All posts by Anne Cosgrove

Staying healthy in 2018

Oh my goodness! Where did January go?  Even if it passed quickly, a lot happened!  My computer “died” at the beginning of the month, so I had limited access to my website and emails for the whole of January. I also started a new job, led a Nia session at the  Sparklicious event on 6 January. Following a visit to the dentist, I developed an infection and then spent the last two weeks of January out of action with ‘flu. So I’m quite glad to see the back of January and will be focusing on eating well and staying fit and healthy for the rest of the year!

Given that I had ‘flu, I had to cancel a Nia class on 22 January and if you’ve visited the classes and events page of the website recently, you’ll have seen that I’ve decided to take a break from teaching classes for a while so I can focus on recovering completely.

If you are already missing your  Monday night Nia class, you could consider subscribing to NiaTV. Alternatively choose a couple  of the Nia Moves of the Month that I’ve featured in the blog over the last year, put on some of your favourite music and just get moving!

Have a great month.


Nia move of the month – Fingers:
Finger Flicks

I love this move. For me, it’s playful, I can feel the strength in my hands and fingers as I practise it. It’s a great move for conditioning not only the hands and fingers, but the forearm muscles too, and for releasing tension from the neck, shoulders and hands. It’s a simple and effective move for anyone who uses a keyboard a lot or who spends time engaged in handicrafts or any activity that requires fine motor skills.

Curl your fingers and place your thumb across your finger nails. Push the thumb to create some tension and then flick your fingers out, as if you were flicking water off them. Or you can imagine an explosion, or fireworks. You can create variety by changing the plane of movement (low, middle or high) and by changing the palm direction. Laurie Bass incorporates whole body moves with finger flicks. Just watch!


What I’m watching

Nia Dance Wild video
In December and January, Nia teachers around the world held events to mark the release of a brand new Nia routine called “Wild”. Take a look at the video here.

The Truth about… Getting fit, BBC TV
This is the time of year when many of us think about starting to exercise after the excesses of the end of year festivities. This programme gives some great advice. However, I have to admit that I haven’t seen the whole programme yet, but what I did see was fascinating. To quote from the programme website:
“Medical journalist Michael Mosley teams up with scientists whose latest research is turning common knowledge about fitness on its head.

They reveal why 10,000 steps is just a marketing ploy and that two minutes of exercise is all a person needs each week. They discover how to get people to stick to their fitness plans and what exercise can actually make everyone more intelligent. Whether it is for couch potatoes who hate the thought of exercise, someone too busy to consider the gym, or even for fitness fanatics who are desperate to do more – science can help everyone exercise better.”

I’m a bit sceptical about just needing two minutes exercise a week, but I do agree that a 10-minute brisk walk every day can be better for you than aiming for 10,000 steps. See what you think! It’s available on the BBC iPlayer for the rest of February.

What I’m reading
If you’re looking for some inspiration for staying healthy and looking after yourself, take a look at the “Wholeheartedly Healthy” Blog by Laura Agar-Wilson. She has some great healthy recipes and lots of ideas for self-care.

Dates for your diary
Calendar

Check the Classes and Events page.


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Happy New Year!

A few days into the new year, I hope it’s not too late to wish you health, wealth and happiness in 2018. I hope you had a good break over the festive season and that the new year has begun well for you.

It’s 6 January today and after a wonderful morning at the Sparklicious Ladies’ Retreat Day (details on my classes and events page) where I kicked off the year in style wih an amazing group of women, I came home to take down the Christmas tree. It is Twelfth Night after all. So it’s back to normal now.

Nia classes start again on Monday at the Pioneering Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe. If you’ve been thinking about coming along for a while, do join us. Classes will continue this year provided I can cover costs and I need a minimum of seven people every week to make that possible. I may do a weekend workshop from time to time during the year; look out for details on the classes and events page.

Have an amazing January.

See you next month.


Nia move of the month – Fingers:
Finger Extensions

Finger extensions can help you strengthen and move your hands with greater precision. In Nia, the fingers and thumbs are associated with different forms of energy and different emotions. You can think of them linking your Body and your Emotions:

  • The thumb is Nurture
  • The index finger is Desire
  • The middle finger is Power
  • The ring finger is Commitment
  • The little finger is Boundaries

As you play with finger extensions, ask yourself, “How does this feel?” How does each finger extension affect your hand, your wrist, your forearm? Where do you feel tension? Where do you feel release?


What am I watching?

NiaTV   –  Nia any time, any where.

Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes

Starting again on Monday 8 January 2018, 6.30 p.m. at the Pioneering Care Centre. Full details.

Another Sparklicious Day Retreat

Saturday 6 January 2018, The Yurt, Hardwick Park nr. Sedgefield – a great way to leave the old year behind and step into the new.  I spent the morning at this event and met up with several ladies who were at the last one in July 2017. All I can say is that they were glowing!  Why not read more about what Sparklicious Living could do for you. Check out Sparklicious Living’s website.


More information on the Classes and Events page.


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Send a smile and some glitter…

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Getting ready for end of year celebrations, Christmas lights cheering up our streets and time to get together with friends and family and show them how much we appreciate them. See “What I’m reading” below for a few tips to send your loved ones a little extra something with their gifts and cards.

There will be two more weeks of regular Nia classes before Christmas – Monday 11 December and Monday 18 December, followed by a two week break. Then, from January,  I’ll be teaching just one Nia class a week on a Monday evening, beginning on 8 January. Details, as always, on the Classes & Events page. You’ll also find details  of a  Sparklicious way to kick off the New Year.

And finally,

Wishing you and your families all the best for the Christmas season and for a very Happy New Year.  See you in 2018!


Nia move of the month – Palm Directions

As you change the direction of your palms, notice how your forearm bones rotate around each other. Then as you extend your arms and change palm  directions, sense the opening of your shoulder joint when your palms are up and how it closes when your palms are facing down.  Changing palm directions helps you to get the most power from your arms.

If your arms are by your sides, try breathing deeply, first with palms forward and then with palms facing back. Which is easier? Which palm direction opens up your chest?

You can also change palm directions while moving hands side to side as if pushing aside an invisible curtain and tap into the energy of Tai Chi.


What I’m reading

Here’s a snippet from Anne Jirsch‘s December newsletter with a few tips for creating a bit of extra Christmas cheer:

“Every gift you wrap, imagine popping a little smile inside before you seal it up.
Every card, imagine sending a little glitter.
Everyone you come across just send them the thought, ‘I hope you get what you want.’

And here’s a tip from Ann Maurice Boone: ‘When I need money I wish everyone health, wealth and abundance. Then something happens that gives me the opportunity to create that money and invest.’

Finally do a little visualisation ahead of each day imagining it to be full of warmth, love and laughter.”

What am I watching?

NiaTV  of course!Shop NiaTV Today!
I am really enjoying following the new routine “Wild” and have already incorporated two tracks into my classes. It’s a great way to experience the Magic of Nia anytime, anywhere.

Find out more and subscribe here.


Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes

Last two classes of the year on Monday 11 and Monday 18 December. The last one will have a festive soundtrack. Why not join us?

Pioneering Care Centre, Newton Aycliffe
Next block of five classes starts Monday 11 December 2017. £6 per class or £25 for all five classes if paid on 11th December 2017. You may join in at any point in the block.

NB. We’re taking a two week break for Christmas. More.


Another Sparklicious Day Retreat

Saturday 6 January 2018, The Yurt, Hardwick Park nr. Sedgefield

The theme for the day is New Year, New You.
A day to refocus and release the past to move forward with clarity and focus. Click the poster on the right to read more and find out how to book a place.


Jump to the  Classes and Events page for more information.


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Bring me sunshine and a smile

As the days draw in and the year end approaches, every sunny day is a bonus. I was inspired by Pam Grout’s blog last Friday to make the most of the sun and went for a walk in a local park. The photo on the right really doesn’t do it justice, though it does show how clear and blue the sky was. The ground was covered with water droplets that glowed in rainbow colours as the sun caught them. They looked like tiny fairy lights strung between the blades of grass but they just weren’t visible in any of the photos I took.

As I was reflecting on this, I was reminded of the Morecambe and Wise song “Bring me sunshine in your smile” which seemed to bring a smile to everyone when Susan Calman recently danced to it on “Strictly come dancing”. Smiling, apparently releases serotonin and I’m told that just the action of smiling, whether you feel like it or not, can lift your mood. “Strictly” often makes me smile. I’ll be watching a dance sequence and suddenly realise that I’m smiling. Dancing and music can bring such joy.

In a recent newsletter, Anne Jirsch suggested smiling at yourself in the mirror, smiling at everyone who crosses your path (even if they think you’re crazy) and sending a huge smile out to any area of the world that needs help. My grandmother used to say, “a smile costs nothing”.  She was right. Shall we give it a try this month?

And finally, a quick reminder that there are no Nia classes on Monday 13th November.

Have a great month.


Nia move of the month – Hand technique:
Webbed Spaces

If you want to strengthen your hands, wrists and fingers, this is one to practise. And it’s so simple: you just “yawn” with your hands. Spread your fingers, and sense the spaces between them. Extend your fingers and increase the space between them.

“Dance” your hands around you. What sensations do you notice? Tingling? Temperature changes? Can you “feel” the space in the palm of your hand too?

The faster version involves both hands chopping at the same time, keeping the wrists loose  – like a massage therapist working on tense tight muscles.

Here’s Laurie Bass to tell you more.


What I’m reading

Pam Grout: Have you claimed your gifts today?

What I’m watching

Can’t resist linking to this – it just makes me smile…


Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes

No classes on 13 November 2017

More information on the Classes and Events page.


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Back to work & everyday dancing

After a few days away from home for a late summer break, I’m back to work this week and autumn has well and truly arrived. It was good to meet up with people I hadn’t seen for a while, and to have time to read, to draw and generally relax.

I went for a few long walks during my break. It’s a while since I’ve done that.  I’m used to walking from the car park into work, I’m on my feet all morning and I’m used to teaching Nia classes, but I’m out of the habit of walking for more than 20 minutes at a stretch.  And, I have to admit, for most of my week’s holiday, I was sitting down.  Getting back to teaching Nia classes yesterday, reminded me how much I love to move, how much my body needs to move and how it gets me out of my head.

It put me in mind of a talk I heard a while ago by Paula Byrne where she talks about how modern life means we sit more and move less. It’s both fascinating and amusing to see her lead the audience through a 3 minute movement workout with no steps to learn, no counting and no need to know left from right (a bit like Nia classes in a way). You can find a link to it below. I got distracted looking at her outfit. I love it. Any idea where I can find one like it?

Classes are back to normal from this week, but unfortunately, I’ve had to cancel the workshop planned for tomorrow, Wednesday 4 October 2017. For details of what’s on currently, please visit the Classes & Events page.

Have a great month.


Nia move of the month – Hand technique:
Chop Cut

This is a great move for releasing stress and for improving strength in your arms and shoulders.

You can do a slow version: hold the palm of your left hand up and in front of you and with the other arm, chop down with the side of your hand (like a karate chop). Don’t hit the palm of your hand – stop just as you get there. Repeat on the other side.

The faster version involves both hands chopping at the same time, keeping the wrists loose  – like a massage therapist working on tense tight muscles.


What I’m watching

Everyday dancing by Paula Byrne
Dancing is an act of trust – giving our bodies permission to speak up, to move any way they want. It’s an act of moving meditation, because our bodies are always in the present moment… and the present moment is where life is happening.


Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes

  • The block of five classes that began at Keep Fit Darlington and at the Pioneering Care Centre on 18th September continues on 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd October.

Advance notice – Another Sparklicious Day Retreat

Saturday 6 January 2018 – a great way to leave the old year behind and step into the new. Details to follow. Check out Sparklicious Living’s website.


More information on the Classes and Events page.


Subscribe to my newsletter to receive news, tips and information direct to your inbox.