Women Wednesdays #1 – Tara Stiles

I’m starting a new series of posts where I’d like to appreciate women. Women who inspire me, women who make me life, women who are my fashion icons, women who are my business inspiration; generally women who I may not personally know but all of whom I love in some way for what they do or who they are. There are many of them. So I’d like to introduce Women Wednesdays, exclusively for ‘love letters’ to these fabulous people.

I am starting with my favourite yoga teacher, or guru I suppose you can say, but I’m not into all the jargon around yoga. And that leads me to my favourite thing about Tara Stiles; she isn’t fussy about all the names for yogi related things, she doesn’t need you to know how to chant in Sanskrit in order to meditate and she doesn’t even care whether you know the ‘proper’ name for the poses, she just wants you to love yoga. I think it’s mostly down to Tara that I started practising yoga properly. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of yoga, one of my aunties is actually a yoga teacher, but I never really got into it until I stumbled upon Tara Stiles on youtube (I love youtube!).

Once you start to watch her videos you realise she is a completely infectious personality, she’s funny, she’s quirky, she’s different and her laugh is addictive. I think it really helps when you start practising yoga too, if you like your teacher’s voice because – trust me – you have to listen to it an awful lot. If you don’t like it you probably won’t get on with yoga because it will drive you mad, but if you do then suddenly things start to fall into place. The fact that I found Tara’s voice pleasant, relaxing, interesting and even almost soporific at times has really helped me get into my yoga practise, although I’m a long way from calling myself flexible or even zen yet!

And it’s not just her fabulous tall, flexible body, her vibrant sense of style and her awesome yoga that make me adore this woman. It’s her advice too. Her very attitude to life is open and chill, yet still excitable and curious; she seems to laugh her way through her newsletter and videos. She has started to be a model for how I’d like to look at the world too and I’m certainly making progress. Her notions of expansiveness and growth and her simple, yet bang on, pieces of advice like “you have to strap in your safety belt before you can help others” have really made logical, simple and easy sense to me. I find that very calming.

Something else I am grateful for is that she got me into knitting. I love knitting now and although my knitting is a bit skew-whiff and not very coordinated, I find it very relaxing and unwinding to do. Something you are creating is growing – it’s relaxing to watch and at the same time, fairly mindless. I don’t mean that good knitting doesn’t take skill, I just mean that you can switch off and get in touch with a different part of you while you knit; it’s essentially just very peaceful to me. And for introducing me to knitting as an idea of something that’s fun and enjoyable and beautiful, I have Tara to thank.

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So her yoga is wonderful, her body and mind are beautiful, her outlook on life may be a little out there and her clothes are eclectic but I think she is a beautiful, radiant person and she has been my inspiration for well over a year now.

Find Tara at: http://tarastiles.com/

On Youtube

All Images from tarastiles.com.

Post-gym Selfie

My Week In Exercise #1

Monday:

God knows why it’s such a shock to wake up, it’s a perfectly reasonable time, but I do feel like poo. I think it’s because I slept so badly last night – my bed is hideous and it’s on my list of things to fix. So right now I’ve had to flip so I’m sleeping at the ‘foot’ end, it’s just disorientating. Anyway I had a failed doctors appointment where they messed up my travel injections again followed by about 6 hours in Uni where I felt like I achieved nothing. Safe to say I was very happy to get to my first Frisbee Training Session of the year! It made my day but I had forgotten how tough it can be, especially as the fewer people you have at training (we had only 8, not enough for a real game), the more and the harder you have to run. I was badly out of shape, especially when it came to lunging and sprinting. It was a shock after having run slower, longer distances for so long. I’m now thoroughly enjoying feeling the burn, hoping that being more tired will help me sleep tonight!

Love this Sky

Love this Sky

Eating Raw and Fresh

Eating Raw and Fresh loving Tom-Juice this week

Mmm

Mmm

Wednesday:

After spending yesterday hobbling around and very sorely thighs – which I managed to pull and then didn’t manage to warm down, nice one – I had another Frisbee training to go to and this time it was outdoors. I love outdoors because there’s more room to run and it’s often a better game, for me anyway, but I was pretty horrified to figure that it’s already too damp and slippy on the grass to play in trainers. This means… it is time to stud-up and in my case, fix up my boots that were missing about half of their studs. Putting on said slightly battered (slightly small?) football boots and made me realise they are definitely going to have to go this season. Meaning I need to shell out for new ones – urgh really? When we went out later I definitely participated in some groovy dance moves; that’s exercise right?

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Stud Up

Stud Up

Thursday:

Aaah so excited to use my gym pass for the first time! It was actually a very good gym session. I completed 5km on the cross trainer in 25mins, which is certainly not my fastest time but since I haven’t been running in so long I was very chuffed about it – call it a spring board. I also did some rowing, only around 1000m but that’s about what I like to do without too much trouble, and then some matt work. I do everything on the matt; a bit of abs, a bit more legs (cos hell, these bad boys can take a beating) and some arm weights too. It felt amazing to be back working out inside, sort of reassuring since I know the temperature is about to plummet. I did a big stretching session when I got in today in an attempt to beat these damned pulled muscles.

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Walking home

P.s. I found a new rip in my trainers 😦

Friday:

Three guesses what I did today? Yep. Frisbee. I had another session today and I did a very short yoga session by myself beforehand which between them have managed to finally crushed these pulled muscles away and get some productivity out of my legs. Woohoo. Training 8-10pm is still killing me though, it’s not a pleasant time in the day for anyone.

Saturday:

I woke up so late today. I had a disastrous start, snoozing my work alarm and then falling asleep until 17minutes before I was due to start work. Somehow, by a miracle, I managed to make it out the house and up to University in barely any time and got to work without a hitch. I was so lucky, and also so tired. But after a stressful and long day at work I thought I was ready to collapse… then I got persuaded to the gym. We had an epic dinner planned so it wasn’t hard to convince me to burn some room for pudding. I cycled, doing 5km in 11minutes (which I’m sure is not impressive but hey, bikes are not especially my thing) and then went straight to a matt session. It was so much fun working out with someone for a change. We did abs and arms, and legs just by default but oh my goodness did we make that butt muscle buuuurn. 🙂 I genuinely loved pushing someone else to feel the burn with me. And now I’m exhausted.

Post-gym Selfie

Post-gym Selfie

In Gym

Plan for Sunday? Rest day…maybe a short run 😉 who can resist?

What are your Sunday plans? What did you exercise-up-to this week? Let me know…

Sig

Into the sunset

Things I Thought I’d Never Do…6000ft to Floor

On the list of things I’d never have imagined doing, throwing myself of high objects is pretty high up. Near the top. A paralysing fear of heights pretty much has me kicking and screaming up average sized mountains so as I was perched on a seat in a warm, careering mini-bus being pelted towards the 6000ft (1600-and-something metres) high Badabag Paragliding Station I was pretty surprised at myself for having even handed over the dosh and got in the vehicle.

I talked to a few people sat around me and was pretty impressed that a bunch of them also considered themselves scared of heights – question is, why are we all doing this to ourselves? I had been assured, however, that there was no jumping involved.

At the 'start line'

At the ‘start line’

Badabag Take-Off 6000ft

Badabag Take-Off 6000ft

The top of Badabag was teeming, it’s the Piccadilly Circus of paragliding at this time – the sunset slot, although the sun seemed stubbornly far away from setting – and I was simultaneously reassured and terrified by the hordes of people drifting up into the distance as we disembarked. The instructors are fabulous at not giving you time to think (I only saw one person wimping out, he kept sitting down on the floor every time they tried to get him to take off, I do hope he made it eventually); they just chuck you in a harness and helmet, keep you talking, demand a quick selfie and then make for the steepest bit of concrete that is free.

It’s been paved up here for take-off but there is something quite alarming about the concrete just falling away  into nothing; it may not be a sheer cliff face but it’s damn steep. Before you know it a spot has become free as some other helpless dangling body sails off screaming into the orangey sky. They clip you in – ‘when I say walk, we walk forward, maybe I say run, then we run yes?’. Erm… yes?! It was this point I could feel my stomach plunging and twirling in anticipation and I thought I might just say no and stop but you can feel the adrenaline kicking in too and mine was enough to hold down the fear.

First shot, way up there

First shot, way up there

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It’s a weird feeling as the wind takes the slack in the large brightly coloured wind sock behind you and attached to you; you get tugged and you’re walking forward  whether you like it or not. There may also be a blokey helping with take-offs who will grab the front of your harness and begin to drag you – it helps the general feeling of, ‘whether I like it or not’. Then you’re running and you’re gone. It’s so simple I laughed much more than I screamed (although one or two profanities may have slipped past my lips), there’s no jumping or plummeting sensation or moment of agonizing fear, there’s just sailing up like a balloon. Gentle as you like. You can rearrange yourself to sitting now and it becomes obvious why this is a tourist attraction; it’s pretty comfy up there, you have nothing to do except get an adrenaline rush and the view is phenomenal. The beach is tiny. The hotels are almost invisible. The sea is so blue, turquoise in the shallows and rich, almost-navy a little further out.  Then sun is spreading a warm haze over everything and my tandem partner explains a little about the thermals that are to thank for carrying us around up here. From and living in the nearby town of Fethiye, he has been doing tandem flights for 12 years, and begun gliding at the age of 14, which I consider an impressive resume, when this route becomes unusable in the winter the paraglide from a venue further west. Non-stop flying, seven days a week, all year.

Into the sunset

Into the sunset

Side shot

It might make you feel sick, even if you have a strong stomach; my partner asks me to warm him as he has a bag for this very scenario. ‘Sometimes people don’t warn me, then they spewy in my face’ – an exact quote I kid you not. When you’re not feeling slightly motion sick, as you might in a simulator, it’s very relaxing and just immensely peaceful up there, riding the thermals, the envy of all below (probably). Then sometimes it’s not. He asks me if I want to spin and my brother did so I can hardly refuse and be one-upped. I get video footage to prove it. Spinning is optional but it’s one hell of a rush. No roller coaster can match up; you drop rapidly, sometimes angled so the fabric of your trusty ‘chute is actually below you and you’re hammering round and round. There is no way you can feel sick doing this, there’s too much else to feel: the wind, the G-Force, the sheer adrenaline, I could even feel my flailing feet going numb it was incredible.

Views of the bay

Up in the sky

Landing is also not unexciting. You sway quite dramatically into a steep drop towards the street below, where tourists may or may not get out of your way. You are aiming for a patch of grass on the open sea front but if you over shot you’d only hit the beach. The instructor’s feet hit the floor first then you stand up too, usually staggering a bit with the plain shock of dropping to the pavement at such an alarming rate, even with rather handsome young men running alongside to grab your strings and make sure you’re properly grounded. I was certainly not grounded. Not for a while after doing that. What a buzz! I would certainly repeat it – and 100% recommend it.

Over the hotels

You can see my hotel from here

Finished!

Finished!

P.s. I’m counting this as another new sport I’ve tried, although I cannot afford to take it up full time!

Gravity Paragliding Experience

If you’re interested I flew with Gravity, one of many fairly equally priced companies you can find on the high street of ölüdeniz. They are all rated pretty well, I wouldn’t be in a position to recommend one over the other and besides, they’re all sharing facilities and being pretty friendly, there’s no hard sell or company-bashing here. It cost 370 TL to fly plus 140 TL to have my photos and DVD – so no, it’s not cheap, but it was definitely worth it, and well worth weighing up.

Black Labrador

Cosy Little Corner

This is the cosy corner (I like corners) where I do all the nice things in my life, that involve little stress and lots of enjoyment!

Watching right now …

Heidi Klum GNTM 2014

It’s trash TV but I love this show. It’s really fun, relaxing and requires no brain power to watch. I love watching things to do with fashion even though I have no fashion sense to speak of. It’s a fascinating peek into another world. My only annoyance at the moment is how long it takes to watch- German TV has an inordinate amount of adverts.

Just Watched …

Vincent Will Meer Movie Poster

I’ve just watched Vincent Will Meer auf Deutsch. It’s an incredibly moving, interesting film and I was really touched by it. Weirdly I also think the main actor is beautiful, even with his touretts (I’m assuming it’s acted). And in English I’ve just watched Lone Survivor- wow. Now I am a girl who likes Black Hawk Down etc. But this was brutal, so brutal. It was in no way a fun watch, I came away feeling almost scarred, but very good acting – I shall just never be putting myself through that again.

Reading right now …

Auf Deutsch: I think this is translated from an English book originally but the cover has been calling to me for months and I finally bought it while waiting for the plane. And it turned out to be a book based in Manchester- now I know why it was calling to me. In English: This is my third book by Åsne Seierstad and I’m really enjoying it. I also have a friend with Kosovan heritage, so finding out about the countries’ history is really interesting.

Craving right now …

Pho (image from Wikepedia)

Vietnamese! So much that I’m going to head out for one this week. To be honest there aren’t many days that I don’t crave Pho but it has been on my mind a lot recently and I haven’t had any since New Year. There are very few foods which are tastier!

Loving right now …

Marzipan Eier

I am a sucker for marzipan- and thankfully so are the Germans. I adore the Easter sweets on offer right now and these marzipan eggs are so good. Possibly one of the best things about marzipan is that it’s so sweet you don’t feel like you could eat it all day, one is enough (most of the time!). Apparently when I was little I used to sit on the work surface and rip chunks of marzipan off to eat while mum was trying to make cakes.

shower head

Regain Recover ~ Tip #1

The best thing an ex ever taught me (give or take) was this great way to help recover your muscles and minimize pain after a workout. Mind you, you should warm down first.

After running, especially after sprinting, I find my thighs and calves will still ache even after I’ve stretched, a few hours later or the next day. This tip works especially well for my thighs. When you hop into the shower (relatively soon after exercising) take a few seconds to relax your muscles. To do this raise your leg to a right angle- I just do this to engage the muscle a little and get it nearer to the shower spray- and then start the shower spray off on a medium heat. Switch the temperature between warm (not boiling) and cold (not freezing), spend a few seconds on one temperature then switch, then a few seconds on the other then switch back. Try and end the spray on the cooler side of warm (but still not freezing ;)) to fully ‘cool down’ your muscles. I do this on both legs and, for me at least, it is preferable to a full on cold shower to cool down, because it gently brings your muscles to a lower temperature while intermediately warming them to keep them loose and stop them cramping or cooling too quickly.

It’s like a mini-massage, I like it! Although I apologise if you’re using a student shower that only really has ‘on and off’ rather than any kind of temperature or power…I feel your pain!