Saturday, August 2, 2014

Meditatieve swimming

My youngest daughter was following swimming classes to learn how to swim, which left me waiting for 30 minutes at the side of the swimming pool every week.

I have never been a fan of swimming, but after a few weeks I joined her, swimming laps when she was learning how to swim and having some fun with her after that, going down water slides... I thought that instead of waiting, swimming would be a better use of my time... And good for my overall health for sure.

Now, I actually enjoy my time doing laps... And I turned it into meditatieve swimming. Each lap, I continuesly repeat to myself the nummer of the lap I am doing.... Each stroke.... Over and over again till I hit the end of the pool and make my way back, with an increased number. After a while, I noticed that I had no other thoughts.... Meditation during swimming... How about that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Finally, a yoga center nearby....

In May of this year, a new yoga center - Yoga Vida -  opened in the town next to where I live... I went to the opening days to get a sense of what to expect from this place.

The yoga teachers are two young women, both trained by the same instructor in Antwerp. The place looked nice and it was all a matter of jumping in .... which only happened just yesterday.

The center had organized a free yoga session which was supposed to take place on the banks of a small river that runs through the town. Unfortunately, weather in Belgium is not always your best friend when it comes to organizing outdoors activities in the summer....
Forecasts of rain moved the event inside - this meant you would not get wet unless you sweat....

And what a good session it was. The trainer surprised me with her approach to teaching yoga - really good flow, not too "it's yoga so we need to include a lot of spiritual links" kinda session, not too hard but challenging enough to get me sweaty .... totally the kind of yoga practice I am looking for as a "yogi from mars".

Just to be clear, I don't mind the spiritual approach to yoga, but at this point in my life I really look for the physical challenge more than the spiritual challenge. Not saying I don't value it - I have great admiration for Alberto, the first yoga teacher I spent a decent amount of time with and for whom yoga is a way of life. His knowledge and approach to life surprise me a number of times. For me, yoga at this stage is a physical practice with some values that make me think about life in general. Nothing more, nothing less.

Anyway, they will most certainly see me again at Yoga Vida as I felt zen the entire day yesterday.... I defenitely want more of that....

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Getting back in the saddle....or on the mat...

The past 9 months or so have not been a smooth ride. Who am I kidding, there were some serious bumps in the road and some heavy clouds in the sky.

This would be a great moment to bring up Karma and how I always was convinced that things would work out -- well, I would be lying. I tried, as I always do, to look at all the hurdles I was faced with and rationalise that it would be OK.... but my body started to send out different signals. I can confirm that being faced with a situation that has a huge negative impact on me but where I am not in the drivers seat really stresses me out - the yogi way of acceptance... not my cup of tea.

Now that the sky is clearing and the first rays of the sun come down, I'm ready to pick up yoga again.
Over the past months, I didn't practice a lot and defenitely not regularly.
I started doing cardio training on the crosstrainer while listening to pumping rave music - it felt great. 30 minutes me-time, sweating, enjoying the beats.... was that OK for a yogi? Or, was I still a yogi?

I did miss doing yoga. So I started wondering, how do I get back on my yoga mat.
I remembered a tip that my prana yoga flow teacher once gave me. He said that he would never ask his students to do x asanas or spend y time doing yoga -- he just invited them to do one thing every day: roll out your yoga mat, stand on it and take 3 deep breaths. Than, you are free to stop.

In reality, I never stop after the 3 breaths - I find myself doing a sun salutation quickly after that and than start doing some asana's - not a real flow yet, but asana's I feel like doing.

I'm focussing a lot on hip openers now - pigeon pose, lizard, happy baby, squat..... I figured that I need to loosen my hips again to be able to do my bends properly,  with a straight back. In the asana's that I do, I really focus on keeping my back straight....

My plan now is to do cardio training 3 days per week - I turned 40 last year and suddenly my weight started a life of its own.... I need to burn calories..... seriously. Then, 3 days that I want to focus on yoga asana's again..... and 1 day of rest (and I don't mean spending hours in savasana ;-) ).
Sounds OK?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Knocking on 2014's door.

It has been a while since I last posted anything here, I have had a bit of bumpy ride in 2013 with some definite highs and some real lows.... I enjoyed the highs and learned a lot from the lows  so this bumpy ride has helped me to grow as an individual.

And now we have 2014 knocking on the door. I am not a fan of New Year resolutions, so I am not planning on making any. I will just take life as it comes and go with the flow.....

I'm still getting back in touch with yoga after my shoulder injury - the good news is, I am totally shoulder pain free. I went on a yoga weekend beginning of October and thought that that would have been the kick start of doing yoga a few times per week again.... Well,  it wasn't. If I have negative stuff going on in my life, I just can not bring myself to the mat. I did keep up the cardio training as the thirty minutes of sweating, listening to modern beats does free my head and helps to keep me.a bit in shape. 

But now I feel that I am back in a state of mind to pick up yoga again. I will see how it goes....

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The joy of cardio

It has been a while- seriously. I don't even want to know when my last post was.

My excuse - actually, I don't need an excuse but in case you are wondering - I've been injured and been too busy at work!

But over time, things change. My injury is going in the right direction - I've been able to do some pain free downward dogs which really made me happy.
At work, a lot changed and created some free time. And now it is holiday season and I have even more time on my hands.... it was now or never for starting up physical exercises.

Two weeks ago, I started working out on my cross trainer - no impact, but a good cardio training.
I used to hate that machine - in most cases started with setting myself the goal of doing 15- 20 mins of training and that's it. But now, I have entered the world of the Ipod. I bought some good "beat" songs online (ITunes store is great) and made my own 'work out' playlist.

The good thing is - it easily keeps me going for 30+ minutes. There is always that difficult part between 1 and 3 minutes to get over, but then.... keep it coming. Great songs, great energy, great workout.....

And working out made me want to do yoga again as well... slowly but surely, I'm getting on my mat more often. It feels good.... if I can stay away from getting injured again, I hope to be able to bring yoga back into my daily/weekly routine.


Monday, April 22, 2013

The die is cast - back to the original plan!

The die is cast - after some serious thought, I've taken a decision with regards to the teacher training I was following.

I've decided to continue the training, but only to gain more insight in yoga (back to the original plan) and will no longer do the "teaching stuff".


There are a number of reasons
  1.  I never  had the ambition to become a yoga teacher. I've started this teacher training as a yoga rookie and somehow got caught in the moment and happily joined the teaching part as well. Who was I kidding - there is no way that I could be a credible yoga teacher just by following this training course. A credible teacher needs to be knowledgeable on the asana's but also on the other limbs of yoga. I'm not even convinced that I like the other limbs of yoga .... well, I always said I was in it for the physical part, the asana's and would have a look into the rest.
  2. The majority of my fellow students really want to become a yoga teacher - I don't want to take away training/practice time from them "just for the fun of it". The more time they can spend in teaching the group, the better they will get and that will benefit a number of aspiring yogi in the future for sure.
  3. I'm still struggling with a shoulder injury - no more sun salutations, no more downward dogs, .... so no more time to really deep dive into the asana's. I've discussed the injury with my doctor and he explained which muscle most likely has suffered some muscle tears. He also told me that it can take a long time for the muscle to heal..... no good news...
  4. And recently, I just have difficulties in finding the time and the motivation to practice. Forget the 40 day challenge and then it is incorporated into your life, you can not do without yoga anymore. I think I need to write that magazine a letter that that was crap. Motivation, time and a healthy body, that's what you need to keep daily yoga going if you ask me - if one of these 3 is compromised (or in my case, all 3 of them), forget it.

Anyway - I feel good about my decision - I do feel sorry that now the whole string of asana's needs to be rescheduled because I have decided not to do my part....  but better to take the decision now than to wait for the last minute....

Saturday, March 23, 2013

To pee or not to pee

What's up with morning pee?

I've been confronted with the claimed benefits of morning urine a number of times in the past weeks, so I start to wonder how morning pee got promoted from bodily waste to "fluid with benefits"....

I've been reading a book - yoga bitch by Suzanne Morrison . It's a book about her yoga experiences in Bali, and one of the topics she frequently addresses is the fact that yogi drink their morning urine as some sort of ritual. Although she's convinced that she will never do that, severe diarrhea changes everything and out of desparation, she joins the - what she calls - pee-drinkers by taking a sip of her morning urine. Apparently her sickness improved after that.... (coincidence?.... I certainly hope so).

Recently, I've had a discussion on colds and runny noses with some yogis, and the use of a neti to rinse your nose with 10% salty water came up in the discussion. That was topped with a statement that rinsing your nose with morning pee is even better than rinsing with salty water..... please let this one sink in for a while, I needed to do that as well.

And then, even non yogis confronted me with benefits of morning urine. I've got told that people that used to work in the coal mine washed their hands with morning pee as a cure for skin fissures.

Now I am wondering what the mechanism behind all these "strange" usages of urine is. I was hoping to get some insights today in yoga class, but have a shoulder injury so have to skip the teacher training today. Not fun, but the question stays on my list of things to ask next time (end of April).

So if anybody has any good explanation, feel free to comment. I will get back with the explanation I get as soon as I get it....