Revisiting home is always very confronting to say the least. There is some sort of feeling that somehow you do not belong. They smell you from a far that you are different. And yet Belgium is no different, I am also not from there and there, I am also different. Then there is that feeling I do not belong neither here or there. So what does that make of me? I'm not really sure. I cannot seem to put a word on it. I guess in the end it does not really change me. Here or there, there or here. I am still me. And that's perfectly alright.
Neither Filipino nor Belgian. And deep inside I cannot really deny that. I know, I am myself. I gotta just love myself for that. There are parts of me that are Filipino, there are parts of me that have adopted to being Belgian and I do not have to be one or the other. I can just be me. And yet in the world full of titles and definitions I struggle to find who I am. I will keep searching. I guess it is somehow my life's quest.
When the westerners headed east they called us Indios. And that has stuck, with a feeling of being less, less worthy than the west, knowing less, being less, and capable of less. At least that was what was taught in school. And television, and quite frankly everywhere else. And being a dark skinned Filipina among my peers also was something. For a country that has been colonized, there was always the preference of being fairer skinned. And being darked skinned meant you had less, you knew less. I learned to love my dark skin and dark eyes over the years. I learned to appreciate my culture throughout the years. Somehow going home and being surrounded by my own people rubbed off old wounds. Yet somehow I am also stronger and I knew better who I am. I am still searching and I am still trying to love myself more. Trust myself more, trust my guts more and rise up. RIse up to the call and find my voice. Know who I am and be very comfortable with that. I falter, I can always come back again. One step forward, two steps back sometimes. Somehow I still stand. I stand proud. I stand knowing my history and knowing I survived and knowing I can be very proud. I do not have to lower my gaze. I can be respectful and yet be proud.
So keep hitting, jab, straight, jab, roundhouse, push kick. Give it my best shot. Keep going. Keep on going. Until the ringer rings. We miss all the shots we don't take. And for the rest we can only give it our best and trust that God will have our backs for the rest. We cannot just sit and do nothing. We give our best shot, and if we miss it's ok. If we don't win, we tried. I play to play the game, not to win. I play to become the best version of me. And whatever God will give me, it is up to him. Me I gave it my best. I can sleep at night knowing that. I can lie in my bed peacefully, hopeful for another chance the next morning for another chance to hit. Another chance to rock it.
Jab, straight, jab. Back to the basics. Over and over.
I'll see you on the mat real soon. Shala is open! Message me if you're interested to practice with me!
Road blocks. Writer's blocks. Blocked bodies, blocked minds and blocked hearts. Have you ever felt that way? I have. It's been a long winter. What those two years of being isolated can do right? Or has it been three? It seems very long and all of a sudden it is all different and we have to catch up again. We have to give it another try to be social. And that after two years of being told to be alone and stay alone, I somehow developed even more anxiety towards people. Always second guessing myself if I should reach out to people, feeling like a burden to them and somehow also scared of rejection. Or maybe is this mid life crisis? Somehow I don't really know.
And though it seems like it's hard and heavy emotions and I am also scared to open up, I just know I have to get rid of the blocks. It does not serve me. I know if I continue like this I will just end up angry and traumatised and in effect also traumatising those around me. What an ugly world would that be. Like they say, 'I realised I cannot change the world, so instead I change myself'. One small step for me, one tiny step, one small voice and one smile. Somehow I still believe that by being that change, I can make a difference. Maybe just to one person, maybe to more. Maybe the result does not matter. It matters most that I try and I do the good that I can, however blocked I may feel.
And yet we see a lot of grief nowadays we also see hopes, families are back meeting each other, the smiles and the warm embraces that somehow helps breaks the tension that has been built these pandemic years. I say we keep hugging it out! I have a big deficiency in hugs these past years. Of course we do not forget the lessons we learned. We learn to choose better. We learn to find ways to communicate and we try to understand a bit better. Give a bit more space for understanding because frankly everyone is so stressed and we do not really need to add to that. See what a smile can do. or a kind word or random acts of kindness.
And the kindness also translates to ourselves. We gotta be kindest to ourselves. Hug our inner child. Mine has been weeping for a while. She's scared to go out in the world again and yet she misses her friends and she wants to be able to play again, play and fly and dream and make these crazy dreams real. What does a girl need right? Play time in the park, getting sand filled shoes, ice cream, pizza, talking endlessly about random things, a good advice from a great sister, sun in her hair and dirt all over her, laughter and giggles and running. What more can she wish for? For that moment nothing else of these fear and anxiety matters. The blocks loosen. And yes there is more to work on. But the movement has started.
So let's loosen up the blocks a bit more. Let's roll to Australia and the Philippines. Go with the flow and roll with the punches. I'm excited to see my family back. And yes though it may have brought a lot of stress organising such a trip in a short period of time, my mom and dad's hugs and seeing my brothers again will make it all worth it. I will claim three years of hugs and family time. And yes we will probably be bickering after day 3 but that's what family is for right? Modern families and modern communications.
In person classes are then paused for now. Online classes are in a funny set up while I figure out the time differences and the availabilities. I apologise for the inconvenience but I am sure you understand right? ;) I will be back in Antwerp soon enough with big hopes and big dreams and big energy. I'll see you in July! And we will keep rolling!
It's been a while. 6 months from the last post. I have been very occupied with all the other things, and I chose to concentrate on the teaching than the blog, not to mention my IT job and trying to keep myself sane through these times of yes the Corona word.
Teaching is really something that makes me really happy. To see people practicing and to see their journey and to be somehow a part of it, online and offline. When I started the whole online thing, I myself, was very critical if it would work, if it is really teaching yoga. It does have a lot of advantages and disadvantages and yes, it is not the same as practicing in the shala. But somehow, day in and day out people came to practice and we somehow shared the energy, through the wires, through these electronic means. The screen is weird, it somehow has an addicting feeling to it. And it is a different way of transmitting energy. We don't have the luxury of touch. There is somehow a loss of connection sometimes and we rely on this modern way of transcending yoga. I find that so paradoxical.
I've somehow reached a state that I need to get off for a bit. A machine restart, a possible upgrade. This machine has been craving for some downtime. It has been throwing tantrums right and left, terrorizing whoever gets in the way. I apologize for the damage. Somehow I have lost a bit of control. And I am truly not proud of it. I am truly sorry. I've tried to use the trick for malfunctioning machines, hitting it hard 3 times, unplugging, restarting... somehow none of those seem to work right now. So yes, taking a break, going offline. I think it will do me good.
The online community is available for self practice. Digna is there to help. <3
Thank you for your understanding. Back on 1st of October. I for sure will keep you posted. Keep practicing!
Lots of love,
Happy cold days. I didn't have a snow picture for you. This was taking 3 years back in mother India. It seems so far from today's -5 degrees in Antwerp, and getting even colder. I have to admit, I am like a child who has never seen snow and never experienced this cold, and I guess I really am. Growing up in tropical Philippines, I didn't experience this before. It's all new and beautiful for me to see and to experience. I went out the last days wearing my technical winter clothing and with hiking shoes. Finally I can rationalize my shopping. Hahaha. It's such a wonder to me, the snow, the cold and the frozen fingers and regaining the sensations once you go back to the warmth. And of course the slipping in the pavement. Yes I did that too. Still able to get up, nothing broken luckily. ;)
The Ashtanga practice is a very dynamic practice. This is the practice that works for me at this moment. My body and my mind needs the movement to come in a place of quiet. Sitting still is very hard for me. I know that too is a very important practice. We end our practice with the closing sequence of shoulder stand, head stand, the closing sitting postures and taking rest. It is an important part of the practice. I have to admit, I sometimes put it off for later, I continue to do the things I feel like I have to be doing, like for example work. I tell myself I will do the closing later in the day, and the day ends and I still have not done it. It is important though to do this, in a way it draws the energy back in and balances out the dynamics of the practice.
For me sitting is hard because I always want to be doing things. In doing things, I feel like I am contributing, that I am part of the work. In a way, for me to sit is to give in, to let things happen as they should and to be comfortable without having a part on things. And my personality always wants to be in control, to feel like I am doing something - to just sit is very difficult. I see the beauty in it. To sit and be happy within oneself, to be comfortable with the discomfort, to know that it will all be alright. To sit, to watch the emotions as they come and go, to watch the feelings as they confront us, to be still in all that is happening - with no confirmation, no one to tell us we are doing the right thing or that we are doing a good job. That confirmation has to come from within. We have to tell ourselves we are good as we are and sometimes that is hardest because the self is our hardest critic. I keep practicing.
I have put up an afternoon schedule that I will start in March. Interested? Do send me a message, firstname.lastname@example.org. I can explain you how the classes work and I am very happy to answer any questions. If you have suggestions I am also very happy to listen to it. Mysore Space will be a year in March, and the past year is not how I thought it would be, I have learned a lot from it and it has given me such joy to share the practice to others. I am really grateful for everyone who has supported me and I wouldn't have been able to continue without your support, from kind words, to being present in class, to messages of not being able to be there, Thank you for your support. I really appreciate it. I have big dreams in sharing the practice and I really want to keep doing that.
I hope you are all keeping warm, safe and healthy. Warm clothes, warm food, hot chocolate and with a lot of love from family and friends.
I have been a bit inconsistent with the blog. Still here though, very much alive and still kicking. I just needed a bit of time to contain and to regroup. I hope you all are well and surviving these times. It's a bit weird what's going on around there, and it affects the inside. I hope you are staying strong, staying warm.
I came across old pictures. My first trip in India. Of course, what do you do on your first trip in India? Make the craziest pictures you can in the market. It is part of the experience. And when I see them back, part of me asks and cringes, why would you do that? And the other part is very happy I did it. Do you ever get that mixed feelings? I think we all do. I would like to think it is part of the journey, part of the experience, part of the learning process.
It's almost a year we are having this pandemic, and in the beginning we thought it would be a lockdown of 3 weeks, we were just saying it's a flu, they are exaggerating. And now almost a year in, it still seems rather vague how and when we get out of these, somehow we are managing, some of us even flourishing, a lot are struggling. We want to do our part in this, we don't want to add to the problem, we want to be part of the solution, for the good of everyone. I believe that the human capacity is very strong and very powerful and we can do a lot by starting with ourselves. And though it might seem selfish, however once we are able to take care of ourselves, we are capable of taking care of others too. Just like in the airplane, in the safety measures, you have to put your own mask to breathe first before you help others, you have to put your lifejacket first before you attend to others. It's hard to support, if you are in a vulnerable position. The foundation would not be strong. It will be rocky for you it will be rocky for everyone - no one feels comfortable in rocky foundations.
I feel most safe at home. When I am home I can relax. Someone asked me where I like best to practice, I immediately answered home. And home can mean a studio, a room, an online space. Home is where our hearts are. Home is where we feel safe and comfortable. And home is what we make of it. I find it beautiful how through these events I got to see the homes of others, a sacred space for them, very intimate and very vulnerable and I am grateful they shared their homes with me.
We keep going. I am online. I am home.
I uploaded a practice video on YouTube on what I have worked on. It's a long video and it's not perfect. It is quite real. I hope you enjoy it. You can find it here. It took me a lot of courage to post this video to the public. I hope that it can be a source of inspiration.
Stay well. Stay happy. Stay healthy.
Dadadada.... I was thinking the title should be more in the lines of judgment. Judgment is quite harsh though, and it is. We give it, we take, sometimes unnecessarily, unknowingly. However it is still there and it is hard to get rid of these perceptions, of these judgments. We think we are not enough, we think we were not good, we belittle ourselves in a way. And these are harsh emotions and harsh thoughts. It is difficult to deal with it. It is difficult to get rid of. It is possible.
Where do we start? By loving ourselves and loving ourselves more. We have to learn to forgive ourselves and find that love. Sometimes we find it easier to love another than ourselves, we can see so much good in another, and yet be so harsh on ourselves. I do this. I am very good at being so critical on myself. I sometimes feel I have to do better, I have to work more, I have to wake up earlier, I have to practice more regularly, I have to eat better, I have to stop with my bad habits. And there is nothing wrong with wanting to be better, we just don't have to be so harsh to ourselves. Because we are good, and we are doing great. And it's really hard to give that to ourselves.
Sometimes these roles we put ourselves into, teacher, student, consultant, daughter, parent, it's difficult roles to fulfill and most of us have very high standards, because we want to be good at it. We want to be accepted, we want to be at par with the standards. The standards are sometimes too rigid, too harsh and at some point just plain impossible. Sometimes we forget the things we are good in and we focus on the things that we are less good in. It gets very difficult then, because basically we get in our own way. This concept and notion we have of ourselves, is holding us back rather than setting us in a higher plane. We do not know, it might not be said but in someone else's eyes we can be amazing, we are beautiful and they look up to us. And we can use this in a humble way - we learn to love ourselves and see ourselves as beautiful and amazing. This can be a powerful tool. Once we are able to take care of ourselves, we can take care of others. Once we love ourselves, we can love the people around us. Once we are kind and considerate to ourselves, we learn to be kind and considerate to the others.
Theory is easy. We all know this. I know this. Practicing this is hard. Not impossible though. It is just a practice. It is something we do everyday. We be kind to ourselves. We do something wrong, we learn to forgive ourselves and move on, we can do better next time. We learn from our mistakes and we go on. We proceed with this lessons and use them. We have the power to get over it. It is hard, we can do it. We just got to believe it.
A change of perspective, a change of judgment. To a kinder and a more loving one. I know we can do this. Me too.
I hope you all are doing well and being kind and loving to yourselves. It's a bit difficult times we're living in. Isolation and hibernation months. It gets depressing. I think being kind to ourselves is the key. Treat ourselves well. Eat our favourite chocolate. Eat the food we love. Shop, give ourselves treats. It doesn't have to be grand, sometimes we just have to remind ourselves that we love ourselves. And a lot of things can start there.
I would want to have some other people than me in my blog. I think everyone has something to share and I would like to put someone else in the limelight. And it is scary, when you speak out. There is magic in it though, to share. I think everyone has a lot to share and we can always learn from others. So if you are eager to help me with my project, drop me a line. Let's do this.
Stay warm, stay sane. Keep loving yourself, you are beautiful.
Still alive? Barely? Wounded? Bruised? Injured? Probably. It's been a tough year. One for the books. For everyone. Although sometimes we feel so alone because yes, we have been distanced from everyone. It's been a while. It's been a bit hard to find the inspiration to write. No scratch that, there is so much inspiration to write. Probably I just needed to rest. Rest to is part of the program right?
Let's make a lists,
What I ended up doing in 2020
1. Receive my authorization from Sharath
2. Visited Philippines
3. Start mysorespace
4. Study with Luke, sanskrit and chanting online
5. Skateboard and rollerskate
6. Play in the empty streets of Antwerp
7. Get to know my parents
8. Find a way to share the practice in the pandemic
9. Not get sick
10. Practice and take my time to practice (even stall)
11. Research the ashtanga history
I can list down more. And when I look at it like this, it doesn't seem like a bad time. Yes. I have not hugged my friends or my family. I have not travelled to India or to be honest anywhere outside of Antwerp in the last 10 months possibly. I have narrowed down my circle of friends. I have spent a lot of time with myself, walking endlessly and aimlessly, looking deep and keep on looking. It's been hard but it's been good. They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger? Right?
I miss a lot of things. I discovered a lot of things. I'm thankful to be here. I'm thankful to be alive in this time. I made a lot of realizations this year and I hope I could use them in the future and really learn from it. It's been a harsh year, I would like to say not different from the rest, but I think it somehow is. Every year, it gets a bit harder, maybe it means I'm getting better at it? I don't really know. Sometimes I feel like I'm just back to step one. I just know I am grateful for another chance to it. To keep trying.
Dear 2020, let's be friends. Thank you for your lessons. I will surely remember you. Dear 2021, please do be kind. I know 2020 was not your fault, I just need a bit of downtime. I miss my family, I miss my friends. I cannot wait to hug them and be close to them. I want to travel and see the beauty of the world and share this to those with me. Please be kind, let's rock it.
Classes are back in the morning. I hope to wake up early enough to be there at 6, I'll be honest, I'll probably be later. Will work on getting back again at 6. Know I will be there. I hope you too.
I slowly want to open some afternoon spots. And some led classes and some beginner classes. Dreams, I know they take time, we will get there. I hope to practice with you again soon, in person (not just in zoom). I hope to see my teachers and my friends again. I hope to be adjusted again and to share the mysore energy. I am truly hopeful. <3
All in love. All in time
Body not stiff, mind stiff. This is a famous quote from the late Sri K Pattabhi Jois. I would say my body is also stiff, muscles stuck, bones cracking from the cold. Everything stiff. Mind and body. It happens. The change of temperature causes stiffness, the lack of sunlight causes less energy. And it is all connected. It is harder to get into the mat. It is harder to stay on the mat. It is not impossible though. One just needs extra courage and extra determination which I have to admit can be hard these days. We keep doing our best. And we try not to ask too much from ourselves. Acceptance and love of one's self. Sometimes that's the hardest to give.
The autumn is in full swing and the temperatures are dropping. Staying in bed is getting more comfortable, the shortness of daylight, the rain - there are so many causes. And this year there is no running away to mother India, which I have been lucky to do 4 years out of the last 6 years. A sort of short escape from this cold. Now, we can only stay. And I find courage with the fellow practitioners. We are all in the same boat. All the world is experiencing this, there is no exception. And that sort of gives some sort of relief. Misery loves company? Maybe. I love being here though, amidst the cold. I think this year I really got to observe the seasons changing. No holiday in the summer and no going away in the winter and just being here. And there is beauty in that. I learn to make the most of it. While complaining a bit sometimes.
Mind stiff. Mind bending. Body bending. We keep the warmth in us. We keep the faith. Winter is coming but so will spring and summer. Plenty of things to look forward to. Keep your head up and keep smiling. Keep that fire inside of you.
I am starting later in practice. I try my best to be online at 7. I stay online and you are always welcome to join me. I would be very happy to see you there. Keep safe, keep happy, keep healthy.
Happy Diwali, the festival of lights. I don't find myself a good source in this festival, from my understanding it is a start of the new year and it is a festival of light, the winning of the light over the darkness. In India they light oil candles, and I think to translate it in our terms, somehow I find the lighting of the Christmas light coincides this event. In Europe the days are becoming short and there is a lack of light. And we feel this in our bodies, this also affects our moods. Gone are the long days of summer, atleast for now. It is time to cozy up at home and have heartwarming soups, cozy sweaters and hot cups of chocolate. And the twinkling sparkly lights kind of makes up for these dark days.
I missed you guys last week, sorry for my absence. Energy has been low and I thought it's better to save it for another day, than giving a meager effort. I am really grateful for all the people who take their time to read my thoughts. And in a way it is scary because it is a peak in my thoughts, and who is not afraid of being judged by what they think? I know I am, I just am good at pretending that I do not. In the end of the day though, I know that my view of myself is what matters most, and as long as I am comfortable in my skin, everyone can say whatever. It's still not easy though.
So where were we. Light. The lack of light for me is exhausting, not as much energy as the summer and yes it is normal. I tend to ask my body to perform more and sometimes that just does not work out. And that is alright. Rest is always part of the program and coming back from that rest feels good and feels rejuvenating. I just gotta be patient with it and understanding to my body's needs and not push it to the limit as I often like to do. And of course I still do, because I just find it so interesting how the mind and the body shows their strength.
So light 'em up! Show them what you are made of. Shine the light always. It will shine back at you.
Keep safe. I stay online with you. Let me know if you want to join the little cozy community. We may be little. I'm really grateful for your support. I have been doing this program online almost since March/April... And you continued support is really massive to me. Thank you.
As always, I remain at your service. Take good care of the light inside of you <3
Labels can be sometimes harsh. The labels others give to us and maybe even more the label we stick ourselves. Sometimes the conditioning is so strong we don't even know that we are applying these labels. Labels can seem quite innocent and unhurtful- woman, man, white, black, asian. And yet they still have connotations that are attached to them. Yes, labels are there to help categorize, but it can also limit and put us in boxes. Boxes that we think can protect us but sometimes can hurt us.
These labels can turn into less innocent labels, some labels are harsh. We are sometimes labeled as - weak, stupid, always angry. A lot of labels and a lot of hurtful words and hurtful pre and misconceptions. And it's hard to sometimes find ways to use this labels as empowerment and find strength instead of weakness in them. Sometimes we give up the fight and just let them have that label of us in their heads, and that isn't so bad. But sometimes we let the labels of others sink in to what we think is real about us. We let this labels limit us, and we accept it as that. We cannot also blame it because we are kept told we are not good enough, not smart enough, not enough. That hurts.
Somehow, there must be a way out of this labels. I think it's digging deep. I don't know because I am still in the process of it. And it will probably take me time. But for now time is on my side and I hope to use it well.
I hope you all are healthy and happy. Stay home, protect your own home and your family and yourself. And hopefully in the end we all get through this, through this Corona crisis and label crisis. I stay online. Labels and all. Ready for judgement and mostly for grace. Thank you for reading my thoughts. Stay safe.