Showing posts from 2009

More Good Words About Nia

I received the following email from a Nia student this morning. I thought I'd share it's wonderful message:
Jason I feel tremendous joy and aliveness when moving in a Nia class.
I tap into an inner strength & passion & fiery nature that lies dormant when I am not in class.
Also my negative body image ( feeling overweight) seems to magically disappear when I feel the rush of energy go through all my body parts.
Being an artist, and having had a dream of being a dancer since I was a child, the creative aspects of Nia are a powerful outlet for me, and I get to fulfill my dream of being a dancer. The excitement that my whole being feels is what keeps me coming back.
Often dealing with art materials, the materials or the fear of the materials become an obstacle. When the body is your instrument, there are no "materials" there, just your body as pure instrument where instinct can manifest itself.I might add that I also feel a sexual vitality through Nia- combining sensua…

Another Happy Nia Story

I just found out about a blog one of my Nia students wrote last year.
Here is the link to her blog:

How I Fixed My Body (injury update #2)

In November 2008, I had just gotten fired up by yoga. I was determined to study and practice yoga in depth. In January 2009 I had some photos taken of myself demonstrating the sixteen yoga poses that I was going to be working with, so that I could chart my progress for the year.
Well, about two weeks after that photo shoot, I injured my shoulder. And suddenly my life became about something else. Dealing with pain, Loss of function. Starting over. I went from doing over 200 pushups, to not being able to do a single pushup. I could barely put on a shirt.
In March I started to feel a bit better and wanted to be buff for a show I was doing, so I started to lift weights again. I was pushing them around as best I could do. And I was smart to start light and build incrementally and slowly. And I warmed up well and stretched afterwards. But the pain came back. I also noticed I was building my body incorrectly. I was building asymmetry and imbalance by using compensatory movements to mask m…

JAG Energy Flow

JAG Energy Flow builds holistic fitness. Using basic, body weight movements to build strength, flexibility, coordination and agility. JAG Energy Flow burns fat and tones muscles. You feel stronger, and more at peace because you don't have to do any jarring, repetitive, boring movement for your cardio.

There are four segments to an Energy Flow Class

1) The class begins warming and preparing your body by moving through the Five Stages of Human Development. Embryonic, Creeping, Crawling, Standing and Walking. This practice alone is one of the best exercises you can do for yourself. By moving your body through these five stages, it basically realigns your body every time you do it. If you learn this practice from this class and do it every day on your own, you will be amazed at the way your body responds. You will notice a freedom and an ease in your movements.

2) Then Energy Flow moves into HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training means that you take your heart rate up high for short peri…

How To Use Nia for Self Healing

Any time you come to a Nia class, you have the opportunity to heal yourself. In Nia we are very aware of the power of Attention. So, we make a conscious choice to pay attention to our own self-healing, and that's what makes Nia such a profound form of therapy as well as fitness.
By the way, when I say "healing" I'm referring to any act of consciously making yourself feel better. Healing could stimulate or relax you physically, mentally and/or energetically, strengthen your muscles, increase your flexibility, reduce or remove your aches and pains ...etc. As long you feel better after you do the movement, you have self-healed. Scratching an itch is a simple example of an act of self-healing. So is rubbing your cold hands together until they are warm. Some other examples could be squatting down deeply enough to stretch that tight hip muscle, or throwing your arms open, looking up to the sky and taking a big deep breath of fresh air. The carefully composed movements o…

Injury Update

October marks ten months since that fateful day I went too far in the gym and injured my shoulder. I rarely feel pain anymore. It's been about four months since any of the pain was present. Although, after a particularly vigorous workout, I do experience some pain in a similar pattern as the progression of the first time: the insidious ache that starts in the middle back near the inner edge of the scapula and moves deeper in towards the head of the humerus and finally becomes a spasm in the belly of the pec minor. But that only lasts for a few days at a time.
I've regained a lot of my symmetry and my shape, but I'm still a bit asymmetrical as you can see in the photo. My right shoulder, arm and chest are slightly smaller than the left. It takes a discerning eye to see, though, because it's much better than how I was in June. Click here to see Before Injury pictures and how I looked in June and then compare to how I am now. This shot was taken in September 2009:

During …

Another Nia student testimonial

Yay! Go Nia!
"Last February, I just got off the couch and decided to come back to Nia after 3 years of not doing any exercise. I showed up to your Sunday class and instantly felt comfortable and accepted. I found myself coming back each Sunday really focused on your opening "intention" for the day and feeling better already. Once the music came on, I simply responded to the joy of movement to music. I didn't ask myself to do more than what I could and the atmosphere was welcoming and non-judgemental.
Three months later, I had an "a ha" moment a block away from my apartment. It happened after work, right after I left Gourmet Garage carrying 2 packages and a shoulder bag; I wanted to get home and the Broadway light was already green. I just ran across the street and made the light! I didn't even think about it until I had crossed Broadway. The old, lethargic me would have stood at the corner to wait for the next light. The new me didn't eve…

Personal Training the JAG fit way

“Most people decide they want to get in shape, so they either hire a trainer or join a gym to work on their own. But they do way too much work and not enough balanced lifestyle adjustments, so they burn out from all the hard work and get discouraged because they’re not seeing the changes they want. They just want to be ‘toned and fit’ but they’re doing the workout of an elite athlete. And they’re not supporting it with a fitness lifestyle. Even if they do get results, they often decide that it’s not worth all of the hard work, and eventually drop the gym, the trainer and/or the lifestyle. If instead, they took small, comfortable steps toward fitness they’d not only get fit easily but they’d enjoy doing it and maintain it forever. As your trainer it is my role to teach you how to become your own trainer. I specialize in helping people take control of their bodies.”-Jason Alan GriffinJAG Fitness
You don’t need to live at the gym or even have a membership! You don’t have to have a per…


As a personal trainer, I spend a lot of time and energy with my clients on the importance of accepting yourself as imperfect. I’m adamant about always applying yourself 100% to what you’re doing and always trying your best. But these things must go hand in hand with the ability to love yourself just the way you are, first. Having the ‘imperfect’ mindset is like having wings or like having your shackles removed. You will find yourself fearless and courageous and able to undertake any task bravely as soon as you can own the fact that you’ve got flaws and that’s OK.
It is stated beautifully in a song called “Anthem” by Leonard Cohen:

“Ring the bells that still can ring.Forget your perfect offering.There is a crack, a crack in everything.That’s how the light gets in.”
If you can’t do a particular exercise or if you find a movement challenging, just do what you can do and eventually you’ll improve and soon you may even master that movement. Or if you fall off of your diet or skip a few d…


I recently sent out an email asking everyone if they had any questions about their hips as I was embarking on a deep study thereof.Here are some of the questions and answers published for anyone who is interested.
****Q: Hi - I have had severe muscle spasms in my neck, shoulder back diagnosed as arthritis in my neck and narrowing of C6 vertebraall related to aging - (inevitable)I would like to strengthen my body - CORE - and these areas as wellAs you know i am not very flexible and always have been this way.What would be the best direction for me to go - Yoga? Pilates? Stretching? Strength Training (that's what started my problem)
A: Well, I have to mention that I know many people older than you who don’t have this problem and in truth, many people will never develop it. Your body responds to what you do with it. It's not that you reach a certain age and suddenly you have arthritis in your neck. You most likely have a simple physical habit or pattern that developed over time i…

TOO LITTLE IS BETTER THAN TOO MUCH A painful reminder of the importance of moderation

One of my first lessons in fitness school was the story of Milo and the Bull. Milo was given a calf by his father. He went out every day and picked up the calf and carried it to his father to show him how much he’d grown. As the bull grew heavier each day, so did Milo’s strength. Eventually, Milo was known in town for being the only man who could easily lift a full-grown bull. This fable is an illustration of the lesson that you must start small and add weights gradually. This is the safest, quickest and most effective way to increase your strength. The thing is, I know this. But I forgot that basic lesson for one fateful day.
My story begins in late January of 2009. Just in case you don’t know this about me, I’ve always kept myself in good shape and placed a very high priority on my health and wellness. For the past few years, I had been focused on developing an intense fitness system that uses little to no equipment. It was not a body-building program, but it made me lean, m…

Jason on the Boards

Medicine Show presents the World Premiere of:MAKING MONEYand 19 OTHER VERY SHORT PLAYSby William Saroyanwith new works written especially for these performances by Kitty Chen, John Gruen, Lella Heins, Brian Murphy and Frederick Turner.Saroyan's series of plays was written in the early 1960's but have never been produced on stage. They are a free-wheeling, comically skeptical look at American society. They embody a time between The Twist and Sex, Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll. Saroyan's plays question the belief system imposed on the 'common man.' They see us all stumbling toward some kind of truth.Jason enjoys his fifth production with Medicine Show and says "you can always count on Medicine Show to confound its audience in good and bad ways, both intentionally and unintentionally. We unapologetically show you exactly what we think. This is realexperimental theater fresh from the 60's. If you've never seen a Medicine Show production, you really shoul…


The pectineus is a flat rectangular muscle of the adductor group. It is the smallest, most anterior and most proximal of the five adductors (muscles that act on closing your legs). It originates on the front of the pelvic girdle and inserts on the upper portion of the inner thighbone; the femur. It is monoarticular, meaning it only crosses and acts upon one joint: the hip. The main function of the pectineus is to adduct the thighs. It also flexes and internally rotates the thigh at the hip.

When this muscle is tight it limits full range of motion in yoga poses like baddhakonasana (bound angle pose). You can see by the way my knees are so far off the ground that my pectineus muscles are extremely tight.

Pectinues is innervated by the femoral nerve and the obturator nerve. It is associated with the second chakra.

You cannot see the pectineus in most people, but you can feel it if you know where to go. While someone's leg is slightly flexed and externally rotated at the hip, and y…

Serratus Anterior

The Serratus Anterior forms the lateral aspect of the upper torso musculature. It originates on the ribcage, attached to all but the lowest of the full ribs (numbers 1-9), and inserts at the medial anterior edge of the scapula. The tendon attachments on each rib, give the muscle an appearance similar to the edge of a serrated knife, which is where the name SERRATUS comes from. The “fingers” of the serratus anterior interlace with the “fingers” of the external oblique muscles and share fascial attachments on the ribs. Only a portion of the muscle can be seen. The pectoralis major lays over the upper portion of the SA, but the inferior four or five heads can be visible on lean people.

Shown here, it looks like a row of bumps on the torso wall, just below the armpit.

The actions of the serratus anterior are to pull the scapula away from the midline and to pull it closer into the ribs, hugging the body. It also functions to stabilize the scapula during contractions of the pectoralis major. …