ribs.  Your heart space is opening your collar bones moving away from each other.  Your shoulder blades are gently reaching towards each other and down your back.   Your forearms are off the ground, but the arms do not necessarily straighten in Cobra, you have a bend in the elbows.  For a bigger stretch on the front side of your body you can straighten your arms, but since the power and energy are coming primarily from the back, straight arms are not necessary.  Straightening your arms would also create more of a bend in your back, but again, sense the work coming from the back.

Imagery
Lie on your belly like a snake.  Your legs are your tail, they remain together, tops of feet on the earth.  Place your palms on the earth with your wrists at your shoulders.  Gently press down with your pelvis.  When you are ready, think of a cobra. Think of how they raise themselves off of the earth, they don’t have any arms.  So let the power come from your back.  Your arms are supporting you, but not doing all the work.  You feel the scales of your snake body with your elbows.  Let your shoulders travel down towards your tail.   Let your neck lengthen, stretching out your cobra hood.  The arms do not necessarily straighten in Cobra, your back is doing the work, but if you want a bigger stretch in the front and a deeper bend in the back you can straighten your arms, but remember cobras don’t have arms.

Which one helps you get into the post better?  Which one is your favorite?

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

Three Different Types Of Cues To Janu Sirsasana

Posted by terrepruitt on May 10, 2017

A week ago in a post I brought up three different ways that a yoga teacher might cue a pose;  Anatomic – basically just moving the body this way and that or Sensory – moving the body by sensing and feeling how it is moving or Imagery – moving the body with images to help us get to where we are instructed to be.  Usually a combination is used and if you take a yoga class you probably don’t really even notice.  The idea is that each way appeals to different people and can allow everyone to follow along with the instruction to get into the pose.  Here are examples of all three for Janu Sirsasana or Head-to-Knee Forward Bend.

Anatomic
From Dandasana (Staff pose), rotate your left thigh out allowing a bend at your knee.  Bring your left foot as close to your pelvis as possible, the sole of your foot is against your inner right thigh.  Continue to sit up tall, lengthening the spine.  Bend, from the hips, over the straight leg.  Keep the straight leg active with toes and knee pointing up.  Your stomach moves towards the right thigh, chest staying open as it lowers towards the leg.  The top of your head continues to reach away from your shoulders, you are still lengthening the spine as you fold over your leg from the hips.  Hands/Arms can remain on either side of the leg or you can hold your right foot, or perhaps even reach your hands beyond your foot and clasp.  Breathe.

Sensory
From Dandasana (Staff pose), turn your left leg out sensing your thigh bone rotate in its socket.  Bring your foot as close to your pelvis as possible.  Feel your left food connect to your right thigh.  Continue to sit up tall, sensing your spine lengthening.  You have plenty of room to breath as you continue to open the chest.  Then fold from the hips over the extended leg.  Help to keep the right leg active by feeling the floor with the entire length of the back of the leg.  Keep the toes and knee pointing toward the ceiling.  You sense the stretch in the back of your straight leg, as your belly moves towards it.  You may also sense a bit of a stretch in the inner thigh of the bent leg.  Continue to fold over bringing the chest closer to the right leg.  Maybe you feel the press of it on your leg.  Sense the space between your back bones as you fold over your leg, heart opening towards your leg.  Perhaps your arms are heavy on the ground of either side of your leg or perhaps you are gently reaching for your foot.  If you feel you want more of a stretch through the back of the right leg perhaps reach your hands beyond your right foot and clasp.  Breathe.

Imagery
Imagine you’re a sunflower, your head is the blossom reaching for the sun directly above you.  Your spine, the stem, is long and straight.  Your legs, the roots, reaching straight out from the stem.  The stem and the roots form a 90° angle.  One root, the left one, rotates outward, then bends in the middle, at the knee.  The end of the root, your foot, is as close to your pelvis as is comfortable with its sole against your right leg.  Now the sun is going down in front of you, and you, the sunflower still reach for it.  Unlike a typical sunflower you follow the sun as it descends with a long, straight stem, folding from where your stem meets your roots.   You use your leaf arms to reach out towards your root feet.  They may lie on the earth on either side of your root-legs or, if you can, your grab your feet, or even wrap your leafy hands beyond your rooty feet and clasp them together.  You are a happy sunflower as the top of your head, the sunflower blossom reaches towards the setting sun.  You take a deep breathe lengthening further towards the sun and relax onto your roots.

What do you think?  Are you noticing the different types of cuing in your yoga class now?

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Yoga Studio Walls

Posted by terrepruitt on May 5, 2017

Ah, I think this is the perfect time to post this picture since I just went to a workshop at Mind Body Zone.  I really need to get back to the studio for yoga regularly.  This is a wall in the studio.  That is one thing that is kind of a misfortune in the places that I teach yoga, there is no wall space.  Well, I shouldn’t say NO wall space, I should say ENOUGH wall space.  There is not enough wall space for each student in the class to have a spot so we can use the wall.  That is a great thing about a studio that is just for yoga, the ones I have been to have a lot of wall space because using the wall can be a great tool.  The wall can be just like a prop.  It can really help in some poses.  It can definitely help you sense the poses in a different way!

Here I am sharing a photo of the wall for my latest Friday Photo.

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Cuing Three Different Ways

Posted by terrepruitt on May 3, 2017

When teachers cue students as to what asana to do and how to move in a yoga class, they can use three basic ways to do it.  The three basic ways to cue are Anatomic, Sensory, and Imagery.  Most of the time you will find, when you are in a yoga class, the teacher uses a mix of all three.  Other types of classes might stick to just one form, but yoga and Nia use all three.  Different ways appeal to different people.  With the three different ways it can also elicit different responses in the body.  I thought I would share in a few posts different poses cued with the three different styles.

With strictly anatomic the cuing is all about the body.  Instructing on how to move a body part and where.  Using the body and its parts as destinations (move your arm up to your ear).  With sensory it is all about what you are sensing (feeling) in the body (move your arm up, yawning open the side of the body).  And with the imagery the movement is connected to the imagination or thought (lift your arm as if you know the answer in class).

Parivrtta Parsvakonasana (Rotated Side Angle)

Anatomic
Step right foot forward into a lunge, knee centered over ankle.  Rotate your torso moving your left shoulder towards your bent knee.  Rest your left elbow on your right thigh.  Your left leg remains straight or you may bend the knee and rest it on the floor.  The front of your left leg is getting the stretch.   Bend your right elbow bringing your right hand to meet your left hand in the center of your chest.  Or you can twist further to your right, letting the left triceps can press against the outside of the right knee.  No matter how far your twist your gaze is to the area on the right side of your knee.  It could be on the floor on the right of the knee or on the wall to your right.

Sensory
Step right foot forward into a lunge, allowing you to sense an elongation in your left leg.  In addition to the stretch sense the strength in your left leg keeping it straight.  Sense the stability in your ankle as your right knee is centered directly over it. Pull your torso to the right, letting your right shoulder lead, as you sense your left shoulder moving towards your right leg.  Place your left elbow on your right thigh.  Take a deep breath encouraging your chest to remain open.  If you think you would be more stable with your left knee on the ground, you may lower it down.  If your twist is deep, you may notice your left arm as it seeks to press against the outside of your right leg.  Your right arm bends allowing your hands to come together with thumbs resting in the center of your chest.  The energy in your right shoulder keeps pulling your shoulder back to help deepen the twist, you may feel your left triceps on your right thigh.

Imagery
Imagine taking a big step with your right foot over a puddle.  The puddle grows as you are stepping so you end up in a lunge.  Your right knee is bent and your shin is straight up from the earth, with the knee centered over your ankle.  You’ve missed stepping in the puddle and you are keeping your left leg straight so as not to touch the water.  You notice a beautiful rainbow out of the corner of your right eye, so you turn to look.  You want to get a better look so you gently rotate your torso towards the bright colors, allowing you to place your left elbow on your right thigh.  The puddle has miraculously dried up so if you want you can place your left knee on the earth.  Your right arm bends at the elbow and your hands meet at your heart center.  You bask in the beauty of the rainbow.

Is there a particular type of cuing you are fond of?

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Yoga Etiquette – A List We Created

Posted by terrepruitt on March 29, 2017

When I participated in yoga training one of the things we did before we started with the training was to come up with what we thought was a list of “Yoga Etiquette.”  This was a great idea because everyone piped up with what they thought was proper etiquette for a yoga class.  And then, of course, we were to use the list and apply it to our yoga training and the classes we were to be participating in throughout the training.  Most studios will post a list of yoga etiquette on their website or in the studio.  It is helpful to know the different ideas of etiquette for each studio.  Some studios lock the doors so that the class, once it has begun, is not interrupted.  Since not all studios lock the door it is really good to know so you know that if you are 10 minutes late (or whatever their stated time is) you will not be allowed to enter.  That is just an example.  Here is the list that me and my fellow trainees came up with:

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I would say that most of these are fairly common rules of etiquette, but I will also say that even though they are common they are not commonly practiced.

Some of these might have you questioning the reason, or perhaps wanting more of an explanation.  If so, ask away.  One I will address because I often hear people ask what “appropriate clothing” is and why that matters.  I mean, many people feel that people should be allowed to wear what they want.  Especially now-a-days where clothing and what people wear is such a topic for debate.  But this is a pretty important one especially for teachers.  While someone might feel absolutely comfortable with a low cut top or bottom, when they bend over and all that the other participants in the class can see is either breasts or butt, it is somewhat off-putting and distracting.  Even if the wearer is comfortable exposing his or her chest or bum, yoga class is really not the place to let it all hang out.  Also really tight fitting clothing is not appropriate if it keeps you from moving.  I would say jeans whether loose or tight are not appropriate yoga wear.  The clothing should allow you to move and be comfortable, yet fit properly.  I also think for many yoga classes, layers are a good thing.  When the class first starts it might seem chilly, but then the body warms up.  At the end, shavasana, it could be the time to cover up again.  While the yoga studios that I have seen have not dictated what people wear, the do usually provide guidelines.

Do you agree with all of these rules?  Do you have any to add?  Do you have any you would like to see followed?

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Tea Favorites

Posted by terrepruitt on March 17, 2017

Ahh, these are two teas that I love.  I have been drinking more tea than coffee lately.  I am not a morning person so on days I teach Nia I usually just get up in time enough to play with the cats for a bit, figure out what I am teaching in Nia (if I haven’t done it the night before), and get ready and go.  I don’t get up early enough to sit have breakfast and a cup of coffee.  Since on most days I either teach yoga or stretch right after Nia, I don’t get home until after noon.  And if I have errands to run it is even later in the day.  For me drinking coffee that late is just not good – it doesn’t allow me to get to bed in the same day that I got up.  So I drink decaffeinated tea.  There are two of my favorites.  I cannot say whether they actually help with my immune system or stress, but I like them.  Although, my dad had a lot of tea so recently I have actually been drinking some of the ones he had.  One is a Chai, which has caffeine.  And the other is Ginger, which is decaffeinated, and rather nice.  These are still two of my favs.

Tea for my Friday Photo.  Do you have a favorite tea?  What is it?

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Foot Cramps – OWW!

Posted by terrepruitt on March 6, 2017

Muscle cramps are awful, especially when you are exercising and totally focused and then you get a cramp.  You could be in a yoga pose, feeling all zen, then the next thing you know – you are in pain.  Muscle cramps seem to affect everyone so know that you are not alone if it is happening to you.  I was told a long time ago that a muscle cramp COULD be from trying to recruit other muscles to do the job.  I cannot remember the specific details of the cramp I would get, but I do remember thinking, “Yeah, that sounds about right because what you are having me do is very difficult for me, so I can see my other muscle trying to do the work.”  It could also be that the limb is in an unusual position and it causes a cramp.  Or it is gripping too hard.  Seems to me that the most common muscle cramp I see is in the foot.

The poses that cause the cramps range from standing balance poses to sitting poses.  So the pose that causes the cramp is not all that common or the same, but a foot cramp seems to be the most common.

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, SJCityFitThe first thought that comes to mind when a cramp comes on is, “Are you hydrated?”  Cramps tend to occur when we are dehydrated.  So making sure that we have enough water especially before exercising is very important.

Then there are some nutrients that might be causing the issue if there is a deficiency.  Not enough potassium, calcium or magnesium could be the cause of cramps.  Perhaps having a banana before class could help.

Cramps could also be caused by lack of blood to the muscle or a compressed nerve.  So sometimes just moving the foot can help relieve the muscle contraction.

Movement that might help prevent cramps in the feet would be to point and flex the foot and circle the ankle.  Move the foot with the hands.  Take the foot in both hands and just manipulate it.  Move the foot all ways, bending and straighten out the arch, move each toe – remembering that the foot and ankle are made up of 26 bones and over 100 muscles.  Try to affect them all.  You want to ensure the foot is warmed up and ready to serve you.

The second thought that comes to me when someone has a cramp is: pinch your nose, the septum to be exact – really hard.  Most people look at me really odd.  But I learned that a long time ago when I had a cramp, someone told me to do it.  Recently someone else agreed with having heard that before, too.  I guess when I am having a cramp I pretty much am willing to do anything to make it stop so pinching my nose and causing pain elsewhere sounds good to me, as long as the cramp stops.  And, it usually does for me, I can’t get anyone else to try that method.  🙂

So, the other alternative is to move, as I mentioned before – perhaps get the blood flowing back to the muscle or perhaps relieve the pressure.  Also, massaging the foot might help.  Try relaxing the foot, sometimes that painful contraction happens during a standing balance pose so there are times less gripping of the standing foot can help.

There are things that can be done to hopefully help prevent the foot cramp and to relieve it when it happens.  But if it does happen know that you are not alone.  If it happens ALL the time, then it might be a good idea to see a doctor to make sure there is not an underlying cause.

Do you get cramps when you exercise?  Do you get cramps when doing yoga?  Is there a specific pose that leads to your muscles cramp?

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