… the Naked Barista
Long overdue… this article… as I believe that I write to inspire… more than often myself than others…
We are all on a journey, whether we know it/believe it or not…
I have been doing yoga since the age of 38. I am now 51… and no, I still cannot pretzel… and after all these years, I am still trying ‘to flow graciously into a good peacock pose’.
But this is just it… we have so many expectations for ourselves! The spells of expectations we weave around ourselves and then get depressed as we believe that we, (or our circumstances) are not living up to it… we get sick… in our bodies… then we try and cure our bodily ailments when it is our minds that we need to start with.
I have, however, learned how to stand on my head for quite some time – not only a good party trick but seriously helping me to see situations better from a different ‘point of view’.
When I started yoga and why I started is quite the story…
My husband and I were very involved in church at that point and have been ever since we went to live in Sedgefield, which was the year 1996. We were actually facilitating self-improvement courses within our church… mostly because we were the ones in need of these courses.
And no, these courses definitely did not encourage me to start with yoga, in fact, quite the opposite – because of its Christian based content, it spoke 100% against it!
At that point, I was struggling very much with my health and were in fact told by more than one doctor that I needed an operation – again – to remove painful growths.
Since the age of 19, I have had confirmation of these growths around the area of my womb. At age 19, I was admitted to hospital with severe pain and a sonar confirmed a tiny growth. I must admit that at that time I was too scared to have an operation and after some hospital time and pain medication, I signed myself out and hightailed out of the hospital as fast as I could.
After that episode, over the years, I suffered from pain more often than not but relied on self-medication. It really did not help that I have always been very cautious of trusting doctors opinions.
I have observed that most of the human race are a lot like sheep when it comes to medicine and being diagnosed by a doctor. The reason for this is how we are raised in this belief that the doctor is always right and we are not taught to think for ourselves. Our education for the most part and for most of us is to follow and not to think.
Yes, off course there are good doctors, but there are definitely more not so good doctors and over the years I have seen a few.
For me, it is still not a normal concept to put a knife to our sacred bodies. Don’t get me wrong… sometimes it is definitely necessary, but I have come to believe that more often than not our ailments come from our lifestyles, our beliefs and what we tell ourselves!
Medicine is a huge industry (a business therefore and a very profitable one at that and doctors are human enough to find opportunities to capitalize from this). In saying this, doctors are not really to blame, if we buy into this very profitable business. No, we are ultimately the only ones to blame if we just ‘accept a diagnose of a disease’.
I have a recording on my phone made 8 July 2015 – a conversation/contract with myself which states:
“I promise to accept myself, I am going to recognize my own needs, define what is most important and have gratitude for my health and all that is good in my life. I am going to live more in the present. I am letting go of my feelings of guilt when I am resting and learn to rest even more. I do not want to live against myself but in harmony and peace with myself. To do this I have to find that which makes me happy and do more of this to gain more happiness.
Even after that promise to myself nearly five years ago, I am still striving to keep up with it… and I believe this is why the lesson circled again and whispered even louder…
So… now, I firmly believe that we should accept responsibility for ourselves… as I decided to do when I became really ill a year later, in 2016. (hit on the blue link to read more of my illness)
For me, it was a wake-up call just as dis-ease is supposed to be. The word dis-ease really describes being sick… dis-ease… meaning we are not at ease.
This is where yoga comes into play… mind, body and soul needs to be in harmony!
Also, I have made it my mission in life to get well and be well… but first, we have to get to a point where we believe that this is even possible. Whatever we choose to believe, becomes true for us. This sounds really easy, but, believe me, it will be the most difficult part of your journey to a healthy and happy life.
As I have mentioned, most of us have not been taught to think for ourselves and to believe that we are the architect of our own lives.
We absolutely create our own reality. These are definitely not school subjects and I believe this is the direct cause of lives spinning out of control. We are taught what to become to make money (which is after all only a tool), but we are not taught how to apply/use this ‘tool’ with gratitude.
I believe that gratitude begets more gratitude, which applied means that being grateful for money or rather what it can do for us will beget more money or what it can buy. It is as simple as that!
One of my best inspirations in this quest is the teachings of Louise Hay.
I recently watched her movie and it is well worth watching…
Louise Hay brainwashed herself when she decided that she needed change in her life. She did this with affirmations. One of my favourites is:
“I lovingly forgive and release everything in my past. I choose to fill my life with joy… I love and accept myself.”
Whatever we believe, we can achieve…
After many a lesson with teachers like Louise Hay, Oprah, Helen Keller (a blind woman) and other extra-ordinaries, I have come to the conclusion that so many years ago, I was led to yoga…
Let’s begin right at the beginning… examining my entering into this world…
I was born with asthma. When I came along, my mother did not want children anymore as she had many a miscarriage before having me. She had also carried to term and birthed a baby boy who sadly died after living for a day. One can only imagine that nobody would want to chance going through such a sad loss again…
… alas, there I was… the best swimmer, asthma and all…
I have researched and believe that my asthma actually stems from the fact that I knew even as a fetus in the womb that I was unwanted.
My lungs frequently left me in a bind from day one as research shows that children with asthma experience daily emotional roller coasters in their home environment…
… for me this makes a whole lot of sense only now looking back… as my Mom definitely did not want a baby anymore and that made my Dad my primal caregiver… which would not have been that bad, save for the fact that my Dad was an alcoholic.
… and the penny drops…
Research has found that children with asthma who blamed themselves for family disturbances were at increased risk of asthma attacks… and believe me, we had some ‘disturbances’. I had asthma nearly every day and mostly at night. My parents had their hands full as they raced me to the Rooikruis Children’s Hospital more often than not.
Research has also shown that it is not simply conflict or arguments that trigger attacks, but rather an “over-reaction, self-blaming” response in the child that can increase risk.
I am an only child… luckily, but this only made me feel more isolated and even more aware of the feeling that I was to blame for our dysfunctional family.
Louise Hay explains that the emotional cause of asthma is suppressed crying or feeling stifled…
Superblessed am I to have ‘journeyed’ through and past all of that… and now… with so much gratitude.
So… getting back to the topic…
… yoga and what it means to me…
When I went to my first class at age 38, I seriously went with the fear of God… this because of the Christian courses that we facilitated which warned 100% against such practice.
I remember sitting on the mat and praying that if I were doing something wrong, the good lord would give me a sign and I would just as soon get up and leave!
I also clearly remember the fact that I did not want to go for an operation… again… and somewhere I had heard that yoga was good practice for the healing of self…
Needless to say… I am so happy I stayed and after all these years I am filled with gratitude as I am healthy without having needed another operation and fully capable of breathing… yes… no asthma!
Yoga benefits the mind, body and spirit. Yoga will help tone your body but while it’s doing that, it also helps you to be truly in the present moment and infuses your spirit and mind with positive energy.
According to prevalent data, walking for 1-hour burns around 242 calories. One hour of power yoga, on the other hand, burns 340 calories.
Undoubtedly, yoga is a better option than walking when it comes to weight management and diabetes control. Scientific data reveals that yoga is a better mood elevator than walking. (I have been a serious speed walker over the years and it is absolutely awesome too.)
If you love to gym, just add a yoga class after. This will stretch the muscles that have just worked, which lessens worked muscle pain. Best to do the bodybuilding part first, as bodybuilding will help build the muscles to hold your postures even better in yoga!
The very best time to practice yoga is first thing in the morning before breakfast. Upon waking, empty the bowels, then commence the day with your regime of yoga practices. The second most conducive time is early evening, around sunset or any other time convenient for you.
Yoga builds muscle strength. Strong muscles do more than looking good. They also protect us from conditions like arthritis and back pain and help prevent falls in elderly people. And when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility.
Yoga can also lower blood pressure and reduce insomnia.
The researchers found that yoga outperformed aerobic exercise at improving balance, flexibility, strength, pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms, daily energy level, and social and occupation functioning, among other health parameters. Yoga most definitely does more than calm you down and make you flexible.
Workout fads come and go, but virtually no other exercise program is as enduring as yoga. It’s been around for more than 5,000 years. Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.
“Regular yoga practise can influence weight loss, but not in the “traditional” sense of how we link physical activity to weight loss. Many yoga practices burn fewer calories than traditional exercise (e.g., jogging, brisk walking); however, yoga can increase one’s mindfulness and the way one relates to their body.
You don’t have to practice Hot Yoga or be able to bend double in a yoga pose to lose weight. An everyday gentle yoga practise will fuel the metabolic system and will help burn fat, leading to weight loss. Daily yoga can also help restore the hormonal balance in your body, which can normalize your body weight.
Yoga postures, or asanas, work muscles in two ways. The muscles doing the work get stronger by moving through a range of motion while supporting the weight of the body. Other poses, such as trikonasana — triangle pose — strengthen muscles by engaging them for balance and support.
With all these advantages, I would love to inspire you to give yoga a chance at any age and see what I am on about; as with Yoga:
I have learned to breathe down to my core. What a pleasure after all my challenges with asthma and my other health issues.
My ‘mat’ time is ‘my me’ time. Especially when we are on the road, it is so easy to access any program or class that suit you on ‘youtube’.
There is a false belief that if we enter into yoga practice, we will accept a different religion. After all these years, I can safely vouch that this is total ‘hogwash’. I have done a full variety of yoga practices over the years and I have not converted into a religion. Some words are different, but the meaning it conveys is absolutely beautiful, but only if we take the time to find out, before again just buying into a belief.
Namaste for me is one of the most honourable greetings and humbly means: “I bow to the divine in you” or “the sacred in me recognizes the sacred in you”.
We do travel a lot, but when I am home, I am superblessed to have the best Yoga teacher. Not only is Katja, at Pure Yoga, the best teacher I have ever had with the most beautiful studio in Sedgefield, but I am privileged to now have her as my daughter as well as she recently married my son, Juan.
PS: Recently… I am concentrated on Kundulini yoga and this have helped me deal with the symptoms of Menopause. I have learned to breathe even better and I feel so much stronger. I am also very excited as my husband and myself are witnessing some physical changes to my body as well. (wink)
… Superblessed with Yoga for life…
… I love my life…