Category Archives: Mind body spirit

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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Ooh… there’s a chill in the air

Did you notice it? Already the mornings are feeling just a little colder and I noticed on my way to work on 31st August, that the leaves were beginning to change colour and fall. That chill in the air always makes me think of going back to school. Families are gearing up for the new school year, and many of us are thinking about new beginnings.

There are a few new beginnings for me too. Following a really busy summer in the day job, I am looking forward to a new block of Nia classes at Keep Fit Darlington and at the Pioneering Care Centre starting on 18th September. I’m maintaining the price at £25 for a block of five classes and £6 pay as you go for the rest of the year. I’ll remind regulars, but there will be no Nia classes on Monday, 25th September.

And a first Introduction to Nia workshop at a lovely new venue in Darlington. It’s on Wednesday 4 October. I’ll provide a bit of background about the concept, the format, what makes Nia unique and the benefits before doing a  taster class. Great for complete newcomers or anyone who just wants to delve deeper. Full details, as always on the Classes & Events page.

Finally, I had a bit of a surprise over the summer, when I was contacted by Helen Sanders of Health Ambition.  She had come across a post I did back in February where I mentioned gin-soaked raisins as a possible aid to arthritis pain relief. She had written on the same subject and included a great deal more research in her article! There’s a lot of interesting information on the website on a wide range of health-related topics.  Why not check it out?

Have a great month.


Nia move of the month – Hand technique:
Strikes

Imagine you are pushing someone out of your way. Use the heel of your hand, and stop before you fully extend your arm. Stop suddenly. Strikes help you move with precision and help develop quick reactions. You can even say “Stop!’. Out loud. Try it and feel your confidence increase as you practise. Or you can take it slowly and strike out in different directions. Let Laurie Bass tell you more:


What I’m listening to

A few months ago I discovered Hay House Radio. You may have heard of Hay House publishing or read about its founder Louise L Hay who wrote a book which has helped so many people: “You can Heal your Life“.  It was one of the first books I ever read on the powerful mind, body connection.
Since then, I’ve come across many Hay House authors and occasionally listen to Hay House Radio. Last Wednesday, I found myself listening for most of the afternoon and discovered that Louise Hay had passed away that same day, just weeks away from her 91st birthday.  You can read more about her and her amazing achievements on her website.

Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes

  • Classes continue after the Bank Holiday at Keep Fit Darlington and the Pioneering Care Centre on Mondays.
  • A new block of five classes starts at both venues on Monday 18th September.
  • No classes at Bannatynes,  Keep Fit Darlington or the Pioneering Care Centre on 25th September.

The Body’s Way – step in and discover the Power of Nia
Introduction to Nia workshop, Wednesday 4 October, 3.45 – 5.15 p.m.
Pilates & Beyond, Darlington.

Events organised by The Healing Trust which may be of interest

  • “The Healing Intent” workshop with Matthew Manning, Patron of the Healing Trust, Newcastle Civic Centre, Saturday 23 September 2017
  • “Healing Circles”, Sunday 24 September 2017, Newcastle Civic Centre

More information on the Classes and Events page.

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Holidays, Nia Hand Moves and Summer Events

Holidays, Nia Hand Moves and Summer Events

What a great month June was. The taster at Heighington Fair was fun if rather wet and windswept – I’m very grateful to those who turned out in such wet weather to join me – and the “Loosen Up!” half day retreat was well-received. With a few tweaks, I’m ready to share it with a wider public. Get in touch if you’d be interested in attending or hosting something along those lines; we can have a chat about adapting it to suit you, your friends or your colleagues.

At the time of writing, I’ve just worked my last day in the day job before taking a  break. Those who have read my story will know that if it wasn’t for Nia and the simple hand and arm moves, I wouldn’t be able to do the job at all as it requires quite a lot of lifting and moving around. So this month, as we begin the Nia Hand techniques in the “Nia Move of the Month” slot below, I’m reminded of how much I have gained from learning and sharing Nia and other amazing movement techniques in the last six years.

I have a new respect for the wonder that is the human body, its ability to recover, repair and heal itself and the link between mind and body which never ceases to inspire me. I hope that what I’ve been doing has helped and inspired you even just a little.

I’m not only taking a break from my job, but also from Nia classes for a couple of weeks. You’ll find changes to the normal class schedule below and on the Classes and Events page.

I’ve also included details of:

  • The Sparklicious Summer Retreat day around the theme of “Being Brave”. It’s on 8 July. Contact Karen Hughes if you’re interested in joining her for the day.
  • Two exciting events in Newcastle organised by The Healing Trust – a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in healing.

Keep moving and I’ll see you next month!


Nia move of the month – Hand techniques: Fists

This is a great move for releasing stress or emotions, and for improving strength in, and toning your forearms. Fold your fingers, keep your thumb on the outside and shake your fist as if you’re shaking dice. Your fist is fairly relaxed.  You can see the move being used as part of the Nia routine “Soul” where you can see the contrast of strength in Fists and flexibility in one of the finger moves: Creepy Crawlies.
Watch Laurie Bass show how you can build in strength in the whole body and how you can incorporate the three planes of movement – low, middle and high.


Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes 3-17 July 2017

  • Week beginning Monday, 3 July
    Bannatyne’s – no class
    Keep Fit Darlington – no class
    Pioneering Care Centre – Nia class at 6.30 p.m.
  • Week beginning Monday, 10 July
    No Nia classes
  • Week beginning Monday, 17 July
    Bannatyne’s – Nia class at 1 p.m.
    Keep Fit Darlington – Nia class at 2.30 p.m.
    Pioneering Care Centre – No Nia class

“Being Brave” Sparklicious Summer Retreat Day
Saturday 8 July 2017, The Yurt, Hardwick Park, Sedgefield.

Nia Taster session in the morning. Contact Karen Hughes if you’d like to take part in this summer retreat day in the beautiful setting of Hardwick Park. She has lots of amazing activities planned. More


Two events organised by The Healing Trust
  • “The Healing Intent” workshop with Matthew Manning, Patron of the Healing Trust, Saturday 23 September 2017
  • “Healing Circles”, Sunday 24 September 2017

Both events at Newcastle Civic Centre. More

 


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Loosen up and Show us how you move!

Half-day retreat and free taster

If you’d told me ten years ago that I’d have been able to join in a retreat about moving more easily, let alone run one, I’d have struggled to believe you!

Like many people suffering from the onset of arthritis, I thought I was stuck with it, but discovering Nia changed my life in so many ways. Since becoming a Nia teacher, I’ve become an Ageless Grace Educator and Somatic Exercise Coach and now I’ve pulled together some of the simplest and most effective techniques I’ve learned to help you move with Joy and Ease – even if you only have five minutes to spare – because I know what it’s like when you can’t. It’s going to be in the form of a half-day retreat on 17th June and I hope you can join me.

Show us how you move!
On 10th June, I’ve been invited to do a free Nia taster at Heighington Village Fair at about 11.15 a.m. and I’m going to need your help to get Heighington moving!  This is going to be a fun, family-oriented event with lots to do all day, and in the evening there’s live music and dancing. Join me on stage for the taster if you’re feeling brave, or dance in the audience and let’s see how many people we can get to join in.

Saltaire Day of Dance
It doesn’t seem five minutes since I was telling you about the Saltaire Day of Dance on 14th May. It’s usually a great day out, and I wasn’t disappointed. I caught up with old friends. I loved Lynette MacFadden’s Nia workshop with some stunning moves and great variety of music. My friends who attended the Charleston workshop said it was packed and great fun, and I was delighted to introduce a few more people to Irish Set dance.

Holiday time!

And finally, I’ll be taking a break at the beginning of July, so there will be some changes to regular Nia classes. I’ve put a list on the Classes & Events page or you can download the details if you prefer. I’ll be giving out a printed version to all my regular class members.

Have a great month!


Nia move of the month – Hand technique: Touching

Touching is one of the ways we connect to, and receive information from, our environment. We sense our own skin, our clothes and the space around us, via touch. The nerve endings sense the texture of a surface as we touch it. Touch can be expressive, it can be healing, and helps improve body awareness. Here’s Laurie Bass to explain more.


What I’m reading

Inspired by the recent TV series “The Durrells”, I decided to re-read one of my favourite childhood books: “My family and other animals” upon which the series was (rather loosely in my opinion) based.  The characters are the same but I feel a certain artistic licence has been taken with the account of their adventures on Corfu. Have you read it? What did you think?


Dates for your diary

CalendarNia classes

5th and 12th June 2017 –  Last two weeks of  current block of classes at Keep Fit Darlington and at the Pioneering Care Centre. New block starts on 19th June 2017. Some changes to regular programme in the first two weeks of July. See Classes & Events page for full details or download  Classes & Events June-July 2017.


Show us how you move!

Free Nia Taster session at Heighington Village Fair, Saturday 10 June, 11.15 a.m.
How many people do you think will join in? Will you help me to show people that anyone can do Nia? I’m looking for some suggestions for fun tracks to share (contact me with your ideas) and let me know if you can come along and join in. I’d love it if you could join me on stage or from the audience.


Loosen up! 5-minute magic fixes for moving with Joy and Ease

Half-day retreat

Tense, stiff, painful back, neck and shoulder muscles?
Busy busy busy? No time to de-stress or relax?
Easy to learn, simple to do 5-minute moves and activities to relieve stress, release tension and create perspective around challenging situations.

Take some time out to try this brand new half-day retreat at a reduced rate on: Saturday 17th June, 10.30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Woodham Village Community Centre, Newton Aycliffe.

£25 if booked by 10th June; full price £35.
Contact me to book. Places limited. More information

Download  Classes & Events June-July 2017.


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Keep Calm and Carry On: why is self care so hard?

I was recently wondering why so many of the inspirational writers I come across these days are advocating self-care. I wrote about it last month  and have a few more self-care tips to share with you this month too.

It seems to me that the “Keep calm and carry on” spirit marked those of us who grew up in the years after the war. Our parents lived through it and rationing only came to an end a few years before I was born.  Making do was the order of the day and carrying on in spite of adversity was seen as almost saintly. “Looking after Number One” (i.e. yourself) typified selfishness in a bad way.

Thinking about all this brought to mind one of my favourite books, Bill Bryson’s “Notes from a small island”.  In describing his much-loved adopted country, Bryson observes that the British have sayings like “Mustn’t grumble” and “Let’s make do and mend”. The latter was the title of a pamphlet issued by the Ministry of Information during World War II.

He also says – and this part always makes me smile – that it’s a shame that communism was left to the Russians when the British would have managed it so much better! For Brits, going without is second nature; they are great at pulling together in the face of adversity; they don’t mind queuing; they accept rationing and have “a natural gift for making jokes about authority without seriously challenging it.” He asserts that the British would have taken communism “in their stride, with good heart and wihout excessive cheating. In point of fact, until about 1970 it wouldn’t have made the slightest discernible difference to most people’s lives.”

I wonder if he would be of the same opinion if he were writing today? And I wonder if all this goes some way to explaining why some of us find it so difficult to take care of ourselves? It’s not a concept we grew up with – quite the reverse! I hope some of the tips below will help.

Have a great month
Anne


Nia move of the month – Elbow Strike Back

Elbow Strikes all start from Sumo Stance or Bow Stance and use the opposite hand for support to direct the strike. They invoke the power and precision of the martial arts.
They help to release stress and condition the upper arms, chest and back.

For Elbow Strike Back, use the opposite hand to push on your fist, in order to drive your elbow back behind you.


What I’m reading

Here are those self-care tips, courtesy of Cheryl Richardson:

20 ridiculously simple ways to live longer better

  • Upon waking, stretch your body in some fun way for five minutes.
  • Drink half your body weight in water (in ounces).
  • Refuse to rush. When making commitments or appointments, put space in your calendar in between.
  • Look for one thing in nature that astonishes you.
    Read more

Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes
New 5-week blocks of Nia classes have started at Keep Fit Darlington and at the Pioneering Care Centre. Two more weeks of the present block at Bishop Middleham.
Full details on the Classes and Events page.

Unfortunately, the Ageless Grace class at Bishop Middleham wasn’t sufficiently well-attended for it to continue.

Saltaire Day of Dance
Saturday, 13th May, Victoria Hall, Saltaire, BD18 3JS

Exercise your brain and body by trying out a form of dance you’ve never tried before. Everything from Argentine Tango to Charleston and from Disco to Swing.

There’ll be Nia with Lynette MacFadden at 12.30, and I will be doing a beginners’ Irish Set Dance workshop later in the afternoon.
Full details of all dance workshops.


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