Tuesday, August 31, 2010

This is me, then

Some of you might have already seen this picture here, but as I am all for recycling and sustainability, including digital photos, so there you go.

I used to wish I were tall, lean and skinny. But I'm not.

I am short, I am not fat, I am not skinny either.

I have boobs, I have a belly with a life of its own no matter how hard I try and do abs (hellooo, muffin top!), I have wide hips, I have strong thighs. Hell, I might even have bra fat but I didn't bother to check in the mirror.
I will never be tall and lean and skinny. But that's ok.

I practice yoga because it keeps me grounded. I practice yoga because my body, my mind, my heart, open. I practice yoga because it makes me a better person. Not perfect, only better, according to my own perception of what "better" is.
I don't practice yoga to lose weight. I will never be tall and lean and skinny, and it's ok.

This is me, then.

You? You might be tall and lean and skinny. You might be short, and skinny. You might be short and bigger than me. You might be taller and bigger than me. You might be a blonde, a brunette, a red head. You might have smaller boobs and wider hips. Or tiny boobs and tiny hips.
You might not look that way you want to look, but you know what? You are enough. You are beautiful the way you are. You are you, and it's ok.

This is you, then.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I'm a crazy list maker, you already know that. I won't go grocery shopping without a list (doesn't stop me from buying stuff that is not on the list, though), I make to-do lists at work, I make lists for goals, I should maybe make a list of lists.
When I so this list here and here, among others, I knew I had to fill in the blanks too, you know, sounds like fun, because lists are my idea of fun.

1. The most adventurous thing I've ever done is... going to the UK for a year on an exchange programme when I was a student. I was seriously shy and had never got away from home, as my local university offered the studies I wanted to take. They also were part of an European exchange programme, and I took a shot at it. I already loved the UK back then so no wonder I signed up, hell yeah! And I had to, wait for it,  TALK TO PEOPLE so I wouldn't spend a whole academic year miserable on my own.
This and stepping on a yoga mat for the first time, truly had no idea what was in for me. That said, I still have no idea!

2. If I were a pair of shoes I would be... a pair of Doc Martens. These ones, the originals:

Ok embarrassing confession: I used to have a pair of those, I got them when I was 17 and would wear them every day. I mean, EVERY day, until 5 years later I had to throw them away. So I cut out the little tags at the back and kept them as a souvenir. For years.

3. My preferred mode of digital communication is... email, definitely.

4. I feel happiest when... I'm having a good laugh with Lovely Boyfriend. He's my boyfriend, my lover, my best friend, and I think being able to laugh with your partner is essential in this kind of relationship. It's easier of course when you have the same lame humour.

5. A little dream I have for my life is to...travel the world, fall in love with a place and move there, and be my own boss.

6. The one modern convenience I could NOT do without is... Fridge or washing machine? Tricky one...
How about the internet?

7. Music, movies, TV or books: if I could only choose one to enjoy I would pick... books. I've always been a huge book lover, reading is my hobby of choice, too sad I can't read as much as I would like to but hey, choices... Music is close though.

Enough ramblings for today, I have to take care of my kitchen turned into a baking lab. "And it burns, burns burns", you know...

Take care.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday thoughts

I've been thinking a lot lately, my mind is racing in full gear, and I've been excited and overwhelmed.

Excited because I have a lot of ideas, that might turn into proper projects, because at some point acting and doing is the way to go. Overwhelmed because there are so many things I want to do, and so little time, not to mention little money (oh the ugly word ;-)).

See I started this blog because I had been thinking a lot about my life, I had started taking steps towards changes, and yoga has played a tremendous part in this direction (or better said, I let yoga play a huge part).
I'm feeling now that I've gone up a gear, and that this whole change thing is not only about me, about who I want to be, but also what difference I can make and how other people's lives can benefit from my actions. How can I step off my mat and make this difference, how can I help?

Yesterday I got caught up in this whirlwind of thoughts again, you know, how? when? where? what about my full-time job? what are we going to do?
And today it's kind of fallen into place. I stepped on my mat, chose to do a podcast, aimed at simplicity, you breathe, you move, no questions, no drama, and I went with the flow. I realized that you don't have to look for change for it to happen, because eventually, as your perspective is shifting, change does happen, and then comes a time when you have no choice but feel compelled to act, because that's what you are.

Enoshima, Japan

Meanwhile things might be a bit uncomfortable but you learn, you learn to be happy where you are, because where you are is the right place to be at this moment. It doesn't mean settling in indefinitely because you've been told that that is what life is. It means appreciate what you have at this very moment, while you move forward, and you will appreciate where you'll be in a day, a week, a month, while everything's unfolding. You're enjoying the journey and fully embracing the stage you're in, I guess that's my take on santosha :-)

So I'll be happy where I am, and I'll keep going my way. It will all fall into place, it's the natural evolution, I definitely believe it.

Have a nice Sunday :-)

Enoshima, Japan

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tokyo Part 2 - tradition

Yep, yogis' favourite flower, the beautiful lotus

Not only did we see the "bright lights, big city" that Tokyo is, we also got to see some older gems embedded between the tall buildings and the public transportation network.

The purification fountain, important step not to be missed before going further in the Meiji Jingu sanctuary
First the Meiji Jingu sanctuary, dedicated to Emperor Meiji, and a Shinto shrine. Shinto is the oldest religious tradition in Japan, in which there is no one God but a myriad of spirits, nature-related, called Kami.

"Prayer tree" at Meiji Jingu
The most important Kami is Sun Goddess Amaterasu. Fellow yogis and yoginis, when you salute the sun, send a prayer to Amaterasu, can't hurt ;-)

Shinto is the most important religion in Japan, along with, of course, Buddhism.

"Red Lantern" shrine in Asakusa

Buddhism, contrary to Shinto, was imported to Japan. It appeared in the 6th century via China and Korea, and despite small conflicts at the beginning between the two traditions, they have been "countrymates" for centuries now.

The Great Buddha of Kamakura, 13,35 meters tall, impressive and so peaceful!

A vast majority of Japanese people believe and happily mix the two traditions. Our guide Eri, a middle-aged Japanese woman who spoke a verey good French, prayed in all the shrines and temples we visited. After all, the more you believe, the more your are protected right?

Onto a whole different subject but it belongs to tradition to:

Traditional meal in Kamakura
Now, confession time: you see this lovely bowl of sashimi, with all kinds of fish and fixings? I ate it all. And I had even more fish during our stay.
It doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was to me, as I am a vegetarian and have been for about a year and a half. I know finding the right food for us would be difficult, especially as we went to traditional restaurants with our guide, so we decided to just let go and adapt.
I didn't go vegetarian because of yoga, but I think it fits in the way I practice yoga, this is part of my way of respecting ahimsa. That said, what also fits in my way of practicing yoga is to be alive and not die from starvation. Food was offered to me, it would have been plain rude to turn it down, not to mention how hungry I was after all the walking, and I ate it. And to be completely honest, it was the best fish I've ever had. Ever. Melt-in-your-mouth fish. I figured that if I was to have fish for the last time, it would have to be in Japan, of all places. The only thing I couldn't bring myself to eat was meat. The mere sight of meat made my stomach pull an ice-skating programme, triple axels and all.
I don't feel guilty, I feel ok, and now that I overdosed on fish I'm back to vegetarianism.  And it suits me fine.

Other confession: I stayed off the mat most of the time. Easy, given that technically I didn't have a yoga mat, but the carpet of the room floor at the hotel. My practice consisted in enjoying, seeing, feeling, spending quality time with Lovely Boyfriend and just taking care. Great practice if you ask me :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tokyo Part 1 - modernity

So, Tokyo, Japan...
As you know, Japan has been a dream of mine (and Lovely Boyfriend's actually) for, like, ever. And we decided this year would be the year we would go. And we went!

We were there for a little over a week, we flew to Tokyo on August 4th and came back last Friday, August 13th. I wont bore you with how long the journey was and how uncomfortable plane seats are when you really want to sleep (and I'm short. Can't imagine what it's like for tall people).

We stayed in and around Tokyo, but there was so much and so little time that we just walked and walked all over the place. And then we did some walking, and we saw this:


View of Tokyo from Sumitomo Building in Shinjuku

Shibuya by day

Shibuya by night

Akihabara - there's a place full of these things, with I don't know how many floors...

This place is amazing. Truly. It is crowded, loud, lit all day long, and yet... yet you never feel stressed out or overwhelmed by noise, it is a really strange feeling. The Japanese society is a very complex one, with so many codes and rules, yet this is the place where you enter a shop thinking you will find there some comics you know or some fun stuff, and then when you go up one floor every shelf is covered with porn (live or animated). The people here are so polite and respectful that the control freak inside of me has started glowing with contentment.

We loved every second of it, and it all went too fast. But we are already making plans to go back there, probable when we win the lottery :-)

Part 2? Traditional side of the city, plus a few confessions, so stay tuned!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Hello dear friends, here I am, back in Brussels. Already, some might say (this means me actually), I can't believe this trip is over, it all went so fast. Forgive me for not posting a proper recap right now, but I am still tired from the journey back and I really need to sort out all the photos. I'll give you a glimpse on what I saw to keep you waiting:

Buddha Kannon, Kamakura, Japan

Also, don't worry I will not leave you without some reading to do: check out The Magazine of Yoga's post on yours truly's blog, while I get some rest and try to stop blushing and pinching myself :-)

Be back soon! 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Sayonara for now

So, today is the day. The day when a lifetime dream is being fulfilled.
We are so excited, you cannot even begin to imagine! We're leaving our apartment in less than 20 minutes, first to catch a train to Paris' airport Charles de Gaulle, where we will meet our group, and then we're flying to Tokyo, landing tomorrow at around 2pm local time (yay jetlag!).

I won't be posting from there (mind you, not that I post everyday anyway), but I'll make sure to be back with plenty of photos and amazing experiences to share with you.

I don't know what my yoga practice will be, I guess I will stick to love, contentment, and soaking it all in!

So for now, have a great time, and I'll be back with some funny and exciting stuff :-)

Monday, August 2, 2010

She sells sea shells by the sea shore

After Brussels, Belgium, and Anost, Burgundy, France, let me introduce you to Ostende, Belgium. So after the city, the country, here is the sea (and now the National Geographic should be begging me to work for them - 'tis the season I guess! wait, where are the mountains?).

Our holidays began officially last Friday evening, but we're not flying to Japan before Wednesday, so we figured that in the midst of the preparations of our dream trip, we would take a break and go to the seaside. Belgium is a small country, by train it would only take us a little over an hour.

I love the city, I love the country, but the sea... the sea is different. I've always loved the sea, especially the Atlantic Ocean in Brittany. It's a little bit further away though, so I'll make do with the Belgian seaside. The sea is what truly reminds me of the greatness of nature, this is the element that we human beings have always tried to tame but which eventually always breaks free.

That would be fried goat's cheese with mango dressing. As I've declared it my duty to taste every vegetarian goat's cheese salad under the sun, I had to have this one. Not the healthiest, but definitely one the best I've ever had!

See, this divine stuff we're always rambling about in yoga? To me it's nature, and the last little trips I've been taking lately have reminded me why I believe what I believe :-)