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?