Tag Archives: dance

Take 5 & Move to heal and stay young!

Hello. It’s good to be back.

The Nia Moving to Heal training in Burntisland was excellent. Lots of ideas for adapting Nia and with an emphasis on self-healing. Look out for some specific Moving to Heal classes in the near future. Then a few days taking it easier than usual. I’m usually so busy doing that I forget that I need to rest and switch off sometimes. Ironically that’s when some of my better ideas come to me – when I’m not really thinking about them. So my promise to myself this week is that I will programme in some time off. And not just an evening here and there, but a few days at a time. I was just beginning to really relax when it was time to get out and about again.

Although I need time off and time to be still, the weekend course did impress upon me that movement can not only help us heal in body and mind, but it can also  help us stay young. You may have come to the same conclusions if you watched the two BBC programmes “How to stay young”. More about that below.

I just have time to give you a quick reminder about the new Nia class tonight at the Pioneering Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe. It’s at 6.30 p.m. but you’ll find me in the cafe from about 5.45. Why not join me for a cuppa and catch up first?

Have a great week!

Nia Move of the week: Cross Behind

This move develops mobility and stability in the legs, helping you to move more efficiently.  You start from an Open Stance, imagine you’re standing in the centre of a clock face, and step your left foot behind the right – your ankles making a small “x”  Come back to the Open Stance and then repeat with your left foot, keeping the back heel high. Keep your arms relaxed and natural. Cross Behind can be combined with a Cha Cha Cha and a Cross Front.

Watch it here as Nia trainer Helen Terry suggests ways of energising and adapting the basic Cross Behind.

What I’m watching

How to stay young, BBC One
I enjoyed  the two programmes with Angela Rippon and Dr Chris van Tulleken who  looked at the latest experiments and research that could “help put the brakes on the ageing process”.

There were lots of tips about healthy eating and what science has discovered in recent years, but I was delighted that dancing and walking came out as two excellent ways of staying fit as we age. Dancing in particular is good for exercising the mind as well as the body, but then we knew tha didn’t we?  You can read about it here or catch up on the iPlayer here. And isn’t Angela Rippon amazing? I hope I look that good at 71!

What I’m reading

Feel the Joy!(1)Article – The Body’s Way: 5 Reasons to Dance Nia

“In 2010, I realized something in my life was missing, but I couldn’t get a hold on what it was. I stopped my usual workouts at the gym and started taking some serious Pilates classes in a small studio next to my office… “ Continue reading

Classes & Events
Starts Tonight – Monday 18 April, 6.30 p.m.
New Class
, Pioneering Care Centre, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 4SF

Nia adele an otherClasses on the following Mondays:

18  and 25 April; 9, 16 and 23 May.

Special introductory offer – £17.50 for all five classes if paid on 18 April.

Minimum of six people required to run the class.

NML HeaderNourish Move Love
starting 30 April 2016

It’s not too late to join us.
Full details and booking form to download, or read more here.

Jump to the Classes & Events page for full details of all classes, workshops and events.

Take 5 & Dance like there’s nobody watching

You’ve heard it before – “Dance like there’s nobody watching”. I have been given a mug with this on and a beautiful cross-stitched picture with these words and a figure dancing with gay abandon (see below) because I think I must say them quite often in Nia classes.

But that’s exactly what I hope people will do. They don’t need to get it right, be able to dance or even be co-ordinated – Just Dance. I’ll explain why I’ve concluded it’s so good for you below and suggest a few dance styles you might like to try.

Please note the changes to classes over the summer and have a great week.

Summer break

Both the Oakleaf and Woodham Nia classes are taking a break from now until September. With people on holiday at different times, numbers were just too unpredictable. Watch this space for new start dates. See Classes & Events for details.

If you’re away over the summer, you can search for a Nia class anywhere in the world in the “Find Nia” section of the main Nia website.

Tip of the week: Dance like there’s nobody watching


  • Because it makes you smarter!
    And the “New England Journal of Medicine” says so. This follows a 21-year study in New York of “recreational activities on mental acuity in aging“.  Read the full article, or a summary.
  • Cross stitched by Carol
    Cross stitched by Carol

    Because it’s fun!
    Have you ever watched small children at a live concert, ceilidh or wedding reception? Usually down at the front of the room, moving and giggling, enjoying the music and totally oblivious to anyone watching them? Where does that unself-conscious spirit go as we get older?

  • Because it can help your health!
    I’ve already posted on how Irish Set Dance can relieve the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and how Nia has helped people recovering from breast cancer (and if you’ve read the About Me section, you’ll know how it helped my arthritis).

So, do you want to give it a try? There’s something for everyone.

I have friends who go salsa dancing in Darlington and Durham,  and others who do French and Breton dancing on the second Sunday of the month in Newcastle (note to self: must put that in my diary).

I used to go to an Appalachian step dance group just north of Durham (watch some here) until circumstances prevented me from attending regularly. And there’s Irish Set Dancing of course in Newcastle Irish Centre on Tuesdays and in Croxdale Community centre on Thursdays (and lots of other places too, at home and abroad).
You might also consider the Saltaire Day of Dance – a charity event that takes place twice a year. You’ll find me leading an Irish Set Dance workshop at the next one on 17 October and you can try just about any style of dance you can think of.

And they’re only a few of the ones I know about!

But you don’t have to join a group or feel you have to get it right (although sometimes it helps), just put on your favourite track and dance round the house – nobody’s watching! What’s your favourite track for dancing round the house to?

DR 5 stagesWhat I’m watching

Here’s a short interview with Debbie Rosas co-creator of Nia talking about the healing power of movement.

Where you’ll find me

Did I mention the workshop I’m going to in Edinburgh this weekend? Yes? Wellm maybe just a few times. And did I tell you about next weekend,  when I’m going to an event with Sarah Seed who does the most amazing confidence-building coaching and retreat days?


New Year’s Resolution #1

isolated chocolate barSo what are your resolutions?
Eat less chocolate?
Go to the gym more?
Take up a sport?

In my experience, none of this works, unless you’re really motivated and you actually enjoy what you’re doing. In my latest newsletter, I wrote about some easy ways to get fit that won’t break the bank. I was inspired by an article in this week’s “Radio Times” written by Will Self. He advocates walking. It’s free, always available and all you have to do is get up, put on your coat and leave the house.

DancersI also read an interview with Russell Grant this week about how much he’d enjoyed “Strictly come dancing” and if he only had one day left to live, he’d organise a “danceathon” so other people could discover how much joy you can get from dancing. (You can read the rest of my newsletter here).

Then yesterday, after a Nia class, a few members of the group were talking about how they joined a walking group last year, at around the time they started coming to Nia classes and how much fitter they all look and feel now. They love the social aspect of both the walks and the class and enjoy both. They’ve made new friends, explored the countryside and are considerably fitter and happier in themselves than they were this time last year.

So what are my resolutions? Well I’m not giving up chocolate or the odd glass of wine, bu I have promised myself that I will write a blog more regularly – two a month – and look after myself properly: making sure I get sufficient down-time, vitamins and sleep in 2015. That may mean more walking, fixing an earlier bed-time and sticking to it, perhaps going to the local library to borrow a few books and it will definitely mean continuing to share Nia.

So what are your promises to yourself this New Year?




Which “Friends” character are you?

Chatting about the 1990s sitcom “Friends” the other day, one of my friends reminded me of an episode I’d forgotten: “The one with the fake Monica”.
So I looked it up on YouTube.

Phoebe, Monica and Rachael go to a tap dance class. Phoebe has a whale of a time, Monica looks… and Rachael…, well you’ll just have to watch the clip.

So which character are you:  Phoebe, Rachael or Monica?
In a Nia class, it really wouldn’t matter.

Nia isn’t about “getting it”, though you would pick up the moves in your own time (so Monica wouldn’t need to look so scared). There’s space for you to have a whale of a time and express your own personality (like Phoebe) and there’s also space for you to move with the rest of class – though you don’t necessarily have to be exactly in sync with them or even going in the same direction. You wouldn’t have to dance in borrowed shoes – you don’t even need shoes! And nobody would yell at you to dance. They’d let you observe if that’s what Your Body needed to do.

So, in a Nia class, it really wouldn’t matter which “Friends” character you identified with most, because in a Nia class you’d be YOU!  Why not give Nia a try? You might even enjoy yourself!

Find a class near you:

Do you feel stressed? Nia can help!

Nia logo newSomeone who did her first Nia class last week told me how relaxed she felt by the end – even though she’d had a good workout. That’s something that I hear a lot about Nia classes and I’ve often thought that Nia could be a great stress-buster for employees at lunch-times or at the end of the working day.

I was inspired therefore when I recently came across an article  which describes how a stress reduction programme for staff became a programme for cancer patients. Read the full article: Giving Cancer patients something to dance about.