Days are getting shorter, and colder and windier. And the rain is being generous. Time for hoodies and jogging pants again. Time to go cozy back inside and rest and relax. Soup and pumpkin are in season again. Hearty and filling food to energize the body that is also undergoing the changes. It can be a bit shocking and we all of a sudden feel tired, sensitive and moody (my secret these days, well it's never a secret with me, chocolates! and lots of them!)
I grew up in a country having only summer and rainy season. The changing of the seasons is always interesting for me. I love the transitions from summer to autumn. And yes I miss having long days already but there is also something calming about the shorter days. More rest, more staying inside, hahaha, yes even more. And yes we have been all in this sort of quarantine for 6 months already, and it doesn't seem to stop yet. I understand and I have it too. I get frustrated and I just sometimes want to hug people and to be with people. To travel again, and to see friends and family and to give them the tightest hugs and the most heartfelt greetings. I have to say I have been keeping a lot to myself this year, maybe because I know I really can't spend so much time with people to keep myself safe and to keep them safe.
This isolation has really made me think a lot of the things that are important to me. The self introspection sometimes is deep and there is just no avoiding it when you are confronted by yourself. It made me think and assess the things that I hold very dear to me and it made me think of my priorities and think a lot on what I want in the future. And yes I know that the things I want my not necessarily be for me but it made me realise what is important for me. And even though I cannot have it all, all at once, I am just aware of these things and I keep them close. Maybe maybe not getting them someday, and to be honest getting them is not the goal, well maybe a bit yes. But I know if I focus on that it will only cause frustration on my side if I cannot have them. So I try to just set the best intention and leave the rest up to whatever we want to call it.
I hope you are staying well, feeling loved, eating healthy and being happy. Self care is most important these days.
<3 Love always,
The concept of rest is very hard for society nowadays. We are bombarded by media who tells it it should always be a hustle. We should be always running here and there and getting the next thing. There's a nicer car, a nicer house, nicer clothes, nicer body. And of course there is no shame at all to wanting these nice things. We all want to be comfortable and happy. And sometimes it is easy to associate happiness with what we have, in material things, in beautiful material things. And for some point there is a happiness that is given by the material things, but there is also the wanting for more. We see what others have and we want that too. In some sense there is no feeling of contentment and satisfaction. There is always the comparison factor.
In ashtanga it is easy to get into this mentality. We see other peoples practice and we want to get a flexible as them, or as strong as them. We want to have their jumpbacks, or their backbends, or their strength. While others see us and they also want stuff we can do that they cannot. And in a way this can work for us, we get motivated to get what we want, but sometimes there's also the frustration of comparison. And yes we are human beings we were programmed to compare and spot the differences.
What we often skip is finding the beauty in what we have, finding the happiness in what we do. We are always looking to the front, to the future, to the possibilities that it becomes quite easy to forget what we have now. The beauty of what is. And that is just that.
Short and sweet post this week. I continue the rest of my rest. I hope you all are well and happy and healthy. I'll see you soon. Questions on how to practice with me online or in person is always welcome.
Lots of love
Teaching mysore style classes online was something that I didn't really think I was going to do. I've always thought that to teach this practice, you had to be physically present to transmit the message. But then came COVID, and our physical contacts became limited, we kind of had to adapt and find new ways to connect, to transmit. The dawn of zoom classes came in. I was very skeptical of this in the beginning. I thought though, why not try, I wanted to share the practice and in a way it made me have a purpose to practice everyday, even more purpose. I know the practice is for me, and in sharing practicing with others, it somehow makes it easier. The presence of others helped a lot and I learned a lot from them. Somehow I feel like I learn more from them than they learn from me. I am the student. I knew, I wouldn't have a lot of students. It's a quite sensitive spot to put yourself in front of the camera. But not only you, your house, your family, your cats even... also come into the camera. It became more personal in a way, because the students also had to share their personal lives.
It's hard to set a place and a time for practice. And maybe, it is even harder to get the ones you love mixed into the practice. We weren't in a room away from the world, we were practicing in our own worlds, in our own spaces, the place we share with our nearest and dearest, our homes. Cats jumping in the mat became normal, household sounds and the everyday hustle and bustle became part of the practice. But somehow it also gave a bit of rest, we don't need to be running here and there, we learned to pause in our practice to take care of more important things and come back in a better time. We learned to be more tolerant, in understanding the situation of others.
I learned how to use my voice more, since I couldn't help put the student in the poses through physical contact, I slowly started to learn the power of the voice, to give short, clear instructions, I hope at least. I learned even more that the practice is and should be part of our lives, not a separate from the rest of what we do. After all it's a 24 hour practice, the asana part may start the journey, but what really counts is being a good person outside of the mat.
I continue this journey with you guys. I am really grateful that this wireless connection is available for us in these times of distance. And yes, it's getting even more busy now, the world seems to be coming back to the normal pace and we always are trying to keep up. I stay at your service, to give you company, to give you the extra boosts, to greet you good morning, to say hi to the lovely kids, to be amused by your pets who also want some attention, and mostly to have so much respect to you, being there for yourself and continuing this practice - no matter how hard it seems to get.
So thank you, for teaching me.
Stay happy, stay safe! Keep practicing.
I think it is very easy to take this practice for granted. We often think that having this practice is easy and accessible but to be honest not everyone has access to it. If course were in the year 2020 and yes yoga has become more accessible, thanks to the ones who have come before us and made it like that for us. But yes. Let's think about it. A yoga class is 10-20 eur. Maybe some classes are donation based. Or maybe some teachers provide a way for you do work work exchange. But it is still not a cheap amount for most. And it is also not easy to find a teacher who is willing to give you a let's say scholarship. Yes it is also online, but not everyone has access to unlimited internet, or phones or laptops or maybe even a yoga mat.
And yes a seasoned practitioner will say you do not need all the fancy things. I agree. But you kind of have to learn the practice to know how to go about it. And to be honest I know how much of an investment that it, time-wise but also financially and effort-wise.
And we cannot blame the teachers as well. They have worked and studied for this. And as much as they want to give it out for free they know that it is important for the student to know the value of what they are getting. Otherwise it is not really appreciated and often taken for granted. Let's face it. The teachers also know that this practice is very hard and demanding to maintain. And they understand that not everyone can make this commitment and I think they also do not expect their students to have that commitment. But our human logic tells us if we're not doing it as the other one is, it does not count. Because it is not as impressive or they do it better. The trap of comparison is hard to avoid. And yes I am guilty of this too. I am often hard on myself. I try my best not to though. I try to think that this is a practice. It is not life. It is not the end all and be all of things. It just a part of it.
I like to think of it as a way to make everything else better. It is a method that will help me in my life and should not hinder me. It should not cause me to be separated from reality. Yoga feels good for the mind and for the body but it doesn't and it shouldn't separate me from the reality of the world. It's all and well in yoga land but to be ignoring the world I think is missing the point of the practice. And yes. We cannot also blame the people who do this. I mean I do this too. Avoiding news and avoiding mediums that I know will just bring me unpleasant things. We know it exist and we know somehow we can be contributing to it.
I don't have the answers. I know not everyone can a give 2-3 hours of their day to their practice or 5 or 6 day a week. They have work, family duties, studies, and other important stuff. I would like to think of it that it is my way of sharing. I practice not only for me but also for those who wish they can allot this time and effort for themselves. I try to find a way to share it. Because yes sharing is caring. I find ways I can share - to be online, to be available in my best capacity, to be present and to be kind, to not judge. But words are easy and beautiful. Actions are so much harder.
I know this is a privilege practice. I don't kid myself that I am a philanthropist trying to save the world not wanting to gain anything. At the end of the day I also have needs that have to be maintained. And yes I could do with a lot less but I know there's also no shame in living a comfortable life. It's really such a complex thing.i think all we can really do is best effort. As I would like to believe we all do.
I want to share some good news. I have talked to Luke Jordan and he would love to visit us again in Antewrp in the spring of 2021. We're working on the details but do drop me a message if you are interested. I would like to know how many people we can count on so we can arrange as needed.
I will open my home again coming weeks to practice physically with me. If you are interested, please do get in touch with me. The online program stays as well. And of you are interested in learning this method and you find that the stakes of the practice are too high - be it financially or physically, or time or effort, do have a conversation with me. Let me know because I would like to help if I can. It's my way of sharing my privileges. Big hugs. Stay healthy and happy and keep sharing.
Love always <3