Let me tell you something. I was dreading to write this week. Why? My parents read my newsletter last week and they told me how proud they were of me. (Hi Mom and Dad!) And this week I felt like I will not be able to keep up with that. That's just stupid right? I'm sure they didn't want to stop me from writing when they gave me the compliment. It is my attachment to the goal that's stopping me from sharing my talents and thoughts.
You might be wondering about the title. This week this song played during online mysore practice. It stuck on me, I'm on last song syndrome. I love practicing with these ladies online (men you are very welcome - but yes, the ladies seem to be pioneering this movement). It's definitely different but it doesn't make it any less special. For me, it helps me broaden my perspective. I bow to Bele and to all the moms who practice, home or in the shala. I saw how hard it is. 7th series - family life, it is no joke. I had no idea, I still probably don't, I only had a glimpse of her day, 2 hours. And I thank her for sharing it to us.
The online shala is filled with home sounds and sights. Kids, partners and cat saying hi to the camera. Morning news muffled in the background. Kids and cat wanting attention. Proud Mary, Tina Turner version. Church bells from Portugal. Birds chirping. It's so special for me. I love having these sounds and sights. Yes, it is distracting. But we don't live alone in this world, we are part of it. And to be able to practice through all of these is a blessing. It gives me another view on the practitioners. They share more of their vulnerability to me. I am able to get to know them more, in their home with all of the family, a very sacred and special place for them.
I'll share a vulnerability too. I have been jobless for 4 months. 2 months in Mysore to study and half a month in Philippines to visit my family. And then this whole crisis hit all of us. I came back to Antwerp hoping to launch a Mysore program and find an IT project to be able to cover the costs. And while I do have savings, I still have to be practical. A student asked me if she can give me something for this and yes, I won't play proud. I have put my details on the website, if you want to donate, it is very appreciated, it is not expected. I love the practice, I enjoy the benefits of it and I just want to share this to those who want to try. I find it hard to put a price on what I do because I do it from my heart. For all of us, there is alot of uncertainty these days and this is my way of sharing and giving back to the community. I know that strengthening the community will strengthen me too. I also accept feedbacks, good or bad. I commit to this craft and I know there is plenty to learn. It's very heartwarming to me to hear that what I share helps some of you. So thank you for letting me know. But no attachment to results right? Practice is harder than the theory. :)
The class are open to all. It is a space to share energy, to inspire, to get inspired and to help each other keep going through these times. I keep videos of the classes, to see the students after, to appreciate this beautiful energy being shared, to see their struggles and their wins. The videos are beautiful to watch, it adds to my study of this method, of myself and you, friends and students. I practice with you, to share the energy and the struggles, I am far from perfect, and that's really not what I want to be. It's not the instagram or photo version of me or the other practitioners, it's unedited, raw, honest. Please know that this will be treated with utmost respect and sensitivity.
I have been practicing for 8 years. Everyday I'm still learning. I don't look like my videos or my pictures, those are moments. This online platform - I choose to share with you - noisy, messy, live and real. And although these are not the normal methods, no way to convey the healing power of touch, we make do with our means for the moment. The class is open Monday to Friday 6-10 CET on Zoom. If you have any question please feel free to ask. I will be here while we are on lockdown, practicing and sharing energy with you.
I remain here for you. To entertain, to support, to challenge, to broaden the perspective, to write - without focus on the result. Just the doing, the trying, the process. I try to stop thinking about what they will say about me, or what they think. For I can only be myself, I can only be true to me and to those around me. Acceptance is optional. I am honoured by your presence and your time. Always grateful. I'll see you online! Stay strong, happy and healthy.
'Left a good job in the city
Workin' for the man ev'ry night and day
And I never lost one minute of sleepin'
Worryin' 'bout the way things might have been
Big wheel keep on turnin'
Proud Mary keep on burnin'
Rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river'
#socialdistancing is trending. For good reason. We are protecting the risk group and the next generations. It is challenging. We are all adapting to these changes.
I'm an IT consultant for those of you who don't know. And a real nerd at that. I read code, computer language, I talk to computers. And I love it. Computers do not have feelings, unlike us humans. They do as they are told, they cannot question why. If there is a bug, as a programmer, you know you did something wrong (or maybe it was the other programmer ) because computes cannot think for itself. And you know what I like best? Finding out where it went wrong. I go deep in the code and go over and over just to find out what is wrong with it and fix it from the source of the problem - a mechanic as you might say. I like to do the dirty work. Ok enough about me. So this computer stuff is quite easy for me. But I always thought it missed the human touch. I didn't want to be teaching online because there is no power of touch which transmits a lot. In these times, we have to be creative in finding ways. We are humans, we were built to be that.
It can be overwhelming in the online world. So much resources, it takes a while to know how to approach it. I try to use it and not be used by it. But yeah I also know myself I tend to give 150% and put everything in more. But I also know I do eventually find the balance.
This week I give some suggestions in online consumption. Shameless plugging for my friends.
For those of you who are interested in chanting Shantala Shriramaiah from Veda Studies has a lot of online classes. She's also in YouTube and SoundCloud. I like using her sound recordings to chant with.
Luke Jordan my teacher, is hosting online daily chanting from Monday 23 March. Details are on the Facebook Group.
Sanatana Yoga is a digital online magazine, a fairly new venture from my friend Sophia French. The magazine features current topics and issues written by experienced practitioners and teachers from India and all over the world.
No coffee, no prana. And for me the best coffee come's from Alfio - Cafeat8. Online shopping since he cannot be in the Antwerp Market.
YouTube is filled with resources for Ashtanga knowledge. I think my favourite is Purple Valley.
I keep working on my online content on my Instagram and my YouTube channels. This week I worked on 5 topics you can find in this playlist. My IT colleagues has said I have to be more chatty on my videos, I will try harder. However I continue being who I am also, a nerd, who loves to deal with the details, find out where it is going wrong and fix it from the source of the problem, a mechanic, I'm not afraid to get my face dirty with grease.
I will also host online mysore class on Zoom to practice with me, I do not really intend to teach, mostly just to provide a space to share the energy. Monday to Friday 7-10 CET. Even in an online environment I will do my best to provide an intimate and safe space for you to practice. If you have troubles getting into zoom, ask me, let me the mechanic help you.
So, with all this being online, also enjoy this time and space to be alone, find the comfort of being with yourself and enjoy it. Take walks, enjoy the sunshine, and enjoy conversations in your head. Dance, sing, be. Draw, color, paint, write, cook, play, clean, study. Enjoy being with the kids, even if they drive you crazy. Have you heard the church bells, the birds, the neighbours radio? My friend said she saw stars, someone said they saw the buildings and appreciate them more. Enjoy the loneliness, for luckily and unluckily it won't be like this again.
Always be kind. We are all in this forgive my language 'shitty' situation. We're all in this together. We make the most of it. And we come out better, stronger, wiser. A big virtual hug to all of you. I'm at your service, let me know how I can help in these times. I'll see you online!
Am I the only one who is tired of hearing about the corona virus? I'm sure we all are. These are trying times. It may seem like a flu but it's hitting everyone hard. Everyone is feeling the effects, hopefully not physically, but yes we are affected in our jobs, going to yoga and we see and hear it everywhere. But we will get through this as well. We just have to keep breathing. In this light the self practice is quite good. It's the hardest though. No teacher to watch you, no community to support you. But at some point of all our practice we all go through this.
My tips on this?
- music. I know we ashtanga people do not practice with music, but for me it's more of company, I do not dance or practice to the music but it's just to be in someone else's presence. I like listening to a playlist someone shares with me when I practice, it makes me feel close to him.
- video yourself. It seems vain and weird, but sometimes it does help. I feel watched when I do this, so I am more alert and less likely to start cleaning or be distracted with mundane things. And if you decide to watch it you get a chance to see your patterns and can learn a thing or two about yourself. I think it's a nice experiment sometimes.
- visualise others around you. A friend of mine just gave me this tip and I think it's very valuable. Visualise practicing next to people you admire, people that are important to you, people you love, your teachers, your friends. Harness their energy in this way.
- be kind to yourself. Really, you're doing good. You stepped on your mat. You did some sun salutations. You did enough. Do not beat yourself up.
- join an online community. Taylor Hunt just started this on instagram #homepracticechallenge. I am also not so fond of social media. But like I said in my last newsletter, we kind of like have to make use of it in the right way.
- reach out to your teachers and friends, maybe we cannot be there for you physically or maybe we cannot answer right away. But we do our best in other ways.
- practice 7th series. Be with family and just enjoy the time you get with them. Practice on the mat is important but spending time with our nearest and dearest is very special.
With this light I have something for your isolation/ self quarantine/ caring for others is staying away. Last week I made an experiment, I videoed myself for a whole week of practice, I didn't have a goal in mind. Maybe just to show how it is. That it's not easy but it's also not impossible. It's not my way of 'hey look what I can do with all these fancy asana'. It's more like this is real. It's hard, it's not beautiful but it's just the journey. The playlist of my daily practice for a week you can find here. Let me know what you think of it.
And I continue with teaching online. This week I did two videos. Both of them has surya namaskar A and B/ sun salutation A and B and the closing postures of ashtanga. One is more for a beginner and the other once you get more used to the practice. Again, this doesn't replace a teacher but in these times where we are advised to practice social distancing maybe it is a way. Share it with people who you want to start the practice if you are already familiar with this method. I didn't make it for seasoned practitioners but for people who just want to start and don't know how to begin.
Help me grow this little passion. Like me on Instagram, and Facebook. Subscribe to YouTube and join my mailing list. Message me, right now I have a lot of time in my hands (you can see I practice almost 3 hours, I know I'm a bit crazy)! Want online classes, skype or whatsapp calls maybe? Let me know. I'm crazy enough to do that. Join me on the journey! Take care of yourself these trying times so we can take care of each other!
Hello March! It's cold in Belgium. My body is in a bit of panic, a bit of stress, a bit of not really sure what is happening. Fresh from India and the Philippines, the cold in mother Belgium is rather harsh, to say the least. I know it is just a season, it will pass, winter too must pass to give way to spring. I have to admit, the dark and the cold does get to me and it can be a sad and scary place, the practice helps though.
So how do you start? From the very beginning - like I do, every single day. The beauty of the ashtanga practice is that - it is a system. It is a set sequence and we just follow the progression. Yes, there are a lot of rules. Which makes it quite easy, or hard, depending on how much of a rebel you are. And oh believe me, I'm one to break these rules! I'm very good at that, let's say I have my experience in breaking/testing these rules, and what I have found out is that, these rules do come for a reason.
This newsletter I thought I would make some videos for you. Believe it or not, my parents (and another colleague - hi Eric!) made me do it. My parents are more tech savvy than me, their daughter who is supposed to be an IT consultant. I am quite principled with this whole ashtanga thing. I didn't want to advertise, and I think videos are not really teaching because there is no human touch. But yes they are right, we have to run with the times. This is the way to bring a message across nowadays. In no way does this replace teachers, it's a medium. It is a help on how to start.
First video is a modified sun salutation A. The adjusted version this for my parents when I was teaching them because I have noticed that staying in downward dog was not the best for them at that time (see I am already breaking the ashtanga rules!). The second one is the standard sun salutation A. The third one is the closing postures. You don't know how to start your ashtanga practice? Start with these. Start with one sun salutation. Add another one if you feel good with it. Before you know it you got five already. Do the closing postures and call it a day. Ta da! You have done your practice. That's barely 15 minutes of your day. We tend to think if it's not a hard practice we didn't do anything. The mind can be such a difficult enemy.
I've started with the ashtanga practice after a break up. I moved to Belgium for a relationship but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) the relationship did not last. Post breakup, I found myself attending yoga classes in Oelegem. I went on an ashtanga class and I was surprised how much it made me feel. 7 years in, I'm still a fan. The practice helped me heal, mostly allowing me to forgive myself. I had such quite high expectations of myself, I still do. It allows me to find my space and helps me deal with the pain, disappointments, sadness, loneliness... It teachers me that - all of this, is a phase, it will pass, I just have to know how to breathe through it. I come to my mat, every time, in the hope to do this yoga, these movements, this sun salutation, this closing postures. Everyday I am still learning. I learn to treat myself better, I learn to treat others better too. I hope it can help you in your journey too.
You like the video? You don't? Let me know! You have questions or topics you want to ask? Let me know! I am very much happy to get feedback. It makes me happy to share this ashtanga method with you. Like me on Instagram, and Facebook. Subscribe to YouTube and join my mailing list. Come to my classes, join me on the journey!