Category Archives: Movement

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.


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Eat your greens and keep on dancing!

Having just seen a recent photo of me on Facebook, a friend commented that I just keep looking younger. If the items below are to be believed it must be because I dance often, am always on the move and I love Brussels sprouts! As you’ll see, the emerging theme of this month’s blog seems to be: keep moving to stay young at heart and fit and healthy in mind and body.

So here’s where you’ll find me moving in May. If you’re able to join me for some Nia classes this month, then a new block of 5 classes begins on Monday 8th May at Keep Fit Darlington at 2.30 p.m. and at the Pioneering Care Centre at 6.30 p.m. It would be great to see you!

I’m looking forward to the Day of Dance in Saltaire on 13th May because I get to go to a Nia class with Lynette McFadden who will be leading a workshop there. It will be such a joy to join in as a participant!  I’ll be rounding off the day with an Irish Set Dance workshop (Irish Set Dance is why I started doing Nia in the first place – to stay fit enough to continue).

And finally, a lot closer to home, I’m delighted to have been invited to share some Nia at the Sparklicious Ladies’ Retreat Day in July. You can read all about it below.

Have a great month

Anne


Nia move of the month – Elbow Strike Side

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 Side, use the opposite hand to push on your fist, in order to drive your elbow out to the side.


What I’m reading

Eat your greens – Brussels sprouts in Dementia Research

Who knew? It seems that sprouts are being investigated as a potential cure for Alzheimer’s Disease. More

And if you’re not keen on sprouts, you could try dancing:

Why is dancing so good for your brain?

Dancing improves brain function on a variety of levels. Two recent studies show how different types of practice allow dancers to achieve peak performance by blending cerebral and cognitive thought processes with muscle memory and ‘proprioception’ held in the cerebellum. Through regular aerobic training that incorporates some type of dance at least once a week anyone can maximize his or her brain function. Continue reading this article from “Psychology today”.

Debbie Rosas. Photograph provided by Nia Technique (www.nianow.com).

And if you don’t consider yourself a dancer, just keep moving.  “Through Movement We Find Health” is the Nia philosophy and core belief, reiterated by Debbie Rosas, Co-creator of Nia, in a recent newsletter:

Science has proven that movement:
1. Produces new brain cells and their connections.
2. Stimulates the brain. The brain is a highly sensitive communicator designed to detect motion, cues, and patterns.
3. Enhances neurotransmitter, nerve connections and their growth.
4. Helps to form new blood vessels.
5. Helps regulate and reduce stress.
6. Boosts the production of brain chemicals that enhance learning.


What I’m watching

Dancing for Dementia

A video report from BBC Scotland. Watch it here.


Dates for your diary

CalendarNia classes

New blocks of five classes begin at Pioneering care Centre and Keep Fit Darlington begin on Monday 8 May.

Full details on the Classes and Events page.


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.


Sparklicious Summer Retreat Day

Saturday 8 July 2017, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.,
Hardwick Park, Sedgefield TS21 2DN

What stops you from shining?
What dulls your sparkle?

Join Karen Hughes for a wonderful day of rediscovery and soul searching to find and release your inner sparkle!
This is a women only retreat and is exclusively brought to you by Sparklicious Living.

A taste of Nia and complementary therapies are included in the day.


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What’s your favourite festive tune?

Is it included in the playlist for the free Festive Nia class untitled-design1at Woodham on
14 December? Find out here.

Why not come along and join us on the day as we move to the music celebrate another year of the Joy of Movement, of friendship and shared experience?

The class will be followed by seasonal refreshments and a mini craft fair featuring hand-crafted items from Nia class members. Come along for a chat, to try Nia for the first time and pick up a few unique and special Christmas gifts.

A donation will be made from the proceeds to the Woodham Village Community Association Defibrilator and CPR Training Appeal.

See below for more information or visit the Classes and Events page.

Christmas break
In the run up to Christmas, why not join me and give yourself an escape from the Christmas rush? I’ll be teaching classes as normal in the week beginning Monday 19th December, then taking a complete break for two weeks over Christmas.

New Class timetable for 2017
As some of you may know, a change in my working hours (yes, I still have a day job), mean that there’ll be a new class timetable for 2017. I’m still finalising the details, but as soon as everything is in place, I’ll send out a special newsletter and the information will be on the Classes and Events page.

And finally, I would like to wish you and your families all the best for the festive season and the coming year.

Anne


Nia Move of the month – Outward 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 Outward Punch, from the Ready Position, bring one fist and forearm straight out to the front. At the same time, draw the other elbow back. Notice how your palms are facing up to begin with and as you bring the fist and forearm forward, your arm spirals and your palm faces down.

Don’t lean forward! If you do, you may find you have pain in your shoulder or elblow. Stay upright.

Watch Laurie Bass explain and demonstrate the move:


What I’m watching

After a Nia taster session last week, I found myself demonstrating the Nia 5 Stages.

It’s a movement practice based on five developmental moves: embryonic, creeping, crawling, standing and walking. Retracing the stages in an adult body is a way to reclaim the body’s natural strength, flexibility, mobility and neural plasticity. With regular practice, these moves contribute to spinal health, re-patterning and restructuring the whole body, enhancing physical and energetic balance.

Here’s a much more detailed demonstration by Kevin VerEecke and an explanation of its benefits from Debbie Rosas, co-creator of Nia.


Classes and events

Free festive Nia class followed by Seasonal Refreshments and Mini Craft Fair
Woodham Village Community Centre,
Wednesday 14 December, 10 a.m. – 12.30 p.m.woodham-festive-nia

You’re invited to this end of year celebration and get-together

Donations to the Woodham Village Community Centre Defibrilator & CPR Training appeal welcome.

Open to anyone who’d like to come along – the more the merrier. If you’d like to bring something you’ve made to sell, please get in touch.

Download the poster

End of year classes
  • 12 December 2016 last class before Christmas at the Pioneering Care Centre, 6.30 p.m.
  • 14 December 2016 – free festive class at Woodham 10 a.m.
  • 19 December 2016 – Nia class at Bannatyne’s 12 noon
  • 20 December 2016 – Nia class at Keep Fit Darlington 10 a.m.
  • 21 December 2016 – Nia class at Woodham Village Community Centre 10 a.m.

No classes from 26 December – 8 January inclusive

New Class Timetable for 2017 coming soon!

Details to be finalised. Check the Classes and Events page before Christmas.

Take 5 – Back in the old routine?

schoolAre you back in the old routine this week? It seems to be back to normal for so many people, especially those with children and grand children. Even for those of us not involved in the school run, September can feel like a new start. There’s that “back to school” chill in the air as the seasons change and the excitement of everything starting up again.

The Monday evening Nia class began again last night (Monday 5th) at the Pioneering Care Centre after a break in August. It was great to welcome back lots of familiar faces and to discover how many had actually missed coming to the class. Apart from the benefits of regular practice (my mind and body really miss that regular dose of movement and magic), there’s the opportunity to meet up with friends old and new.  If you’re thinking of coming along, please join us next Monday. I’m holding the block price for next week only, to give regulars and newcomers a bit of a discount. Full details

I’ve also just fixed the date for another “Move with Ease” session. This is a two-hour session on with simple moves which help relieve tension, to help you move with greater ease, feel better and relax. Great at the end of a busy week! Book by Sunday 11th September to benefit from the Early Bird price!

And, as always, have a great week
Anne


Nia move of the week – Downward Block

All the blocks 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. As you move your arms, imagine your head and shoulders are staying within an imaginary picture frame.

To do the downward Block, from Ready, bring on fist and forearm across, down and out in front of your pelvis. At the same time, draw the other elbow back, keeping the arm at waist height.  Bring your arm back to the Ready position.

The Blocks help build strength and speed in your arms and the core of your body.

Watch it here:


Classes & Events – Dates for your diary

Move with Ease – still, calm and relaxed
Simple moves to help relieve tension so you feel totally relaxed in mind and body.

Friday, 30 September, 18.30 – 20.30, Darlington

STILL YOUR MIND, CALM YOUR SPIRIT, RELAX YOUR BODY
Simple moves to relax muscles, help relieve tension and move with greater ease will be followed by a gentle moving meditation and then a time of complete relaxation with a guided meditation.
Early Bird price £15 (book before Sunday 11th September), full price: £17.50
Book now or go to the Classes & Events page for more information

Saturday 8 October, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Northumbria Healers Mind Body Spirit and Wellbeing Event
Hexham Auction Mart, Tyne Green, Hexham

128-A5_Vertical-2016-Mind-Body-Spirit-Event-Version-1-Flyer (single-sided)The Northumbria Healers provide a free healing service to the public on the last Saturday of every month in Riding Mill, Northumberland and I had the great pleasure of sharing some Nia with them on 20 August.

The Mind Body Spirit Event is their main fundraising event of the year and is usually a very enjoyable day with a range of interesting workshops and taster sessions, gifts and healing available.

You can read more about the healers on their website.

Full details of all Supple Change  Classes & Events

Take 5 & Move with Ease

mountain lakeHow would it be if, at the end of a busy week, you could give your mind and your body a real treat?  What if you could find some simple moves that would release all that tension you’ve been holding in your shoulders? What if you could do some really gentle exercise that would lubricate your joints, and soothe your spirits and then you could just relax and float away without feeling guilty for doing nothing for a full 20 minutes?

Well, here’s the good news. You can! I’m currently taking bookings for another Move with Ease session on Friday. And do you know what? as it’s almost as relaxing to deliver it as it is to participate.  I consider it a success if someone falls asleep! So do come and chill out with us. Please contact me as soon as possible to book your place.

Have a great week!
Anne


Nia move of the week – Head and Eye Movements

Be curious – what do you see around you? Use your eyes to look and follow the direction of your eyes to move your head. Follow a body part – hand or foot with your eyes and allow your head to move with them, in order to engage the muscles of the neck integrate the top of your spine in your moves.

Press your chin down towards your chest to open the back of your neck; then take your chin up and back and look at the sky (opening and closing your mouth will help condition the muscles under your chin). Nodding, shaking and rolling your head helps to find the right balance and releases tension.

Watch it here.


What I’m reading

Jade Barbosa, Brazilian artistic gymnast, performing a turn during a floor routine, 2007Like me,  you may have enjoyed watching the floor exercises at the Olympics last week and cheered, as I did, when Amy Tinkler from Bishop Auckland won her bronze medal. Most of us would never dream of even attempting the kind of floor work she does, but getting up and down from the floor is the first skill we learn as toddlers and a really important one to maintain as we get older.  Here’s an interesting take on “Why the floor is your friend” by Stacy Barrows

“If you’re like most of us, the word “floor” probably makes you think more about tile, hardwood and carpet than friendship….it’s not the first place your mind goes when you think of relaxation, repose and rejuvenation. The floor, after all, is for foot traffic. It’s hard… needs a good cleaning, and is much farther away from our derrières than the comfy sofa. The floor has a bad rep.  But as a movement therapist, I have learned that the floor is my friend. Here are three reasons why…”
Continue reading


Classes & Events – Dates for your diary

26 August,  18.30 – 20.30 – Move with Ease – r-e-l-a-x on Friday evening
Aditi Yoga & Pilates, Darlington
.

An alternative Friday night out!  Join me for this two-hour session with a focus on breath and body, mind and spirit, relaxation and self-healing.

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.

5 September – 3 October, Mondays 18.30 – 19.30, new block of 5 Nia classes, Pioneering Care Centre

Full details of all Classes & Events