<<<Go to previous blog about Living Light
The other day I was stepping outside of my body during a heavy, sweaty yoga class and saw myself through the eyes of the beginning yogi’s present. I realised: “Oh my Goddess, I ám that girl! That girl who does fairly difficult or strenuous yoga poses with a certain ease and even – the horror- a soft smile on her face because she is – oh dear Lord! - enjoying it!” What happened?! It was only one year ago that I had the flexibility of a wooden plank and hated breaking a sweat.
One of the aims before turning 30 was to lead a healthier life, with more exercise and a regular sleep pattern. Although I was eating fairly healthily before, I wasn’t getting my rest and I was most certainly not getting any exercise. Although I often took my bicycle, it wasn’t really enough. Cameron Diaz wrote in the Body Book that you need to start exercising before you turn 30, otherwise your body will shrink sooner (due to osteoporosis which runs in my family). So I just knew I had to start working out. Because Cameron said so.
I started to run. I hated it. But I kept on running. Then my joints started to hurt badly. This was clearly not my thing.
Then I turned to a yoga school. Yoga Jo in Zanzibar helped me with looking at yoga in a more positive light, but I still wasn’t good at it and enjoyment couldn’t be found during practice! But I needed to continue, I told myself. I needed to do it at least twice a week. I didn’t want to become that little old lady with the hunchback! And I was already moaning when I have to pick something up from the floor.
After a while, I found myself practising thrice a week in the school and four times a week at home. I was slightly starting to enjoy it. I was even getting buff (as far as that is possible with toothpick arms). The will to practise became greater than the power of the snooze button. I didn’t have that snappy edge anymore, felt better in my own skin and felt more compassionate. I eventually found myself wanting to teach as well!
So I went on to become a yoga teacher and am currently teaching at Cat Café Kopjes in Amsterdam. Talk about combining interests…
During the course in India I learned so much about yoga and meditation, but also about finding your flow and purpose in life. I learned about the different ways of reasoning or Tarka’s: Kutarka (negative) and Vitarka (positive). The more you practise Vitarka, the more naturally it comes to you. So I set the intention to from then onwards focus on the positive and see the beauty in everything. Although my old habit of Kutarka (negative reasoning or cynicism) sometimes still pops up, I can say that I’m less inclined to resort to it than before and to go with other people’s cynicism. I have a better –more upright- physical posture, giving me a very different outlook on the world, and changing my resting bitch face into a soft smile (no worries, the RBF is still present at times). I even react with a smile when somebody cuts me of or does something else tourist-on-a-bicycle related! Furthermore, even though I still like to be a perfectionist and organised, I can now also enjoy the beauty of imperfection, or Wabi Sabi knows from Zen Buddhism.
And lastly, because one of the bullet points on the list was to take singing lessons, I took it upon myself to let go of the shame and loudly sing on the bicycle to Jason Mraz’ happy go lucky songs to spread some bubbliness with my fellow bicycle-peeps: I WON’T WORRY MY LIFE AWAY!!!!
When I came back home from the travels to India and Indonesia, I was itching to start working on Sies Petcare and Yoga. I felt quickly that I was fulfilling my intended purpose in life: taking care of animals and spreading a compassionate world view. I found my flow and even the occasional meditative state during work! I succeeded in living a healthier life by consuming an almost 100% plant based diet, bicycling everywhere I go for work (or taking public transport if it’s really not possible), and making exercise not only a larger part of my life, but also my second mode of income!
I’m only in the very beginning of my newfound career and new lifestyle but am already super happy, grateful and excited about the shape it has taken.
“You don’t need a vacation when there’s nothing to escape from”
Go to next blog about Happiness >>> (to be published on the 26th of September)