Tag Archives: home yoga

week 12/21: Why I do fitness with Zuzka. And wear a suit.

1985 gok ik 2b9e73c3d632bc98ed993bd63f1fd586by Suzanne L. Beenackers

It started when I heard myself say to a student, for reasons yet forgotten: “I believe that wearing the right clothing is what makes you successful. The day I am showered, in a smart suit, with high heels, behind my desk at 10 a.m. , is the day I start earning 100.000 euros a year.”
And when I said it I thought: then why am I not doing it?
Sure, there is the excuse I work nights teaching my classes. I’ve tried being productive the first hours of the day, but that was like working double shifts. If I worked nights, worked mornings, resisted the urge to take naps and instead resolved to anything computer in the afternoon, when exactly was my workday beginning? And more importantly; when was it ending?
But aside from working nights there was a second reason I it took me a while to be up and ready to go: my yoga practice. Or postponing yoga practice. I had a “morning” yoga practice of 30 minutes to an hour but my computer was seducing me to check email, get some minor stuff done, have a latte, and all those other tempting suggestions my computer usually makes.
Often I still had not practiced when it was time for lunch, and I was still in sweatpants. Whether I chose yoga or lunch: I had already lost the chance of having a professional feeling about myself.

The day I am showered, in smart shoes, with high heels, behind my desk at 10 a.m. ,
is the day I start earning 100.000 euros a year.

With a mediocre yoga practice and feeling incompetent every day, I really had little to loose.

Material Girl

Day 1. I was behind my desk for 5 minutes when my mom called with an unbelievable story: she had inherited € 4000 unexpectedly. That was quick for the money to start pouring in! This was to the family, not into my personal bank account, but it was a good start. One hour later, a friend at the housing company rang my bell, I proudly opened the door, make-up on and all. He debriefed me on my housing situation: I could stay for another two months.

Since then my doorbell rang every day (versus the usual once a week) ; to fix the gas meter, to ask me for help on a surprise dinner, to accept a package for a neighbor. And in general, I get invited to parties, asked for dates, someone gives me life saving advice on my cat: it’s a miracle what happens when you’re ready to receive what life has to offer.

Fitness with Zuzka

I tried to squeeze in yoga before 10. But there was still the tow pulling between a full practice, my 10 a.m. deadline, and my computer whispering sweet nothings. And then I remembered that I still had my Zuzka schedules! Last time I had a consistent Zuzka practice was beginning 2014 and I could just flow through even the toughest vinyasa power class I teach. It was amazing how strong I got! And that could be achieved with short work-outs, using my professional dumbbells. I’ll share the sticky men schedules I crafted for my personal use with you next week. Give me some time to make them more clear, and in the meantime you go buy a set of dumbbells.Zuzka_Stand_Up_For_Yourself-post

Zuzka is a fitness expert. She started about 8 years ago I think, in some kind of improvised gym basement with a shy Zuzka (still insecure about her English) and her husband filming. It developed into a large online fitness empire Bodyrock and a marriage that was so dysfunctional that you couldn’t watch the camera angles without feeling sorry for poor Zuzka far away from Czechoslovakia. They were always moving; North America, Canada, Malta. The houses were all equally cold and eerie.  Late 2011 she posted a video insisting nothing was wrong with their marriage. Her last message was that she looked forward to focusing more on food videos and leave the fitness stuff to others. Then she disappeared all together.

Early 2012 one of the two friends who I had infected with my Zuzka virus, found her again. Zuzka had started her own You Tube channel. She was still in shape but with less muscle definition, and she was alone. In half a year she buffed up in front of the camera, got dogs and moved to a house with Melrose Place like charm. She had friends, she had fun, and a little while later there even was a new guy.  For this post I did some research and stumbled upon her post “Open Letter to all my fans“, summer 2014. Zuzka is the sweetest thing that ever happened to fitness, and if you still waste time and money going to the gym for endless cardio sessions let me whisper a sweet nothing in your ear:

TEN TO TWENTY MINUTES A DAY IS ALL IT TAKES TO LOOK AS GOOD AS ZUZKA AND UNLESS YOUR TRAINER LOOKS BETTER AND TRAINS LESS GET THE F* OUT OF THERE AND SWITCH TO ZUZKA!!

Sorry I yelled.

adriene 12Home and Class Practice: week 12

I’m teaching from Yoga with Adriene for 21 weeks & provide her videos here for home practice. This is week 12. Our week starts on Monday. You ll receive new blogposts every Sunday night.

Day 12 Yoga for Spinal Health  12 minutes  pdf
With rockstar yoga pants and the first Locust pose that says looky flookie. What’s not to love? ;)

Day 23 Freedom and Forgiveness  23 minutes  pdf

You can find the overview of all videos and pdf’s we did in class, on my page Yoga with Adriene.

week 10+11: Five Home Practices and Madonna

2015 04 images

Madonna Cosmopolitan May 2015

by Suzanne L. Beenackers

I actually felt kind of flattered last week. I didn’t post a home yoga schedule here, nor mentioned it in class, and a student asked:
What happened to Adriene?!
Nothing!
We’re practicing from the 30 Day Yoga Challenge, but last week was week 10 (equals Day 10 in the Challenge) and it was Sun Salutations, so I could easily leave that out in order to practice from Sadie Nardini’s Self-Sabotage Busting Power Hour.
I also added vini yoga if you need back therapy, gave Adriene’s Gentle Yummy Yoga a rerun and all with a spicy Madonna Rebel Heart soundtrack. Suffice to say: she forgave me.

last week 10

video: Sadie Nardini’s Self-Sabotage Busting Power Hour.   1 hour 5 minutes
Shakti kicks! Shakti kicks! Now in the comfort of your own home.
video: Day 10 Sun Salutations  12 minutes
12 minute Vini Yoga Sequence
therapeutic yoga. And remember the name: vini yoga. Could save you one day.

this week 11

video: Yoga with Adriene Day 22 Full Body Awareness  23 minutes pdf
video: Yoga with Adriene Day 11 Shakti Yoga Practice  30 minutes pdf
both with lion’s breathe just like last week’s Sadie Nardini.
And I ll throw in some Shakti kicks for extra fun if you come to class.

11 maxresdefault

week 9/21: Karma and Dharma made easy (and useful)

1332052649304_4450334by Suzanne L. Beenackers

After a day of dallying, then hurrying, then enjoying myself at two family events, I had only just enough time to bring out my vote for the elections, and then teach my class. But I had not counted on a hundred people in front of me wanting to do the same thing. The waiting time was 20 minutes, according to someone who had just done her civil duty. Vaguely I remembered reading that our city had brought down the number of voting bureaus by 20 percent this year. Which could explain why the waiting time had increased by a 1000 percent.
“The bureau at the train station is probably crowded as well,” the voter added.
But it was my only chance.
After only a small detour I managed to drop by at the station, and gasped:  the line was so long, voting would probably have closed by the time it was my turn. And besides I had a class to teach in less than half an hour.
I wondered what was more important: my duty as a citizen or to teach my class?
And I immediately knew the answer because I remembered this very simple rule:
Dharma always starts close to home. 

Dharma means your path, your role, that which you must do in life. We all have conflicting dharmas, for example finding a balance between work and family life. The “rule” as I was taught, and that I wholeheartedly agree with, is the responsibility (=dharma) that is closest to you comes first.
For example:
Your duty towards yourself is more important than towards those closest to you.
And your responsibilities as a spouse/parent/ child are more important than towards the company you work for.

And there is another one, which is useful: NEEDS go before WANTS
Your own needs, are more important than the needs of your pets and relatives.
But your wants are less important than their needs.

I still had time for one more try: a community building that might have a voting bureau. I was lucky: it was so quiet the employees were folding paper planes and trying different techniques to make it fly higher. They laughed when I arrived and took their places back behind the desk to form the line of ID check, voters list, and handing out the forms.
I was done in less than 2 minutes and was able to fulfill all my dharmas that day.

The day after the elections I was on the phone with a yogic friend. We were shopping for new online training courses. I wanted to purchase two of the smaller ones, and said what I would be paying, since it was donation based. My friend thought that was a bit high, as my income is low, and the donation based idea was (in her opinion) for people like me, so we got bottom price.
We hung up, and before I transferred the money, I went to the site of the teacher and noticed that the two courses that I had planned to purchase donation based, were actually completely free for the whole week. She didn’t ask me for a dime if I got it directly from her.
I had expressed the willingness to pay to the Universe, to donate what I could miss, and in return the course was thrown into my lap for absolutely free.
That is karma.
And the expensive course my friend was about to purchase, was on there too; for the exact price my friend had planned to donate for that extensive donation based training.

Karma is getting back what you send out: you give money, time or love in one place, and you ll get money, time or love back. More often than not from someone unrelated to where you invested! I remember when I still had an expensive studio; One of my tenants wanted to rent more hours, but I couldn’t offer that. I brought him into contact with a different studio where he could get the desired time slots. As a result, I lost income, because he took the other hours with him as well. Yet I remained certain I had done the right thing.

Half a year later, I made the decision to move to a cheaper studio, one I could afford without renting it out. Within three days after posting my request on Facebook I received an email from a yoga teacher I had never heard of. A friend of a friend had recommended me. She offered me one of the oldest and probably only affordable yoga studio we have here. And in the heart of the city.

And I immediately knew it was because I had acted in the best interest of my tenant, and not my own. I knew it was because of karma.

9week 9

I’m teaching from Yoga with Adriene for 21 weeks & provide her videos here for home practice. This is week 9. Our week starts on Monday. You ll receive new blogposts every Sunday night.

Day 9 Full Potential Detox Practice 
26 minutes       pdf 
Strong standing practice with high lunges. And the inside joke Adriene makes about Towanda? That’s from Fried Green Tomatoes! One of my favorite movies. And Adriene’s too, apparently.

Day 24 Gentle Yummy Yoga     19 minuten    pdf     

Last week I posted an overview of all practices, but the pdf with week 3 wasn’t the right one.
I updated last week’s post, and it now contains all videos + the right pdf.

Day 1 Ease into it                        35 minutes        pdf day 1
Day 2 Stretch & Soothe             33 minutes         pdf day 2
Day 3 Forget what you know    23 minutes        pdf day 3
Day 4 Yoga for your Back          20 minutes        pdf day 4
Day 5 Feel Alive Flow                  16 minutes        pdf day 5
Day 6 Six Pack Abs                      17 minutes        pdf day 6
Day 7 Total Body Yoga               30 minutes        pdf day 7
Day 8 Yoga for Healing and Meditation         28 minutes      pdf day 8
Day 25 Dancing Warrior          12 minutes        pdf day 25  

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week 8/21: Yoga to go

IMG-20150307-WA0000 - outtake

Want the top? Follow Yoga with Adriene! T Shirt shop will be launched soon.

by Suzanne L. Beenackers

Already on a third of my 21 week long mission, quest, thing (this was me quoting hobbit Merry again) to teach from Yoga with Adriene videos. Now a couple of things are working out brilliantly:
1. I don’t have to come-up with what I ll be teaching- it’s pretty much set.
2. Which leaves me time to write great stories about my fetish for bankersdiet tips for Hobbits, and how to find the fountain of happiness.
But next to these successes, two things are not working:
1. I get wild with enthusiasm and spend an entire workday a week on writing this blog.
2. leaving no time or energy to commit to drawing accompanying yoga sticky men pdfs with the video.

I easily came up with excuses for not delivering the pdfs – this challenge was organic (great word for not keeping ones promises!) and besides most of you would probably have forgotten about it. And Adriene’s videos are so great! Sticky men schedules are static, and for the sake of clarity I have to simplify Adriene’s routine. So why transfer something really good, to something less brilliant right?
Wrong.
Just like videos, sticky men schedules are a valuable self-practice tool. They are easy accessible because you immediately see what you should be doing, you can practice off-line, at your own pace, and learn to turn inward and rely on yourself.
And you can print them and touch the paper! *soft delighted sigh* I keep my schedules in a ring binder and name them after World cities, role models, a special year, or give them clickbait titles as “Forever young”.

8 maxresdefaultSo this week I ll give you an overview of the 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene videos we’ve done so far + week 8.
This time I m making up for everything i missed! I m afraid this post took me two work days …..
So here are the schedules I made the first weeks + created the ones I missed because I was too busy with boys, my hips and writing about Miss Piggy.

week 8

I’m teaching from Yoga with Adriene for 21 weeks & provide her videos here for home practice. This is week 8. And this video is so good it belongs to the 30 Day Yoga With Adriene favorites.
Our week starts on Monday. You ll receive new blogposts every Sunday night.

Day 1 Ease into it                        35 minutes        pdf day 1
Day 2 Stretch & Soothe             33 minutes         pdf day 2
Day 3 Forget what you know    23 minutes        pdf day 3
Day 4 Yoga for your Back          20 minutes        pdf day 4
Day 5 Feel Alive Flow                  16 minutes        pdf day 5
Day 6 Six Pack Abs                      17 minutes        pdf day 6
Day 7 Total Body Yoga               30 minutes        pdf day 7
Day 8 Yoga for Healing and Meditation         28 minutes      pdf day 8
Day 25 Dancing Warrior          12 minutes        pdf day 25  

I ll teach Day 8 Yoga for Healing and Meditation, and last week’s day 7 Total Body Yoga, because they make quite a lovely pair.

Click Here for Spotify Yoga Playlist March-
Very Rare Tracks from Meghan Currie time laps videos
topped off with a juicy 50 Shades of Grey

week 7/21: The only diet hack you (might) need

6164cab448ca89d7f99a4057625fdc29by Suzanne L. Beenackers

I’m not going to lie to you: this is not tried and tested (beyond a few weeks). Not a post where I’ll illustrate with before and after pictures how I easily dropped the pounds by;
juicing;
cutting carbs;
intuitive eating;
or any other life style change or diet you have heard off.
Yet this blog post might be for some of you, in particular the ones who eat all day and have the body to show for it, the only thing you need
– to shed the pounds and get mental clarity at the same time.
– to finally be able to stop dealing with food, the same way smoking makes you deal with cigarettes all day.
– to take control weight off your to-do list for the rest of your life.
– and to keep eating for about 80% the same stuff you always did.
Just smarter.

How I lost the weight in 2005

My digestion is faster then lightning. Whenever I spend the weekend with other people who see how much I need to eat, I get a jaw-dropping:
“My God, you should be HUGE on the amounts that you eat!”
But I m not.
Yes, I’ve gained weight, “all” the way up to what I was before I started my one and only serious (and successful) attempt to lose weight: I’m back at weighing 70 kilos again.
Ten years ago, I lost the first kilos after starting to eat the Ayurvedic way (which includes full-cream for everything!) during the last years of my yoga training. And then I helped fate a little bit by keeping a food diary for half a year, cutting out cookies and adding a daily half hour on the home trainer .
Bye bye ten kilos.
Hello renewed body of 60 kilos.

Over the past decade I saw that weight crawling up, but every attempt to lose it got stuck at a few kilos, and then I just stopped bothering. But all that time I knew two things:
– if I ever reach 70 again, I ll get serious
– there is a new diet, a super-easy approach waiting for me. And I ll know it when I see it.
And I was right. The Interval Diet (the name I made up for this) is the easiest thing in the world. And I m serious.

what-about-second-breakfastThe Interval Diet

This diet is about creating non-food intervals between your meals. Minimum is 2,5 hours, maximum 4 hours, which might become a little more if you re really busy or something. So when you eat make sure you  have enough to last you anywhere up to your next meal.
This includes coffee with sugar or milk, which counts as food. Have them all around your mealtime. And you re done!

Now the YOU in this case is: someone who is hungry the entire day, can probably eat more than she/he can lift, and has no tendency to ever EVER undereat. I would even suggest that if you don’t get cranky when it’s past your feeding time, this diet is not for you. This is for the hobbits among you: people with a love for food, who could do with a little more discipline in their intake.
Just a little bit.
Just right for them, hobbit size.

On weekends I eat and drink more, and less organized, although I can still achieve a 2,5 hour interval and one 4 hour interval. Ideally alcohol is consumed with a meal; chocolate, cake and other snacking is done with the after-meal coffee.
“To tamp it all down,” I’d then say with Meriadoc worthy contentment.

Next to food intervals, you ll notice I only use full cream products (when available) and I’m partial to warm meals. Both are recommended by Ayurveda, no light products and no raw eating except for cucumbers and tomatoes, but it’s mostly because I absolutely love warm food. And who wouldn’t opt for full cream when given the chance? ;)
One of the luxeries I can afford myself (working from home) is that I can always eat warm, and make fresh coffee with real milk. And I intend to enjoy that to the fullest.

So here’s an example of the Interval Diet on a weekday. For me a bare minimum (as in food intake) looks like this (not including tea).
breakfast:
French Toast baked in coconut oil, with palm sugar and cinnemon/ wentelteefjes
or Indian style roasted oatmeal with nuts/ Nederlands recept hemelse havermout
coffee with instant choco (to save time heating milk)
4 hour interval
lunch:
potato & vegetable stew (or curry) with vegetarian meatballs or veg. schnitzel
and/or feta or salted cashews and fresh basil or cilantro
coffee latte (with full cream hot milk)
4 hour interval
dinner:
yoghurt (Greek or Turkish, and as high in fat as possible) or cottage cheese with granola
or a toasted sandwhich cheese, tomato and ketchup
coffee latte (with full cream hot milk)
4,5 hour interval/ teaching
late night snack
chai tea with hot milk
or two freshly squeezed orange juices with turmeric- , pepper & ginger powder.
Disclaimer: do not brush your teeth until one hour after consuming fruit
& fruit at night time is an Ayurvedic no-go all together.

On a day like this I “score” 3 intervals and 12 1/2 hours.
And a lot of mental clarity….

Why eat when hungry never worked

There were three reasons why the most logical thing, to listen to your body when it wants to eat, never worked for me.
1. I’m always hungry. And when I m not hungry I can use a nice coffee latte to motivate myself to go to work, I might fancy some pre-yoga-practice chocolate and so on. There was always a good reason to eat.
2. I find listening to my body tiresome. I’d really much rather spend my energy somewhere else than to keep in tune with what my body is telling me all day. It’s a gorgeous round and healthy thing. It’s not going to die of starvation.
3. I like being in control. To write down the food intervals, is a bit of a challenge, a game. And it puts me in the pilot’s chair. I may be slightly hungry within intervals but knowing that within a few hours I can eat anything I want, makes it all worth it.

How to plan your intervals

Ideally, you (again, just hobbits and Miss Piggy apply) would stick to three 4-5 hour intervals. This way you only have to be concerned with food four times a day, and if you standardize certain meals even less. If you have a shared meal time with others, or appointments/ an office workday which dictates when you eat, you work with the 2,5 hour intervals. You may want to take lighter meals, when you know in advance you ll  get fed within 2,5 again.

Stay motivated

The first weeks I just played around with trying to create ONE 2,5 hour interval and ONE 4 hour. That’s it. And on days when I have a lot of appointments I set that to be my minimum. To me, that is always feasible.

The most important difference between 2005 and 2015 is that I ve always known (even way before my home trainer broke down) that the way I had lost the weight in 2005 was not sustainable. Getting 1/2 hour of intense workout a day, in a way that is not truly you, is one day going to fail to inspire you. And the magic of keeping a food journal is not going to hold up forever. I knew in advance that unless I came up with a way to keep the weight off, it would come back. It’s nothing short of a miracle it took ten years.

Closing thought

This diet is to control my weight, I admit that. But there are two benefits this “diet” has, that others don’t.
1. mental clarity
As long as your body is digesting, your mind is scattered, concentration low. And also when you are thinking about food, you cannot think of anything else. There is the risk of being hungry in this diet, I fully acknowledge that. And I know of multiple studies (not going to lie) who tell you that a diet will decrease your productivity, and costs mental band with.
But for me this has outweighed the “fuss” of constantly digesting or thinking about if/what I should be eating. I am more productive now, then when I was still on the all you can eat. I recommend you find out for yourself what this diet does to your productivity, but my guess is it will increase, rather than decrease.
2. digestive resting
It is so beneficial for your body to have some quiet time between meals. Just like fasting. There is this myth that we/ all of us have to keep our digestion going. A lot of diets actually advocate 6-7 small meals a day. This is a great idea for people on the thin side, or with slow digestion. But it is superfluous advice to those who get up in the morning with their stomachs rumbling and ready to eat anything dead (or at least seriously slowed down). For the sake of everybody: we need to slow down our metabolism. Not fire it up.

The Interval Diet is a great way to do fasting. But just a little bit, just right for us. Like mini-fasting. The Interval Diet is like fasting for hobbits.

7 maxresdefaultweek 7
I’m teaching from Yoga with Adriene for 21 weeks & provide her videos here for home practice. This is week 7. Our week starts on Monday. You ll receive new blogposts every Sunday night.

video 30 minutes with Adriene :
Day 7 Total Body Yoga
Vinyasa practice of standing poses & ending with side plank and lying down twists and happy baby.

video 37 minutes with Adriene :
Yoga for stress relief
YUMMY!!!! Try this one, it’s like chocolate. Promise.

6/21: Happiness comes in plenty

5239b1f3ffc0c937d79bbd7b5028907e6eby Suzanne L. Beenackers

I have tried to understand them and sympathize with them. Every time someone claimed that happiness came in small doses, that life was suffering, or that our era suffered from an obsession with happiness, I could see how this was true. In a way. And that even if it wasn’t, it was how they perceived reality, so that made it valid. Most moments are indeed not characterized by abundance, nor marked by remarkably witty things happening, nor will they be remembered for their immense pleasure. Rationally, happiness comes in small doses. Then how come I have always experienced it differently?

To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory
The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin

Aha! There you go: anticipate, savor, express, and recall. Four things I had been doing instinctively way before I read/spelled/declared to be holy, the book The Happiness Project from Gretchen Rubin.

Anticipate:
Plan ahead. Look forward to. One of the reason I m not fond of surprises is that you miss out on the anticipation phase. Why do you think kids like Christmas so much? Because they look forward to it for months and expect it to be nothing short of awesome.

Savor:
Absorb the energy, store it in every cell of your being. Enjoy it, use your senses: smell, taste, watch, feel, listen. Linger. This is the time to be present. This is where you want to be IN THE MOMENT.

Express:
To the ones you re with, to your diary, to yourself, call a friend and share: That was fun! I really enjoyed doing that! 

Recall:
Keep souvenirs. Retell stories. Cherish memories. Frame photos. Recalling is what you do afterwards, and I believe it is the secret ingredient a lot of us seem to miss out on….. it’s like we’re so busy going for our next kick that we forget our past experiences still have life in them.

Any single happy experience may be amplified or minimized,
depending on how much attention you give it.

The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin

Every time you recall a happy memory, and every time you retell it, you are giving it attention and therefor amplifying it. And it goes without saying that this also gives you a choice in how much attention you are prepared to give to your negative experiences. Life has its moments of despair, of loss, of sorrow, which are hard on all of us. Don’t make the mistake of dwelling on the hard times, and rushing your way past all the good life has to offer. Or of rationalizing yourself out of the best part of your life.

Agenda: Sunday March 8 the book reading club American Book Center Amsterdam is reading The Happiness Project. I anticipate it to be fun ;)

adriene 6week 6
I’m teaching from Yoga with Adriene for 21 weeks & provide her videos here for home practice. I ll be teaching a sequence by combining video 6 & the extra video.

week 6:
Six pack abs  (17 minutes)

Extra:
Flexible, Fearless and Fun (16 minutes)

week 5/21: The Yoga of Banking

by Suzanne L. Beenackers Dharma-Greg-dharma-and-greg-34207050-2004-2494

The presentation by banking blogger Joris Luyendijk at the library in Nijmegen was sold out. More people were anxiously waiting. If anyone would fail to pick up a reservation some of them might still get it in. Book readings are usually visited by crowds so small you could drive them around in a yellow schoolbus called Old Yeller, but then again most book readings are not a highly acclaimed international journalist on the opening night of his 6 week book tour.
Someone at the library of Nijmegen had booked him for the kick-off of his Big Book of Bankers Tour (my words), before the winter festivals got him, before the large department stores claimed him, and before the Big Libraries That Mattered could program him prime time.
Someone at the library had done his or her job so well a 6 figure bonus would have been in order.

The only reason I had been in time for a ticket, was because I check Twitter on breaks; I do it when I should be scrubbing the floor; when simultaneously doing admin and when I am already late for yoga. A despicable habit that was bound to pay off one day. And it did: on my timeline I read there were only 3 tickets left and I had been just in time to book one.
I joyfully waved my ticket at the hostess and skipped the coffee and tea table in favor of getting a good seat.

Welcome to Planet Yoga

During the break I got my book signed and ran into a colleague who I consider a hard-core yogi;
modest in his spending, high on ethics, and dedicated to a rigid two hours on the mat daily. Possibly without checking his Twitter. Discussing the content of Joris Luyendijk’s book about the world of finance, he asked me if I thought the ethical principles of spiritual founder of yoga Patanjali (non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, moderation, non-grasping) could be used to solve all this.
“If there was something like a yogic political party, what would it look like?” he wondered.
“Yoga is not activism,” I argued, and quoted a more practical approach. “Hatha Yoga Pradipika starts with Find a Kingdom, peaceful and prosperous. Not create a Kingdom peaceful and prosperous. ”
A text for a text.
One yogi outsmarting the other, or so it seemed.
What I didn’t tell him was that I had never cared much for what Patanjali had said. And as far as I was interested in morals they were a private matter. We “only” have ourselves to answer to. And what I definitely didn’t tell the straight-edge yoga teacher was that I nourished a guilty pleasure….. or, as I put it in my tweet to Joris Luyendijk:
I have a progressive fetish for bankers.
My dating life is somewhat of a jungle, and I hang out with my lovers like you would with other predators: enjoying moments of closeness but just like Steve fatal stingray bite Irving I try to get out on time and never let down my guard. At risk of being stabbed in the heart.

dharmagreg_show_2The most joyful example of a yoga teacher and a smart banker (as I remembered him), a lawyer (according to Wiki), is illustrated by the series Dharma and Gregg. I even look a bit like Jenna Elfman, and her sarcasm and cheerfulness definitely ring a bell. Dharma and Greg marry on their first date, because Dharma suddenly has the bright suggestion to “skip the whole dating thing”. Awesome!
I remember the series well, including them having great sex.
Maybe Dharma planted the seed for what later would become my fascination with the opposites of me. And what could be more opposing to a non-materialistic, status-free yoga teacher than a City banker?

The Good Banker

It was a warm day in August and the phone rang. An international number. A man introduced himself, told me he was calling from London, and inquired about private yoga classes for his mother. Now yoga is not a fraud prone business, but there are a few red flags.
1. contacting from abroad.
2. asking for multiple private classes
3. dealing on behalf of someone else.
With all three flags waving I was on my guard, although otherwise he sounded fine. Arrogant and bantering yes, but this couldn’t disguise that he loved his mother. My guess was he worked in finance , felt guilty he didn’t visit his mother, and was now trying to make up with a gift.
He explained why yoga would be so good for her, and that if he would pay for the sessions in advance, she would be compelled to go.
“Who are we to tell your mother to exercise more?” I shared my concerns. “She’s 30 years older than we are. Something we have yet to achieve.”
He laughed. “I m not used to this. We are so much more commercial here.”
I bit my tongue and could only just keep myself from snapping: and look how that turned out.
“I could refer you to two colleagues of mine, ” I suggested. “They are the same age as your mother, and have a small inspiring studio. They also teach therapeutic yoga. If you send me an email, I ll get you the referral.”
He accepted my suggestion.

Although I was almost certain he was okay, I did screen him. My two colleagues would more than likely fail to do so and it could still be a scam. I Googled him and discovered I had been right: he was indeed a banker. Like all bankers he didn’t leave any personal information lingering around, but I managed to verify the email account. He was clean.
I emailed him the name of the yoga studio and was satisfied knowing I had done the right thing.

Joris LuyendijkTintin in the World of Finance

The book about bankers, Dutch title This can’t be true is the result of four years of Going native in the world of Finance (words of the Guardian), and talking to 200 people working in finance. Half of those interviews were published on The Guardian Banking blog. After 90 minutes, the sold out library still had lots of questions for Joris Luyendijk, most of them revolving around what needed to be done. He explained the best way to achieve more stability was not by holding individual bankers responsible (Joris still hoped the upcoming Banker’s Oath was a Dutch April fools day joke) but by reforming the system.
“And the most successful bankers, will excel within any system,” he explained. “They’re not bad people, but we have to change the system. It now only rewards short term thinking.”

Reforming the financial system is no easy task, and will have to come from politics, creating new laws. Joris predicted America and UK will remain incapable of doing this as their political parties receive campaigning money from the banks. Nothing will change there.
On the continent there is a conflict of interest too: politicians who behave bank-friendly get high paying jobs at those very banks, after their political careers. But it is still a lot easier for non Anglo-saxon countries to adjust legislation. In Europe we could start by making baby banks (my words) that are Small Enough to Fail instead of the Too Big to Fail ones we have now. The baby banks would be run by people who benefit from profits, but lose money when investments fail. A good example is Canada: they have always had different legislation around banks, and were therefor nearly untouched by 08’s financial collapse.

And although I share Joris’ concerns and hopes for a better future, I was also hoping for something else: That bankers will read this book and self-reflect, re-prioritize. And that before anybody reforms anything, they book a ticket and visit their mother.

adriene 5week 5
I’m teaching from Yoga with Adriene for 21 weeks & provide her videos here for home practice. After a holiday, we’re resuming classes Monday February 23. I ll be teaching a sequence by combining last week’s video 4 & this week’s number 5.

week 4:
Yoga has your back  (20 minutes)

week 5:
Feel alive flow (16 minutes)
“This practice will help you shake off the blues to feel revitalized and fresh again!”
Ow…that sounds nice, Adriene! <3