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My letter to Bloglovin’ about their inadvertently facilitating human trafficking

Dear Bloglovin’ team,

I have 2 people ‘following’ me on Bloglovin’ who clearly advertise the sale of females for sex in their Profile description.

This is one of the two ‘followers’ that I have on my profile with Bloglovin’ :               “Ashley Bartel
http://www.sеху.xxxxx (URL address altered by me)  rеmаrкаblе уоung wоmеn livе аds соmраrаtivе sех аnd sех in thе аbsеnсе оf оbligаtiоn is lоокing оut fоr уоu thеn.”

I sent you another email about the other person.

What shocks me is that I noticed the person, whom I am reporting in this message, starting following me maybe a week or two ago and I didn’t have time to figure out how to report this. I hoped and actually assumed that Bloglovin’ checks their content often enough to find and ban profiles like this. I thought hopefully somebody else will report this issue.

It is shocking that maybe 2 weeks later NOBODY else has reported this. And I think it is largely due to the absence of a report this user function on your platform. By omitting this (maybe you re short of staff and hope the problem will go away by itself?) you are giving a free advertising platform for human traffickers, the users of their services and the crime of forces sex, abuse and use of women as objects. Not offering an easier way of reporting this makes you inadvertently complicit. Yes I would go as far as that. Not because I think you express any personal support for the crime but you are facilitating the advertisement of it.

Could you please make it easier to report crime, every other platform at least has a repot hate speech / spam option. Spam doesn’t describe the magnitude of the problem but is a start. At least the content gets removed.

In your ‘what can we help with’ scroll menu you should have a ‘report abuse / spam / harrassemend / crime’ option.

Thank you for taking this seriously.
I will finish my message here and leave you with a couple of URL addresses about trafficking and sex trade. Since the adverts that I am seeing on Bloglovin’ specify ‘young women / girls’ I will focus at least one link on this target group.

Please take more action than only deleting these two accounts.:

https://polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/sex-trafficking

https://technologyandtrafficking.usc.edu/report/human-trafficking-online-cases-patterns/

https://biometrica.com/sex-trafficking-america-children/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/20/us/sex-trafficking/index.html

hotline for help: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/states

https://www.freedomunited.org/freedom-university/

https://www.americanbar.org/publications/judges_journal/2013/winter/human_trafficking_and_internet_and_other_technologies_too.html

“The internet facilitates access to victims and is being used to facilitate the sale of sex.”
http://www.nhregister.com/connecticut/article/Sex-trafficking-moves-to-social-media-to-find-11330629.php

70 Percent Of Child Sex Trafficking Victims Are Sold Online: Study
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/25/sex-trafficking-in-the-us_n_5621481.html

****

I would like to also add that I DO really enjoy using Bloglovin’ , my concern about the lack of reporting options isn’t intended to beat down the entire platform. They are amazing. I follow my favourite blogs through this one platform, not needing to click on multiple open tabs or entre lots of URL addresses nor do I need to clog my email inbox, everything is right there in one view on Bloglovin’ . I recommend it. I just wish they took their responsibilities serious enough to not require prompting to create a report function of the obvious lack of misuse of the platform ..

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Wildfires close to San Francisco : information resources (fire locations, air quality, health prevention tips)

List of information sources about the California fires, air quality & preventative actions for your health. :

The air quality in the Bay Area (San Francisco) and North Bay Area (Sonoma, Napa) today is in the red and deep red zone:

https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.local_city&zipcode=94110&submit=Go

From an official government page in case the air quality declines further, preventative actions to take:
https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.pmhilevels

Here something about breathing masks, it is recommendable to use them, the smoke particles are microparticles that are harmful to lungs and health:
https://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/334-353.pdf

Where you can buy breathing masks (check the link about breathing masks above before buying): This is a link to masks on Amazon, select the quickest delivery option in case the fires will continue to burn for a while longer. Protect your lungs.

Here updates directly from Sonoma:
https://www.facebook.com/CityOfSonoma/

The active wildfire map, where you can check where there are active wildfires in America, updated frequently:
https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=df8bcc10430f48878b01c96e907a1fc3

 

 

The air quality in San Francisco is already in the RED zone. This means that it already can cause noticeable health reactions. However don’t panic: keep physical activity to a minimum, stay indoors as much as possible. As a tourist: these are the days for museum visits and spending time in cafes and aquariums.

In the North Bay the air quality is in the DEEP RED zone = very bad, it is strongly advisable to not expose yourself unnecessarily. Many people will notice negative effects on their health at those levels. Use the first link in this post to enter the postcode of where you re to check your aibquality and read all the links to thorough information.

RED::
AQI: Unhealthy (151 – 200)
Everyone may begin to experience health effects members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

DEEP RED:
AQI: Very Unhealthy (201 – 300)
Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects.

Money saving tips from a frugal person:

#1 is my newest tip. A coupon website that seems brilliant!
I found out about ‘Honey‘ today. It is a website that searches the internet for money off coupons, use of the website is free of charge and from the research I have done so far it looks like there is no negative hook.

So I feel confident sharing the sign up link with you. Follow it and check if your an find a coupon the next time before you buy your regular brand new shoes. These codes seem to not be limited to clothing. So go explore! Save money. But don’t buy things you don’t need!

joinhoney.com/ref/1ktfzl   Check it out before using it, but it seems like an amazing tool to me. (I looked them up on Reviewopedia )

#2 is another money savings tip and this one is thoroughly tried and tested by myself and several of my friends is: Transferwise! If you use my link to sign up and make your first international transfer then you will get your first transfer for free and I will get a brownie point, too. I feel really good referring you to them because we saves at least $200 this year sending money from the UK to the USA with Transferwise rather than Paypal. I still use Paypal a lot because it is so convenient but not for international money sending anymore.  (I get brownie points only after you have made a transfer.)

https://transferwise.com/u/birgitd7

Also Transferwise now offers a borderless bank account! It can hold multiple currencies. This will be really useful if you live between countries, travel a lot, perhaps receive payments in several currencies.

 

Levitation practice in San Francisco

So where is this story at now? Well. We are part way through home sitting, watering plants, keeping the place safe, feeding cats and giving them time and attention so that they feel well… And how is all that going? I think ok.

I have my first German language students, taking 2-3 classes per week each, which is a huge, giant, levitation inspiring, relief.It has been a while since I have had such interested students and it feels incredibly rewarding.

But then there is the annual housing conundrum, the issue that always causes the break in our make-or-break life in America.. (You might know that I have had a green card since about 2013, or was it 14, and since then, even more than before been trying to make a go of living here. This year was the year where I made the big announcements that “I AM MOVING TO AMERICA”.. So here I am.. But really it is all as uncertain as it ever was. But the world is changing and we need to, too.

Today I checked in on an Airbnb listing that is just horrendous: a tiny shack for $2357 (I kid you not, Jason wouldn’t believe me but you can check it for yourself here).. You have to see it to believe it. It didn’t have a proper bed but a weird single mattress home-built contraption; I am not high maintenance by any standards at all, but for that amount of money: get a bed sorted will you..  It just made me mad and cross.

Cross because that is meant to be an acceptable deal and by any logical, rational, sane conclusion it just is not even borderline acceptable. I would be satisfied with an exclamation of “well but you don’t need to rent it” IF there were affordable options anywhere on the market that were acceptable. When I say affordable I am already thinking $1200 for a little room, or $2000 for an apartment with 2 rooms (not 2 bedrooms, just 2 different rooms, where the second room is not a toilet or bathroom, so we can once in a while have some privacy. ..)

Oh and then today I got pickpocketed! They stole my hosuekeys. Such a pointless exercise. I am so annoyed. It means I will have to spend $88 + the cost of 3 extra keys ($2 each) to make up for the loss and to guarantee that the home we are housesitting is safe. Jason says it’s safe and I shouldn’t worry because I took so many detours and stops on the way home I can guarantee that nobody followed me. Oftentimes on the way home I was the only person on the street, then I stopped at 2 different cafes, not once going to the house where I was locked out because I noticed that I was locked out before stepping of the empty public transport.. So I went to another cafe to wait for Jason to come collect me by car.. Between the point of being pickpockets and finally getting home were so many stops and several hours.

How am I so sure it was pickpocketing? I passed through a part of town that is just notorious for this. And even so I thought I had my wits about me (having twice before in life been stolen from by ingeniously talented pickpockets) I could just feel something isn’t right but nothing seemed to be gone until I realised that it was … I suspect they pulled on my key string hoping that this would be attached to my wallet, which was right nearby but probably more difficult to clasp..

I am going off track entirely aren’t I?

Well, it ruined my day that’s all I say now. And it will cost me money I can only afford with great difficulty at a time when there isn’t enough to cover our essential costs.

What next?

I don’t know. How can we live here? I feel this is such a waste of time, except for my lovely German Students. But I feel there is so much struggle and putting things on hold and moving back and forth between housesitting and petsitting just to bridge the times in which we are unsure how to find adequate housing.. And really it feels like lunacy. EITHER we stay here and suck it up and option a) get some sort of office jobs where one pay check pays the cost of a room (seriously! That can’t be right) and the other person covers food.. or b) we buy a bus and live in that. But it is dangerous here.

I mean really dangerous. People are desperate and I don’t know what is going on but since arriving here 3 weeks ago (maybe less!) I heard of a 71 year old man being shot when a thief stole his camera on Twin Peaks, earlier this year apparently 2 other tourists got shot. Then they found a body on Bernal heights Park the other day! Then today 3 people got shot dead in Dolores Park, which is a neighbourhood – community park where hipsters and families go to hang out. It is almost always busy with people. 3 people just died there today. And there was another shooting today somewhere East of Golden Gate park, but near it, the person was only injured, luckily.

So I am literally too scared to take my camera out to take photos, which is so defeating the point of being here. I am meant to move my photography forward and create a business for myself. It all seemed like such low hanging fruit and then : puff.. Now I feel like such an idiot with all my camera gear here and I am literally NOT ever taking it out of the house.

I am not sure what to do right now. Stay here? I like my German Language classes a lot but where will we live? With a bunch of 20 year olds who are in all day play mode? I was, why shouldn’t they be? But it’s not where I am at right now.

How would we cover rent for a room for $1800, they pop up here and there, when employment here is easy come easy go, with no real securities?

Tell me, do you believe in me and think I can levitate here? 

Aka will I sink or will I float?

A part of me is already in a wild flurry and wondering if I should run as fast as I can before it all goes bad again.. Losing the key today made me feel like it was already going bad.. But then.. It’s 2 German lessons and I can pay for the lock to be replaced.. But then.. we needed that money for very basic living essentials..

Can I levitate here with so many weights dangling off me? 

Daring to embrace New Horizons

My partner Jason and I have lived a peripatetic, nomadic life, straddling the far western coast of California and the West Coast of Great Britain. Growing the roots of our relationship in an ever changing plant pot.

Our 8 year anniversary is coming up very soon. It will make exactly 8 years since our first kiss, under the grand finale of Venetian fireworks at the foot of one of the two famous columns on the even more famous St Marco Square. We could have no idea that from this one, unbelievably romantic moment so much happiness and struggle would emerge. Neither of us had any plans of spending 8 years in regular intercontinental movement, not spending one whole year in any one place. We only once managed to spend a completely uninterrupted 13 months together, for a seemingly endless number of years we survived long geographical breaks, the longest lasting 5 months, twice! (But then again, we also know of course we only had 8 total, so it can’t have been THAT many years.)

We needed a lot of patience, endurance, faith, stubbornness and perseverance to make it as far as we did. Not that being together is difficult at all but the real challenges are how to maintain any kind of career while subjected to the rules of immigration regulations. And just because we could technically stay in one country doesn’t always mean that the person having to leave it all behind is ready to do so yet.

Everybody always says: ‘Just make a choice’. ‘Are you not tired from all this moving around?” “Have you thought of staying in just one country?” .. well.. I won’t even begin to answer. I always have to hold back my inner lioness and snarky modes.. Duh, of course we would love to stop moving, but it isn’t always that easy!

But let’s backtrack!

8 years!

I am about to embark on a major expedition of facing my obstacles, moving countries requires untold courage as incidentally does ‘giving your dreams’.. They always make it sound oh, so, easy in those blogs and blogs and articles and motivational memes. But following a desire to be somebody specific, breaking into a career that doesn’t just work out ‘just because we are following our dream’, incredible amounts of daring and research and study make for a better chance of reaching set goals. But honestly, who has ever set up their own business!? Fair enough, when we were 20 and had no care in the world and effectively the world just winked at us and it was ok to not do things exactly properly, but that’s a different story isn’t it, once you reach your mid 30s, or let’s be honest, your 40s and beyond!

Of us it is expected that we do things ‘properly’, do business by the books, register the correct things with the correct offices, jump the paperwork hoops and in short be a grown up or face some serious financial consequences if we goof and ‘had no idea’ how accounting / filing taxes works. It’s somewhat unfair that people think that just because we are a little older we ought to somehow a) know what the hell we need to do and b) are any good at it.

When instead of socialising with friends you find yourself sitting at the computer spending 2 hours learning how to batch rename you image files, when you have another one of those ‘aha’ moments where you realise you just filed the last 5 years of images in a really stupid and difficult to process way! Knowing you are now an adult and better sort your mess out.

Hang on, what was I actually planning on telling you today!?

That’s it: I am moving to America. This time properly, or at least relatively properly: I’ll be getting my paperwork in order this time. All those things I have successfully avoided these past, nearly 8 years, of relationship with my American love bug! Getting my own bank account, sorting out a valid driving license so that I can finally get around a bit more independently without always having to wait for Jason to have some time off, maybe integrate into local life a whole lot more than I have done in the past and last but not least, because it is almost the most important: I have no choice anymore, I must find the courage to do what I love; even if I worry that I might not be good enough.

There will always be somebody more amazing than I. In the meantime I have skills to share and passion for projects to develop.

San Francisco, I am moving back. Just 7-10 more days. Not sure which day I will hop on the plane yet. Let’s see.

3 ingredients I use to feel better quickly (all free, no sales in here)

This is part 3 of a video letter I recorded for to a friend, I thought maybe it is useful for you other people, too. This part of the letter doesn’t have any personal information in it, just a little insight into how I am today coping with stressful times.

 

keywords: How to win, How to do well, how to use time wisely
How to do well and live life today: from a letter to my friend

Choosing to direct the focus only on what makes body and mind: healthier, stronger and more knowledgable to conquer life hurdles, anxieties, uncertainties etc.

So very soon I will return to America!

I can’t quite believe just HOW soon I will return to living in America!

HOW did this happen? Remember back in the years before I met Jason? Back then I had just absolutely no interest in the Americas. And then whoosh, I got swept off my feet and piece by piece of me got slowly reeled in like a fish on a tasty worm-laden hook…

I am also completely hooked on the books by Isabelle Allende, many of which taking place in the early days of discovering and establishing life in South & North America. So many stories of immigrants, so many courageous women in the pages of her books!

And now, now I have a green card, now I am preparing to envision my life in America! I am still bewildered by it all. I know it’s been a slow and gradual process and maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised, but I thought I’d just go visit, stay a little while, go back to Europe and that would be it. Little did I realise that my engagement with America was to gradually deepen and grow. Whatever will be next? Will I one day call myself American even!? I never had that intention, it just sort of happened..

Our plans are not fixed, we are still in flux, the place where I keep my belongings in Liverpool is still FULL of my things, no matter how much I sell, it seems that always MORE and more things still emerge and I can hardly tell the progress made so far in shedding surplus possessions.

Maybe it isn’t helping that I am still buying books! This book by Arundhati Roy is next on my list.. But then I keep making excuses.. ah it’s only a book.. That will fit on the bookshelf, it won’t take much space in the suitcase,… right?

Transferwise surprised me today

Have you heard of TRANSFERWISE ? It is a company set up by two EU citizens who lived in London to make international financial life easier (so relevant for people like me who have an intercontinental romance and work on 3 continents!). Those guys got annoyed with the high cost of sending money home.
So they set up Transferwise, which, when you send money using the service, then it arrives at the other side with a true exchange rate, not those pretend great exchange rates that come with high costs, nor those free transfers that come with rubbish exchange rates..
Anyhow, I should tell you about them in a separate post, because right now I don’t have the time to go into it, but I’ll write a post to tell you about my signing up process and what I needed to do to sign up for the just launched BORDERLESS ACCOUNT. (Sorry about the capitals, it’s just super exciting to me!) The process was easy but I’ll talk you through my experience anyway, in case you are unsure and it helps you.
But now to this lovely touch to the end of my first week of dealing with Transferwise
…Today I received a personal email from one of the advisers at #TRANSFERWISE letting me know that they not only verified my identity and allowing me full use of my brand new borderless bank account but also included a personal message letting me know that they had a look at my art work and enjoyed ‘Dungbeetle and Sisyphus’ as well as the more whimsical illustrations of sheep portraits.. The woman who wrote to me is lovely!
I think I 💕 this company already! Her message left me with a giant smile on my face. Excuse me while I herd up all my friends to let them know just how good the service so far has been!
yay!
If you use this link below to sign up with them then you get the first transfer free of charge.
 
I price compared yesterday :
if you are sending over $120 anywhere in the world then you will save money compared to any other form of money transfer that I know of: (If you are only sending £50 once in your life isn’t worth it, but on £100+ (about $120) you save money and it is very worth signing up for!)
 
I thought I better confirm that I am not sponsored by them, I just REALLY like the idea of this company AND they customer service so far has had a personal touch. Of course that will be hard to maintain as they grow and expand, but what a good way to start a new bank account! 

The world needs delicious snacks

This is one of the most tasty and simultaneously outrageously healthy snack treats that I have ever made. And here are the necessary ingredients:

• nuts (any nuts, mixed is great, with pecans is fantastic) – lightly toasted (if you have the patience)

• dates (pre-soaked in hot water is fantastic, but if they are medjool dates or other soft types then don’t worry too much about soaking, but have some warm water to hand to help loosen the mixture as needed)

• ground green cardamom (unless you don’t like it, then skip it)

if you like: ground nutmeg, cinnamon, chilli, perhaps you are a fan of aniseed?

• the all important HIGH QUALITY 100% coco powder (not the one that has dairy mixed in with it if you can avoid it, but in the end: take what you can find) This Organic Fairtrade Cocoa Powder by Green and Blacks is the one that I use because it is both organic and fair trade, but the company has been bought out and if you can find something more ethical than this then that would be fantastic!

If you like: grated coconut flakes

• Grind the nuts: either in an Electric Coffee Grinder, a pestle and mortar or crush them layered between sheets of baking paper (and a towel over that) with a rolling pin (may get messy but don’t let that intimidate you)

• Mix the dates with a little water to form a paste

• Mix this paste with the crushed / ground nuts & a couple of tablespoons of coco powder (“don’t skimp, don’t be a shrimp”, as Jason likes to say) and the spices you decided to use to form a doughy consistency. Add more coco as desired.

• When you are able to wrestle the paste / dough into ball shapes you a re ready to roll them in a layer of coco powered or if you like you can roll them in finely shredded coconut flakes for variation; but coco powder is simply the best! Just sprinkle some coco powder generously onto a flat plate and roll each nut ball in the coco.

• Then they are ready to be set aside in the fridge to set a little and store as long as you can resist eating them.

ENJOY

Q: How much should I grind/crush the nuts? Experiment: however you like really, but small enough for them to allow themselves to be formed into ball or brownie shapes.

 

( Nutritious Brownie – Coco – Truffle – Snack – balls )

(If you see an advert below this line then this is not from me, I am currently using a budget version of the wordpress service, and it can be that they occasionally add adverts to the bottom of my posts. Could you let me know if you see these and if they are bothering you? I may consider upgrading my account some time and then there will not be any more adverts. I can never see if there will or won’t be an advert, so your help in letting me know will be really appreciated))

 

Quick book club alert! Arundhati Roy’s new book is out soon!

I don’t as yet know anything about it other than it will soon be available (due to be released on June 6th!). But as I really enjoy her talks (I go and find them on youtube, I should include a link really!) and have had her on my mind as one of the authors, who is sort of haunting me (in a good way) for countless years..

I have owned The God of Small things three times and never did I quite learn to find my way into it’s covers. But I know one day will be the right day. I am waiting for that moment. Just last summer I stumbled on 2 copies for $5 each copy; in San Francisco this is an unheard of good deal; this books so wants me to pay attention, I must allow myself a few afternoons and yield to this calling. It feels like it is meant to be, just waiting for the right moment.

If you, like me, are very excited to hear about Arundhati Roy’s first new novel in 20 years then here is a link for you to pre-order her book! I can’t wait to read it!

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness / Arundhati Roy Released on June 6th.

If you purchase the book through this link then I will receive maybe 2% of your purchase price and all the pennies will hopefully one day help me live out my book purchasing and coffee drinking loves to their full glory! (That would be one book a week and a packet of coffee every 10-14 days. My ambitions are humble.)

It won’t cost you a penny more if you use my link.

(if you see an advert below this line then it is a wordpress generated one and has nothing to do with me, would you mind letting me know what the advert is if you see one? I am still not sure if I should pay the monthly fee to be able to host my blog ad-free.)

What I read this month / Bookclub #1

Just a quick recommendation. Yes, you guessed it, I will include an affiliate link, but sincerely these books were amazing and I would love you to enjoy them, too.

A couple of weeks ago I read Isabelle Allende’s The House Of The Spirits and  The Japanese Lover. Both books gripped me and I couldn’t put them down. I didn’t realise until I had already read Portrait in Sepia that this in fact was the last in a series of books by Isabelle Allende, books which quietly referred to each other once in a while, with extended families and acquaintances who sometimes reappeared in the sidelines in one book or another. The order I should have read them in apparently was as follows:

1 – The House Of The Spirits

2 – Daughter of Fortune (Oprah’s Book Club)

3 – Portrait in Sepia

I read these books in reverse order and that worked out just beautifully for me. I feel that reading them in this order gave me the discipline and patience to read The House of Spirits all the way through, it required some more of my attention and resolve to complete. Not because it was lacking in content but maybe because I sometimes missed fragments, it seemed like a mean editor stole small sections of the story from the writer. The book covers the lifetime of it’s key protagonists, not all reach the end.

When I finished The House Of The Spirits I needed more and finally just gave into temptation and bought The Japanese Lover, which was just so, so, so much to brief. What will I do now? Has Isabelle Allende written more books since The Japanese Lover ? I really hope that she did. But I know that there are a few more in the back catalogue for me to enjoy, hide in bed for as many days as each one requires to complete reading. Oh and then every time the eagerness to reach the next page, only matched by the anxiety that one of these pages will be the last.. It’s somehow like life. Always so impatient to reach the next moment, sometimes missing this one or the one before due to rushing to much.. And then one day there won’t be more moments and won’t we then wish we had lingered a little more?

Lingering is something that is really hard for me at the moment. I have little alone time, little absolute privacy, I share my life with my (utterly and completely) wonderful partner and while I wish for a little more solitude I again am missing a moment that should be pleasure, should be savoured, who knows what tomorrow will bring? It is so very hard to yield to the moment and be just here, not anywhere else.

What will I read next?

P.s.

If you purchase any of these books after clicking to Amazon (these links are for the UK store, if you would like the USA links please see them below) then I will receive a few pennies as a referral fee, however it will not cost you a cent more than the standard price. It will help me to fund this website hosting fee and if one day I have pennies left over then I promise to buy coffee and books and share what I read with you.

USA links as promised:

1 – The House of the Spirits

2 – Daughter of Fortune

3 – There seems to be no US / Amazon link for A Portrait in Sepia, which is a tragedy! You MUST try and read this wonderful book!

4 – the latest book I read: The Japanese Lover

My Yoga Student completed her 10 day Yoga Challenge!

So I forgot to mention that 2 weeks ago I challenged my yoga student to a 10 day yoga challenge!

She came to my house every day for 15-60 minutes to learn a simplified Sun Salutation, of which we did 2 rounds each day, adding a couple of postures as we progressed through the challenge; following the sun salutations I gave her 2 floor based postures each day, mostly postures to help her with a personal health issue. I am super impressed that she got through 10 days without a fail and she did amazing! I am really proud of my student’s discipline and determination. I think this was a great experience to guide a private student through this journey of discovering her strengths and working with weaknesses.

And here is what she has to say about her experience:

“When the challenge was offered to me, I was not sure if I could do it time wise, physically and mentally wise. Everyday to go out of my house at a time where i would tend to sit on the sofa and do nothing. Then I thought why not as it will challenge my routine, my memtal physical state. I was ready for a change in the routine.
Before starting the challenge, i had a bad lower back and scyathica issue. It was mild but regular.
The first few sessions were difficult to settle in. Get the movements, stretch the body that wasnt used to be moved and stretched. So it was difficult to hold or simply do movement and breathe correctly.
At first the body and legs felt very stiff, especially my left side (leg and foot that felt numb) where the scyticha is and also the arms and shoulder. The fact that we were only doing the movement gently and not going deep, helped a lot. The first 3 sessions were a gentle way to warm up and get use to it.
From the 4th session, mainly the 5 th, was a beautiful feeling of lightness, the body was used to the movement so it was much easier to strech and breathe correctly. Beautiful feeling of control and enjoying the movement, then enjoying the session. I was leaving the sessions running and for once my steps were very light. I could feel my body was soft and very light. My legs were strong but soft and not tensed.
This feeling was stayig the next few days. Light legs, light and fresh body, my mind was relaxed and my mood too. I could definitely feel the impact of the previous sessions on both physical and mental level.
After 6th session i could feel some tiredness on my knees. The scythica definitely got better around session 5. I think the ache in both my knees,mainly on the right one, is coming from previous wrong posture or pressure when bending the knees when kneeling on the floor to standing up. So when doing the sun salutation, after bring one of the leg forward and then stand up by applying a bit of pressure to raise, i wasnt careful the first sessions on how i was doing it. So i thinkni didnt aligb correctly my knee to my big toe and put too much pressure. I feel now i need to rest the knees. Because of this ache i did find didficult to hold certain position, especially when we have to put weight or pressure on the knees: the last movement for sun salutation when we need to relax back and neck or the soldier posture.
I found the 8th session difficult. My body felt heavy during the day and got some ache where we did some stretches: legs side.
Same for day 9. During the day was fine. Its just when doing the movement i could feel some part of the body, mainly the legs have been working. So i could feel there was a consequence of the work we have done previously.
Day 10. Ache on the leg sides because of previous day stretch. Knees still tender.
Regarding the postures, I liked the one for the scythica on day 9 as it was a gentle stretch by sitting on a pillow and I was confortable to hold the position. Not like the one where i have to twist the torse and holding my leg. Also I did enjoy the sun salutation as there are different back bent: backward and forward. Its quite complete. But to finish with some legs and back stretches on the floor was definitely making a good balance, especially for my lower back.
I can say after day 10, I have more sensation on my left foot and my schyticha feels less tight. Same for the lower back. I feel my body is more relaxed, less tense (muscles wise). After every session I felt i gained energy and felt really relaxed. Was going to bed later then i would normally go.
Its amazing how in 10 days practising Yoga can make a difference to the body, back issues, scyathica and to the mind.
I also learned about myself, that I can do it!! It was possible for me to move myself from the sofa every night and do some Yoga!
Thank you for believing in me, encouraging me, pushing me when needed and the fun sessions. Cause I did have fun! ☺xox “