Namaste 2014

Last year wasn’t much of a blogging year for me, but I’m hoping to make amends this year!

2013 was a fast and furious year.  A new relationship, a new job, some surprises, some shitty news, some wonderful times, and  some lovely trips.  And, always, ashtanga, a ballast in the storm, even if, as I go into my fifth year of practice, there’s more plateau than ever before, backbends disappear and reappear, and sometimes just getting up and unrolling my mat feels like a very big accomplishment.

December is my  favourite time in Joburg, even when I’m not actually in Joburg.  The normal grit and pace is tempered by a mass exodus to the sea, a big heavy exhale, roads are calm, emails remain unanswered, and there is a collective agreement that work will only resume in the second week of January.  And here we are in that very week, the slumbering giant awaking, industry cogs beginning to whir.

I inevitably feel a little overwhelmed at the thought of a whole new year, especially I guess this year with its lack of a job right now, and the relentlessness of time passing.  I think though, if there is one resolution I’ll make a daily practice, it’ll be to let go of comparisons to other people and the perception I have of their lives.  No good can come of it.


Body Worlds

Over the weekend I went to Sci-Bono to have a look at the Body Worlds exhibition. It was quite extraordinary – a whole universe within each of us.

There’s a moment of the ick factor knowing the bodies were once real people, and then just pure wonder at the magnificence of the human body, the intricacies of the systems keeping us moving, thinking and feeling, and the importance of ‘using it or losing it’.

I was again reminded of the reasons I practice yoga (which I from time to time forget after practicing pincha mayurasana again and again for months on end ;-)).  A strong, flexible body (and a strong, flexible mind) will go a long way to easing the path to old age.

I’m finding getting older quite a tough thing to deal with, an adjusting and readjusting of my sense of self.  The twenties are filled with feelings of immortality, brazen youthfulness and incomprehension of years passing and the body changing … until suddenly you notice a wrinkle that doesn’t unwrinkle.

It’s such a small portion of our lives that we spend young.  Here’s hoping though that with the help of yoga, I’ll spend a large portion of my life feeling youthful.


Body Worlds

Detox/retox February!

I’ve been detoxing for the last two weeks.  It was actually really manageable (read: I wasn’t hungry and didn’t feel deprived or even a little bit sad).  I did however spend an inordinate time in the kitchen cooking and washing dishes, feeling like a much less sexy version of Nigella.  I’d suggest the broccoli soup, lentil and sweet potato stew, broccoli and chickpea salad, oat and banana pancakes, and insist upon the blueberry and mint smoothie and mango and tahini smoothie.  Delight.

My chocolate and caffeine cravings didn’t really abate though and I do find a very early morning practice a thing of wonder when I’ve got a shot of espresso in me.  Hello focus.  Hello energy.  Hello prana.  So, you could say that I’m re-toxing (and this guy is in my kitchen’s future).

2013 has so far been a whirlwind – new job, new adventures, a feeling of things falling into place (and a whole new life in a matter of days!) – and my ever present anxiety kept at arm’s length, despite some considerable change and stress.  My ball juggling skills are at an all time high (and my to do lists at an all time extreme length), but my goals to keep some perspective and not think too far into the future seem to be mostly intact.

Deep breathing.

Blueberry/avo/mint smoothie




Summer loving

There’s very little that beats a proper beach holiday, especially one spent with your family on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.  My childhood was spent in Natal – the Drakensberg, Ballito, Southbroom – and there’s something about those long, steamily lethargic days, palm trees, breezy sugar cane, occasional shoes and a wide assortment of creepy-crawlies that makes for a true mind/body break.

After the yoga/sea swimming/pool swimming/book reading/afternoon napping routine I established, I feel like I might have a handle on 2013.  The overarching theme of my 2012 was ‘anxiety’, deeply coloured chartreuse.

2013 will be light, easy and the colour of drizzly Zinkwazi sunsets – stimulating, diverse work, health, love, a lot of humour and perspective, continuing bravery, some exotic travel, and steady, seamless flow. I’m ready.

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2013-01-04 17.15.37

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Don’t let the door hit you on the way out

2012.  Not my favourite year.  Not many people’s favourite year.  Roll on 2013.

I enjoyed 2011.  It was tumultuous, but I felt like I came into my own, discovered myself again, got a little braver and faced up to some loss.

2012 was a slog.  I feel like I had to face ALL of my stuff, ALL of the time, backed up by a voracious pace of months speeding by, deadlines to meet, events to attend, hearts to mend and self analysis to see to.

In terms of the ‘wasn’t all bad’, I did finally stand up from backbends and drop back by myself (buoyed up by some heady love hormones which kicked the Jaws theme tune I’d been hearing for months in the teeth), buy a Gregor Jenkin table (which makes my eyes glad), see Scandinavia, practice with David Swenson and Laruga Glaser, and have many moments of happiness with my many dazzling, funny and wonderful friends, including getting lost at OppiKoppi for 7 hours and sleeping in a drunk stranger’s tent (which was a frozen, dusty hell at the time, but hilarious in hindsight).

I also then had to face some startling disappointments, deal with some overwhelming anxiety and contemplate depression (and my various feelings about being “depressed”) for the first time in many years. Some boredom-induced creative block, and some information overload and what must be over-stimulation ADHD, left me high and dry and unable to write, with just a deep down rage on the simmer.

I’ve also become extremely time sensitive with age – when I was in my 20’s months would pass with me feeling love sick and heartbroken.  Now I feel like there is no time to waste being sad … that doesn’t mean though that I’m not sad – I’m just more aware of time passing, days disappearing, with me feeling bereft in the ‘prime of my life’.  Added to this I’ve also become more aware of my body changing as I head into my 30’s, triggering more feelings of clocks ticking time away.  Tick tock.

In closing I’m hoping the Mayans were right.  Bring on a consciousness shift.



The last week has been overwhelming.  Hell, the last six months have been overwhelming, but the last week in particular.  There’s something about a straw and a camel in there somewhere.

I’m taking some measures to cultivate sanity.  They involve silencing my phone, closing tabs, managing social media perusal, and declining invites.  I’m over-stimulated, overwrought, distracted and wholly addicted to staying ‘connected’, ‘current’, ‘busy‘.

And it’s a load of shit.

The busier I get, the more I scroll through Facebook and Twitter, the more I get whatsapp’d, bbm’d, emailed and skyped, the less present I am and the more anxious.  I’m so distracted by the relentless stream of stimuli coming my way, the constant array of snippets of other peoples’ lives (with which I create long, convoluted fiction), the habitual phone checking to affirm my worth, that most of the time I can barely get my work done.  I lose all perspective; and contemplate medication to take the edge off.

The busier I am, the less time I have to think about the aching big questions, the ones that wake me at 3am in the morning, the ones that creep up on me during my ashtanga practice, the ones that trigger desolate, startling tears on the way home from somewhere in the early hours of the morning.  I’m doing cool things, socialising with people I like (and sometimes even love), solidly creating the appearance of an admirable life … and still feeling frenziedly anxious about my place in the world, whether I’m making a valuable contribution as a human being, whether I am a valuable human being.

“Busyness serves as a kind of existential reassurance, a hedge against emptiness; obviously your life cannot possibly be silly or trivial or meaningless if you are so busy, completely booked, in demand every hour of the day…I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter.”

The busier I am, the more distracted by floating flotsam, the never-ending onslaught of information, the less time I have to deal with my feelings, the lumbering elephants parading through the room.  And, well, I have a lot of feelings; barely covered by a thin veneer of togetherness, busyness, importance.  The busier I am, the emptier I feel, clutching a smartphone in the hopes of connection, a confirmation that I’ve flitted through someone’s mind long enough for them to tap out an instant message.

So here it is: a Saturday night’s plans cancelled, a night in, and a phone switched off.  And many thoughts.  Here’s hoping for some perspective and clarity, a bolt of light.  Or even a spark.


Things I learnt this weekend

  • The friends I have are some of the best people in the world
  • Unexpected things happen when you take your power back
  • Even more unexpected things happen when you say ‘yes!’ to people, to events, to life
  • A long distance call can save a Sunday
  • I love women.  It’s a pity men make my bones melt
  • Men are mostly stupid (throw rocks at them)
  • Even if you’ve known someone for years and years you can still miss each other when it comes to explaining matters of the heart
  • It’s never really about the sex
  • And it’s never fun not getting what you really, really want
  • Forthright.  Honest.  Authentic.  Tell someone you love them (and put aside your expectations)
  • Magic sometimes happens at rock bottom

It wasn’t the best weekend I’ve ever had; but it was jam-packed with emotion, conclusions, disappointment and some truth-telling.

Things I learnt this week

  • Jo Malone Wild Fig and Cassis is flipping intoxicating.  I’d jump straight into bed with me if I could.  Really.
  • I have my backbends, but now I’m terrified of losing them.  Like really scared that I just won’t know how to stand up or drop back any more.  Poof!
  • Yoga leaves no room for wool-pulling over my own eyes.  I’ve had an anxious, distracted week and that anxiety and distraction has not dissipated while hanging out in kapotasana … in fact, it’s heightened to the point where I’m in child, on my mat, wondering how on earth I’m ever going to get up.  Through yoga I’ve become so aware of where my emotions sit in my body – twitching feet, aching nausea, restless tossing and turning at night, and gnawing anxiety in my belly.  Yoga forces me to deal with everything I feel, immediately … sometimes I’d rather eat a slab of chocolate and drink alcohol, but mostly I’m glad that I cannot duck and dive facing my stuff.
  • There’s nothing like family to make you examine your beliefs, prejudices and issues.
  • There’s also nothing like a pretty, waif-like blonde, studying mathematics masters (and getting 100% for all her exams) to make you question your own judgemental jumped-to conclusions.
  • Tea solves many problems.

And finally, some Easter humour:

Hello weekend.