You are not fragile

Believe in the power of your body

Have you ever heard the term ‘anti-fragility’?

This is a concept describing things that can adapt positively to stress.

And, you guessed it, our bodies are ‘anti-fragile’!

There are many factors that contribute to how robust or fragile we feel. These can be physical, mental and social.

In this short little blog I’ll explain how we can re-gain confidence in our body, even if you have, at times, lost it.

 

We’re not a car engine…

Think about a car engine. You might not describe that as fragile either! However, it is brittle. With more and more use it slowly wears down, bits chip off, its metal slowly loses tensile strength.

It might be super strong to begin with, but constant use does, eventually, lead to it needing to be replaced.

Another example is a piece of pottery. This is much more obviously fragile. Once broken, it needs to be glued together, and will never be as strong as it originally was.

Our bodies are NOT like a car engine or a piece of pottery!

We are made of living tissues, so our body is constantly re-modelling itself. Yes, this re-modelling process does slow down a bit with age, but it is STILL happening!

So, unlike an engine or piece of pottery, when our tissues get a little bit damaged, our body gets to work, repairing itself.

 

Stress can be positive!

Stress gets a bad rap. That’s because we only associate it with being stressed-out mentally.

However, any use of the body exerts a physical stress on our muscles and bones (and all other tissues of the body).

Exercise is therefore a ‘stress’ to the body. But it is a positive stress! The more intense the exercise the more stress it generates. At extreme levels this stress can, of course, become not-so-good. Although if you build up to it, the body can take a huge amount of stress!

The ‘good’ stress that exercise puts on our bodies does actually cause micro-damage to our muscles and bones. This is what happens when you get a muscle-ache. However, this sends useful signals to our body that go something like this:

“Hey body, I can see you are being used for some strenuous movement. Just in case it’s going to happen again, I think you’d better re-pair this little bit of damage and make it stronger for next time!”

And then that’s exactly what happens. Your muscle cells get repaired and made a little bigger and stronger. Your bones get repaired and made a little denser. This is why ‘weight-baring’ activity is advised for anyone prone to osteoporosis (bones becoming less dense).

Ooooobviously, exercise-stress needs to be increased in small(ish) steps. That’s why people need to train for a marathon! Doing a marathon without training would be too much stress. But running one after the correct training regime is juuuust about within the ‘ok’ range of stress.

So, be sensible! (Is all I’m saying.)

 

‘Comfort’ isn’t always your friend…

When there is a LACK of stress (if you’d sit down or lie in bed all day), that ALSO sends a message to the body. That would sound something like this:

“Hey body, I don’t think these muscles and bones are being used for anything important. Why don’t you stop wasting precious resources and stop maintaining their size and strength. It won’t matter that they’ll get weaker, you seem to be sitting down all day anyway.”

That might make you feel a bit shocked. But it’s true! And that’s why a sedentary lifestyle is not good for anyone.

Buuuuuut, let’s stay positive here…

The body is AMAZING!

It will adapt and become STRONGER when you do difficult things with your muscles and bones.

 

Language matters

The language we use around our bodies also matters in how we feel and act. This is relevant for how others talk to us, and ALSO how we talk to ourselves (self-talk).

It has been shown in research that there is a powerful thing called a ‘no-cebo’ effect. This is the opposite of placebo.

We all know that a placebo effect is something positive that happens from taking a ‘fake’ medicine (or other treatment or behaviour). It happens purely by the power of our positive thinking about the value of what we’re being given or made to do.

Well, the same is true in reverse.

A no-cebo effect happens when we believe something will have a harmful effect on us (even if it usually doesn’t), and then by the power of these thoughts we actually see this harmful effect.

For example, we might experience actual pain from exercise movements if we’re told these movements are dangerous or if we’re told our bodies are weak and prone to injury. We might feel actual symptoms of being ill if we’ve been told by someone with a white coat that we have a serious illness.

So, I’m very conscious of using positive language about everyone bodies when I teach a yoga class. I’m always mindful of reminding my students that they body is strong and capable (as they may not believe it themselves).

 

What about you?

Have you underestimated your body so far?

Does knowing your amazing ability to adapt to stress help you feel that exciting, active pursuits are within reach for you?

I hope so.

I hope that this mini blog makes you feel a sense of positivity about your body. With regular practice and your body’s capacity to adapt, there is almost no physical pursuit that is out of reach!

Yoga homework!

This week, I invite you to do a difficult workout. Whether that’s a run, lifting some weights, a yoga session or anything else.

Obviously, stay within a range that pushes you without being a ridiculous leap.

(Just be sensible)

But try to do something that will give you a muscle ache. And when you feel that 1 or 2 days later, think of it as a positive message to your body, and visualise those muscles getting re-built stronger for next time.

 

Ps. Also do one of my yoga classes… 😉

(The strength theme will be great for this yogi-assignment!)

I hope you enjoyed this mini blog. 🤓

Please share your views in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


There is NO perfect pose

Yoga Poses look different on everyone

 

Have you ever found yourself thinking…

“If I do yoga at home, I won’t know whether I’m doing it right!”

“My body can’t make those shapes!”

“I will BREAK if I attempt that pose!”

I completely understand why many of us feel this way. We feel the need to achieve some external standard of ‘yoga shapes’ because that’s what we think yoga is!

The sad thing is that many people NEVER start yoga, because they feel that the poses are just too far out of reach. 😔

This feeling is created by the achievement mindset that is ALL around us, as well as the many images and videos of advanced yoga poses on social media!

However, I’ve got some good news for you…

There is NO perfect pose.

Yoga poses (Asanas) look different on everyone. And yoga is not about what the poses LOOK like anyway!!

It’s about what the poses DO for the individual.

 

Scared of doing it ‘incorrectly’

I often hear people say that they worried about doing the poses ‘incorrectly’ if they are not with a teacher. This stops them trying yoga at home.

There is some logic in this, however it’s not the whole truth.

Yes, if you’re attempting very advanced yoga poses at home, without the necessary preparation in flexibility, strength and awareness, this could cause issues. Think Head-Stand, Lotus pose and Leg Behind the Head pose.

(These are poses I don’t recommend for yoga beginners).

However…. That is NOT what most home-yogis do! And most recorded yoga classes don’t go into these poses either!

 

Getting in-tune with YOUR body

For the VAST majority of yoga poses, there is absolutely no risk in doing the poses a little differently. Our bodies are strong and adaptable (even for those that don’t think so!)

You just have to stay aware of how your body is feeling, and don’t force things that feel wrong. (This is general common sense that applies to everything in life!)

We actually get more in-tune with ourselves, when we experiment with how OUR body feels in a yoga pose. It might be that moving the arms in a particular way gives YOU a better sensation of stretching somewhere (regardless of whether you’re imitating the ‘picture’ of the pose).

So what I say to those who feel afraid to start yoga at home is:

“Stay mindful of how your body feels”.

“The shape of the pose doesn’t matter. What matters is the FEELING it creates in YOUR body”.

 

Should I follow instructions?

In a yoga class, or recorded video, you’ll often hear instructions such as ‘bend the knee deeply’, ‘broaden the collarbones’, ‘twist from the belly’… etc.

These are all TIPS to help you, the student, make little adjustments to your body’s position in order to find a satisfying position for YOU.

When it come to these ‘instructions’ – you can take them or leave them!

The important this is how things feel for YOU, and not to worry if that means making a different shape compared with your yoga teacher!

As a yoga teacher, I actually LOVE seeing when students clearly are thinking and moving for themselves, and moving in a way that suits their bodies.

 

The JOY of home yoga

I learned yoga at home from books and apps. Yes, I did go to classes now and then, but it was never regular.

What I LOVE from practicing in my own space is that I can make it my OWN.

Even if you’re following a recorded class (hint, hint… I have many! 😉), you can choose to skip a pose, or replace it with something that feels better in the moment.

(You can choose to do that in a group class too! But it can feel more uncomfortable to be ‘different’ from the group).

So, I HIGHLY recommend a home yoga practice! For yoga beginners and for those with an established practice.

And I also recommend to leave ‘perfection’ OFF the mat!

Yoga Homework!

I invite you to do a yoga practice at home, and reeeeeally make it your own.

In every pose, be aware of where YOU feel it stretching/strengthening.

Is there a stretch that you want more of? Then move a little differently to try and deepen that stretch.

It is YOUR practice!

(Ps. If you’d like to follow a recorded class, check out my online library!

Scroll down to access my free classes.)

I hope you enjoyed this mini blog. 🤓

I’d love to hear your views in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


Say NO to your brain

Your brain wants to stay comfortable…

 

Our brains are wired to keep us comfortable.

You might think “is that such a bad thing? I like being comfortable”.

But to always stay comfortable (in the short term) would mean…

  • Lie-ins every day till 11:00
  • Never exercising
  • Eating almost constantly
  • Never doing something scary like public speaking
  • Never making new friends
  • Never starting that exciting business idea
  • Basically, never going out of your comfort zone!

And, you guessed it, that would lead to a host of outcomes that would make you LESS happy and also less comfortable in the long run!

(Such as having very low fitness, an unhealthy weight, a lack of/a boring social life, un-fulfilled dreams and passions… etc.)

Do those sound as enticing as lazy lie-ins every day?

 

Your brain doesn’t help you…

So, while your brain might automatically choose short-term comfort (and short-term happiness), it doesn’t automatically choose the behaviours that lead to longer-term happiness and comfort!

For example, your brain wouldn’t naturally lead you to:

  • Engage in strenuous exercise
  • Fore-go the sweet treat after a meal
  • Take a deep-dive into your crazy business idea
  • (Basically all opposite scenarios to the list above!)

Yet, these actions, while feeling uncomfortable at the time, will lead to medium- to long-term GAINS in comfort in the physical sense (a fit and healthy body) and the mental sense (a sense of achievement and happiness).

 

Choosing the dis-comfort

Once you understand that your brain’s automatic choices are often NOT in your mid- to long-term best interest, then you can start to say: “NO” to your brain.

To choose the best options for your mid- to long-term health and happiness, you usually have to get comfortable with a little dis-comfort.

For example, going for a run (or other exercise) can be uncomfortable physically, but gives you cardio-vascular and bone strength benefits later on.

 

Your brain’s resistance to yoga

This is where yoga comes in.

Yoga is, indeed, a little uncomfortable! (Raise your hands if you agree…)

Of course this applies mostly to the yoga styles that involve deep stretching and challenging strengthening poses.

Many people want to gain flexibility, good posture and strength from a yoga practice. Others aim to avoid the aches and pains of general ageing. These are all valid mid- to long-term goals which all require a little discomfort in the moment!

A more traditional aim of yoga is to put your body in somewhat uncomfortable/challenging positions, in order to train your mind to stay calm through deep and intentional breathing. This gives you the skill of staying calm in the face of discomfort – which will help you in so many other situations in life.

If you are new to yoga, your brain will probably have a resistance towards practising it. Your brain will not like the idea of getting a bit uncomfortable, or getting up early on a Sunday, or skipping the 3 glasses of wine on Friday or Saturday evening.

BUT if you listen to it – you will NEVER gain all those amazing goals listed above!

 

Examples in my life

Dark chocolate! (I have a real problem…)

It’s very easy for me to crunch through several squares after lunch and dinner, without really paying attention to it. This gives me a short momentary burst of pleasure, but how does this serve me in the long run?

 

My yoga practice when my toddler naps.

After a long morning of toddler entertainment, finding the motivation to do yoga while Ashley naps is hard. I would just looooove to sit and scroll my phone, or also have a nap, rather than do my yoga practice.

It takes a monumental effort, and stern words against my brains immediate desire for vegetating on the sofa, to get on my mat.

But doing a yoga practice 4 days a week consistently has resulted in much more physical and mental benefit, than chilling and phone scrolling would have given me!

 

What about YOUR brain?

Can you think of a scenario where you feel pulled soooooo strongly to the short term comfort? But you know, in your heat of hearts, that in the longer term, you’d benefit more from doing something else?

If you are a Bendywife Yoga member, perhaps your brain is stopping you coming along to my Sunday morning LIVE class from 8-9am….

  • Your brain would rather enjoy the extra hour in bed…
  • Your brain would rather enjoy an extra glass of wine on Saturday…

(no judgement!)

But, ask yourself: In 4 weeks time, what would benefit you more? 4 hours of yoga, or 4-glasses of wine and 4 lie-ins?

Maybe it’s time to CHOOSE to say NO to your brain! 😉

 

Credit where it’s due!

This mini blog was inspired by Nicky Bevan, a cravings and mindset coach.

Nicky is especially good at helping clients manage their food cravings and, in so doing, helping them to get to a healthier weight.

To learn more about Nicky’s work check out her website: https://nickybevan.com.)

Ready to choose for yourself?

(Instead of letting your brain choose?)

I challenge you to make a small change.

Something that gives you only very short term comfort, but that you KNOW doesn’t help you long term.

Perhaps get up at 7:30 this Sunday and join my 8:00am LIVE class! 😄

Just say “no, brain!”

❤️

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. 🤓

I’d love to hear your views in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


Kindle your Fire

Tapas – not the Spanish kind…

 

Mmmm… Did that make you think of olives and cheesy potatoes?

I always get a giggle in my yoga classes when I say that!

However, the Sanskrit concept of Tapas is very different from indulging in delicious Spanish food. In fact, it comes quite close to being the opposite.

 

Kindling your inner fire

Can you think of times when you’ve felt sluggish and heavy? Times when you found it reeeeeally difficult to get your body moving or to get started with a work/house project?

This was a time when you could have used some Tapas! (…not the food…)

Tapas is one of the Yamas from the 8 limbs of Ashtanga Yoga created by Patanjali, a fore-father of yogic philosophy. (There are 5 Yamas and 5 Niyamas – and these are like 10 ways of how to be a decent human being!)

Tapas is all about putting in the work. Getting a little uncomfortable. ‘Feeling the burn’ or missing out on some indulgences. Tapas is about kindling the inner fire – or ‘Agni’ in Sanskrit.

But why should we set our insides on fire??? (Figuratively speaking)

 

Fire of Transformation

The purpose of Tapas is to create transformation physically, mentally or spiritually – or all three!

A few examples are:

  • A body transformation could look like increasing fitness, building muscle or aiding digestion.
  • A mental transformation could look like burning through old habit patterns to create new, healthy ones.
  • Spiritual transformation could look like gaining a whole new perspective on life and happiness.

 

Tapas in a yoga class

I LOVE using this concept in my yoga classes.

Exercise is one of the most obvious ways of creating the internal fire. Therefore, to encourage Tapas, I like to lead my students through poses that will get them nice a sweaty and get their thighs burning.

In such classes I often use poses which require students to exercise some determination and push their fear boundaries (e.g. an arm balance like Crow Pose).

 

How would Tapas help you?

Is there something that you have resistance against? Something that would help you, but you just can’t find the energy or will-power to do it?

For example:

  • Starting that DIY project
  • Meeting a work deadline
  • Starting to run once or twice a week for exercise
  • Loosing a few pounds (ps. I’m a fan of healthy eating, not calorie counting!)
  • Attending my Sunday morning LIVE yoga class…. 😜

Can you think of your own example? Well, THAT is the thing that requires Tapas for you! And the important question to ask yourself is…

Are you wiling to ignite YOUR inner fire of transformation, to make this change?

If you are, read on!

 

Accepting discomfort

For you to make this change, it will require some discomfort (e.g. muscle ache) and a sacrifice of some comforts (e.g. sacrificing a weekend lie-in, or a pudding every night of the week).

THAT is Tapas.

And the more set in your ways you are, the harder it can be to endure the Tapas of change, the inner fire required for change.

BUT! Once you understand that inner fire is necessary to create the transformation you’re seeking, then the uncomfortable feeling of it might be easier to accept. You might feel that discomfort, that burning and, rather than backing off, you might think “this burn is good for me, it will transform me”.

And once you have ignited the fire of Tapas, it will help you carry on with that activity that you need for your transformation. It’s like a fire: difficult to get started, but once a-blaze, it will carry-on burning strongly!

 

Knowing when to back off

OK, OK, OK, so inner fire is a good thing. However…

Just like any power in this world, Tapas can be used for good or for bad!

You might come across situations where, actually, the best thing for you to do is to back-off. This is the case when you’re injured or too exhausted, or when the building blocks of something aren’t right.

Tapas should be used together with the two Niyamas ‘Svadhyaya’ and ‘Ishvara pranidhana’. Together they echo the Serenity Prayer:

“Grant me the courage to change what I can (Tapas), the serenity to accept what I can’t change (Ishvara Pranidhana), and the wisdom to know the difference (Svadhyaya)”.

Sourced from the book: Yoga Beyond the Poses, p. 63.

Ready to BURN? 🔥

Are YOU ready to kindle your inner fire?

To help you on your way, I’d like to invite you to practise a few of my strength themed classes this week!

Whether it’s a 10-minute class, 30-minutes or a full hour – doesn’t matter.

Just. Get. Moving.

Open your diary, and plan it in!

❤️

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. 🤓

I’d love to hear your views in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


Be imperfect

Be imperfect

“I can’t do those yoga poses…. So there’s no point in me doing that class…”

Sound familiar???

We live in SUCH an outcomes- and prestige-focussed world that most of us are afraid of being ‘not good’ at something. We’d rather not even try something, than fail at it, or look silly or look like a ‘beginner’.

I’m not judging! I’m right there with you!

But I’m bringing this up because I feel passionately that we DON’T have to be perfect.

 

‘Perfection’ is all around us…

How many ‘perfect’ Instagram/Facebook/TikTok posts do you see every day? MANY – I’d guess!

This is becoming such a phenomenon that there’s even academic research about it. Academics call it ‘Socially prescribed perfectionism’ and argue that it is, in fact, a serious health hazard (Flett et al., 2022).

It’s not easy to ignore the seemingly flawless skin, the perfectly toned bodies, perfect family get togethers, or tidy and clean kitchens!

I’m definitely guilty of this…. Just yesterday I posted a Reel on Instagram about my day spent filming new yoga classes. This Reel showed everything that went well in the day. What it DIDN’T include was how we started very late because I had to go back home to shave my armpits and cut my toe-nails, which I’d completely forgotten to do!

 

The trap of perfection

Sometimes you hear the word ‘perfection’ or ‘perfectionist’ used in a positive way. For instance, someone might credit their tendency towards ‘perfectionism’ for being good at their jobs.

However…

THIS. IS. NOT. TRUE.

Perfectionism is, in fact, a troublesome personality trait to which a whole field of academic research is devoted! (Just type in ‘perfectionism’ in Google Scholar).

Perfectionism has been associated with burn-out (Hill and Curran, 2016), a range of different psychological disorders (Limburn et al., 2016) and eating disorders (Anderluh et al., 2009) – to name just a few negative associations!

I am, by no means, well-read in this field of research. But what I can quickly tell from browsing through a Google Scholar search is that ‘perfectionism’ is NOT seen as a positive thing by scientists.

The person who says “I’m a perfectionist, that’s why I’m good at my job”, is probably very persistent and determined, and has put in the necessary hard work to improve themselves to become good at their job!

 

Imperfection is liberating

So….. why am I writing about this?

Well, I believe that we’d all enjoy many more activities (yoga/sports/performing arts… etc.) and start more projects (work/creative/social) if we’d be OK with not being perfect.

Summing up the motivation and applying a sincere effort to something is what it’s really about. Not being ‘perfect’.

What do you think YOU can’t do?

(but secretly would like to do!)

…learn a foreign language?

…perform on-stage?

…attend a yoga class?

…run 5km?

Why not start whatever you feel you can’t do with an attitude of “when I first try it, I’ll be a beginner, and I’ll need to ‘learn on the job’. That’s ok. That’s normal.”

This is such a liberating perspective because it opens up the door to soooooo many new and joyful experiences.

 

Ironically…

When you want to do something perfectly, it is likely that you will feel so much anxiety towards that tasks that:

A) You might not start it at all, or

B) You’ll probably achieve a worse outcome, due to the nerves!

Instead… When you let go of the need to be perfect, you actually allow yourself to be more motivated to do something for the joy of it, which means you’ll do it more often and, usually, you’ll get better at it as a result!

 

A few examples about me…

A couple of ways that embracing imperfection helps me are in my own yoga practice, and in working on my online yoga business.

Whenever I get on my yoga mat, I give myself the permission to do the poses only to the level that feels right that day, and the permission to stop at any point if I’m really not feeling it.

This allows me to get over my resistance to practice (if I’m feeling tired or, shock horror, a bit lazy!). So it get’s me started, and uuuuusually I end up doing a pretty intense practice anyway!

When it comes to my online yoga business, I have sooooo much impostor syndrome! I feel like I cannot come close to the famous online yogis out there right now.

BUT! I know I should not let this get the better of me. So I make a great conscious effort to allow myself to ‘learn on the job’. When I started I was a complete beginner in the online entrepreneurial space, and I would never have continued to learn and innovate if I felt it all needed to be ‘perfect’ straight away.

I am STILL a baby in this entrepreneurial life, and very imperfect. And that’s OK! I will continue to put in the time and effort to learn more and improve.

What about you?

I invite you to take a moment to reflect.

What is it that you’re not doing, for fear of not doing it ‘perfectly’? Is it a type of exercise? A business idea? A healthy-lifestyle change?

In the coming week, perhaps try to take the first step towards this activity/change with a mindset that you can do it ‘imperfectly’.

 

Let’s do some yoga!

If you are a Bendywife Yoga member, I challenge you to pick a class that is difficult for you and practice it with the mindset of being OK with the fact that you can’t do it all ‘perfectly’.

If you learn how to embrace being ‘Imperfect’ while giving difficult things your ‘all’, then this will transform your life!

Open your diary, and plan it in!

❤️

Thanks for your attention!

I hope you enjoyed my ramblings. 🤓

I’d love to hear your views on this in comments below!

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x

References

Anderluh, M., Tchanturia, K., Rabe-Hesketh, S., Collier, D., & Treasure, J. (2009). Lifetime course of eating disorders: design and validity testing of a new strategy to define the eating disorders phenotype. Psychological medicine, 39(1), 105-114.

Flett, G. L., Hewitt, P. L., Nepon, T., Sherry, S. B., & Smith, M. (2022). The destructiveness and public health significance of socially prescribed perfectionism: A review, analysis, and conceptual extension. Clinical Psychology Review, 93, 102-130.

Hill, A. P. and Curran, T. (2016) Multidimensional Perfectionism and Burnout: A Meta-Analysis. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 20 (3). pp. 269-288.

Limburg, K., Watson, H. J., Hagger, M. S., & Egan, S. J. (2016). The relationship between perfectionism and psychopathology: A meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22435


Welcoming Spring

Spring is Here!

Has it been a long winter for you? It has for me! 🥴

The months of January and February always seem like loooong, daaaaaark months to me.

We are all different in how we adjust to the seasons. Some of us love the cozy winter, some love the sense of change in autumn, some love the freshness of spring, and some love the heat and energy of summer! (And of course most of us dislike some of these seasons too!)

FYI, I’m a Summer person (If you hadn’t guessed already)! That’s when I feel myself physically and mentally thriving.

What are you?

 

Warm and protected

In winter it’s normal to hunker down and put on warm, protective layers (both physically and mentally)!

Many of us do this by closing the curtains on the dark evenings, getting cozy on the sofa and watching something you love on the television.

Aryuveda, the yogic ‘life science’, describes winter as being a Kapha-heavy time. (See here for a previous blog describing the Aryuveda dosha types.)

So, don’t feel bad about having enjoyed the following over winter:

  • Heavy and warm food!
  • Lots of rest!
  • Being slow to change habits
  • Long evenings socialising inside with friends

These are Kapha qualities that we all indulge in a little more over the winter months.

However…. times are a-changing!

 

Time to shed that layer!

The turning point between winter and spring is here, the Spring Equinox.

With this change we can start to slowly open up and and shed these protective layers and become open to new, unexpected and wonderful opportunities!

In Aryuvedic-terms, this season is linked with Vata qualities. (Again, see here for a description of Vata).

This is a time of change, movement, fresh air and creativity!

But you may not feel like that now… (I certainly don’t yet!)

Once the daffodils start popping out of the ground and the cherry blossom is out, it’ll get you into that spring mood.

So, even if right now you feel tired, stuffy, inactive (maybe, like me, you’re ill…), take a moment to close your eyes and visualise all this new, fresh creative energy of spring, and welcome it into your body via your breath.

 

A little help to get you there…

To help you make this transition, I’ve created a special video class that focusses on the transition into spring. 🤗

In this class we focus on chest opening poses, and poses which give you a sense of lift and light.

It’s an uplifting yoga class! 🌿☀️

Follow this video class whenever you feel stuffy, weighed down and in need of some positivity!

 

How do I access this class?

If you are a Bendywife Yoga member, you can find it in the ‘Specials’ category.

Have a look at the preview now, and plan it in for later! 🤓

If you’re not part of the BendyTribe, I’d love to introduce you to it! Find out more about what I have to offer here.

 

I hope you enjoy this class!

Love,

Jolanthe x

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


No-one's watching

No-one’s watching… 👀

Do you have an Instagram account?

If so, you have probably seen many images of professional yogis doing crazy poses, in amazing locations, with perfectly sculpted bodies.

Well….. I’m sure you know this, but it’s worth repeating…

That’s not what yoga looks like 99.99% of the time!

Nor does it have to look like that.

If fact, very seldom are the professional yogis in these pictures actually doing a yoga practice at the time that the picture is taken. Instead, they have scouted out a nice location and are doing the pose solely for the purpose of the picture.

Speaking from experience, that is NOT yoga.

I have done my fair share of posing for the camera in crazy yoga poses, and it always leaves me feeling sore, as I am not properly warmed up, and it definitely doesn’t provide any form of mental relaxation or spiritual practice!

(Even the image above wasn’t a real yoga pactice! 🙈)

 

What actually matters?

My aim in writing this, is to ease any anxiety you may have about how your body will look when doing a yoga practice.

It doesn’t matter:

…if you touch your toes or not.

… what you’re wearing.

…what size and shape your body is.

…whether you’re tired.

…whether you’re stressed.

…whether you can do the ‘full pose’ or do an adapted version of it.

The only things that matter are:

…that you come to your yoga mat with an openness and acceptance to meet whatever comes up in your body and mind.

…that you attempt to breathe intentionally (even if you forget, then just come back to it).

…that you listen to your body, and learn when you can push harder, and when you need to back off.

 

My personal yoga journey

When I first started yoga, I definitely had more of a performance mindset than I do now. I even injured my hamstring by pushing too hard in single leg forward-folding/splits-type poses!

I’d like to think that I now use yoga as a way to calm my mind and find inner peace, even if I still love gaining physical strength from it.

I believe it’s absolutely OK to work towards physical benefits with a yoga practice, as long as it does not detract from the effects of yoga on calming the mind and reaching a higher level of self-acceptance.

That said…. I still catch myself having a craving for ‘achieving’ a particular pose sometimes!! 🤷‍♀️

When I notice this, I know it’s time for me to become a little more mindful with my yoga practice again, to focus on the breath and look LESS at Instagram! 😆

 

What about you?

What is your yoga practice like right now?

Stop for a moment to reflect on the feelings you experience before a yoga practice.

Is it openness to whatever may arise?

Or is there an expectation and slight worry about not being ‘able to do the poses’?

Doing this inner work is as much part of yoga as the poses themselves.

 

Let’s practice non-attachment

I invite you to pick an on-demand video class that is challenging for you, and to consciously work on being open to what arises in your body and mind.

It takes practice to let go of a performance mind-set.

During the challenging class allow yourself to give a real, sincere effort, but to let go of any judgement about whether you ‘achieved’ the poses or not.

Let’s open the diary, and plan in your next practice… 🙏

Thank you for reading my blog!

If you feel moved to try some yoga yourself (even if you are a complete beginner), then you can have a go at trying some on-demand classes completely for FREE!

Love,

Jolanthe Xx

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


Your Mind-Body Type

YOUR mind-body type

Have you ever compared yourself to others, and wondered why you are so different?

Perhaps it’s frustrated you that others seem to eat whatever they like and don’t change shape…

Perhaps you find it strange that others don’t enjoy the same things as you. “Why wouldn’t they enjoy running? I just love it so much!” you might think.

 

Can you think of other examples?

 

Wisdom from Aryuveda

Aryuveda is an ancient science of living from India which is closely linked with the yoga tradition. I absolutely love Aryuveda, as it makes intuitive sense to me.

This philosophy sees everyone as having a ‘Dosha’ which is the expression of their ‘mind-body type’.

There are three Doshas, and most people are a combination of two of these, with one Dosha being more dominant.

 

The Three Doshas are:

Can you see which one/two describes you?

– Vata: People who are creative, who swing from high energy to low energy quickly, who have a tendency to be slim, who sometimes forget to eat but really would benefit from eating regularly. When out of balance, Vata types have a tendency towards feeling anxious, too much weight loss, and insomnia.

– Pitta: People who are a little fiery, strong minded, determined and goal focussed. They tend to gain muscle quickly, but have a tendency to get over heated, in both body and in mind (think: hangry!). Pitta types get things done! But when out of balance, Pitta types can be a little over-bearing, and suffer from inflammatory skin issues.

– Kapha: People who are very grounded, warm and loving. This is the ‘mother-‘ or ‘father-earth’ person who you WANT to have as a best friend. Physically, Kapha types naturally hold a little more weight, and don’t naturally have a strong drive to do vigorous exercise. They generally have a very stable mental-state. When out of balance, Kapha types are prone to weight gain, extreme stubbornness and depression.

 

Balancing YOUR dosha

You may have guessed it already, but different doshas/ combinations of doshas will benefit from different lifestyle behaviours.

The Aryuvedic philosophy says that:

– Like attracts like, and

– Opposites create balance

 

For Example…

Creative Vata types

You’ll love a spontaneous lifestyle, the highs and lows of travelling and partying, and energetic exercise classes such as Zumba! You will love cold and light foods and beverages.

However, if you find yourself out of balance (burned out/anxious/inability to focus) then choosing the opposite will probably help you. For example, working on a predictable structure in your week, practicing a slower form of yoga, eating warm and wholesome foods.

Fiery Pitta types

You will be attracted to high intensity exercise like running or cross-fit and you’ll love eating curries! You’ll be go, go, go ALL the time!

However, if you find yourself a little out of balance (burned out/inflamed skin/uncontrolled frustration or anger), then choosing the opposite will probably help you. For example, choosing a more relaxing/mellow type of exercise, and cooling foods.

Grounded Kapha types

You’ll be attracted to a slow and steady life. You loooove your lie-ins, taking your time to socialise with loved ones and friends, and eating delicious and heavy foods.

However, if you find yourself a little out of balance (feeling unmotivated to make necessary changes, difficult to get out of bed, unwanted weight gain), then choosing the opposite will probably help you. For example, starting more vigorous exercise, getting up earlier and (I’m sorry to say) a bit of fasting…

 

How it sets us free…

What I LOVE about finding your own mind-body type is that you have permission to stop comparing yourself with others!

If you are a Kapha type and you compare yourself with a Vata type, then you are comparing apples and oranges. You were born different, and that’s OK!

We should each listen to OUR OWN bodies/minds and find the best ways to balance ourselves out so that we feel our happiest, healthiest selves.

For example; for some this will require doing LESS intense exercise, and for some it will require some MORE intense exercise.

 

You have a SUPER power

What get’s me so excited about this philosophy is the thought that every dosha has its own super power. And that’s so true for us all!

You Vata types are the creatives that bring us art and music!

You Pitta types are the fire-crackers that bring us cross-fit and meet deadlines!

You Kapha types are the grounded souls that keep it together when everyone els falls apart!

 

So, What are you?

Have you had an “Aha!” moment while reading this?

If you have realised which Dosha you have, or which two Doshas you have in combination, then why not see whether you feel in balance.

Using your new knowledge of what might suit your mind-body type, or what might help you get back to balance, you can choose a yoga practice!

Let’s open the diary, and plan in your next practice…

😁👇

Thank you for reading my blog!

If you feel moved to try some yoga yourself (even if you are a complete beginner), then you can have a go at trying some on-demand classes completely for FREE!

Love,

Jolanthe Xx

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


Unexpected Joy

Finding unexpected joy

Does life seem a little grey right now? This might help…

I’ve been delving into books on yoga philosophy and teaching these days (often Audio books while I am feeding my little boy or driving! 😆).

And I’d love to share this excerpt from the book:

Teaching Yoga Beyond the Poses

(Authors: Sage Rountree and Alexandra Desiato, p.136)

        “There is extra delight in unexpected joys. Once you keep your eyes open for them, you’ll find them everywhere.

Joy can find you in an image, a phrase, a touch. Perhaps you have en eye for four-leafed clovers or heart-shaped rocks. Maybe you delight in a turn of phrase or an unusual but heartfelt complement. Or you could take pleasure in a high-five, fist bump or shoulder pat.

As you appreciate the unexpected joys in daily life, you can also find new, wonderful elements of your yoga practice that bring joy: a tiny shift in alignment that feels huge; a particularly sweet exhalation.”

So, ready to find joy?

You can find unexpected joy in any of the on-demand classes.

For instance, the joy of feeling your hamstrings stretch, or the joy of feeling that burn in your thighs, or the joy of a loooooong shavasana!

Let’s open the diary, and plan in your next practice… 😁

Thank you for reading my mini blog!

If you feel moved to try some yoga yourself (even if you are a complete beginner), then you can have a go at trying some on-demand classes completely for FREE!

Love,

Jolanthe Xx

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x


Be your own Hero

Be the hero of your life

Hey BendyFriends,

This is a mini-blog with some personal reflections.

Feeling powerless in mum-life

Over the last 15 months (since becoming a mum), I have often felt like a victim of circumstance.

I had NO time to myself, I was SO exhausted, I was not able to work, exercise, shower….

When these kinds of thoughts surfaced, I became depressed, wallowed at home, and was not very pleasant to be around… 😔

It’s only recently that I read about the ‘victimhood’ mindset, and that it’s actually a CHOICE to be the hero of your life, rather than the victim. This has massively shifted things for me!

Don’t wait for someone to save you.
Save yourself.

And this is relevant to us all.

How often do you want to blame your work, your partner/family, your body, the weather, your pay-check (etc.) for getting in the way of what will make you happy?

To be sure, victimhood can be absolutely real! But what most of us feel from day to day, its a self-imposed victimhood. And by doing do, we strip away our own power to make ourselves happy.

Be your own hero

If we start to believe that WE are the hero/heroine of our life, then we feel empowered to do the little things that ARE possible, despite our busy circumstances.

Communicate your needs

It might even be that ‘being your own hero’ means setting some boundaries and asking your partner/family for some extra help! (Not just waiting for help to magically appear without communicating your needs).

It’s up to YOU

Make a choice. What do you need to do? Who do you need to ask for some understanding/support to achieve this?

Don’t wait for magic to happen… you are in charge!

So why not open your diary right now, and plan in your next practice… 😁

Thank you for reading my reflections.

If you feel moved to try some yoga yourself (even if you are a complete beginner), then you can have a go at trying some on-demand classes completely for FREE!

Love,

Jolanthe Xx

Strength, Posture & Mindfulness

I’ll help you gain body confidence and contentment

with short, easy-to-follow yoga classes from your LIVING ROOM!

On-demand and LIVE

Check out what I offer!

I’m a Small Business

Give yourself the gift of self-care for a super affordable price, while supporting an independent, small business!

I enjoy getting to know each and every new yoga student – so can’t wait to meet you!

Love, Jolanthe x