Farm Girl

Farm Girl

A blog about life, happiness, and keeping it real.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Big skirt, tiny top

I'm currently sitting in my parent's kitchen, watching the morning dawn. I woke up at 5am, courtesy of jetlag, and I'm enjoying the peace and quiet of an awakening new day.
It's freezing cold here in Germany: Around 0°C at night, and only marginally warmer during the day. Crazy!
Luckily, I took these pictures before I left, on a balmy morning that turned into a wonderfully warm and sunny day. I'm more thankful than ever that I live in beautiful Canada!

Anyway, moving on to the skirt. I originally wanted to name this post "Hell froze over", because that's what I once said had to happen before I would wear a crop top.
Well, I'm eating my words now, which has happened before. Nothing goes as well with a big skirt than a crop top! I've seen the light, and I apologize for my short-sightedness before.
This is actually not a real crop top: I hiked this one up in the back and made a knot, because I didn't like it tugged into the skirt. I'm gonna buy a real one asap, because now that I have seen the light, I can't wait to wear more big skirts and tiny tops!

Skirt: SheIn
Top: old (similar)
Heels: old (similar)

Shop the look:

Monday, 25 April 2016

Tips for your yoga home practice

The yoga world can be intimidating. If looking at the bendy super-yogis who twist themselves in half when you can't even touch your feet makes you want to give up, don't - take a deep breath, and let me tell you a secret. 

They all started where you are right now. 
While some people are naturally more flexible than others, everybody had to start at the beginning. Yoga is not like a race with a start- and finish- line. It doesn't have a finish line. It's a practice, a commitment to yourself, and it isn't about doing poses perfectly at all. 
During your time on the mat, you connect with yourself, slow your racing mind down, and forget about what's troubling you. It's all about you. 
Learning some cool postures is just a great side-effect ;-)

I have been practicing yoga at home regularly for over a year now. Lately, a few people have asked me how I got started and what a typical practice looks like. I'd love to show you!

I always, always start with sun salutations to warm up my body. You can click here for a step-by-step guide (with pictures) that breaks down what a sun salutation is. "My" yoga teacher Kino is demonstrating it here:

2. YouTube Videos.
YouTube is my secret weapon. I haven't bought a single DVD or been to a yoga studio in the last year, because YouTube is wonderful. On some days I simply use it to have a certain pose explained to me. There are lots of 2- and 3-minute videos that are great for doing just that. On other days I will do longer videos. Two of my faves are below.

If you want to skip the talking and go straight to the workout, go to minute 4:44

If you want to go straight to the workout, go to minute 5:12

And a quickie for core strength (it's tough, but so good):

Here is a playlist of 8 videos that are part of Kino's yoga for beginners series: Yoga playlist.  

3. Instagram challenges.
Before I explain what they are, let me tell you that Instagram is the single-biggest reason why I started yoga, fell in love with it, and continue to show up on my mat at least 5 times a week. 
It provides me with the 3 magic ingredients to keep going:  
Accountability, community, and inspiration.  

As an introvert, the thought of  having to go out to a studio 5 times a week is daunting. Not only because of the cost (yoga classes are expensive), but also because knowing that I have to pack a bag, get into my car, drive the 15 or so minutes to get to the nearest studio, look for parking, go inside, small-talk ... exhausts me before I even get on the mat. Realistically, I know I wouldn't stick to it.
But I also know that my self-motivation isn't that great to do my practice faithfully all by myself day after day. 

That's where the Instagram yoga community comes in. It has been a total game changer for me, and I hope it will be for you, too. 

So what are yoga challenges?

Kino May yoga challenge
 This is a beginner one, perfect for you! What are you waiting for?
Follow the hosts Kino and Kerri and get your yoga on!

Yoga teachers from all around the world are hosting these now. Simply put, they post a picture of a yoga pose, and you try to copy it. So what's the big deal, I hear you ask?

What I didn't expect when I did my very first challenge in March last year, was the level of support I would get. It blew me away, and still does. Other yogis comment, praise, help out, and motivate you to keep going. They keep me accountable in a very non-judgemental way: Nobody really cares if I show up or not, but I care. Plus, documenting my journey with photos has the benefit of seeing progress when you often don't feel it. 

These are my three very simple tips for my home practice. 

I realize that posting photos of yourself on social media isn't everyone's cup of tea. A yoga studio has the same benefits: It will keep you accountable, motivate you, and provide you with a community. 
The trick is figuring out what works for you, your personality and your life. 

If you're looking for more yoga resources, here are a few I recommend: 
Do You Yoga: An online yoga journal with tons of tips, videos, news, and inspiration. 
The Journey Junkie: My favourite yoga blogger Allie has lots of great tips and video tutorials. 
Laura Kasperzak: A badass super-yogi who can fly! Don't believe me? Click here

Meeting your teacher in person: Biggest motivation ever 

What are you waiting for? Get on the mat, and fall in love with yourself.
You can do it!


Sunday, 24 April 2016

You are stronger than you think

I feel like I just emerged from a long, dark tunnel, blinking in the sudden brightness. 
The last ten days were - well, it's hard to put into words. Busy, sad, overwhelming, emotional, stressful, surprising, with good bits and love and heartbreak. It was a lot.

There was a reunion with a loved one I had lost touch with - and a death of another beloved family member just a few hours later.

There was work drama, but also beautiful heart-to-hearts and the feeling that "omg, this person gets me! - is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship?". (Best.feeling.EVER.)

There was a little collaboration that made me proud.

There was breathtakingly gorgeous weather that made everybody feel like we live in the south of France. 

There were lots of dishes, and splatters on the stove (my pet peeve, and I didn't make them, but had to clean them up anyway, grrr). 

There was an exam that scared the shit out of me, because despite what some people believe (Richard), studying isn't my thing. I can't retain book wisdom, I have a terrible short- and long-term memory (in short, a bad memory), and I'm always convinced that I will do badly. I don't just say it to get the "you will do fine!"s and "you're smart, you got this!"s - I seriously think I will fail. Maybe I have a rare form of examophobia?
To make it more interesting, I also worked every day leading up to it, with some added difficulty at work to keep me on my toes.

I had prepared myself for the possibility of failing this exam. I have done this many times before (examophobia, remember?), but back then I always envisioned the worst: doom and gloom, irreversible failure, the end of life as I knew it. 

This time, it was different.
I knew that I wasn't as well prepared as I would have liked. But I also knew one thing for damn sure: I wouldn't go down without a fight.
Life is complicated, full of twists and turns and unexpected surprises, but in the end, it's very simple:
You fight, or you don't. 

I chose to fight.
Every day, I got up two hours early to cram some study time in. Every day, I fully intended to do a few more hours after work. 

That didn't always happen. 

Life gets in the way, and there were days were I simply couldn't. I had no concentration left, and I simply couldn't force myself to do it. So I would drink a couple of glasses of wine instead, or watch a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory with my husband, or go to bed at 8:30pm. 

And the next day I would get up three hours early to study.

I'm on this journey of getting the hang of life by doing something I never did before: Listen to my body/mind/soul. Not forcing things, but going with the flow and letting life happen.

It works. It really works, you guys!

In the old days, I would have forced myself to stare at the books at night no matter what, becoming increasingly more frustrated in the process and invariably bursting into tears at some point.
I wouldn't retain anything, and feel panicky and stressed on top of it.

This time around I listened to my limits, and gave my body and mind the break they needed. By doing that, I was refreshed again the next morning to tackle the beast with renewed energy.

Yesterday morning I wrote the damn thing, and you know what? I gave it my all. I won't know the results for three weeks, but I feel good about it.

Once you decide to fight for what you want, you are more in control of your life. You may not always get the outcome you want (or think you want), but knowing that you did your best is an empowering feeling.
It makes you realize that you are much stronger than you think.

Because you know what?
We are all much stronger than we think.