Category Archives: Nia

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:


Jump to the Classes and Events page.


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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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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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Staying healthy in 2018

Oh my goodness! Where did January go?  Even if it passed quickly, a lot happened!  My computer “died” at the beginning of the month, so I had limited access to my website and emails for the whole of January. I also started a new job, led a Nia session at the  Sparklicious event on 6 January. Following a visit to the dentist, I developed an infection and then spent the last two weeks of January out of action with ‘flu. So I’m quite glad to see the back of January and will be focusing on eating well and staying fit and healthy for the rest of the year!

Given that I had ‘flu, I had to cancel a Nia class on 22 January and if you’ve visited the classes and events page of the website recently, you’ll have seen that I’ve decided to take a break from teaching classes for a while so I can focus on recovering completely.

If you are already missing your  Monday night Nia class, you could consider subscribing to NiaTV. Alternatively choose a couple  of the Nia Moves of the Month that I’ve featured in the blog over the last year, put on some of your favourite music and just get moving!

Have a great month.


Nia move of the month – Fingers:
Finger Flicks

I love this move. For me, it’s playful, I can feel the strength in my hands and fingers as I practise it. It’s a great move for conditioning not only the hands and fingers, but the forearm muscles too, and for releasing tension from the neck, shoulders and hands. It’s a simple and effective move for anyone who uses a keyboard a lot or who spends time engaged in handicrafts or any activity that requires fine motor skills.

Curl your fingers and place your thumb across your finger nails. Push the thumb to create some tension and then flick your fingers out, as if you were flicking water off them. Or you can imagine an explosion, or fireworks. You can create variety by changing the plane of movement (low, middle or high) and by changing the palm direction. Laurie Bass incorporates whole body moves with finger flicks. Just watch!


What I’m watching

Nia Dance Wild video
In December and January, Nia teachers around the world held events to mark the release of a brand new Nia routine called “Wild”. Take a look at the video here.

The Truth about… Getting fit, BBC TV
This is the time of year when many of us think about starting to exercise after the excesses of the end of year festivities. This programme gives some great advice. However, I have to admit that I haven’t seen the whole programme yet, but what I did see was fascinating. To quote from the programme website:
“Medical journalist Michael Mosley teams up with scientists whose latest research is turning common knowledge about fitness on its head.

They reveal why 10,000 steps is just a marketing ploy and that two minutes of exercise is all a person needs each week. They discover how to get people to stick to their fitness plans and what exercise can actually make everyone more intelligent. Whether it is for couch potatoes who hate the thought of exercise, someone too busy to consider the gym, or even for fitness fanatics who are desperate to do more – science can help everyone exercise better.”

I’m a bit sceptical about just needing two minutes exercise a week, but I do agree that a 10-minute brisk walk every day can be better for you than aiming for 10,000 steps. See what you think! It’s available on the BBC iPlayer for the rest of February.

What I’m reading
If you’re looking for some inspiration for staying healthy and looking after yourself, take a look at the “Wholeheartedly Healthy” Blog by Laura Agar-Wilson. She has some great healthy recipes and lots of ideas for self-care.

Dates for your diary
Calendar

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Happy New Year!

A few days into the new year, I hope it’s not too late to wish you health, wealth and happiness in 2018. I hope you had a good break over the festive season and that the new year has begun well for you.

It’s 6 January today and after a wonderful morning at the Sparklicious Ladies’ Retreat Day (details on my classes and events page) where I kicked off the year in style wih an amazing group of women, I came home to take down the Christmas tree. It is Twelfth Night after all. So it’s back to normal now.

Nia classes start again on Monday at the Pioneering Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe. If you’ve been thinking about coming along for a while, do join us. Classes will continue this year provided I can cover costs and I need a minimum of seven people every week to make that possible. I may do a weekend workshop from time to time during the year; look out for details on the classes and events page.

Have an amazing January.

See you next month.


Nia move of the month – Fingers:
Finger Extensions

Finger extensions can help you strengthen and move your hands with greater precision. In Nia, the fingers and thumbs are associated with different forms of energy and different emotions. You can think of them linking your Body and your Emotions:

  • The thumb is Nurture
  • The index finger is Desire
  • The middle finger is Power
  • The ring finger is Commitment
  • The little finger is Boundaries

As you play with finger extensions, ask yourself, “How does this feel?” How does each finger extension affect your hand, your wrist, your forearm? Where do you feel tension? Where do you feel release?


What am I watching?

NiaTV   –  Nia any time, any where.

Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes

Starting again on Monday 8 January 2018, 6.30 p.m. at the Pioneering Care Centre. Full details.

Another Sparklicious Day Retreat

Saturday 6 January 2018, The Yurt, Hardwick Park nr. Sedgefield – a great way to leave the old year behind and step into the new.  I spent the morning at this event and met up with several ladies who were at the last one in July 2017. All I can say is that they were glowing!  Why not read more about what Sparklicious Living could do for you. Check out Sparklicious Living’s website.


More information on the Classes and Events page.


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