I first tried Ageless Grace® in 2012, when I took certification to be an educator. I was intrigued and wanted to find how anyone could sit and exercise. As a senior myself I understood that maybe there would come a time when I needed to sit, move and exercise. Wow! Has my brain been challenged since the first time I took part in it, laughed my way through the training with the other would-be educators, and became hooked!
It was easy to become an educator. It’s a two-day certification process that is informative, fun, creative, imaginative and full of “ah-ha moments”. In that time I learnt about how neuroplasticity – the brain’s ability to change structure and function – and its part in why Ageless Grace®, is so involved in using it to restore, maintain and develop our health as we move both our bodies and our brain. I also learnt that there are 21 Exercise Tools (ways to move our body and brain) that work the whole body, including balance, flexibility, strength, core, reaction times to name just a few. Every exercise tool involves our brain, from working out how to do that move in chair, to learning something new, to choosing music that I could use with students that involve memory. And every class is different.
I also learnt that by just doing 10 minutes of Ageless Grace® in a chair to music every day helps me maintain my physical and cognitive function. Who could believe – only 10 minutes!
Since I became an Educator I have been taking classes in Kenmore, Brisbane. My first is a casual class that people can come along to and many of the students have been coming since that first class I took! Then I started in an Aged Care facility, specifically for the residents. I also take classes for a multicultural organization – what fun we have, moving to music without a common language. I also take classes at Choices Cancer Support Centre at the Wesley Hospital.
I also do a number of demonstrations for different groups. You cannot begin to imagine how great it feels to have people who have never seen Ageless Grace® before sit in front of me and do the moves themselves, really moving at their own level. You can see the pleasure and enjoyment as they laugh their way through it. People often tell me at the end how great it was. I love to do demonstrations, so if you would like me to, get in touch and we can make arrangements.
What I love about teaching Ageless Grace® is seeing how the students benefit from the program. Many of them may come to class and be feeling a bit down but by the end of the class they are feeling much brighter. I notice that many of them have increased their range of movement over the time and that their flexibility has improved. I love that they will practice balance exercises at home. I love to see that as people get better at the exercises, I have to think up more challenging ways for them to do it and I also love the way they give their own ideas for a move or for an action.
There are 21 Primary Benefits of Ageless Grace® and each one targets a different area of the body and/or brain. As well as that, there are benefits of doing exercise while seated in a chair. We don’t do it because we are too frail to stand, though that may be why some people do it. We sit, first and foremost, because our brain has to work out how to make a move. Skiing, in a chair! How do I do that? First of all, go to brain and let it help you work out how to move your body. Another reason for doing it seated is so we can work our core more because we have stability from the chair, not relying on our legs to keep us balanced. When we use our core in this way we also massage and move our organs and our energy centres.
Then there is the music: music from our era, music that is upbeat and cheery; music that we can sing along to if we want; music that brings back memories. Many of the people in my class say they only come for the music! And then they get to move and play to it, too.
Ageless Grace® is different from other exercise programs because you do not learn particular moves. Many of the moves are functional. Imagine you are doing some gardening – perhaps you’re going to plant a tree. We need to dig the hole, water it, place the tree, fill it back up with soil, and so on. While the music plays we dig and plant, mulch and water, first with one arm and leg, then the other. That is very different from sitting in a chair and moving your arm in a prescribed way and then moving your leg. No-one has to tell you how to do it. The educator’s imagination can have an endless supply of different stories and ideas that stimulate movement.
As an educator I like to make my classes fun, relaxed and creative, not just for me but also for the students. I like them to bring in their ideas and make sure that I am not the only one who is doing the work! We play, as that is how, as children, we first learnt and it is still relevant as we get older.
I was born in Wales but moved to Australia in 1990. I am proud to be born Welsh, with a song in my heart and a poem in my soul, (attributed to the poem ‘In Passing by Brian Harris, 1967) but I love Australia and have said that when I die and they look at my heart, just like a piece of Brighton rock it will say “Australia” all the way through it.
I started out my working life as a teacher and have continued to teach in a many different ways and situations. From teaching children in schools, I have taught many adults in their work place. Now, as a retiree, I find myself teaching people to become Educators or programs to help care partners understand what their loved ones deal with and ways to help.
As young parents, my husband worked in Saudi Arabia and later in Trinidad, West Indies. I moved there too, with the children, which gave us the opportunity to visit other countries and experience different cultures. The sounds, sights and smells, as well as the people we knew, remain with me. In recent years I have had the opportunity to travel in Australia, mainly for work, and overseas for pleasure.
As a senior I found, and now enjoy the movement practice of Nia, which I also teach. I have also studied somatic movement therapy, which I like to bring into my Ageless Grace® classes when appropriate. Having that awareness of what is happening in our body helps us understand where we may need to heal or show us that by moving in a specific way we can bring such joy into our life. It also helps us empathise with others who may have challenges that we don’t.
I am inspired and influenced by the people in my classes, especially the elderly in high care. I love to hear their stories of how they lived and worked and their families. We have so much to learn from our elders: from the person who always answers a question I ask, to the person who quietly sits and enjoys the movements and music to those who want to tell me about their lives. Their smiles and their love fill my heart.
If I was starting out my adult life again, I would make sure I “got out of my head” as soon as I could. I’d find a somatic-based movement practice, such as Nia, that took me back to my body and helped me take things in my stride. I would travel early and often, as that is such a wonderful way to open up the mind to new experiences. And it gives such rich experiences that I can share with others through Ageless Grace®!
|Fairview Aged Care Centre||Tuesday||9:45am- 10:30am||Private|
| Kenmore Library –
Meeting Room 3
Please call 0402 319 361 to confirm