Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

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Posts Tagged ‘Yoga Journal’

From Secret To Goats

Posted by terrepruitt on May 22, 2017

This is a snapshot of chapter one verse eleven in “An Explanation of Hatha Yoga” or The Hatha Yoga Pradipika.  I believe that this is true.  I believe that it was originally meant for men that wanted to give up everything and JUST practice yoga.  That would be – to me – the only explanation as to how some of the poses described and some of the “states of being” described could be achieved.  That is why yoga used to – and actually still does (some poses or things) – seem so impossible to do.  A lot of the asana are not just things you can pop into when you practice once a week.  Hatha Yoga was also shared with royalty . . . again, what did they have to do, but sit around and work their bodies into these poses that promised longevity and enlightenment?

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Like many things, in order to make it somewhat possible for the average person, it has morphed over the centuries.  It has become – for many, not all – a form of exercise.  Still with many poses that cannot be achieved with a once-a-week practice.  So I always ask my students to practice ahimsa, where they are gentle with themselves and remember that they might not be able to get into the pose and look like the picture in Yoga Journal because they are just practicing once, twice, or even three times a week (or whatever).  They are not devoting their life to it.  So I just remind them to do the best they can today and to enjoy what they are receiving.

This post started out as a Friday Photo even though this photo should have actually gone along with my post Yoga Was Supposed To Be A Secret.  But when I popped over to that post to remind myself about what exactly I wrote, I was reminded of the current trend in yoga that I am hearing about.  Goat yoga.  Have you heard about that?  It is somewhat like doing yoga at a cat cafe or adoption lounge, except with goats.

“Regular” (whichever type is being offered) yoga classes are held in the presence of goats.  And the goats just mill around.  Could be they hop on you or not.  When I looked it up just now two sites came up and it looks as if the places the sites are about do yoga outside.  (One says that is what actually was the motivation for their goat yoga classes.)  But the other stories I had seen were inside.  I saw a story where the yoga was being done in a barn and another one where it was a room because the goats (they were kids) were hopping all over and their hooves were making clickety-clack noises on the floor.  Seems as if there are several different places that it is done.  It is really popular.

I am not sure that I would want to have that be a part of my regular practice, but I might try it once.  I like the idea of cats better as I don’t think they are as heavy and rowdy as goats.  But . . . . I don’t know . . .

What do you think?  What is your take on Hatha Yoga starting off as being a secret?  Would you be interested in doing yoga around a herd of goats?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Yoga Bodies

Posted by terrepruitt on May 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, SJCityFitRecently I attended a yoga class just to observe.  Sometimes just observing is difficult because the desire to get up and participate is often there.  But I thought this class was beyond my level of doing.  I like slow mindful classes.  I am not a fan of the speed of a flow class.  I also know this teacher to be a bit of a tough cookie.  And I have come to the studio AFTER this class – in the past – and the participants are just dripping and wobbly legged, so I had never thought to participate before.  So . . . I thought that observing would be a piece of cake.  There would be no desire to jump to participate.  Now, let me explain this “observing,” it is for me to become a better teacher.  I am not there to judge or criticize the students nor the teacher.  But I am there to gain knowledge.  Observe how one sequences a class.  To observe how assistance is given.  To observe the yoga teacher’s pacing and volume.  To learn by observing.  I have three separate papers for three separate types of notes.  I have POSES, for poses I want to either do myself or bring to my classes.  I have Cues and Things I want to bring to my classes.  And I have just notes that I will refer back to.  While I was doing my best to listen and look without staring at the participants I got a little misty eyed.  My breath caught in my throat and I thought, “Damn!  Bodies are beautiful!”

You probably know I have a tendency to ramble on and on when all I really wanted to tell you is –  if you want to learn yoga stop staring at the Yoga Journal, stop looking at models on websites – GO TO A CLASS TO OBSERVE!!!!!  Look at REAL people DOING yoga.  Look at REAL bodies doing yoga.  Just watch, just observe, don’t judge.  We do this in Nia all the time, we call it witnessing.  We “witness” without judgment.  So just go to a class and witness.  Appreciate what you see.  Notice the strength.  Notice the weakness.  Notice the flexibility.  Notice the stiffness.  Notice the intention.  Notice the determination.  Notice the frustration.  Notice the effort.  Notice the triumphs.  Notice the concentration.  Notice the distraction.  Notice the trying.  Notice it all!

I was struck by it all when I looked up and saw someone in a pose perfectly.  I thought, “Dang.  I will glance back over throughout the class because that is awesome and I want to see more of that.”  Then I looked back a few poses later and I thought the person had moved spots because what I saw was misery.  The person could barely get into the pose.  And the next person was Yoga Journal perfect whereas they couldn’t do the previous pose.  A few of the people I noticed in pose “perfection” in one pose were in the total opposite of perfection in other poses.  The class was full of perfect poses and not perfect poses . . . all at different times by the same and by different people.  And I wanted to jump up and join in!

This was not a beginner class, it was a class of real people doing yoga in real bodies.  Some bodies whose arms are not long enough to hold the foot when the leg is extended.  Some bodies whose hamstrings are too tight or too short to do a straight legged fold.  Some bodies whose bones or bodies get in the way.   Bodies that come to class and do real yoga.

The models in the magazine and on the websites more-than-likely were chosen to do that particular pose because they can.  Their limbs are just the right length to do the poses.  Could also be that the model only did that one pose or was put into that pose whereas in a yoga class there is a sequence and it could be that by the time you get half way through your muscles are tired and so the poses might not be picture perfect.  Yoga is a practice not a photo.

So, while there are correct and more importantly SAFE ways to do the asana try not to get caught up in doing it “perfect” or doing it exactly like someone in a magazine.  Do what you can and keep practicing.  Remember to breath.

Namaste~

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

Practice To Make Yourself Feel Good

Posted by terrepruitt on July 18, 2015

I wrote about compression a few posts back.  In the post I used pictures of Mr. Bones to help explain how sometimes an asana might not work for you in trying to do it the way you might see it pictured in Yoga Journal or on a yoga website.  It could be that your bones actually will connect before you can get that “perfect” pose.  But often what happens is the way you are doing a pose is perfect for you, you don’t have to look like the magazine.  Yoga magazines are just like fashion magazines, they pick the models that will look good doing the poses just like they pick the models that will look good wearing the clothes.  The people in the pictures are not DOING yoga, they are POSING for a PICTURE of a yoga pose.  What they are doing is TOTALLY different from what you are doing.  What you are doing is a practice in order for you to feel better.  So you want to do your asana in a way that will achieve that.

In other words, the idea is not to “get into a pose” the idea is to move into the pose, then BE in that pose.  Sense what your body is like in that pose.  Notice your breath in that pose.  Notice your emotions in that pose.  Notice your mind in that pose.  Could be that you notice pain somewhere, then you are to adjust your body so you are more comfortable.  If your breath is labored, perhaps you need to ease off?  Perhaps not, it depends upon the yoga you are doing . . . but notice your breath.  Some postures bring up certain emotions.  Take note of that.  It is ok to let them happen.  If you want and you feel safe let whatever comes up, come up and out.  But again, you do what you want to do and you do what you feel comfortable doing.  And, notice your mind, your thoughts . . . if you are able to let your mind wander perhaps you need to move deeper into the pose so you are more focused on your breath and body.

A lot depends on the type of yoga you are doing.  A lot depends on what the purpose of the pose is.  But the idea of asana in most types of yoga is to BE in the pose.  Take notice of the pose and all that is happening with you and your body at that moment.  Yoga is just like many things . . . unless you are practicing it for many, many, many hours a day you are better off doing it in your own body’s way then trying to achieve things you see in magazines like Yoga Journal and in the books written by yogis that practice for hours at a time and have been practicing for years.

Again it depends on what type of yoga you are practice, but many types, styles, and teachers realize it is more important to protect the body you have and move into a posture as your body will do the pose, than to try to achieve that “perfect” pose.  If you do the twists, the back bends, the forward bends, the balance poses, and all the other types to the best of your ability you will feel better.  If you do your practice mindfully you will feel better.

What is your most comfortable yoga pose?

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Mr. Bones Helps Demonstrate Compression

Posted by terrepruitt on June 30, 2015

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One of the most obvious points of compression is the shoulder.  The acromion or acromion process is the bony ridge that is part of the scapula.  It extends up and out over the top of the humerus.  Or it does on Mr. Bones.  You can see the acromion process sticking out and stopping almost halfway over the upper arm bone.  But it is not that way in everyone.  In some people it could be shorter.  In some people it could be longer . . . perhaps extending PAST the humerus.  Mr. Bones’ acromion is straight, in some people it could point up or point down.  Some people might have an acromion process that twists.  Whatever the case may be, the size, length, and projection point of this bony ridge can affect your movement.

SDance 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, Nia Techniqueee how when Mr. Bones’ arm is lifted his humerus comes in contact with his acromion process?  That is the compression we are talking about.  If the acromion process on Mr. Bones’ was shorter or perhaps pointing upward, his arm could probably be lifted higher up.  If the process was longer or pointing down, his humerus would hit it sooner.

To put this into a pose example let’s talk downward facing dog.  Arms are straight up from the shoulders and hands are above the head.  If the acromion were, as in our examples long or pointing down, one would not be able to place their arms above their head while keeping their elbows straight.  They might need to bend their elbows to allow the humerus to go around the acromion process so that the arms can be placed above the head.

Another point of compression that is easy to see on Mr. Bones is in his hip area.  See how his femur can contact the lower portion of his pelvic girdle?  If his femur were set differently the compression would happen at a different angle.  The way the long leg bone is set and connected to the hip affects the bend that can be done.  The angle of a bend depends on that connection.

ADance 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, Nia Techniquelso, don’t forget, Mr. Bones is JUST bones.  He has no muscles, fat, skin, tendons, or anything to get in the way.  All that other stuff can add to the compression.  Any one of those things that is in the way of the closing an angle would be considered compression.

Compression is always going to stop the movement, but sometimes compression can be pushed a little.  Let’s say there is fat or muscles that is keeping you from going further, sometimes, if it feels right to you, it can be squished a bit.  But something like a baby bump should not be squished.  Bones might benefit from a little compression, but caution should be used.  Sometimes the floor could even play a role in compression.  Say you were in a Upavistha Konasana (Wide-Angle Seated Forward Bend) /and you are able to get your head all the way to the floor, but you can’t go any further because of the floor, that could be considered compression.

Paul Greeley’s DVD can be purchased through his site or through Amazon.  It really is one of those things that you know, you understand, but sometimes it helps solidify it to see examples.  He goes through several poses with his students.  The average seemed to be three students per pose so it was very clear as to the different body types and body structures.  With the different body types demonstrating, it was clear that not being able to do a pose was not always a case of lacking . . . it wasn’t that they were not strong enough or flexible enough, it could be that their structure affected a pose because of compression.  I would highly recommend this DVD to my students.

Does this make sense to you?  Did I explain it so that you could understand?  When you are practicing yoga are you aware of compression in some poses?

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

Adding More Noise To The Mix

Posted by terrepruitt on June 10, 2014

We have sounding in Nia . . . where we make sounds as we are dancing.  Plus people are always invited and . . . in my class . . . encouraged to sing.  I’ve written several posts about sounding and put them in their own category under Nia.  (Click here for the link to those posts)  Although I do not think of making sounds as being regulated to Nia, I just have them as a sub-category under the category Nia.  I think sounds are appropriate to make during other exercises and workouts.  One that always comes to mind when people seem to need convincing of making noises and exercising is martial arts.  Once I remind them that “Hi-Ya!” is a common sound, they seem to relax into the idea a bit.  As I probably have mentioned before, I remember it being an unspoken rule that you didn’t make noise while you are doing Jazzercise, lifting weights, or working out at the Lady Spa.  Could have been ideal that it was unladylike to make noise.  I don’t know, because I never remember being told NOT to make a sound, I just know that no one did it.  It was almost as if even breathing heavy was taboo!  One reason I love Nia:   breathing and making sounds are encouraged.  But I think of these sounds as helping with the flow of oxygen and energy.  I think of them as stress relieving and joy bringing.  So when I was flipping through Yoga Journal and came across an article titled “How To Be Fearless” I thought, “Huh?  Interesting.”  Mark Moliterno, an opera singer and yoga instructor has paired yoga with voice to create YogaVoice.

This reminded me of one of Nia’s instructors who created Kivo® The Kinetic Voice . . . which is – according to her website – “a vocal practice that uses the whole body. It is designed to harness the power of vocal vibration and movement as transformational tools that unlock energy, activate your true radiance and empower you to go out and create the life you were born to live.”  So . . . back to the article when I looked at the chart within the article I realized that the pairings were for more than just overcoming public speaking jitters as the subtitle read.  It was for a list of different areas.

Just as we know certain sounds to be related to certain chakras and feelings, you probably also know poses are related to certain chakras and feelings.  When sounds and asanas are paired up they can be very beneficial.  I would bet many of you are familiar with “OM” as a yoga chant. Different sounds and different mantras can be used.  The information on the YogaVoice websites leads me to believe this is different from chanting while doing yoga, there are indications that it goes beyond that.

I just love that more sounding is coming into the workout.  Since I believe there is a lot more to sounding — a lot more benefits can be reaped than just breathing — I love movement forms that stem from sounding or that incorporate it.

Do you believe the is benefits to making noises while working out?  Do you make noises while exercising?

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

Some Benefits Of Doing Back Bends

Posted by terrepruitt on April 24, 2014

In one of the sessions I taught for the City of San Jose at the Willow Glen Community Center I taught a progression of back bends over the course of the sessions.  We started with a very gentle standing back bend, Upward Salute.  Then in our next meeting our next step in the back bend lesson plan was a back bend on our bellies, it was a Locusts Pose.  With this one it can be a very gentle progression as it can be done in mini forward steps.  It is an easy pose to modify.  It can be broken down into three separate components all which can be modified.  Then we moved onto the Sphinx Pose, which is more of a bend.  Then the next pose we moved on to was the Cobra Pose.  This is a bigger back bend and while it can be modified it is not as obvious in its modifications as the Locusts Pose.  The last one we did in the series was Upward Facing Dog, which is a hanging pose which allows for a big bend in the back.  In my posts regarding each pose I talked about how to do them, but I didn’t really explain the benefits of them.

Here are some of the benefits of each pose:


Upward Salute
(Urdhva Hastasana)

Good for relief from symptoms of:
Fatigue, asthma, congestion, indigestion.  Also, like all of the back bends, it helps relieve back ache.
It helps Improves digestion, relieve mild anxiety and create space in the chest and lungs.


Locust Pose
(Salabhasana)

Is an invigorating pose so it can help alleviate fatigue.  It also helps with relieving flatulence and constipation.  It can assist in relieving indigestion.

Sphinx Pose  (Salamba Bhujangasana)

Helps calms nerves and relieve fatigue and stimulates abdominal organs. It also helps relieve stress.

Some say Traditional texts say that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens kundalini.  (According to the Yoga Journal’s website.)

Cobra (Bhujangasana)

This pose also helps relieve stress.

Soothes sciatica along with the same as the sphinx (some believe that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens kundalini.)

Upward dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Is similar to the other back bends as it stimulates abdominal organs, and helps relieve fatigue and sciatica. It is also therapeutic for asthma. It also helps with mild depression.

 

Many yoga poses separately boast stress relief.  I believe, however that yoga in general helps relieve stress.  I understand though that some poses target stress specifically.  All the back bends open up the chest and bend the back so ailments associated with those areas are often made better by doing back bends.  The benefits stated here are benefits that can be found after engaging in a yoga practice and doing the poses properly.  This page is not to be used to diagnose or treat any issue you may be having.  Please make sure you are seeing a medical professional for your serious health issues.

In addition to know how to do the pose, I always think it is nice to know how poses can help you.  Back bends are a good way to reduce stress.  Please take caution in doing them.

Do you include back bends in your practice?

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