Tag Archives: health and fitness

For the love of power naps

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I discovered power naps fifteen years ago, and now I’m self employed with no dependents living at home, I can use them to gain even more constructive time in my day.

Four years of IBS left me thin and weak, and then I discovered bellydance. If I wanted to dance, I had to eat, but also be as rested as possible, to give me the best chance of dancing the hour and a half session. How could I fit it in? I was so tired and yet, daily household tasks needed to be done and the children needed collecting at 3.15pm. I chose to power nap from 1.30pm to 2.10pm, rising from my bed, driving straight to the school able to spend almost an hour in the car writing my first novel.

I loved bellydancing and wanted to dance more. There was another hour and a half session the following evening. Could I manage two nights of dancing? It wasn’t just the overwhelming fatigue I felt every minute of every day, but the pain was often excruciating, leaving me drained and nauseous and ready to give up on life. I tried the classes and with the help of my regular nap, I was able to bellydance twice a week.

Sticking to the routine was easy for me; it helped with pain and tiredness and enabled me to do the things I wanted to do. I had so much more energy for the children too, making getting them to clubs after school so much easier.

The power nap combined with bellydance changed the course of my life. Before I had my children I ran an Offshore Funds Settlements Department in London; in 2007, at the age of 44, I created Phoenix Bellydance and began teaching Egyptian dance to women and girls, as well as continuing to write. I had articles published in dance magazines, interviewed dancers and musicians and wrote their stories, but it was around 2009 that I knew I wanted to write magical novels, having discovered the stories of Dion Fortune.

My mind was opened to all sorts of possibilities, but managing the IBS was still a problem. I’d taken on two cleaning jobs for friends, just three hours a time, but with teaching in the evening, and attending classes and workshops myself, I struggled to manage my pain and the fatigue again. And then I discovered reiki. I’d signed myself up for an aromatherapy massage course, hoping to learn more about essential oils and their healing properties, but there weren’t enough people so the reiki course was suggested as a stop gap.

Learning about chakras gave me the frame work to heal my own body and mind. I attended a later aromatherapy massage course too, and proceeded to Reiki 2 training. My naptime took on even more relevance, a time not just to rest but to heal. Around this time, I realised a sense of ‘self’ I hadn’t known before. I discovered American Tribal Style® Bellydance and around the same time, greater confidence working magic on my own or with close friends and my daughter.

Throughout this time, I discovered that a power nap wasn’t called Forty Winks by accident. Forty minutes was the perfect length of power nap for me; any less, I didn’t feel refreshed after and any more, I felt heavy and lethargic and struggled to get going. I was allowed to press the snooze button though, as it gave me ten minutes if I needed it, to come round slowly.

Now, especially if my partner is working away, I use power naps to make my day even longer. Up before 6am and out walking by half past, if I nap before 3pm, I can still have energy to pull brambles, dance, research or write until about 11pm…I feel like I’ve fitted two days into one! It’s not possible to use them every day with work commitments, but if I’m up early and fading by 11.30am, I’ll always try and fit in a power nap…or sometimes a cat nap if a kitten comes to join me.

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Toegate continued

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The broken toe is healing…slowly. Today I’m walking my steps for the first time in Wellington boots since the crunch.

(Not sure why I look like I’m hovering over the earth!)

I started a few months ago, getting up around 6am and starting my day with 2k steps for two reasons, both related to me stopping smoking. Firstly, I miss the first cigarette of the day with the same intense craving I’ve woken up with for forty years, so I’m trying a different start to the day. Secondly, I’ve put on weight around my middle and I don’t like it.

Teaching women to bellydance, I encourage them to love their bodies, I know, but this bit around the middle doesn’t belong to me. It has been sent by the Nicotine Monster because I won’t feed him anymore, and I refuse to sign and accept the delivery!

So I’m building up the steps again slowly; 1k in the morning, 1k at lunchtime and another 1k in the evening. Combined with 6 hours of dance each week, I’m hoping to see a difference by 1st September.

Tribal Unity Wales will be performing at the Lampeter Food Festival on 28th July and at the Cardigan Bellydance Festival on 4th August. After that, I’ll return to 2k every morning…why not join me?

 

 

Dance…today and every day

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I learned ballroom dancing by standing on my Dad’s feet when I was tiny. Ballet lessons, however, were out of the question as I was labelled a ‘fairy elephant’ and I learned piano instead. I shuffled my feet and waved my arms at the disco in the 80s but it wasn’t until I was forty that I ‘found’ dance and embraced it.

On Saturday night, my Tribal Unity Wales students and I joined the dancing at a hafla in Cardigan. (A hafla is a belly dance party, rather than a performance.) American Tribal Style® (ATS®)Belly Dance is the style I teach, created by Carolena Nerricio in the late 80s and since moving to Wales, I’ve started two classes and am about to start a third. Unlike Egyptian Belly Dance, every dance is improvised, dancers following the cues of the leader.

The atmosphere built as costumes were finalised and make up perfected before we began. As the first group danced, Rose Barter’s Belly Fit class for over 50s, I looked around at the other dancers, their friends and family. Everyone was smiling, clapping in time, supporting the dancers and enjoying the music and I wished we could capture the feeling in the Small World Theatre….then everyone would dance.

DSC_1261Our two group dances, one in groups and chorus and the other in formation, were interspersed in the programme with stick dances, a veil dance, a drum solo and other duets and solos. There were no egos. Each dancer was there to share the love of the dance.

Tribal Unity were invited to dance to the live drums and my partner joined them on the tabla. Hayley and I danced a fun, crazily fast duet…how can I describe how much fun that was?

My life changed when I started belly dance. In my early twenties I used weight training, swimming, aerobics and stretching to keep fit and sculpt my body. Thirty years on, dance gives me that and so much more.

I began with Egyptian Belly Dance, attending work shops all over the country to learn new skills and develop my dance until I became a tribal babe just over four years ago. Now I have the privilege to teach American Tribal Style® Belly Dance to others, sharing the love of the dance and the bliss of being part of a tribal family.

Don’t wait. You don’t need an excuse. Dance…today and every day.

To find out more about Tribal Unity http://www.tribalunity.co.uk

To find out more about American Tribal Style® Belly Dance http://www.fcbd.com