Tag Archives: healthy eating

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


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


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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Taller, lighter and peacefully energised…

512px-still_water_at_dusk“Taller, ligher and peacefully energised.” That’s how two participants of “Move with Ease” ended September and began their weekend – in their own words. We had moved mindfully into the evening with slow, simple, healing Nia moves; I then talked them through some somatic exercises to re-educate brain and muscles to release tension and improve posture. And we rounded off the evening by sharing a guided visualisation where they were able to relax completely. And as a post-script, I heard from one of them that she also enjoyed a great night’s sleep afterwards. Don’t you just love it when everything comes together and people tell you it works?

It was a fantastic start to my weekend too, and to the new month of October. How was yours?  Last month we had the schools starting up again and this month it’s new beginnings for lots of young people starting university. So which new chapter are you beginning in October?

Why not join me this month and begin a new healthy habit? Is there something you’ve been meaning to do for ages – a five minute meditation every day, write a journal, eat more healthily, exercise more, cut down on caffeine or alcohol? Like most people, I know there are probably lots of things I could do to be more healthy, but I know I won’t do them all, so I’ll focus on just one.

My aim is to do 5 minutes of somatic exercises every week-day this month to see whether I can feel the difference by the end of the month. Notice I said, “every week-day” and not “every morning “- I need to give myself a bit of wiggle room for when life gets in the way!  What I’m intending, is that I’ll get into the habit and choose to do it every day.

Will you join me? Can you make it something really simple? Just one thing that is easy to do. But I know I have to be careful because the things that are easy to do, are also very easy not to do!

If you want to let us know what you’ve chosen to do and how you’re getting on, please comment over on the Supple Change Facebook page.

If you need some inspiration, take a look at what else is on the blog below and have a great October.

Nia Move of the month – Outward Block

All Blocks in Nia 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. As you move your arms, imagine your head and shoulders are staying within an imaginary picture frame; this means you’re not opening up too far and risking straining shoulder ligaments.

To do the Outward Block, from the Ready Position, bring one fist and forearm across up and out to block the side of your face, while the other elbow pulls back. Keep your hips facing front. Do it strong, or do it jazzy, and enjoy!

The Blocks help build strength and speed in your arms and the core of your body.

Watch it :

Stop Breathe & Think

MP900387543This is the name of an App someone told me about and which I’ve found very helpful for building a few minutes quiet time, mediation or stillness into the day. You can download it to your phone or tablet and choose words to describe how you feel, physically, mentally and emotionally, and the app will suggest a few mediations for you. The shorter ones are free.

Free Move without Pain E-mail course

I have just signed up for this course to help me in the first week of my October Challenge. It’s available via Martha Peterson’s Essential Somatics website. If you go to the website, a pop-up box will appear after a few seconds to allow you to sign up. I can’t tell you what it’s like yet, because I only just received lesson one and haven’t had time to check it out, but I learned about Somatics from Martha and highly recommend her as a teacher.

If Somatics is something that interests you, please let me know as I’m thinking about organising a workshop.

What I’m watching

Here are two tv programmes I found very interesting. You may have seen them too. What was striking was that by adopting a healthier lifestyle people with long-term conditions, experienced huge improvements to their health, without using medication.

  • The Retreat on BBC 2 in which Nick Knowles joined a group on a Thai island to undergo an intense detox and healing programme. The results of the fasting, vegan diet, yoga and meditation – as well as other practices and healing sessions – was profound. And on a physical level the one diabetic followed in the programme lowered his blood sugar level dramatically without using drugs at all.
  • The Doctor who gave up drugs. I was particularly heartened to find that the group of people who started waliking for 30 minutes, five times a week, saw a dramatic improvement in their health too. And walking is so easy for most people and it’s free. Here’s the trailer:

What I’m listening to

A friend recently recommended a healing meditation on YouTube by Jason Stephenson. When I checked it out, I discovered that he also has videos for aiding sleep, for relaxation and for confidence. These are my favourites for healing and for confidence. Great to listen to last thing at night, or first thing in the morning.

Classes and events
Nia in Newton Aycliffe, Mondays at 6.30 p.m.

Nia logo new redA new block of five Nia classes begins on Monday 10 October at the Pioneering Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe.
Details on the Classes and events page.

u-class-experienceNia routine “U” now available on DVD and digital download

And on the subject of Nia, the routine “U” is now available as a digital download from Amazon, iTunes and Google Play. And you can buy the DVD from Nianow and Amazon.

Northumbria Healers Mind Body Spirit event, Saturday 8 October, Hexham.

More information on Classes & Events and on the Northumbria Healers website.

Take 5: Are you confused?

butter-596296_960_720For years I ate low fat and low cholesterol spreads, thinking I was doing my body a favour – after all that’s what we were told. And then I came across an article about how margarine was made (not sure how much of it was true, but it was enough to put me off for life) and switched back to butter. Just butter. Nothing added, nothing taken away.

eggs-750847_960_720I also remember a time when we were advised only to eat a couple of eggs a week; a time when “six slices a day” was the “well-balanced way” (younger friends are horrified by that one – especially when I say it was white sliced…); and the days when we were told potatoes made you fat (not about all the nutrients in them). But it’s all changed. Recent research has turned many of the ideas about food that I was brought up on upside down. Allergies and food intolerances seemed rare when I was growing up. How things have changed. Sometimes, I find it all very confusing.

multitasking2In fact life has changed immeasurably since I was a child. Working mothers were rare back then – most women gave up work when they had their children. And don’t get me started on the fact that in spite of all the changes, many women feel they are expected to do it all – bring up kids, run a house, cook and work full-time. No wonder we get stressed and lose sight of our dreams.

That’s why I feel blessed to have made new friends whose wise and sensible advice has helped me to make good lifestyle choices and realise I can have dreams and hopes.

NML HEARTTogether with two of them – Sarah and Kelly – I’m offering “Nourish Move Love” – a new three-part programme to help women who want to do what’s best for them and their families, or who feel stuck or overwhelmed and in need of ways to re-connect to their heart and soul. I am so looking forward to learning a lot myself and I’m really excited because we start next weekend!

If you just thought of someone you know who might like to join us, do pass on the details. It’s not too late to register. You’ll find all the details below. Oh and as an incentive to come and see how this can help begin to change your life, we have decided to extend the offer of the early bird discount for this week too – payment must be made by Friday 8am this week as the first session is on Saturday morning.

Have a great week

PS. The new Nia class last Monday at the Pioneering Care Centre in Newton Aycliffe got off to a great start, with 14 people! It’s at 6.30 p.m.  and you’ll find me in the cafe from about 5.45 as I’ll be coming straight from work and will need a cup of tea before we start. Do join me. I can highly recommend the cheese scones – but you’ll have to get there before me to even stand a chance of getting one!

Nia Move of the week: Cha Cha Cha

In most styles of dance that I’ve tried, there’s always a move that shifts your weight from one foot to the other and that’s exactly what the Nia step the “Cha Cha Cha” does. It’s also great for improving co-ordination and speed in your lower body.

It’s just a case of stepping right-left-right, or left-right left with a count of 1, 2, 3.  I find it helps to say, “Cha Cha Cha”, or count it out loud. And you don’t have to jump; your feet can stay really close to the ground. It’s often combined with the cross behind and the cross front move. If you find it difficult at first, then I suggest to use it as “Think-ing time”. Just pause and shift your weight to the other foot. Eventually, it will come with ease.

Classes & Events
NML Header

Three-part programme starting 30th April. It’s not too late to join us.
Full details and booking form to download, or read more here.

Early Bird Discount extended
As an incentive to come and see how this can help begin to change your life,
we have decided to extend the offer of the early bird discount for this week too. Payment must be made by Friday 8am this week as the first session starts this
Saturday morning

Relax your mind, Move your body, Revive your spirit

Weekend retreat with Nia, sound bath, therapies, walks, fantastic food, good company. Saturday morning Nia class will be open to anyone.

Full details

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

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.