Terre Pruitt's Blog

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

  • I teach yoga, Nia, and stretch online!

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Posts Tagged ‘Yoga’

Sitting Uncomfortably

Posted by terrepruitt on September 20, 2021

I have my students do a pose/stretch that I used to call the “icky pose”. Yeah not quite a technical name but a very apt one. I did not recall actually learning it anywhere or having anyone have named it and it was very icky so I called it that. Eventually, through my study of Yin Yoga, I learned the name. And, then one day when I was teaching Yin Yoga a student asked for the actual name. It actually is considered a Yin Yoga pose it was called the toe squat. It took me a bit to actually adjust to calling it that. One thing that helped me transition to its proper name is that it stopped being icky.

Like many stretches, poses, and exercises it became less icky the more I did it. It is one pose/stretch that I consider vital for one’s health, yet when we first try to do it, it is so uncomfortable many people stop.

I instruct my students to curl their toes – being mindful of the pinky because sometimes it does not bend the proper way – but to not sit on their heels at first. One can work into sitting on their heels. It could be that they have to practice just curling their toes. One gets to control the actual pressure they put on the toes. It could be they are able to sit on them but only for a second or two, then the more they practice the longer they can tolerate it.

 

 

 

 

 

Basically you are kneeling with your toes curled and you sit back on your heels.

There are ways to modify it to make it more tolerable and to ease into it. I just recommend remaining tall kneeling and not even put an additional pressure on the toes.  Or doing one foot at a time may be more tolerable.  This IS an icky pose while your feet are getting used to doing it.  But it can give you immediate benefit.  And if you do it often, it will get easier.

As with any stretch, pose, or exercise you should get clearance from a medical professional.  Make certain your body is able to do said stretch, pose, or exercise.

Again . . . this is really one of those poses/stretches that most of us have to work into and it could take a long time. Just like any stretch, pose, or exercise, the more you will benefit from it.

Do you sit on your heels with your toes curled (doing a toe squat)?

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Colorful Daily Tracker

Posted by terrepruitt on August 2, 2021

So how are you doing on the daily calendar/tracker? Do you remember it? I have it in a place where I see it so I remember it, but I have to be honest, I did have to stop and fill in a few days at a time. I do my daily thing, but I don’t always fill out the log daily. The way I color the log changed. In my first post I made a key with colors assigned to a specific movement, I figured I would change the color assignments every month (so I could use all of the pens), but it ended up primarily just one color . . . which would tend to make sense if you were doing one specific thing daily. But I had made my log for 30 minutes of movement and changed in February to just use a color for meeting that goal. Also in February I added indoor cycling to my menu of movement. So my 30 minutes could be a combination of yoga, Nia, stretching, cycling, and/or walking.

I am still using the set of pens I received at Christmas and so far sticking with a type of pen per month. January was glitter, a majority of the glitter gets rubbed off, but when I look closely I can still see it. February was metal. March pastel. April was florescent. May was regular. There are only five different types so I reused metal for June and pastel for July. I am using glitter for August, but I think I am going to use dots and stripes for the LONG/larger days . . . we will see how that goes.

Anyway . . . hard to believe we are past the halfway point in the year.

So . . . do you have a daily practice? Do you have a calendar/journal/log that you use to keep track?

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A Few Ways To Use Yoga Blocks

Posted by terrepruitt on February 15, 2021

When I taught yoga in person, I taught at places that did not have props. I feel it is perfectly fine to not use props while doing Hatha Yoga, in fact, I think sometimes it is better not to have them, but sometimes it is nice to use them. Whether you use them or not could depend on what you want to get out of your practice or in our case we didn’t have them. What we used as a prop was a chair. There are a lot things that can be used as substitutes for yoga props. But wait, what is a yoga prop? There are several common yoga props and now-a-days with yoga being a multi-million dollar business there are hundreds of yoga props you can purchase. The ones I think of as “common” yoga props besides a yoga mat itself are yoga blankets, yoga blocks, a bolster, a strap, and an eye pillow. In this post I am doing to show you some ways you can use a yoga block.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via ZoomOne way you can think of the block is as something to “bring up the floor” and/or something to help support you. There are various types of yoga blocks and I am aware of two sizes, but there may be more. When you go shop for a set of yoga blocks (yes, you usually will want to have two) you will want to think about what you are going to use them for, this will help you decide the size and the material.

Once you decide on which ones to get you will notice that they have three “levels”; high, medium, and low. In some of the photos I am demonstrating two of the levels in one picture. You may also notice that my hand it not always in the correct position – if I were actually doing yoga – because I am using a remote to take pictures. And in some, yes, I cut off my head because it is about the blocks.

 

 

In a lunge, a triangle. and extended side angle you can see how it can be used to “bring up the floor”.https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/50947969378_643da99045_b.jpg

A block can be used to rest your head in a wide angle forward fold or a child’s pose.

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A block can help with alignment of the hips in a pigeon by supporting the hip/butt of the bent leg from underneath or help with a stretch by support the hips in a bridge.

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Blocks can be used (remember there are different levels) to help support knees in a bound angle. In this pose you can not only change the levels of the blocks but the placement . . . they can be closer to the hips to allow the knees to be higher, closer to the knees allowing for a more intense stretch in the inner thighs, or anywhere along the leg. A block can also support your knees in a supine twist. This helps when the knees can’t reach the floor and allows the shoulders to stay connected with the earth.

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Blocks can help raise the shoulders in a Downward Facing Dog. They can also bring up the floor and sometimes be higher than your heels in a camel. Again . . . remember blocks have three different levels that can be used.

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Some people like to sit on them to raise the hips in sukhasana or maybe even straddle a block for Thunderbolt (not pictured). And there is always something like a supported fish or shavasana.

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There are many, many, many ways to use blocks, this is just a small sample, and with many of these a bolster can be substitute. If you don’t have blocks sometimes a pillow or a towel can be used. A small sturdy box might work too, it really depends on what pose it is being used for.  With teaching classes online many people have the opportunity to use their own yoga props or things around the house.

I like to teach and practice the idea that yoga is not really done to get into a pose in a specific way, it is practiced to sense the body.  The body may never get into the pose as it was supposedly “supposed” to be, but we can practice with intent and gain many benefits along the way.

Do you use yoga blocks in your practice?

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

Decorations Are Different For 2020 Christmas

Posted by terrepruitt on December 11, 2020

With our living room as my studio for Nia, yoga, and stretch I’ve had to make some adjustments that have displaced some of my Christmas decorations. I’ve had to move some furniture around and my Zoom backdrop is in the way of a table that I normally put up to display a number of Christmas decorations. So . . . I’ve been rearranging things a bit. I just put the small bottle light up tonight, and I thought that it would be the piece that allowed me to be at peace with this arrangement, but I am not sure about it yet. I will have to sit with it. I have still been up and down (there are two ladders involved) decorating so we will see once I have a chance to actually observe it. My original vision was for multi-colored strings of lights. I didn’t have them, but might be able to scrounge them up. Maybe THAT will do the trick.

Christmas decorations continue for Friday Photos in December.

How are you doing so far?

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That’s A Wrap – FIRST EVERY Nia Belt Training Online

Posted by terrepruitt on October 5, 2020

Ahhh . . . so today was the actual last day of the FIRST EVER NIA WHITE BELT TRAINING ONLINE! Ok, I just want to clarify it was not only the first Nia White Belt Training online, it was the first Nia Belt Training online – ever. So it was super special! If you have read this journey from the beginning you may know, but just in case you haven’t I want to summarize briefly. Nia is a holistic wellness system, I call it a practice (like yoga) . . . through it, I teach cardio dance classes. Nia has levels of learning called belts. The first one is the Nia White Belt. The belts have thirteen principles (yoga has limbs). The principles can be applied to everyday life so you do not have to have teaching Nia in mind when you take the training. The Nia White Belt is all about the body and living in sensation. For some it is a reminder to dance through life and enjoy living in the body — for others that is a totally new and unique concept. Regardless it is a really amazing experience. I have said over and over Nia isn’t always about NEW stuff but the way Nia describes things and relates it to life it very cool. The training was two hours, once a week over sixteen weeks and it is over. I am going to go out on a limb and say we are all sad. I know that is very presumptuous, but I really believe it to be true. We are all sad that it is over. It was an amazing experience and we are sad it is done. But we are also happy because there is a lot more to come. With Nia there is always more.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia online, San Jose Virtual classes, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, Nia Technique, Yin Yoga, stretch classes, online exercise, Zoom classes, virtual yoga, City of San Jose online exercise, live classes via Zoom, Nia White Belt training via ZoomToday was not really what I was thinking it would be . . . a little disappointed that it wasn’t more of a ceremony, but it was very celebratory and joyous. We actually spent most of the time moving. We spent A LOT of the time dancing. We danced and Debbie reviewed the Nia White Belt Principles 2020. It was awesome.

Last week we were told there is new stuff and we would be told about it today, but I am guessing they couldn’t fit it all in so we are having another meeting next week that is going to explain the membership. If you want to teach you have to pay to do so . . . pretty much like every single licensed thing out there. Instructors pay for Zumba, PiYo, and all the things out there so that isn’t new, but the pay structure is going to change . . . so that is what I wanted to hear about today, but that didn’t happen. We danced and that was fun.

Even though we were not together in a room dancing, it really did feel like community. Especially when the host (we were on Zoom) shared everyone dancing, my entire screen was full of people dancing all over the world! That is amazing to me. I so love the idea of that. I know that I danced with a woman in Africa, a woman in Germany, a woman in Tennessee, a woman in Washington, two women in Texas, a woman in Idaho, and a woman in Chile. I don’t know where everyone else was but we were all together and we were dancing.

This was the second time I have taken the White Belt, the first time was in 2008 and an audit in 2009, but this was a full retake and the material was new. Again, the way it was presented was new, the language was new, but the core teachings are the same. I keep emphasizing that because that is important to me. Nia is not an opinion, which can change, it is a system based on science and ancient teachings so the base is consistent, yet it adjusts and grows.

Today was really fun. I loved moving and dancing with everyone.

I hope that you choose to explore more about Nia. I have posted about the thirteen Nia White Belt Principles 2020 I just studied (and will continue to study) and I have posted about Nia before. There is information on this blog and my site and of course, information about the trainings on Nianow.com

In Joy!

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This Little Bird

Posted by terrepruitt on October 2, 2020

I thought I had posted all of the pictures of watercolors that I had. All of the watercolors I have posted were from the San Jose Community Centers where I used to teach yoga, Nia, and stretch. Most of them were from Willow Glen, a couple (I think it was two) were the Camden Community Center. The Willow Glen Community Center always had such great art. This is the last one. He is bright and beautiful and I share him with you for today’s Friday Photo.

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Dragonfly

Posted by terrepruitt on July 17, 2020

So, I found three more watercolors from the community center in San Jose where I used to teach gentle yoga. At least I think they are watercolors, two of them are different than the others. One is really bright and one is really dark so it could be they are not watercolors. But they are for different Friday Photos, today we have this lovely dragonfly.

Do you like dragonflies?

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Nia White Belt P2 – Natural Time and Movement Forms – 2020

Posted by terrepruitt on July 13, 2020

Principle 2 of the Nia White Belt has two parts. Nia White Belt Principle 2 is Natural Time and Movement Forms. As you may have seen, I am re-taking the Nia White Belt training online and so far, the information, the bones of this principle has not changed . . . and that is comforting. It is nice to know that we – from the first Nia White Belt that experienced these principles to now – are all still moving from the same point of reference. Back when I took the Nia White Belt training in December 2008 they were developing new images called triads. We were the first class to get a glimpse of them and be shown how they “worked”. Nia is still using the triads to help students learn and embody information, but as I mentioned in a previous post, we are being presented with the latest langage to be used by Nia, but so far the core of the principles have been the same. In addition to the BRAND NEW (not even been printed) Nia White Belt “Sense” Book (the training manual) we are also reading The Nia Technique Book. The Nia Technique Book has pages and pages devoted to Nia White Belt Principle 2 – Natural Time and Movement Forms.  It is a vast principle.

First of all, I want to remind you that Nia is amazing. It is a holistic model for movement and life so it has A LOT of depth. The training material they put out is ALWAYS mind blowing. And over the years they have added more and more things to the toolbox. So, I am not disclosing everything we learn, I am not sharing all of the information because it really is something one needs to experience for themselves. All of the stuff I share – ok, most of it – comes from the publicly available book The Nia Technique Book.

The first part of the principle: Natural Time. I don’t have much to add to my first post on Nia Natural Time. There is a triad for this, but, again, not sharing ALL of our training with you because that just wouldn’t be fair. The first part of P2 is about moving in your own time and using the 13:20, your 13 major joints and your 20 digits, for movement, and about what Nia calls measure which I equate to proprioception, where you know where your body is in relation to things around you and to your own body.  This is very helpful when you are dancing with a lot of people.  It is also VERY helpful nowadays when you are observing social distancing. You use movement and measure to move in your body’s way.

The second part of the principle is Movement Forms. There are three arts that each contain three different movement forms. Now, I say we may use moves from each art because when exercising and/or dancing you are probably going to do a punch or a kick and/or a shimmy or a cha-cha-cha. But I do need to be clear that we are not actually DOING any of these forms. We just use elements from each form or even more accurately we use the energy of each form.  Since we are still using The Nia Technique Book in training, I feel that my previous posts can serve as information regarding each art and its included form.

The “Arts” are Martial Arts (MA), Dance Arts (DA), and the Healing Arts (HA).  Within each art is the form from which we use energy.

T’ai chi is the slow dance
Tae Kwon Do is the dance of precision
Aikido is the dance of harmonious spherical motion

Jazz Dance is the dance of fun, showmanship, and expression
Modern Dance
is the dance of creating shapes in space
Duncan Dance is the dance of free-spirited, honest movement

Feldenkrais is the dance of conscious awareness of sensation,
the Alexander Technique is the dance of movement from the top
Yoga is the dance of conscious alignment of bones and joints

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I am sharing the hastily drawn triad regarding the movement forms because it helps with understanding the organization of them.

For our homework we spent time discovering our energy personalities in relation to the nine movement forms.  In our training we spent time dancing each movement form to see how the different energy allowed our bodies to move.  It is fun to explore and maybe learn new ways to move.

And there you have it Principle 2 of the Nia White Belt hopefully it gives you a little insight as to how we dance Nia and even how we move through life.

Might you play with dancing using one of the movement forms?  See what is your favorite form of expression?

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Another Way To Look At Zoom

Posted by terrepruitt on May 13, 2020

There are so many settings on Zoom I honestly cannot remember them all. But I love settings . . . or more accurately I love to go through and make sure I have things set the way I want them and not the way the makers of the device, platform, or application wants them. So when I get a new phone I look through everything. The issue arises when there is an update because most of the time that entails new settings. And in some cases the update changes the settings you have so time consumingly set. Most often than not there are device settings AND there are application settings so there are a lot of settings . . . but I totally digress. Sometimes when I first use a device or application I don’t know what the setting is. So I usually leave it as is. A couple of weeks ago, after I had taught a class I was wishing there was a setting that would allow me to only see the people who had their cameras on. As I was falling asleep that night I had an inkling that there might just be such a setting. And there is!

When I teach a live class I want to see the people I am teaching. Teaching live and recording a video are two different things. Both have their purposes and both are great teaching tools, but when I teach live, I want to see my students. I like to be able to teach off of what I am seeing. In yoga for instance there can be many things that one may need to be reminded of while resting in a pose, but I don’t like to go through the entire list, I would rather look at the students and guide them with the cues they need. In a live Nia class I can see if we need to/want to stay in a move longer and not move on or if they need more or different verbal cues to help them get the move. I like to interact with my students. I do miss not being able to hear them, but with so many different venues (living rooms, garages, decks, patios, bedrooms, offices, you get the picture) they get muted so everyone can hear instruction and music. Now with that being said, I know there are just as many reasons why the camera is not turned on as there are people. So I completely understand when people don’t turn on the camera.

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BUT . . . . . .when there are 25 people in a class and 5 have on their cameras and 20 don’t, it makes it difficult to see the 5. The rectangles are so small. And when teaching a class I have the camera and monitor far away so it is difficult to see. After class two weeks ago, I was wondering if there was a way to “turn off” the people that are just black rectangles. And there is! Yay. If you click the “Hide non-video participants” box the only people you will see are the ones that are transmitting a live video that way you can concentrate on the students you can see AND I could actually see them because their rectangles are large enough. YAY.  This setting is found in settings, under video and you can get to it by clicking on the ^ next to “Start video” in the left-hand corner of your user screen.

At first when I did this I was worried that if someone who is showing up in the 25th spot turned on the camera I wouldn’t be able to see them because the transmitting ones “pushed” that spot off my screen (silly me) but when I thought about it I realized it doesn’t work that way. If someone in the 25th spot turns on their camera they become one of the video participants (and so there rectangle moves from the 25th spot) and I can see them.

So . . . just another setting on Zoom that might be helpful. I realize that we are all using Zoom differently so we are all needing different settings, but the more we share the more we can really deliver quality online classes to our students.

Do you keep ALL your students on your screen? Do you like to see your students?

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Come On Baby Light My Candle

Posted by terrepruitt on February 5, 2020

I may have mentioned on my blog in a past post that I love candles. I love to buy candles. I love to receive candles as gifts. I love to burn candles. I prefer candles that are scented with essential oils. I also lean toward soy candles but I don’t necessarily restrict myself to them. There was a time when my husband didn’t like candles, they pose a certain risk and he didn’t think it was worth it. So I tried to make sure that the candles we had were in jars or were tea lights that could be placed in a holder that was jar like so at least the flames was somewhat contained. But now he is lighting candles even when I am not home. So it was really cool when I received this lighter for Christmas. We have a few like this, but they always seem to be out of fuel. And then we don’t think about it until we go to use it. So the butane doesn’t make it on our shopping list – ever, it seems like. So this one I received was an exciting change.

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, CYCD, Yin YogaThis lighter does not use butane, it is a USB lighter. Yeah, you plug it in and it charges.  I received it as a Christmas gift after Christmas so it hasn’t really needed charging, but after we used it a few days I charged it anyway. The site claims it takes 1-1.5 hours to charge and that a full charge is good for up to 300 lights. Wow! It is easy to use once you get the hang of it. I find that putting the wick in between the prongs is not the way it works, so as soon as I got the hang of it, I can light a candle now without clicking it five times. So, with 300 hundred lights per charge I see it lasting a LONG time before it needs to be charged again. I think it is so cool.

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The site says it is “gas appliance safe” so even if you don’t light candles, if you have gas appliances to light it might be something you would be interested in.

It makes a noise that one of my cats DOES NOT LIKE.  She runs away.  The other day I lit a candle using a match and she didn’t even look up, but if she sees me pick up the lighter she runs.  Which is fine by me, I would rather my pets be afraid of things that can hurt them then to be curious and get injured.  But I try not to use it when she is around, I don’t like to scare her.

Aside from it scaring my cat, it is super cool.

So, what do you think? Do you think it is nearly as cool as I think it is? Do you use lighters?

 

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