All set for a brilliant New Year!

I know I haven’t written to you in a while, so I thought 1 January was a good time to get in touch as I take stock of the old year and look forward to the year to come.

I hope that 2018 was a good year for you. For me, it was a year of change and new beginnings.

My last post was called “Choose something different“. And in 2018, as you know, I did. I chose to go back to full-time work and to focus on getting back to full health after a nasty bout of flu in January. My most recent choice has been to participate in, rather than to teach, Nia classes for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t an easy choice.

A number of people have told me how much they miss my Nia classes. I’m so pleased to hear they enjoyed them and have to admit that I miss them too.  However, attending Allison’s Nia class on Saturday mornings (see below for details) has helped fill the gap for me; I’ve rediscovered the joy of movement, which is what it’s all about. 
Leading Nia classes has been fun, has made me many friends and has opened many doors, but it demands more time and dedication than I can give at the moment. I don’t exclude teaching again in the future, but it’s unlikely to be in 2019.

This morning, I discovered that NiaTV are beginning a free 30 days to wellbeing challenge, starting on 7 January 2019 (see link below).There are other similar challenges around – you only have to look at Facebook or Pinterest – I hope you will find something to suit you to help kick off the new year.

The many changes in the past year have also meant it’s been harder to keep in touch with old friends and all the people I met through being involved in Nia since 2010. I’m sorry about that. I miss your company and the cups of tea and chats we used to have so I’d love to hear what 2018 brought for you and what you’re looking forward to in 2019

Here’s to a 2019 full of health, wealth and happiness!
With best wishes,
Anne

Have a great year!


Have you missed Nia classes?

I have, but I started to do other things as and when I was able. A 20-minute walk at lunch-time, going Irish Set Dancing at least once a week and since October I have been going to Allison Austick’s Nia class in Riding Mill.

Allison’s Nia class

Saturdays, 10 a.m.  in The Millennium Hall, Church Lane, Riding Mill, NE44 6DR.

Classes start again on 12 January 2019.

Nia 30-days to wellbeing challenge

Starts 7 January 2019. Sign up on the NiaTV website. It’s free to take part.


Nia move of the month – Fingers:
Power Finger Cross Over

In Nia the middle finger is the “Power Finger” (see here for the emotions/energy connected to the other fingers). You simply cross the middle finger over your index finger (like crossing your fingers for good luck). Extend your arms and do it, and notice the tension in your arms as you cross your fingers.  How do your neck and shoulders feel? Tense or relaxed?  I also challenge you to cross the Power Finger over your ring finger! Listen as Laurie Bass explains what happens in each version of this move:


 

 

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Choose something different

Are you enjoying the sun?  I’m loving it! Especially as I had a few days holiday at the end of June/beginning of July. It was lovely to take a break and visit friends and family and then go back to work feeling rested and refreshed. After my last blog, where I talked about how doing fewer things more slowly, I really appreciated the change in pace.

Can you take time out or make a change to your normal routine ? Or, working on the theory that a change is as good as a rest, why not decide to do things a bit differently?  Take a different route to work  – it might even boost your creativity (see this article to find out more); park somewhere different and walk a bit further to your destination. If you always shop in the same high street, try shopping somewhere else. Try something different for lunch or a new flavour of coffee. The possibilities are endless, and who knows? You might even find something amazing – just by choosing to try something new!

Have a great month.


Nia move of the month – Fingers:
Claw Hands

This is a great move for letting out tension or expressing emotions – especially if you growl like a bear, or hiss like a cat as you do it (other sounds work too!). You might recognise these combinations of sound and the move from the Nia routines Soul and Sanjana.

This move strengthens hands and fingers. Just claw the air, keeping your wrists relaxed.  In the video you can see Jan Braun explain how to do it, and if you watch from the beginning, you can recap the moves I’ve highlighted in the past few months: Creepy Crawlers. Finger Flicks and Catching Flies.


What I’m watching

If you’ve enjoyed the Nia routine SOUL, you might enjoy watching its creator Britta von Tagen sharing it at Studio Nia in Portland, Oregon:


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Do a few things slowly…

“Dublin, and its ever-increasing sphere of influence, operates increasingly along such alien notions as a full appointment book, designated quality time, and death by stress. But once you cross the Shannon – even though geographically you have only come a short distance – different rules of time apply, and most people still understand the crucial secret of human happiness: that it’s better to do a few things slowly, than a lot of things fast.” – McCarthy’s Bar: a journey of discovery in Ireland. p 300. (My italics).

Most people who know me, know that I love Irish music and dance and my whole reason for doing Nia was so that I could stay fit enough  to continue Irish Set Dancing. When I started dancing, I read all sorts of books about Ireland and visited the country a number of times. In recent weeks I’ve been re-reading some of those books and came across the above in McCarthy’s Bar. 

The crucial secret of human happiness?  Maybe this is why we hear so much about mindfulness these days and why multi-tasking seems to be falling out of fashion. I know I’m guilty of trying to do too much at once, and often find that everything takes twice as long as I think it will. Can you identify with that?  Maybe the Irish have got it right west of the Shannon?

Have a great month.


Nia move of the month – Fingers:
Catching Flies

One of my regular class members really didn’t like this move – or maybe it was the way it was integrated into the routine. However, it’s a really good move for improving hand/eye co-ordination as it connects hand, head, eyes and encourages speed and dexterity. In fact, your eyes lead the move as you chase imaginary flies and then extend your open hand to close around each one and bring it in towards you. As you move your head and eyes you will integrate your spine into the move too.

The speed of the move can vary and you can catch flies above you, low down or even behind you.


What I’m listening to

I saw Barbara Dickson in concert last weekend. She’s now 70, looking fabulous and her voice is just as powerful and beautiful as I remembered. She spent ages signing CDs and having a word with everyone who approached her after the concert. Just shows what doing something you love can do to help you stay young. I’ve enjoyed listening to some of her greatest hits again this week. I had forgotten how many songs there were to choose from. This is one of my favourites from “Evita”;  can you guess which one?

What I’m reading

McCarthy’s Bar: a journey of discovery in Ireland, Pete McCarthy,Hodder & Stoughton, 2000. See above!


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All Tangled Up: mindful stress buster?

I hope you had a good break during the Easter weekend. After working on Good Friday, I had a full three days off. I saw family on Easter Sunday and pottered around the house on Monday, determined not to do anything remotely connected with work in any way, shape or form. I spent ages on my latest hobby – Zentangle. I’ve discovered some new Zentangle patterns, or “Tangles”(see right), via a great You tube channel that presents a new tangle nearly every day. I find it’s a nice restful way to begin the morning. It’s designed to be very mindful and a good way to release stress.

My new job means I sit at a desk more than I used to, and I do find my hips stiffen up if I don’t move around. So, since  deciding to take some time out from teaching Nia classes, I make sure I walk for at least half an hour every day. The fresh air helps clear my head at lunch time and I get to explore the area around the building where I now work. From time to time I also take some of my own advice, put on some of my favourite music  to find which Nia moves are a good fit.

Have a great month.


Nia move of the month – Fingers:
Spear Fingers

For me, this wasn’t the easiest move to practise. It creates tension in your hands, fingers and forearms. The first two fingers are extended, the second two folded  and the thumb presses down on the knuckle of your first finger.

You can spiral your hands, change palm directions and “dance” your hands in space around you.


What I’m watching

Two great history programmes on tv at the moment – Britain’s most historic towns with Prof. Alice Roberts on Channel 4 and Britain’s great cathedrals with Tony Robinson. The former featured Chester on Saturday and the latter was all about Canterbury cathedral on Friday.


Dates for your diaryCalendar

See the Classes and Events page.


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Time for a mini-workout?

Talk about great timing! I found something really interesting on NiaTV just this morning: a twenty minute workout using the music for the Nia routine “Sanjana”.Shop NiaTV Today! Great for those days when you haven’t the time to do a full one-hour Nia class, or like me, if you currently struggle to finish a full class.

Yes, after teaching at least one class a week for the last few years, I attempted to follow a class on Nia TV one evening last week and only got half way through before I had to give up. I was just too tired. After not teaching for a few weeks, following a dose of ‘flu, I’m going to have to ease myself in gently. Partly because of this, I’ve decided to take an extended break from teaching Nia, so I won’t be teaching any regular classes in Co. Durham or Darlington until further notice.

Until I came across the twenty-minute workout, my suggestion for this month was going to be to choose a couple of the “Nia moves of the month” and have fun moving them to your favourite songs. For example, the Nia move “Slow Clock” fits really well to “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees, or how about “Travelling in Directions” and “Hip Bumps” to Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff”? Add a couple of hand moves, or “Rock around the clock” or “Duck walk“- for the introduction,  and you have your own mini workout!

For a change, you could try doing the moves sitting down. Check out my Top Tips for getting the best from your Nia workout to learn more about staying safe when doing a seated workout.

Have fun!


Nia move of the month – Fingers:
Creepy Crawlers

This is another of my favourite Nia moves. It helps my fingers, hands wrists and forearms stay strong, flexible and agile. It releases tension and helps keep my joints mobile. I am convinced that this, and the other Nia hand and finger moves, really helped me overcome arthritis pain in my hands and wrists.

Basically, you “tickle” with all of your fingers and thumbs. You can change the position of your hands and the direction of your palms. If it makes you laugh that’s all to the good – just sense your abdominal muscles tighten when you do! Watch it here:


Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes

No Nia classes for the moment in Co. Durham and Darlington.

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