Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reverb10 : reflect and manifest

I must be crazy. That's it. I've gone complètement folle (ooooh, helloooo French, long time no see!).

As if I didn't have enough on my plate. And yet, I've added something. Something I first heard of about two weeks ago, something that appealed to me but I feared I would not keep up.

And yet... See that new lovely button on the right? Yes, the one tagged "Reverb 10". I gave in, I signed up for #reverb10, launched by the amazing Gwen Bell. For one month, starting tomorrow, I will reflect on the year 2010 and manifest what's next.
I know why I finally signed up: because I need it.

This year has been fabulous, this year change has begun, in waves and with an impact I can't even assess myself at this stage. As you all know I've been struggling a lot in my "day job". Calling it my "day job" is not a good sign in and of itself, is it? So I hope that next year, change will manifest in the form of a way out of this situation, and a way in to freedom and to the life I KNOW I'm worth living (I'm not saying "I deserve", that would mean we have to work to deserve a worthy life, while we're all already gods and goddesses, our worth is innate. Oops, sorry, I digress).

Aaaaanyway, I need the writing, in English, and why not take this opportunity to reconnect with my mother tongue (even if only I understand)? Every day of December, daily creative prompts will be sent, and every day, every participant will respond, in form of blog posts, via Twitter of Facebook, or simply journaling, whatever suits your fancy.

I won't share on the blog every day, I'll be away for a week end of December (family time!), but I WILL do something every day. Along with the 30-day sadhana project for my YTT. Yeah I'm a goddess AND a warrior.

I can't wait.

Interested? Check out the reverb10 website, and sign up too! :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Do you remember the first time?

Do you remember the first yoga class you took?

I kind of don't, actually. I mean, I can't remember what we did exactly. I don't remember thinking that it felt like coming home, it felt more like "what the hell have I got myself into?!".
It was hard, my whole body was tight and not flexible at all, I couldn't follow the sun salutations despite all the pre warm-ups and all that leg stretching, that "your-body-should-look-like-an-inverted V" asathingy was bloody hard, I mean how is that supposed to look like a dog stretching?

I remember missing the second class I was supposed to take, thanks to starting a brand new job on the other side of town (yes the one I still have today) and not knowing how easy it was to walk back home (yoga was literally 5 minutes away from home) when there was a public transportation strike.

I remember going the week after though, because then I remembered how I had felt AFTER that first class. Yes it was hard, and I was never going to put my foot behind my head, but I felt good. I could live with that.

Do you remember the first class you taught, one-on-one or group class?

I remember. Mind you, I would be worried if I didn't, as it happened yesterday.
I remember being more excited than scared the days before, then slightly nervous 5 minutes before. And then really good :)
So I thank my first official student for trusting me and letting me guide her, and for showing me I could do this.

Wanna know the best part for me? In savasana I covered her with a blanket. She said afterwards that she loved it, because since her husband left her with their 2 daughters almost 2 years ago, nobody had done that for her. Such a simple thing.
I guess that was as much yoga as giving her hands-on assists in that "your-body-should-look-like-an-inverted V" asathingy.

Yesterday I learned as much as I taught :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Music Wednesday - I'm grateful

Today, although we Europeans don't celebrate Thanksgiving, I'm grateful for songs that can be sung everywhere and anywhere, no matter what language you speak.

(and come on, an all-girl Japanese pop-rock band? Bring it on!)

(oh, and please check www.epicthanks.org, and my latest post over at http://thechangeuwish.blogspot.com - yep that one's mine too :))

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Manifesto

*WARNING = this post is kindly brought to you by Full Moon Angst, available worldwide for free*

ROAR! Like me, except I wear no mustache and my armpits are less hairy. And I'm no man either.

Dear peeps, I am tired, in a way. I am tired of reading or being told how and who I should be as a yoga student and teacher trainee. I am tired of reading or being told that I should act in a certain way as a yoga student and teacher trainee.

I live by and respect mostly the yamas and niyamas, which has been a natural process anyway. I don't always *think* about them when I do something, thank whoever or whatever you believe in!


Yes there is a but, and here's how it breaks down:

  • I am by no means a CareBear, and that's fine. I claim my right to be a b**ch sometimes;
  • I claim my right to be my grumpy cranky self and not wanting to hear to "look at the positive side and send good vibrations to the Universe" flowery talk;
  • That said, I claim my right to sometimes be in the mood to accept the flowery talk too, and utter it myself;
  • I reclaim my right to cry when I listen to the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, as cheesy as that last song may be;
  • I claim my right to have my own discipline, and I would appreciate if people would stop calling me crazy. Only *I* am entitled to call me crazy, muahahahaha!
  • I claim my right to be who the f*** I want to be, I guess that sums it all.

I've written countless times about change, hell I wrote about it yesterday. But again, it's been a long, sometimes painful, but completely natural evolution. 
Getting guidelines and structure is good, but then it's a question of balance and acceptance, first and foremost of who you are and what you are ready to take in.

No one holds the universal truth. Only you do own your own truth, sometimes you don't know what it is yet. It requires some soul searching and study, but in the end, you're the one deciding for yourself. And if something doesn't feel right for you, then it's not right for you now.

I guess this is me, then, round 2 :)

And in the words of the famous (!) Degeneration X, "if you're not down with it, suck it!" (no shame, told ya)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Who am I? - Sunday thoughts part 4

("Oh no, here she is again with her ramblings *sigh*" - yes, I know what you think! But it's my blog, my own, MY PRECIOUS, just like my yoga mat :D)

Aaaanyway, I had an interesting conversation yesterday with a dear friend of mine, and she made an interesting comment that got me thinking. Again.


Here is how this part of the conversation went:

Me: I'm teaching my first yoga class next week.
DF (Dear Friend): wheeeee! so exciting!
Me: yeah, and the fact that I'm more excited than scared by it means it must be right, knowing the coward I usually am.
DF: well you might have been, but you're not anymore. You still view yourself this way, that's all.
Me: ... o_O ...
She had a point.

I've been clinging to old patterns, still viewing myself as the 20-year old me, but that's not who I am anymore. Which is not a bad thing if you ask me, except that my 20 years old are gone forever but hey, nothing I can do about it!

You know what I used to believe?
- I used to think I was that shy girl who would stand in her corner of the room in social gatherings and wish she could teleport home; I used to be that girl, but lately I found out that I can be a chatterbox if no one stops me, and that includes talking to people I just met. Oops.
- I used to think that safety and staying in my comfort zone would be just fine, why bother taking risks? Answer: because you die inside and your brain shuts down from boredom, that's why. There is so much potential within a human being!
-  I used to think I could't run, turns out I can. I'm no marathon runner, but the thought of running half an hour doesn't make me want to pull out my hair one by one, make a rope and hang myself anymore;
- The one you've been waiting for: I used to think that because I couldn't touch my toes, then I couldn't "do yoga". You know where that one's got me.

Take a look at yourself: what did you find out about yourself lately that you did not know / suspect? what is it you think about yourself that is really not true anymore? 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Music Wednesday - dance and be happy

Ok, technically it's more of a performance, and it's been around for ages, but it still makes me warm and fuzzy inside (and not because it happened in Belgium, honest)


Monday, November 15, 2010

Yoga 101 - Kleshas illustrated

Hello dear readers, today we are going to review the kleshas with a couple of real-life examples directly based on my own experience.
For non-yogis / -yoginis, the kleshas are afflictions of the mind, they cause an agitated mind and in yoga, quiet mind = good, agitated mind = bad.
But let's take a closer look, shall we?

The 5 kleshas

  • The first klesha is avidya, or ignorance. Example: "oh, I didn't know I could do that. Well for someone that takes pride in knowing herself, that's not very good is it? Hold on a sec... I know myself from 15 years ago, isn't it time to move on and check out who is "myself" today? And let go of the perception that others have of me? Yes, let's do that".
  • The second klesha is asmita, or ego, as in "I am". Example: "I can't get into pincha mayurasana, I am not good enough (to be training as a yoga teacher, to be on this course, etc etc)". (Beating yourself up then because you think you're not good enough, thus making things worse, is a nice one too: "I shouldn't think that I'm not good enough, therefore I'm not good enough")
  • I'll take a detour before getting to the third one by illustrating the fourth one (you'll see my point), dvesha, or aversion. Example: "that girl is STEPPING ON MY MAT, I mean, excuse me?!?! Argh, I HATE that!"
  • And so here is the third one, raga, or attachment. Example: "Bloody hell this mat is my private space, my sacred space, MY PRECIOUS *gollum cough gollum*". (see why the third before the fourth now?)
  • The fifth and last one is abhinivesha, or fear. Example: "Holy Shiva, this taxi driver is driving way too fast, he's going to KILL ME! Oh dear that was close. Ok breathe, this is your fear of dying manifesting here, and typically you can't control the way you're going to die, so if that's your way to go then so be it. Ahh, feels better now. And if we make it home, I'll tip him for making me reflect on abhinivesha and breaking a record, Brussels station to home in less than 10 minutes is quite impressive, even on a late Sunday evening". I think I got that one covered (and that's how you can tell I spent a weekend totally immersed in yoga, I guess my thinking otherwise would have stopped at "KILL ME!").
Disclaimer: I didn't use the proper Sanskrit spelling, but my computer doesn't want to cooperate with me and put the dots and accents where they should be. 

I'm curious peeps, what is your take on kleshas? :)

Edited to add: for those of you who are wondering "OMG did she tip the taxi driver? What a cliffhanger, I'm biting my nails now!" - well obviously I made it in one piece, and the experience's given me writing material. I guess I should've given him more...

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Friday before Yoga Teacher Training in the life of...

Today I'm going to London again ("yes we knoooow, stop it already!") for yet another YTT weekend. You have no idea how much I need this. Truth be told, I may have no idea myself how much I need this!

The last YTT weekend was 5 weeks ago. Only 5 weeks, and yet it feels like it was in another life. So much has happened between then and now, I even don't see everything clearly yet. A trip to Amsterdam for a life-changing weekend, a trip to Canada, more yoga off the mat clearly, and a whirlwind of things-to-do-I-can't-just-sit-here-and-wait.

I have seen, heard, felt a lot of things. My perceptions have changed, or have evolved more like. I have chosen to have a closer look at the world we're living in. I have dug stuff from inside of me that I thought were no longer there, I've been experimenting, I've been learning, I have opened up. A whole lot.

Now I have to pause and reflect, carefully considering what is important. To me.

So yeah, I need a weekend full of yoga, it will be like a retreat, except yoga-study-bootcamp style. I need the satsang, I need the community, I need the focus. But you know what? I also need time on my own, with nothing else to do than watch X-Factor munching on dried mango (is X-Factor still on by the way? Oh well...). My London hotel room is my take of a cave in India. Honest. Except way more expensive. And there's song-butchering involved.

I feel somehow that everything will make more sense, everything will tie in together, everything will fall into place. Or maybe not. Que sera, sera :)

(What a year it's been, franky I can't wait to read my end-of-year recap post :D)

Have a great wonderful enlightening joyful weekend!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Music Wednesday - have a guess

This should let you know where I'm going this weekend (that changes from yelling it over the rooftops don't you think?)

Enjoy the lightness!

"London, London" video by Cibelle feat. Devendra Banhart

(Devendra: you can totally call me. I have tons of chocolate ya know. Tx)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A monkey in the making - Sunday thoughts part 3

A monkey?

Don't worry peeps, I'm not growing hair all over my body, I haven't started picking the lice off Lovely Boyfriend's head (to set the record straight, he hasn't got any), and I'm not feeding exclusively off bananas - wait... oh no, I still eat hummus, carrots and dried mango too. And dark chocolate.

No I'm talking about the monkey god, Hanuman, Rama's devotee who took the leap off a mountain to cross the ocean and find Sita. I'm not turning into a goddess either, and certainly not pretending to.

Let me explain.

Leap of faith and fears

A few posts have got me thinking lately. Mind you, I always think too much. Well let's just say they got me thinking even harder.

Two of them were written by the wonderful Marianne Elliott, sharing with us the tools that have allowed her to leap, giving more credit to faith than to self doubt, and the follow up asking what space should we give to our fear.
The always inspirational Danielle Laporte wrote the third one a few weeks ago already, but I discovered it yesterday only. Or to rephrase, I got slapped in the face. "All of you grinding gears in a day job while you heart is spinning bigger dreams", wow was that written for me?
But this part struck me particularly: "If you start to tell me why it's not possible or how bad you want it but you don't know how to get it - then you don't want it bad enough. Maybe isn't going to cut it." Slap in the face and kick in the butt. 

For ages I've struggled with the fact that I didn't know what I wanted. Now I'm getting a clearer idea, it's not a definite plan yet but it's not something unattainable. It needs shaping up, it needs preparation, it needs planning. But I'm willing and able.

The thing is, I listen too much to the damn fears. As I've mentioned already, I was raised to believe in security and safety over taking risks. Case in point, you should see how I handle my personal finance, I get cold sweat when I go beneath a certain amount on my bank account. And I'm not talking about overdraft, I don't even know what the word means. I've always chosen comfort over being on the edge, making sure I always have enough at the bank, and settling for jobs that I knew were below what I could offer. I've always functioned up to 80% of my capabilities. It's not bragging, it's being honest. 
I know it, so why is that? Comfort people, and the negative side of knowing oneself too much. Knowing that I'm capable of more, but lacking the trust and faith to just do it. And anxious about my bank account.

Safe or sane?

Now I'm in a place where what I do for a living doesn't feel right, where I can't settle for second best and just accept that that's what life is all about. Wake up, go to work, come back from work, pay the bills, settle down. That's never been me, but I shut up the voices that told me so. Now they're really, really loud, believe me! 

It's unbearable, and my sanity is at stake. But I'm now standing on the cliff, watching the waves of the ocean crashing below, and the woods behind. Still scared and attached. What will it take for me to just take the leap and look forward? 

I'm kind of scared of hitting the publish button right now, I'm putting myself a lot out there. Oh well, so be it!

Have a nice Sunday peeps!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


or the American experience in French and English :)

Short but intense trip, we walked and walked and walked some more, ate and ate and ate some more, swam in a hotel swimming pool, had brunch with a lovely lady, got snowed on (I can't quiet figure out why we didn't get a cold), got jumped on by a hungry squirrel, had countless pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks (no, we don't have pumpkin spice lattes in Europe), walked through wonderful parks, saw many houses for sale we said we'd buy, and saw a lot of vampires we would not buy. And yoga was, once again, more practiced off the mat than on :)

Yesterday was spent travelling back to Brussels, we landed this morning way too early for my liking, and I'm functioning on a two-hours sleep night, so if you allow me, I will show you some pictures before my brain shuts down.

Enjoy :)

Rue Sainte-Catherine

Pecan pie - 'nuff said


Port of Montreal

Can't help taking photos of paths in woods - this and lamp posts, don't ask
If by any chance you want to read more of my musings, as promised you can find me over there!