January 14: Weather turns the day upside down

Pastora, Iva, Jaime and I planned to do a five-hour walk today along the winding Aare river, from Wohlen bei Bern into the city. The rain gods decided to have a hoedown, or maybe it was a rave, at 5am, and that was the end of that idea.

It rained all morning – the ground was mush, the wind was high, the seas were rough … I made that last one up.

So we turned a day of activity into a day of inactivity. We ate too much, drank a little, talked non-stop and played a board game Iva brought along. Importantly, we laughed a lot. We may not have that satisfied kind of exhaustion we were hoping to have from a long walk, but we achieved it in another form from solid rainy-day fun.

Hence, I’ve just completed 15 minutes of strength exercises before going to bed. My arms and shoulders certainly feel yesterday’s yoga efforts, so I thought I’d try five minutes of stomach crunches (arms behind the ears and elbows out of sight), five minutes of upside down cycling (lying on my back, legs in the air, peddling fast) and then five minutes of squat variations holding my trusty chick pea tins.

Not sure if the cycling achieved as much as the other exercises, other than noticing my noisy knees, but it was good to do something new.

Speaking of new, a friend, Jac, suggested my next exercise challenge should be to dance like no one is watching, and tomorrow I’m going to do just that. I might even tell you my play list.

Wishing you a wonderful day.

January 13: Yoga

My friend from German school, Iva, kindly invited me to try out a yoga class at her husband’s fitness, training and wellness centre, which specialises in karate. Her husband, Marko, is a very important Dan in the karate world. Maybe, down the track, I’ll try a karate lesson at Maru Dojo?! I’m open to everything.

Last night’s yoga was a wonderful re-introduction to all the past yoga courses I’ve loved and tried. And ultimately forgotten. Some of the moves feel so convoluted, until you look around and see others doing it with style.

The teacher was lovely, patient, and (importantly for me) had a nice voice – even if I couldn’t understand everything she was saying. She was speaking the Bern dialect of Swiss German (there are also Basel and Zurich dialects). I’ve only learnt High German (spoken and understood in Germany and Austria too) which is what the Swiss read and write in the Swiss German parts of the country. (The other official languages spoken in Switzerland are French, Italian and Romansh – the latter being a very old language spoken in the mountains to the east by a small, but proud, group.)

Oh, I know, it’s darn confusing. Swiss German is officially a spoken language, not a written language. All the written materials are in High German, such as newspapers, magazines, pamphlets and so on. My partner tells a crazy story (for us foreigners) about speaking Swiss German in a meeting at work with colleagues, clients and business associates, then going back to his desk to write them an email … in High German.

The class was a little package of relaxation and energy all rolled into 90 minutes. The time went really fast. The room was just the right size, and the mood was calm. My balance is shot, but it was a great challenge and I look forward to going back again. I joked with Iva I’d like to be able to do the bridge move by December. She agreed – by December 2017!!

Here’s a photo from the yoga section on the Maru Dojo website. This is the room we did our practice (ohhh, fancy terminology and all!) and she was our teacher too.

I slept very well last night and enjoyed my morning routine this morning. Finally – a few good habits!

Wishing you a wonderful day.