This week Daphne Hartman is visiting Gozo. Daphne and I studied together at Teacher Training College a long time ago. Back then a very energetic and fun-loving person, and many years later she is still that glowing, enthusiastic example of health and well-being. As she is full-time teacher at a secondary school, a spinning and body pump instructor at a gym and a mother of three, I asked her what her secret is. She was willing to share two simple tips for radiant health.
Tip nr 1: keep moving all day long
Remarkably, as Daphne is a fitness professional, she does not recommend doing all sorts of fitness classes. Of course it is important to do cardio activities like cycling, jogging or aerobics regularly to maintain in good shape, but she believes it is much more important to keep moving all day doing your daily business. So, take the stairs, walk to the grocery store instead of going by car, enjoy the movements in your daily household chores and take a walk every now and then. These “natural everyday movements” have a greater impact on your health and energy levels than going to the gym once a week, according to Daphne.
Tip nr 2: stay away from bread
Of course it is lovely to enjoy bread every once in a while, nothing wrong with that. But to stay in good shape and to maintain a high energy level, Daphne recommends to stay away from bread and to eat lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes. She herself also eats all kinds of fish and white meat. But, she says, diet is a very personal matter, this is what works for her, and for someone else it might be very beneficial to eat other things. It is a matter of trail and error, and finding out what works for you and your family, taking work, daily activities and social life into account.
So it has been quite a while since I posted the first blog. A lot has happened the last few weeks! We’ve moved to Gozo and I have started teaching yoga on the beach again. Two weeks have passed since my first class on the beach and I can only say it has been even better than I remembered. Better in terms of how yoga, the beauty of the beach, the sound of the waves, the lovely temperature and the smells of salty sea, sunscreen and fennel blend into a perfect mix to practice. And even more important, the mix of people who have come to my morning or evening classes: beginners or more experienced, from different countries and backgrounds but with a shared interest to breathe & move and connect to one’s inner-self. It’s awesome!
Relax, energize, enjoy!
I teach a kind of yoga that is called “Saswitha” yoga in The Netherlands. It’s a type of hatha yoga in which movement & breath are combined at all times. A basic principle in this kind of yoga is that body and mind are one, and the breath is the connecting element. So expect some breathwork, standing, sitting and lying positions in a typical class, as well as some guided meditations during Savasana, the final part of each yoga class in which one can relax completely. Or expect what my students tell me: “doing yoga with you is a fun and relaxing way to work on a fit body, a quiet mind and to get new energy at the same time”. What I also hear a lot is that people like this yoga style because all poses can be adapted to one’s own possibilities. Not very flexible? No problem, just adapt the pose, for example by bending the knees or using some kind of other alteration. Not very strong? No problem, we’re getting stronger together while we are practising. Anyone can participate, something I really, really like, apart from the fact that I am not the most flexible or strong person in the world myself either! And I have learned through the years that yoga is not about those things. It is about your body-mind connection, your sense of wellbeing, about getting to know yourself better, and about relaxation, new energy and enjoying the moment, both on and off the mat!
Really happy to come back to Gozo this summer and teach yoga classes again on the beach. I intend to start Thursday 2 August. A year has passed since I taught my first class on Xwejni Beach in May last year and I have so many good memories of the early morning classes I taught in de summer. I met so many wonderful and interesting people, with a common interest in yoga & wellbeing. It was just lovely doing yoga together.
This year I will also do a few evening classes at 18:30 p.m. Expect a beautiful sunset at the end of the yoga session! Can’t wait!