Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach Nia, yoga and stretch!

    Nia: Thurs at 9 am

    Yoga: Tues at 10:30 am and Thurs at 6:00 pm

    Stretch: Thurs at 10:30 am

    Please see my website for details! I sub for the City of San Jose and the YMCA so check my website for dates and times!

    I am also available for private Nia / yoga / Personal Training!

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Posts Tagged ‘yoga poses’

Quick, Easy Asana Reference

Posted by terrepruitt on February 4, 2019

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, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCDI believe I have written before about how yoga is somewhat confusing because the asana seem to have different names. I can go to look up an asana and a completely different asana will come up than the one I was thinking of because the names get all wonky. I used to get very frustrated with that, but now I understand that the Sanskrit language originally was just a verbal language. And we all know how that works . . . if you haven’t ever actually played “Telephone” you probably have at least heard how it goes. Where one person tells a story and it gets repeated down the line and then the last person says what they heard and more often than not – depending on how many people the story went through – it is not what it started out to be. Imagine that with a language. And then once they did start writing it down it probably got changed through that process. And THEN there is the process of translation. We know what happens there, right? Things get lost in translation. Well, I have a handful of yoga books and if you were to look at them you will see writing in every one noting what the “actual” name of the pose is. Which is really me just having picked one of the many names and deciding to use it. Not ALL poses have multiple names, but many do. Well, I mention all that because one of the books I have I thought of recently when one of my students asked about a book of poses.

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The book is separated into seven categories (sexy, calm, energy, restore, cleanse, sanity, and ragtime) and has poses that can help with each category in that section. In the front of each section there is even three sequences that one can do to gain benefits to help with that specific category.

For example in the sexy category some of the poses are: Chair, Warrior II, Staff, revolved triangle, and Cow Face Pose. The sequences in the beginning of that section contain some of those poses. So you can pick some of your favorite poses from the sexy category section and do them or you can do one (or more) of the sequences in the front of the section.  Of course, the way to use the book is almost endless, just like any yoga book.

 

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Shake And Roll For Poses To Do

Posted by terrepruitt on November 21, 2018

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, City of San Jose Exercise ClassesThere are so many different ways to practice yoga. I like to try different things aside from taking classes. I have applications on my devices, I’ve moved along with Youtube videos, I have created my own routines, I have just done what comes to mind, and I have practiced other ways.  I recently purchased Yoga Dice. It is a fun way to do some poses. There are so many ways you can use the dice. Each dice has five poses and their related chakra on it. There are seven dice which you can just shake in the tub then roll out.

I have been rolling out all the dice and then arranging them in the order I want to do each pose. Then I do all the poses then roll them again.  I do this several times to end up with an hours worth of “routine.” When it lands on the chakra I just roll that dice again so it will be on a pose.

In addition to the poses on each dice being related to a chakra the poses are also split up into types of poses. So one dice is Sun Salutation Poses, one is standing poses, one is balancing poses, one is seated, one is forward bends, one is back bends, and one is core poses. So you could decide to just do one or two types of poses and only roll those dice.  You could also decide which dice to roll uses the chakra.

Really, there are so many ways to use the dice it is quite fun.  It is just another way to put together poses to get a yoga workout in, another way to practice.  I like to use the dice because then I don’t really have to think about what poses to do.  The way I have been doing it there is a little thinking as I need to arrange the dice that I have rolled into a sequence that makes sense for me, but you don’t even really have to do that if you want.

As I said, there are so many ways to practice yoga it is up to you if these dice would be something you would like to do.  I like it as it is just another way to practice.  I will probably end up posting again about how to use these dice because the possibilities just seem endless.

Can you imagine all the ways you can use this dice?

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

Knee Helper

Posted by terrepruitt on September 12, 2018

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, City of San Jose Exercise ClassesThere are standing yoga poses, there are sitting yoga poses, there are reclined yoga poses, there are prone yoga poses, and there are some yoga poses that require the person to be on their knees. There are a lot of reasons being on one’s knees might be uncomfortable. Sometimes people just fold up their yoga mat to give them extra cushion under their knees. Some people have opted to bring in additional cushions and pads to put under their knees. Recently one of my students discovered this gardener’s knee cushion. She purchased it on sale at Orchard’s Supply. She bought it but wasn’t sure it would work, but then after she tried it, she told everyone else about it and they all came back the next week with one.

If not being comfortable on your knees keeps you from doing yoga, perhaps getting a gardener’s cushion could help. Now there is a different between “being uncomfortable” on your knees and “not be able to be” on your knees. I know there are knees out there that people are just not able to be on. If that is the case then a cushion is not going to help. This post and suggestion is just for the people with basically healthy knees that need a little cushion.

This cushion is a Laura Ashley cushion but I don’t see it on her website, but I bet there are other ones out there that are like this one. It is covered in neoprene (the stuff wetsuits are made with) or something like it and it feels more comparable to a memory foam cushion then just foam or rubber. Some pads are made of form or cushion-y rubber, but this is different. So, if you are in the market for a cushion for your knees to use in yoga you might want to look into gardeners’ knee pad/cushion.  Then you can do yoga and your knees will thank you along with the rest of your body.

Do you like cushion under your knees during yoga?

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

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 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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WHOA! Releasing Tension In Psoas

Posted by terrepruitt on May 1, 2017

So this past Sunday I took a workshop at Mind Body Zone yoga studio in Fremont that was called Core Release and Restore™.  This is the second time I have attended this workshop.  It was so fascinating to me the first time I just had to do it again.  It is very educational.  The first part of the workshop is lecture, then the second part we move.  The presenter Joanne Varni first talks about the psoas muscle.  She sets the stage for the movement part of the class.  She first explains what type of muscle it is and what it should be like in a healthy state. She talks about how it is a muscles that is primal and instinctive, how it works with our brain and nervous system.  She explains how, because of that, it is hugely affected on the levels of BMES (Body/physical, Mind/brain, Emotional, and Spirit/energetic).  She clarifies how stress (all types) affect this muscle.  Then she instructs us through movements that can help bring some relief to our psoas and iliopsoas muscles.

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This was my second time doing it, so it was weird, but since I was expecting it, it wasn’t as odd as the first time.  But this is what I wrote after the first time:  “It was sooooo weird.  My legs were just moving on their own with no sensation.  It was so odd.  I mean, I have had my limbs shake from being weak or fatigued while I was doing something and that has a sensation (to me), but this was just waves of tremors.  Like an earthquake.  It was so odd.  Fascinating.  Yeah!  That’s it.  REALLY fascinating!”

Joanne specializes in helping those with trauma (including PTSD) and has attended and completed her Level II certification in TRE™ (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises) with Dr. David Bercelli. She is also certified as TSY teacher (Trauma Sensitive Yoga).

Keep in mind that this is called both Trauma Release and Tension Release.  So not everyone has trauma necessarily, but we all pretty much have tension.  Even it we don’t have stress, because of our lifestyles (in that we sit in chairs) we have tension in our psoas and iliopsoas muscles.  So while Joannes does not feel these muscles needs to be strengthened she does feel they need to be released and lengthened.

If you want to see a video example of the TRE™ (Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercises), you can click here and go to Joanne’s site where she has a video.

It is so very fascinating how our bodies hold and store tension and trauma.  I would recommend this class to anyone that is interested in helping their body cope with the stresses of living in our bodies.

Have you ever heard of this technique before?  Have you experienced this technique before?

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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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The Difference Between Yoga And Stretch

Posted by terrepruitt on September 9, 2016

Currently I am lucky enough to teach yoga classes and a stretch class.  And I say “lucky” because I was asked to do these classes but they can be cancelled at any time.  Class attendance needs to stay up or the classes can get cancelled.  This is the case with pretty much any type of exercise class at any type of place . . . a gym, a club, a parks and recs department, etc.  Ok, but where I am actually going with this post is: people ask me all the time what the difference is between yoga and stretch.  Well, my first thought is my post “More To Yoga Than Just Asana,” but that would only help to explain what yoga is and not what we do in a stretch class.  Because I teach gentle yoga classes people are curious about the difference.  It makes sense since they seem the same, but there are differences.  In addition to breathing yoga is different from stretch by a few points.

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In yoga we work on more than just flexibility, we also work on balance and strength.  In stretch we focus mainly on STRETCHING muscles and, to a lesser extent, connective tissue.  We are not working either in a stabilizing or strengthening capacity.

The poses in yoga have names, at least two, the English name and a Sanskrit name.  In stretch my instruction is usually something like, “move your arm here or there” as I show them how to get into the stretch.  Sometimes I do refer to an asana by name that is similar because many of the students do take yoga also, so they know what to do when I say the name of a pose.

Some people “can’t do” yoga, but they CAN stretch.  🙂  Seriously, invite someone to a yoga class and they will say, “I can’t do yoga, I’m not flexible enough.”  Invite them to a stretch class and they say, “Oh!  I need to stretch.”

With yoga, people seem to want to “get” somewhere.  They want to be able to “do” a specific pose.  With stretching, even though they might be able to bend deeper or more fully as time goes on, there doesn’t seem to be the urge or need to “get there”.  With stretch the journey seems more important than the destination.  Although it really is supposed to be the same way for yoga.

Another question I am always asked is, “Are you on the floor the whole hour?”  No, but we don’t go up and down as much as in my gentle yoga classes.  In both my gentle yoga classes and my stretch classes we do poses/stretches standing up and on the floor.

Stretching is so good for you.  We all should be doing it, even if we don’t weight train or run marathons, it is really good to stretch the muscles.  But many of us need a class, something we are committed to doing in order to actually take the time to stretch.  I am happy to help in that area and teach a class.

Do you stretch?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Twists And Ten Benefits

Posted by terrepruitt on August 17, 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, SJCityFitTwists.  We do twists in Nia, we do twists in yoga, we do twists in stretching, we do twists in life.  Twists are good.  Twists stimulate adrenal glands, and since they make necessary hormones, it is nice to have them stimulated in a positive way.  Twists can also stimulate the kidneys.  Twists are thought to improve digestion, could be due to the massaging of the organs.  When the body twists around the organs move and press against each other.  All the movement in the digestive tract is said to help move food along.  Twists are said to “tone” the organs.  Practicing twists is good!

I always teach to lengthen before moving, especially in a twist, so we want to lengthen on the inhale and twist on the exhale.  Sometimes inhaling/lengthening and exhaling/twisting bit further.  When we lengthen we allow for the space in between each vertebrae to get bigger and that allows for more room for the bones to move.

Twists help with flexibility in the back, the spine mobility and the muscles of the back.  The old “move-it-or-lose-it” that so often applies.  When we include twists in our practice we help to ensure that we will be able to do all the everyday things that include twisting.

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, SJCityFitWhile doing a seated twist, try to keep both sitz bones connected to the earth.  The twist comes from the upper spine.  One reason we anchor the ischial tuberosity (sitz bones), is to stabilize the lower back.  When we work to keep ourselves firmly rooted it helps keep the lower spine from twisting.  I’m sure many of us have done it or have had a friend who has done it.  You hear that statement, “I twisted, and hurt my lower back.”  That is because the lower back tends to have more mobility and without moving mindfully it is easy to over do it.  So we keep our sitz bones anchored.

Seated twists can be done “open” or “closed”.  An “open” seated twist is where you are twisting away from the bent leg, in some cases putting your arm or shoulder against the bent leg.  In a sense allowing your chest to open away from your body.  A “closed” seated twist is where you turn TOWARD the bent leg, in some cases drawing the knee towards the chest.  If you have a leg bent in a seated twist it usually allows for a stretch into the hip area.

In B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga The Path To Holistic Health, he says, “Twists – These asanas teach us the importance of a healthy spine and inner body.  In twists, the pelvic and abdominal organs are squeezed and flushed with blood.  They improve the suppleness of the diaphragm, and relieve spinal, hip, and groin disorders.  The spine also becomes more supple and this improves the flow of blood to the spinal nerves and increases energy levels.”

So twists are good, in summary they:

1)  stimulate the adrenal glands
2)  stimulate the kidneys
3)  improve digestion
4)  massage the organs
5)  allow space in between each vertebrae
6)  help with flexibility in the spine
7)  help with flexibility in muscles of the back
8)  help to ensure that we will be able to keep twisting
9)  increase energy levels
10) feel pretty good

How do you feel about twists?  Do you include them in your practice?

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Flow Yoga? Vinyasa Yoga? Vinyasa Flow Yoga?

Posted by terrepruitt on July 18, 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, SJCityFitYoga has been around for thousands of years.  There are so many translations of the documents that talk about yoga that there doesn’t seem to be a definitive way to do things.  The poses all seem to have different names, and when you hear a name you’ve heard before it can be done entirely different from what you were taught.  Pronunciation is all over the board.  There just doesn’t seem to be any way to know what you are getting . . . exactly.

I have been taking a few different classes to check things out.  And this is what I have come across.  There is “Flow Yoga”.  That is where the class is done in a flowing manner.  The participants move from pose to pose using the breath.  There might be poses where we stop and stay in it for a few breaths, but basically we are flowing from pose to pose.  Then there is the Vinyasa style.  Now Vinyasa is a flowing class.  It might not be called “Vinyasa Flow”, but that is usually what it is.  With a Vinyasa class participants flow from pose to pose and they are done on the breath.  There might be some stopping and holding, then flow to the next pose . . . but there is also “a Vinyasa”.  You can look it up and you’ll see vinyasa is defined as “arranging something in a special way.”  That can be applied to the class as already mentioned, but it can also be applied to a small sequence of poses.

In a Vinayasa class, in addition to flowing from one pose to the next, you “take a” or you “do a” vinyasa which is a specific set of poses.  It is generally the same, but it might be modified for the level of the class, but “a vinyasa” is typically plank pose, to knees-chest-chin or chaturanga dandasana, to cobra pose or upward facing dog pose, to downward facing dog pose.  The less intense vinyasa would be the one with the knees-chest-chin and cobra pose, whereas the more intense version would include the chaturanga dandasana and upward facing dog pose.  You could also do a combination and do knees-chest-chin with the upward facing dog or the chaturanga dandasana with the cobra pose.

What you also might experience in a class is something that really can’t be defined.  At some venues where they do yoga . . . like at an actual yoga studio . . . they might have classes that are separated into levels.  So a level one flow class will be different, probably less intense than a level two or three.  But at some places every class is expect to be an “all level” class . . . and that is where you will probably experience something that can’t be defined.

In order to allow “all levels” to participate the instructor will modify and change what she can in order to make certain that everyone can participate.  This, to me, is where a lot of the changes in yoga has come from.  So the need to alter it so it is accessible to the general public in combination with the fact that the translations are so varied has resulted in no definitive way of things being done or described.

So, my conclusion and definitions say:  Vinyasa yoga is flow yoga, but flow yoga is not vinyasa flow.  In Vinyasa yoga you do vinyasas.

The BEST way to know what you are getting is to talk to the instructor and/or take a class.  It helps to see for yourself.  You can always tell the teacher that you are taking the class to see if it a fit for you, then do the best you can.  If you like the class return to take it again.  If you don’t like it, you can always let the instructor know it was not what you were looking for.

When attending a class for the first time it is good to keep in mind that you might get a little different than you expected, but hopefully you will be able to enjoy the class for what it is.

What kind of yoga classes do you like?

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