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, Fri at 10:15 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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  • My Bloggey Past

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Posts Tagged ‘yoga teacher’

Pretty Yard

Posted by terrepruitt on August 11, 2017

I teach at several different places. I teach yoga at two different community centers and I teach Nia at one community center and two different YMCAs. This is what I consider the “backyard” of one of the YMCAs. It is so pretty with the different color trees. One day while I was waiting to teach class I noticed how gorgeous it was outside and I snapped a few pictures. When I am looking through my pictures I always see this and want to post it. I think I posted it . . . or one like it . . . on Facebook when I first took it. But I thought I would post it here as a Friday Photo.

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Posted in Friday Photo | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 12 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?

Posted in Yoga/PiYo/Pilates | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can You Spot The Marketing Mistakes?

Posted by terrepruitt on September 26, 2016

Marketing Gurus and People, can you see anything wrong with this e-mail?  Can you perhaps give Dan some advice?

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I really don’t care for people telling me they can do things, such as this e-mail in which Dan claims his company has helped YYoga generate 1,000 new registrations in 48 hours.  Most of the time, just like with this e-mail, it is clear the person trying to get my business has not even taken the time to look at or read my website.  If Dan would have taken 60 seconds to read my website, he might have come to the correct conclusion that I am not a fitness center.  I do not own a fitness center.  He might have noticed that I am a Nia and yoga teacher that primarily works for the City of San Jose and the YMCA.  He might have concluded that I do teach at other places when I am hired to do so . . . and I can even do types of personal training be it Nia, Yoga, or something related to working out and exercise.  But I am not a fitness center.

I have people call me all the time to tell me they can “get me on page one of a Google search.”  I, of course, get excited   😉 and then I ask them, “For what?” and they can never answer me.  So, how can I put my faith in them to “get me on page one of a Google search” when they don’t even know what I do?  What search would that be the front page for?  And would I be at the TOP, the first one, on that front page or down at the bottom?  But they can’t even tell me what I do so they have no idea.  I know that unless you are Google calling me and I pay top dollar, I am not going to get on the front page for many searches.  But I also know that I AM on the first page when you “Google” certain things.  I just get very confused and frustrated by these people who waste my time.

If you are not going to do a little bit of research and actually try to sell something the person actually might need and something you can actually provide, then don’t bother.  You waste everyone’s time when you don’t know what you are talking about.

In the first e-mail Dan says that he helped a company generate 1,000 new registrations in 48 hours.  In the second one he says the company “acquired 1,000 new members in less than 48 hours”.  That really doesn’t mean anything either.  So what?  1000 new registrants.  Did they PAY something?  Or was this just a free registry?  How many actually signed up and paid for a service that the company offers?  Oh yes, out of 1000 people you would think something became of it, but what?  What does this e-mail even mean?

Also, he would “love to tell me more”?  Well, I would hope so because as I have already begun to say, he hasn’t really told me anything.  I mean, in addition to the useless information he provided, he didn’t provide me with a company name, a title, a phone number or anything.  Again, in my opinion, not a very good marketing person . . . I guess he feels since HE doesn’t do any research into his prospects they must not do any research into the companies they might consider talking to and working with.

I get this type of sub-par solicitation all the time.  It just blows my mind.  So, no, I don’t have 15 minutes for a call this week, when clearly you didn’t take 15 minutes to do some research.  But you know, perhaps Debbie does.  🙂

What do you Marketing People think?

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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.

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, SJCityFitWith the free version there are few things you don’t have a choice about, but I’m ok with that..  I have only used it about five or six times, so it could be that if I use it more it will start repeating itself or I might want more choice s but for now it is great.

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?

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

It Really Should Be Called Waking Cat

Posted by terrepruitt on August 24, 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, SJCityFitYou may have seen somewhere on the internet that I was going to teach yoga at San Jose’s cat adoption lounge, The Dancing Cat.  I mentioned it in one of my posts.  Well, some of you cat-like people (curious . . . get it?) might want to know how that went.  Afterwards, I received a lot of questions from people who didn’t attend asking what it was like.  Did the cats walk all over?  Was it difficult because there were cats all over?  What did the cats do?  Well, first of all it was really fun.  As you may have experienced, it is nice to gather with people with common interests.  So it was nice to gather with people who like cats and who like yoga.  We did gentle yoga for an hour and 15 minutes.  It was nice.

Now to answer some questions.  If you have or if you know cats, you are familiar that they all have routines.  While they may vary slightly, I think they are all basically the same.  Cats eat in the morning, then they nap the rest of the day.  In some cases they might get up to wander or play for a moment, but then they are right back to the napping.  It is so very important.  While we were all arriving the cats were up and about.  I am sure they were curious as to why all the furniture was being moved into a corner.  Some of them might have been at The Dancing Cat to have experienced a yoga class there before, but some have not.  The adoption lounge seems to have a revolving door when it comes to cats.  And that is a good thing!  They come, they are not there long, they get adopted, then there are new cats!  So, not all of them have seen this before.  So they were quiet active as we were arriving and setting up our mats.  Many cats, of course, made themselves at home on the rolled out mats.  I saw someone – I don’t remember who – chewing on and “back-footing” my mat.

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, SJCityFitThere was time to take pictures and enjoy the cats.  We learned who was who and who had got adopted.  There were three still in residence that had been adopted and were going to their forever homes that day or the next!

Then just as we were getting ready to start the class, the cats were busy making their way to their napping spots. So most of them were lounging around on the various cushions, chairs, cubbies, and cat trees while we did our yoga.  There was one cat who decided to be on my mat when we let out our lion roars.  I must do a good lion because he fled in a hurry.

Since we were doing yoga in the presence of cats, I had decided to do all the “cat” poses I know.  Of course we did CAT/cow,  with the emphasis on CAT.  We did lion, as I already mentioned, my roar scared one kitty.  We did, Utthita Marjaryasana which is Extended CAT.  Then we did CAT Tree, which is Vrksasana, but with your arms making the shape of whatever cat tree your cat has.  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, SJCityFitThe last cat pose I could think of was Sphinx, so we did that.  Even though we did Downward Dog, out of respect for the felines, since we were in their domain, I said, “Downward You-know-what, the animal that should not be named.”  Not that the cats were paying any attention at all.  I actually think it should be called Waking Cat, because that is what they all do when they wake up.

Then the last pose we did in honor of the special creatures that are cats, was pigeon.  I know it is not a “cat” pose as it doesn’t have cat in the name and it not really related to felines, but if you have a cat you may know where I took this pose.  Perhaps you are familiar with cats and the noise they make when they are tracking/watching birds.  But some people say, “Ick-ick-ick-ick”.  So while we were doing pigeon we all sounded “Ick-ick-ick-ick.”  This went over well, since all of the participants were cat owners.  I think many of them have heard that sound – they did it well.

If you are ever in the area and have an hour to spare, I hope you will visit The Dancing Cat.  I believe their plan is to be open through November 2016.

Are there any additional “cat” poses you can think of?  What did I leave out?

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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?

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

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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https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7409/28143970835_f910de2fde_b.jpg

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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.  😉

Posted in Misc | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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~

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The Fourth Yama – Brahmacharya

Posted by terrepruitt on February 29, 2016

This one sounds like a weird one.  Well, I think it sounds weird, but then again, these are the rules of yoga and yoga was actually meant to be for those that were very serious about it.  Those who were pretty much willing to give up everything and willing to follow the Eight Limbs of Yoga.  But since it has been introduced and fed to the masses the ideas have been adjusted a bit. Often times Brahmacharya, the fourth yama is described as celibacy.  I actually like continence better, with it meaning self-restraint or abstinence, especially in regard to sexual activity; temperance; moderation it allows a little leeway in there.

The text talks about how having sex actually releases your life force so it shouldn’t be done just carelessly.  One shouldn’t just have sex to have sex . . . . so opposite the many teachings and attitudes of today.  So many things are geared towards getting more and having more no matter what it is, just doing what feels good with no regard to consequences.

So perhaps in terms of sex we think of Brahmacharya as not having meaningless sex.  Because many of use are not going to be on the path of celibacy.  Since marriage and relationships are part of what make many of us happy.  There are other ways to think about Brahmacharya.   The Heart of Yoga says moderation in all things.  In a lecture about they yamas, Connie Habash, our teacher, said she likes to say that Brahmacharya is a balance of ALL of our energy (not just sex).  She even gave an example of wasting energy as go over things in your head over and over.  Perhaps having a conversation that will never happen, or replaying a situation in your head over and over.  Dwelling on things.  Wasting the energy.  These makes sense to me.

At this time I would like to point out, I am just sharing, it is not that I have mastered this.  I actually kind of think of myself as the queen of going over and over things in my head.  Ha, this is part of what makes things like yoga a practice.  I need to continually remind myself to “let things go”.  And move on.

Energy can be wasted on other things, too, just in the having and doing too much.  This wastes energy.  All of the needing to have keeps us so busy working that we don’t have time for relaxation.  And there are so many other “doings”, we are always on the go, that we don’t have time for just being.  There is so much energy being expending that it seems we just run ourselves down.

Always being on the go and not allowing for time to relax and play is not a balanced situation.  Not having the balance does not lend to a healthy life.  The idea, especially in regards to sex, is to not get so caught up in things that we lose our way.  We lose sight of trying to better ourselves through things that might take time, such as eating well, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.  All of these things take time and should be included in our lives to help us achieve balance and not have us wasting our energy.

Don’t you like the sound of balance and moderation better than celibacy?  Also, do you feel that balance in one’s life IS a good thing?

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Bringing Focus Back

Posted by terrepruitt on June 9, 2015

About a month ago I was in a yoga class and afterwards there were a few people who were telling the person that was a couple of mats away from me how great her poses were.  They were going on about how beautiful she looked.  I felt bad.  I felt like an awful person for not even noticing how wonderful this fellow student was.  She was so wonderful that a few people came over to tell her.  Every class I have taken since then has me questioning that.  I started thinking I should be looking around and paying attention to other people’s poses.  I realized that I am really focused on myself when I am in a yoga class.  Sometimes I open my eyes and I am surprised there are other people in the class.  The last few classes I took I started looking around.  I started noticing what other people were doing.  I was thinking that I needed to be more attentive to the other students so I could pat them on the back when they did well.  But then I realized that looking around and watching what other people are doing is what I do when I teach.  When I take a class it is perfectly fine for me to let the students fade into the background.  When I am in a yoga class I NEED to be focused on me.

When I am instructing a class I am demonstrating a pose.  I am IN the pose, but I am not really DOING the pose.  I am not focused on the pose, I am focused on looking at the class.  I am focused on seeing if they are doing the pose.  I am thinking about how to gently guide them into the proper alignment.  I am thinking about what to say that will allow them to sense what they are doing.  Everyone says they want to be instructed on how to do it right, but no one wants to be the sole recipient of all the instruction.  So sometimes, general instructions is best.  I am thinking about all of that while I am in the poses.

At times I will step out of a pose to walk around the class to see the students posture from different angles.  I walk around to see if they are in alignment and to help someone with the pose.  So I am not really doing yoga.  I am not focusing on me, I am not focusing on my breath, I am not paying strict attention to sensation in the poses.

So when I am in a yoga class, I don’t look around.  I soften my gaze so I don’t really see my fellow classmates.  I allow myself to be the student and not look at others’ alignment.

I have been thinking about this for about a month now.  I was trying to figure out a post for today, when I came across “No Peeking!” and it reminded me of peeking around in a yoga class.  When I look around and pay too much attention to others when I am a student, I sometimes lose sense of what I am doing.  It could be that I see the person three over from me doing the pose “better than” me, so I try to go deeper (or higher . . . whatever the case may be) and then I am not listening to my body and what it needs at that moment.  No Peeking was about competitive swimming and how when you look around to see where you are in the race you move your head, which changes your body position, which changes the outcome of the race.  While yoga is not a race, when I look around whether the movement changes my pose or my thought process changes the pose, the outcome is adjusted.

Hmm.  I am going to keep that in mind.  And get back to my focus.  If I don’t complement your beautiful poses when we are in a yoga class, don’t take offense.  Now, Nia is entirely different.  While dancing you are tuned into your body, but there is also a sense of sharing and sometimes even stealing.  If you see someone doing something you want to try, have at it.

Are you completely focused in your yoga class?  Do you get motivated by looking at others?  Does looking at others distract you?

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