Tag Archives: fitness

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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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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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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Think and lose weight with ease

bubblyHappy New Year!

Here’s to a New Year filled with Joy and Ease.

Having just led my first Nia class of 2017 in Darlington, I’m looking forward to catching up with all of you again when regular classes start next week and and hope to find new ways to help you move through life with Joy and Ease.

We’ll be sharing gentle moves to ensure we stay strong, flexible and mobile in body and spirit and, as always, with an emphasis on fun and doing things the FunBody’s Way.

And it works! After several years of doing Nia, a bit of Ageless Grace and a few Somatic moves, I discovered this Christmas that I find it considerably easier to sit on the floor, get down and get up again and have more stamina than several younger members of my family.

Being alert to what my body is saying, extends beyond the Nia class and for me, it’s going to mean setting the intention of taking more care of myself this year, setting aside more time to rest, time to be creative, and to eat more healthily (to ensure that my clothes don’t feel tighter for the whole year!). I came across an interesting article on that very theme last week – using the power of intention to lose wight without dieting. Intrigued? You can read more about it under “What I’m reading” below.

If you favour healthy eating to lose any excess weight gained over the holiday, my feeling has always been that moderation in all things is probably the key. I like coffee and chocolate too much to give them up entirely, but I can limit my intake. I halved my coffee consumption some years ago simply by drinking a cup rather than a mug full of coffee. It worked for me. Kelly Rose, whose blog “Passionate about Nutrition” is a mine of information about healthy eating, recommends drinking lemon juice in warm water in the mornings and adding a pinch of cayenne to speed up the metabolism. That alone, made a huge difference to one friend who started to do this last year. See below under “What I’m watching” for more on the theme of healthy eating and dieting.

And finally, owing to a change in my working hours, almost all of my classes have moved from mornings to afternoons. There’s also a new seated movement class in the pipeline which aims to keep body and mind healthy. Please check out  “Dates for your Diary” below for details.

Have a very happy January

Anne


Nia move of the month – Punch across

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 Punch Across, start in Ready Position and bring your fist and forearm across your body. The other elbow draws back. Your palm begins the move facing up and, as your arm sprials as you puch across, the palm ends facing down.  Oh, and there’s no need to lean into the move, you can stay upright.

Where do you feel the muscles engaging in this move? Do you feel it in the places Laurie Bass mentions in the video below? I love her explanations and demonstrations of the moves.


What I’m reading – Think and lose weight with ease

“A friend of mine, by simply changing her phraseology, has lost 18 pounds in the last month. She hasn’t changed her diet or started a new exercise program. She simply started believing that losing weight is easy, a piece of cake.” – Pam Grout

Do you think this could work for you? It may not be losing weight where you’re concerned. By simply changing the way I think and speak, and choosing to say something is easy rather than hard, how much could I achieve this year?  Or what one thing could I change this year by believing it’s easy.

You can read the full article by Pam Grout here.


What I’m watching – Good health and losing weight well

Tfood-varietyhere are two interesting programmes on television this week around the theme of diet and healthy eating. Sian Williams is presenting Save Money: Good Health which takes a look at diets. However, it’s her article in the Radio Times this week which caught my eye. She talks about how many foods we cut out of our diet in an effort to look younger, live longer and stay slim. However, after recovering from breast cancer her oncologist recommended “moderation in all things and a little of what you fancy”. It seems that variety is the key.
The full article is well worth a read.

How to lose weight well promises to be interesting too. Again there’s an article in the Radio Times which, in summary, says DON’T use a blender – as the nutritional benefits of “juice” are outweighed by the sugar, lack of fibre and expense, – and DON’T take vitamin supplements – you should be able to get all you need from food. They recommend ditching junk food and cutting back on processed food, filling up on vegetables, checking calories and your weight. Both programmes are on ITV and there are articles on both in the  Radio Times, 31 December – 6 January edition.


Dates for your diaryCalendar

New class timetable from Monday 9 January 2017

  • Mondays, 2.30 – 3.30 p.m. Nia class
    Keep Fit Darlington, (on Faverdale Industrial Estate, DL3 0PP).
  • Mondays,  6.30 – 7.30 p.m. Nia class
    Stephens Room, Pioneering Care Centre Newton Aycliffe, DL5 4SF
  • Tuesdays, 1 p.m. – 2.p.m. Move with Ease – seated!
    Auckland Youth and Community Centre, Walker Drive, Woodhouse Close Estate, Bishop Auckland DL14 6QL
    Free taster session 1 p.m. Tuesday 10 January 2017
  • Tuesdays 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Nia class
    Woodham Community Centre , St Elizabeth’s Close, Woodham Village, Newton Aycliffe, DL5 4UE.

More information: Classes and Events page

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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.