Archive for the ‘Salsa’ Category

New Years Resolutions

2010 was a year of changes. The biggest changes came from me changing my work as well as us changing the country and continent where we live, but along the big changes there were also a lot of other small things that changed. I purged a lot from my life (mainly in the form of foods); I reduced my drinking, I ate less sweets and sugars, I stopped drinking coffee, I reduced my intake of white flour and fast foods, I stopped drinking diet sodas…

I also added a lot to my life (partly in the form of foods and partly in the form of adding new habits to my life); I started walking 30mins almost every morning thanks to Sofia, I started eating linseed/beepollen/fresh fruits/protein powder, I started sleeping at least 8hrs each night, I started drinking lots more tea, I started working my lats more (pullups!), I started working on my emotional responses to everything that happens as well as dealing with frustration in a more productive way… The list goes on and on and on.

Change can be difficult and possibly much less fun than just sticking to what you know and enjoy, but it can also be very rewarding as you see how well you do and how well you feel following the implementation of the changes. Most change comes from yourself and from within, you have to want to change, which I guess I did since I managed to include so much into my past year. But most of all Id like to thank my lovely J for all the support he has given me in going through with it all. x Anyways, here is my list of new years resolutions for 2011:

1. Eat Clean

Eating well and with the aim of eating as healthily as possibly will be my top goal this year. This resolution gets the first position since it is almost like the main idea from which a lot of my other resolutions have arisen from and in the end this resolution will help me achieve many of my other resolutions.

During the last two quarters of 2010 I have been massively inspired by Oxygen Magazine as well as Tosca Reno‘s ideas about eating clean, so this year I finally feel ready to grab the bull by its horns and to finally start to eat according to her advice. I will start slowly, doing my first week of clean eating from the 10th January till the 17th January to see how it goes. If it goes well Ill keep going for another week but adjusting for any learnings and improvements I have found during my first week of clean eating.

If all this goes well I will do two more weeks of clean eating in February and a full month of it during March 2011 in order to celebrate the month when I turn 30!

2. Cooking more

In order to support my clean eating I want to cook more. I want to reduce my intake of preservatives, sugars and food additives, chemicals and colorants in general and clean up my diet. I have already started slowly with this, Ive made my own strawberry jam last year but want to make papaya jam and try making a chutney as well this year. I havent yet tried making my own cordial but that is also on the list of things to do this year.

3. Handicrafts Galore

I started knitting again last year, and I really want to keep this up. I am currently knitting a bedspread (yes that’s right, I started with a “small” project – a 1.2m x 1.8m bedspread…) but Id like to make myself a knitted scarf as well by the end of this year. Something to keep here at work for moments when the air conditioning goes mad..

Id also like to buy an electronic sewing machine… I am not yet 100% sure what I would do with it, but I think all that would dawn on me as soon as I got one… So gotta keep my eyes on Craigslist to see if I could find a cheap one on there. I also want to go to more garage sales and flee markets this year. Didnt manage many last year, and I bet Costa Rica is full of treasures…

4. Keeping Fit

This goal is divided up in to three separate sections: Light, Medium, Hard. Just to keep me challenged throught the year.. ūüôā Having been inspired by Jacqueline Kothbauer’s goal of 150 work out sessions a year, I have also tried to set up quantifiable goals so I can actually properly make myself accountable for my actions… Let me run through them one at a time:

Light: A 30 minute morning walk five days a week (preferably mon – fri) will be my aim for all this year. That means 260 tmies 30 minutes. Maybe a bit ambitious but my little lovely doggy Sofia will definitely support this resolution! Any extra weekend walks will be a bonus (both for me and for Sofia!)

Medium: I will try to go to the gym five times a week as well for a minium of 30 mins. I havent decided yet how this 30 mins will be divided up between aerobic exercise and weights training, but I definitely need to add more weights to my sessions this year. I would ideally like to be able to do 10 pull ups by the end of the year (I can currently do about 1 and 2 semi ones or three semi ones or.. well you get the point, not that many) and to do 3 x 12 sets of proper sit ups (properly using and targeting my “dead zone” as my pilates teacher calls it).

Hard: Put all this together and use my improving fitness level to surf better. (And hopefully also dance a bit.. The hard part with that will be finding a place where I can practice my belowed Salsa en Linia over here.) I would also like to lower my fat percentage.. I just need to find out what my current one is and then burn fat to reach my ideal level (which I assume will be around 15%)

5. Improving my Patience

This one is a difficult one. Then again, I have already improved it massively during this year and I think I am definitely better at it now than I was even just a year ago. But I want to be even less influenced by external factors and not allow them to stress me, frustrate me or make me feel like I have “ants in my pants”..

6. Heirloom Gardening

I want to do much more gardening this year. And I really have to remember to water my plants twice a day instead of my miserable “every now and then” strategy that has been predominant over the last few months.

Really got to change that if I want to actually get any tomatoes from my poor dry plants on the terrace. (I might post a picture later on of what they look like now.. Just to turn the usual idea of before – after pictures on its head)

Anyhow, this year I want to get my hands on some Heirloom Seeds (as well as a proper gardener hat like this guy has in the image from Rare Seeds) and plant real vegetables, mainly tomatoes and zucchinis. Yum, yum, yum!

(This resolution is actually just a way to practice before doing it on a bigger scale once I have a little farm…)

7. Improve and excel at work

This year I want to be able to show great numbers from my work. The first year I feel has just flown by and I dont really feel I have had the time to properly perform, mainly since everything has just been kicked off, its been slow to begin with, we havent had the right partners to work with etc. But this year I want to be able to show great KPIs from my work and to really begin to build up my professional reputation over here.

And I think I should stop here, otherwise a year wont be enough for all of my ambitous goals and plans, and most importantly I do want to leave something up to chance and let life surprise me.

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Pillar 5: Health and Fitness

And so we have arrived at the last pillar, the one focusing on the physical well being and the “Health and Fitness” of your body. As mentioned previously, the pillars are not arranged in any particular order, each one of them carries as much weight as the other ones, while simultaneously supporting each other. This is exactly what a habit of being healthy and keeping fit will do to your mental well being as well your physical well being.

I have always liked being active, possibly due to my slight hyperactivity. Sports was my energy outlet where I could let off steam in a controlled and enjoyable way that benefitted me both physically and mentally.

Although I was never particularly fond of the PE classes at school, at that point in time I used to spend hours and hours on the horse back or orienteering or playing badminton or just running around playing. Anything that involved building up and improving a skill or that had a competitive element has always appealed to me massively, and pushed me to do my best, see how far I could go.

Later on I discovered dancing and¬†didn’ t look back.¬†It started off with Dance Hall Reggae, then Jive. But then came Salsa and a life long passion was born. I know I have only been dancing salsa for 10 years, but you just KNOW when you have found your thing. You know, because its something that is so much part of you, you don’t even question it anymore. I did go through a lot of other dances as well such as Lindy-Hop and Swing in general.. They have all been¬†fun, but mainly because I love partnerwork, nothing has yet been able to¬†compete with¬†salsa for my affection…

Then another format of exercise entered the picture. I found Pilates and immediately following my first class I knew I had been lucky enough to find yet another thing that I clicked with. Pilates not only helped me build up my core strenght (something that helped my salsa spins massively!) but helped me just focus on my breathing and isolating muscles for two hours a week, bringing a much needed element of meditation into the picture. The connection and support that existed between the dancing and Pilates at this point was also fantastic. It helped me get to complete new levels of both balance (physical and mental) and fitness (physical health) while improving my posture as well as adding routine to my life.

The main destabilizers in my life have always happened following a disruption in my exercise routine. When you move city or move country or start a new job or go to a new school you somehow end up destabilizing your usual routines, most often this would mean your exercise routine.¬†I have moved quite a few times in my life, and every time I have not paid enough attention to the fact that I should focus on getting my exercising back on track asap, instead of letting that go uncorrected for weeks on end while “settling in”. Having this pillar destabilized will affect your other pillars and your life for sure,¬†maybe not as quickly as if the disruption starts from one of the other pillars, but it will definitely undermine your balance and routine and have consequences beyond the realm of just this pillar.

I experienced the disruptions with all my other moves, except for this one. The disruptions I have noticed following my move to Costa Rica have mainly been withdrawal sympthoms from dancing, something I have not done for months now. But looking at the general picture, I have not felt the same type of destabilization here as I have before. And I think that is mainly because of surfing.

Surfing came into my life with J. He took me down to Cornwall and “threw” me into the freezing water in August last year, and I must say, I enjoyed it immensely. Surfing has everything I like in a sport. It offers me the possibility to cultivate both a skill as well as a meditative mindset, something I find very difficult in everyday life due to all the white noise that I seem to have going on in my head. Surfing has helped me click right into this place, as well as added another form of exercise into my life that helps me stay balanced¬†as well as fit. And¬†I have J to thank¬†for introducing me to it.. ūüôā

So to wrap this pillar up, what I want to say is that I think everyone needs exercise in their lives, both for their mental and for their physical wellbeing. Having this element present in your life will bring benefit to all other areas in your life as well. In other words, help support your other pillars.

The conversion from on1 to on2

I didnt really realise this but apparently there really is such a thing as too much salsa.. I feel completely whiped out after the weekend of the Stars of Salsa Congress here in London, but its been great fun and I got to meet Ania Chagowska, one of my favourite teachers of ladies styling. I really like her style, energy and flow of the movements.

So, I am working on my first promise to myself, Im getting into the salsa community here, Im getting to know other dancers (and Im avoiding dating them…) and I am learning new stuff!! I did a conversion course yesterday from on1 to on2 and it was sooo much fun! Unfortunately I did a stupid mistake and chose to go to a partnerwork on1 class instead of the partnerwork on2 class after that, and it was NOT at all as much fun. Damn.. But at least I got the basics of on2 more or less sorted now. All I need to do now is practice, practice, practice..

Today is the last evening of the congress, I didnt manage to go out yesterday, so heading out tonight instead! Wohoo! It will be great, even if I am a bit exhausted still, but I can always “rest at work” since there I will just be sitting down in front of the computer all day long.

Next weekend will be a resting weekend and then after that its the Amsterdam Salsa Festival! And fortunately I will be in Amsterdam during that weekend and will be able to attend at least the parties! How fabulously fabulous!

While over there I am also considering extending my dance related tattoo on my left hip a bit since the fantastic artist who did the cherry flowers on my right breast lives there. I want him to enlarge it with a few other decorative ornaments that will further express my love for dance and add some colour to that part of my body..

But now its time for a Sunday coffee in town at the Nordic Bakery, and then more salsa in the evening at SOS! I gotta practive my dancing on2 and the ladies styling.. And then look into how I can work on my other two goals..