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 posture’

Zorro Technique

Posted by terrepruitt on October 29, 2015

Back in 2010, I posted a bit about X-Ray Anatomy, principle #10 of the Nia White Belt.  It is what Nia Teachers, Yoga Teachers, Personal Trainers, and people in the profession of helping people move do to see how a body is moving.  We all do it, but Nia calls it X-Ray Anatomy.  We look at the posture of the body or the placement of the clothes to see the alignment of the bones or to see the movement of the muscle.  If we look at someone’s waist band and one side is higher than the other we can then look closer to see, if they were in a hurry when they pulled on their pants, hiking one side higher, or if their hips are actually askew.  We can look at shoulders, checking to see if one is tilted down.  We might check to see if a muscle is really tight causing an imbalance.  We look, then we go about guiding the person to adjustment, guiding them into ease.  Now . . . that is what we do for our students and/or clients.  But we wouldn’t do that to someone we just see on the street.  Even if we take a pad of paper to the park or to the mall or use our DVDs to practice with “Zorro”.

In the Nia White Belt Intensive I took, one of the tools that the co-founder of Nia, Carlos Aya-Rosas, gave us was “Zorro”.  Where you look at someone and with just a few strokes of the pen/pencil you draw their structure.  It is supposed to be quick, not a lot of details, just the things you are x-raying.  Just key bones or things (like a belt, pant legs, collars, etc.) to allow you to see posture and/or alignment.

Here are my “Zorros” from my White Belt in 2008.  We had split up into two groups and we faced each other.  Each group had a turn at making shapes and posturing and then “Zorroing”.

 

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

 

 

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 TechniqueWhen I wrote my post back in 2010, I had said in a comment I was going to go out and do some X-Ray Anatomy Zorroing, but I hadn’t.  When I came across the comment again, I decided to do it.  Here is the result of me doing Zorro on a random video of people walking and of one of the Nia Routine DVDs.

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

This type of practice can help us see things quickly that might need adjustment while we are dancing.  Then we can cue some guidance to help people move in a safe way.  As an example, an easy thing to see is thigh bones, while we cannot actually SEE the thigh bone, if we look at the toe and it is pointed off in one direction we can conclude that the thigh bone is rotated . . . depending on what we are doing, that might not be the safest thing for the knee and hip.  So we can keep an eye on toes and practice X-Ray Anatomy.

I have confidence in thinking that you get the idea of this.  You can see how you can quickly look at someone and have an idea of the placement of the bones.  You can glance at someones clothes and use them to determine their alignment.  Is the clothing method 100% accurate?  No, people’s clothes might be sitting off for a number of reasons, as I mentioned in the beginning of this post, perhaps someone just pulled their pants on crocked, but this is an idea.  But using the clothes is a quick way to perhaps get an idea of what the body is doing.  Sometimes a closer inspection or more attention is needed, but for just practicing clothes are great to help with Zorroing.

Can you see how “Zorroing” can help with X-Ray Anatomy?  So might you us your X-Ray Anatomy the next time you are out?

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

Get Down On It

Posted by terrepruitt on February 4, 2014

Did you sing it?  When I began to write this post the first thing I thought of is what I often think of when I sit down to share something on my blog and that is WHICH way do I want to describe it.  As I have said numerous times there are different ways to do things and you can check the web, books, magazines, and other places and you will see different instructions.  So while I was glancing at the different pictures what popped into my head was “GET DOWN ON IT!”  There really is no “it” in this position.  That is just what popped into my head, then as I was typing it . . . I was singing.  Of course, you were singing too as you read it right?  Please stop here and take a few minutes to Get Down On It!

Ok, now that you are back.  Let’s talk about the Garland Pose.  This is an instinctive position for the human body and one that gets abandoned as we age.  As I type, I see myself writing at least three posts about it, not the Garland Pose specifically, but this position.  I am starting with the Garland Pose.

The Garland Pose or Malasana is a yoga asana.  This pose can easily be described as a low, deep, or full squat.  I have posted about squats before, but the squats I was talking about previously were not full squats.  I think of those ones more as “weight training” squats.  Either doing them with weights or on a BOSU and not going all the way down.  The legs are not fully “folded” in that type of squat.

In the Garland Pose the legs are folded to where the back of the calf touches the back of the thigh.

Remember there are different ways to do this, the main goal for ankle and hip flexibility is full foot on the floor, legs folded with knees wide.  So these instructions are going to start with feet flat on the floor.  Place your feet about shoulder width apart (not wider than).  Have your toes pointing just slightly out on the diagonal.  Then lower your buttocks down, keeping your knees wide.

If it is not just a matter of “lowering your buttocks down” as in, this is not easy for you there are things to do to allow you to practice getting into that position.  One way is to fold over, bending at the hips, and place your hands on the ground then lower your tush down.  If that is not a comfortable option you can put your hands on the seat of a chair and lower your butt until it is comfortable.  With each try, go lower.  Eventually you will be using elbows on the chair.  With this method you have to be cautious with the chair.  If you are using it to hold your weight you have to make certain it will not move or tip over on you.  So use a secure chair.

If not the fold over or chair technique, you can use a strap or something secured around a door knob.  Hold onto that as you learn to lower yourself down.  There are many precautions to take when using a door knob so make sure you think about all of them (strap not slipping off, door knob not popping off, door secure – not opening, no one walking in the door you are using — and more, so please be careful if using this technique).  With a secure strap you can work your way down slowly or in increments.

Once down, center your torso in between you knees and thighs.  Your knees are wide.  Place your elbows at your knees hands in Añjali Mudra or prayer position.  Embrace the beauty of posture that is yoga and lengthen your spine.  Lift the crown of your head up, reach the neck longer, lower the shoulders as they pull back, lift the ribs off of the hips, all the while your tail reaching for the earth.  Stay as long as you are comfortable.

Another modification to practice is to put a folded towel or blanket under your heels until you are able to put your heels down.  One of the reasons this position gets abandoned as we get older is our calf muscles get shortened and/or tight.  In some people high heels are the cause of that.

This pose is beautiful for some many reasons.  To name a few; it helps with balance, it opens the hips, it improves flexibility in the ankles, it can transport you back to when you were a child and did not hesitant to squat to see what was on the ground!

When you are done push up to standing.  If that is not an option, I recommend getting up any way that is comfortable for you.  Eventually with practice you will get stronger and find many ways to rise.  Also with practice you might find yourself using the squat to pick things up instead of just bending over.  Remember it is a practice so you don’t have to save all the moves for the mat, incorporate them into your day.

So did you sing?  When practicing this pose how far can you get down?  Are you utilizing either the chair or the door knob technique?

Posted in Nia, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

For A Taller You

Posted by terrepruitt on August 27, 2013

There are a lot of things I like about yoga, one thing that I really like is that many of the asanas or poses are executed with a lengthening of the spine. In many poses the idea is to reach with the top of your head, or the crown of your head, in the opposite direction of your tailbone.  Often the cue is to reach with the crown of your head to the sky while reaching with your tailbone into the earth.  I feel as if the reaching and stretching in the opposite directions really help the body be taller.

While standing, sitting, bending the motion or action is to reach. Reach in opposite directions.  Create space in between each vertebra. While consciously stretching the backbone, you are pulling your shoulders back and down. Create a long neck by reaching. Push the shoulders away from the ears.  The ribs lift upwards, and off and away from the hips.

One motion or thought to help straighten and lengthen is to extend your sternum skyward.  This somewhat juts the chest out and the shoulder automatically go back and down.  With this as an image there might be some adjusting that needs to take place, but it can help move you in the right direction.   With the lengthening of the spine comes the separating of the ribs.  Allowing space in between each rib can sometimes help increase lung capacity.  If your lungs have more room to move in they might expand further.  This all lending to bigger, deeper breaths.

In the Gentle Yoga class I am currently teaching I am continually reminding the students to lengthen their spine.  I, myself, have a habit of scrunching.  I think I have mentioned this before.  I both scrunch my shoulders up to my ears and round my back.  I liken my posture to that of a spoon.  So it is very easy for me to fall into that even while I am leading a class because I begin to shift my concentration.  So the reminder is for all of us.  A reminder is nice because then you can check to make certain you are doing all the things involved in lengthening the spine.  Although sometimes I feel a bit repetitive, I think it is worth it.  In addition to myself I usually see at least one participant make an adjustment.

In Nia while we might not always be lengthening and reaching with our spine throughout an entire routine there is often at least a moment.  If not in one of the dances itself in the cool down or the floorplay.  I often include imaging space in between each vertebra as we sit or bend over in a stretch.  The Nia routing might not include yoga poses by the idea of it is included.  Part of the yoga inclusion “is the conscious alignment of bones and joints”*  While lengthening the spine we are lining up the bones and the joints.  Our posture is intact.

I really enjoy the growing taller sensation that yoga can offer through a variety of asanas where we are reaching and lengthening.  To me it makes for a taller me.

Do you sense you are taller after doing yoga?  Do you sense your spine is more straight after yoga?  Do you do a pose that really has you feeling you are taller after?

*The Nia Technique, page 276.  A yoga focus.

Posted in Nia, Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »