Tag Archives: yoga

PLANKING, SUNGAZING & VACATIONING

For 2 years straight – without a break – we worked  on our new baby ‘El Jardin’, so it was time for vacation. We closed the restaurant for 2 weeks and took off to Isla Mujeres and stayed at El Milagro Beach Hotel and Marina for a week. No Facebook, no newspapers, no blogs, and no make-up; just a good book with my feet in the sand.

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Fresh fish and lobster was on our daily menu. And so was a sunset, something we miss in Playa del Carmen.

One of the many magical sunsets.

One of the many magical sunsets.

View from the end of the pier towards the Marina.

View from the end of the pier towards the Marina.

Honza soaking up the sun.

Honza soaking up the sun.

The spot where we spent our days reading and drinking.

The spot where we spent our days reading and drinking.

Relaxing with Tiger and the parrot.

Relaxing with Tiger and the parrot.

Me paddle boarding during the sunset.

Me paddle boarding during the sunset.

Fresh lobster prepared on the grill.

Fresh lobster prepared on the grill.

Red Snapper prepared on the grill.

Red Snapper prepared on the grill.

A magical Sunset.

A magical Sunset.

Another magical sunset.

Another magical sunset.

Another sunset with the rising moon.

Another sunset with the rising moon.

Gazing at the sun within an hour after sunrise, or an hour before sunset was an exercise Honza had practised regularly when we still lived at Hacienda El Sol in the Ejido.

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Sun gazing has been practiced all over the world in various cultures and religions for thousands of years, charging the brain to its fullest potential. The need for external energy in the form of food will disappear, and psychic abilities like telepathy will increase. You start with 10 seconds, while standing barefoot on the ground (which has to be dirt, mud or sand) and daily increase that period with 10 seconds until you have reached 44 minutes gazing into the sun. The practitioner then needs to walk barefoot for 45 minutes daily during a period of 9 months, so that the energy gained from the Sun can be transmitted to the Earth, and one can become completely enlightened.

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Honza is able to gaze into the sun for 15 minutes already. I’m not anywhere close to that, but we’ve both been inspired to continue this practice. NASA has confirmed the success of Sungazing, and since then this practice has received more attention. Here’s an article about the subject .

Something else that Honza has initiated is a practice called planking. plank

Again, you start with 10 seconds and increase that period daily with 10 seconds until you have reached 4 minutes. You can find various schedules on the Internet, but this is what we used. And we started with 1,5 minutes, because this plank position was already a part of our yoga practice.

Why would we be planking if we practice yoga? Well, I stopped teaching yoga shortly after we opened El Jardin, because my plate was too full. I continued to practice at home and I regularly take a class with Arielle Thomas Newman at Yoga by the Sea, but my practice has become gentler with more focus on breath and meditation. Still, I like to have a strong and muscular body, which would require hours of strong power yoga. I don’t have the time nor the inspiration anymore for such a vigorous practice.

With this 4-minute exercise you receive an intense workout for your entire body. Especially the muscles on the upper gluts and hips have increased noticeably. And that’s exactly what I needed for my next Halloween costume. Photos will follow in my next blog.

To get into the Halloween mood I’m showing the costumes from previous years.

2008 Honza's 1st Halloween dressed as the Mexican Katrina and her partner

2008 Honza’s 1st Halloween dressed as the Mexican Katrina and her partner.

2009 For Sara Moen's 40th birthday we all dressed up with a '80s theme.

2009 For Sara Moen’s 40th birthday we all dressed up with a ’80s theme.

2009 Herr Doctor Frankenstein with his bride.

2009 Herr Doctor Frankenstein with his bride.

 

2010 Fallen Angels.

2010 Fallen Angels.

2011 Pirates of the Caribbean.

2011 Pirates of the Caribbean.

2012 Chico & Chica Galactica.

2012 Chico & Chica Galactica.

2013  The famous Mexican dead couple.

2013 The famous Mexican dead couple.

2014 Pink Fantasy.

2014 Pink Fantasy.

Last year, 2015, we skipped. This year? Honza’s costume is based on the Gandalf character. My costume is inspired by Super Power Girls. We can’t wait!

CHANGES, CHANGES AND MORE CHANGES

The biggest change in our lives was the visit of Honza’s 2 sons; Marnix aged 19 and Floris aged 17.

Marnix (right) & Floris (left)

Marnix (right) & Floris (left)

When Honza and I rekindled our love 8 years ago we had spent a wonderful summer in Prague and in Honza’s summer house, his chalupa, where I met his 2 sons.

Marnix (right) and Floris (left) aged 9 and 11.

Floris (left) and Marnix (right) aged 9 and 11.

Immediately they fell in love with my dog Guapo.

Immediately they fell in love with my Mexican dog Guapo.

Water biking on the Moldau with Guapo in the background

Water biking on the Moldau with Guapo in the background.

Enjoying lunch along in Prague along the Moldau. (check the light spot above Honza head)

Enjoying lunch  in Prague along the Moldau. (check the light spot above Honza’s head)

Father and Son.

Father and Son.

Father and Son.

Father and Son.

We got along pretty good.

We got along pretty good.

The following year we spent another beautiful summer in the Czech mountains.

Marnix (left) and Floris (right) 1 year later.

Floris (left) and Marnix (right) 1 year later.

Preparing the nightly bonfire in front of our chalupa.

Preparing the nightly bonfire in front of our chalupa.

Hours and hours we talked around the pile of flames.

Hours and hours we talked staring into the flames and towards the stars.

Resting on a bench at the village of Vrachlabi.

Resting on a bench at the village of Vrchlabi. (Marnix calling  his mom and Guapo came along again the 2nd year)

Father and Son.

Father and Son.

Father and Son.

Father and Son.

We always had so much fun!

We always had so much fun!

Honza & Paula happy.

Honza & Paula happy.

The Boys playing around.

The Boys happy.

This summer we simply picked  things up where we had left them, nearly 7 years ago.

At the family table of El Jardin.

At the family table of El Jardin.

We truly had a  wonderful time getting to know each other again.

At Isla Mujeres enjoying a beer in crystal clear Caribean waters.

At Isla Mujeres enjoying a beer in crystal clear Caribean waters.

Eating pizza at WahWah's after a long day at sea swimming with whalesharks.

At WahWah’s after a long day at sea swimming with whale sharks.

Seeing dad at work during a Noche de Divas at El Jardin.

At El Jardin seeing dad at work during a Noche de Divas.

And the kids got a little drunk (including Paula), but dad got us home safely.

At Rick’s birthday party at beach club Zenzi where the kids got a little drunk (including Paula) , but dad got us home safely.

In other words… we had a incredible time, and they’ll be back next year!

Good Times!

Good Times!

Better Times!

Better Times!

Another change was the decision of our Cuban soprano to choose a future that did not involve the family of El Jardin. A week after this photoshoot she decided not to return.

Getting in the mood to sing like Carmen.

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When this door closed, many new doors opened. Every week we offer more variety and more singers at the stage of El Jardin, and my dear old friend Ted Rhodes and newly discovered soprano Victoria Carpio perform with me every single week. We even offer an open mic after the 1st set and so far we’ve been surprised by a very lovely Argentinian soprano.

Ted Rhodes and in the background Victoria Carpio singing a duet.

Ted Rhodes and in the background Victoria Carpio singing a duet.

Magic.

Magic.

Proud of the singers on our stage.

Proud of the singers on our stage.

Singing.

Singing.

Performing.

Performing.

Another change involved our chef.

Chef, paula en Honza

We had appeared in another great food blog from Buy Playa.

Nevertheless, his uncontrolled alcohol consumption was affecting our business, so we had to let him go.

Within a week we had found another Mayan chef; young, talented and creative. His steady boyfriend of 3 years doesn’t drink, so chances are little we’ll encounter the same issues.

We also found the waitress we had been looking for all this time; a young woman with no experience, but a natural in this line of work. Together with our faithful Marce our team is complete to receive the high season.

Our new waitress Ana, with Marce in the background.

Our new waitress Ana, with Marce in the background. 

The last and maybe most important change is that we’ve found a new home. After 18 months moving from one noisy condo to another we’ve found a house in a quiet neighbourhood at the outskirts of Playa del Carmen.

Bamboo trees rustling in front of pur bedroom window.

I’m sure that, with a large private rooftop, we’ll do some star gazing and maybe… we’ll receive another visit from the Sphere Beings that Honza recently experienced. Hundreds of them. Here’s more information on this subject. 

Honza said they look a little bit like this:

Oh, and 1 more change: Honza will be celebrating his 65th birthday this coming Wednesday, August the 26th, at El Jardin.

Honza 65

No way! 65 Already?

Lots of yoga and lots of sex with Paula will do the trick…

Anyway, you know we like our parties early, so we’re starting at 4pm at El Jardin with our well known DJ Greco for some sweet dance tunes. Chef Emiliano will prepare a generous Mexican buffet, and the bar will serve all beers for $20,- Pesos, and all wine and tequila for $40.- Pesos.

Can’t miss it!

El Jardin flyer vuelta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life after Amarte – What’s next?

Let me be blunt. Moving all your personal belongings in one single day and storing them in 3 different locations is not an easy thing. The details over why it was crucial to move everything in one single day I will divulge in my next book. And then, moving our tired selves to 3 different house sitting addresses over the next 3 weeks wasn’t effortless either, and that’s putting it mild.

But finally we’ve found a temporary sanctuary of peace and tranquility for two entire months. As dog lovers we were even more thrilled when we found out that this safe haven came with 2 gorgeous canines; a white King Poodle and a brown mix of some undetermined race. The owners of the house – old Playa friends – had recently renovated their home-to-be, but for the summer they had planned to spend some fun time their 2 young children in Canada, visiting family and summer camps, so for the both of us it was a win-win situation.

This is Jelly. She likes to pose, as you can see.

This is Jelly. She likes to pose, as you can see.

This is Ritva. As soon as I took the picture she tried to pose like Jelly.

This is Ritva. As soon as I took the picture she tried to pose like Jelly.

After one week the pressure pump broke down, so the faucets and showerheads produced nothing more than a few drops of water. Since the owner had insisted that we use his maintenance guy (and we are the kind of people who respect those wishes), we hopefully waited 3 weeks before we finally decided it was due time for our own Star Condos guy to buy $51 Pesos (some 4 dollars) worth of material and fix the problem temporarily.

Sure, we used the garden hose to wash ourselves, because it was connected to the street and had normal pressure. It actually made us feel as if we were vacationing on a camping site. A refreshing shower next to a banana tree while waving to your friendly Mexican neighbours, I think there are worse things in life.

Our temporary shower under the banana tree.

Our temporary shower under the banana tree.

We moved into this house on the famous day that went into the Mexican history as: “No era Penal.” If you don’t care about soccer, like us, you have no idea what that phrase stands for, but for some reason we had been caught by the World Cup fever this one year, so this is what it was about. http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/football/28082629

That morning we went dressed in orange pants and green shirts to watch the game. It was close to 11 o’clock in the morning.

Dressed for the Mexican Dutch soccer game. May the best win!

Dressed for the Mexican Dutch soccer game. May the best win!

Three minutes before the game started a police officer screwed of the plates of my Beetle that was parked perfectly in front of the Dirty Martini, but nevertheless along an illegal yellow curb and gave me a ticket. No matter how much I pleaded and proudly showed my green Mexican shirt, it was to no use. How could I expect anything else from a female cop? In fumes I drove home and changed my shirt to an orange one. Guess what? We won!

We Won! That will teach them to give me a ticket!

We Won! That will teach them to give me a ticket!

Party at Zenzi!

Party at Zenzi!

As an author I’m always looking for a good story, and when you see the humor in any given situation it gives enough juice for a funny twist on any chapter. Honza and I thought of a couple of funny before and after pictures.

Pool Before

Pool Before

Pool After

Pool After

The road to our house Before

The road to our home Before

The road to our home After

The road to our home After

So now, after one month of relative rest, it looks like we’re getting our life back on track.

We’re teaching the morning yoga classes at Palapa Suuk from Monday to Friday 10.30 to 11.30.

One of my old students telling me how happy she is that her favourite teacher is back.

Catching up with one of my old students.

We’ve been able to score ourselves a regular gig at La Cantina 38; every Tuesday I sing my favourite Mexican Boleros.

La Cantina 38

La Cantina 38

Singing Besame Mucho

Singing Besame Mucho

Honza filmed everything and I’m in the process of creating a video for my YouTube channel, but iMovie received an update, so this will take me some time.

AND… We’re preparing ourselves to open a restaurant!

Where…? What…? How…?

Next time!

HONZA AND PAULA’S NEW YOGA SALON

Yoga is a big thing in Playa del Carmen. Our community is blessed with so many talented yoga teachers, each with their own unique style and signature. It isn’t difficult to find a studio or teacher that suits your own specific needs.

When I arrived in Playa 13 years ago I only found a yoga class in Cindy Burke’s Bodyworks, a gym that has disappeared a long time ago. But soon other yoga opportunities presented itself. One of the first yoga studios that opened its doors was Arielle Newman’s Yoga By The Sea. With her teacher training courses, new yoga teachers were trained and soon other studios opened, like Ellen de Jonge’s Yoga by the Way.  Two other studios that have had a large following are Palapa Suuk and Casa Ananda. And very recently our yoga community received two more studios, the Yogaloft  and the Yoga District.

For ten years I’ve taught yoga at various places in Playa del Carmen, mostly at gyms, accompanied by the not so ideal atmosphere of iron pumping body builders and subsequent electronic music in the background. But now that we are moving to Amarte Maroma, we’ve found a beautiful and peaceful space where we can practice and teach yoga.

When we saw the yoga palapa for the first time, we thought it was rather small, probably because of the furniture that was still present in the space.

However, when the rain and the clouds had finally disappeared and the sunlight allowed us to take more photos for our collection, the space looked different.  The furniture had been removed and we took our time to place our yoga mats.  Kike and Marco, who own the Yoga Shala 38,  had inspired us to place our mats in a diagonal line, allowing more people to occupy the room without hitting their neighbor. It turns out we can easily fit 20 yogis in our new yoga salon.

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That morning Honza and I practiced a wonderful Vinyasa flow, just the two us. In the background we could hear the wind blowing through the coconut and banana trees that surround the palapa; we could hear various tropical birds, and the sound of leaves being raked by a Mayan gardener.

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The atmosphere was so tranquil and the energy so peaceful. At the end of our practice I was overwhelmed by a sense of gratefulness for being able to practice yoga in such a beautiful place that we can call home. It felt almost like this yoga shala was welcoming us into her space. Our new yoga salon was baptized with the final chanting of Om, the universal sound that vibrates in the Universe.

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 NAMASTE!