Where are we running ?

I always think that I am looking after myself, getting enough rest, fitting in enough time for my Yoga practice.. until I land up so sick, run down, and miserable.. that I realize that I really don’t get enough rest and recovery time. And that I really do worry about things beyond my control.

Then I beat myself up, feeling like a total hypocrite, I am always preaching to people to give themselves a break, that there is no medal for proving that we can do more than is humanly capable of, that life is not a race. And that we need to live in the NOW, and only control what we can in this moment, right now.

Why do we allow ourselves to get to this point? What point are we trying to prove? Why do we always feel that we have to keep going and going, and add more to the pile of things that we are trying to balance?  Sure, maybe we are wanting to earn more money, who doesn’t need that? But when do you ever get to enjoy your hard earned money, to take yourself away more often, if you are constantly in this race to earn it, and maintain the lifestyle that society has led you to believe that you need to live?

I landed up with severe stomach problems a couple weeks back. And in a way, it needed to happen. Without even realizing it, I had allowed myself to get so caught up in the “rat race” again, I was back on that treadmill to nowhere, making it go faster and faster. Feeling like I needed to do more. For what? There is no prize at the end. I did not realize how much baggage  I was still holding onto, and how it was starting to rot within me, but instead of letting it go, I just kept on going,  trying to make a car go faster and further, with dirty old petrol and oil in the engine.

It made me re-think, re-shuffle things around, and do a much needed emotional detox,  as well as a physical detox. It is amazing how much clearer you can see once you have let go of all of the rubbish!

I am happy to say that I am back to sunshine, and happiness. And since then, new opportunities are opening up. I have space now for new energy to come in, new love and a new passion for life and people.

Life is so short, we do not take enough time to love ourselves, to nurture ourselves. To balance everything. It is good to push your boundaries, and step out of the comfort zone every now and then. It is what keeps us motivated, and inspired to live more and do more.

But don’t break the comfort zone so severely, that you land up crashing completely, without a safety net.

 

 

Warrior II : ever present and looking  forward 

When we are in Virabhadrasana II, we are taught to push strongly on the back foot, while keeping out torso upright and centered, while descending the hips down, grounding, front foot facing strongly forward, front arm pointing ahead of us, the mind however centered. 

As we approach the end of another magnificent year, we can’t help but look back on the year gone past, pushing strongly onto that back foot to take us away from the past,  where we were a year ago this time, doing the exact same thing, where we are now , our minds and torso upright and centered, and how much have we grown since then? And what does the year ahead have to offer, where are our front foot and arm pointing ? 

I always set myself little goals for the year, sometimes big ones, but no matter how big or small they are, I always find myself having a quiet smirk to myself when I realize that what was a mere lines of word of ambition and hope on a piece of paper… Are now memories and photographs, and experiences that have assisted to shape and mound me into what I am today. 

I find that it is in this moment of looking back, and realizing where I am now, that I can really start to plan my future, start making the next list. 

Don’t ever knock down your goals. Write them down, ink is permanent. If you take the time to make your dreams a permanent feature, and not just a mere vision in the back of your minds, you will be amazed at just how quickly they become a reality.

And it is when you have discovered this realisation, that you realize and appreciate your potential. 

I have realized that I have a much bigger box to fill, a much bigger box to think out of, and start living the large life that I have always dreamed about. I can achieve great things, and I am more determined than ever to prove it to msyelf. 

Watch out 2017, watch out world, I am coming for you!

Mind in the now

I have not had my running watch this week, which usually means ” oh no I cant run!” ..and I have been forced to live up to my own words, and ” run how you feel, get your mind and body in the ‘NOW”, NOT according to what the watch says”.. and it has been awsome! I have enjoyed it more, I feel like I have been running stronger, even up some of the nasty hills of Morningside, as I have not been trying to run further and faster so that I have a more impressive post on Strava, and not stressing about what pace I THINK I should be running, or how far my programe said I need to run today, but just learning to find my own natural rhythm, with my breath and foot steps, and running as far as my body feels it can go, today. . Maybe that is 4mins a km, maybe its 7mins a km, the point is that I am taking the time to get up and do something good for myself, remove myself from the real world for a while, and stop chasing a clock, which we do all the time, all day at work, between deadlines, to get to the gym/ run on time.. With the last weekend of my yoga training coming up this weekend, I have realised how much Yoga has taught me about life in general, not just how well we do postures, and how “cool” we look while doing them, Not how much faster or better we run compared to everyone else, but how we feel, right now, in the present moment and time. Not competing with anybody else, but our minds. What an amazing journey it has been, and I cannot wait to teach everybody what I have learnt. So grateful for this incredible “journey” that I set myself on this year. Namaste’ 🙂

The start of my magical life

My first introduction to Yoga, was many years ago, a good friend of mine was always finding space and an excuse to flick back into what looked like something out of Cirque’ de Soliel, or just push up into “upward dog” ( which I now know as Urdhva Mukha Svanasana) and just “ be” , and just breath. Me on the other hand… I was trying to run, and gym, and work more hours in a very fast paced and stressful industry,  listening to angry heavy metal music to fuel myself up even more, and try stress myself out as much as I could, so that , I don’t know, I could have self-pity parties when I was totally exhausted, or because I thought that maybe it made me some kind if superwoman? And of course everybody else that I knew, except my calm and tranquil friend Ken, were in the same boat as me, and we were all full steam ahead, 24/7, pounding our way through rough waters and storms, into the middle of nowhere, with no life boat or a flare gun, in case things went wrong.  I was invincible, and nothing was going to stop me. Who has time for yoga, where you just hold a posture, that is not even getting your heart rate up, how boring, I don’t have time for that!! Well.. I was so wrong, and did not realize how badly I actually needed yoga.

I used to ride off-ride bikes with my dad and brother, and as much as I loved being out in the bush, I also always felt like I had to go as fast as I could, ride where there were risks, just for that feeling of fear and taste of adrenaline. I love it, don’t get me wrong. But then I was introduced to the world of Belly Dancing.. and so my magical journey began.

I remember my first class, I went straight to the back of the room, I had only gone out of curiosity, I had been to watch a concert that my friends mom was taking part in, I had never ever thought about it, or paid much attention to Belly Dancing. But something at that concert spoke to me, screamed out to me actually. I just felt that I needed something new, and not to mention more feminine, and where I could still exercise, but have fun, and be creative, I am a very artistic person, but that side of me was being bullied by my constant need to go faster, be stronger, and never show your weak side. There I was, in a full T-Shirt, nobody was going to see my belly shaking… I met Karen, the teacher, who just oozed beauty, mystery, and magic, all in one. I grew to love the classes, and as my experience and skills improved, so did my self-confidence and smile. Slowly, day by day, my outer shell of concrete began to soften. The T-shirt also vanished and was replaced by beautifully beaded and embellished Belly-dancing tops, crop tops, in an array of magical colours. I then discovered Tribal Belly Dancing, and that was the way forward for me. Suddenly, the quiet, soft spoken artist in me emerged, and before I knew it, I was shaking and swerving my way around that stage, proudly and with confidence,  like some form of majestic, fluid sculpture in motion, completely lost in my own world, and music. Soft, weird and seemingly off-key music, nothing like the heavy-metal mind-set that I had come from.

I still rode the off-road bikes, ran as far and fast as I could, but the softer side that dancing and fire-spinning taught me, seemed to stay with me. I had slowly started to realize what my dear friend saw in yoga, and why he was always so calm and controlled, and so my thirst for Yoga grew.

I changed towns, the dancing came to a sad end, so I started to attend yoga classes to fill the gap of dancing, and just to meet other like-minded people. It also started becoming my “ go-to” after a rushed and stressful day, almost like a drug, that just fixed everything. I started running again, met more like-minded souls through it, and eventually finished my first Comrades Marathon, something which had been on my bucket list from a very young age. During this time, I also discovered the world of surfing. I had been trying for years to teach myself, but I was just loving paddling out into that ocean, a place that had always been a special place for me, it was an escape, nobody could reach me out there, just like being in the yoga studio, phones off, and it was only me and my yoga mat. Except now my surfboard replaced my yoga mat,  and I felt totally one with nature, back to basics, time to restart my mind. I got chatting at a social evening at our running club one night, and one of the guys ( who has since become one of my good friends) said Hey! Come join us in the surf, and lets learn together”.  Well, since then, surfing has become a lifestyle for me. The people that I have met, the experiences that I have had, the lessons I have learnt, are invaluable. There is no educational institute, or price-tag, that could give me the value and lessons, and experience, that surfing has taught me. I surfed more than I ran, during my Comrades training, but the whole mind-set that surfing, combined with my growing love for yoga, taught me, is what got me through, more than any marathon or speed session of pounding away at my mind, and body.

Completing my Yoga Teachers Training was just the most obvious thing that I had to do, and I had been putting it off for the past 3 years. I had started doing more in-depth workshops, and noticed the little changes that Yoga was making in my life. Asides the physical strength, the reduced injuries from all of the running, and general feeling of well-being, something within me was changing. My mind went back to when I discovered Belly Dancing, and how I began to blossom, and soften.. Yoga was the next step. It was removing the next layer of my concrete –shell, But I was always “ too busy” to do my teachers training.

I was given the opportunity to teach a small yoga class from the beginning of the year, from one of the most influential and motivational woman that I know, and I just fell in love with yoga even more, and seeing how it challenged the class in front of me, but made them feel so good at the same time. I made the decision to sign up for my yoga training, the time was right. It has been the most amazing journey of my life. The experience, the knowledge, the friends that I have made, the difficult situations that I had to deal with while doing my training, all the challenges that came my way, I had so much more awareness as to how I dealt with them, compared to how I would have, back in those “ heavy-metal hippie” days, when I did not know if I was an angry, fast-paced, dark hair, adrenaline chasing robot, or a soft and chilled Belly Dancer and artist.  I find that I can now look at myself everyday and be purely content with the body that I have, the people in my life, and accept the mistakes I have made, and learn from them. Nobody is perfect, especially not me, but it’s learning how to accept that, and learn from those mistakes, that makes you grow, and learn to be a better “ human” being.

The world of Yoga has opened up my eyes up to opportunities that I had never even considered, I realized how dehydrated my mind was to the knowledge and life experiences out there, and how badly I need to quench my thirst for travel, and new experiences.

As I look forward to tackling my first Midmar Mile Swim next year, and second Comrades Marathon, on behalf of the CHOC Foundation, I just know that I am going into them with very different goals and mind-set, as I did before. I have run a Comrades for myself to prove that my mind and body are capable of enduring anything, I have run a Sub-4 hour marathon, I have sprinted till my heart felt like it was going to burst out my throat, I have won my own physical challenges. For a change, I have learnt to put myself first, fix myself when I need to, and from this I can now help others, and use my skills for the benefit of others, because I have learnt how to help myself. I used to run myself ragged trying to please everybody else, help everybody else, and in the end, there was nothing left for me.

I now wake up every day with such a happy and grateful heart, which I always thought that I did before, but not with as much realisation and love for my life as I have now. I landed up in a very dark space towards the middle last year. I cannot believe that it is the same person looking back at me in the mirror now. All that I can see now are rainbows and magic. I don’t recognize that dark, serious and stressed little girl anymore. And if I ever saw her again,  would give her a hug, and send her to some surf and yoga lessons.

I am capable of great things, and great adventures await me.! I just cannot wait to share what I have learnt with the rest of the world. And capture it all with my camera  and sketch book, show the world how I see it.

Who knew that learning how to say Sirsasana (Shree-sa-sana) and then trying to maintain it for at least 10 minutes, could have such a “light-bulb” effect on your life, and teach you so much more than just how to stand on your head J

Namaste’  . . .