Did you notice it? Already the mornings are feeling just a little colder and I noticed on my way to work on 31st August, that the leaves were beginning to change colour and fall. That chill in the air always makes me think of going back to school. Families are gearing up for the new school year, and many of us are thinking about new beginnings.
There are a few new beginnings for me too. Following a really busy summer in the day job, I am looking forward to a new block of Nia classes at Keep Fit Darlington and at the Pioneering Care Centre starting on 18th September. I’m maintaining the price at £25 for a block of five classes and £6 pay as you go for the rest of the year. I’ll remind regulars, but there will be no Nia classes on Monday, 25th September.
And a first Introduction to Nia workshop at a lovely new venue in Darlington. It’s on Wednesday 4 October. I’ll provide a bit of background about the concept, the format, what makes Nia unique and the benefits before doing a taster class. Great for complete newcomers or anyone who just wants to delve deeper. Full details, as always on the Classes & Eventspage.
Finally, I had a bit of a surprise over the summer, when I was contacted by Helen Sanders of Health Ambition. She had come across a post I did back in February where I mentioned gin-soaked raisins as a possible aid to arthritis pain relief. She had written on the same subject and included a great deal more research in her article! There’s a lot of interesting information on the website on a wide range of health-related topics. Why not check it out?
Have a great month.
Nia move of the month – Hand technique:
Imagine you are pushing someone out of your way. Use the heel of your hand, and stop before you fully extend your arm. Stop suddenly. Strikes help you move with precision and help develop quick reactions. You can even say “Stop!’. Out loud. Try it and feel your confidence increase as you practise. Or you can take it slowly and strike out in different directions. Let Laurie Bass tell you more:
What I’m listening to
A few months ago I discovered Hay House Radio. You may have heard of Hay House publishing or read about its founder Louise L Hay who wrote a book which has helped so many people: “You can Heal your Life“. It was one of the first books I ever read on the powerful mind, body connection.
Since then, I’ve come across many Hay House authors and occasionally listen to Hay House Radio. Last Wednesday, I found myself listening for most of the afternoon and discovered that Louise Hay had passed away that same day, just weeks away from her 91st birthday. You can read more about her and her amazing achievements on her website.
Dates for your diary
Classes continue after the Bank Holiday at Keep Fit Darlington and the Pioneering Care Centre on Mondays.
A new block of five classes starts at both venues on Monday 18th September.
No classes at Bannatynes, Keep Fit Darlington or the Pioneering Care Centre on 25th September.
The Body’s Way – step in and discover the Power of Nia Introduction to Nia workshop, Wednesday 4 October, 3.45 – 5.15 p.m. Pilates & Beyond, Darlington.
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
What a great month June was. The taster at Heighington Fair was fun if rather wet and windswept – I’m very grateful to those who turned out in such wet weather to join me – and the “Loosen Up!” half day retreat was well-received. With a few tweaks, I’m ready to share it with a wider public. Get in touch if you’d be interested in attending or hosting something along those lines; we can have a chat about adapting it to suit you, your friends or your colleagues.
At the time of writing, I’ve just worked my last day in the day job before taking a break. Those who have read my story will know that if it wasn’t for Nia and the simple hand and arm moves, I wouldn’t be able to do the job at all as it requires quite a lot of lifting and moving around. So this month, as we begin the Nia Hand techniques in the “Nia Move of the Month” slot below, I’m reminded of how much I have gained from learning and sharing Nia and other amazing movement techniques in the last six years.
I have a new respect for the wonder that is the human body, its ability to recover, repair and heal itself and the link between mind and body which never ceases to inspire me. I hope that what I’ve been doing has helped and inspired you even just a little.
I’m not only taking a break from my job, but also from Nia classes for a couple of weeks. You’ll find changes to the normal class schedule below and on the Classes and Events page.
I’ve also included details of:
The Sparklicious Summer Retreat day around the theme of “Being Brave”. It’s on 8 July. Contact Karen Hughes if you’re interested in joining her for the day.
Two exciting events in Newcastle organised by The Healing Trust – a fantastic opportunity for anyone interested in healing.
Keep moving and I’ll see you next month!
Nia move of the month – Hand techniques: Fists
This is a great move for releasing stress or emotions, and for improving strength in, and toning your forearms. Fold your fingers, keep your thumb on the outside and shake your fist as if you’re shaking dice. Your fist is fairly relaxed. You can see the move being used as part of the Nia routine “Soul” where you can see the contrast of strength in Fists and flexibility in one of the finger moves: Creepy Crawlies.
Watch Laurie Bass show how you can build in strength in the whole body and how you can incorporate the three planes of movement – low, middle and high.
Dates for your diary
Nia classes3-17 July 2017
Week beginning Monday, 3 July Bannatyne’s – no class
Keep Fit Darlington – no class
Pioneering Care Centre – Nia class at 6.30 p.m.
Week beginning Monday, 10 July No Nia classes
Week beginning Monday, 17 July Bannatyne’s – Nia class at 1 p.m.
Keep Fit Darlington – Nia class at 2.30 p.m.
Pioneering Care Centre – No Nia class
“Being Brave” Sparklicious Summer Retreat Day
Saturday 8 July 2017, The Yurt, Hardwick Park, Sedgefield.
Nia Taster session in the morning. Contact Karen Hughes if you’d like to take part in this summer retreat day in the beautiful setting of Hardwick Park. She has lots of amazing activities planned. More
Two events organised by The Healing Trust
“The Healing Intent” workshop with Matthew Manning, Patron of the Healing Trust, Saturday 23 September 2017
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.
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
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 mewith 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
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.
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
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 diary
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.
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 Body’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.
What I’m watching – Good health and losing weight well
There 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 diary
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.