Mountain Yoga!

Mountain Yoga!

mercredi 18 novembre 2015

Peace & Love - where did we go wrong post the 60's

Woodstock & the time of peace & love…..

I grew up with parents who had thrived in the sixties. My Mother desperately wanted to join the ranks of those at Woodstock not in a incense burning flower power way but in a folk singing, fighting for what you believe in, lets make society fare kind of vibe. She played Carol Carpenter, Joan Baez, Muddy Waters, Bob Dylan. The first album I knew pretty much all the words to was Hair! Yes ladies and gentlemen at 3 years old I could recite most of the words from Masturbation! My parents firmly believed in equality, working hard for your money, being generous when and where you can, sharing, giving out love and compassion, being part of a community. Amazing values to have as your rock and foundation. They still have these values. I still share them.

Is this why I have taken the yoga path? No I don't think so. My parents are also firm believers in what you see if what you get. They are not religious, they are not believers, they do not go to church or worship God. I do and always have bizarrely. They never understood this, they actually made fun of me (it creates a thick skin for later in life) and always worried I would end up in a sect or as a nun! Even recently when I told them I had met someone special and told Mum his name is Jésus she chuckled and said oooh let me tell your Father! She promptly went down and told my Father "I had found Jesus" - he did not reply at first so my Mum repeated that I had found Jesus and he simply said "Bloody barking mad!" I am still a Christian but I am increasingly disheartened by how people are using religion. Not just the Muslims (and please understand this is not a generalisation of the Muslim faith and followers) but Christians and Jews too. I don't understand why we should point fingers and differentiate ourselves from each other. We are all human beings, we are all equal, water has no colour, neither do tears….. a smile and a cry of pain are the same in any language and culture. 

My yoga path began at first for my physical journey - to rid myself of self-lothing and get myself on a path of love and self-acceptance. But it quickly became a spiritual journey one that only goes to encourage and develop more love, more compassion, more acceptance. After the recent events in Paris - and elsewhere - I posted this on facebook.
Years ago I went to a play with my Mother in Stratford Upon Avon. It was during the Falklands war and Margaret Thatcher was in power. An Argentine and an English woman were on the stage each one recounting their story of their sons at war with one another. Each Mother shared the same anguish, pain, sadness at the violence their sons were facing as they thought of eachother, Mothers crying the same tears, one in Argentina, one in Britain. Several right-wing journalists walked out during this scene - they were so sure that their cause, the British cause, for fighting was the right one. The two women stopped as the journalists walked out along the wooden seated areas in the Swan Theatre then continued their scene recounting their stories either side of the world - they were the same.
I am a mother of two dual nationality children, I have a Venezuelan boyfriend, I have chosen to live in this beautiful country and call France my home, I embrace all cultures, beliefs, colours….
I grieve the deaths of Friday and the deaths of many other people on many other days in many countries. I will not change my portrait photo to blue, red and white despite the fact that these are the same colours for my country of origin and that of France because my tears have no colour and my sadness knows no flag of origin. 
I pray for peace, I pray for love, I pray for union…
Like my parents before me I believe in love, I believe in compassion, I believe also in fighting for freedom, for the education and equal rights for women & men and beautiful free passage of my daughters future, I believe we should nurture our planet, our souls, our friends and family. I believe our hearts should beat with a little more love and that we should share that love wherever we can. All you need is love as John Lennon said….. some of the messages from Woodstock and that whole era should be put into place now…. why are we still fighting, why are we still trying yellow ribbons around trees, leaving flowers and candles where blood was shed, sending our citizens to war! why?????

I pray that my children and my childrens' children will see a better future one of openess, compassion and peace. One that embraces the peaceful and beautiful messages of each religion, one that leaves beautiful music behind and the spiral a little wider.
Hari Om Tat Sat

mardi 1 septembre 2015

Body Confident

Body Confident - not an easy task! 

I used to associate being happy with having the perfect slim body but like many I did not fit into that mould. I was a large baby, child & teenager with a large mouth to boot! Being happy and confident with my body has not been an easy path. In fact it has been a veritable journey that really only started to find its “confident” conclusion very recently. As I have mentioned before in my blog text from ballet dancer (in my dreams) to Yogini my path to find my femininity has not been an easy one. It has been long, littered with pit falls, unhappy times and no confidence at all in my body.

As a rather large child and then teenager I battled with a body I hated. It was fat, did not look at all like I wanted or like my friends, my hair was frizzy, I had spots from the age of 10, sticky out teeth and later a brace, I felt clumsy & all together not me! As I reached my late teens and early twenties I went through phases of starving myself, binge eating, consoling myself in bottles of wine, feeling guilty so over exercising, depriving myself of all and everything, then going for it big time!  All the time I remained happy and outwardly sure of myself whilst inwardly I was crying huge tears and self-hatred.  My biggest fear was the Summer when bikinis and bathing costumes came out. OMG how would I cope with that. I was so self-conscious it was painful to bring myself to go into the sea or pool in a swimsuit and a bikini seemed like an impossibility !

I remember sitting with a friend watching women walk past and we both said almost in syncronised form “well they can’t have any issues in their life as they are slim” as if the thinness of your body constituted the level of happiness in your life. However I remained this outwardly very assured person extremely happy with herself. No-one knew how desperately un self-assured I was!

As was going through a particularly bad patch personally – this time choosing to not eat and drink lakes of wine each night a friend introduced me to yoga. I have talked about how I found yoga before – the biggest gift yoga has given me though over the years in a inner confidence in myself that I would never have had. The body, breath & mind control, the physical postures & the mental release of meditation have along the years built a stepping stone path towards an inner and as such an outer confidence. I have learnt acceptance, I have learnt to love what I hated and bizarrely & amazingly I have lost weight & built up tone because I am happier and confident about who I am and how I live. Yes I look after what I eat but not excessively. I love food, I love my glasses of red wine, I love dark chocolate & a beautiful tarte au citron or croissant. I don’t believe in depriving myself if it makes me unhappy & I do believe that my state of mind has a huge effect on my body.

This Summer I have spent a lot of time on beaches & lakes and in yes bikinis! At the end of the Summer I spent a couple of days on l’Ile de Ré in France and for the first time in my life practiced yoga in a bikini on the beach and allowed a friend to photograph me doing this! I felt strong, confident and sure of myself & my own capabilities. I felt free of anxieties that have haunted me throughout my childhood & early adult life.

Do I still have physical faults! Crikey of course! I large vein that crawls up my leg, boobs that have seen slightly better days, skin that is starting to show the inevitably signs of age. Does this bother me? No – the vein is due to my two beautiful girls – my best achievement ever! – my breasts too & my skin shows life’s path, a map of all the experiences I have been through in my 45 years on this planet.
The body confidence workshop is a means of sharing this inner confidence I have nurtured over the past few years through this incredible practice we call yoga! 

Behind every picture is a story - so this one of me bikini clad in a yoga pose on a beach is a mark of achievement not for the exterior - although I am proud of my strong and healthy body - but for the strength within that this yoga journey has provided me with! The postures, the breath, the energy of the group & hopefully from me all constitute and your positive intention seed all go towards this shared experience of confidence & pride in who you are because YOU ARE AMAZING!

Etre heureuse & avoir confiance dans mon corps n’a pas été un chemin facile pour moi – en fait il a plutôt été un  véritable voyage qui n’a trouvé son confiance que depuis peu!

Comme j’ai mentionné avant dans mon blog from balletdancer (in my dreams) to Yogini mon chemin vers mon corps de femme était très difficile. Il a été long, parsemé de trous, des périodes très malheureuses sans confiance de tout dans mon corps.

Comme enfant ensuite adolescente un peu “large” j’ai bataillé avec un corps que je detestait.  Il était gros, ne me ressemblait pas, je ne ressemblait pas à mes amis, mes cheveux frissés, mes dents sortaient devant puis étaient contenues par  un appareil dentaire très vilain, j’avais des boutons, je me sentais maladroite et mal à l’aise! Vers la fin de mon adolescence et meme plus tard j’ai passé des phases de privation de nourriture puis de manger trop, de me consoler dans les bouteilles de vin puis coupable de trop d’exercise, deprivation puis surcharge! Et tout le temps je donnais l’impression d’être bien extérieurement pendant que les larmes énormes coulaient à l’intérieur. Ma plus grosse peur c’était l’été quand il fallait se mettre en maillot. OMG comment j’allais faire. Maillot une pièce me remplissait avec un froid pas possible et un bikini juste hors de question! J’étais tellement consciente de mon corps je mettais mes bras toujours autour de moi – allais dans l’eau c’était un véritable cauchemare!

Je me rappelle bien avec une copine on regardait les femmes passaient devant nous et en harmonie on disait “ ells n’ont pas de soucis de leurs vies car ells sont minces!” comme si on associe le Bonheur avec les forms de notre corps! Par contre malgré ses convictions et peurs de mon corps je donnais toujours l’impression d’être sure de moi, heureuse, the life & soul de chaque fête.  Personne savait comment j’étais malheureuse à la maison derrière mes portes.

Je traversais une période pas de tout sympa dans ma vie perso – cette fois ci j’ai choisi de ne pas manger par contre boire des litres de vin rouge m’allais bien – et une copine m’a amené à mon premier cours de yoga. J’ai déjà parlé de ces premiers pas de yoga mais le cadeau le plus énorme que le yoga m’a accordé c’est la confiance intérieure que j’ai pu cultivar au fil des ans. Le control de corps, de soufflé, de mental, les postures physiques & le relâchement mental des méditations vers une confiance intérieure extraordinaire. J’ai appris comment accepter mes fautes, j’ai appris à m’aimer, à aimer ce que je détestait et bizarrement j’ai perdu du poids, mon corps à répondu de façon inattendu à mes efforts mentaux. Oui ok je fais du sport, je regarde ce que je mange mais pas excessivement. J’adore mon vin rouge, mon chocolat noir, une bonne Tarte au citron et des croissants le matin avec un bon café.  Je ne crois pas que me depriver de ce que j’aime me rend à la fin heureuse. Et je crois profondément que mon état mental a un effet énorme sur mon corps.

Cet été j’ai passé beaucoup du temps sur les plages et les lacs et oui en bikini! A la fin de cet été sur les plages de l’ile de ré j’ai fait pour la première fois une séance de yoga en bikini et en plus j’ai laissé un ami me prendre en photo lors de cette séance. Je me sentais forte, libre de mes angoisses d’avant, sure de mes capacités. Est-ce que j’ai toujours de défauts! Mais évidemment. Un énorme veine qui grimpe ma jambe, les seins qui ont vus les journées meilleures, la peau qui commence à montrer les signes de vieillesse. Est-ce que cela me dérange? Non! Veines et seins sont grace à mes deux filles que j’adore – my best achievement to date! – et la peau est une carte de toutes mes experiences de mes 45 ans sur cette planète. 

Cet atelier de Body Confident est une façon de partager cette confiance intérieure que j’ai cultivé des fondations de unhappiness et non confiance. Derrière chaque photo est une histoire alors celle de moi ici en bikini chien tête en haut sur une plage est la marque que j'ai battu mais démons pas pour l'extérieur même si je suis fière de mon corps fort et en bonne santé mais pour toute la force intérieur que mon voyage de yoga m'a fourni. La “confidence” j’ai actuellement est grace entièrement à cette belle pratique qu’on appellee le yoga. Les postures, la respiration, l’énergie du groupe et espérant de moi aussi, plus votre intention de positivité nous amène vers une séance de confiance en soi et de partage.  

Je donne des ateliers sur ce thème de Body Confidence de temps en temps sur Paris et aux festivals de yoga. Restez en contacte via ce blog ou écrivez-moi et je vous rajoute à mon mailing :

Venez, prenez soins de votre intérieur, take pride dans vous parce que YOU ARE AMAZING!

lundi 18 mai 2015

Yoga For Peace on the DDay Beaches

D-Day Landings & Yoga Vibes

I have just returned from an amazing weekend in Normandy where I had the honour to be a part of the Normandy Beach Yoga festival celebrating peace and union in a part of the world the has been witness, sufferer and survivor of the second world war.

I was struck by the beauty of the beaches, the space and massive horizon and how each and every day the sandy beaches are wiped clean of all traces of human activity. The conflict and blood-shed of all those years ago disappeared into the sea with the never ending tides…. But the memories still live on.

Photo by Isabelle Nègre

The town of Courseulles where the beautiful Juno beach sits is in many ways a monument now to this war time period of our history. The Juno Beach Centre – a brilliant Canadian funded and created musuem – a fabulous place to go and experience all that the war did, meant and should lead to now – is nestled along the sea front just next to Courseulles. 

Both the town and the centre are looking forward to a future of wellness, peace and harmony for all. There is a definite desire to move on, not to forget but to move forwards with an attitude of positivity. The past events in this part of the world have for many years dominated their lives and even their tourist industry. Is it not time to use the lessons from the past and move into a differet phase ?

I would say a resounding yes but it is not always a message well received by local residents and town councils. Their modern vision seems to focus on the business side (as ever) of things – Macdonalds has just this year opened in Courseulles to big local applause ! – and the desire to still live from the past continuing to blast out the pomp and ceremony of the military. But the town of Courseulles has also just added to their title bien-être (wellbeing)…

Caroline decided two years ago to launch the initiative of the Normandy Beach Yoga – a gathering of yogis on the D Day Beaches who practice, breath and believe in a peaceful future as one. A moment of union, no conflict, harmony where there is no difference in religion, size, nationality, language. Where we greet each other as Mac or Alice or Rachid or Pascale without any other thought as to our beliefs and political tendances. Just people all doing the same thing – surviving, living !
Life is an incredibly precious gift and should be cherished – those souls who threw themselves bravely, naively into battle paid the ultimate price. We should not forgot them but we should also not dwell on the past and let the samskaras of such a hard and bitter era colour the future unless of course its full of positive harmonious future.

As I lead a meditation on Juno Beach on 9th May and encouraged all to root into the sands and send energetic strands of peace into the earth I felt the peace and positive energy of their bodies, minds and souls. The waves and wind were our friends, the early morning sun beat down onto us and a strange thing happened. We started our meditation a small group and by the end of the meditation when we opened our eyes we had tripled in number. Literally. It was such a beautiful moment.

We all chose a stone to take with us to write our seed intention of peace on it so that the sands and soil of Juno and its blood-ridden path may start to grow different strands of energy. 

Those of joy, life, love and peace.

I close with this beautiful statement I once read « if a cry is the same in any language so is a smile »

Hari Om Tat Sat

mardi 17 mars 2015

Seeing yourself on TV -its a strange thing especially in HD

Seeing yourself on TV -its a strange thing especially in HD

You know when you have come a long way when a TV programme calls you and asks you to go on and talk about your past. What did you do, why did you stop, how are you now…

Its a strange thing to go over your past and look at photos of yourself as you were before and then as you are now. Its been pretty therapeutic actually turning a amazing chapter in my life with Christian and  now moving on….

And a radio station too wished to talk about my life and how I have gone over various challenges asking where I come from, what my key dates are, what do I feel is the meaning of life ...

And its tied in with Springtime and a massive flu illness as if my body is getting rid of past issues not in a bad way but in a good tying up loose ends and leaving as they say in Mutant Message the spiral a little bigger and music behind me (well I hope so anyway).

So I am embracing all life's challenges and the Springtime glory and am going for it!!!!

here is a clip from the TV show Toute Une Histoire when I am telling the presenter what happened to my body…. and here is another one when the psychologist rips me to shreds


mercredi 28 janvier 2015

Its the New Year…. and its almost February…
Have I caught up after the festive season have I hell!!!

It has just been so busy but such fun to start the year with so many things going on.
In brief..

Yoga Classes - à fond!
The girls…. working hard at school although Clémentine's dictée leaves something to be desired and Mélodie was doing so well at guitar and skiing but has now fractured her wrist grrrr
Trips to Paris - one VERY hectic one
Two Yoga Festivals - yep check under way
Skiing season underway and yes the legs have had a good few outings now
Running - back on track and a half marathon and trail race planned for later this year
My Yoga Practice - trying to fit it in…
Princesse the car starting to fight her cornet with the massive male cats around
Yoga Retreats organised for 2015 - yes 6 of them
Yoga Retreats for me booked - zero (need to sort that one!)
Desnowing the drive - check
Taxi driver skills getting very good
Addiction to Netflix series yep on it! (Luther, Orange is the New Black, Modern Family & Broadchurch under wraps!)
Holiday to Canada, South of France x2 & ….. yes!
Sleep lacking
New man found …. check :)

oooff 2015 has started in fine form!