I DID YOGA FOR THIRTY DAYS, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED

I love a good thirty day challenge! In January, I committed to thirty days of yoga… In today’s post, I’ll tell you all about this thirty day yoga journey!

My first encounter with yoga was in my modern ballet classes, when I was about twelve years old. Yoga poses were incorporate at the end of class as part of the general stretching routine. More than I decade later when I moved to Australia, I rediscovered yoga and my practice evolved into something more serious. Since then, it has become an intrinsic part of my life.

However, I’ve always found it challenging to cultivate a regular yoga practice. Returning to a daily practice can be difficult when life keeps throwing shit at you – as it does. So when my friend proposed to sign up for a thirty day yoga challenge, I immediately said YES! I thought it would be the perfect nudge to get the daily yoga habit going again…. This is what happened:

Intoxicated Half Moon

The first few days were awkward, as I struggled to find the right time to hit the mat. The yoga video’s were posted slightly to late to turn them into a morning practice, so I went for the after work-practice. Every single day straight after work, I put on some comfy clothes and hopped on the mat. It was great!

And then, there was this day that I ended up in a restaurant with colleagues and lots of wine. Back home, I found myself slightly intoxicated doing all sorts of core work and moving into Half Moon pose, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t really resembling the asana as it should be. Not a success, won’t try that again.

The first move is the hardest

It wasn’t the actual practice itself that was difficult to maintain. The opposite, as soon as the class started it was amazing! I absolutely loved taking the time to practice and thoroughly enjoyed this sacred me-time moment I was creating. It was the “putting on something comfortable and rolling out my mat”-moment that brought up a lot of resistance.

Our minds are masters of deception! It says stuff like: “You’re too tired, you deserve to rest now, you can do it another time, eat something first and then lie on the couch and forget about yoga…” So I launched a counter attack. On my way home from work I’d just pumped myself up, and upped the volume of my wise mind. “I’m so doing this, it’s going to be great, you’ll love this class, you’ll be thanking yourself!” This helped tremendously, as well as rolling out my mat in advance, and having my friend telling me “Practice was AMAZING!”

Reconnecting with my body

The most beautiful gift I’ve ever received was during my Camino de Santiago. Hiking long distances taught me to reconnect with my body, and truly listen to what it has to tell me. A daily yoga practice offers you that same beautiful gift. No matter what you bring with you onto your mat, you’re moving with it. Allowing it to be there, whatever it is.

You’ll experience that you body is different every day. Every practice requires you to listen to your body as if it was the first time, and move according to it needs. Some days that might be a full on Ashtanga practice, other days it might be a moving meditation. It’ll tell you what it needs, you just have to open up and really listen.

Thirty days of yoga – what a journey! Since the challenge has come to an end, I continued practicing daily. One day I made a very conscious decision not to practice and took a rest day instead, which was exactly what I needed that day.

It’s interesting to notice you return to certain things in life. For me, yoga seems to be one of them. If you enjoy yoga but are struggling to maintain a daily practice, I’d say… commit to thirty day – It might just be what you need!

Love,

PS. Let’s explore together!

THIRTY DAYS OF GIVING THANKS (+ FREE PRINTABLE)

The final month of 2019 is about to commence. A while back, I posted about three mindful ways to end this year. Bathing in gratitude was one of them. Since I happen to love a good thirty day challenge, I decided to dedicate an entire month to practising gratitude. However, instead of solely giving thanks to the people I know and see on a daily basis, I’d also like to spread the gratitude to those I don’t know so well or don’t know at all.

a thank you for everyone

From the 1st till the 30st of December, I’ll be writing a daily thank you-card to express my gratitude to anyone I’d like to. A friend, family member, perhaps someone I met during a like, and – not to forget – those I don’t know personally but whom I’d wish to thank.

Why? Giving and receiving gratitude shouldn’t be something solely reserved for those closest to you – it’s for all those who touch your heart, it’s for every wanderer. And I believe, we’re all wanderers. Thus, no reason not to give thanks to everyone!

Giving and receiving gratitude shouldn’t be something solely reserved for those closest to you – it’s for all those who touch your heart, it’s for every wanderer. And I believe, we are all wanderers.

Practising daily gratitude, spreading kindness and, perhaps, creating some smiles are the main objectives here. No need to restrict yourself in any kind of way. These unknown someones can be people you encounter during the day and don’t know personally. It could be the postie, a waiter, someone walking their dog in the park… anyone really! Getting a little creative with it, will be the fun bit.

print your own cards and join

It would be the greatest thing if lots of people join and throw thank-yous around like confetti! So I decided to share these thank you-cards with everyone. Yeey! You can download your thank you-cards for free right here. All you have to do is press the download button below.

There are four cards on one page, which you can cut out once printed. (If you happen to stick the cards somewhere in a public space outside, please make sure you remove them after a while so they don’t end up as waste in nature.)

#thankyouwanderer

Spread the love! Make a picture of your message and post it on Instagram using the hashtag #thankyouwanderer. It would be pretty amazing if we could share some gratitude with the rest of the world!

Love and gratitude,

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EXPLORING HABITS: THINGS YOU’LL NOTICE WHEN YOU LOSE THE BOOZE FOR THIRTY DAYS

Guess what, I did it! For thirty days I did my thing without a single drink. Now I’ll tell you about some things I’ve noticed during these days of voluntary abstinence.

While I didn’t crack a bottle every day, I did feel like alcohol was prominent enough in my life to subject it to a month-long investigation. Why? I decided to lose the booze for thirty days in light of my bigger quest to make my daily doings a bit more adventurous and exciting. Your first thought: What’s exciting about ditching the liquor? I’d say: You won’t know if you won’t try it! Only when exploring, questioning and, perhaps, changing up your habits from time to time, you’ll discover something new that might suit you better than the old.

and this is what happened

So back to the booze, or the lack thereof. First and foremost, I thought that forsaking the flask would become a problem in social settings, as those were the moments I’d be usually drinking. What was I going to do during Friday drinks at work or whilst having dinner with a friend? What would I say to people?

However, reality turned out slightly different than all the expectations and hurdles my mind had created, right from the moment I decided to ditch the bevies for thirty days.

new-found energy

Keeping it real. I didn’t experience any of the shiny hair and radiant skin as advertised by many booze ditchers on the Internet. I did, however, wake up every single day without “stuck together due to the left-over mascara”-lashes, heartbreaking headaches or frightening forgetfulness. The past month, I had tons of energy during the week and, to my surprise, also in the weekends. I’ve really cherished and enjoyed this new-found energy. Overall, my mind and body were feeling good, which had a positive influence on how I approached myself, my days and other people.

no one really gives a sh**

You think everyone cares, or has an opinion about whether you drink alcohol or not, but they don’t. Only a few people asked why I wasn’t drinking and, when I told them my motivations, they thought it was a pretty cool idea or told me they’d done something similar. Undertaking this challenge, I was afraid of what others might think. (If you should care about what others think of you is another adventure – one I’ve yet to undertake myself). While the weeks passed and I kept reminding myself I was doing this for me, it became easier to be around people who were drinking and to tell them about my sober October.

those who don’t drink

In addition to lots of energy and realising no one really gives a sh**, something else caught my eye: the people who weren’t drinking. Whether it was dinner with friends or a pub-quiz with colleagues, the absence of alcohol in my drinks made me aware of all the others who didn’t opt for it either. This revelation made me wonder if drinking alcohol is perhaps less common than my head made it out to be. True or not, it’s definitely something to think about.

you get to know a different side of yourself

Another assumption I held about alcohol abstinence was challenged during these thirty days: I honestly thought, I would be uncomfortable and awkward in my conversations and interactions with people, or not as relaxed and outgoing without a drink. Happens that I’m pretty loud, perfectly capable of having an interesting conversation and making jokes without one too 😉 Apart from this sober but carefree Q, I also got to know another side of myself: one that rather goes to a yoga class on a Friday night than socialise, or prefers a Saturday evening with a cup of tea and a book on the couch.

Thirty days of sobriety. It looked like a pretty tough climb, but it ended up being a fun challenge that offered me a new, and unexpected, angle on alcohol. In the end it is all about making a choice; once you’ve ditched the booze for a month, you actually know what you’re choosing for when you decide to leave the liquor for what it is, and grab a sparkling water instead.

Have you tried thirty days without alcohol before? Would love to hear about your experience.

Love,

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EXPLORING HABITS: TWO WEEKS INTO MY THIRTY BOOZE-FREE DAYS

A while ago, I decided to investigate the habit of drinking alcohol as part of my bigger quest to see life in a different light and, perhaps, making it a little more exciting. Although I don’t regard my drinking habits as problematic, I do often wonder about its impact and the ease with which I embrace alcohol in social settings. As I’m two weeks into my thirty booze-free days, it’s about time for an update, and I can tell you it was not all that easy!

When I set myself a challenge or commence a new adventure, the start is usually the easy part of the process: I dive in headfirst and have tons of energy to go for it! The first days were a breeze. Not a thought was spent on alcohol or these thirty days whatsoever…and then it was Friday. As I was a tad afraid that being around people sipping wine and having a good time would be too much temptation to handle, I resisted the urge to join after work drinks and enjoyed a quiet night in. In fact, that night became a quiet weekend in and that turned out to be precisely what I needed.

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While week two started off in a similar fashion, it seemed like I’d gained a bit of confidence making it through the first week. I knew, however the real challenges were yet to be faced. Friday showed its friendly face again, and this week it would feature dinner and drinks with a friend. “Lemonade for you then?” she jokingly said as we sat down somewhere to enjoy the evening and catch up. Still grateful for her ordering a sparkling water as well, the night was fantastic. In hindsight, being pretty exhausted from the week left behind, drinking alcohol would’ve just made me more tired. Fun-wise, the alcohol wouldn’t have added anything!

The day after, I was going to meet up for drinks with two Australian friends who came over to visit Amsterdam. Although super excited to meet them, I remembered all the fun times spent in the pub during the years I lived there, and knew this night could become a confrontational one. I was right. One coke down and the urge to order a beer appeared. My mind instantly started to riot. You can’t give up after half an hour! True, I thought. I can’t just give up when things get a little tough, the fun is in the experience. Just see what happens, I told myself. Just trick that urge.

After an amazing night, one coke and four 0,0% beers we said our goodbyes. As I walked to my bike, I felt extremely happy and a little light in my head.

I’m feeling a little… Wait a minute!

Love,

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EXPLORING HABITS: LOSING THE BOOZE FOR THIRTY DAYS!

I wake up. With one hand I carefully remove my sleep mask, and try to open my eyes that seem to be glued together as I forgot to remove my mascara the night before. When I finally manage to separate my lashes, the light hits with such intensity that I instantly drop the intention on getting up all together. Whilst hit by a wave of grief when thinking of all the productive and exciting things I could’ve done, I pull the doona over my head and know that the rest of my Saturday will be lost, as I lay in bed dying a little due to a boozy Friyay-eve.

Although this doesn’t happen every week, when it does I wish it hadn’t. I don’t think there is anything wrong with having a drink now and then, it’s just that I’ve never been in a social setting, and had a single drink. Even that one time when my friend would stay sober to drive us home after a party, and I was trying to be supportive so I only had one drink… I had a taste of someone else’s cocktail when she went to the toilet (if you’re reading this, just know that I really tried). Point is, after one I know no limits. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one.

Where am I going with all this?

Glad you’re asking. As I‘ve been on a mission to explore things that make me view the everyday from a different perspective, and perhaps gain some insight into myself and others, it got me thinking about all the habits we’ve adopted, simply, because we think we need them or accept them without questioning. Drinking alcohol is one of those habits. Although I’m perfectly capable to enjoy a single glass of red when I’m reading a book on my couch, as soon as I’m somewhere with people the infinite consumption of alcohol seems totally all right. Until I wake up the next day, and I feel like I’ve been dragged through a sewer pipe.

Reflecting on this situation uncovered a feeling that I wanted this to be different, but before you can change things it’s key to obtain some insight in the situation, habit or thing you want to change… so I started asking myself some questions.:

how often, how much and when do you drink?

Pretty much every weekend includes one of the following:

  • Friday drinks at work or with friends
  • a (birthday) party
  • Saturday arvo catch-ups
  • drinks and dances
  • reading on the couch with a glass of wine
  • post-yoga wine date (it’s a thing)

I do have to point out here, my life knows alcohol free weeks. On weekdays I try not to drink, however, if I go out with a friend for dinner I’ll have a drink or two, same with super sunny late night park hangs… or if I have an unfinished bottle left from the weekend, I might have a cheeky one after work. The total units per week, thus, range from two to ten.

why do you drink alcohol in the first place?

I drink because I like the taste of a good glass of wine with delicious food, to relax after a long day of work, because alcohol is the obvious choice and I like to try all the different G&T’s this bar has, because I’m having a good time and think it’ll be even more fantastic after this cocktail, to appear a little less nervous and more awesome during a date, move like a rock star, celebrate it’s Friday, or Saturday, or Sunday… endless reasons that might not be legit but are, as soon as you’ve finished the first glass.

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how does the thought of not drinking make you feel?

I’m in two minds about it. There’s one part of me that is super excited to explore all the happenings, thoughts and feelings that will occur in this period of intentional abstinence. Deep down inside there is another part of me somewhat frightened that the usual social outings featuring alcohol will now turn into something rather awkward or underwhelming. It might be totally different though, guess only time can tell.

can you go without alcohol for thirty days?

As a lot of people before me probably have insightfully mentioned: You can do anything for thirty days. So yes. Damn sure I can. And anyone else too!

Ever thought about losing the booze for a while? Take some time to answer these questions. Be honest though! No matter how shocking your answers might seem to you, you can only start changing things up when you’re aware of the impact it has on you and your life.

Now, when am I going to start this exciting adventure! As September is coming to an end and, internationally, October seems to be THE month to shed all your shitty habits – think OcSober in Australia, Stoptober in the Netherlands and the UK – I reckon it cannot be more obvious… Tomorrow, on the first of October, I won’t touch anything containing alcohol until November commences, and I sure will keep you in the loop about my liquor-less life.

Cheers to that!

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