Thursday, September 30, 2010

The "Kiss Cool Effect"

Do you know these minty treats called "Kiss Cool"? When I was a teenager living in France, the Kiss Cool commercials were just the most hilarious thing you would see on TV. They based their marketing campaign on the so-called "2nd Kiss Cool Effect": the 1st one would be the refreshing feeling induced by having one of those sweets, the 2nd one could be, well, anything.

I got the 1st Kiss Cool Effect when the Magazine of Yoga asked me if they could feature my blog on their site last August. My first reaction? "What, MY blog?". It dawned on me that I had more readers than I thought, that was already enough to feed my ego ;-)

Then came the 2nd Kiss Cool Effect: they actually invited me to write a monthly column about something that has always played a huge part in my life, music. When I got their lovely email I almost fell off my couch (yeah, the couch). I mean, English is not even my mother tongue, I'm happy with my level for my blog, but would it be enough for the Magazine of Yoga?
At first I doubted, hesitated, got scared. Then I realized that they wouldn't ask if they didn't believe my writing was worth something. I started to believe that maybe indeed it was worth something, and it would be a nice challenge to take up after all. So I told my fear to shut the hell up already, and I chose to go for it.

Today, may I present you with my first column at the Magazine of Yoga. Check it out, and let me know what you think! Oh, and thanks for reading :-)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

I almost forgot about this beautiful wonderful singer that is PJ Harvey. I'll make that up by sharing this jewel with you (does this say anything about my contemplative mood?)
Enjoy the beauty and surrender...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bummed & blanks

Yeah, I too noticed the irony, a record called "Bummed" by the Happy Mondays. Yeah, I chose this on purpose, thus paying homage to one of the greatest high-on-drugs bands ever

Yep, one of those days...

Nothing serious, really. Sometimes things don't go according to plans, and there's nothing you can do about  it. This is when the famous twins Disappointment and Frustration choose to pay a visit.
You're a good yogini, so you try to not pay attention, you don't want to answer their knock on your door.
But you can't. And you end up ruminating. For almost nothing. There's nothing really serious, no family emergency, no accident, no catastrophe. But still, you can't let go.

Because when all these sris and swamis and gurus wrote their books or delivered their teachings, they didn't plan on having occidental female yoga practitioners coming in herds to yoga, which is why they overlooked something important: PMS.


Let's move on shall we? 
To make up for the bummed part, let's fill in the blank part! (as seen at Lauren's,  Rachel's and Jamie's)

1. In the story of my life the actor who would play me would be Natalie Portman. Ok we look nothing alike but she's short and a brunette, for one part, and I just *love* the girl. Or quirky-pre-skinny Cristina Ricci.

2. If I could change one thing about the world it would be tearing down all borders so people realize we were all made the same to begin with, whatever colour / religion / etc etc. Borders are overrated.

3. Yesterday we ran 25 minutes without stopping to walk. I know, doesn't look like a big achievement. Trust me, at my level, it is. And I got to do it with Lovely Boyfriend. I'm proud of us :)

4. My favourite comfort food is chocolate. Dark. Very dark. I need some right now.

5. My new favourite blog find is ah hum yeah tough one. I'm discovering so many right now that I can't keep track. There are so many talented writers out there sharing their passion, it's impossible naming just one.

6. If I could meet any blog friend (who I haven't met yet) in real life, I'd choose to meet all the people behind my blog roll. That would involve flying over to the US at some point, whoa!

7. My favourite breakfast food is peanut butter banana toast, stick to my ribs. A bowl of good granola with yogurt (dairy or soy) and a banana is also a winner, although it doesn't hold me over as well. Lately I've had weird concoctions, I won't go into details here (typical Lovely Boyfriend line when we manage to have breakfast together: "what is THIS you're eating?"

Have a great week folks!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

YTT - weekend 1

Yes, I'm back. I got back on Sunday, but work, life, and feelings all over the place got in the way of my blogging.

What can I say really, what can I tell you that you yoga teachers don't already know?

I won't bore you with a hour-by-hour recap and all the details, most of you have already been there, but allow me to say that it was intense. As in, "it's 7pm I'm in London I could go out but I just want to veg around in my hotel room" intense.

The feelings of anxiety and inadequacy, sort of, disappeared as soon as I got to the studio where the training is taking place. Maybe because of something my teacher said: "you are where you are because where you are is where you should be". It always has more impact when someone else said it, right?

My fellow teacher trainees and I practiced, discussed, listened, absorbed, and left overwhelmed but wanting more at the same time.
Overwhelmed because there is so much to learn, so much to integrate in a class and make it work, and so much to do (homework, anyone?). Rachel is spot on in her latest post! But wanting more, more practice, more knowledge, more of everything.
Ever since I've been back, I want more of this. If truth be told, I feel that yoga is my real job, and my day job is just a supporting activity, I'm drifting away from what was once my whole life.  And it is scary and exciting at the same time.

My feelings are still all over the place as everything we did is still sinking in, so I'll keep this post short. Plus, I have to sort out my papers and notes, and squeeze in some reading before I go to bed. Current reading: Hatha Yoga Pradipika (translation of Bihar School of Yoga). Rock on!

PS: on top of that, full moon tonight. After dropping (and breaking) a small jar of china gel stuff, having on curtain fall on my face, and pouring a cup of tea not quite in the cup but more like right next to it, I'm afraid I might drop my laptop or delete the whole post by mistake. Better stop here out of safety reasons.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Two blog posts in two days? I'm on a blogging roll!

Thing is, I won't bother you this weekend, because this weekend, I will not be here, I will be in London, starting my yoga teacher training programme.

Why London when I live in Brussels, Belgium? Because, as much as I love Belgium, let's just say that Vinyasa flow, my main practice, is virtually non-existent. I came to Vinyasa thanks to podcasts and videos. Yes I went to live Vinyasa classes in Brussels, given by a Canadian yoga teacher who was here for her post-graduate studies. These lasted only a few months.
There are Vinyasa classes in Flanders, in Antwerp and Ghent namely, but it's not exactly next door for me (hopping on a train after work and coming back home around 11pm at best is not my idea of fun).
There are a few yoga teacher trainings in Belgium, and I'm sure they are great, but I don't think they're right for me.

I attended a workshop in October last year with Claire, and loved it. When I checked out her website and learned about her teacher training, something just clicked. It had to be. I went to her intensive training in July, and it just reinforced that feeling.
Not to mention, as I already wrote countless times, I love London and the UK, so give me any excuse to go there and I'm in :-D

And tomorrow, at 9am London time, it's starting.

Now I know most of you dear readers are already yoga teachers, you already went through the anticipation, excitement, even anxiety before the start. So you know what I'm feeling right now.
And of course, my ball-of-stress, control-freak, ego-monster self is taking over :-D

The question "will I be good enough?" is popping incessantly in my mind. Even though I DO know that "good" is a very elusive concept when it comes to yoga, even though I DO know that it doesn't matter if I can't balance in handstand for the life of me (even against a wall, for f***'s sake!), even though I DO know the studio (same place as in July), obviously the teacher, and a couple of fellow students who were there in July too, even though I DO know that I'll be able to follow language-wise (I'm not saying my English is perfect people, I'm just saying that so far I've been doing ok with podcasts/classes/blogs/intensives/books in English)...

So yes, I'm a bit overwhelmed right now, and needed to vent, but you know what? What I also DO know, is that once I get on my mat tomorrow morning, everything will be fine :-)


On a lighter note, I will leave you with something to do, if that's of interest to you: submit your information to be part of the Healthy Living Blogs community! Yes, healthy goes beyond healthy diet, yoga blogs are healthy living blogs too, body+mind+spirit alike :-) Some words from the founders:

Healthy Living Blogs is a new resource for the health blogging community. Created by Lindsey of Sound Eats, HLB is a site designed to enhance the positive community of the healthy living blog world. Bloggers and readers can explore the site and find more blogs to love, bloggers in their area, and forums to deepen healthy discussion and support. If you're interested in having your site listed on HLB, simply send the following information to and check the site out for yourself!

  • Email subject line: MEMBERS

  • Your name (please share if you prefer to go by first name, first and last, or however you prefer to be known on the Internet)

  • Blog Name

  • Blog URL (please start with http://, not www.)

  • Your twitter handle, if applicable

  • Your location (if you prefer not to disclose this information for privacy's sake, that is completely understandable. We'll simply include your blog listing in the A-Z listing, not by location, too)

  • Any specific labels (i.e. vegan, gluten-free, weight loss, running, etc.)

Sounds nice, huh?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Confession post


I promised it in a previous post. Wrote it, black on white. Now it's time. Time to disclose stuff that you probably don't want to know but what the heck (read = twisted satya-).
Here we go:

1. In the aforementioned post, I put up this link. Ugly truth is I know exactly what I was doing. I know who Jeff Hardy is, I know who Edge is, I know what the WWE is. Because I watch the bloody shows (no pun intended... although I'm lame like that). Lovely Boyfriend and I even went to the Smackdown live show in Brussels last year, while they were touring the whole world. Yes, I'm proud to say I saw the Undertaker live. Not so much ahimsa right there, but it's fake and funny!

2. I have a weird and twisted sense of humour (see above). No really, I'm not very kind. And I like lame jokes and puns. Lovely Boyfriend often says he's lucky to have me so someone can laugh at his jokes.

3. I groan and moan and sometimes have the hardest time letting go and feeling the bliss of contentment shining through me. Yes, some people still piss me off big time. There, I said it.

4. I have an ego the size of France. You know why I hate playing games? Because I don't want to lose. I hate losing. Which is one the reasons I stick with yoga: I learn a lesson in humility every time I step on the mat, in class or at home. Because I've learned to accept that a. I can't put my foot behind my head, and it will probably never happen, b. It's ok.

5. I used to hate / despise / loathe any kind of physical activity. When I lived in Dijon I used to walk anywhere but never considered it exercise. With hindsight I realized that that's what kept me from ballooning, possibly.

6. Because I was not a healthy happy camper. I was a meat-and-potato-and-anything-with-sugar eater. And around twenty I was a binge eater. Not fun.

7. Lovely Boyfriend, amongst many other things, has nicknamed me Brainiac 5. Now, don't be afraid, I am not a green-skinned alien. But I have a brain that works like a database: read, store, spit it out when requested. I freak myself out sometimes.

I believe there are a lot of other things I could get out there, but I like the number 7, so I'll stop right there.

If there's anything embarrassing you want to share, please go ahead, this is a safe space for you, I promise :-)

EDITED TO ADD: official claim from Lovely Boyfriend: all his jokes are NOT lame, they can also be smart, intelligent, genius. (the things you have to do sometimes...)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday thoughts, chapter 2

Yay for Michelangelo
I am selfish. I know it, I've never concealed it. Not selfish in a "I'll march on your head to get what I want" way, but selfish in a "charity begins at home" way.
See, I know myself pretty well, and I know what works for me. I know my strengths, I know my weaknesses, I know how to take care of myself and I know that by doing so, I'll be in a better place to take care of others.

Knowing this doesn't mean I'm wary or reluctant to change. Although change is not quite the right word here, let's just say evolve, grow, and open. As I know myself pretty well, I can see myself the way I am, get perspective and see what's unfolding. And something has been unfolding.

The latest debate in the yoga blogosphere (the yoga blogosphere... can't believe I'm even typing these words! - oh, and I'm not going to go further into this debate, unless you've lived under a rock for the last few weeks you all know what I'm talking about) has, among other things, addressed the divide between individual and social (you should read this great post by Carol Horton over here).
Now bear with me while I'm trying to explain how I relate to this, it might seem a bit out there and farfetched but my brain sometimes has its own twisted ways to reach conclusions.

Since I started practicing yoga, I have evolved, grown, opened. I am still selfish, but I am more aware. I am kinder, less judgmental (although there is still some work to do there ;-) ), more tolerant. I am not yet a Care Bear  though, don't worry! I've stepped out of my comfort zone a lot this year only, and I guess I'm not done here. I am a disciplined type A personality with a sense of humour, which means yamas and niyamas are not so difficult to implement for me in everyday life. So far I've remained on a very personal plan, living yoga off the mat for me and those around me, being of service to basically myself.

For a few months though, I've been thinking about making it more "social", being of service to others. I still don't know which shape and form this will take, but I'll make it happen. There are so many things to do, and to be honest I am a bit overwhelmed and discouraged sometimes when I see all there is we can do. I can help here in Brussels for the time we have left to live here, I can help on a European, or global, whatever, level.
Now I can't imagine my practice not being connected to some kind of social / political action. I just can't stay here and watch, and not care. This is my awakening, this is my own transformation and evolution, and it has been interesting, to say the least, to watch.
To bring some order back to this crazy brainstorming, Lovely Boyfriend and I* are going to the European Summit for Global Transformation in Amsterdam next month, hoping to be inspired and focused. We can't wait!
And if we have to make, say, adjustments to the way we live now, like moving and / or not working full time anymore, then so be it. We're kind of looking forward to find our purpose :-)

Again, this is my own way, and I am absolutely not saying I am better than anyone, we are all different in our approach or life. But I'm curious people, what is your practice off the mat, in life, what's your yoga?

* For the record, Lovely Boyfriend doesn't practice yoga, on a mat anyway (apart from attempting crow pose when he sees me doing it, because he thinks he's fun. Makes him my first student while I try to cue him so he doesn't fall flat on his face and telling him it's ok if he does), but he's considering changing careers and being of service to others too. He's a yogi in his own right!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Twist and run

Some time ago I set a "fitness" goal for myself: I said I would start running. As in, running regularly and being able to run for one minute without stopping and, as we say in French, spitting my lungs out (classy I know).

This was a real challenge to me. I always hated running. Hated with a passion. Speed running for 100 meters, ok. Endurance running, not ok. I remember in high school dreading PE, even more so as our teacher was a female version of Sgt. Hartman. She would have us run for what seemed like ages, and every time I believed I was going to die.

Anyway, back to the now. Let's call this a twist of fate**, or some crazy thought from my twisted mind, but I figured that if I hated it so much years ago, why not give it a try now that I'm in much better shape than I was back then*? You know, just for fun (I have a strange idea of "fun"). And no, I don't run to lose weight I don't need to lose ;-)
Also, to give me an extra kick in the asana, I signed up for a race. A small one (5k), a real one, attainable, not too soon so I can train properly. What makes it even better is that this 5k is in December. DECEMBER, of all months, people. Which means I have to get used to running in the cold. Oh it's not cold yet, but it will come. It's Belgium, so it might as well rain. I have to be ready to face any kind of weather, so running outside it is. I'm ready to cancel my gym membership.

I started running about 3 weeks ago, and I have learned a couple of things (I'm a fast learner):
- Much to my surprise, I like it. No, wait, scratch that, I love it. I don't know how this happened, but I'm actually looking forward to my runs. I never ever thought I would say that, let alone write it for the whole world to contemplate;
- Stepping out of my comfort zone is not killing me;
- Running is moving meditation. I swear. I focus on my breath, and there I go, forgetting everything for 30 minutes and above all quieting my mind;
- It's a breathing exercise, first and foremost. My body is able to follow, my legs are strong enough to carry me where I want to go, but if I don't pay attention to my breath, I stop and die. Ok not literally but man do I feel it;
- Yoga asanas come in handy when it's time to stretch;
- I'm stronger than I thought I was.

Not bad after three weeks, eh?

What have YOU learned lately?

* confession: by "back then" I mean when I was 18 - 15 bloody years ago.
** one day I'll make a confession post, and I'll explain.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Your head must bow to your heart"

This is what my Yogi Tea of the day says, isn't it beautiful?
What I find beautiful too is you the wonderful response to my last post I got from you, dear readers, and the great posts by Linda-Sama, Y is for Yogini, Svasti, and many many others. Thank you everyone for your posts / comments, I guess somehow we should all thank Tara Stiles for the inspiration, it's been a great week of yoga blog reading :-)

Let's not forget that we can react, let's not forget that words are powerful, let's not forget not to take things for granted, let's not accept everything and anything, let's not forget to take a stance, let's not forget who we are and where we come from.

But now on to lighter stuff as we need to get some rest too, right? When I saw this list on Rachel's blog, I figured it would make a nice weekend blog post, so here we go :-)

1) What is your favourite time of day?
I love the morning, because it's yoga and breakfast time. I absolutely love breakfast.
I also enjoy the evening, when the light starts changing and the sun sets over the rooftops, so beautiful...

2) Where and when did you meet the love of your life?
I met him in Brussels, 8 years ago. But he's French too (oh the irony!). I had been living in Brussels for a couple of years, and I went to a party. He had come over from Paris just for the evening, and we hooked up straight away. It took another three months before we became a couple, and a few months after he left his job and apartment in Paris to come over to Brussels and live with me, "because I'm worth it" :-D

3) What three words would your friends outside the blogging world use to describe you?
Funny, smart, reliable. I guess. You would have to ask them!

4) What country would you like to visit and why?
Japan: done; Canada: we're going to Montreal end of October (yeah we're crazy like that). Lovely Boyfriend has always wanted to visit Canada, especially Montreal and Quebec City. Full disclosure: we are considering moving all the way there, so we're going to check it out :-D It will not happen right now obviously, but we're starting to prepare. We'll see...

5) What is your favourite dish to cook?
I have no idea. I would say quiches, I've become quite good, crust and all. But come to think of it, I love cooking my cashew coconut risotto, always a hit. I think I wrote some time ago that I would post the recipe, I promise I will!

6) Salt or sweet?
Sweet. To be more specific, really dark chocolate always wins me over. 

7) What are your must have make-up or beauty items?
I love Nuxe products, but they're not cheap. I'm fond of the "Huile prodigieuse", not cheap but it lasts quite some time, so good investment. Got to get myself a new bottle by the way. I also love their lip balm.
And Lush's "I should coco" soap, love it!

8 ) What are your favourite flowers?
I have absolutely no idea, honestly. I think I love most the flowers that remind me of my childhood, nothing fancy, just the flowers that you can find everywhere in the country: forget-me-nots, daisies, etc. I also love orchids.

9) What do you think are your worst vices, honestly?
Let's see... I am not patient, ouch. And my ego can have trouble shutting up sometimes. And I love dark chocolate, but is this really a vice?

10) At what time of your life were you happiest and why?
When I travel, especially with Lovely Boyfriend. But here and now is also a good place :-)

Have a nice Sunday!

Enoshima, Japan