Category Archives: Wellbeing

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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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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Move over Super Woman! Time to de-stress

Super WomanHow do you de-stress when you find yourself thinking: “I’m  not Super Woman, you know!”; “There are only 24 hours in a day!; or, “I’ll never get it all done!” ?

Life just seems to go so fast these days and there are many demands on our time – work, home, family, smartphone, email,  shopping,  the same amount of work to be done in the office but fewer people employed to do it – and I’m finding that, unlike Super Woman, I can’t do everything and I need time out. Regularly.

Stop and de-stressAnd right on cue, in the past few weeks, I’ve come across several people, websites, techniques and ideas to help people do just that: de-stress switch off, take a break, and take care of themselves, sometimes just by taking the time to breathe or be present, or by switching off the technology.  I’m sharing some of them below. Something might just strike a chord with you or be useful to someone you know.

One Nia class member recently told me that her lunch time Nia class does the trick and sets her up for the afternoon.  And she’s not the first to have said that Nia makes her feel chilled even though she knows she’s been moving every part of her body.  And if Nia works for you, from mid-March, there will be a new opportunity to join a  Nia class on a Wednesday evening. The details are below.

Have a great month of March!


Nia move of the month – Elbow Strike Down

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 Down, bring one fist and forearm down. Here’s Laurie Bass giving a demonstration:


What I’m reading

  • How my cat taught me to stop worrying
    In this article, Cheryl Richardson talks about being more present instead of worrying about everything that needs doing. Read the full article
  • 5 Ways to start putting your needs first without feeling guilty
    If you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to give to your nearest and dearest or do what you need to do for yourself or your family. Do you agree? This article suggests ways you can look after yourself and say no so it doesn’t feel like you’re being mean. It also talks about setting boundaries, creating  time for yourself, thinking more positively and concentrating on what makes you happy. Read the full article
  • Time to Log off
    Mobile phoneThis website claims to be “spearheading the movement to disconnect regularly from digital devices and reconnect with the world offline.” They provide digital detox retreats where people hand in all digital devices on arrival.  Find out more
    And I’ve just spotted their latest blog post “10 digital habits to ditch for Lent“.

What I’m watching

  • Asleep in 60 seconds: 4-7-8 breathing technique claims to help you nod off in just a minute
    I always feel overwhelmed if I don’t get enough sleep and found this breathing technique helps me to feel calmer – I’d be interested to know if it works for you. Watch the video


Dates for your diary

Happy, smiling people doing NiaNia on Wednesdays starting 15th March 2017, 6 – 7 p.m.
Main Hall, Bishop Middleham Village Hall, Front St, Bishop Middleham, Ferryhill DL17 9AJ

A course of five Nia classes for £25
Wednesdays 15th, 22nd and 29th March, 5th and 12th April

 

Ageless Grace LogoAgeless Grace on Wednesdays starting 15th March 2017, 4 – 5 p.m.
Supper Room, Bishop Middleham Village Hall, Front St, Bishop Middleham, Ferryhill DL17 9AJ

Fun, easy moves to improve joint mobility, strength, balance and overChairall fitness. Gives your brain a workout too, and all from the comfort of a chair

A course of five Ageless Grace classes for £25
Wednesdays 15th, 22nd and 29th March, 5th and 12th April

More information about these and all current classes on the Classes and Events page

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