On being back…

I’ve had the worst writer’s block I’ve ever experienced. I feel like I’m bubbling over with stories to tell, but I can’t bring them down to words. I expected this much, when I prepared for my absence and scheduled a few more posts than I would actually be away, but even after being back for over a week now, I’m still struggling.

I got back on Nov. 24 and have been incredibly busy since. My diploma thesis for university is waiting to be written, Christmas shopping is long due, work only gave me 2 short days to recover and the remnants of the water leakage in our apartment were waiting for me…

But let me no longer wail, but tell you instead about my fabulous November!

On November 4, I left for an incredible trip to Florida. I had been planning to become a Yoga teacher for a long time and immediately jumped on the wagon when my yoga teacher recommended that I go to Yogi Hari’s Ashram for the 2 week residential teachers training course.

A unique experience.

The daily schedule seems to be quite hard and it was, I can assure you, but it all comes down to how much self-discipline you have.

We started at 6 in the morning with Meditation. Have you ever tried Meditation? Well, the “scientific” definition is that you stay focused on an object for more than 2 minutes. Impossible. Nearly, yes, but just to try and be able to sit still for 2 minutes gives you motivation to keep trying. After Meditation we would have a lecture on the philosophy and history of Yoga.

At 8 it was time to do Asanas, i. e. time for a Hatha Yoga Class. I know that I’m not very flexible, I have some strength and I know my body quite well, but flexibility is not my strength. But, it didn’t matter which level of Yoga we all had, our teachers got us dripping with sweat after 5 minutes. And I’ve never had so much fun with Yoga classes before.

After class, we had delicious Vegetarian/Vegan breakfast. It was mainly Oatmeal, bagels, etc. and sometimes we’d be spoiled with some delicious Indian meals, like Kitchery.

Around noon-time we did one hour of Karma Yoga, which basically means that we did clean the kitchen, house and helped in the garden and then had a two hour break, which we generally used to sleep or study.

In the afternoon we had a two hour lecture on the human anatomy, how to conduct a yoga class, which core elements to remind, etc. We were able to put all these things to practice during the classes each of us students held in the afternoon. This was really helpful and interesting. To see the way people were teaching we were able to remember some of the things for our own classes.

At 6, we had dinner. I’ll post some of the recipes here as soon as I get to cook them, because I enjoyed them so much. I like Indian food in general and I just LOVED what Yogi Hari’s wife prepared for us every day. It were mainly quite simple things, but absolutely rich and flavorfull.

In the evening we had another hour of Meditation and Lecture. I think it’s a great way to end the day the same way you’re starting it. It makes things round and gives you the possibility to positively start and end the day!

This was pretty much the everyday schedule. It was nice to be able to totally focus on yourself. A really calming, peaceful experience.

Join me again next week to tell you more about the Ashram and my trip to Miami!

Currently

What I’ll be doing the next 2 and a half week:

I’ll be enjoying the warmth and sun of Miami, but not only for pleasure. Some months ago, I applied for a Yoga Teachers certification course and I got accepted. I was so thrilled and November (I got the confirmation in May) seemed so far away. But now it’s finally here.

While you’re reading this post I’ll be on the plane on my way to Miami and for the next 14 days I’ll be practicing asanas (yoga postures), meditation and how to teach yoga. Afterwards, I’ll have another 4 days to go sight-seeing in Miami. As I’ve never been there I’m really excited.

For the time being I’ve decided to re-post some old posts that were very popular or that I’ve been asked questions about. I’ll be back to posting in December.

Have a great time!

Intimidated

Some time ago I mentioned that I’ll be travelling to the US in November. I’m still sticking to the plan. Flight and the hotel have been booked for weeks and as I’m not a person to do anything last minute I thought I’d figure out the whole visa stuff way before it is due.

And man, I’m grateful I did this now. It took me some time to figure out what I’d need and what not. Wow, I’d say that the USA is one of the best, if not the best-protected countries in the world. Growing up in “free Europe”, where you don’t need anything else than your National ID to travel from Gibraltar to Iceland and where I normally start travel preparations one day beforehand, I have to admit I was a bit shocked.

1

First, of course, you’ll need a passport. No problem. I got the biometrical photo taken and had my passport within 3 weeks. So, check.

2

Then, if you’re staying less than 90 days you don’t need to apply for a visum, but can enter the country via the VISA Waiver Program. This means that you only have to fill the ESTA-Form before your journey. You fill in the general information about the person, flight and your stay in the US. No problem, check. But then there’s the second part: You have to answer a bunch of questions concerning your “crime” history – fortunately in my case I’m a blank paper, so no problem here, again. Check. BUT, just reading the questions frightened me.

3

Of course, being a responsible and frequent traveller I re-checked what I was allowed to take along and what not. That’s all no problem. Same rules world-wide. Check, again.

4

That’s the point where I reached the information about finally entering the country. I will have to fill another form (which is quite similar to the ESTA-form) while I’m on my flight. After landing I’ll have to go to Custom Border Control to hand them the form. Then there will be taken my fingerprints, another photo and I’ll be asked a few questions regarding my stay in the USA: recreational/holiday.

5

Then I’ll be welcomed to the United States.

Of course, there are the “horror stories” and there has to be the regulatory framework, also indicating the possibilities if there is something missing in the paperwork. So, I just hope that I have everything needed and that all the preparation will pay back in the end.

Does anybody have any advice on what to pay attention to? Any “horror stories” you’d like to share? 🙂 Or any uplifting information that as always everything’s just half as bad?

Random Tuesday Thoughts (5)

A girl doing a blog post about cars. Can you imagine this? Well, I didn’t, I though about all topics possible but definitely not cars. So here I am, but what brought this up?!

I’ve been a huge admirer of all things from the States, be it food, clothes, whatever, including cars. Yes, I love American cars – especially the big SUVs. So watching the Vampire Diaries over these last few weeks I saw Elena driving this really nice looking car. I didn’t really know what car it was, but I researched a bit and I came up with some really good looking cars.

This first one here is the Grand Cherokee by Jeep. I suppose this is a car very similar to the one Elena drives in Vampire Diaries. I really like this car.

Another one of the cars I came up with is the following. It’s the Volvo XC60, the car Edward drives in New Moon. It’s slightly smaller than the Cherokee, but more elegant. I really LOVE the color of the car.

Another car that can be found in the SUV category is the Porsche Cayenne. It’s in the same category and definitely one of the more expensive ones, but I personally don’t like it as much.

Then there’s the Chevrolet Suburban. It’s very much like Cherokee by Jeep.

If I had to choose between the four of them, it would be a tough choice, perhaps in favour of the first or the second. I love the Cherokee, but I suppose it’s much too BIG for German streets, so I’d take the Volvo C60. Which car would you choose?