My favourite spot to chill out: Gili Meno, Indonesia

I am in love 💜with this island 🏖

In case you don’t have any clue where it is – Google Maps will tell you

Gili Meno is the smallest of the three Gilis, it is the one in the middle. Once you arrive here, you go back in time. No motorized traffic but cidomos (horse cars); they use them as taxis and carry cement, wood, water gallons, and even fridges around the island. No proper roads too, often just sand. Jalan kaki (walking), on a bike or an electric scooter, are better ways to move yourself around on the island.

Cidomo – to transport building materials

Talk of the day on this island is when a chopper 🚁is landing. Yes, a chopper! For people who don’t want to take the boat or are seasick 😉, or just because they can. It’s just 2,500,000 million (roepiah 😉), per person, one way, not that expensive actually 😉(2,5 million is around € 150). It goes straight from Sanur to Gili Meno, definitely faster than the speed boat. I may try it next time😇🤣.

To give you an estimation of the size of the island: you can walk around the island in less than 2 hours (slow walk)! And that includes taking pictures and zigzagging to avoid the dead coral. At least, that’s what I did 😉. In the morning, instead of my usual ritual (yoga on the beach), I decided to take a walk. In bikinis and barefoot, feeling the warm water and sunshine on my body🙌.

The first time I got here, July 2008, there weren’t ATMs, so you needed to carry millions 💰 💰 💰 with you. And when you had spent more uang (money) than you had estimated, you had to take a boat to Bangsal, the mainland of Lombok. Now there are 3 ATMs on the island, but I think 1 is broken haha. Still, 2 left, enough for the few tourists here to get money (so no need to fix the 3rd one😅.

However, I recommend, in case you want to go here, take enough cash with you, just in case the ATMs aren’t working. And because you can’t pay with a card in shops. Even changing a note of 100,000 is hard. I had this after my supper. I ordered gado-gado, Lombok style (enak sekali!), it costed 25,000, I only had 100,000 (around US $ 7), I had to ask 3 places to change it, then went back to the restaurant and paid.
FYI: 25,000 is around € 1,50.

This island has been a healing place for me, ever since the first time I got here. The peaceful, quiet nights (ok, until 5 am, then the show ‘Gili Meno has talent’ starts, or in other words: the prayers from the mosque 😉). The clear blue waters, white sandy beaches, the silent whispers of the sea, the waves touching the sand, the genuine kind people, kids playing around, good food and the tanned beach boys trying to sell their snorkelling trips.

Besides the beach and snorkelling, there isn’t much to do here and I like it. It is stimulating my creativity, my intuition. I slow down and enjoy life much more. I am still working though, not yet enough passive money coming in 😉 (working on that!).

And, I realize how grateful 🙏 we should be for all we have in life! Drinking water from the tap, here it is not possible, not even to make tea because it is salty water. Taking a shower? Salty water. Washing your clothes? Salty water. 1 thing that I sensed is that my soap bar doesn’t foam, probably because of the salty water🤔. Can anyone explain this to me?

Cockroaches🪳 don’t mind salty water, I got one, a GIANT one, on my toilet seat, of course in the middle of the night! The first night I got here! What a nice surprise. I screamed and that must have helped. I haven’t seen it again, thank God 🙏.

Oh, after 3 weeks in Sanur, Bali, I must say: the food here is amazing, although having a food buddy, like I had in Sanur, would make the food taste even better. Gado-gado Gili Meno style and tempe curries, my favorites, really yummy. I even found delicious brownies. The landlady makes especially for me nasi goreng pedas (spicy fried rice) as sarapan (breakfast) and she is surprised at how spicy I can eat without having a runny nose or starting to sweat. Yup, from the inside I am more Indonesian than I look from the outside 😜☺️.

Yummy, tempe curry!

Short summary for my upcoming travels: first Sanur, Bali until 12 September. Then back to Belanda, the Netherlands for a few weeks (not sure if I should be happy 😕). Then cat sitting in Portugal (Algarve) and most likely visit Porto before or after the cat sitting. But…. Changes are coming up🙌. Which ones? I keep you posted!
1 hint: 🎵🎶Welcome to my paradise🎵🎶.

You can find more pictures about Gili Meno & Bali here.

If you like to know more about Gili Meno (good places to stay or to eat), or about the other Gilis or Bali or you just wonder why I don’t gain weight but you see me eating all the time, just ask 🙌😇.

With love 💜 & light✨,
littlemissyoga

P.S.: If you want to meet me in the Netherlands, reach out quickly because I have a full agenda already and I am travelling to Portugal as well in October. I would suggest, visit me in Portugal 😊.

P.P.S.: Who wants to join me for a few days to visit Porto (and you can also meet one of my friends there, whom I met in Laos). Let me know when you are interested 😊.

P.P.P.S: This island is also known as the Honeymoon Island. Who did I bring with me? Let me see… me, myself and I 😉. Hopefully next time I am here with my Prince Charming🤴.

Life-changing decisions and slow down🐌🐌

I am 1 week in Thailand now, in the area of Ao Nang Beach and Nopparat Thara Beach (Krabi). A lovely destination, but not what I had in mind in the first place.

I was about to live together with a handsome and very kind Portuguese man, in Torremolinos (Spain). We met on the stairs in Torremolinos and there was a special connection immediately. This was in January 2023. All went fast, maybe too fast. Maybe things were too good to be true.

The good moments passed by fast, the bad ones too. And we had quite a lot of bad moments 😔.
But, I was sure he was Mr. Right. I kept a positive mindset and kept the relationship alive.

Mid-June 2023 I went back to his place, to officially live together. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. After two weeks I took the decision to end this relationship. That was not easy; my head, heart and gut feeling weren’t aligned at all. Confusion all over😕. Heart-broken💔, but I had to do this.

I had a short touchdown at my parents’ place (thank you Mom & Dad for being my ‘last resort’🙏). I knew it would just be for a couple of days. I initially did not want to leave Southern Europe but high season was around the corner. Places to rent for longer than a week are rare. And if you find one… it is expensive🫰💰💰.

So… where to go to? Suddenly a voice said: Thailand. Alright. Check Skyscanner. Yes, affordable tickets. But not to Bangkok. Close to the beach, please! Phuket? No, just got there. Where else? Krabi! I found a direct flight to Kraby, for a nice price and found a really nice spot (Krabi Forest Homestay). Perfect location. Shops, cafes, restaurants and 2 beaches are within walking distance. Saya senang sekali (I am very happy) 😊.

I booked the accommodation for 30 days – the maximum length of the visa (FYI: Thailand has a free visa for most European passports😊). On purpose I booked 1 place: no packing and unpacking please for 4 weeks, I did that enough in 5 months😅.

I am here now for a week; I am here to heal my heart💜, relax and chill out🧘, enjoy the rain now and then☂💃 (yup, it’s monsoon season here) and slow down. And that’s the hardest thing.

Usually, I learn new skills quickly, but the skill of slowing down… it is a punishment.

I told myself: no to-do lists, no have-to’s, except for a few like sleeping, eating, taking a shower, going to the toilet and putting on clean underwear daily😉.

Every morning, I remind myself that it is perfectly fine to do nothing. I deserve it.
My new mantra, as I call it. (FYI: the last 5,5 months were a roller coaster🎢)

The first few days, all went ok. Unpacking, taking it easy. But now, after a week… boredom, the urge to start doing things, to pick up new things, to meet new people… to speed up🏃‍♀.

It’s hard not to give in to this voice, to this well-known pattern. But, I manage. I repeat my mantra daily: I deserve to do nothing, I deserve to relax and chill out.

And then I have days like today: a lazy day! I slept in, did some gentle yoga on the beach, sunbathed in the afternoon on the beach, had a late lunch, went back home, worked a bit (that’s an ongoing thing, so happy to have flexible working hours 🙌), and took a little break. I lay down on the bed. Staring at the ceiling, while observing the sensations in my body, feeling my sunburnt skin🦞, observing all the voices in my head, and observing my breathing. No action, just observation.

I dozed off for a few minutes, woke up and thought: going out for food? No, I am too lazy for it, I’ll grab the fresh-cut pineapple I bought earlier today, and some peanuts, with hot choc (yes, I love warm drinks even though the outside temperature is about 30 degrees 😉). And then I felt; let’s write a new blog.

Writing gives me energy, insights, and new ideas. And the little voices in my head are finally shutting up.  And, I can practice the art of slowing down: typing slowly 🤣.

What I realize now, after writing this blog…I might not be such a quick learner as I thought I was, especially about the skill of slowing down. And that’s ok. Because better to learn a new skill slowly, steadily and properly, than too hasty and start again from the beginning 😉.

Maybe you realise after reading this blog that your life is also going too fast and you want to slow down. You want to live your life, not being lived by your life.
Give a shout-out, I am curious about your experiences and how you think you can take a step back.

Oh, and guess what?! While I was typing this, 2 snails were on my terrace (the ones in the picture); I think they were playing catch me if you can😜. Lovely synchronicity💫!

With love 💜 & light✨,
littlemissyoga

Taking the lead or being led? The choice is yours!

Reading time: 4 minutes

As a kid, I wanted to become a princess, a teacher and a (ballet) dancer (secretly, I don’t remember that I told anyone). When I grew a bit older I heard questions like: ‘How do you think to earn money with dancing and music?’ And: ‘To become a princess you need to marry a prince. And since you are a farmer’s daughter, forget it.’

2 dreams smothered, 1 dream left. A dream that seemed within reach and would give me a proper future: becoming a (school) teacher. *

I always believed that my parents, grandma, my closest friends and some teachers knew best for me. I followed their advice without taking any consideration. Now I know: they didn’t know best for me.

Studying and getting your diploma, finding a good job, that was what I was told to do, or better I say: I thought that people expected that from me. So I did it all.

But when I look back at high school and college, I was a rebellious student, always going against the grain, just because I could not accept the strict rules and the rigid system. I reacted in the same way when I was working at the office. Always asking questions like: Why work from 9 to 5, why not when I wake up?, Why can’t I work on the weekends and have Mondays off?, Why can’t I work from home?
I could have invented ‘working from home’ long before Covid forced companies into it 😉.

I finally dare to speak out loud: I don’t fit in this existing system. Blessed with a good working brain and a good coping mechanism I managed to survive.**  But, I could not ignore that little voice inside of me. So, at one moment I decided: I am going to design my own life, living my best life.

My best life is not perfect yet. But hey, what is perfect? I don’t know and basically, I don’t care. I like it the way it is at this moment, and, perfect would be boring at the end 😉. Being imperfect makes me unique and it leaves room for improvement🌟.

There is always something to complain about, you basically have 2 options: you either accept it or change it. Plain and simple. Maybe you think (and I bet you do): I can’t change my life. I dare to say: YES, YOU CAN. Even a small simple change can improve the quality of your current life right away and it might be the first step to YOUR BEST life.

In case you feel that life is leading you instead of you leading life, I have some questions for you.

What are you waiting for? That your best life is knocking on your door one day saying ‘ Hello, here is your best life’? It is already here, you just don’t see it or not ready to see it.

Are you waiting for the right moment? Well… surprise: The right moment is always NOW.

Is fear holding you back? Most likely.

But… what if you take that leap of faith and fully trust that life has your back?

The only outcome is… your best life!

So…again: what are you waiting for?
Start today with living your best life, just (fucking) do it. Because you, yes YOU, beautiful soul, deserve it 💜💫🤍! Go for it!

With love 💜 & light✨,
littlemissyoga

* I made it as a teacher, (luckily) not a school teacher though. I am a yoga teacher but I prefer to use the word instructor or guide, and I am also a RPM/indoor cycling instructor and maybe I can become a role model of how to design and live your best life😉.

** I am actually surprised at what is still left of my brain, after drinking a lot of bottles of wine per week, for almost 2 years in a row! I could have become the new Einstein if I hadn’t killed all these brain cells 😉.

3 poses from ❄🌨☃ winter to spring ⛅🌱🌦

After more or less 3 months cocooning, staying warm inside the house, enjoying the fire places (or central heaters nowadays), nurturing the body with more heavy food to keep it warm and give energy to stay healthy, a new season is about to start: spring. The meteorological spring starts at March 1, the Western calendar says it starts at March 21.

In the first days of Spring, we see how everything is awakening from a long deep sleep. It is the time to be active and to be awake. Nature is waking up as the days lengthen, plants and flowers start to blossom and the colour green is everywhere. The colours and life around make the spirit feel full, our appetite is less, or at least, we start to eat lighter food, food that is easier to digest. It is the time to cleanse, fast and allow this new beginning of life to start from a clean space. As we clean, we make room (the element Space) for new visions, for new opportunities and new plans to come through without much effort. The energy is expanding and is the beginning of Yang energy.

‼⚠Warning/Disclaimer⚠‼
Be very careful by practicing theses poses, especially when you have none or little experience in yoga and/or sports. If you feel any pain during a pose, back off, take some rest or even stop doing the particular exercise. Respect your body, respect your limits 🙏🏻🧘‍♂🧘🏻‍♀🙏🏻. If you still experience pain after these poses, please consult your GP. ~~littlemissyoga~~ is not responsible for any physical injuries or mental issues.

1. Uttanasana / Standing forward fold
😊😊Benefits: Opens the back of the body, stretches the hamstrings, hips and calves. It lengthens the spine, it creates more space on the back of the body. Furthermore, this pose provides strength to your thighs and knees. Regular practice relieves stiffness in your spine, neck and back.

  • Step 1: Tuck your toes and push into both feet, folding evenly over your legs (picture 1). Activate your abdomen (navel towards spine) to have a better and steadier foundation.
  • Step 2: Bend your knees as much as needed (picture 2), in favour of lengthening the spine and releasing tension in the neck. You can also use blocks (or a thick book/pillow) to put your hands on or cuff your elbows with the opposite hands (picture 3).
  • Step 3: Breathe towards the belly, hold as long as you want.
  • Step 4: To get out of the pose: Bend your knees deeper, let your arms hang loose, tuck your chin, press a little harder in all 4 corners of your feet and roll yourself up to standing, stacking the vertebras one by one. Last part is to lift your chin.
  • Step 5: Take a few moments to observe your body and mind, arms resting alongside the body.

2. Utthan pristhasana / Lizard lunge
😊😊Benefits: Opens and stretches the hips flexors and groins, it even creates some flexibility in the lower back. It strengthens the thigh muscles of the front leg and it opens the chest and neck. With opening up the hips it is possible that you release emotions, if this is happening, just let it be 😊. This pose is a good preparation for practicing hanomanasana (full splits).

  • Step 1: Come on your hands and knees, hands shoulder width, wrists in line with shoulders; knees hip width, knees in line with hips.
  • Step 2: Step your right foot forward, on the outside of your right hand. You can stay on your hands (picture 1) or lower down on the fore arms (picture 2), as long as your hips descend lower than your heart.
  • Step 3: Keep your front knee in line with the ankle and allow your weight to move to the outer edge of the front foot (picture 3). You can even lower down on the fore arms (picture 4), this is opening the hips even more.
  • Step 4: Hold for 5 breathes or more as long as you like before you change legs.
  • Note:    If you hold this pose for a few minutes (like a Yin-pose), you can take a counterpose before changing legs, for example ardha hanoman/half splits, all fours (with hip circles) or even downward facing dog (with hip circles). Most important is to listen to your body.
  • Step 5: After you have done both sides, you can sit down in Thunderbolt (your bump on your heels) or come into balasana /(wide legged) child’s pose.

3. Ustrasana / Camel pose
😊😊 Benefits: Opens up and stretches the chest, abdomen, quadriceps and hip flexors. It improves the spinal flexibility and loosens up the vertebrate. Also, it strengthens the shoulders, back muscles, thighs and arms. It even can reduce fat on the thighs (after doing this pose quite often) and it improves your posture.

  • Step 1: Come to an upright kneeling position, knees hip width distance. You can either tuck your toes or keep them pointed (flat on the floor).
  • Step 2: Keep your hips vertical of the knees, placing the hands either at the lower back for support (picture 1), or one or two hands on the heels (picture 2 & 3), lift your heart into Ustrasana. You can keep the head up or drop it down for opening up the throat (picture 4).
  • Step 3: Keep squeezing the inner thighs toward the midline, extend the sacrum downward toward the knees.
  • Step 4: Try to hold for around five breaths in this pose.
  • Step 5: Come out of the pose by squeezing the legs together and letting the heart lead you up. If you had your head down, you first lift the neck and head to an upright position. Then slowly sit down in Thunderbolt (sitting on your heels) or in balasana/(wide legged) child’s pose.

You can stay in balasana (child’s pose) after you have finished these 3 poses, to calm down the body and relax the breath. Whenever you are ready to come out of it, feel free to do so. And enjoy the rest of the day or have a good sleep 😊.

I hope you have enjoyed these 3 poses and that you feel more energized and opened up, ready for facing spring 😊. If you like, you can share your experiences with me 😊.

💜💚 With love 💜💚        
littlemissyoga                                       

        

Inspirational source:
https://chopra.com/articles/11-yoga-poses-and-a-meditation-for-transitioning-from-winter-to-spring?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=180403-April-Newsletter&utm_campaign=Newsletter201843

Yoga butt?!

Yeah, it looks like I have a yoga butt! A what?? Is that a well-trained butt? Yes and no… over-trained, over-stretched, over-done and now it hurts. How is that possible? I was asking the same question. I trained a lot before, High Intensity Classes, Yoga, Body Balance. Nothing wrong with that. Now I am training every day, and teaching 7 classes a week. Still nothing wrong with that, I think. But I have probably done too much, too intense and not enough recovery and I already had a hamstring injury… What does it mean for now? Less forward folds, more glute-strengthening exercises instead of stretching and lengthening. It will take time, but it will be ok. I have to back off, because I will start teaching in Sri Lanka after I am finished in Laos, 3 days break only.

What asanas can I do? Inversions 😉, arm balances and even postures in which I use my glutes and hamstrings, but with modifications (this is also good for me, a different point of view of teaching the asanas). And more abs-training, but that’s for the students whehehe. And, a massage, which I had Monday, 90 minutes Lao-massage with some Lao Tigerbalm. A Lao-massage looks like a Thai massage, but less strong. I like it (well, when she is squeezing and bending me maybe a little less 😉).

Besides of my yoga butt, I still enjoy my stay in Vang Vieng. I discovered that I don’t want to go out to a restaurant for having (the same) dinner (mostly white rice and something, noodles, padthai), so I have a new addiction: sandwiches (take away or eat now is the standard question). The baguettes here are lovely and we have found our ‘Sandwich Street’. And they have avocado! Something we don’t get in the hotel, so that’s why it’s lovely to eat it now and then. A very warm welcome to the common things. Mango-sticky rice and sometimes a piece of the vegan hazelnut-chocolate pie are very good substitutes for dinner as well!

I am here for about 6 weeks and everyday I explore something new. You know, toddlers or very young kids always see each day as a new one, everything for the first time. It looks like I am doing that as wel.l.. not always though. I realise how special everything is. That we should be grateful for every little thing. For all what Mother Nature gives to us, without any expectations to get something in return (except for destroying her…). Every day we have a beautiful sunrise, after a freaking cold night. 9 degrees, no heater, sometimes windows can’t be closed properly… but hey, I can feel the sensation of the cold wind, I become aware of it, I just put on extra clothes to protect myself from the cold. It brings people literarily closer to each other 😊.

People in Laos are amazing and they keep on surprising me. Sometimes they are so friendly, sometimes so lazy, and I think they are the worst salesmen I have ever seen. Every evening at 5pm the Night Market starts, clothes, gadgets, food, bags and so on. In my first week I looked into some shops and the men or mainly women didn’t pay any attention to me… watching something on their phone was more important. Once, I even got the look: don’t bother me, I am watching the last episode of my favourite series, you can come back tomorrow. Sounds crazy tho? They don’t want to sell things! And it’s their job, to make money, to feed their kids (who are always there, bunches of babies and toddlers, so cute btw 😊 ). Now, because it is more crowded, they are more pro-active in trying to sell their stuff, especially to Korean and Chinese people. I will buy a Laos-shirt later on, because it has my favourite flower on it (Frangipangi/Cempaka). And being a little bit of a tourist is good for the economy, isn’t it 😉.

We have a X-mas tree in our hotel! I think I will set up a X-mas class, X-mas Vrkasana (tree-pose), Reindeer pose in Virabadrasana 2 (Warrior 2). Deer pose in Yin becomes Reindeer pose, table top will be a side table which is needed for all the presents, and with Kapalabathi (breating exercise) we imagine the big belly of Santa Claus, expanding on the inhale and flatten on the exhale. Maybe we can even imitate the sounds of reindeers in some other breathing exercises 😉. Mmm.. all mentioned poses are good for strengthening the glutes as well 😊.

Ok… enough about yoga. What have I done so far, when I was not teaching? I hiked with Raul to Tham Poukham Cave and Viewpoint Nam Xay, we did kayaking and I visited him in Vientiane (capital of Laos) before he went off to Thailand. I hiked to the 2 viewpoints of Pha Ngern. My gosh, my legs ached a lot after each hike!! I did something for the website, created a new monthly schedule and together with the other teachers spread them out though Vang Vieng. I lay at the pool, had a little swim, read a book, listened to my listening books on my phone, went to the temples, just walked around in the nature, did a small hike with Fara (a volunteer from Spain, really good company), had 2 Lao-massages, prepared new classes and practiced them, I had some chit-chat with the staff here (most of them are really nice). I am always a bit crazy, the cleaning ladies work their ass off, they are always smiling! I once took over the mob and started to sing: I want to break free, I want to break free (for the youngsters: this is a famous song of Queen). They were all laughing at me. And another time, when they lay the tables for breakfast I grabbed a white table cloth, put it over my head and pretended I was a ghost. It resulted in a blue and a white ghost in the breakfast hall 😉. And two completely ruined table clothes, wrinkled all over 😉. But we had fun. And who cares, in the morning, all the guests are sleepy anyway. Oh, and the lady who is making the eggs and pancakes always looks so… serious, almost grumpy. But now, after 6 weeks, she is smiling when I come in. Once, I was the only one having breakfast (9.30am); I was in a singing mood, so I started to sing: you are the dancing queen (Abba 😉) including a dance. The staff thought one split second: she is really nuts, but then, suddenly, everyone smiled and looked happier (I know I can’t sing, but anyway, when I feel like it, I sing, no glass to break in here anyway 😉). Maybe I can start to set up a flash mob 😉! Sometimes I just do nothing, just sit and stare to the mountains, the hot air balloons, listen to the noise of the longtail boats and the karaoke-singing Koreans in their kayak. And I smile. Because it is lovely to see all of this.

Watching sunset during the outdoor class, sometimes watching sunrise during my outdoor practice. Watching people working hard for a bit money and thinking: my life is really good! Of course, I have struggles and some issues, but ain’t that just the way we learn? Really, if you have never been to Laos, I can highly recommend it (as a vegan it is harder to travel, but you will find your way, however also the bottom of your purse will appear quicker 😉). Ok, 2 months in Vang Vieng will be boring if you’re not working, but Laos is a large country, with beautiful nature everywhere and not yet many tourists. The visa on arrival costs $35 (European passports), available at all international airports. I thought Indonesia was my #1 country but Laos has beaten it! What I also noticed: Lao men are quite handsome and Lao kids and babies are really adorable. I am already thinking of adopting a baby 😉. For the party poopers: Free whiskey is available in many places, you can start your whisky tour at 5pm up to 10pm, in different hostels and bars. Alcohol is normal, abuse of the boose as well (people drown doing tubing…). And mushroom pizzas, weed, hash, all available. And for the Voices of Laos – Karaoke bars!

I think this post is long enough to get you through the long winter nights in Europe 😊. If you have any comments, you can post them. Or send me an email, What’s app message. I can’t promise I will reply soon, but I will read it anyway.  For the ones who are really curious, check http://yogainvangvieng.com/ (and you will find me there in some pictures 😊).

With love,
littlemissyoga

The Big Adventure – Kick off

Here I am, my first blog on my own website. Sharing my stories, adventures, advice about teaching yoga, travelling, yoga & travelling and how to eat vegan (or in some cases vegetarian) all over the world.

I am excited to share my stories, I hope you will also like my blogs and in the future I will write some articles about yoga, travelling and food (vegan/vegetarian). It’s my first time I am writing a public blog, please be gentle with your comments ;). Practice makes perfect, isn’t it :). Feel free to share your experiences and tips about setting up blogs and/or websites with me, together we can make the difference.

A note to everyone: if there is something in my post that upsets you or you feel discriminated/offended/humililated by, please let me know. By no means I have the intention to do so, so my apologies if that accidentallly happens.