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

    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 classes’

Out With The Old, In With The New

Posted by terrepruitt on December 19, 2018

I have posted information about the programs that I teach under for the City of San Jose. At different times they had two versions of a “gym-like” program (Group Ex and then SJCITY Fit) where people could purchase an annual membership and attend all of the classes offered under the program at the participating community centers. There is also the program many seemed to be familiar with, where the city sends out a brochure listing all the classes available. The classes are taught in “sessions”.  You might want to take guitar lessons being offered for 10 weeks one night a week. You register for the class paying for the entire session, all 10 weeks. There is no make-up if you miss a class. This is the way that I have taken classes with the cities of San Jose, Santa Clara, and Campbell as long as I could take classes. I remember taking a babysitting class when I was young. The “gym-like” program was relatively new. It was a great program, but I am betting that most you reading this that are local didn’t even know about it. It seems like a fair job of promoting it was not done. It was impossible to use the internet to find any information about it and like, happens with all things when they don’t get properly promoted, they fail. The city has determined that the current version of the “gym-like” program – SJCITY Fit – is not sustainable so they are cancelling it.

There are members that take at least one class Monday through Friday. It was a great deal. The majority of the students that came to my class loved the program because when the math was done with them going to at least one class a day Monday through Friday, it was about 50 cents per class. So, yeah, it makes sense that the city wasn’t able to maintain that. But it is sad that the program could not attract more than 140 people. I keep thinking in a city with a population of over 1 million the program could have at least attracted 500 people.

But with so many different choices for the exerciser out there it really takes a strong desire and a concentrated effort to get the word out about exercises programs. So the city it moving some of the classes that were be held under SJCITY Fit into a hybrid of the leisure program (where students sign up for a session of classes). There are a multitude of things that are different under this program, so I will only be teaching Nia once a week on Tuesdays.

Now, in order to take Nia with me through the City of San Jose you have to sign up for the sesssion or “season”. So far there are two sessions/seasons on the books (Winter and Spring). They are both 10 classes each. I say classes because there are some weeks where there is not a class so it might end up being more than 10 WEEKS, but there are only 10 CLASSES. You can see more information on my site.

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I am still teaching the yoga classes, one on Tuesdays at 10:30 am and one on Thursdays at 6:00 pm.

It is very sad that this program or a version of it was not salvageable by the city. So many of the consistent exercisers are moving off to other places, some I am afraid might stop exercise altogether. I will miss seeing them every week. I’ve been teaching Nia on Tuesdays for six years, on Thursdays for five years, and on Fridays for three years. Many students have been coming that long or even longer (on different days at the various places I have taught). I did write a post on the how long I have been teaching what.

I do hope to see some of my students taking part in the new program that is being offered. It might not have the convenience of SJCITY Fit, but it is still a great deal. The program will still offer 8 of the 12 classes that were offered under SJCITY Fit.

So, here is to a new chapter of San Jose Nia. I am looking at teaching at a studio right down the street on Union from where I teach now. I am hoping to teach my Thursday Nia class and my Thursday stretch class. So stay tuned.

We have such a great little Nia community in San Jose I hope we can keep dancing together!  Here’s to the New Year and to a new chapter of San Jose Nia.

Do you take classes through your city’s exercise program?

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Guidance – Not A Personal Attack

Posted by terrepruitt on June 21, 2017

In the two Nia Intensives I have attended, one of the things we cover first is the Energy Allies or more commonly known as the Four Agreements. As I attend many classes and teach many classes I am reminded over and over again how important these ideals are.  In this post I am talking mainly in reference to #3 (Don’t take anything personally). What must happen is there needs to be an unspoken agreement that students and teachers have when they enter a class, the student agrees to not take things personally — a correction or attention given by the teacher is not personal, the student is there to learn and improve so guidance is given as needed and as time (in class and holding the pose) allows.  Perhaps  it would be a good idea to remind everyone at the beginning of a session of classes or a workshop.  A yoga instructor has to have confidence and faith that the students know they are not being picked on or singled out for any type of personal reason. The teacher is there to help them do the poses to the best of their ability. If the student feels picked on then they will not be open to adjustment and guidance. So while it is “personal” in the sense that it is to help you personally, it is not an attack on your person.

There are so many things going on in people’s lives and I understand that a student can walk in and be in a tender state, but if they are there to learn the instructor cannot be concerned with the question of “will adjusting their form hurt their feelings?”  And believe it or not, there is also the other side of the coin. Where some students feel if the instructor doesn’t correct them or give them attention the teacher is slighting them. See how this type of “taking things personal” can just completely affect the effectiveness in class?

If a person is new to yoga and has never been in a class, unless they are at risk for injury, I might not say anything. Yoga is so much about sensing your body, that I believe it is important to let the person get a sense of things. If I say to move the left foot forward about a foot and have the toes point forward, I probably won’t correct a new student right away if they move up a few inches and the toes point off to the side. I want to give them a chance to learn how their body responds. But, if we do that same move multiple times in the class, I might see if they can nudge their foot forward and turn their toes. But I try not to adjust them much in a first class situation. It just seems more appropriate to let them learn some before starting to adjust.

It is very helpful when the instructor knows the students. If a student has been coming to class for a while often times the instructor will learn what that person is capable of. And it could be that someone walks into one of my classes and sees things that they would “correct” if they were a teacher. But perhaps they don’t know that the person whose toes don’t turn out all the way just had leg surgery. Or the person barely bending over has back issues. Or it could be that a student has been adjusted before, but it is just more comfortable for them to do it they way they are doing it. There are so many reasons why an adjustment may not be done.

I just wanted to remind people that teachers do not “pick on” students. We see potential and we are there to help a student reach it. Try not to take it personal either way (if a teacher adjusts you or not).  Hopefully you are able to learn as you go and enjoy what you are getting.

Do you like it when a teacher adjusts you (either verbally or physically)?

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

Adding A Challenge To A Pose Mastered

Posted by terrepruitt on November 30, 2016

I teach two gentle yoga classes.  Gentle yoga doesn’t necessarily mean beginner yoga.  It can if the class is a beginner yoga class, but “gentle” doesn’t mean beginner.  The way I make the yoga class gentle is we don’t hold the poses for a long time.  We also don’t flow through a long combination of poses.  I usually do a sequence of two, three poses at the most, but the class is not a flow.  In my two regularly scheduled gentle yoga classes we actually just stop and get down (or stop and get up) because I feel that being able to get up off of the floor is very important.  We don’t use downward facing dog, forward folds, planks, or poses to get down and up.  We go at a comfortable pace slowly moving through poses.  The classes are not beginner classes because I have been teaching some of the same students for years.  So they are not beginners.  They know many poses and they know what their bodies should be doing in those poses, but they like to do yoga gently.  But we still need to add some challenge to some of the poses.  So, for a small group of students in my gentle yoga classes we have added a challenge to one of the poses that they have down.  For those that can balance fine, we have added the challenge of closing our eyes.

We are still doing the pose, but we close our eyes to add to the pose.  Just the simple act of closing our eyes causes us to get a little wobbly and therefore work more at standing upright.  Just like with our eyes open one side is easier than the other.  But this simple act gives the pose a new spin.

The inner ear plays a huge role in our balance, but so do our eyes.  Once we take vision out of the equation it makes balancing more challenging.  I believe practicing balancing with our eyes closed will allow us to get better at it over time.  While we are practicing we will be using those stabilizing muscles and that will help us be better balanced.  Just as practicing balance with your eyes open.

This is a fun thing to add to the balance practice because, as I said, my students can do this pose well, so it is kind of surprise that just closing one’s eyes makes it as if they can’t do the pose.  There are some “whoas” and “what the . . ” and giggles because it is just so funny that a pose we can do all of a sudden we can’t do it (as well).

For now we are only closing our eyes when doing the Stork pose, but once we have that down AND have more stability in some of our other balances poses we will add “eyes closed” to them.

So if you come to one of my regularly scheduled yoga classes you might experience this.  If you come to one I am subbing, I usually do things a little differently.  That is one thing that is so great about teaching yoga, it can be adjusted and modified so it is not always the same.  With the adjustments and modifications, hopefully, they are helping you improve your stability, flexibility, and strength.  Sometimes all it takes is something so simple as closing your eyes.

Did you try it?  Just standing with your eyes closed?  How about standing on one leg with your eyes closed?

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Yoga At Home

Posted by terrepruitt on September 12, 2016

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 like to go to yoga classes because when I do yoga at home by myself, I tend to turn it into creating a yoga class.  I will start thinking about poses I can do with my students and I will start thinking about how to cue them.   Basically, I get distracted away from practice and it becomes a “choreography” session.  Or I see something that needs to be done/cleaned/fixed and I know that if I don’t do it right then I will forget.  Or the cats come in and BE right where I am trying to practice.  My focus just is not there.  Sometimes it is, but rarely.  So, that is one reason I like to go to yoga classes.  But sometimes I want to stay home.  It helps to have a yoga application, something telling me what to do.  I have one application that allows me to make up routines.  I have made up some routines.  I have them saved and I like that.  I use the application.  It is time consuming making up routines with that application, though.  So I use the ones I have but sometimes I want something different.  Sadly that application is no longer available, at least I can’t find it, so I can’t recommend it.  I would like to because it is really cool.  But I did find another one that I like.  I actually paid for the one that I mentioned, but this one, the new one, I am just using the free version and it is pretty cool.  It is called Down Dog.

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You have a choice of Sequence Type, Pace, Playlist Type, and Length.

Looks like you have to become a member to have access to the “Advanced” Sequence Type.  But in the free version in there is Beginner 1, Beginner 2, Intermediate, Beginner Restorative, and Intermediate Restorative.  That is pretty nice. I think.

In the free version you are limited in your choice of pace.  You can only choose “normal”.  As a member you can choose:  Slowest, Slower, Faster, and Fastest.  I feel that “Normal” is perfect.  I can’t imagine Faster or Fastest.  Wow.  I guess if you don’t want to stay in a pose at all.  I mean, I don’t feel like “normal” keeps me I a pose very long.  It is a nice paced vinyasa class.  Oh, and speaking of the length of time in a pose.  I am usually just listening to her and not looking so much.  I might look to make sure I am in the right pose, but WHILE I am in the pose, I don’t look at my iPad.  So it took me until the fifth time to notice that when she keeps us in a pose there is a little timer in the corner.  That is cool.  Sometimes knowing when it is going to end helps you stay in the pose.  At least for me.  Do you ever find that to be true?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, SJCityFit

Then there is the Playlist.  I tried the Alt. Beats, but it was not for me and my practice.  I actually have a lot of music that I like to play while practicing yoga.  I like to have a separate device playing the music.  I have found that in apps in order to hear the instruction I have to have it turned up really loud and they don’t always have separate volume for music so then the music ends up being too loud.  I cannot speak to how this music is in regards to that because I don’t use it.  But as a member you have more choices.

Then there is the Length of practice, the choices are:  15 minutes, 20 minutes, 25 minutes, 30 minutes, 35 minutes, 40 minutes, 45 minutes, 50 minutes, 60 minutes, 70 minutes, 80 minutes, and 90 minutes.  How cool is that?  She gives you the option to do a 15 minutes yoga practice.  Then you can go all the way up to 90 minutes.  Nice.

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, SJCityFitOne of the best parts of this application is the voice of the person giving the instruction.  It is Adrienne Kimberley, the creator of the app, to me she has the perfect yoga voice.  Not too loud, not too harsh, just right.  I also really like her cues.

After you choose between your options you touch “Start Practice” and the application lets you know it is putting your routine together.  Then she begins to speak and you are on your way.  When I first tried it I did the beginner routine and while I would say, “Ok, they are beginner routines.”  I would not say it is for someone new to yoga.  It is not “an introduction to yoga”.  It helps if you know some of the asana.  But, if you need assistance with learning the poses, there is a “Pose Breakdown” in the about section of the application.  That links to Youtube where it looks like Adrienne has recorded breakdowns of the poses.  So she has got you covered.

Another great thing about this application is, you can pause it.  That is so awesome.  I have done other ones where you can’t pause it.  And while I don’t want to make it a habit of pausing because that interrupts the flow, sometimes you HAVE to pause.  I don’t like to miss a second so it is nice to be able to pause it when I have to put my hair up, or adjust the volume of the music on my other device.  Or just give up (having the cats in the room) and kick the cats out of the room.  You can also repeat a pose or skip a pose.

So, of you are looking for a great free yoga application you might want to give Down Dog try.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you liked it so much you became a member.

How do you practice yoga at home?

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Wrist Relief

Posted by terrepruitt on July 6, 2016

So this past Monday was a Holiday, it was Fourth of July, on holidays often gyms, yoga studios, and fitness places have different schedules.  Such was the case with the YMCA on Monday.  Some Y’s were closed.  The ones that were open had shortened open hours and adjusted group exercise schedules.  I saw that one of the YMCAs in my area had an adjusted schedule on the Holiday.  It had classes that it normally does not have on Monday.  And not only did they have a class I wanted to take, but it was at the perfect time!  So, I schlepped myself over there to try it out.  I was hoping it was the same teacher that I had taken a class from before and I could ask her if I could post about a technique she had shared in that class.  It was, I did, and she granted me permission.  So this post is about a pain relieving technique for the wrists.

When I took a class with her before I was trying out a new-to-me type of yoga and in that class she did a technique to help relived some discomfort in our wrists because we had done a few poses on them.  She did it again in this class, although a little differently, but we had not been on our wrists as long as we had been in the other class.

She, Cindy Piccoli – a yoga instructor at the YMCA, said that her chiropractor taught her this technique.  She said she had carpal tunnel and did this movement to relieve it.  She said she did this frequently for two years and she no longer suffers from carpal tunnel.*

Since having done it in her class that one day, I do it to relieve aching wrists after doing poses that make my wrists hurt.  I also have had my students do it after we do poses that affect the wrist in class.

It is amazingly simple, perhaps it can help you after those “wrist” poses.

  • Somewhat straighten out one arm palm up.  The elbow can be relaxed.  Then form a “U” with your index finger and thumb of the OTHER hand.
  • Grasp the wrist of the straight arm, right where the palm and the arm meet, and squeeze.  While you are squeezing bring each finger in one at a time on the hand of your straight arm.  I recommend keeping the fingers that are forming the “U” straight as that allows for a strong squeeze.  (My model allowed his fingers to close around the wrist . . . )
  • Start with the pinky, them move onto the ring finger, moving all fingers until you end up with a “closed palm”.  Do that a couple of times.
  • Then draw your fingers toward you allowing your hand to move toward you.  Straighten the fingers out, flexing the hand, then bend the wrist pointing the fingers toward you.  Do that a couple of times.

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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, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit

If your other wrist is bothering you, don’t forget to do this on the other one.

Give it a try after you have had your weight on your wrists and see what you think.

Do you have any techniques or remedies for sore wrists?

*Keep in mind this site/post makes no claims as to this technique or any others mentioned on this site healing or curing any ailment, affliction, illness.  This post is sharing an a persons individual experience.

Oh, and thank you to my wonderful hand model.  😉

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Don’t Be A Hoarder

Posted by terrepruitt on March 2, 2016

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, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitIn reviewing some of the things that actually make yoga yoga, I have been posting about the Eight Limbs of Yoga.  The first two limbs, the yamas and the niyamas are restraints and observances, respectively.  I am working my way through posting about them and I am on the last of the yamas.  The fifth yama is one that probably speaks to many of us. The fifth yama is about non-coveting, non-hoarding, non-clinging, non-possessiveness, non-greediness, non-grasping, etc.  You get the picture.  The fifth yama is aparigraha.

I think this is a big one in our have-to-have-the-latest-and-greatest-of-everything society.  We covet the new electronic gizmo our neighbor has.  We buy more than we need until our closets and garages are over flowing.  We have so much stuff that there are places we can rent to store the stuff that doesn’t fit in our homes.  We cling to the very idea that our lives will be better with more stuff.  We are compelled to consume.  And all of that is if we are just talking about material things.

There are other applications of aparigraha, just like with all the limbs and the other yamas, much could be and has been written about them.  I am just barely scratching the surface.  Another way to think about aparigraha and the “non-clinging” is letting go.  Perhaps we cling to things that no longer serve us, whether they be ideas or habits or even long standing customs.  Does everything we do serve us now?  Could we learn more if we let go of something we have always thought to be?  Would our lives improve if we didn’t do that thing that we have always done?

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, PiYo, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFitAnother way it could be applied is to people or relationships whether we look at it as letting go or non-possessing.  We might need to let someone go, a relationship that is no longer serving us.  Perhaps we have just grown apart or we realize that the relationship is just not a healthy thing so we need to let go.  Or, more directly related to teachers in my line of work and students, perhaps we need to let them go.  We need to not think of students as ours, so when they visit other classes we are not offended.  When they move on to different teachers we can practice aparigraha, by not getting hurt because they were “our” student.  No matter the reason they moved on, we can happily let them go to move on to what is best for them.

I liked that example of the fifth yama very much.  It is a great thing for me to remember and try to practice.  I mean I already know about the rest and I seriously need to work on it – as evidence by my closets.  But I liked the different way to look at it, too.  I always feel funny saying “my” students because I don’t mean for it to sound like they are MINE, especially since at the Camden Community Center, where I have a bulk of my classes the students are students to many instructors.

As is the case with all the yamas, I need to work on this one.  I am planning on practicing it big time as I do some Spring cleaning.  Going to try to not-hoard, as is my habit with clothing.  Might (notice I say might) part with more of my mom’s clothing, which I probably never will wear, but I was clinging to – for many reasons.

How about you?  Do you have anything (whether it be a material object or an idea, habit, or custom) that you might practice aparigraha with?


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Special Offer – Free Is Always Special!

Posted by terrepruitt on January 29, 2016



Mind Body Zone in Fremont is having a weekend of FREE yoga classes. The schedule is as follows (note only the classes listed below are free):


Saturday, February 27, 2016Dance 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, San Jose Yoga Teacher

3:30-4:30       Vinyasa Yoga

4:45-5:45       Yin Yoga


Sunday, February 28, 2016

10:30-11:30    Hatha Yoga

11:40-12:40    Gentle Yoga

2:15-3:15        Intro to Yoga

3:25-4:25        Restorative

Since it is free, it might fill up fast, so be sure to reserve your spot at the online sign-up website for the studio.  You can use the date field or calendar tool to get to the correct dates, then sign up for whatever classes you want to attend.  (Note: ONLY the classes that are indicated as “FREE” are free.  There are other classes that are being taught that weekend that are not free, so if you are wanting to take the FREE classes, please be sure to sign up accordingly.)  🙂

Bring your own yoga mat or rent one from the studio.  Bring water or purchase a bottle from the studio.  If you are planning on taking more than one class you might want to bring a snack.  It is up to you.

Keep in mind these classes are kinda like a Nia Jam, each class will be taught by three or four teachers per class.  And they are new Graduates of Yoga Teacher Training.

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Sign up now, so you can join the fun!


Mind Body Zone: 3335 Seldon Ct, Fremont, CA 94539
(a couple of blocks down from Fry’s right off of 680)

I hope to see you there!

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

The Base Of Many Asana

Posted by terrepruitt on July 11, 2015

As you may know, there are thousands of yoga poses.  Some of those may be variations or modifications, but still, there are a lot of yoga poses.  I think of them in four categories; standing, sitting, lying down, and kneeling.  Some people break them into different categories or types: standing poses, forward bends, back bends, twists, balances, and inversions.  Or even standing, twists, sitting/forward bending, supine/prone, inverted, balancing, and back bending.  To me you can do a forward bend while standing or sitting.  Same with a twist.  Balancing can be done standing, sitting, or on knees.  Lying down is generally supine or prone.  Inversions can be done lying down or standing, and the same with back bends.  Within the four categories I named, I think of asana in terms of what are we doing.  Are we balancing, are we stretching, are we working on strength or is this a restful pose.  So sometimes those are my categories.  It just really depends.  Sometimes seated poses might look easy, but they might be more involved than you first realize.  It might appear to be a restful pose when in fact it is a strengthening pose.  One of those poses is Dandasana or Staff pose.

The staff pose is a sitting pose.  It might be considered somewhat restful, but you are using your muscles.  You are activating quite a few.  This pose might not be done often on its own in yoga classes, but it is a base or starting point of many poses.

This asana is simple, yet it might not be easy.  The pose requires you to sit up tall with a straight back.  You want to sit on your sitz bones.  Your weight is evenly distributed over both bones.  Your legs are extended straight out in front of you.  Your legs are together, thighs, knees, ankles and feet, together.  Your thighs are active.  You are actively pressing your legs gently into the floor.  Your knees are facing the sky.  Your feet are flexed with toes pointing up to the sky.  Your spine is lengthening.  You are reaching with the crown of your head to the sky, lengthening the neck, opening the chest, allow shoulders to relax, shoulder blades sliding down into your back pockets.  Your ribs are lifting up, away from your hips.  One way to do this pose is to press into the floor with your hands, arms are straight.

Using your hands is a variation or a modification . . . depends.  Pressing into the floor would give you tension in your arms allowing them to work.  But using your arms might be a modification because your arms might help you keep your spine straight allowing your core muscles to work less.

Another modification would be to sit on a blanket.  That might be more comfortable for your sitz bones.  Another modification would be to sit up against the wall.  This could be a step one might take if they need to build up core strength.

This pose is said to have the following benefits:

–strengthens muscles of chest, shoulders, and back
–tones abdominal organs
–improves digestion
–reduces heartburn and flatulence
–tones the spinal and leg muscles
–lengthens ligaments of the legs
–stretches and activates muscles of legs
–relieves sciatica
–improves posture

As I mentioned this post is the base of many poses.  The lengthening of the spine and legs is the start of many asana.  Some even keep that energy, the energy of the legs moving away from the hips and/or the energy of the head moving away from the hips, throughout the pose.  So this is a great one to master to help with other asana.

Do you practice Dandasana?

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Folding Is An Art

Posted by terrepruitt on June 6, 2015

Many of you who attend yoga classes regularly might already know this, but then again, maybe not.  Sometimes there is not always time in any type of group exercise class to get the tips and tricks that are widely known.  As with me, I just recently learned this tip/trick.  And, I actually haven’t even had the chance to use is since I learned it.  This might not always be necessary even if you are using the same type of prop in a yoga class.  There are different uses and needs, so you might not always need this trick.  Recently I was in a yoga class and we were instructed to lie down on a specific configuration of blankets and blocks for pranayama.  The blanket was folded length-wise into thirds and we were to lie on it length-wise, with it running from the bottom of our neck to tail.  The idea is to allow the torso and chest to open.  We were to lie there and breathe.  As you may know, pranayama entails deep breathing and/or breathing specifically.  I think the pranayama we were supposed to be doing was three-part breath (Dirgha).  Where one is breathing into the belly, the rib cage, then the upper chest.  Then the exhale goes from upper chest, ribs, then belly.  Something I am just learning and that is not easy for me.  So, like I said before, breathing specifically.  Well, I could not concentrate because I was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t even take a full breath much less take it in from bottom to top and then breathe it out in the opposite fashion.  The blanket was bulky on the sides and it was keeping me from breathing with ease.  I couldn’t relax and let my chest open.  I ended up having to discard the blanket and just lie on the floor.

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, PiYoAfter that portion of the class another teacher came in and explained how to fold a blanket to allow for maximum comfort.  It is easy and made complete sense.  Instead of folding it in halves or thirds like you would a blanket you are going to put in the closet, fold it like an accordion so that it is even.  There are no sides that are thicker.  When it is folded like an accordion it lies more evenly.  This is a much easier, more comfortable support to lie on.  When she demonstrated it, it looked perfect and comfortable.  I wanted to use it to see if it felt as comfortable as it looked, but it was not the time to do so.  And, as I mentioned, I have not yet had the opportunity to try folding a yoga blanket like that and using it.

I know, folding a blanket is an easy thing to do, but, as you may know, yoga blankets are very thick and sometimes they can be very bulky and bulgy when folded wrong.  The blankets and other props are there to be used to make poses more comfortable and give proper alignment.  Having it bulge and press on your body is not comfortable.

Do you use yoga blankets in your practice?  Might you see how this type of folding technique could create a comfortable platform to lie on?

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Legs Up The Wall Pose

Posted by terrepruitt on May 14, 2015

There are poses and moves that I love to do that I don’t get to do in my classes.  Some of the poses or moves require a wall.  While there are walls in the venues where I teach, they are not always accessible.  Some walls have mirrors and most venues ask people to NOT TOUCH the mirrors.  Some walls have chalkboard, white boards, cork boards, and other types of boards where announcements are hung.  It is not feasible to use the walls with the boards, because we would be touching and possibly damaging the announcements.  And some walls have cabinets and sinks, so that doesn’t work.  Some walls aren’t really WALLS at all, but they are windows, that is almost the same as mirrors in that we shouldn’t be pushing on them and putting our hand prints all over them.  And for some poses it wouldn’t just be hand prints — it just wouldn’t work.  Some walls have ballet barres attached to them so they wouldn’t work for the poses or movements.  And some walls just have too much stuff in front of them to be used.  So in the majority of the classes I teach we don’t use the walls, which is a bummer.  One pose that I have been doing a lot lately on my own is a great one, but it requires a wall.  The name is actually “Legs up the Wall Pose” or the relaxed version of Viparita Karani.

Basically for this pose you lie down on your back with your buttocks up against the wall and your legs straight up on the wall.  The benefits of this pose touted by practitioners of yoga are many.  Including calming the mind, easing anxiety and stress, relieving tired feet and tired lower legs.

According to Yoga Journal:

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, PiYo“good for most everything that ails you, including:

Digestive problems
High and low blood pressure
Mild depression
Respiratory ailments
Urinary disorders
Varicose veins
Menstrual cramps
Premenstrual syndrome

I find that I am comfortable in this position for about 15 minutes.  If I am going to stay in this position longer than 15 minutes I like to lie on something, like a folded towel.  I place the folded towel under the lowest part of my back.

This is a relaxing position and should feel very comfortable, so adjust your body in order for it to be comfortable for you.  That could mean moving your body away from the wall, so your buttocks are not touching it.  Move as far away as you need to in order to relax and still be in the pose.  Or it could mean using a bolster under your buttocks and lower back or a towel under your lower buttocks.  Move and adjust yourself and any prop you are using to find something relaxing and comfortable for you.  You may even want to put a rolled towel or something under the arch of your neck for support.  Stay in this position as long as you are comfortable.  Be aware of your feet and any sensation you may have.  I usually roll out of the pose when my feet get tingly.

In some styles of yoga Viparita Karani is done with the legs in the air and a support device or your hands supporting your lower back with elbows bent.  This version gives you the benefit of the legs being higher than your heart, but it is not as relaxing and restful as with your legs against the wall.

If you are in good health and cleared to do yoga and inversions, I would recommend this pose.  It is great for relaxation.  I have been doing it before I go to bed.

Are you familiar with this pose?  Have you ever tried this pose?

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