Thursday, October 23, 2014

Yoga Love at Westerliefde


hashtags you can use on different social media channels to connect
with other people belonging to a wonderful community of yogis!

Last night I, together with at least 100 other yoga lovers, spent an evening of Yin/Yang Yoga with Skadi van Paasschen, through the generous invitation of Lululemon Athletica Netherlands.

courtesy of Lululemon FB page

Why Yoga?

The evening was a great experience; it is the first time, since I started practicing yoga 2 years ago, (shortly before I ran my first marathon), that I have been introduced to yin yang yoga.

It came at a time I could completely comprehend,  and truly appreciate it.

More on the why behind this, in a separate blog, which will be entitled, "Why Yoga?"


Now on to the evening of Yoga love with Skadi,  hosted by Lululemon Athletica.

courtesy of Skadi's website

lululemon events 

I  was sad, I missed the unique event lululemon hosted outside of Rijksmuseum, last May this year.  So, you can imagine how thrilled I was, when I received an email with the invitation to their latest event.

courtesy of Lululemon FB page
courtesy of Lululemon FB page

You can see the whole album here:
Funky Flow @ Rijksmuseum

Yoga Love @ Westerliefde

Lululemon Athletica did not disappoint!

I love that they replied right away to my e-mail enquiry about first come, first mat arrangement. They changed this policy to RSVP.

It was a lucky break for me because even if I was a bit "late" for the evening's registration  (between 18:30 - 19:00), I RSVPd early enough so I was on the invitation list, and in their e-mail I was told that they will hold the mat for me at least 15 minutes before the event.

When I arrived (about 10 minutes later) there was still a line of people registering, so it was a relief.  Next time, definitely will plan an extra half an hour for the train delays!

Later on, we learned,  lululemonnl team were still able to accommodate people on the waiting list because the other yogis shared their mat! Love being spread around. :)

Greeting at the door  of Westerliefde was very warm, helpful and accommodating.

courtesy of Google Image

On the Mat, with Marije beside me...

After taking my shoes off, I found a mat beside a yoga teacher, named Marije from Absolute Yoga Amsterdam! After the event, I found out that there were a lot of yoga instructors amongst the participants.

I'll share on the blog about how I started with yoga, how I will continue with my practice of yoga, and my plan to try out hot yoga in Marije's class.

Marije -  yoga teacher 
@ Absolute Yoga Amsterdam 

Yoga Love experience in Westerliefde

Here below are some of the images before the one hour long yoga session began.

Image courtesy of lululemonnl instagram
just some of the 100 mats awaiting the 100 yogis!
Marije took this picture before the room became full of yogis.
You can check out it out on her instagram feed, here:
My face in the dark/behind the light selfie ;) ; the room is filling up!

I felt lucky and happy to have gotten a "sweet spot" at the back because it was beside Marije.

If you are reading this, and you were there, I was perhaps in the third row from the entrance.
"Friends are more important than money…"
Taken while I was settling on my (complimentary!!!) mat, and reading the beautiful card from lululemon

Hermance HoraSiccama 

image courtesy of Lululemon FB page

welcomed everyone to Yoga Love in Westerliefde

Hermance HoraSiccama, community connector for Lululemon Athletica Netherlands, introduced Skadi, after heartily welcoming everyone to the event.  She also introduced  DJ Niels of the Disco Troopers, who provided the music for the whole evening.

Skadi then went up and step on to the podium; she was a very captivating personality clothed in enchanting pink (we were colorfully in synch! :) ).

I am glad that I did not Google her :) before the event because I could focus more on her energy without the details of who she was in my head.  But there was no reason to be intimidated since she has a very open, warm personality  - evident from this picture! It was great watching her after the event with other yogis do fun photos; I assume they know her longer from her classes.

I won't be able to tell you now all the yoga moves of the whole evening.  I would love to (!!!) go into how we experienced the whole yoga session but I need a longer time to recall everything in details with the corresponding names of the poses to do it justice!

The Lululemon team took a lot pictures during the yoga session, and if you would like to see them, simply like & follow the  Lululemon FB page, that you can get the notification, when the album of the evening is shared.

Letting Go & Let Love In

In summary, all poses were about letting go of negative energy to make space and be open for love.  Feeling your heart, getting in touch with your self , breathing and opening you body.

It was about letting go, breaking down the barriers we put up to protect ourselves, acknowledging how things are, being absolutely in the moment, accepting the imperfections, being OK with who you are. Loving the uniqueness of who you are.

Skadi's guidance through all the poses was excellent, combined with the soothing, meditative quality of her voice made the yoga session a relaxing, empowering moment.

Thoughtful thank you card, which lay on our yoga mat from lululemonnl!

The Yoga Poses Highlights

We did downward facing dog pose  - second to tree pose, is one of my favorite yoga pose! - several times in combination with other yoga poses.

Another favorite we did was  warrior pose, adding twists to our sides and  touching the heart and stomach with each alternate twist.

I also loved the squat pose, where we transitioned from looking at a lotus flower (as we were in squat pose)  to birds drinking water (or was it eating something from the ground?!)

Something new for me was the butterfly pose. It is hard to illustrate, and I hopefully can edit in a picture from the event later on.  This pose is something I think my almost 7 year old daughter will find fascinating because of the name!

I notice as I recall all the poses, that I am starting to have the need to do it perfectly and start from the beginning and go into minute perfect detail. But I am letting this thought go, and sharing only the essence of the evening before I lose the opportunity to spread the love of the experience!

It is after all the message of last night's session.  Be in the moment, love yourself, accept the imperfections in you, and around you.

The evening left me feeling beautiful (in mind, body and spirit!), strong (in my soul) and completely relaxed in my being.

Thank you, lululemonnl team! Thank you Skadi van Paasschen.

After the YOGA Love event we had some bites, drinks and the opportunity to meet other yogis.

DJ Niels of the Disco Troopers

On the way  home I had a huge wide yogi smile on my face and a new mat(e) thanks to lululemonnl!

I saved my Lite/Dark drink, which we all got after our yoga session, for when I finished this blog. Toast! :)


Monday, October 13, 2014

How I Met My Running/Blogging Fairy Godmother(s)

Behind a special running day is always a fairytale

One of my favorite childhood fairytale is Cinderella.  It is not because of the Prince on the white horse but it is because of the cool Godmother!

As a runner, who loves footwear (not only of the running kind!), how can you not fall in love with the Godmother? She gave Cinderella awesome glass slippers to wear to the ball! ;)

I began blogging ( anonymously, for creative theraphy) in 2006.  A year later on the blogging platform I started on, I met a lady blogger, who shared the wisdom of these words to me: baby steps.  

Simple words you might think but for me, someone who has to work very hard to put peace in the chaos of her  mind, those words imparted made a great difference.

They came at a crucial turning point in my life giving me focus and strength of will to make the first brave step to steering it in a new direction.

Since then, I fondly called the lady blogger and my good friend, "Soulfairygodmother".

On this blog though,  I would like to introduce you to:

"My Running/Blogging Fairy Godmother"! 

I met her (and Fieke, the other beautiful half of GL2R!) personally,  a year after I started following their blog, which began parallel to mine in January, 2012.

Our meetings have brought me literally forward, fitness wise, and metaphorically to different kinds of "balls" in my life.

Since then - at least in my head! - I have baptized and called GL2R as, "My Running/ Fairy Godmother(s)".

Today, they -  together with the world! - will know it, too. :D

The "ball"

First edition of the AJAX Foundation Run.

The obstacle to the "ball"

No, there was no  step-mother and evil step-sisters getting in my way of going to the event, it was simply as always the relatives of my bipolar disorder: anxiety/panic attack. 

Logic and experience tells me to be calm but my mind always finds a way of making my body react as if I would die if I go out.

I have been actively practicing how to overcome panic attacks since the year began.

My carriage

The invitation to meet up with Francien before the run was in my mind the whole week.  It seem almost as if it was the carriage that brought me to the "ball".


Focusing on that, and what we would talk about  helped my mind be distracted away from the usual stream of negative, self-defeating thoughts that paralyze me, and eventually makes me skip going to places to run or to experience something different beyond my duties and responsibilities as a mom.

Let me add, it helps to get myself motivated to go outdoors, when  the person waiting for me has a deeper understanding, how challenging  it is for me to go out, and meet with people because of how I put myself under so much pressure.

The Door to "the Castle"

Due to my easily distracted mind, I missed the date to online pre-registration  for the 10K part of the event.

After our talk, Francien helped me get through the late-registration.

And I "Danced with My Running Shoes"….

We had to part ways after that, and before we did, she gave me a gift.

Nope, not glass slippers!

She gave me calm and clarity.

I have to say, they are better than any gown or glass slippers,  a Fairy Godmother can ever give!  I will wear calm and clarity, like my second skin.

This blog may not make make sense (yet!) to you, my dear readers. But please, today, indulge my romantic fairytale loving heart, as I want to record and remember this day as such: fairytale like!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Turning My "Kryptonite" To My Super Powers

Dam tot Damloop
This was my slowest 10M (16K) but I was happy that I could run again; it felt like flying!

If there is time travel, and you would go back in time to tell the 10-12 year old me, that I would finish not one but 3 marathons within a year and a half of running - as a 40-41 y.o. woman! - I think I would fall over on the spot, and not live to see the marvelous days  from sheer shock!

July 2013 @  Wijk aan Zee 
I ran barefoot on the beach for the first time in my life
 because of the foot pain I experienced, when I was training with the wrong shoes for my Autumn races.
Later on, I will be diagnosed with Morton Neuroma.
An injury, which taught me a lot of important running and non-running lessons!

One of my most favorite race photo
because it is evident here that I have joy in running,
and no more hang-ups wearing shorts; it was a fear I had since I was a little girl.
Taken a year and a month after I started running

Between the age of 10-12 years old, I was severely terrified of sports, terrified of wearing shorts (because of a scar!), and I fell over often that I did not even run just for the fun of it - the way I experience my 3 daughters (6, 12, and 15 years old respectively) do it!

Next week, it would be the 39th edition of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon.

This event is very significant to me; it is the event that finally got me out of the door running.  Well, it got me out of the door walking with my very old running shoes!

The last 50 meters of my first 8K! 

My first training day for my first 8K run, was an 8K walk; I went out of the door, pushing the jogger of my  (almost 4 year old) daughter, in front of me.

It seemed appropriate  to vigorously walk the distance I will eventually run in order to get over the anxiety I was having over the goal I set for myself.

On the 8th of August 2011, I walked an 8K with my daughter in her jogger.

I vowed on the first day of my training to document everything,
as much as I can of my "late in my years running adventure"!
Until now, I am very grateful I made and keeping making the effort.

I was 39 y.o. then, separated.  Once again I found myself in yet another foreign country - beginning a new life, this time, in a loving and nurturing relationship.

At this  point, I've lived in Holland for 2 years.  Life is good, stable and going in a positive direction but I was still experiencing severe cycles of my bipolar disorder.

From my previous therapy with a clinical psychiatrist, I knew that I had to take charge of my disorder  or it will take charge of my life.

At the marathon expo a day before my first 8K!

October, 2011

Going outdoors, being physically  active, participating and engaging in community & social activities, were just some of the things I had to maintain to get myself out of the prison of my own mind.

Left to right:
Berlin Marathon 2011
Paris Marathon 2013
Luxembourg HM 2013

(I became the face of this HM!)

August 2011 - October 2014,  3 unforgettable running years:

from finishing my first 5K, 20 days after  that significant 8K walk with the jogger in front of me, to running back to back marathons (3 weeks apart) a year after, and finishing in Paris marathon half a year later.

Family and friends started calling me: "Super Woman! Super Mom!"

I felt elated and embarrassed at the same time.

It was not until I decided to write with more self-conviction, no shame and more transparency about my mental disorder, that I felt genuinely deserving of the praise.

I coined my journey: The Story of Slow.

I do not run marathons to beat time, I run marathons to beat anxiety, depression, panic attacks and to tame my mania.

My marathon motivation is to help others empower themselves.

My fear has become my power. I do what I fear.

Mostly, I do them with my running shoes!

NTC live class 
in Carré
September, 2014

October, 2014
Singelloop Breda

After a year of struggle with my Morton Neuroma,
I finally ran the fastest 10K for this year!

My TCS Amsterdam Marathon in a collage
hopefully next week
I will be able to add another race/finish line photo
from this event.

UPDATE ON THIS BLOGPOST 04.11/10.11.14 (  a bit late!) This is a blog I wrote, in the hopes, that my story will win me a starting bib on the 2014 TCS Amsterdam Marathon.  It did!

Follow up blogpost on this story coming up soon, together with the story of why I am running the marathon again in Amsterdam, next year. :)


This blogpost has been updated 
on the 20 of July, 2017 08:54