Thursday, December 16, 2010

Say No To Shovelling Snow!

Let me start by telling you that I absolutely lurve Yoga Journal.
I have a years subscription and I hover at the mail box around the 10th of the month waiting for the delivery...and also so I can tell the mail man off for ruining the front lawn as he wheel spins onto the main road like he is gearing up for the Daytona 500. Only in America do we have a mail delivery where they don't even have to leave their vehicles to deliver the post! Together with the drive through bank, dry cleaners, ice cream stand and pharmacy, soon babies will come out of the womb in a 4x4 with standard fat arse and Dunkin Donuts coffee cup in hand!
I digress!
So, then with my lovely mag in my hot little hand, I tend to sneak into the loo, the only place where I am guaranteed that the ever conversational Mr F will not disturb, and settle in to a good read. And Yoga Journal never disappoints. It is always packed with inspirational stories, great posture clinics, fabulous sequence ideas, yummy recipes and interesting out of the box articles.
Can you tell I am a fan?
However, when I was poring over this months issue there was one small, half page piece that really made me laugh. It was intended as a serious piece, with tips on how to use your yoga practice to help you cope with the Christmas season, specifically, on shovelling snow and being injury free. Great idea in theory but...really?! Now let me set the scene.
You are out in freezing temperatures, bundled up in a thousand layers, probably late for work or a party or simply just a little bit peeved, having decided that if you don't bloody well shovel the drive then no-one else is going to. Are you thinking good posture and sound technique? No, you are thinking, "Why am I out here freezing my butt off while my husband is skulking in the warm cosy house pretending to be on an important business call which will miraculously end as soon as the  path is clear and the shovel is safely back in the garage...git!"
I simply cannot imagine that at any time, "core, posture, breath" is going through your mind!
You may wish it had been, the next day when your shoulders feel like they are falling out of their sockets and your lower back feels like a rusty hinge that is in dire need of some WD40.
I love the thought that us yogis are using our yoga tools to live our everyday life, making it easier, happier, smoother, keeping us all healthier and more balanced, but is it just me, or does everything that make sense for the rest of the year go out the window in the silly season?
Maybe I am just a bad yogini!
However, now writing this post, maybe I should be more aware of the yogic me over the Christmas period. 

  • Like when I am precariously balanced on my grandfathers rickety wooden step ladder, with a tangle of LEDs in my freezing cold hands dropping twist ties on the drive, spewing swear words from my foul mouth while attempting to hang my parents outside lights. 
  • Or when I am very grumpily, twenty minutes into the 3 mile long queue in Zara, sweltering in my boots, coat, scarf, gloves and hat in the shop's tropical temperatures to buy an outfit for New Years eve, which may not even fit by then anyway after all the turkey and roast potatoes and Quality Street and booze. 
  • Or when I am the wrong side of an afternoon of Bucks Fizz on Boxing Day being competitive in The Cereal Box game showing off my bendy, but generally not warmed up body!

Nice thought yoga Journal and although I think of yoga as a way of life, December is my month off!
I will be bending down without engaging my core and keeping a micro bend in my knees. I will be over-indulging, waking up with a hangover and then doing it all over again the next day. I will be stressing and swearing and probably swapping a hot yoga flow for a hot mulled wine flow.
But most of all I will be skidding across the snowy driveway and going off sledging with my Nephews!
Say no to shovelling snow!

Monday, December 13, 2010

It appears I am on a holiday go slow doesn't it? Sorry about that lovely Freedom followers. Please excuse my lack of posts this week. It has been a little manic to say the least. I shall endeavour to post very soon with good yogic vibes and holiday cheer. Until then, wish me luck on the Christmas shopping on which I am about to embark.
A good few rounds of Kaphalbhati are in order I think before I brave the throngs of grumpy consumers!
Isn't it the season to be jolly?!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gnarly Biker Dudes

Sometimes you see stuff in life that makes you stop and smile and for just a moment, the cynic in you is silenced and you regain your faith in the human race.
On Sunday, I had such an experience in a mall parking lot of all places!
On the first Sunday in December every year, thousands of gnarly, scary, hardcore bikers gather in this parking lot in Merritt Island. They decorate their bikes and themselves for Christmas and most importantly, each has a toy tightly strapped to their machines. Then the powers that be, close off all the streets from Merritt Island to Melbourne and led by the very serious and impressive looking Sherriff's department on their cruisers, Santa rips out of the parking lot with a wave and a rev of his huge Harley engine followed by the throng of 6000.
This was the 29th annual ABATE Toys For Tots bike run which benefits the Shriners Children's Hospital amongst other local charities and it has to be the coolest event I have seen in a long time.
The bikes are amazing and I am certainly not a petrol head, but they all are immaculate with gleaming chrome and enviable paint jobs. (Well I wasn't envious but John who has a 1974 Triumph TR6 was green!) Then of course you have the bikers, tattooed, leather clad, weather beaten, tabacco chewing. And that's just the women! You certainly would not want to mess with any of them outside a bar or in a road rage incident but here they totally went against any stereotype you ever had for them. They were madly polishing their engines (!) whilst wearing Santa outfits and elves ears, attaching bells to their handlebars and checking that the Tonka truck or the giant teddy bear was securely fastened for the ride.
John and I wandered around playing paparazzi for an hour before the kickstands went up. We saw some unbelievable sights. Lots of guys who could legitimately be Santa, many women in chaps, some who could pull them off, others, not so much! We saw, Harleys, Triumphs, Kawasakis, Ducattis, Vespas, bikes with side cars, 3 wheelers, 4 wheelers, and the list goes on. Let me tell you, the noise of the engines and the smell of fuel was intense and the buzz of excitement was just as intoxicating. The sheer volume of people and the good will behind the event was, I hate to sound American but here goes...AWESOME!
We took some great pictures and had a front kerb seat as they all pulled out, rather fast and rather close to my toes in some cases.
A great morning all for a great cause.
Hope you like the pictures!
Triumph engine

Gnarly Biker Dude

This will get very tangled on the ride!

Mr and Mrs Clause?

Leader of the pack

resting up for the big ride

Toys
My friend Rhonda

me shinning up a lampost to capture it all  on my Flip


Imagine 100 times this
"Merry Christmas Man!"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mighty Magnesium

I am floating!
I didn't realise quite how tense and knotted up my whole body was until this morning and after an hours worth of a firm yet "kind" massage. I feel like a different woman, thank God!
You see yesterday was my Birthday! Boo! I was planning a non-Birthday as the advancing years are really too depressing to keep on celebrating, but  I guess everyone else thought differently and I had lots of lovely cards and messages (thank you Facebook) and it turned into an event after all. A low key one but an event none the less,with singing and wine and gifts. Thank you everyone!
John bought me amongst other things, a hot stone massage. I managed to get an appointment this morning and it was the most amazingly gorgeous experience ever! It was one hour of being totally blissed out.
First  of all I had to strip off...obviously! I always get worried at that point when they don't specify. Strip off completely? Leave on the under-crackers? Of course prior to that there was the initial dilemma at home, which undies to wear! Then, after I decided to protect my modesty (first time ever I hear you say!)  and I was in place on the table, there was the awkward prolonged wait. How will she know when I am nakedy and under the covers? Do I need to cough or yell out? I opted to do nothing but lie there, relax and send out psychic vibes that I was ready...It seemed to work but maybe massage therapists have a 6th sense about that!
Imagine a normal massage but the warm, oily hands were interspersed with hot flat stones. She actually used the stones to massage me and it was the most intense wonderful heat that went deep down into my used and abused muscles. She broke up crunchy lactic acid crystals in my neck and my middle back, my overworked calves (bloody running) and my feet. It was one of those experiences you just don't want to end and when I dragged my butt off the massage table I felt like jelly. So relaxed and so pampered!
I was then presented with a bottle of liquid magnesium with a wink and a smile and was told that it could work wonders for me.
This therapist was like Glenda the good witch!
So true to form I came home, took the dose and then Googled magnesium!
Did you know that headaches, muscle fatigue and cramps, high blood pressure, sleep problems, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart arrhythmia and a number of other common diseases and ailments can be helped by getting a regular daily dose of magnesium. I don't want to be the bearer of bad news but the magnesium in take for American's has dropped 50% over the last century. Also, many people are loading up on calcium which actually flushes magnesium out of the cells.
Now don't ditch the calcium, its important too but make sure that for every 2 milligrams of calcium you treat your body to 1milligram of magnesium. "How do we measure that Fee?" We don't! Well you may be able to but I am too busy! I am just going to take a supplement like all  lazy 21st century people should! I am also going to up my intake of all the good magnesium loaded foods, like spinach, cashews, yoghurt and chocolate pudding (gotta love that!)
I am told by Glenda that I will sleep better and my headaches will disappear, as will the majority of my aches and pains.
You can't get much better than that, right?!
So here's to hot stone massages and mighty magnesium!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Running on Empty!

Couch to 5K (in 9 long and painful weeks). That is the name of the programme I am following, minus the bit in parenthesis of course but I wanted to give you the full picture!
So I am on week 3. My calves are like knots of steel and my achilles tendons are the length of  those of a small field mouse. And just for added excitement, my elbow joints are killing me. If nothing else, running has woken up a few parts of my body that have been snoozing for the last, I don't know, 30 years!
But, did you hear, I AM ON WEEK 3 (That is me shouting in a celebratory fashion!) I am so proud of myself, if that's allowed, me being a  very self-deprecating English girl!

Now for some of you seasoned athletes who think nothing of doing an easy half marathon in your lunch hour, you may be subduing a smirk right now. Listen, iron men, you may well pooh pooh my meagre 5K but let me tell you, for of some us lesser mortals, this is a big deal.
This is my Everest, my New York Marathon, my Inca trail. 
You see I like to think of myself as an indoor athlete. I am happiest in a studio, with no eneven terrain to deal with, no inclement weather to battle through, no route to navigate. Give me a yoga mat or a pair of dance sneakers and I can keep up with the best of them. I am also well aware of my limitations, so when I set my goal to become a runner (And I use that word in its loosest possible sense!) I knew I would need help. Low and behold after trawling the internet for about, I don't know, 3 seconds I had a veritable smorgasbord of different training schedules to choose from. I immediately scratched the Marathon training schedules and the 10K programmes ( I am not mad!) and settled upon The Couch to 5K Running Plan. Mainly because I like the name. It made me feel like you could be the biggest sofa slob in the world and yet still stand a chance of running your butt round 3.1miles. And I figured, I am pretty fit and healthy, should be a breeze! So the deal is, you have to do 3 sessions a week each of between 25 and 32 minutes, working up from running for just one minute to running for 30 minutes straight.
How hard can it be, really?
Weeks one and two were totally excellent. I was mainly in awe that I could actually run! The best part is that John cycled next to me for support like we were Rocky and Mick, and he added words of encouragement along the way, like "Your bottom is definitely getting smaller" and " Move it fatty!"
The end of week two and the start of week three happened to be when I was on a ship so I headed up to the gym in between sun bathing and drinking cocktails (so rubbish being in 80 degree weather in November!) and ran on the treadmill. Just a little tip from the pro...don't do that! It is SO much easier to run on the treadmill, you see, it's the indoor thing again! No wind in your face, no pot holes to dodge, just a lovely bouncy surface and a TV to watch! The next two training sessions on dry land, since making that elementary mistake have been killer...and the most I have had to run in one go is only 3 minutes!
How pathetic! 
I have also realised that route planning is not my forte. At the end of my last run we found ourselves 3 miles from home. I had done my programme and was not running a step more, so I hopped on John's handlebars and he cycled me home all the while singing, "Raindrops keep falling on my head" while all I could think was, "How the bloody hell am I going to make it through week 4?"!
But never fear freedom lovers, I am up for the challenge. This modest 5K training will not be the breaking of me. I am armed with my Nike Pegasus trainers, my stop watch and my trusty sidekick and nothing is going to stop me...unless it snows a bit when I get back to Blighty for Christmas and then I may have to postpone!
Namaste running buddies!
PS Here is a great site for a few yoga poses to help stretch out your hard working body after a run: http://www.iyogalife.com/slideshows/slideshows/The_10_Best_Poses_for_Runners.php#1

Friday, November 26, 2010

5 great reasons to make time for yoga in the run up to Christmas

1. You want to look amazing in those gorgeously expensive, vertiginous heels that you bought especially for the silly season and lets face it, the Bambi look is not sexy; wobbling all over the place because you chose the 4 inch heel and you are a little unsteady on your feet.
The key to walking in heels is to forget about your feet and your legs and instead concentrate on your core. Lucky for you, every single pose in yoga helps to strengthen your core. Get on the mat and incorporate a few plank, boat and tree poses. And you will walk into that Christmas party and knock everyone out not just with your killer heels but also your killer body and confidence.

2. STRESS is the buzz word for December. So think back to that feeling of being in Savasana. Calm, relaxed, clear headed. Now, the stress is inevitable during the holidays, but taking yourself into a yoga class a couple of times a week and breathing and doing something for you will help to keep you a little calmer in those more testing times. Particularly when you realise on Christmas eve that the only way to fit the turkey in the oven is to go into the garage and saw it in half or when all the needles have fallen off the tree and it is only December 18th, and it's going to be a Charlie Brown Christmas AGAIN!

3. More calories are ingested in the month of December than all the rest of the year put together. That isn't an official statistic, in fact, maybe that's just me! Anyway, yoga is great at helping to regulate your metabolism, particularly practising surya namaskar, (my fave the good old sun salutation). It helps to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing, in turn increasing the metabolic rate. So not only is yoga going to help burn off any extra calories, it is actually going to help your body work more efficiently. With yoga in your life, your amazing body will tell you when to stop stuffing the sausage rolls because it is comfortably full thank you very much. Plus, you won't have to go on the dreaded crash diet in the New Year- January is depressing enough right?!

4. You have got the mother of all hangovers. You started with Bucks Fizz, went onto red wine with dinner and finally Port and  Sloe gin. Now it is the next morning and all you want to do is curl up on the sofa with a pint of tea watching The Wizard of Oz for the 500th time. Instead, what you need to do is peel yourself off the couch, drag on your sweats and get yourself down to a flow class.  I know, I know, it sounds like a terrible idea, but the gentle heating up of your body and the elevating of your heart rate is going to get the fresh oxygenated blood rushing round your body. You are going to sweat out the toxins and focus your mind and you will come out feeling amazing. The hangover will be no more and you will be energized, revitalised and more importantly, ready for the next party!

5. There are lots of beautiful, cool, sexy people that do yoga these days. Get down to the yoga studio and bag yourself a sexy date to take to your next party! 

Christmas is about giving but in the giving process don't forget yourself! Give yourself the gift of health and happiness by getting you butt onto a mat and doing a few asana. Then shine your halo whilst downing a few cheeky mulled wines and turkey sandwiches.

Happy Christmas shopping freedom lovers! x

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sod the damn the souffle!

How often do you really just take time for yourself and do nothing? Just completely relax?
Let go?
Give in and enjoy the peace?
I am guessing rarely. Because there is so much to cram in right?
We all live our lives at this frantic pace trying to fit 101 things into each day, setting ourselves goals and targets and deadlines. Why? Why do we put all this pressure on ourselves with little time to just "Stop and smell the flowers"? That is until something serious happens to make us realise that we have pushed ourselves too far. We have bags the size of Wales under our eyes, or we have finally found our car keys in the fridge for the third day running, or worse still, we have tonsillitis or flu, or, I don't know, rickets, because we have somehow let our immune system run down to the point where it couldn't fight back against a blister on our texting thumb! Then, and only then do we get the message and curl up on the sofa for a week, or take that well earned 3 days away  in a Scottish spa retreat. But should it really come to that? No!!!!
Savasana is the most wonderful yoga pose there is!
They say it is the easiest pose to do but the hardest to master and let me tell you, they, whoever "they" are, are completely right. Also known as corpse pose, this is a pose of total relaxation that rejuvenates the mind and body. Some say it is actually better than sleep. And the greatest part is that you don't have to twist yourself into a pretzel! All you do is lie on your back on a comfy mat with cosy clothes on keeping you all toasty warm and just breathe. Could it be more simple? I mean you can get more technical of you like. You can prepare by moving the flesh of your butt down towards your feet and press your elbows into the mat to open your chest a little. You can add a bolster under your knees if you have back problems which will make the pose more comfortable. You can even place a lavender eye pillow over your eyes to induce calm and relaxation. ( My lovely friend Shelley makes the most beautiful lavender eye pillows from gorgeous Chinese silk, that she happened to have lying around the house...as you do! Let me know if you are interested in getting one and I can give you her info. I am like a yoga fixer now!!) But the bottom line is that all you really need is to spend a few minutes in a supine position focusing on nothing else but relaxing.
Unwind, un-do, let go of all the tension in every muscle, every bone, every nerve, every organ. Get into all the nooks and crannies and let the tension ease away.
I like to start at the bottom with my toes and then work up through my body until I end with the tips of my ears, the tips of my nose and my scalp. But some like to go from the top down. Whatever rocks your world! It's amazing though quite how much tension you are holding in different parts of your body that you really had no idea about - for me, my jaw is a biggie as is my bum for some odd reason. (I know, you are all laughing now about my bum being a biggie!)
Now, for some, total relaxation can be really hard. Some people are just highly strung naturally and it takes a lot of effort to switch off and just be. So for those, like my hyper and annoyingly thin Mother who live on their nerves and thrive on being busy and active, as soon as you find your mind wandering to what you are going to make when Dave and Joanne come for dinner at the weekend, or whether you should paint the play room "elephant ear" or "string", simply come back to concentrating on your breath. Acknowledge the thoughts and then slide them out of your brain like they are pictures on your iPhone.
Seen them, now move on to the task at hand!
Ideally, savasana is taken at the end of a yoga practice, allowing the body to integrate and assimilate all the new energy and information that is flowing around it. However I have a theory. I reckon that we could all do with a bit of savasana in our lives, yogis and non yogis alike. Maybe if we all took a few minutes hanging out in corpse pose, every day or even a few times a week we would all be healthier, happier and less stressed. This wonderful restorative pose helps with mental and physical clarity which in turn helps us to make better choices in our lives. So next time you are running around like a headless chicken checking the airing cupboard for your wallet or having a  melt down that your souffle has deflated, get yourself straight down on to the floor, close your eyes and simply let go.
Try it, you won't  be disappointed!
Om Shanti

Saturday, November 13, 2010

If you can't beat 'em...

Driving in Florida is taking your life in your hands. There seems to be only one rule: Get to where you want to go as fast as possible and ignore everyone else on the road.
For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of driving in the sunshine state, imagine that every time you get on the highway you are infact on a race track and it is every man for himself! Although there is technically a slow lane and an overtaking lane, the general consensus is, bugger that and lets pretend we're at Nascar! There is weaving in and out of traffic, overtaking on the inside and my particular favourite, speeding and then mad slamming on of brakes when a radar cop is spotted lurking behind a tree or a road sign, with one hand poised on their speed device and one on their donut, all the while chewing tobacco and leering over their outdated Aviators!
It is terrifying! 
The other week I came out of a really lovely yoga practice, all calm and zen, chi realigned and ready to spread the love. I floated into my car but in about 20 seconds the calm had turn to fear and then anger and by the time I got home I was a gibbering wreck with a bad case of road rage! I had to quickly do some breathing exercises and a couple of sun salutes before I took a life!

So let me explain. In England, we have a name for these kind of drivers,who drive erratically and cause danger on the road, they are called "boy racers". Usually teen or twenty something boys, showing off their driving prowess in some hope that it will gain them credibility amongst their mates and ultimately get them a girl! 

In Florida, these drivers cannot be categorized so easily. They are called: 
  • Soccer Mom, driving their precious overweight child to sporting practice. The child is munching on a bucket of popcorn whilst watching the 40" screen TV in the back whilst the Mom is yapping on her mobile phone with a tiny rat like dog on her lap and her foot flat down on the accelerator and the break alternately.
  • Redneck, weaving in and out of traffic with a cigarette flailing out the window and Rascal Flatts blaring on the very tinny stereo. Fishing rods and a large cooler of beer are clanging around in the back of the truck and brake lights are broken as are indicators apparently.
  • Teen, driving their brand new Mustang with windows covered in stickers that say "Honor Student" and "Go Dolphins!" cruising in the middle lane at 80, texting.
  • Large Mexican looking individual in a battered old Chevy pick up, full to the top with lawn cuttings which are flying out the top so fast that by the time he gets wherever he is going the truck will be empty.
  • Tiny senior citizen who can barely see over the steering wheel, driving a Cadillac at 25 in the outside lane
  • And finally, Cyclist who thinks he owns the road, clad all in yellow lycra with his stupid streamlined helmet that even Chris Hoy would have thought was a bit OTT.
I encountered all of these drivers on my way home the other night and the cyclist was probably the most scary. He just pulled out in front of me on a single lane road with a car right up on my tail lights and huge SUV coming towards me. He just brazenly skidded out of his driveway about a foot in front of me, and he looked at me like I was the very devil!
All this time I have been adhering to the actual road rules but do you know what, what's the point? So I have decided that if you cant beat them...
I am off to get myself a cooler of beer one of which I will crack open and sip whilst I speed down the road at 95 in the slow lane, overtaking as many people on the inside as possible whilst checking my email and getting the football scores all the while trying to cross as many lights at orange as I can. 

Namaste and Drive safe!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Help me Rhonda!

A couple of posts ago (Is it right to be passing time in blog posts rather than days or weeks? Does this mean I am addicted to this now as well?!) I talked about saucha, purity and recounted trial by neti pot at teacher training. Well, I feel you have been reading my blog long enough now that I have earned your trust and if you are still reading my posts here in month 3 you must know by now that I am not one to hold back. Hopefully you are now un-shockable however if you are of a nervous disposition maybe you should go back to checking how many people have commented on your latest photo upload on Facebook or reading up on whether the X Factor fiasco at the weekend is really fair (Its a game show, relax, life isnt fair!).
So, are you ready?
Rhonda always has huge blonde bouffant hair and lashings of fuchsia pink lipstick whenever you see her. She always has a smile on her face and a spring in her step. Rhonda is one of those perky people who never looks miserable or tired and appears never to have had got out of the wrong side of the bed in her life. This is all quite surprising when you find out that she has a shitty job. Literally!
Rhonda is my colon hydro-therapist!
Shit is her business!
Now I am just enjoying saying shit! Sorry!
I have always wanted to have colonic irrigation. I know, I am weird! And before you think I am some sort of kinky girl with a  bottom fetish, I am not! I am neurotic girl with a thin fetish! I just thought, how lovely to go in feeling all fat and bloaty and to emerge cleansed on the inside, super thin and fantastically gorgeous! That, I soon discovered is not the way it works but let me tell you, a few colonics later, I am still a fan.
John bought me my first colonic as a Birthday present - some girls want Tiffany, what can I say, I am different! It certainly wasn't his idea of a gift but I had left lots of brochures and fliers lying around the house in the hopes that he would get the message and he is not one to disappoint!
I was actually quite nervous as I sat in the tiny waiting room of the cocoa beach wellness center I had been so excited about the possible after effects of the procedure, only now did it cross my mind that there could be some serious discomfort and perhaps a sprinkling of embarrassment.  I think that is why Rhonda is so great at her job. She whisked me into her cosy procedure room and immediately we got chatting about how she got into colonic hydrotherapy. I was totally enthralled and relaxed. She told me how her father had become really sick with cancer and as a family they decided to explore all avenues of treatment, both traditional and alternative. And everything that he experienced they did too. They supported him 100% on his journey through this terrible disease, taking herbs, changing their diet, having acupuncture, you name it they tried it, together, as a family. After her father died, Rhonda said she felt there was so much she had discovered within alternative medicine and she wanted to learn more. She was hooked.
Having been brought up eating fast food and drinking only milk and not exercising she was suddenly aware that perhaps her fathers life style could have contributed to his rapid decline in health.
During her voracious studying, lovely Rhonda came across colon cleansing and now thinks that just like we drag the drain rods out when we get a blocked waste pipe, we should give our colons the same treatment every now and again. Everything that we put into our bodies ends up in our colon and if it isn't all pushed through at a regular rate then the bad stuff, like mucus and putrefied faeces and bacteria can get reabsorbed into the body through the walls of the colon. NICE!
I was genned up on the anatomy of the colon and all the nasties that could be lurking within and was raring to go. Well, not raring to have a pipe shoved up my arse, but eager to be cleansed!
No, it wasn't pleasant, having a plastic tube placed, delicately I might add, into my bottom (too graphic?!)  but once it was in, with a deep breath and the tip that opening my mouth would help (apparently a relaxed jaw equals a relaxed ass hole! You get all the good information with me don't you?!) I actually couldn't feel it in there.
Over the next 40 minutes there was the endless fill and release, Rhonda, all the while chatting away with her reassuring sing song southern drawl. She would turn the valve on the machine to fill me up with warm water and then after a couple of minutes of softening (!) release the valve for the water et al to flow through the pipe into the secured colonic machine and directly out into the drain pipe. It is all odour free but you do get to see, if you want to that is, EVERYTHING that comes out! It is actually quite funny. "A whole mushroom Sophie?! You need to eat more slowly and chew!" The fill and release is accompanied by abdominal massage which is so amazing. After what Rhonda delicately called "The Mother load" which feels like the world is falling out of your bottom there is the most bizarre feeling of emptiness. I was instantly starving! I was also desperate for a wee! Much of the water being flushed into your body is absorbed through the colon walls and hydration is one of the benefits of the treatment. I was quickly and expertly released from my pipe, hopped straight off the table and into the loo where I stayed for about 15 minutes!
I left the Wellness centre feeling a little bloated which I didn't expect. I thought I would feel super skinny. BOO! I didn't want to slip on my LBD and go out on the town, more skulk back home and put on my jammies!
The weird thing was that although starving hungry, I didn't want to eat. I was cleansed. I didn't want to ruin it!
Now I know I have put some of you off your breakfast, but stick with me, here is the best bit.
The next day, I felt like a different person. I sprang out of bed! Now I am not known for being a springer in the morning, more a plodder and a grump and it is about an hour before it is safe to talk to me. My Dad always refers to me as the Kraken before noon!
I had a feeling of euphoria! It was bizarre!

Now I felt thin and gorgeous.
Now I felt like I could take on anything and anyone.
Now I felt GREAT!

For the next few weeks I was so energized. I had no period pains for about 4 months afterwards and my skin and hair were in great shape.
So I am a total colonic cheerleader. I have had a couple since and every time it has been a positive and enlightening experience.
Of course I wouldn't think to go anywhere but to Rhonda.
She is cooky,  is the only other person in the world who has seen my pooh, and I love her!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Beautiful Game

Put fifteen 14 year old boys together in a confined space and tell them to stand still and breathe. You would be surprised at the reaction.
My lovely Brother In Law, Kev, manages and coaches his son's local football team. Most of the boys have grown up playing together since they were 5 and they have a great bond both on and off the pitch. I just hope they realise quite how lucky they are to have Kev at the helm. He is enthusiastic, organised and fun and has created a pretty well performing group with a great attitude and wonderful team spirit.

From my experience, growing up across the road from the local pitch, football training typically consists of a kick about once a week, running round and round the field, passing endless balls to each other,with a few cones added in for extra measure, then back home, covered in mud, smelling of sweaty boy!
Chalfont Saints, thanks to Kev have taken local football training to another level. During the season, about every three weeks all the boys put £4 into the pot and meet at Bisham Abbey, early on Saturday morning. Now for those of you not in the know, set in spectacular grounds, Bisham Abbey is one of the UK's National Sports Centres. It offers training grounds and state of the art facilities for the countries leading sportsmen and women and the great thing about this place is that it's open to the local community as well as the sporting elite. Being a member, Kev takes advantage of this centre of sporting excellence himself, mainly for the fantastic tennis courts and delicious bacon sandwiches in the cafe! But being a sport nut he is passionate about his football lads and about giving them the opportunities and encouragement that he wished he had been given as a boy. Taking them to train where they can rub shoulders with top sports professionals can only be inspiring to these impressionable youngsters.
I was lucky enough to be included in the training session last weekend and it was quite something!
Bleary eyed teenage boys tumbled out of their Mum's cars at around 9am in the car park. i-Phones and  Blackberries were pried from hands and boots were slung on although the effort to bend down and tie the laces was really too much for the lanky limbed pubescents! Subs paid and chatter about lasts nights "Assasins Creed" marathon ongoing, Kev corralled the lads and they headed off for a half hour warm up on one of the FA standard pitches. I headed to the warmth of the cafe and a cup of peppermint tea! After about half an hour the boys all trooped up the stairs.
It was my turn! EEK!
Now I was well aware that  my Nephew, Jack was slightly nervous that I was going to embarrass him so I had to go into cool Aunt mode as well as yoga guru extraordinaire! Kev had secured a squash court for us which was perfect, big enough for the boys to spread out but small enough for me to keep an eye on everyone and stay in control! I didn't give them a chance to moan, straight away telling them to get their shoes and socks off and find a space. My bossy dance teacher voice came in very handy here!
And we were off!
It was a challenge for sure, but I had 30 minutes, a sequence in my head and I was determined to get through it and not put up with any truck (as my Dad would say!)
I loved it!
We started with some side bends and heart opening back bends then went into some sun salutations. I know it isn't very yogic but I had them in competition to see who could do 5 press ups each time in  the midst of their sun salute and let me tell you, no 14 year old wants to be out done by their mates in front of a girl who can match them (that was me - had to step up my game too!!) As well as core strength work, I concentrated quite a bit on hamstring stretching and knee and ankle strengthening poses for these budding sports heroes! Kev had been telling me about the high  injury rate amongst the team and that was why I agreed to take them for a yoga session. If a muscle and a joint is strong and has flexibility to it, when it is put in a compromising position it is likely to bounce back. With a limited amount of movement  and give, the muscle or joint has no chance, and will just tear, sprain or rip instead.
The boys did muck about a bit, making oh so predictable fart noises when I asked them to do a wide leg forward bend, but generally they were receptive and keen and focused. Particular favourite poses were, for me, chair pose and glute stretch which brought about much moaning and groaning (very amusing!) and for them, Tree, where their competitive streaks once again came out with nobody wanting to be the first to fall over!
By their short but sweet Savasana they were all smiling and quiet - a good sign! I gave them a quick run down on using this focus they had in yoga class for their football matches and their homework (groan!) and they were promptly whisked off to the next bit of their mornings training, Spinning!
Of course it would have been better to have done the spinning before yoga, but the boot camp style spinning instructor was on a tight schedule and we had to work around him. After 45 minutes of furious cycling whilst being shouted at by The Bike Nazi the boys were red and sweaty...and done! They all made it though! I was so impressed that apart form hopping off their bikes quickly to fill up their water bottles they all spun right to the bitter end!
After hitting the showers, the team all re-convened in a quiet corner of the tennis viewing area where Kev produced a gourmet picnic for all the starving players. There were sausage rolls, salady sandwiches for the vegetarian players(!) cheese and ham for the traditional carnivores amongst them, crisps and all sorts of other yummies! It was the perfect end to a really great morning of pushing themselves to their limits mentally and physically and after stuffing their faces they were all glowing at their achievements over the last few hours and full of enthusiasm for the next mornings match.
As the boys trooped out to meet their rides home they were so polite,  high-fiving Kev and thanking me for my contribution to the morning with the odd comment regarding their ability to move the next day! I left feeling a wonderful sense of achievement that I had opened these boys up to something new and in doing so had also managed to keep my cool status with Jack!
Thanks to Kev, the boys went back home clean, fed and watered and so knackered out that they didn't have the energy to argue about homework to be done or kit to be put in the wash!
The following morning, "Fart noise boys" were benched for the first half of their match after a speech from Kev about abusing the privilege of being trained by paid professionals! And I am happy to say that Chalfont Saints won their match, 4 - 1 with my gorgeous Nephew scoring two of those goals.
The boys are now asking when they can have another yoga session! 
You gotta love that!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England

That Shakespeare fella always had a way with words didn't he?

Hughenden Park, Bucks
And he was right too. I feel so lucky to be part of a country that is so beautiful, so steeped in history, so full of fantastic eccentricities. 
I love it! 
I have had the most wonderful month in the Mother Land. The weather has been fantastic, which always helps. There were only 3 days I think, of gloom and drizzle, which must be a record for our little island mustn't it? It has been sunny and crisp, blowy and perfectly autumnal.  I have spent the month dashing around the South East trying to visit as many people as possible. I have caught up with my gorgeous family, old school friends, new yoga friends and lovely, lovely people who really should class as family because they have been in my life for so long. It has been wonderful. I have managed to get into London, take some fab yoga classes, teach a little dance, go for a couple of long walks in the woods, discover some new local haunts, eat plenty of Bovril on toast, drink much wine, talk much rubbish and laugh an awful lot! Of course I didn’t get to see everyone for which I am a bit sad but Christmas is looming and I am going to be super organised so get your diary ready Ali and Lara amongst others, I will be emailing with dates!

Housekeeping

Yogahaven Clapham had to turn away 10 budding hot yoga converts this week as they just didn’t have the room in their fabulous studio which tops out at 55 mats. I am thrilled for them that after an uncertain first week of business, word is spreading and they are full to capacity. I like to think I am partly responsible!!!

My sister’s friend Sam is off dialysis and she can now communicate vocally. It is a faint whisper but amazing considering for the last 90 or so days she has barely been able to blink. They are weaning her off her ventilator which she is not thrilled about because breathing is exhausting and hard! Imagine that. The funniest part is that her boss called Sam’s husband to say that she was wanted back at work as soon as possible!
The other precious little life I blogged about, Alex, is doing well. Stem cell harvesting is happening although chemo is also ongoing. Please read his father’s blog at http://alexsharpsblog.wordpress.com/

Luten Martha King has caused much hilarity, but for me the icing on the cake was when Will told my sister about these weird shoes he had seen, they were “Gucci and Cabanna”!

Last Sunday, 11 of us were sitting round the dining room table at my Mum’s house, talking about winning the lottery and what we would do with the money. There were the usual ideas, houses, cars, charity donations and frowns when after a hypothetical £155 million win my Brother In Law wasn’t giving any of us more than £100,000 each! Amongst the chatter, Phoebe, my 4 year old Niece, piped up “If I had all the money in the world I would buy some of that stuff that you can get at the fair that is pink and disappears when you put it in your mouth!” Can you remember when all you wanted in life was Candy Floss?

Still no coffee, diet Coke or Crisps in my life and November is the month to buy trainers. My Mum was happy to hand over my Birthday cash early when she saw me in tears over the size of my arse! I know, I know, I am over dramatic but I am not like others, happy to embrace the middle age spread. I shall be skinny again, if it kills me!!! And it may, as I am only on day 1 and I am having Cadbury Twirl withdrawal already! Be strong Fee, you can do it!

Mostly I have been inspired this month to take life and run with it. Get everything out of it that you possibly can and have a great time. My mantra for November is, “Eat less, laugh more!”

This bloody post is taking me so long to write because I am trying to make the most Incredible Onion Soup at the same time. I have just burnt my tongue tasting it, but it is completely delicious...and low fat!!!! OK, soup made, blog done, off to do a few sun salutes and then to indulge in onion heaven. The big question is, is my will power strong enough to skip the cheesy crouton on the top of the onion soup? ...“Eat less, laugh more!” maybe my mantra should be “Close your mouth fat arse!”

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Heaven to Hell in 14 tube stops

7 am was the time I stumbled bleary eyed from my cosy warm bed on Friday morning. For those of you not familiar with my sleeping habits, there is really only one 7 O'clock in the day with which I am acquainted and it is not the morning one! I was on the train at 8:01 heading for London and it was actually a fascinating experience. There was a young, trendy business man frantically writing an obviously past due report on his teeny weeny laptop; a girl in the chicest outfit, sporting ugly, ugly trainers, NYC style; an older lady applying full make up including a complete eyebrow grooming session as well as an inspection of the bags under her eyes and stray black hairs on her chin. That was just in the other three seats next to me.

I finally hopped off the tube at Clapham Common and trotted about three minutes round the road to a little piece of yoga heaven. Well, actually it is one vowel off Heaven but what is a vowel amongst friends?!

Yogahaven Clapham, owned by the lovely Krystal Nash and Allie Hill, opened this week and let me tell you, it is STUNNING!
Set off the main road in an uber modern development, it is a beautifully designed and brilliantly thought out yoga studio. The glass fronted building gives off an open and inviting vibe and the 8 foot or so artistic photos of Allie, flawlessy  demonstrating 3 different postures are inspiring and will surely help to get people in the door and onto the mat. It was so great to see these two partners in crime perching behind their sleek desk and mac books, grinning, shattered but pleased as punch at their creation. And so they should be. The entrance area is big and airy with a "menu" of the class prices and package options painted onto the wall behind the desk. There are pigeon holes for shoes and the place smells great, which is a biggy - for those of you who frequent hot yoga studios, you know!!!

There is a small studio next to the lobby that has one glass wall (you can see out from the studio but not in from the road, so no worries about being leered at by passersby!) and fits maybe 15 mats comfortably. Here they will have a variety of classes including Jivamukti, Ashtanga, pregnancy yoga and the super new craze from America, pulse yoga.

Downstairs is the hot studio that is absolutely huge. It holds 55 mats and I was happy to see it also boasts a big skylight so you don't get the feeling of being cooped up like the Chilean miners! Both studios sport motivational  and enlightening quotes painted on the walls and the white and chocolate brown colour scheme is clean and chic.

Now for my favourite part, the changing rooms. GORGEOUS! Well, they have lockers and benches and coat hooks, all the usual suspects, but wait for it, the showers, oh the showers! Individual shower cubicles with frosted doors and drench heads. Thank god! Finally a facility where you don't have to parade around in a sea of sweaty naked women trying to avert your eyes from the sadly neglected bikini lines or the perfectly toned, ten years your junior, bodies, both of which make me quite uncomfortable. I don't know what it is, I am not a prude at all having spent my life as a dancer, often scantily clad and happy to make a costume change in front of anyone. I think it is the brazen way some women flaunt their wares, scrubbing their bits in front of perfect strangers and thinking nothing of drying their hair completely naked. Is there really any need?!
The class was fab. A properly hot studio and Krystal was amazing. She was on my teacher training course with me and all I kept thinking was, I hope I sound as good as her when I teach! She took us through the 90 minute class with ease, reassuring us, guiding us and peppering the practise with titbits regarding anatomical benefits with a large dose of human kindness.

Safe to say, I was in yoga heaven!

After my high pressure, private shower I got myself organised to head off to my next stop of the day. I skipped out the door after gushing about the new studio to the proud owners, looking like an enormous beetroot! Why do I go so red when I get hot? My sister does too so it must run in the family. People were giving me such weird looks on the tube like I had some horrible disease or I had just been the victim of a radioactive accident!
14 stops later, I arrived at Olympia for the annual event that I missed out on last year due to work commitments, The Yoga Show. I am not sure quite what I was expecting but I was so disappointed. It was a huge room full of people pedalling what can only be described as shite! Thai silk trousers in burnt orange with a low slung crotch that you would wear once, until someone laughed you out of the studio, overpriced potions for decreasing anxiety and increasing your overdraft, and 150 different  kinds of yoga mat all claiming to be the best yoga mat in the world! Fighting my way through the crowds and the very flimsy stands that shook if you slightly grazed one corner (as I did on numerous occasions with my large bag stuffed full of sweaty yoga gear), I found myself at a cafe. The organic, free range, eco-friendly, non biological, hormone free, no added sugar, egg and cress sandwich was the saving grace of the show along with the lecture on breathing techniques that I caught whilst chomping.

The final nail in the yoga show coffin was a very odd experience at the Sahaja yoga stand with a hobbit like man named "Uncle Jim" with his randomly shaved face and paint stripper halitosis. I will leave that story for another post!
I left Olympia very disappointed in what I thought was going to be a wonderfully enlightening experience. It turns out that no matter how many thousands of years old something is, there is always room for a good bit of commercialism and consumer madness.
My journey home was long and hot, I was still glowing red from the hot yoga class several hours previously and there was little air in the packed train compartment. Make up lady, report man and trainer girl were replaced with shopaholic, overweight senior citizen and surly teenager, who must have sent 500 texts between Marylebone and Chorleywood!

So I shall not be spending my hard earned cash on a ticket to Olympia next October, however I am very sorry that I don't live closer to Clapham so I can take advantage of all the gorgeous yoganess that Yogahaven has to offer.

If you get a chance, hop on the tube and see for yourself!
Namaste  x

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A note to the critics

We have a bit of a history of writing in my family. My brother Harry has been on the journey to being a prize winning novelist for some time now with his fantastic crime thriller and his most recent piece, documenting the months leading up to the birth of his first child. My brother, Matt, has put down on paper, or rather on laptop, his experiences of living and working abroad, most significantly with "The Romanian Diaries". He and his wife spent a year living in the mountains outside Bucharest just after they got married and the diaries are so witty and tell of a country that is fantastically corrupt and wildly different from anything we could imagine. 

Anyway last night my Mum finally caught up with my blog, (it's bad when you have to cajole your own Mother into supporting you isn't it?!) and she was commenting on how emotionally charged my writing was compared to Matt and  Harry's witty repartee and factual recounting. It wasn't said like it was a good thing! 

Hmmm!

She saw my wounded expression and quickly backtracked saying it was just a reflection of my personality and that I am a heart on your sleeve kind of gal!

I have had another comment from someone who shall remain nameless saying that my blog was painting this perfect picture of a rosy life and was just unrealistic.

You can't bloody win!
Too emotional, not emotional enough. Bloody Hell! I am not good at taking criticism! 
Then I got over the pouting and feeling like I should jack in the blog as a light bulb pinged in my head.

Who gives a shit?!

I started this blog because I was inspired to write and like I have said before, this is MY baby! I can say what I want, I can lie if I want, I can pour out my heart if I want, I can write 2 posts a day or leave it 3 weeks if I want. It is escapism for me and I am in control. That is the greatest part, being in complete control of something in your life without any chance of it being taken away or someone messing it up or breaking it. Nobody but me makes the decisions here on this page! 

It is lovely to think that people want to read this blog. I know that my posts have made people laugh and even cry and just think, and say, "you know what, I totally feel that way too, thank God I am not the only one!" 
But if you don't like it or you have a complaint about it then get your own blogspot and write your own!
For me this is like therapy! I always feel better once I have written. I am so crap at meditation, this is like my meditation. An hour sat here typing leaves me refreshed and energised and happy!

So I think my message today Freedom Lovers, is don't let other people dictate what you do that makes you happy. If you love it, bloody keep on with it - unless it's robbing banks or dealing crack that is! Seriously, life is short and fragile and you have to take every ounce of happiness you can get however much it may not completely fit into someone's ideas of how you should be spending your time.
If you get your kicks from sitting in front of Farmville every night for an hour, harvest away! If you love to spend a Sunday afternoon watching the football and shouting at the TV like you run the team, nobody should take that away from you and if it makes you feel good spouting about yoga, food and life in cyberspace, you should blog to your hearts content.

Rant over!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sweaty Betty!

I am a sweater! Not the kind you put on to keep out the cold but the kind who has to do merely a deep inhalation in a vinyasa class and the beads start to form on my upper lip! Nice! I have always thought how weird it is, how some people sweat and some really don't.
The other week I was in a particularly packed class and I got there later than usual so I had to squish in at the back, next to slightly ripe smelling goatee man and a very tiny Japanese lady who has no spacial awareness! It was quite a hot day, (when isn't it in Florida?) and the class was "yoga for athletes". It wasn't long before we were doing one legged vinyasas and holding revolving half moon pose for 12 breaths!
GASP! 
Have you done revolving half moon? Try it for 12 hundreths of a second! It is one of those killer balances where you have to engage every single muscle in your body and really concentrate hard on your ujaii breath and if you lose focus for one second you are on one hip on the floor with your other leg in the air trying to unravel yourself. (That could just be my experience of it of course!)
I always have a Yogitoes towel on top of my mat for two reasons, to help with slipage and to soak up the sweat! The problem was that much of this particular class seemed to have been designed so that often we were doing warrior 3 at the front of our mats, with our heads hanging above the bare wooden boards and before too long I had a lagoon of sweat on the floor in front of me. How nasty is that?! But what can you do? I didn't want to stop and keep wiping it up, really ruining the class for me and everyone around me so I kept flowing and so did the sweat!  At the end of the practice, the young pony-tailed man from .happyhealthyhuman who is a magnificent hippy in the loveliest way, turned to me and laughed. We were both dripping wet and frantically trying to mop up our pools of sweat on the floor so that nobody on their way out would have a Tom and Jerry moment and fall flat on their ass(ana!). The worst part was that the people walking past us looked fresh as daisies. "How come we look like we have had a shower and they look as glam as when they walked in?" I asked the Healthy Happy Human. He laughed and said in a very wise and yogic sounding way, "Because we are fitter!"
Now I though he was being sweet and trying to make a slightly neurotic, red faced, heavy breathing 30 something feel better about herself, being the type who preaches free love and world peace, love your neighbour and crochet your own granola, but do you know what, it turns out he was right!
Perspiration is how our bodies cool us down. It is sort of our own built in air conditioning system. Sweating is controlled in the hypothalamus and when our core temperature rises it sends a message to our bodies to start to thermoregulate by sweating and the evaporation of the sweat on the skin decreases our surface, or skin temperature. The more efficiently your body is working as a whole the better the cooling effects of the body, ergo, the more we sweat.
I am so happy to learn that I am not some freak of nature, but a finely tuned machine that is working to its maximum potential. 
OK, I am being a bit ambitious!
Lets just say, I am pretty fit and my body is working efficiently which is really great.
Another friend of mine who has been really getting into yoga said to me recently that she felt great but she was concerned that she seemed to sweat more in class. I gave her the good news and she went away with a smug grin and a spring in her very fit and healthy step!
So next time you feel a drip of sweat run down your cleavage (I have one of those now, very exciting!) or off your brow into your eyes, revel in how marvellous your body is at knowing exactly what it needs and allowing you to exercise without the potential of overheating.
Our bodies our wonderfully complex and completely amazing aren't they?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Conversations with a ten year old

Will
So, my ten year old Nephew, Will is quite a character. Dashingly handsome with a wicked sense of humour and very inquisitive with a good measure of eccentricity. He is always giggling and fascinated by everything which makes him great to hang out with because you can talk cars (his favourite subject), fashion, pop music, football, history...pretty much, he has an opinion on everything. I spent the weekend at my sisters and on Sunday morning Will and I ate toast and drank tea together in our pyjamas.

The greatest conversation ensued.

I have to share this bit of pure comic genius!

Will: Fee,(that's me) who is Luten Martha King?
Me: Who? (suppressing a giggle)
Will: Luten Martha King?
Me: Do you mean Martin Luther King?
Will: Whatever!
Me: Why?
Will: Well, at school, in our classroom we have pictures all round the walls of famous people from 1948 to 2010 and...
Me: Who is up there?
Will: The first man on the moon
Me: Whose name is...
Will: Buzz...?
Me: N n n n
Will: Niell Armstrong!
Me: Who else is up there
Will: Buzz....Lightyear... Buzz Aldrin!
Me: Yeah, who else?
Will: I don't know the name of the other man
Me: No you doughnut, not who else was on the moon, who else is up on the wall!
Will: (Giggling) Oh I see!! Dunno! So who is Martin Luther thingy then?
Me: He was a black man who fought for civil rights for African Americans. Back in the fifties and early sixties, black people had to use the seats on the back of the bus. They weren't allowed to go to the same schools as white people and they were treated really badly. So, Martin Luther King tried to help change that. He made a very famous speech, "I had a dream..."
Will: Hmmmmm!

We finished our breakfast as Louisa came in from her run (7am she went out!!! I hate her and her smug athleticism!) and she promptly dragged Will upstairs for a wash and to get dressed.

Louisa and Will drinking tea on the beach!
Will: Mum, do you know who Martin Luther King is?
Louisa: No!
Will: Duh!
Louisa: Well, who is he then?
Will: He was the first black man.
Louisa: What, ever? (snickering)
Will: (Laughing) No! I mean, he was the first black man on the moon!
Louisa: (Unable to speak because she is laughing too much!)
Will: (Also unable to speak through the giggles)
I come upstairs to see what the noise is all about and Louisa recounts the conversation
Me: Come on Will, you know who he is, I just told you
Will: Oh alright Fee, he was the first black man to drive a bus!

Don't you love him!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Falling in love again

Last Friday morning I had a frantic Facebook instant message (Does anyone use a phone for communication anymore?) from a lovely friend who owns a theatre arts school. She was desperate for a dance teacher, that afternoon. She had phoned everyone she knows and I was her last resort....NICE! Anyway, I have no dance stuff here with me, no docking station for my iPod, nothing, but I am not one to turn down a friend in need....or a job! I whizzed back to Prestwood, borrowed a dock from my friends son, threw on my sneaks at my Mum's and buzzed back out the door.
I haven't taught dance in 10 months and had no idea what I was going to do with these kids, but I was really excited and also, a little nervous! I have been living exclusively in yoga teacher mode, where I am composed and calm, encouraging and quietly passionate which I absolutely LOVE, but let me tell you, it was so great to be back to shouting "5 6 7 8..." over the top of blaring hip hop and jumping about like a mad thing. I didn't know how much I had missed that! The kids were so excited to have a new teacher for the day and they were all massively enthusiastic which always makes it so much more fun. I finished the evening sweaty and knackered and with a huge smile on my face. 
And now I am obsessed  with choreography again. I have no more dance teaching work coming up but I want to create and be prepared and amazing (obviously) when the next opportunity arises. The problem is that I have spent the summer being glued to "So You Think You Can Dance". This show has the most incredibly talented dancers and choreographers that I have ever seen. It is one of those programmes that is massively  inspiring because they are so unbelievable and at the same time hugely depressing...because they are so unbelievable! I dream of choreographing Emmy Award winning routines for world class performers, alas that is not my destiny I fear but I can take inspiration from the talent on this show. They are all so dedicated, work so hard and enjoy every second of what they do. Pretty good philosophy for life I reckon.
I went to see the tour of the show at the end of September and I was blown away. It was remarkable on TV but so much more amazing live.
And these dance numbers aren't just frivolous entertainment. Each choreographer has a story to tell and a point to put across and the dancers are the medium with which these artists communicate. Some are funny, some are full of hope, some are down right sad but pretty much all are works of art.
I really wanted to share a whole bunch of these videos with you but I am totally retarded when it comes to adding more than one video to this blog. I am sure it must be possible but I have googled it for about an hour now and I am high school educated, but for the life of me I cant bloody suss it out! Please let me know if you have the knowledge and are willing to share!
This one video I have managed to post here was my favourite number of the season.
"Fix You" is choreographed by Travis Wall, who came 2nd as a dancer on SYTYCD, season 2.
It is the story of his Mother's battle with cancer and how he supports her, and helps to keep her going when she loses her strength to keep on fighting.
Get the tissues ready. 
This is pure brilliance!





So you think you can dance - Fix you - Robert & Allison from Laura U on Vimeo.