Autumn, changing your brain and “U”

pumpkin-autumn-leavesAutumn has finally arrived and though it’s still sunny as I write, there’s a crisp coldness in the air and the next block of Nia classes in Newton Aycliffe will take us almost up to Christmas! In the meantime,  I have plenty of news and tips to pass on this month.

I’ve just heard a great TED talk by Denise Medved on changing your brain through play. At a time where one of our biggest preoccupations as a society is coping with an ageing population, she proposes a really simple way to keep people’s brains healthy. I’ve shared details below. Do take a look.

Have you ever been told how good meditation is for clearing your mind, but struggled to get started? Well, I’ve found a five minute video that really helped me (see below).

If you’ve ever wondered how the Nia routines I teach are put together, there’s a link to an article on Ann Christiansen, Nia trainer and creator of the routine “U” where she talks about the process.  And in the “Nia move of the month” section, we’re beginning to look at punches, which are great for strength and conditioning.

I’m looking forward to beginning another block of five evening Nia classes starting on 14 November at the Pioneering Care Centre and taking us up to 12 December. We’ll then take a break for Christmas. Full details below.

Have a great month!

PS. Following the discussion at the end of today’s class, the last track I used was: “The Unwinding” by Parijat. It’s used in the Nia routine “Humanity“.  The other track we talked about was the first track of the routine “Grace”. It’s called “To make the impossible possible” and you’ll find more information about it here.


Nia Move of the month – Upward Punch

There are four basic punches: Upward, Outward (forward), Across and Downward. as with the Blocks, they all begin and end in the Ready Position:  A or Sumo Stance, knees soft and spring-loaded, hands in a fist with palms up, elbows in, forearms close to your body.

You can sound, “up!”, “out!”, “down!” or “across!” to engage your core and diaphragm.

Punches can help you move quickly and rhythmically. They develop strength in your core and arms and condition your back and legs too! and can really make you feel more powerful.

Put on your favourite music and depending on the beat, play with strong, powerful, jazzy and gentle punches.
For the Upward Punch, from the Ready Position, use your elbow to power the punching fist up in front of your face, while the other elbow draws back. Repeat on alternate sides.

Watch it here :


A five-minute invitation to meditate

tibetan-singing-bowlsHow many times have I read or been told how beneficial meditation is? I’ve lost count. Here’s a five-minute YouTube video that really helped me. I tried it and couldn’t believe that it really was a full five minutes, so I timed it! And I can confirm that it is just over five minutes long.


What I’m watching
Changing Your Brain Can Be As Simple As Child’s Play, Denise Medved

Here’s a fab TED Talk from Denise Medved, creator of Ageless Grace, about how movement, and specifically play, can activate the brain and keep it healthy. Enjoy!

Denise is the creator of Ageless Grace which uses the simple techniques she describes here.


What I’m reading
u-class-experienceAnn Christiansen on creating the Nia routine “U”

I mentioned last month that the Nia routine “U” is now available as a digital download from Amazon, iTunes and Google Play and you can buy the DVD from Nianow and Amazon. Here’s its creator Ann Christiansen talking about her inspiration for the routine and what the choreography is intended to do. Read it now: Behind the scenes with Ann Christiansen.

And this video captures the power, grace and strength of Ann’s moves.


Classes and events
Nia in Newton Aycliffe, Mondays at 6.30 p.m.

Nia logo new redThe next block of Monday night classes will begin on 14 November.

£17.50 for the block of five. Please bring the correct money in an envelope with your name on it. £5 per class

More information on Classes & Events page.