Jan 222014
 

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Yesterday, I had a total Miranda Priestly moment with the Internet. For anyone who doesn’t know who Miranda Priestly is, first read the Devil Wears Prada, then watch the movie, then go on Tumblr. Enjoy.

For me a ‘Miranda Priestly moment’ is where I’m just generally unimpressed with something, surprised with someone’s incompetence or am just baffled by the lack of effort that’s been put into something. I don’t have a lot of these moments, but I do have them. I don’t deal well with incompetent people and low quality things.

But I don’t usually have Miranda Priestly moments with the Internet. That doesn’t usually happen. When I want something, the Internet provides.

Goats with human voices? 10 million hits.

Fucked up smut fanfiction? You name who you want to star as the characters, and the Internet will provide you with anything on anyone from every movie or television show ever.*

I mean, I even found THIS by accident. The Internet has EVERYTHING.

…Or so I thought.

Because what the Internet does NOT have, is a few good Bikram Yoga blogs to follow. Read about my rage and the eventual results below.

*Trust me on this one. I move in the deep dark dens of the Internet (Tumblr) and I’m into some weird ass shit.

Continue reading »

Apr 062013
 

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Half-ass naked on the Internet. Conscious choice. Quite okay with it. Now all I need to do is destroy my grandparents’ Internet connection because a) I don’t want to be responsible for any strokes or cardiac arrests and b) I want to remain in the will.  

Remember when I said ” I only know [on what day of the 30 Day Bikram Yoga challenge I am] when I’m looking at the official scoreboard!”? Famous last words, people. Funny story:

On Thursday, after my 06:30 AM yoga class, the -very small- part of my brain that understands day-to-day things like routes, planning and calendars alerted me that I might have miscalculated something. At work, I grabbed my planner and on-line information and it turned out I was not on day 29 as I originally thought, but on day 30. And on the Wednesday, I had taken Manfriend to the airport (boo hoo he’s gone for six weeks, very sad very Lifetime Movie) so I had planned on doing a double class Friday, the last day of my challenge. At least, in my head.

So there I was, accidentally on day 30 with one more yoga class to go. At work, no plan and no extra work-out gear on me. Time to improvise.

With major groveling, I canceled the dinner plans I had with a friend. I put my -rinsed but not properly washed*- yoga shorts and top on the heater. I found the coins in my backpack needed for a rental yoga towel. And right after work, I went back into the yoga studio. Fully prepared to have the worst class of the whole 30 days. The 06:30 AM session had not been one of my best and I had worked all day: I was prepared to ride out a very uncomfortable 90 minutes for the final class of my challenge.

And of course, because it happens when you least expect it, I flew through class. I did everything and it felt so good. Natural, too. I came out of class so high I wanted to talk to everybody and was just buzzing.

I did it.

A Bikram Yoga class every day for 30 days. When I really had no time for a class -happened three times- I did a double class on the Saturday after to get back on schedule. Which was actually great because not only did it get me out of my double-class funk, it also reminded me how amazing the energy is after two classes — For the first five hours, mind you. After that you either need to nap or eat a huge meal, or preferably both.

I have had great classes, and I have had shit classes.I have had classes where my body was stiff as an English upper lip, or where my muscles were so tired they gave out in postures, or where I was so in my head I couldn’t focus, but I always came out feeling better.

I am a little more toned than I was when I first started. I have lost a little weight, but have no idea how much because I haven’t weighed myself in over two years. I have come to the conclusion my nose looks even bigger when my face is skinnier, which is both funny and tragic at the same time.

I am definitely stronger now, better at holding a posture. The yoga always feels good, even when it’s hard. And as I said before, more relaxed, more energetic and with an overall higher sense of well-being. That was my main motivation for doing it anyway, all the physical stuff is just a bonus.

It’s not all gone, of course. I cured a basic symptom (feeling bad) of a bigger problem (feeling lost). But feeling better is making it way easier to deal with that. I can find my way a lot easier when I have my well-being to guide me, and my intuition isn’t overshadowed by negative emotions.

A lot of people throw around the term ‘reborn’ when it comes to yoga and doing challenges like this, but that’s not really my style. I am not reborn, I am just more ready. For everything.

And now, I am going to road trip with my BFF and we’re going to check out Happy Healthy Sunday tomorrow. Very exciting, I hope you all are well, and I will write for you guys soon. Love.

*Please don’t judge me. Desperate times, man. 

Mar 292013
 

Honestly, life keeps throwing me the weirdest curveballs. Considering I have the hand-eye coordination of a drunk snake, you can do the math of how that is working out for me right now. But enough about me, let’s talk about me*.

I’m at day 23 (24? I still have to go today and I only know when I’m looking at the official scoreboard!) of the 30 day Bikram Yoga challenge today and still going faithfully. Which means lots of washing, lots of showers, lots of carrying yoga gear around anywhere and people asking me if I am going on a journey or if I am just a semi-fashionable hobo.

In terms of inner peace and energy it’s similar to what I described last week. Despite non-ideal circumstances, I can keep on top of things. I am relaxed, peaceful and happy when I practice: Those effects carry over in my life, which makes it so much easier to function and do what I have to do.

Also, I feel at home at the yoga studio again. I enjoy being there so much. And I realize everyone there loves yoga, in their own way. Some come all the time, some come every once in a while – and nothing is better or worse than the other. It’s just what it is. Our yoga practice is part of all our lives. We have that in common, that’s what matters (the hippie spoke). I often run into Ben “Yoga Boy” or other yoga friends. If I’m in the mood to be with people, there is always somebody to chat with.  If I want to be alone, I just have to say ‘hello’, do yoga, shower and leave.

Oh, I did a couple of 20:00 classes! I hadn’t done any in years; it used to be hot as hell and just as crowded. Now it’s not so busy anymore and I found it’s really nice to end the day with a yoga class instead of beginning with one. The only problem is that I end up staying up until 1 in the morning because I have ALL the energy. Girl still needs to sleep however, so I didn’t make it to any 06:30 AM classes this week and did all my classes in the evenings. Interesting plot twist for a morning person. Manfriend thinks I am converting to his church (the night owls).

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(Yeah, I took the embarassing-selfie stuff back into my bathroom. I couldn’t take the stress hormones of someone walking past and judging me for taking a picture of myself in skimpy work-out gear: You know how it is. You can only yell “I HAVE A BLOG I AM DOING THIS FOR A GOOD REASON SORT OF” to so many people.)

And as you can see in the picture above (taken three weeks apart, day 2 and day 22), some physical change kicked in. I think. No, seriously. My favorite part is the stomach — it’s not perfectly flat but it’s definitely more defined. I started feeling a familiar ‘tightening up’ feeling in my body over the past weeks but it wasn’t really noticeable yet; if you look at last week’s picture, you can hardly tell a difference. Now, you can actually tell.

Only one week left of the official challenge. I am very happy I stopped fucking around and just joined. It still feels like I am going ‘back to normal’ – at least in this area of my life.

I don’t care about how much it costs, how much time it takes. I don’t mind how disgusting I smell after a class and how much time I spent washing towels. This is what I am supposed to be doing. I do Bikram Yoga. Because it feels good, because it does my body good and because it improves every single area of my life.

So bring on the sweat and the smelly towels. Perfectly fine with me.

*Sorry, I totally laughed at that joke the first time. I might actually be too lame to function.

Mar 222013
 

There are a few different sides to the story of why I decided to do a 30-day Bikram Yoga challenge again. I was emailing about it with Ruby Warrington — the next thing I know Bikram Yoga Rotterdam announced ‘The March Madness Challenge’ where you can sign up for -you guessed it- a 30 day challenge: 30 yoga classes in 30 days.

All very nice and synchronous, but not actually what made me do it.

See, I first started thinking of every reason not to do it. I mean, 30 days in a row is pretty doable, but it does require sacrifice. You need to set aside a big chunk of your time every day for thirty days. You are perpetually sore. You have to plan ahead in a lot of different areas: In clothes, in food, in washing, in how your entire day looks. You have less time for social events, less wiggle room to slack off, and you have to keep your priorities straight, very straight. Also, I envisioned the possibility of getting fed up with doing the 90-minutes routine every day again for the upcoming thirty days.

But what it came down to was this: I was feeling like shit.

I was feeling like shit and I was getting pretty desperate about getting out of it and feeling good again. From past experience I can safely say that whatever I need, yoga gives it to me and more. And at this point, I had gotten desperate enough. I was in yoga class and something inside me went “Fucking fine. I will fucking commit to my yoga practice again, JUST GET ME OUT OF THIS FUNK.”

It wasn’t about doing something impressive. It wasn’t about doing something cool; it was about doing something necessary.

Because I knew that everything would be better than how I was feeling at that point. Getting out of bed at 5:45 for five days in a row, the most extreme soreness, the worst yoga class, even the worst fuck-this-and-my-big-mouth moment? All that — still going to be better than that empty unhappy feeling that I’d been having for the past couple of weeks.

Which was why any reason why I couldn’t do it completely lost its meaning to me. I mean, fuck that. And so I walked up to my yoga teacher and asked him to put my name on the Sign Up Sheet.

That simple gesture made me feel a rush of relief. I was like ‘okay, cool (and about damn time).’  Let’s do it. Turning back to the very thing that had always taken care of me. No mindfuckery, no bullshit, just daily yoga practice.

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‘Just’ going to a yoga class for two weeks now. Yes, I am sore. When I wake up, I am a little stiff. Yes, I am tired sometimes. Yes, I have washed a lot of towels and yoga shorts.

I’ve been pestering Manfriend about physical changes (DO I HAVE ABS YET DO I HAVE ABS YET), but as you can see from the picture above: There aren’t really any. I feel good in my own skin though,  and I can feel that my body is functioning better (in terms of sleep, digestion, metabolism).

The mental changes are pretty cool. By doing that yoga routine every day I become so much more relaxed and focused. The racing thoughts slow down, I become calm, I find a spot from which I can actually see what is going on in my own head. I get a quieter, more organized mind.

Every time I do the yoga, I realize I’m coming back to an important part of my self.  Even when it’s a shit class, even when I can’t focus and even when my body is tired, I always come out with that nice, familiar energy that carries me throughout the day.

The most important thing about the yoga right now though is that everytime I do it, I feel something inside me calm down, and I feel trust. I believe that everything is going to be alright. I think for now, that’s enough.

Plenty, even.

Dec 222012
 

Season’s greetings, beloved readers. Imagine me with a Santa’s hat for the purposes of this post. Or in an Oprah suit, although than this might turn into a bit of a letdown for you.

Because in the light of Christmas and sharing how you feel and what not, time for me to tell you I am really appreciative of you. I mean, you come here. On my website. To read my words. Holy shit. For a girl who only ever wanted to write that will always be a big deal. That is never going to get old for me. So I want to thank you all for that and tell you that I am happy that you’re all here, before I get into my whole give away thing.

As most of you know, the only thing I have to give away are my own words. Cue joke here about the weird English and out there niche I have gotten myself into. However, this time, the kind people at Blurb.com decided to help me out with that. Blurbz is an on-line publisher that offered me a voucher to either publish a book or give it away to my readers. Because I’m a two glasses half full kind of girl, I decided to do both!

This Christmas, I am giving away one unique Printed Combi-Edition of Girl Meets Yoga and the Law of Attraction Lecture NotesThis is pretty special because I only printed 20 copies of Girl Meets Yoga and the Law of Attraction Lecture Notes haven’t been printed at all. Talk about a snowflake of a book!

All you have to do is tell me why you want to win it in the comments. No sharing or tweeting or Facebooking required. I’ll pick a winner on the 28th of December to get you that beautifully printed book as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, I can only pick one reader for the printed version (it really is time to start becoming more of a big deal so I can give more stuff away), but I’ll give away the Law of Attraction Lecture Pack to the two runners up too. Just ’cause.

Hope you have a lovely Saturday and sending happy vibes your way, who knows! Maybe even in print next week!

Jul 162012
 

For those of you that are new here: On my 24th birthday, I published a free, very short and simple little thing called ‘Girl Meets Yoga’. If you want to read it, all you have to do is click here: It’s very easy to read in iBooks on iPads & iPhones, but since it’s .PDF I think it’s Kindle-friendly too!

Nowadays, whenever I have a little extra time (which is not that often, but still!) I write a little for the sequel of ‘Girl Meets Yoga’. The sequel will have a little more depth and it will be longer — since that’s what most of my readers requested. I’m writing more about what yoga is doing for me now, now that I’ve been doing it for a while, instead of what yoga has done for me while I was getting into it.

The excerpt below is basically how the book is built up: I may write about yoga, but it’s also about everything else. You can usually apply whatever you learn in a yoga class to lots of other areas in your life. Which is handy, I love a good multitask as you can read below. Enjoy!

“This may not seem very profound at first sight, but hey, Disney movies don’t seem profound either but they carry brilliance inside them. Remember that. So the thing is, in yoga class there is one posture where you have to bend your upper body over your lower body, to touch your forehead on your feet eventually.

Which in my case is still a million miles away from actually happening. Before yoga I was a runner, which means this posture is even harder for me. I usually spent the entire posture just trying not to bust a vein while pulling and stretching at the same time. You’re basically bent over yourself like a sheet of paper folded in half. It’s very tough on me: I usually can’t wait for it to be over the moment it started. .

And then all of a sudden, I’m in a class and my yoga teacher Isabella says: “Okay, now put a big smile on your face!” …Um, what now?

I’m upside down as it is, trying to keep my upper body against my legs while trying to stretch while trying to get my face further down my legs and now I was expected to smile to boot. There is only so much multitasking even a woman can handle.

But, obedient grasshopper that I am, I did it. Just the notion of me standing like that and smiling like an idiot made me smile like an even bigger idiot. And when I was genuinely smiling, the posture didn’t feel so hard anymore. I could hold on more easily and that really helped my alignment. What’s more, over time as Isabelle instructed us to put a big smile on our face whenever we did this posture, I actually started to like it. Had not seen that one coming!

Something crazy happens when you put a big smile on your face: Things become easier. I started putting a big smile on my face while experiencing a shitty writer’s block; it made the words flow more easily. I put on a big smile when thinking about other people. I started putting a big smile on my face while thinking of my problems*.

I could get into the whole neurochemistry thing that smiling triggers, but all you need to know is that a smile automatically releases neurotransmitters that make you feel good, or at least better. And feeling good helps absolutely everything in life. Not just in a yoga posture, but also when faced with a difficult client at work, going through a rough patch with your partner, a bad day or any type of other personal crisis.

I encourage you to try it. Think of a problem in your life and put a smile on your face. Whenever you feel down, consciously lift up the corners of your mouth and smile for a second. When you’re doing something hard at work, smile while you’re doing it. Try to maintain that smile as long as you can. It may lift you, help you.

…And even if it doesn’t, at least you’ll be camera-ready.

*most of them first world and nerd, but hey, even first world people & nerds have some genuine trouble in their lives.”  

Apr 212012
 

For anyone who’d like a hard copy of Girl Meets Yoga, I’m getting a few printed! It’s not really a big thing or anything, but if you like my writing maybe you’d like to have the first book in print. I’m still working out the specifics but this is what I do know:

  • I’ve corrected the last typos & weird spots. When I read it myself on my iPad I noticed some things I overlooked (as well as one helpful e-mail) so I improved the version for print.  It will be even easier to read!
  • It’s going to cost you about 10/11 euros, which includes shipping costs if you live in the Netherlands.
  • You can pay me through Paypal & the usual methods: I will figure the deal with Paypal out tomorrow.
  • If you want it to be 9 euros, come pick the book up yourself and have a cup of coffee with me. If you’re not creepy, I can be friendly.
  • I will sign it for you. Not because I think I’m a big deal, but because I think it’s nice to include a personal message.
  • It’s a limited offer: I’m placing the order on Saturday the 28th! It is going to be the only print version of my first book, ever.
  • So do you want a copy? E-mail me at info@theselfhelphipster.com to place your order!
Apr 182012
 

One thing’s for sure: I’m setting a pretty high standard for my upcoming birthdays from this point forward. ;)

I did it. First e-book at 24. I wanted it to be clean, to the point and simple; I’m very happy with how it turned out. I promise the next one will be a lot more colorful and vivid but for a first e-book I’m very content. So without further ado…Meet my baby: Girl Meets Yoga.

Now to be clear: Girl Meets Yoga is not a how-to-do-yoga book. Girl Meets Yoga is not a book catered specifically or only to people who practice yoga: It’s for everyone. If you like this website, the book is probably your thing too. Girl Meets Yoga tells you about the 24 things I’ve learnt from and during my yoga practice and how they might help you too. It’s about 10 000 words long.

Curious?! Go read it! ‘Girl Meets Yoga’ is available for download here.

If you have any problems with the downloading, please let me know so I can fix it as soon as possible. You should be able to save and view the .PFD file on any e-reader, iPad and computer.

Now…for the winners of the hard copies: Carline, Suusie Elien. Expect an e-mail soon, lovelies!

Pssst..If you’re bummed you didn’t win (aw!), you can send me an e-mail (info@theselfhelphipster.com) and we can talk about you getting a hard copy anyway. I’m putting in a hard copy order for anyone who wants to have my first book in print. If you want to join the party, let me know!

As for the rest of my 24th birthday, I’m doing two yoga classes in the morning, after that I’m doing another very, very exciting thing (!!!) and then I’m going to have celebratory cupcakes with Lin.

But mostly, I’ll be enjoying my 24th birthday, due to the fact my first e-book is read. By all you wonderful people. I really really hope you like it, but I really enjoyed writing it and just knowing there are people out there who’ve taken the effort to read my work makes me really happy. Thank you so much. I hope you enjoy it.

Let’s rock & roll, 24. I’m ready.

Apr 162012
 

… I can now do things physically I hadn’t even imagined two years ago. I mean, I get my leg up in the air and everything, it’s all very impressive, you don’t even know. Thing is, when you realize the things you always told yourself are impossible turn out not to be, that’s when the idea of impossible truly becomes obsolete.

And apparently I can get my body to do these previously impossible things. Cool. That must mean the mind is capable of achieving things I formerly labeled as impossible as well. I like that. Taking the idea of possible over impossible.

(…)

It’s so comforting to know that impossible things are very rare. A lot of things are frightening or intimidating, some are actually quite a stretch! But really impossible? Hardly ever the case.

(…)

Those ancient ideas about yourself, about your discipline, flexibility, endurance? So limiting. Let go of everything you believed before about your abilities, whether physically or mentally. Have you always thought you wouldn’t be able to touch your toes, do 100 push ups in a row, write more than 15 000 words on a single topic, go abroad by yourself, go scuba diving? Let it all go. You don’t have to think of these things as impossible. These things stop being impossible; they are added to the list of things you could do.

You don’t have to do them. I’m just saying that you could.