Category Archives: Holistic Health

Take 5 & Chill!

asleepFeeling very chilled after my first ever “Move with Ease” session last Friday. I caught up on sleep over the weekend (a lot!), so I hope the participants felt as relaxed as I did. One actually said that the only way the session could have been improved was if I’d provided duvets and left them till 8 a.m. next morning!

If you missed it, there’s another chance to try it out for yourself on 29 July. Same time. Same place. We’ll start with some simple moves to help release tension and relieve pain, followed by some mindful, slow and easy moves to music and end with around 15 minutes of complete relaxation. Places are limited, so please contact me if you’d like to book a place. Full details on the classes and events page.

Read on to discover this week’s Nia Move of the week and download 10 tips for an ageless brain and body.

Nia move of the week – Hip Bumps

Staying with the Core of the body, this week we’re looking at Hip Bumps.  Doing Hip Bumps keeps upper and lower body connected as well as toning your core, your waist and increasing mobility in your spine.

Just imagine you’re bumping someone out of your way – forwards, backwards, to the sides.(Remember that dance from the 1970s?).

If it’s uncomfortable, try slowing down or making the move smaller.

Watch it here.

What I’m reading – 10 tips for an ageless brain and body

I’ve just finished reading a novel which follows the effect of early onset Alzheimer’s  not only on the person who receives the diagnosis, but also on her family, particularly the younger daughter. (“What might have been me” by Yvonne Cassidy).

I found it very thought-provoking, but it also made me want to do everything I can to stay as fit and healthy as possible. I imagine most people feel the same way; so you might be interested in this link to  10 Tips for an ageless brain and body from Denise Medved, creator of Ageless Grace. It’s all common sense advice. I hope you find it useful.

Classes & Events

Move with ease 20160729Move with Ease
Friday 29 July, 6.30 – 8.30 p.m.
Venue:  Aditi Yoga and Pilates, Darlington

A two-hour session where you’ll learn some simple moves to help relieve tension and back pain, move mindfully to soul-stirring music and then relax completely to set yourself up for a great night’s sleep.

Contact me now to book your place.

Full details of all classes and events

Take 5 & Move naturally

Just a quick note this week to remind you about the “Move with Ease” workshop this Friday, 15th July, where I’ll start to incorporate some of the other techniques I’ve learned in addition to Nia.

Our Nia move of the week is Pelvic Circles – a great one to play with and a video with a cute baby who has a lot to teach us about natural movement.

Have a great week!


Nia move of the week – Pelvic Circles

This week, we’re moving from the Base up to the core of the body (in Nia terms, the pelvis, chest and head).

Pelvic circles strengthen your back and core and your abdominal muscles.

You can stand in a comfortable open or ‘A’ stance for you and circle your hips in one fluid motion – like playing with a hula hoop. Change direction, vary the size of the circles and your speed. Have fun!
Here’s Laurie Bass’s take on it:


What I’m watching

Here’s a great video about awareness through movement, which inspired Feldenkrais, which inspires Nia… It’s all about gentle natural moves. It’s how we learn about our bodies, ourselves and the environment in which we find ourselves.

Classes & Events

Move with ease posterMove with Ease, Friday 15 July, 6.30 – 8.30 p.m., Venue:  Aditi Yoga and Pilates, Darlington
A two-hour session where you’ll learn some simple moves to help relieve tension and back pain, move mindfully to soul-stirring music and then relax completely to set yourself up for a great night’s sleep.

Full details of all classes and events

Take 5 & the best three things

So what are the best three things about your day so far? (if you’re not sure what I’m referring to, see last week’s blog under “What I’m reading”). Have you been recording them at the end of each day? How did it make you feel?

Musical notesLots going on this week:  a free online event to help you age well; links to information about the music that people ask me about all the time; this week’s Nia move of the week – Side Kick; and a link to an article about someone with Parkinson’s who has found Nia very helpful.

Oh, and I nearly forgot – you’re the first to hear about a new 10-week course of “Mindful Movement” I’m doing at the Pioneering Care Centre from next month.

Have a great week!

Nia move of the week – Side Kick

With your weight on the supporting leg and your knee soft throughout the move, raise the kicking leg, pulling your heel up and back towards your buttocks. Kick to the side with the side of your thigh towards the ceiling. Imagine kicking a door shut. You might like to sound “Yes!” as you do it (just a suggestion…).  Bring your leg back in and replace your foot on the floor. It’s another folding and unfolding of the leg, like the front kick.

Watch it here.

Ageless Summit

A free online Ageless Summit started on 20 June. This is aimed at people over 40 and covers a wide range of areas related to successful ageing. Denise Medved, from whom I learned the Ageless Grace technique is of the contributors. She says that although you won’t learn how to live forever, you will learn how to live a healthier life and see growing older in a positive light for a change. Topics covered during the summit include:

  • Hormones
  • How to improve your sleep
  • How to exercise over 50
  • Why Cholesterol isn’t the problem
  • Thyroid health
  • How to lose weight after 40
  • How to create a life of significance
  • How to restore your natural movement and balance
  • Maintaining your energy
  • Ways to reduce your chronic stress

More information and to book your place, visit the Ageless Summit website.

Music from “Grace”

GRACE imgEvery time I use a track from Fiona Winter’s routine “Grace” people ask me where they can find the music. It happened again at Monday night’s class at the Pioneering Care Centre. So here, once again, is the link to the handout for the workshop I did last year and which tells you about the music and the routine:  Grace workshop handout

Other Music I use for classes

Visit the Nia online store where you can check out the music for each routine by clicking the album cover and then “preview music”. Nia music can now be purchased as a digital download.

What I’m reading

Accepting an Uninvited Guest in My Body: Parkinson’s
By: Shannon McGuire

outdoor hikingI have lived with Parkinson’s Disease for over 10 years, yet I am living proof that there are multiple benefits from dancing for those suffering from neurodegenerative disorders. Nia, in my experience, is particularly beneficial because it combines multiple disciplines to challenge many aspects of our physical selves; not only adding relief to the symptoms of disease, but actually fighting the disease itself…  Continue reading

Classes & Events

Full details of regular classes and special events on my classes and events page

New class: Mindful Movement – 10 weeks starting 8 July
Please contact the Pioneering Care Centre (not me) for more information or to book a place.
Mindful movement


Take 5: Are you confused?

butter-596296_960_720For years I ate low fat and low cholesterol spreads, thinking I was doing my body a favour – after all that’s what we were told. And then I came across an article about how margarine was made (not sure how much of it was true, but it was enough to put me off for life) and switched back to butter. Just butter. Nothing added, nothing taken away.

eggs-750847_960_720I also remember a time when we were advised only to eat a couple of eggs a week; a time when “six slices a day” was the “well-balanced way” (younger friends are horrified by that one – especially when I say it was white sliced…); and the days when we were told potatoes made you fat (not about all the nutrients in them). But it’s all changed. Recent research has turned many of the ideas about food that I was brought up on upside down. Allergies and food intolerances seemed rare when I was growing up. How things have changed. Sometimes, I find it all very confusing.

multitasking2In fact life has changed immeasurably since I was a child. Working mothers were rare back then – most women gave up work when they had their children. And don’t get me started on the fact that in spite of all the changes, many women feel they are expected to do it all – bring up kids, run a house, cook and work full-time. No wonder we get stressed and lose sight of our dreams.

That’s why I feel blessed to have made new friends whose wise and sensible advice has helped me to make good lifestyle choices and realise I can have dreams and hopes.

NML HEARTTogether with two of them – Sarah and Kelly – I’m offering “Nourish Move Love” – a new three-part programme to help women who want to do what’s best for them and their families, or who feel stuck or overwhelmed and in need of ways to re-connect to their heart and soul. I am so looking forward to learning a lot myself and I’m really excited because we start next weekend!

If you just thought of someone you know who might like to join us, do pass on the details. It’s not too late to register. You’ll find all the details below. Oh and as an incentive to come and see how this can help begin to change your life, we have decided to extend the offer of the early bird discount for this week too – payment must be made by Friday 8am this week as the first session is on Saturday morning.

Have a great week

PS. The new Nia class last Monday at the Pioneering Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe got off to a great start, with 14 people! It’s at 6.30 p.m.  and you’ll find me in the cafe from about 5.45 as I’ll be coming straight from work and will need a cup of tea before we start. Do join me. I can highly recommend the cheese scones – but you’ll have to get there before me to even stand a chance of getting one!

Nia Move of the week: Cha Cha Cha

In most styles of dance that I’ve tried, there’s always a move that shifts your weight from one foot to the other and that’s exactly what the Nia step the “Cha Cha Cha” does. It’s also great for improving co-ordination and speed in your lower body.

It’s just a case of stepping right-left-right, or left-right left with a count of 1, 2, 3.  I find it helps to say, “Cha Cha Cha”, or count it out loud. And you don’t have to jump; your feet can stay really close to the ground. It’s often combined with the cross behind and the cross front move. If you find it difficult at first, then I suggest to use it as “Think-ing time”. Just pause and shift your weight to the other foot. Eventually, it will come with ease.

Classes & Events
NML Header

Three-part programme starting 30th April. It’s not too late to join us.
Full details and booking form to download, or read more here.

Early Bird Discount extended
As an incentive to come and see how this can help begin to change your life,
we have decided to extend the offer of the early bird discount for this week too. Payment must be made by Friday 8am this week as the first session starts this
Saturday morning

Relax your mind, Move your body, Revive your spirit

Weekend retreat with Nia, sound bath, therapies, walks, fantastic food, good company. Saturday morning Nia class will be open to anyone.

Full details

Jump to the Classes & Events page for full details of all classes, workshops and events.

Take 5 & Move to heal and stay young!

Hello. It’s good to be back.

The Nia Moving to Heal training in Burntisland was excellent. Lots of ideas for adapting Nia and with an emphasis on self-healing. Look out for some specific Moving to Heal classes in the near future. Then a few days taking it easier than usual. I’m usually so busy doing that I forget that I need to rest and switch off sometimes. Ironically that’s when some of my better ideas come to me – when I’m not really thinking about them. So my promise to myself this week is that I will programme in some time off. And not just an evening here and there, but a few days at a time. I was just beginning to really relax when it was time to get out and about again.

Although I need time off and time to be still, the weekend course did impress upon me that movement can not only help us heal in body and mind, but it can also  help us stay young. You may have come to the same conclusions if you watched the two BBC programmes “How to stay young”. More about that below.

I just have time to give you a quick reminder about the new Nia class tonight at the Pioneering Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe. It’s at 6.30 p.m. but you’ll find me in the cafe from about 5.45. Why not join me for a cuppa and catch up first?

Have a great week!

Nia Move of the week: Cross Behind

This move develops mobility and stability in the legs, helping you to move more efficiently.  You start from an Open Stance, imagine you’re standing in the centre of a clock face, and step your left foot behind the right – your ankles making a small “x”  Come back to the Open Stance and then repeat with your left foot, keeping the back heel high. Keep your arms relaxed and natural. Cross Behind can be combined with a Cha Cha Cha and a Cross Front.

Watch it here as Nia trainer Helen Terry suggests ways of energising and adapting the basic Cross Behind.

What I’m watching

How to stay young, BBC One
I enjoyed  the two programmes with Angela Rippon and Dr Chris van Tulleken who  looked at the latest experiments and research that could “help put the brakes on the ageing process”.

There were lots of tips about healthy eating and what science has discovered in recent years, but I was delighted that dancing and walking came out as two excellent ways of staying fit as we age. Dancing in particular is good for exercising the mind as well as the body, but then we knew tha didn’t we?  You can read about it here or catch up on the iPlayer here. And isn’t Angela Rippon amazing? I hope I look that good at 71!

What I’m reading

Feel the Joy!(1)Article – The Body’s Way: 5 Reasons to Dance Nia

“In 2010, I realized something in my life was missing, but I couldn’t get a hold on what it was. I stopped my usual workouts at the gym and started taking some serious Pilates classes in a small studio next to my office… “ Continue reading

Classes & Events
Starts Tonight – Monday 18 April, 6.30 p.m.
New Class
, Pioneering Care Centre, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 4SF

Nia adele an otherClasses on the following Mondays:

18  and 25 April; 9, 16 and 23 May.

Special introductory offer – £17.50 for all five classes if paid on 18 April.

Minimum of six people required to run the class.

NML HeaderNourish Move Love
starting 30 April 2016

It’s not too late to join us.
Full details and booking form to download, or read more here.

Jump to the Classes & Events page for full details of all classes, workshops and events.