SHANGRI-LA (ZHONGDIAN, CHINA)

Two years ago, at the end of our travels through Asia, we stayed in Shangri-La City in close to Tibet. This was one of the most beautiful and scenic places I have ever been to. Besides the intriguing architecture of the carefully detailed temples and homes, the stunning view over the mountains and the daunting changes in weather, the people were extremely welcoming and friendly.

Here is just a couple of impressions of this unique place, if any of you have any questions on our stay or you want to see more, please let me know.

 

L1010903L1010864L1010858L1010861L1010920L1010880L1010876L1010875L1010884L1010905L1010930L1010940L1010944

Advertisements

MEKONG, CAMBODIA: PANDAW RIVER CRUISE

As a part of our tour through Cambodia, we spend a couple of days on a river cruise. It took us over the Mekong river and we made several stops, visiting beautiful towns and places along the river. For more information on the specific cruise we took, go to Pandaw and you will find everything you need. Here are some of the footage I took during these days, if you would like to see more or have any questions please let me now.

DSC_2439DSC_2412DSC_2415DSC_2427DSC_2437DSC_2485DSC_2488DSC_2492DSC_2502DSC_2554DSC_2560DSC_2565DSC_2596

Continue reading MEKONG, CAMBODIA: PANDAW RIVER CRUISE

28.03.16 ALL ABOUT YOGA

” Yoga is not about touching your toes, it is what you learn  on the way down”  – Jigar Gor

Let me repeat: YOGA IS NOT ABOUT BEING ABLE TO TOUCH YOUR TOES!

Really, it isn’t. The first response people give, when I talk to them about yoga: ” Ooh I could never do that, I am not flexible enough. I can’t even touch my toes”. Why do people tend to have this obsession with the end result, if there even is an end result (I will discuss this later on). If your only focus is being able to touch your toes or to do a headstand, you will either never reach this ‘goal’ and stop practising, or with pure willpower achieve it and then think you are done.

No, please do not fall into this tunnel vision  mindset. Not just with yoga, but with other activities as well. Instead of focussing on that ultimate end goal, focus on the ongoing process, focus on the never-ending journey and it will not only changes the way you see and observe the world, but also changes your perception of yourself . With that comes that yoga isn’t about self-improvement, but above all about self-acceptance.

Self-acceptance is something I still struggle with every day, but by practising yoga over the last 2 years I have established a more forgiving and loving relationship with my body. When I first came to yoga in September of 2014, I expected it to be just another form of exercise. During that time I was in a difficult mental state and had lost all connection between body and mind, treating my body as a superficial mask that I could manipulate to my own desires. It turned out to be the best decision I could have ever made and I am so grateful for the initial push that drove me to my first yoga class. Not only was the environment the total opposite of competitive (like with most other type of sports, activities), there also never was an ultimate perfect end goal or pose. So instead of focussing on the abilities of the other participants in the room, I was urged to focus on my self, on my own body and what it told me it wanted or didn’t want to do. The ability to hold a certain pose was not depended on ‘how good you were’ or ‘how slim/toned you were’ but on the relationship between body and mind. For example, as soon as I learned to open my heart, I was able to hold different poses such as the wheel pose, but when I felt stressed or negative I could not go as deep into my practice. Then again, learning not to judge myself for that, but simply accepting that that was my current state of mind and letting it go.

One year into my practice, I asked my father to join me. I don’t know what made him go this first time, but let me tell you; the morning after he joined me for his second class. Now more than a year later, he still practices at least two times a week, but often more. For him (I hope I got this right) it wasn’t so much the mind that needed work, he already had been practising meditation for a while and still does. No, I think that for him it was establishing that relation between the mind and the body, and implementing a physical ‘routine’ into his daily life. If you want to read more on his journey, you can go over to his blog: qolcompany.

Now that I study in Delft, I do not go as often to yoga classes as I would like to, but I still try to practice every day. Even it is just 10 minutes of mindful breathing and truly being in the moment, noticing how my body feels that day and accepting it for all it’s imperfections.

I hope I have inspired you to embark on a similar journey of your own, if you have any questions on yoga; what types there are, how to start, the music I listen to or any question for that matter, just comment below and I will answer them to the best of my abilities.

DSC_3488

Pictures taken during my trip to Song Saa in Cambodia

27.03.16 INTROVERT

Already for a long time I have known that I am an introverted person, however only a few months ago I have truly accepted this fact and I think you should to.

There is nothing wrong with being introverted, or extroverted for that matter. Just like there are morning people and night owls, it is just a character trade. However often people feel like they should be one or the other, without accepting and acknowledging their true nature. And this, in my opinion, is wrong. Why do we feel the need to be or act different? Why is it so hard to be yourself? Is it because of others having certain expectations of you, or is it your own mind that tells you, that you have to be different? I suppose it is often an combination of the two and only when we truly listen to our heart, without noises from the outside, we can maybe hear or rather feel the soul within.

This generation can be seen as a very social one, always connecting through different platforms and sharing their lives with one another. However can one compare this type of connecting to real life conversations between to persons looking each other in the eye? I don’t know, maybe this could be a topic for another time. But what I have noticed among people my age, is the fear of not belonging, the fear of being alone or left out. The anxiety of not being able to twitter, Facebook, instagram etc, the need to always be online. With this comes the notion that being alone for a day, not seeing friends or family, just you and yourself, is bad or means that you are unsocial. That you always have to be around others, or otherwise you are a loner. Why do we think this? Why should we feel bad when we want to spent some time on our own?

I don’t think we should. I actually really enjoy my free time, now that I let myself do so. I do not feel bad, when instead of going to a party, I stay at home. Whereas before I would feel guilty or unsocial, now I understand that I need this alone time. It makes that when I do hang out with people, I truly want to be there and can be more present, which results in better relationships.

There a lot of  misconceptions people have on introverts and I would like to adres a couple. Not saying that every introvert is like this, or that extroverts can’t feel the same, after all everyone is different. However these are common misunderstandings on introverted people;

Bestand 07-05-15 11 25 39

Introverts do not like to talk: We actually can and often like to talk, if we are very into a certain subject, it’s hard to stop us from talking. However most of us do not like small talk and often avoid this. In addition we often need some time before giving a response, we need to proces the conversation first and relate it to previous talks. This doesn’t mean we do not want to talk or we are hiding things, we just need some time to think about it.

All introverts are shy: Being shy is not  the same as being introvert. There are a fair share of extroverts that are actually really shy. Being shy means that you have a lack of self-esteem in social situations, they are very self aware and afraid to talk. This doesn’t have to be the case with introverts. Introversion is often defined as recharging and gaining energy through alone time, whereas shyness has more to do with discomfort and anxiety in situations involving social interactions. A neuroscientist who studies shyness said, “Shyness is a behaviour – it’s being fearful in a social situation. Whereas introversion is a motivation. It’s how much you want and need to be in those interactions”

Introverts aren’t socially skilled and don’t like to be around people: Introverts can seem absent at times, because in our mind we are very busy. We actually need and enjoy more solitude, but the notion that introverts don’t want the company of others is false. We just socialise in a different way. We often put ourself in another person shoes and try to see things from his’ or her’s perspective. We are often very curious and have no problem to show interest in the people around us. Introverts do like people, but favour quality of quantity in relationships.

Introverts are boring: Just because we don’t say much, doesn’t mean we have nothing to say. People often think introverts are boring because we don’t participate in many activities and have less contact with other people. But with introverts the quantity doesn’t count, the quality does. We experience everything very intensely, from activities to relationships.

Introverts have more negative personalities: because we like being alone, we are often seen as more depressive. This misconception is coming from a genuine concern from more extroverted people, putting their feelings on us. When extroverts are alone for too long, they feel sad and depressed, therefore they think we feel the same. But introverted people don’t associate solitude with loneliness.

It is easy to tell whether someone is introverted or extroverted: Many introverts have mastered the role of behaving like an extrovert in social situations, acting more outspoken than they would really feel. They may enjoy the social interaction and attention, but later crave time alone to recover, to regain energy. The longer we keep up the show, the longer we need to recuperate. So introverts do like people and socialising, just in a different way.

 

Source:

Huffingtonpost

 

 

22.03.16 ALIENATION

“We have to heal our wounded world. The chaos, despair and senseless destruction we see today are a result of the alienation that people feel from each other and their environment”

Michael Jackson

Often, without realising it, I forget how blessed I am to live in a country as safe as the Netherlands. I have never felt the fear of walking alone to school as a child, never had to hide my face because of the single fact that I am a woman, never was obliged to cary a weapon, never felt afraid of my own family, never.. So I do not think I have the ability to speak or wright on this fear, that many people live in every second of every day.

However I do know it is like to feel distant from the people around you, all focussing on their mobile phone, to see people destroying the last parts of beautiful nature around us, to notice the change in the now less quiet and clean mountains of Switzerland, to be astonished by people who only seem to enjoy or admire a location once they have taken a picture of it.

These two feelings may not seem related at first, but they both stem from an alienation, differentiation, from our surroundings, as well people as nature. If we want to move a way from this age of destruction, of our planet, of our relationships and of ourselves, I believe that we have to first reconnect with our own mind. We have to reconnect to our selves and our core beliefs, before we can truly be open to connect to other beings and our environment.

I can not say I am there yet, but I try daily to establish a deeper connection with myself, my mind, my body, and with the people and nature around me. How do I this?? I am afraid I am not able to tell you, you will have to find your own path to establish this connection. I believe this is a never-ending journey, never stop learning, always be open to new discoveries in life..