Going for a walk though, can be a magical experience in our “uiterwaarde” (I’m just gonna keep on calling it like that because I couldn’t find the perfect translation, but it is the part behind the dike (“dijk” in Dutch) where you can walk and enjoy nature), so I enjoyed that for a little while. Getting lost in my thoughts, noticing the beautiful shimmering colours of Mother Nature, observing the new nests in all the trees, and becoming surprised about how many pheasants we actually have in the uiterwaarde (seriously everywhere). Meanwhile, I think I have never known the dike so well since I started studying here three and a half years ago (oops). With the well-known feeling of the obligatory drive to study in the back of my mind, I thought about something which could release my mind – crawl back into the moment of the here and now, feel my movements, my breath, the specific way the light hits certain objects in the room, and to just relax. So I felt back into something that I have been doing for the past six years – yoga. The way I practiced yoga was very irregular. Sometimes once a week, sometimes once a month, and sometimes three times a day (yep, this is as irregular as it could get…).
Apparently I inspired one of my housemates with this yoga-movement, and ever since then, he knocks on my door on any given time of the day and gently asks: “Oy Soof, yoga?”, and if he’s in the mood I even get a wink and a smudge – almost as if it’s his guilty pleasure. But since he does this literally every day, I finally got a rhythm in this lovely little hobby of mine – thanks to him. A few times during yoga we left the door open, and slowly but steadily, other housemates started joining – for whatever reason. One wanted to get more flexible for his climbing hobby, another wanted to get rid of a persistent injury, someone else wanted to learn the handstand, and some just simply enjoy the feeling (I live with ten students, so the list goes on). Particular sessions could be tough and can bring a lot of groans, shivers and sighs along (it sounds very funny, believe me) and others can be focussed on relaxation (which actually also involves the necessary sighs). This is what I so absolutely l-o-v-e about yoga: this sport (I know, there is quite a debate about whether or not yoga can be considered a true sport – well, for me it is) and the possibilities it brings along, can be as flexible as the movements that you perform. You can challenge yourself like you’ve never done before, trying to get complete control over body and mind, or let it all go and really feel where your boundaries are and how you have treated your body the past week(s). It sounds so simple, and yet it is one of the biggest challenges my mind has ever comprehended – sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
And who knows, maybe the next time that you’re close to the dike and hear weird noises of “auw”, “ahh”, or the sounds of slightly cracking spines and snapping legs (just kidding), you’ll feel inspired to do a yoga-session as well! For people who actually got enthusiastic about this possibility after reading this blog, “Yoga with Adriene” on YouTube offers a very nice platform where everyone – beginner to master – can find whatever makes them feel good. Also the YouTube account “Alo Yoga” has very good instructions which combine workout-routines with yoga exercises. Or simply knock on our door to join; surely we can manage a 1.5 meter distance in the house, or either after these eye-opening quarantine-times of course!
Finally, some tips to keep in mind when getting started:
1. Be kind to yourself, try to not compare yourself with someone who has been practicing for years. You will improve soon enough!
2.Listen to your body, accept and respect your boundaries.
3. You can't do yoga wrong, unless you cross your own boundaries.
4. Be patient.
5. Remember to breathe!
Do you have a unique, fun or exciting hobby you would like to share with us and the rest of the WUR community? Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with a short story and some photos and maybe you will be featured on this page!