Sunday, 23 August 2015

Do More of What Makes You Happy

From the age of around 14 to 21 I had that hobby that without realising became my life, called dance.

Growing up in the 90’s and 00’s where R&B lived before it died, I spent a lot of time tuned into The Box music channel and MTV BASE trying to learn the routines to any Aaliyah or Ginuwine, Missy Elliot, Mya music videos. (For all of you noughties kids, sorry but you missed out!)
Images sourced via Google

Anywho through a friend I came across a local street dance group which I joined and before I knew it that was all I cared about. I was part of this dance group for around 6 years which have honestly been some of the best years of my life! Not only had I found a passion that I loved but this was where I also met some of my best friends who over the years have become family.

Overtime naturally things changed and the passion and dreams that I had of becoming a professional dancer (Beyonces backing dancer to be specific) seemed to start to disappear, which resulted in my dancing hobby that I had once loved so much coming to an end until now.

When I first arrived in Portugal I had so much time on my hands I became really overwhelmed with the thought of what I would do with it! So one day after a skype chat with my bestie she suggested I find a good dance school. Coincidently a couple weeks before I’d met a really friendly girl who’d told me about a dance school called Jazzy, so I decided to check it out.

Now I’ve been to a few dance studios over the years but this one has to be my favourite by far! Not only are their facilities top notch, the vibe is really nice. Some studios attract dancers with a competitive edge and serious egos which are really off putting when you’re just there to dance and enjoy, however I am yet to experience any of that at Jazzy!

They have an amazing and diverse selection of classes and the teachers are brilliant and super friendly which is a plus when you rock up to a class solo with limited language skills.

After my first class I was hooked! I’m not going to lie, I was a bit rusty as let’s be real, it’s been a while since I’ve had to learn a routine. But I’m pretty impressed with how fast I managed to get back into it all.

In the space of a month I’ve gone from having a 1 day a week membership to having a 2 day a week membership and if I’m honest my dancing feet are two stepping towards and unlimited pass! I had no idea how much I missed this part of my life until after that first class. Since joining Jazzy I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone and I no longer stand at the back of the class out of sight in case I get the steps wrong! I have tried different styles of dance like Afro Tribal, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Pop dance, Kuduro and my favourite Dancehall with Souljah Fighters WWHHOOOYYYY!     

2 out of 3 Souljah Fighters
(Yes those are sweat patches you can see! I work hard in those classes!)

For me, dancing is a form of therapy as well as a way to explore and express other parts of my feelings and personality. I’ve had days when I’ve entered the dance studio feeling defeated by the world and its bullshit but yet I always leave the feeling notorious and ready to face whatever is thrown in my path.

As we get older and gain more and more responsibilities we tend to have less time for some the things that once made us happy. Most of us are of an age now where our priorities in life have changed and yes sometimes that means sacrificing hobbies for other things that make us happy like, love, children, family or career goals, but as important as all of those things are, making sure you make time for that special hobby that understands you like no other hobby or living person can is equally as important.

We share so many other aspects of our lives with others, sometimes it’s important to be a little selfish and have something that is just ours, where we can switch off and have a different kind of focus.
Having a hobby no matter how big or small is great way to be able to recharge your energy for the other areas of your life that demand more of you.

Reconnect with old hobbies or even find new ones that will give you some time out from your day to day reality. It could be anything from going for a run, starting a new class or even teaching new class. Whatever your hobby of choice may be, make time and go for it! You never know, it may even inspire you beyond your wildest dreams.

Before you go check out this amazing tribute video to the Missy Elliot who owned the late 90’s and 00’s era with her creative sound and choreography and inspired countless dance crews across the world to turn their dance hobby into something so much more! (And also helped Adidas make a killing!)

Enjoy :) 

Love Sara


Sunday, 2 August 2015

I Get By With A Little Help From Yoga

Yoga was always something that I’d always wanted to do however my initial reason for trying it out over 10 years ago at the infamous Pineapple Studios are very different to the reasons why I love it today.

Despite the relaxing effect it had on me and my friend in that studio all those years ago (we fell asleep!), I never quite cottoned on to the power and empowerment of yoga, I just saw it as something that was good for me to do during my days as a dancer to help keep me limber and strong, which is probably why I never kept it up as I completely missed the point of what yoga is really about.
However over the past few years I have found myself questioning so many different aspects of life and paying a lot more attention to the way I respond to life. So as a way of exploring this and finding balance and inner peace, in January 2014 as one of my new year’s resolutions I vowed to start my yoga journey and it all began with a £5 class which I had no idea would eventually play such a huge role of support in my life.  

Sadly only after a few weeks the class was cancelled and for a while I tried out a few other classes but I never quite connected the way that I did with my first instructor.

By the summer I felt like I had started to fall apart as my tank was on empty and I needed to slow down and as a result of overworking and neglecting myself in more ways than one I began to experience a lot of anxiety. I knew that what I was experiencing was simply a mind over matter situation and I was determined to restore myself in a holistic way. So I contacted my instructor and gave her the rundown on what was happening and booked myself in for a private session, but before diving straight in for a yoga session we agreed that I we would have a Reiki session that would help to understand where my issues were coming from and what areas we needed to focus on. This was and still is the most powerful spiritual healing experience I have ever had. It was the first time in what had felt like months that my mind found peace, even if it was only for a few seconds at a time because let me tell you, those few seconds felt like heaven (or at least what I imagine heaven would feel like.)

These sessions were the start of gaining back my control, managing and understanding my mind and emotions at a deeper level. Since then I have continued with my yoga and meditation practice and have had some really great experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to some yoga classes where I’ve left and at the end said to myself “what the fuck was that all about”, and I’ve been to some where my body has had a better work out than my mind and spirit, but I’ve also been to classes that have left me in tears, or have unblocked whatever may have been preventing me from feeling grateful, happy, loved or free. My latest experience involved being turned on during a session!! Which I assure you, was as much as a surprise to me as  I think may be to you! The instructor did have on some insanely little tight shorts and he did also had a beautiful voice, but after having a quick chat with my instructor back home she assured me that it was completely normal and that he (the instructor) clearly acted as catalyst for whatever was going on in my body. (Horny hormones! HA!! Can’t believe I just wrote that!) Lol, no seriously yoga has all kinds of ways of awakening your subconscious feelings, energies and emotions. Especially at times when you least expect it, you can experience all kinds of emotions.

Yoga isn’t for everyone but for me it one of my top wellbeing activities that keeps me centred and grounded in this crazy western world. Since moving to Lisbon I’ve been exploring different classes to find my right match while I’m here which I think may have finally found. What makes it even sweeter is that it’s outdoors and it's free!

If you’re in Lisbon and would love to do some yoga check out the video below!

Or if you’re at home and don’t have the time to get to a class but really want to have some kickass guided practice, check out Yoga with Adrienne! She is amazing and I regularly do her sessions via YouTube. She’s fun as has a great way of making you feel at ease with whatever level of yoga you’re at. She also has a great 30 Daysof Yoga programme which I’ve found as great way to start the day.
Enjoy and  feel free to share any yoga stories or tips!

Love Sara. xx

Sunday, 19 July 2015

The People You Meet Along The Way...

One of the most exciting things about travelling or moving somewhere new is the people you meet. Some may be a little strange, some even creepy, like the boys that wait like vultures for the foreign girls to come to town so they can offer strong helping hand because of course, every female with a passport and the desire to travel is a brainless damsel in distress! But aside from the creeps, dickheads and weirdos there are some genuinely amazing people from all over the world waiting to meet you!

Since I’ve been in Lisbon I’ve met so many people from so many different places that I’ve lost track. But then there are always the ones that stick with you, like the bubbly landlord who gave me the best welcome ever on my first day. I’d barley even checked in and before I knew it we out the door and on our way to an art exhibition, a fresh juice bar and an outdoor book fair. We talked about the how amazing life, yoga and the universe are and of course boys... duh! But what was even more amazing is that 2 weeks prior leaving the UK I’d started to think about how difficult it was going to be and how lonely I would be in my first few days when I arrived, but as soon as I met my landlord all those feelings disappeared. We talked about so many things that without realising it, we were helping each other make sense of our current life situations, so we decided there and then while chowing down on some sort of green veg chocolate cake (I swear is was scrumptious), that we would write a book titled, ‘Everything happens for a reason’. And just like that a new friendship was born.

Then there’s the lovely enthusiastic Brazilian lady I met at a language exchange. We agreed to meet one afternoon to practice our language skills and I am so glad that we did because she reminded me of how excited and in love with Lisbon I was the first time I visited which helped me to remember what brought me back. It wasn’t long before I felt like I’d been reconnected with a long lost friend and again, that was the beginning of a new inspiring friendship.

When I had my weeks of weakness of feeling homesick I met an amazing group of people who have no idea how much they cheered me up! From that group of people I met a lovely free spirited, kite surfing French girl. It had almost been a month since we’d initially met but randomly one day I was on Facebook and saw her name pop up, so I took it as a sign and said hi. Little did I know she was leaving the next day so we spontaneously met up for the afternoon and as we began talking we realised that we had a lot in common. We talked about how much we love Lisbon, our travelling experiences and some of the things that we want from life. And just like that, in one afternoon, I went from being in limbo about what to do next with my life, to feeling like I had found the next piece to my puzzle!

And then there’s the 67 year old American lady who is just dying for me to meet her cat, Squeak! This fiery lady left home at the age of 18, found herself some European loving and hasn’t looked back since.
When we first met, I asked her where she was from, she replied “now that’s an interesting question”, to which she gave an interesting answer. I suppose when you’ve travelled and lived in as many places as she has it can become a bit difficult to say that you’re from one specific country, town or city, when your life has been shaped by so many different places.

After sitting next to this lady at an outdoor documentary movie while she decided to become a personal quirky commentator, mainly commentating on how shite she thought the documentary was, I knew I liked her. 
On the train back into the city we talked and talked and I realised that this woman has the most amazing spirit and I loved being around her because she honestly reminds me of what life is all about! Despite going against what society told her she should be as an 18 year old girl in the 70’s, she had the balls to go against the grain and follow her heart which has taken her on so many memorable adventures.

For me there is nothing like meeting a complete stranger and discovering you have a connection with them, even if it’s just for a moment or it lasts an entire lifetime. I live for moments like these because these random people I meet from all over the world have helped and continue to help shape the person I am and the person I will become!

Although most of us were raised on a strict ‘Stranger Danger’ policy, I highly recommend you trust your gut combined with weirdo raider and get to know a stranger every once in a while, you never know what will happen.

Love Sara. xxx

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Finding a New Path

Can you believe that my first month in Lisbon has already gone?

So how did it go? – Well to be completely honest the first 2 weeks were pretty bad as I experienced the worst homesickness I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’ve always been one to get homesick but this time it felt like it was never going end which made it even worse. Immediately I stated making plans for my return home to England and how I would just carry on with my life as it was. For a while this was comforting but then after returning home for a week for a family event and spending time talking really openly with my family and two besties about what I was feeling, I began to remember all the reasons why I made the choice to move to Lisbon and give myself a break and live life in a new place for a while.

Taking myself out of my comfort zone and starting over the way I did was such huge thing to do and I clearly underestimated the impact that it would have on me, as I had gone from having a super busy job, friends, family, and social life, to having no job, plenty of time and just me myself and I to keep myself company. But as awful as those few weeks were, I got over them (thank God) and was able to start putting things into perspective, like the fact I am living the my favourite city in the world with endless possibilities!

Now a full month in I can say that moving here for the summer (or maybe longer who knows) was definitely the right thing for me to do because although I change my mind as often as Rihanna changes her hair, being here and having time alone has given me the chance to start thinking more about what I want from this new blank chapter of life, what’s most important and how I can achieve it. And yes, it’s likely that I will change my mind a gazillion times before I get to the place that I’m supposed to be, but I’m happy to say that this is a start, and for the first time in a while, I think I may be on the path that was designed just for me.

Love Sara. xx