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

    Yin Yoga: Mons at 11:30 am

    Gentle 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 pracitce’

Breath: Quiet And Safe

Posted by terrepruitt on March 14, 2015

There are a lot of different aspects of yoga.  Just like there are a lot of different aspects of Nia.  As I have said before you can do Nia without getting involved in all of the principles and aspects of it.  You can treat it like a workout and not take it any further.  The same goes for yoga.  That is why I always compare the two.  You can go to a yoga class and go through the poses without giving any of the other aspects a second thought.  I believe that both Nia and yoga can be more beneficial, more satisfying when you do think about the other parts of it . . . but we all have different goals and different ideas.  One of the “aspects” of yoga or limbs of yoga – is pranayama.  There are different pranayamas.  A common one – Ujjayi is typically done while doing the yoga poses, and it might be helpful in reducing or stopping snoring.

So, pranayama is the practice of controlling one’s prana (life force) through breath or the practice of controlling one’s breath.  There are many forms of this type of practice and many ways in which to perform them.  But as I said, a common one is ujjayi breathing.  It is what many recommend be done while doing the asanas.  Some call it the Victory Breath, the Warming Breath, the Ocean Breath, Snake-breathing, throat breathing, or even the Darth Vadar Breath.  It is done through the nose, both the inhale and the exhale.  Some of the names stem from the fact that when you do it you may sound like the ocean, a snake, or Darth Vadar.

This breath “exercise” is done by closing the glottis partially on the exhale.  This post is not to get into the mechanic of how to do ujjayi breathing.  But a quick way to give you an IDEA of how to do it, is to think Felix Unger.  Remember him?  Remember that annoying noise he used to make?  Well, that is a lot more sound than you want, but that gives you an idea of what needs to be going on in your throat / nasal area.

I am excited by the prospect that this type of breathing could help stop snoring or even more importantly sleep apnea.  The idea behind this thought process is that the muscles need toning.  People snore because stuff in there gets to relaxed and it makes noise as the person breathes.  So, it kind of makes sense that if it can be toned or trained then it could help stop the snoring or the life threatening sleep apnea.

Yoga Therapy.com says:  “In fact, this snoring is the sound that occurs when air passes through stenosed nasopharynx, caused by vibration in the air flow of compliant structures of the pharynx (tongue, soft palate, etc.). The main reason that causes vibration of the said formations is impairment of muscle tone of the pharynx and soft palate, structural anomalies and functional abnormalities of the pharynx and soft palate.”  Like I said the stuff in there makes noise.

Again, as I said, this makes sense to me . . . as in, why not try it, it can’t really hurt, but if it did help . . . Oh man, for some it would be a life saver.  I think it is worth a try.  Just another reason to practice pranayama.

Do you think a breathing practice is worth trying if it would stop snoring and/or sleep apnea?  Do you know anyone that snores?  Do you know anyone with sleep apnea?

 

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

Nia and Tae Kwon Do

Posted by terrepruitt on November 28, 2009

As you might now be aware Nia includes elements from three disciplines from three different arts. From the martial arts, we borrow from Tae Kwon Do. Not just “moves” from Tae Kwon Do but also some of the other elements of it. With its kicks, punches, blocks, and stances it helps allow Nia to be a great leg workout and provide a stable base for some of our other moves.  Tae Kwon Do can also contribute to one’s confidence by providing exercises that allow one to become strong and stable.  These are the things Nia gains from Tae Kwon Do.

Nia calls Tae Kwon Do the Dance of Precision.*  So when delivering a punch, block, kick, etc. with the energy of Tae Kwon Do, it is done with precision and intent.  However, Nia likes to play so at times even though we might not be executing a punch or a kick, but we might choose to energize our movement with “Tae Kwon Do” like energy, and be forceful and aggressive even adding sound to our movement.

Adding the energy of one form to the moves of another is one of the things that make Nia fun and keeps is challenging.  It takes different muscles to skip with force and authority than to skip like a child without a care in the world.  That is an example of how Nia incorporates different moves with different energies.

In Nia we don’t “DO” Tae Kwon Do, things have been gleaned from it and brought into Nia and mixed in with aspects of  Tai Chi, Aikido, Jazz Dance, Modern Dance, Duncan Dance, Yoga, the Alexander Technique and the teachings from Feldenkrais, and the combination from each form is Nia.  A lot of Nia routines include moves and concepts from each discipline, but not always.  In an effort to keep each workout fresh, fun, and joyful teachers often mix things up.

If you are near San Jose, come to one of my Nia classes.  If not, I hope that you will find a Nia class near you and give Nia try.

*Both the Nia Technique Book and The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual state this. Both books are by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas. **V3 of The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Nia and Yoga

Posted by terrepruitt on October 3, 2009

A Nia workout includes elements from three disciplines from three different arts.

From the healing arts, we use moves and ideals from Yoga.  As with all the movement forms incorporated into Nia, Nia does not claim to be practicing Yoga.  It is understood that years of studying and practice can be involved in the practice of Yoga, and Nia respects that, that is why I say that we “use move and ideals”.  Nia recognizes the benefits that can result from Yoga and with that does its best to utilize some of its amazing power.  Nia calls Yoga “The Conscious Dance of Alignment”.*  It helps with the proper alignment of the bones. It also assists in increasing flexibility for all fitness levels.

We use the aspects of Yoga to help find balance in the body.  In Nia we can also call upon the focus that is evident in Yoga.

The White Belt Manual 3/2001 V3 states:

Witness the value this form provides to increasing and restoring the natural flow of energy throughout the entire body.  Recognize the specific principles that help to clear and calm the mind, bring balance to the nervous system, improve breath and posturing, and strengthen specific body parts.  Acknowledge the way Yoga unifies the body, mind, spirit, and emotional being, and how the internal, core body becomes soft and supple to provide real “energy” strength from the inside out.

So we might do some exercises of twists, bends, and poses in our workout, it is to help increase strength, flexibility, alignment and our conscious connection.

The breathing in Nia reminds me more of Pilates than to Yoga.  We inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth, often times sounding.  I have not participated in a Yoga class that does chanting or is vocal so that is why I am reminded more of Pilates than Yoga.

Many of Nia’s teachers are also Yoga instructors or they attend Yoga classes.  I sometimes attend a Yoga class in San Jose.  The two forms of movement are a great compliment to each other.

***V3 of The Nia Technique – White Belt Manual by Debbie Rosas and Carlos Rosas

Posted in Movement Forms of Nia, Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Yoga Is Very Nia-Like

Posted by terrepruitt on September 12, 2009

I have only taken two yoga classes.  One was this evening and throughout the entire class, while the teacher was instructing I kept thinking, “Oh that is so Nia.  Oh this is so Nia. . . . . .Oh THAT is so Nia.”  Even though earlier in the class I realized that maybe Nia was “so Yoga”.

Yoga was first.  It has been around for thousands of years.  For some it is rooted in religion, where as Nia has been around for 25 years and is rooted in the body.  I just couldn’t help thinking that this yoga class was so like a Nia class, except much slower.  Slower, in the sense that in this class the movement wass not to the music, but to the breath.  There was no rhythmic quality to the movement, just the flow of your breath.  Every once in awhile I would hear the music and to start sway to it and realize that I was supposed to be holding a pose so I would stop my body from moving but my spirit continued to boogey away.

This yoga class is about joy in yoga, allowing for another comparison, comparing to the first principle of the Nia White Belt which is the Joy of Movement.  The Joy of movement is actually found as a sensation and not a feeling.  In Nia it is something that is sensed in the body and not felts as an emotion.

The teacher started the class with the suggestion that you set an intention.  I actually wiggled with happiness at this because in every Nia class we set a focus and an intent (in cycle one).

This yoga class made me realize why so many people that practice yoga also practice Nia because there are many things in common.  In yoga there are poses that open areas of the body, in Nia we have movements and poses that open the body and get the joints juicy.  Yoga has muscle strengtheners and ligaments and tendon lengtheners and so does Nia.  But with yoga it is a pose and in Nia it is primarily movements linked together in a more cardio-dance fashion.  In the cool down we do poses or stretches and sometimes there are yoga poses.  It just amazed me how similar they were.  With the request of awareness that the teacher was giving during the ending meditation, something that we request during the entire Nia workout, I was extremely delighted to realize that yoga and Nia aren’t competing practices, but companion practices.  They are so similar that you can apply a lot of the principles to both.  You can have a non-impact booty shaking cardio and strength workout (Nia) that you balance with the complete stretching and strength workout (yoga).

I truly was amazed at how Nia has taken so much of what is “yoga” and created a practice that can be such a great companion.  With so many similarities it really allows for an expansion of exercise and workout possibilities for so many people who do yoga in San Jose and in the Bay Area.

Posted in Nia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »