Category Archives: Wellbeing

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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Send a smile and some glitter…

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  Getting ready for end of year celebrations, Christmas lights cheering up our streets and time to get together with friends and family and show them how much we appreciate them. See “What I’m reading” below for a few tips to send your loved ones a little extra something with their gifts and cards.

There will be two more weeks of regular Nia classes before Christmas – Monday 11 December and Monday 18 December, followed by a two week break. Then, from January,  I’ll be teaching just one Nia class a week on a Monday evening, beginning on 8 January. Details, as always, on the Classes & Events page. You’ll also find details  of a  Sparklicious way to kick off the New Year.

And finally,

Wishing you and your families all the best for the Christmas season and for a very Happy New Year.  See you in 2018!


Nia move of the month – Palm Directions

As you change the direction of your palms, notice how your forearm bones rotate around each other. Then as you extend your arms and change palm  directions, sense the opening of your shoulder joint when your palms are up and how it closes when your palms are facing down.  Changing palm directions helps you to get the most power from your arms.

If your arms are by your sides, try breathing deeply, first with palms forward and then with palms facing back. Which is easier? Which palm direction opens up your chest?

You can also change palm directions while moving hands side to side as if pushing aside an invisible curtain and tap into the energy of Tai Chi.


What I’m reading

Here’s a snippet from Anne Jirsch‘s December newsletter with a few tips for creating a bit of extra Christmas cheer:

“Every gift you wrap, imagine popping a little smile inside before you seal it up.
Every card, imagine sending a little glitter.
Everyone you come across just send them the thought, ‘I hope you get what you want.’

And here’s a tip from Ann Maurice Boone: ‘When I need money I wish everyone health, wealth and abundance. Then something happens that gives me the opportunity to create that money and invest.’

Finally do a little visualisation ahead of each day imagining it to be full of warmth, love and laughter.”

What am I watching?

NiaTV  of course!Shop NiaTV Today!
I am really enjoying following the new routine “Wild” and have already incorporated two tracks into my classes. It’s a great way to experience the Magic of Nia anytime, anywhere.

Find out more and subscribe here.


Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes

Last two classes of the year on Monday 11 and Monday 18 December. The last one will have a festive soundtrack. Why not join us?

Pioneering Care Centre, Newton Aycliffe
Next block of five classes starts Monday 11 December 2017. £6 per class or £25 for all five classes if paid on 11th December 2017. You may join in at any point in the block.

NB. We’re taking a two week break for Christmas. More.


Another Sparklicious Day Retreat

Saturday 6 January 2018, The Yurt, Hardwick Park nr. Sedgefield

The theme for the day is New Year, New You.
A day to refocus and release the past to move forward with clarity and focus. Click the poster on the right to read more and find out how to book a place.


Jump to the  Classes and Events page for more information.


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Bring me sunshine and a smile

As the days draw in and the year end approaches, every sunny day is a bonus. I was inspired by Pam Grout’s blog last Friday to make the most of the sun and went for a walk in a local park. The photo on the right really doesn’t do it justice, though it does show how clear and blue the sky was. The ground was covered with water droplets that glowed in rainbow colours as the sun caught them. They looked like tiny fairy lights strung between the blades of grass but they just weren’t visible in any of the photos I took.

As I was reflecting on this, I was reminded of the Morecambe and Wise song “Bring me sunshine in your smile” which seemed to bring a smile to everyone when Susan Calman recently danced to it on “Strictly come dancing”. Smiling, apparently releases serotonin and I’m told that just the action of smiling, whether you feel like it or not, can lift your mood. “Strictly” often makes me smile. I’ll be watching a dance sequence and suddenly realise that I’m smiling. Dancing and music can bring such joy.

In a recent newsletter, Anne Jirsch suggested smiling at yourself in the mirror, smiling at everyone who crosses your path (even if they think you’re crazy) and sending a huge smile out to any area of the world that needs help. My grandmother used to say, “a smile costs nothing”.  She was right. Shall we give it a try this month?

And finally, a quick reminder that there are no Nia classes on Monday 13th November.

Have a great month.


Nia move of the month – Hand technique:
Webbed Spaces

If you want to strengthen your hands, wrists and fingers, this is one to practise. And it’s so simple: you just “yawn” with your hands. Spread your fingers, and sense the spaces between them. Extend your fingers and increase the space between them.

“Dance” your hands around you. What sensations do you notice? Tingling? Temperature changes? Can you “feel” the space in the palm of your hand too?

The faster version involves both hands chopping at the same time, keeping the wrists loose  – like a massage therapist working on tense tight muscles.

Here’s Laurie Bass to tell you more.


What I’m reading

Pam Grout: Have you claimed your gifts today?

What I’m watching

Can’t resist linking to this – it just makes me smile…


Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes

No classes on 13 November 2017

More information on the Classes and Events page.


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Love what you do – then it doesn’t feel like work

One of the great things about having my own business is that I get do things I love. Meeting new people is only one of them, and through attending networking events I’ve met lots of amazing and interesting people doing everything from financial management to garden design, dog-walking to catering and everything in between.

Often I meet other people who, like me, are interested in holistic health and wellbeing and I get the chance to find out more about what they love to do, usually over a leisurely coffee (I love that too). At the beginning of July, at “Bubbles in Bishop“,  I met Debbie Barber who is bringing together information on all sorts of wellbeing-related topics on her website Wellbeing Unlimited. Her mission is “to positively impact the health and wellbeing of the world, one person at a time… [so that] you can be the happiest, healthiest version of you!”  And she’s a fantastic advert for what she does; she positively glows!

Debbie interviewed me about Nia a couple of weeks ago. You can read thNiae interview on her blog. She has very bravely undertaken a Body Transformation Challenge and is reporting on her progress on the blog too. Take a look; you’re sure to find something of interest.

My regular Nia classes have started up again after my summer break. A new block of five classes starts at Keep Fit Darlington and at the Pioneering Care Centre on Monday 7 August. Check out the dates on the Classes and Events page – there’s a Bank Holiday on 28 August and not all venues are open.

Have a great month!
Anne


Nia move of the month – Hand technique:
Hand Pumps

Squeeze and relax the palm and fingers of your hand (think Open and Close. It’s exactly what you’re asked to do if you’re giving blood!) Change the amount of tension you use as you squeeze and sense increasing relaxation as you release. this move is good for building power in the forearms, fingers and wrists and can be helpful for those with repetetive strain injuries. Watch it here.

What I’m watching

Some of you may remember me telling you about a version of the Nia routine “Passion” which was set to the music of U2. Well, here’s Marybeth Grinnan, the amazing Nia teacher who put the moves to the music talking about her passion for Nia.


Dates for your diaryCalendar

Nia classes
Regular Nia classes have started up again after my summer break. A new block of five classes starts at Keep Fit Darlington and at the Pioneering Care Centre on Monday 7 August.

No class at Keep Fit Darlington or the Pioneering Care Centre on 28 August.

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

Full details on the Classes and Events page.

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