The pursuit of happiness

Henry Ford

“Happiness is the art of never holding in your mind the memory of any unpleasant thing that has passed.” ( Unknown)

Celebrating 1 year living in Brazil, one of my dearest dreams, I gave a thought about the pursuit of happiness – which led me to where I am today.

You may say I am a dreamer, you may think I am futile or that I live in a world wearing pink glasses … I am OK with it. I won’t stop believing that as much as everyone has the right to freedom, we all have the right to be happy.

As easy as it may sound or as it is to say, happiness may though not be so easily reachable. Proof of this, is that  hundreds of articles distilling advice on how to be happy are released daily on the internet.

I am though so thankful because most of my family, friends and entourage are overall happy and content with their life. However, our appreciation of happiness, our ability to feel happy, and our belief that we truly deserve to be happy will vary throughout our lives.

Even if thankfully – little is required to be happy, there may be projects and prospects of happiness that will be harder to reach as we live.

There will be days where you feel like walking on clouds, with a light mind and a light heart, yet there will be days when you will be stuck and feel that you can’t take it anymore, and that you cannot get or deserve what you are dreaming about. That is for those days that I am writing this, should you ever need something to get you out of struggles.

Whenever you doubt about your right to be happy, whenever you lie in bed eyes opened looking at the ceiling, lost in thoughts. Whenever you ask yourself if you deserve what is happening to you, whenever you wrongly tell yourself “enjoy what is happening now because it is not going to last” or “you are not deserving what is happening to you” or “why should you get to experience such a nice life when other people are suffering”.

Whenever such thoughts ever come to your mind, I want you to remember that you are entitled to happiness and that you are the only one who can make it happen.

It will require energy, risks taking, and in some instances battling, but you can make it. Battles does not mean fighting or being mean, and it does not require to hurt others, but it surely means standing up for your cause – always respecting others, and yourself.

There will be times when, as you are about to reach your goal, you may suddenly feel like being at the edge of a cliff, paralyzed and afraid of making one more step forward. Be brave enough, it will pass.

Nowadays, one of the most common reasons for people not being happy or not being as happy as they truly deserve is the weight of their past. We are surely the results of situations and choices made in the past, and even if we cannot erase them from our personal history, nothing and no one is allowed to hold this past against us nor hold us back from being happy TODAY, TOMORROW, because of what happened yesterday.

We are not defined by our past, but we are who we are because of it. 

There will be doubts, there will be fears, there will be ghosts of the past, there will be people “knocking at the door of your conscious”. It is up to you to decide if you want to let them in.

There will be jealous, lost or sad people trying to influence or discourage you from getting what you want and being where you want. No doubts about it… but I would just tell them to go and love themselves and help them getting out of the negative spiral they may be caught in. Though do not let them make you walk away from what is yours, especially because happiness is positively contagious.

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
Buddha

Eventually what Henry Ford said is very applicable to this theme … ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.’

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” – Art Williams

I am leaving you, but will for sure never forget you

New Year

From the first day you changed my life. 

From the very beginning, you made “my reality” collapse. My life plans, my future and the many projects I had in mind … What seemed to be an everlasting truth simply vanished. That was my first lesson.The first of a long list.

Thanks to you, I grew a personality even stronger than the one I already had. I learnt to bounce back and find quick solutions to dilemmas I had never thought about before.

Thanks to you I grew up. I discovered the world and visited places I had not considered going to, such as Serbia or Montenegro.

Thanks to you, I got back my passion for adventures and living new experiences, including this willingness to cross as many items as possible on my “life list”.

Thanks to you I realized what love is about: family love, friendships, kind words, daily attentions and care. It is about areas that are most of the time more meaningful, reliable and rewarding than a romance.

Thanks to you, I met amazing people I now call « friends » and saw long term friendships becoming « family ».

Thanks to you I made one of my biggest dreams come true whilst 3 years ago I thought there was little to no chance for it to happen.

When I thought I had been through a wide range of emotions, if not a roller coaster …came Mid-November. This is when I experienced my first adult sorrow. When I felt at the same time : sadness, impossibility to explain or understand what was happening, and yet I felt hope. Indeed, those tears were full of hope: knowing that eventually love will triumph.

When December came, I stopped and stepped back to reflect on what has just happened in a year… 52 weeks… 365 days. A year that passed by in the blink of an eye.

Little did I know when I was celebrating your arrival, that I was about to enter into an experience that would rock my world, and start the first day of the rest of my life.

2015 .. I am leaving you, but will for sure never forget you.

Never.

Picture is mine

Je te quitte … mais jamais ne t’oublierai

New Year

Tu as changé le cours de ma vie. Dès les premiers jours.

Tu as fait s’effondrer en quelques secondes des certitudes qui semblaient jusqu’à lors inébranlables. Ce fut ma première leçon.

Tu m’as appris à me forger un caractère encore plus fort qu’il ne l’était déjà. Grâce à toi, j’ai appris à rebondir, à trouver des solutions rapides à des dilemmes auxquels je n’avais pas pensé il y a un an de ça.

Tu m’as fait grandir. J’ai découvert le monde et visité des pays où je n’aurais jamais imaginé me rendre un jour. Ce fut le cas pour la Bosnie et le Monténégro.

Tu m’as donné l’envie et l’opportunité de vivre des expériences insolites, parmi lesquelles figurent ces «  life list moments » que je répertorie au fil des mois.

Tu m’as appris que le mot aimer ne s’applique pas seulement à la sphère romantique, mais aussi à la famille, aux amis, aux paroles, aux gestes d’affections et aux petites attentions du quotidien qui en disent long.

Grâce à toi, j’ai rencontré des personnes fantastiques que je peux appeler aujourd’hui  “amis”, et j’ai vu des amitiés de longue date devenir “famille”.

Tu m’as permis de réaliser un de mes rêves les plus chers sur lequel j’avais fait une croix il a 3 ans de ça.

Et quand je pensais avoir déjà vécu un large éventail d’émotions, s’en vint mi-novembre. Je t’ai alors livré mon premier chagrin d’adulte. Je revois couler le long de mes joues des larmes lourdes, des lames chaudes et salées. Des larmes d’incompréhension et de douleur. Mais aussi des larmes d’espoir où l’on se dit que malgré tout, l’amour triomphera.

Décembre arriva. Je pu enfin contempler le chemin parcouru en 12 mois, …52 semaines … 365 jours. Bref, en une année qui vient de s’écouler en un clin d’œil.

J’ignorais qu’au moment même où je célébrais ton arrivée, embrassant mes proches, je m’apprêtais à entrer dans une année qui allait me donner l’opportunité de commencer le premier jour du reste de ma vie.

2015 … Je te quitte … sur la pointe des pieds et du cœur, mais jamais ne t’oublierai.

Jamais.

Vidéo Sur les pointes par Allain Leprest. 

Picture is mine 

5 signs you are becoming an adult – Christmas time

ohohoh

Whether we like it or not … time passes and the cute baby we used to be, slowly transformed into a nice moody teenager and in the blink of an eye became this interesting creature known as ” An adult”.

I used to say ” I am so looking forward to grow up and be adult so I do not have to do homework and go to school”, but now that I think twice about it, I don’t concur with this no more.

If you are still in doubt as to whether you are an adult  or not – here is a list that may give you indications you are on the right path (YAY). In case this does not apply to you yet… don’t “panic” – it will come faster than what you think. This one is of course a Special Christmas (Let’s be “seasonal”)

  1. You bought an advent calendar but unlike you used to do when you were 7 years old … you really eat one chocolate per day, instead of eating all of them at once. 

That is a huge sign ! You are on the way of being reasonable and playing the game of the advent calendar. It is a BIG achievement.

Note : It is not written at the back of the advent calendar, but I made my own rules… Up to you if you want to follow them. When you are around the 22nd of December, we tend to go back to family, take a bit of holidays before it is actually Christmas day. So in that case, you may not be there to eat the chocolates # 22, # 23, #24. In that case, ONLY IN THAT CASE, it is commonly accepted that you can eat all of them at once. Up to you to decide if you want to eat them alone in the open space of your office, enjoying this guilty pleasure, OR if you are up for a good deed and share them with your colleagues and friends. 

2. You are able to provide an answer to the traditional question : What would you like for Christmas ? 

…Because over the past months you kept a list of things that could be a good idea for a Christmas present – “just in case someone asks you”

3. Spoiler alert – You do not believe in Santa Clause or “Father Christmas” anymore …  but you are the one making sure nobody in your family spoils this lovely legend in front of your youngest cousins, nephews, nieces. (That was such a lovely thought when being kid; and it is still cute to see the youngest one so into this legend)

4.  You may be the lucky one who has been picked by your mum, your Grand-Ma, your boss – to wear the Santa Claus costume and distribute presents  at home or during the company Christmas party this year. Ho Ho Ho

5. You have very good Gift wrapping skills – which makes you be the Official Gift Wrapper for the year … You therefore know all the presents people will be receiving (but as you may be also a great actor, you can totally play it the Actor Studio way : “Oh really you got the Frozen Costume ? What a surprise !!”)

Note :

ALWAYS double check when putting the name tag on the present. True story : During a Christmas I ended up having a boy swim suit and my brother a bikini. Kids are not good at poker face in general. Although I am always thankful for what I get, for this one – I did not know how I shall react, not wanting to hurt anyone or sound like a spoiled kid. 🙂 

All I want for Christmas is you

I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes …

The count down until Christmas has definitely started, however the Christmas-y mood I usually sink in from December 1st up until the Christmas eve has not yet kicked-in. Not sure if this is because weather is still rather warm  or because I am “getting used to” it. I am kind of a “Christmas Veteran” about to celebrate my 29th 🙂

I can really not blame it on the Brits for not making efforts to have us prepared for Christmas: straight after Halloween, the witches hats, spooky skeletons and spider webs were replaced by snow flakes, red curtains and Santa Claus in pretty much every stores. Even at my local Starbucks … except that they forgot a tiny detail – they were still playing Bob Marley instead of the traditional Jingle Bells and other Deck the halls – creating a nice exotic atmosphere. 

Soon after the decorations come the usual Christmas rituals. 

Christmas is that time of the year when: 

  • People (including seasoned adults and senior colleagues from the office ) rush to buy an Advent calendar and would then carefully and diligently eat the daily chocolate that get them closer to “the D-day. So far, I spotted many Kinder fans and a small community of Hotel du Chocolat connoisseurs (So chic) 

  • There is an “unofficial” competition at the office as to who would have the kitchiest Christmas ornament at their desk. (Some ending up exceeding expectations.) 

  • All sorts of parties are thrown, ranging from the Ugly Christmas sweaters day; Christmas parties; Secret Santa … 

  • You can – with no guilt – spend your full week-ends watching (for the 10th time) the traditional Christmas movies, namely : Notting Hill, Love Actually, Bridget Jones – while drinking hot chocolate (with a dash of Baileys) and going for binge ice-cream “tasting” 

  • Some privileged members of the “I always do my Christmas shopping at the last moment – despite saying each year : Next time I will start earlier” group – end up spending the 2 last week ends before D-day, looking for the perfect gift. 

Continue reading

I believe I can fly : Bristol Balloon Fiesta

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If you tell people you live in UK or England, chances are that you will hear the traditional list of cliche used to depict this part of the world :

  • The bad weather and the rain ( .. well – not too far from reality)
  • The wrong legend that British food is not good and limited to Fish & Chips, Roast beef. UK actually has a lot of great food and recipes and I would need a full post to talk about all of them.

UK is also too often “reduced” to :

  • The city of London, Edinburgh, Manchester / Liverpool  if you are a fan of football
  • Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton, Harry and William and all the Royal family
  • Home of Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Shakespeare … you name it

All this to say that in the South West of England, there is a lovely city called Bristol which has A LOT to offer to put an end to the cliche people may have about England ( besides the rain thing … Yes – I must admit that quite often, it is pouring in Bristol).

Bristol is home to a great arts and overall culture scene, lovely food, cute coffee shops and summer/ spring festivals. From May until September, when the nice days kick-in, you will be able to find a festival pretty much every week-end. One that I particularly enjoy is the Bristol Balloon Fiesta that happens every year in August, in Ashton Court*. If you like Hot Air Balloon or want to spend a nice week-end with family and friends, this festival is for you, so make sure to spend few hours there if you are around.

What is the Bristol Balloon Fiesta?

It is an international Festival, featuring several hundreds of flights of Hot Air Balloons, and welcoming thousands of visitors over 3 days. On top of the balloons flights, the festival features 2 night glows, and a firework on the Saturday night. ( See the video of the night glow)

There is also a Fairground with lots of attractions for kids and adults. You will find wine and local food stands, local music talents. Long story short, everyone should be able to find attractions to be entertained during this festival.

The Bristol Balloon Fiesta is free and open to public.

It goes without saying that if you want to fly during the Balloon Fiesta, you would have to book in advance your flight. Note that prices to fly during this event are (for me) excruciatingly high compared to the prices that are practiced the rest of the year.

For me the best way to enjoy this festival is to go to Ashton Court in the mid-afternoon on Saturday, to enjoy a nice picnic with friends until the night kicks in, so you can see the night glows and the firework.

My advice if you want to go to the Balloon Fiesta :

Access by car is NOT recommended. There will be hundreds of cars and if you want to avoid being stuck for 2 hours to do less than 3 kms… avoid taking the car ( especially to leave after the firework, I REALLY do not recommend it.) There are buses services arranged for the event, and if you can come by foot – it is for me the best option.

Be prepared to see A LOT of people around. If you are with kids, or buggies : this may be a bit of a challenge. However, you do not need to go to Ashton Court itself if you want to see the shows or the balloons flying. You can have a great view from Clifton, or the White Lion Terrace  – so depending on your situation and whether you like crowds or not so much – you have several options available to you so you can enjoy this event.

The success of this event relies a lot on the weather:

  • If there is too much wind : balloons will not fly. As the whole point of this festival is to see those hundreds of balloons flying … it can be a bit of a non-event if they are to stay on the ground.
  • If it is rainy, the picnic and event in the park can be a bit challenging ( but not impossible) : back to 2014, it rained pretty much the whole afternoon and night but we were still able to see the night glows and the firework. We were blessed with a nice and dry summer in 2015 and the event was simply great.

Bring cash if you want to buy food or drinks ( but you can also bring your own picnic) , take sunscreen with you : when the sun kicks in, it can be quite strong and you could end up with a nice sunburn if you are not well prepared.

I really like this Festival because for 3 days you will see the Bristol sky full of balloons, which I found very pleasant and “romantic”. I also love to get to the festival on the Saturday afternoon to picnic with my friends  : it is a great moment to be all together, catch up and chill … one of the many little, simple pleasures in life.

If you need any additional reasons to go to Bristol  :

  • The street artist Banksy is said to be from Bristol : you can find a lot of his famous graffiti all over the city, including Naked Man,Mild Mild West, Girl with the Pierced Eardrum … (You can even see more if you walk around or go for the Banksy Tour organized by the city)
  • Bristol is the Europe Green Capital for 2015
  • We have amazing coffee bars, such as Brew, Bristol Coffee House, Spicer & Cole…
  • There are many lovely food places and restaurants which will put an end to the legend saying that UK food is not good or limited to roast beef, fish & chips, jelly puddings …
  • The great singer George Ezra is said to have studied and lived in Bristol for a while,

Ashton Court* :  

Ashton Court is a huge park (850 acres), with gardens, a mansion and many grasslands. There, you can walk, bike (but again I do not recommend you bike during the Balloon Fiesta), bring the kids over to play and enjoy outdoors.There is no admission fee to enter the park (But you may have to pay to take part to events organized at Ashton Court) There is a parking – it costs £1.20 per vehicle per day.

Like a rolling stone ….

like a rolling stone

It was supposed to be a post about Dubrovnik, Croatia and its treasures, but as I laid down my thoughts, it went in a totally different way than initially planned.

Dubrovnik is a charming host. A perfect place for a 3 days break. The narrow streets of the old town are calling you, so you go and get yourself “lost” in the city.

You will wander and discover gardens full of lemons and orange trees; come across the music school and if you are lucky enough you can hear the student playing the piano and rehearsing opera songs; you will stumble upon sleepy lazy cats who have nothing to do but enjoying the heat of the sun.

How nice is it, to have nothing to do but enjoying simple moments of life as they unfold on your path ?!

The Dubrovnik experience would not be complete without enjoying a glass of crisp white wine while doing people watching from a terrace : one of the many definitions of happiness for me. 

Day 2 in Croatia, I ended up having to change my initial exploration plans due to stormy weather. “Ciao” the excursion on the lovely islands : no boats would sail the wavy sea… I therefore used this free time to enjoy even more terraces and people watching. It gave me plenty time to “reflect” upon life, travels and any other topics a “20 and something” years old girl would be interested into.

Whilst the change in my travel plans was definitely not a problem, I could not help drawing a parallel between this and a very recent and sudden personal life change. I tend to be a bit skeptical about influential post on Facebook or other social media, but I realized that one of the most recent I read, stating “Nothing in your life should be taken for granted” was a very wise one.

Plans, promises and commitments deemed to be “unsinkable” can vanish when you expect it the least. The good thing is that most of the time, it is only be for the best – giving us an opportunity to reconsider options and opening our eyes to experiences we would have not have thought about otherwise.

I could not help thinking about Bob Dylan’s song, Like a rolling stone : “How does it feel, To be on your own, Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone?”

And what if the answer was: Simply great?

10 signs you are becoming “adult”

Rouge Gorge

 

I was puzzled with the title for this post. I picked the one which is probably the closest to what I want to express. You may find yourself in some of the below statements. J

1. You have plants at home and they are still alive 3 months after you bought them.
And on top of it, you take good care of them, including watering them REGULARLY and making sure they get exposed to the sun on a regular basis.

2. You start to cook some “fancy” dish, such as Asparagus/Goat cheese and chilli flakes frittata, home-made risotto, key lime cheesecake…

3. You think that Queen, Elton John, and Billy Joel were/are TRUE artists compared to the disposable pop music we hear on radio today.

4. There is not a day without seeing one of your college friends announcing on Facebook that they are “engaged, getting married or expecting a baby”

5. You prefer going for a drink listening live music bands or chilling in a lounge bar rather than throwing shots of Jägermeister all night long in a club.

6. You became more “reasonable” when it comes to party and drinking, afraid at the horrible hang over and headache expecting you the day after.

7. Your definition of “old” is in “permanent draft”
When you were 8, someone who was 30 was “old”
At 15, someone who was 50 was “old”
At nearly 30, you think that 60 is the new 30 ….

8. There is some healthy and fresh food in your fridge : spinach, kale, ginger (plus other vegs you ignored the existence 2 years ago). You try to have at least once per week a “greens’ juice” …. because yes on top of it, you are the happy owner of a juicer 😉

9. You throw yourself some challenges like : “get  a six-pack before turning 30” ; “do a marathon before I am 40”; “visit all the continents with my better half before considering getting married or pregnant (or both)” It goes without saying this applies to women only 😉  

10. You take yourself less seriously than where you were a teen or in your early 20s. You realize how life is amazing and precious, and make most of the moments you spend.

Picture is mine. I saw this little bird and I was just finding him super cute… Yes, I noticed that as I am growing older I tend to appreciate much more simple life moments and it makes me feel good.

 

What I’ve learnt since I travel (3)

Greece, santorini village overlooking cruise ships on bay
I cannot believe this is already the third post on “What I’ve learnt since I travel” !

For those of you, who would like to catch up with the 1 and 2, just follow the links 🙂

1. There will be some interesting encounters.

 I remember that day when I arrived in New York for the first time. Right off the plane, I was on my way from JFK to Central New York, hoping to catch the traing from Grand Central. As I was leaving for 3 weeks of business meetings, I had a rather heavy suitcase. When I jumped in the metro, I came across the look of a man which literally scared me. I do not know if it was his size or the toughness in the look, or me completely freaking out as I was lost in the Big Apple. Anyway… All I thought at that time was: “please – God – I hope he will not come or talk to me”. When I got off the metro to get my connection, I was struggling in the stairs. Guess what ! The only person who offered me help was this man. I said a massive thank you and gave a big smile. I know that one should not stop to appearance. I am the first to say it all the time. I guess stress, fatigue and the unknown caught me at that time. I just felt so weird after this interaction, and at the same time thankful for the help he gave me.

Note : It is also very important to be careful especially for women travelling abroad and I am not saying that one should trust and follow the first person met in the street. But that experience just shocked me. As if “someone” tried to send me a “message” from the skies, about not judging.

2, Do not expect everybody to be overly welcoming.

We do not leave in the “Care Bears” world. That is a fact. Even if I believe that most of the human beings on earth are genuinely kind and welcoming, you will come across some who are not. Regardless how bad you try. I remember once when I was in Prague, and that I tried to ask for a bag to a lady at the supermarket till ( she was in her 60’s). As she heard me speaking English, she just threw the bag at my face. I understand there is the weight of the Cold war that can be still on the shoulders of the one who suffered the most from it.

More recently, my boyfriend and I joined a biking event in UK to socialize and workout. As we arrived and introduced us, the guy barely said hi. He did not introduce himself and told us “Argh… You ride mountain bikes?! We are all riding road bikes”…

I am not going to detail the rest of the experience – but we ended up being ditched out of the event (despite paying for it) because we were mountain bikers. Whilst I understand that a road bike is faster than a mountain one, due to the weight…. I was just stunned and disappointed by the absence of effort they made to just welcome, say hi or help us meeting the people in the biking group.

That was a good lesson for me. I tried not to take it personally and in the end I felt for those guys and who decided to ignore us just because of a bike model.

For those moments – if it happens to you, never take it personally and do not try to be smarter than the person you are facing. There is no point in being bitter and mean. Just let them in their own world and go ahead to meet people who deserve it. 

3. That “awkward” greeting moment.

One of the most exciting but a bit “stressful” moment for me is meeting people for the first time. I used to travel a lot for work, so most of the introductions were meant to remain professional.

US folks were very informal and just said “How are you” while not caring of the answer …  I still remember when it happened – I was just “how rude is that person, asking how am I – while not listening the answer?!” until I figured it out with one of my friend on site who got also so upset at it – and then we realized that the American “How are you” is not meant to care of how we were doing but just to greet us. 🙂

For information – if you ask that to a French person like me, or a Latin person, be ready to get a full summary of their reason to be happy and the one that kept them “mad”! 🙂

When I worked in UAE, my male colleague warned me that men will shake his hand but not mine – as a matter of respect , and that as such I shall not take it bad. I am thankful he did, as this avoided me facing embarassing situations, and I had a great time working in Abu Dhabi.

Finally, I still remember my Indian friend, Bala who told me one day he was lost when I would greet him as he did not know how the French greeting way would work: he did not know if he was meant to give the kiss on the cheek or if he has to just kiss “in the air”. That was a very funny conversation we had him and I.

After all those experiences, I just decided that the best way to come ready for the first greeting time is to smile and show your willingness to connect. The technical side of the greeting itself will come naturally.

 And YOU what did you learn since you travelled? I want to know 🙂

Picture is not mine. I found it on Pinterest.

The day I signed up for Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga

It has been a while since the last post. It is time for me to catch up with posting and today I am posting about a “life experience” rather than a trip! Who knows it may give you some ideas to try it as well.

So here is the thing… I have been keeping a “life list” where I write down the experiences and trips I want to take. It is indeed very close to a bucket list, however, but as I was discussing with my better half, we agreed that a life list is a much more exciting, positive and lively name than the “bucket list”. Closing this “parenthesis” – I am getting back to the main topic of this post.

As I was living in London, I had heard so many times about “hot yoga” and its benefits, but I had never tried, until one of my colleagues found a “hot yoga” studio and invited me to join.

“Hot yoga” is better known as Bikram Yoga, and consists in a set of 26 postures sequence selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury from Hatha Yoga. Bikram Yoga is ideally practiced in a room heated to 40 °C (104 °F) with a humidity of 40%. The benefit is that every part of the body are worked, to give all the internal organs, all the veins, all the ligaments, and all the muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function.

I will always remember when I enter the room: a group of 40 people, of which a third was in swim suit, making daunting and loud breathing exercise as a warm up.As I was kindly trying to quietly lay my mat on the floor and get started for this new adventure, I just told my self :  “what have I signed up for”.

In order to feel a bit more comfortable, I looked up for the teacher. SURPRIIIISE !!!!! I crossed his look and found out this skinny man, standing on top of the stage (in a tight swim suit too) – speaking in a headset microphone, deeply inspired by “this tremendous energy in the room”. When he saw my  WHAT AM I DOING HERE look, it took him less than a second to realize I was new.

90 minutes later, after twisting my body in positions I had never thought about, and losing 5 litres of water, I proudly and happily ticked one of my “life list event”.

After this epic adventure, I came back home, drank a lot of water and got a very low key but relaxing day. The day after was a bit more challenging as I was a bit stiff – though I realized this was a hell of a great workout !!!

My situation at the time made that I was too busy to continue hot yoga, but this experience definitely triggered my curiosity and made me want to try again later. After this experience,

I liked:

  • The great deep and full workout I got after doing this 90 minutes session,
  • The idea of ticking one of the items on my list

I did not like so much:

The daunting atmosphere in the class, whereby it look a bit elitist : people with years of practice would show off, while people who were new did not look so welcome by the teacher… This made me feel quite uncomfortable as I was trying my best.

Note:

I was just unlucky, and the fact of picking a Central London Yoga club may be partly the reason why I felt as such. I joined another club outside of London and teachers are just fab : fun and chilled, walking over the room and trying to help as much as they can.

2 years after this intense experience, as I moved in a new town I found a Birkram Yoga studio and decided to try again. This time, I came in a swim suit too ( Thinking people would not notice I am a beginner… I assumed that coming dressed up like the 1st row was during my first class in London would be a great way not to be spotted as THE beginner – SMART THOUGHT ! What I did not anticipate was  that the teacher would start the class with an “Ok folks : we have a new student today… Can you raise your hand so I see where you sit?” – My subterfuge vanished 🙂 )

Anyway… I felt a bit rusty at the beginning of the class but body does not forget and by the end of the session I was able to do almost all the positions. I then decided to come over for 4 more classes and really started feeling the benefits of this practice. I love running and I noticed my cardio was getting better and better : breathing just comes naturally and I am not feeling pain at all, even after running my 10k finishing the race up a hill… Muscle recovery is also faster. The cherry on the cake : I am overall much more relaxed since I do Bikram Yoga. Breathing exercise must help for sure.

Then comes the non-visible effect – and yet probably as important as the rest. Bikram Yoga is practiced in a room with mirrors at the front row so everyone can check their body alignment. For 90 minutes, it is a matter of focus, meditation and rigor: facing at yourself, twisting your body until you get to the right position. Living in a society where “selfies” and Photoshoped pictures rule the “world”, where the press and internet release pictures of girls with body proportions going beyond Mother Nature laws, the image and relation one can have towards our own body may be a tiny bit shaken up. Last week, as the class was full, I ended up taking a spot on the first row : facing the mirror. Thanks to the practice and time spent at the studio I was able to look at myself in the mirror, straight in the eyes, not feeling discomfort and appreciating the results this discipline gave me, without thinking “ Dear! I should consider buying fat free Nutella” or “ Shall I tell them their mirror is flawed… “ 🙂

In a nutshell , if you want to have fun time, get healthy and fit, try Bikram Yoga. It is a great way to get a good body and mind workout at once.

Note It goes without saying that practicing hot yoga may not be good for everybody, so make sure you are in healthy condition. I do not practice more than once per week, because I want to avoid any veins or blood circulation issue.

Last but not least, I am very well aware of some critics and lawsuits that have been associated to Bikram Choudhury ( founder of Bikram Yoga). This post is only to discuss about the practice and the benefits I found in practicing, and not to get into a discussion about the lawsuit and controversy around Bikram Choudhury. 

I hope you enjoyed it and that it gives you some motivation to try (at least for the one who have been contemplating trying : just try – you will be surprised of the results)