My Yo Yoga Resolution Evolutions

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…I’ve said countless times before, i am the picture of everyday and average…i work, have 2 beautiful (but suuuuuuuuuuuuuuper busy) little boys, and i pretty much spend the days the way most of the world does : juggling work, home, kids and everything and everyone else!

But i TRY to make some time for ME! Actually, i lie. i make a lot of time for myself – i watch at least 1 full-length movie EVERY day (or about 4 episodes of my favourite series),  do a coffee date every week or two, read, write, lotsa other little thingies that make my soul happy!

With all that being said, although i’m generally happy by nature, my lack of fitness and my lack of a slim figure both sent me looking for options! I can’t do anything that requires physical impact as i’ve broken too many of my bones to risk anything too active, and i enjoyed Yoga when i used to attend a studio…but that was literally almost 9 YEARS ago!

Then i decided to try “Yo Yoga” – a HOT Yoga studio – and by Hot – i mean HOT- in terms of temperature and energy!!yo yoga logo

i Love this place! The decor is tranquil with icy white everywhere, sporting accents of lime green, bright orange and a lively pink!  It almost automatically energises me when i step inside, taking care of the physical prep, but the hard part is mentally prepping myself for a class – clearing this endlessly relentless mind of mine, always an onslaught of thoughts the second i try to “still the mind”.  By now, i’ve done roughly 10 classes, with the last one about 9 MONTHS ago!  I’ve decided to select Hot Yoga as my official fitness option – and thought it would be interesting to document my progress – weight-wise, fitness-wise, in terms of mental agility and other factors that will inevitably be affected.

Just some background to me :  I’m 34 (no, i have no issues stating my age publicly – it’s not a state secret!), i have 2 children,i happily consume anything i feel i want – evidenced by my non-existent resistance to anything seriously sweet, anything devastatingly rich and everything else in between!  I don’t believe in committing to a diet at the expense of enjoying everyday things like red velvet cupcakes with coffee for breakfast! I prefer the concept of BALANCE !

So, my plan is that since i’m PUBLICLY committing to attending about 3 classes per week (I don’t want to be labelled “fanatical” after all), i owe it to myself and readers to do exactly that! In preparation, i have already over the past 4 weeks indulged in all my unhealthy faves – gatsby’s, burgers, french fries in every shape and size (my fave!!!!), cakes, biscuits and macarons by the literal box-full – not because i’m cutting them out to assist my classes, but because i know my body is naturally going to struggle to exhibit an appetite for them – and even worse, feel horrible once i’ve consumed them!

So, i intend to start my classes next week, and look forward to a transformational journey – and you’re invited too! If you’d prefer to follow just the yoga progress, i am sharing this blog on our company blog  {   https://grandeurwellness.wordpress.com  }   where you won’t be subjected to the other ramblings my mind needs to purge!

Here we gooooooooooooooooo ………………. wish me luck !

 bks-iyengar-quote

******   For Information about Yo Yoga, please contact them at http://www.yoyoga.com and on :  +27 21 671 0888  *******

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Personal Strength is not an invitation to Doormatism!

Over the recent past, I’ve come across many people who have been taken for granted, misused, overlooked and just generally, been treated very badly (and sadly), and while one would naturally assume these people to be weaklings, they’re actually some of the strongest people I have ever known! 

It occurred to me that those who are emotionally strong, are always willing themselves to overlook being overlooked, and to move beyond the emotions caused by those who casually inflict their opinions, degradation and harsh words on them, thinking them “able to cope with it”, while they themselves are fully aware of the fact that they’re using these (once-) “strong people” as emotional punching bags and dumping zones.  And the strong ones? Well, they just keep braving on, maintaining a facade of nonchalance, while pining for a life in which they are protected, instead of protecting, a life in which they are comforted, rather than always comforting – and a life in which they can smile a true smile, not the smile expected to be there, ready to band-aid everyone else’s heart, mind, soul and conscience.

If the so-called “weak” were mindful of their destruction, they might realise that they claim their false sense of power from those who really are strong, but at the cost of the strong ones bearing the imposed roles of doormats – glorified or not!  Those same sad, seemingly-weak souls who make those 3AM calls because they’re sad about an argument at work, or something miniscule, don’t think twice about the effect on the person they’re constantly clinging to, for support, comfort or as an emotional dumping zone – only to forget their kindness once their own misery has started to fade.

But where the strong ones turn to, in their moment of distress, sadness or confusion? Certainly not to the people in their lives, for they won’t accept their pillar of strength crumbling, and would rather run a mile in the opposite direction at the first hint of an emotional fracture.

They turn to themselves – to self-heal, to attempt to replicate the empathy, sympathy and understanding constantly afforded to those around them, who are constantly in need – and often they self-heal in guilt – knowing that the consistent beeps from their mobile phones inches away are indicative of yet another one in need…while they try to mend themselves in order to mend others…

My take on this: If you’re a “weaker” person, be considerate of those who support you…by all means, turn to them in your hour (or 3) of need, but don’t assume they’re created to listen to the rehashing of every moment of anguish you’re experiencing, as they also have a life extending beyond you.

And to the strong ones, a wise man once said to me : In order to be of service to humanity, you need to nurture yourself first, as one who neglects to nourish themselves, has nothing to feed another from.  

Sometimes, a little bit of selfishness, can lead to prolonged selflessness…

Indeed the most Glorious of sounds – THE SOUND OF MUSIC! – a Grande tribute to the movie!

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Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound Of Music” has always, as in ALWAYS, been one of my absolute favourites! An indulgence, if you will…

I watched it for the first time during the December Holidays at the age of 5 – and have watched it LITERALLY hundreds of times! Like any die-hard TSOM fan, I know most of the dialog by heart, and the songs are embedded in the deep recesses of my mind! 

My first copy of the movie was on a VHS cassette (yes, I am THAT old!) – and with the advent of DVD’s, the very first time I saw it on offer in DVD form, I snatched up a copy and couldn’t wait to relive the glory of Maria, The Captain and those amazingly talented children – all 7 of them!

Being an avid theatre fan, I was over the moon when Andrew Lloyd Webber decided to produce this famous musical – and decided to use an exclusively South African cast!

The original story penned by Maria August Trapp, received great acclaim with the stage version in the early ’60’s but the movie version, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer stole the hearts of music lovers everywhere! The story revolves around a free-spirited young postulant who attends to the 7 children of a retired Navy Captain, only to fall in love with him after many humourous and emotional experiences follow their every experience!

This stage version is phenomenal!! The costumes, the set design, the music by an orchestra of note, the acting prowess of each actor at every level of the story’s development – every detail painstakingly attended to – this is a visual masterpiece and a treat for the ears! The only change i would have made, is to ensure that the role of the Captain (played by Andre Schwartz), although efficient (and good-looking), was lacking in the austere manner in which the Captain was perfectly portrayed by Christopher Plummer. Bethany Dickson who is a PERFECT match for Maria is EXCEPTIONAL!!! It seems she was BORN to play this role and her voice is amazing – each song FELT exactly the way it did in the film!

The children were beyond expectation, each understanding the nuances of their characters with great insight!

My children (also introduced to the world of TSOM from an early age)  couldn’t stop talking about it, and singing the songs at the tops of their lungs, to the point that I have actually had to get the soundtrack on my PHONE so that they can listen (and sing along) whenever their little hearts desire!

Definitely one of the most amazing performances I’ve seen in a long, long, loooooooooooooooooooooong time! i

Conditional Unconditional Emotion?

It’s no secret to those who know me, how deep my love for music runs! I have playlists on my phone and pc for the most random of tasks, and so this post is also about music, well not really, but the source of this post is music.

So, one of my playlists was on call for almost the entire past two weeks, on a random setting, and yet, i swear i heard “Right Here Waiting For You” many, many more times than the other tracks…and it’s gotten me thinking….

Thinking about the concept of someone loving another to such depth, and with such devotion, that they really would go about their lives, simultaneously being “right there waiting” for their One if their One was with someone else!  I find the idea of this sad and slightly dysfunctional, but also, kind of heart-warming, particularly in this day and age of instant attraction and express emotion, where emotion itself has almost become cheapened by the over-exposure of its name when what people mean to say is really something more mundane.  I think about how many people have claimed huge words like “Destiny”, “Meant-to-be” and “Loving Unequivocally” (still one of my ultimate faves!) – and I think about how it’s possible for multiple people to think they feel that way about someone when that same someone is unlikely to be “Destined” to spend their life with multiple soul-mates!

Then i got stuck on another track, called “Saiyaara”, where the lyrics are simple, but profoundly deep! The kind of words that linger, that necessitate one to be lost in their own soul, in pure appreciation of the sentiments expressed.  I have had this track on repeat for literally 3 days now…and by that i mean, i’ve listened to it for a total of over 15 hours! I can’t resist losing myself in the idea of an idyllic emotion, so devoid of greed, or ego or power-plays, that i can’t seem to listen to anything else at the moment – or the foreseeable future!  Poetry of this caliber has always had a spongy soft spot with me, and the lyrics by Kausar Munir are sweet and sincere, no inclination to the vulgarity we find so often these days…

Am i the only person who sees life beyond friend requests from people i’ve never, ever heard of, and messages from people who are not even acquaintances? Surely, there must be others who think the same way? Who prefer real-world, actual connections with others who matter, rather than superficial connections? 

As this track comes to yet another end, i remind myself that the world is evolving, as should we all, and part of this current evolution is the flexibility to adapt to changing world views, but part of evolving is also staying true to what you believe in…and to me, emotionally-charged tracks will always make me think of a time in which purity and earnest sincerity used to be the order of the day, and will be again one day soon as i think the world is awakening to its own evolution!

But i still wonder…am i truly the only person who can’t find my footing in the rush-hour humdrum teeny-bopping sounds masquerading as music these days?

Rahat Rocks ! ! !

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Music has always, always, always been an extremely integral part of my life – tied to moments of immense joy and intense sorrow – and everything else in between, so it comes as no real surprise that my first actual sharing would be about something musical…

I find great pleasure in almost all kinds of music, particularly music from the Indian Sub-Continent, in particular “Bollywood” music, (a term I despise as I think they could have coined a unique term, rather than adopt a variation of “Hollywood”), a little bit of Rock, underground trance, classical music, Qawalli, and the oldies!  Some of my all-time faves are A.R.Rahman (My all-time fave concert was his!!!), Mohamed Rafi, Santana, Sarah Brightman, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Savage Garden, Lifehouse, Tchaikovsky, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Hans Zimmer, Adele, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Alanis Morissette, Udit Narayan, Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghoshal, Maroon 5, Kailash Kher, Simply Red, Evanescence, Atif Aslam – and my current absolute obsession – ARIJIT Singh!!! There are millions more but they’ll make their appearances over time…

So this post is about the Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan concert I attended 2 evenings ago, and since it’s all everyone’s been talking about since then, it seemed kind of apt to start with it!

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the nephew of one of my fave faves, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, both known globally for the grandeur of their vocal ability in the genres of Qawalli, Folk music and filmy music, so it would have decayed me to no end if I didn’t attend the concert…

He was beyond phenomenal, like BEYOND phenomenal, sang one hit immediately after the other, for a total of almost 3 and a half hours – with just a 15 minute intermission!  The filmy music was a treat to hear him rendering in person, as one could have sat with closed eyes and just absorbed the “feel” of this man’s liquid voice as it immersed every musical soul in the hall into a utopic world of harmonious, euphoric melody! His voice was like warm silk, as he easily moved from one track to the next, never skipping a beat… but I must admit, I saw him more engrossed in the Qawallis than the movie music, probably since that was his intro into the music world, through his uncle, with whom he performed for many years, such a great moment to witness – an artist lost in his own artistry!

He opened with Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s “Allah Hoo”, which ignited the crowd, and then followed with a mixture of both genres, including other Nusrat classics and filmy sons like “Mast Nazron Se” (Ustad Nusrat’s version blasting in my ears as I write this!), “Yeh Jo Halka Halka Suroor”, “Main Jahan Rahoon”  “Ali Da Malang”, “Aafreen” (which contains my name and my nick  J  !), “Teri Ore”, “Dil Ka Mizaaj Ishqiya”, “O Rey Piya”, “Surili Akhiyon wale”, “Teri Meri”, “Tere Mast Mast Do Nain”, “Sajda”, “Tumhein Dillagi Bhool jani Padegi” and so many other gems, and his voice washing over every cell of my body as he did what he does best, will forever be stored in my mind as a MOMENT! As a person, he seemed really humble and very passionate about his profession, but there was a very mischievous smile that kept creeping through, a tell-tale sign of his personal connection to  his music – a true Artist in every sense! And a total crowd-pleaser, allowing the audience to request what they wanted to hear!

But…as awesomely satiating as his concert was, by virtue of HIS vocal command, stage personality and likeability, I think that the promoters were in over their heads and didn’t know what hit them – a sentiment shared with everyone who attended the concert and whom I have come into contact with since then.  The venue was a disaster – an old church I think, totally and utterly inappropriate for an artist of his calibre, the sound was pathetic (!!!!!!!!), the refreshments were accessible only after a trek along a very dodgy-looking and badly lit passage-way into what seemed to be a parking area, the air-conditioning wasn’t working (and it was HOT!), our screens weren’t working for the majority of the concert,  the lights kept being switched on and off for no apparent reason, an audio-visual contractor (I assume) was literally running to and fro with a laptop trying to co-ordinate everything (should these checks not have been done before the concert commenced?) …and the cherry on top – someone was sitting on our seats when we arrived, and if that wasn’t enough of an aggravation, their excuse was that they had no choice because their seats were occupied by other people, and the ushers were hopeless…they had no lights to check ticket numbers and the usher who tried helping us, asked if she could keep my phone with her for the duration of the concert so she could use it as a flashlight to check ticket numbers!  The parking was an even bigger disaster, conspicuous by its absence, with organisers expecting everyone to park on the road, at a school at the eennnnnddddddddd of the road, and had guards standing at designated spots prohibiting anyone from parking there, which meant many elderly people had to undertake a tedious, slow stroll from wherever their cars were parked to the entrance of the building – it was a total disaster!! And since food and beverages were allowed into the venue, and people have lost a sense of accountability, the state that the venue was left in, with litter strewn far and wide, was a putrid reflection of its audience – and perhaps the organisers should not have allowed any consumables into the venue, or have a cleaning crew brought in immediately at the end of the concert, nowhere to be seen for half an hour after the concert ended, but I’m hoping it was remedied before anyone else used it.

I think that they knew that Capetonians would endure almost anything to hear this legendary icon enthral them with his astounding musical gifts, that they took blatant advantage of their potential audience.  Frankly, I’m offended on behalf of the artist, as I’m certain he is accustomed to much greater receptions, having performed at many venues in the UK, Toronto, Australia, Dubai, America and everywhere else! Practically everyone I know categorically stated that they wouldn’t support any other endeavour attempted by this trio of sponsors/promoters or organisers – and I am inclined to agree! They’ll have to bring SALMAN KHAN here to change my mind! A small mercy is that the organiser for the rest of the South African tours, in Johannesburg and Durban, Blu Blood, secured Emperors Palace and the ICC, respectively – and yet Cape Town also has many stunning, functional options, so not sure what the Cape Town organisers were struggling with!

With the exception of “Mann ki Lagan” and “Aas Paas Khuda”, which were the only two tracks I was looking forward to, and weren’t rendered, I totally revelled in the wonder of Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, and for now I will choose to focus on this, and not the awful planning behind the event!

Winding down with “Tu Mera Dil Tu Meri Jaan”, the Rahat version of Ustad Nusrat’s collaboration with Michael Brook on “Night Song”, recorded at a live performance as a tribute to the late, Great Giant of Musicality, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, and while the original will always hold a very strong corner of my heart, this version is much softer, more intimate and perfectly Rahat!

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan – Truly a Voice From Heaven –  You Rock!!!!   🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Inaugural …

So this blog was pretty much created as a drop-zone for the pieces of my mind that demand a release, and that threaten to circulate until I comply!

Expect to find anything that finds its way into my life, my space, my mind-space like music, movies, lotsa great food, some of my juvenile insights and anything else I’m trying to make sense of or need to purge… I am the picture of an everyday, average, wallpaper woman, never seeking the limelight, so these posts are more for myself than a promise of any literary prowess…

I must warn you that I am insanely frank, and make no excuses for my opinionated nature, but by the same token, I have no issues with admitting my mistakes and apologising on the off-chance that I might have offended with no cause, as it is never my intention to do so…

For now, this is it for an inaugural post, as there is something I’d like to get out of my system, as my next post will indicate!

So for now,

🙂  Always

M.