helnaes
blogging

Hometown Conversations

Sønder Felding
My 7th Great Grandfathers house Sønder Felding

Hometown – Home – Hjem

What does it mean?

There is that trite saying – “Home is where the heart is,” but that saying means little to me. My current hometown is a relatively new one, at the Home by the Sea.

Origins

Whilst my blogger colleague, Sandy has lived in many different places in many countries, I have lived in just four cities my entire life, and all four in the same country, Australia. Three in the same state. Yet it is a different country on the other side of the globe to me, that captures what most would recognize as a feeling of home. Home: that warm fuzzy feeling of sanctuary one gets when they hear that word.

I never felt that feeling in any of my previous hometowns and don’t like to dwell too much on them, much less write about them. But there is one place that I felt completely relaxed and ‘hyggelig,’ and that was the time I spent in Denmark. Danes have such a knack for creating a comforting, cosy atmosphere in their homes that they invented a unique word to describe it. Hygge.

Growing up in Australia, I actually knew very little of Denmark and even less about the town my family came from. I had seen a photograph and read a book in 1995, but that was pretty much all. The pictures in that book were a revelation and they entranced me. From that moment, I was on a mission to figure out how I could visit that magical place and my family’s hometown.

Arriving in Denmark

I longed to visit Denmark and I’d waited and saved for years. Despite this, it seemed both corny and surprising that when that SAS aeroplane, I was seated in, touched down on the tarmac of that longed-for country, I had a strong sense of relief wash over me, a sense of coming home. Could I put that down to wishful thinking and finally reaching my goal? If so, why was I so utterly surprised at the extent of this overwhelming feeling I couldn’t get out of my head? Being there at that moment, just felt right.

From Tower Ribe Cathedral Denmark

DNA Memory and Research

Some think there is more to DNA memory. That you can remember certain things through the generations and heredity.

Animals such as mice, have been able to pass on useful environmental information learnt during their lives to their offspring two generations hence, even though it was not in their original DNA. This appears to occur after a traumatic event.

Scientists have conducted studies with roundworms that indicate they can ‘remember’ information for up to 14 generations.

Don’t you think that is fascinating?

That a Grandparent or ancestor might learn a vital piece of information in their early life and you, as a grandchild or descendant might express, feel, exhibit or react to, a certain stimulus in the same way as that Grandparent might have done?

This may be what happened when I visited Denmark. Whether it was DNA, or the expression of a gene with a particular leaning towards certain environmental factors, or something else. I can’t say.

Marienlyst

Do you have a longing to a certain place? Is it your home or is it another place in the world?

Join the Conversation with Sandy and Amanda on your hometown.

vigeland
Community

Booted Out of Bikram

A while back I attended two classes in Bikram Yoga. This is yoga performed in a hot room.

You see, I love a good sauna, and I like yoga…. perfect combination? Right?

WRONG!

Classically trained on and off for the past 30 or so years in Iyengar/ Hatha yoga as a recreational pursuit for fun, flexibility and fitness, I decided to give Bikram a go. Despite several warnings from my work colleagues, about the challenging nature of the class, I was ready, or so I thought.

What I wasn’t ready for, however, was the No pain, No gain, six-pack built teacher, complete with “Madonna-style” mic, on raised pedestal, who quickly began barking orders and clicking fingers at the class, like we were some kind of performing seals! 

I was instantly on my guard. This, for me, contradicted all that is appealing about Yoga. Yoga is usually all about relaxing, finding peace and zen, tranquility, and being at one with mind and body. I suddenly felt apprehensive. Let me tell you, the rest of the class didn’t go well.

meditation
Meditation and mantras

Am I a little strange, I thought, at one point? Looking around, I noticed the 17 other people seemed okay with being spoken at like caged circus animals, and relished enduring poses where the objective, according to the instructor, was “pain.” Clearly, this is hard core yoga and the participants enjoyed communing with other overly sweaty bodies in a smelly room, heated to 105 degrees celsius.

When booking in for the class, I was advised to drink at least 3 litres of water, beforehand and here is a tip: do not even think to touch your water bottle, during class, unless instructed to do so by the six pack girl.

emotion

One student was reprimanded for attempting to drink. I say attempting, because he didn’t get to the point of taking a sip. Poor guy had rivers of sweat pouring off his head and body, no exaggeration. This has to mean he was dehydrated and I hate to think of the headache he must have had afterwards.

Then – it is apparently a BIG problem if a student tries to vary a pose, due, let’s say, to a muscle cramp, in a way that is deemed contrary to the Bikram technique. I was told I had to complete the pose, as instructed, and when I explained that I was unable to do so, I was told that unless I did it as instructed I should leave the class.

vigeland

For the record, I stayed and told the instructor I would sit out, if there was pose I couldn’t do the ‘correct’ way the teacher instructed. Unfortunately, the teacher did not provide any alternative poses for those who are hmm, a little more advanced in years, something I was quite used to. It is certainly not an older person’s yoga.

No wonder they ask you to sign a disclaimer that includes the phrase,” that you have in the last 6 months seen a medical practitioner that states that you are safe and fit to do Bikram Yoga and that you are aware …..that there may be….injury, even  paralysis and death.

Are you surprised that I deleted this condition before signing?

When I attended the second class – Yes I did go back, but I was careful to select a class with a different teacher than the one who had asked me to leave midway through. This lady was, I have to say, a little more in tune with Yogic philosophy of, “Listen to your body” etc. I could make it through her class without being reprimanded for being disobedient.

However, this was a morning class, very early, and there was no way I had time to prepare by drinking the 3 litres of water. Thus, when the class was over, I suffered the classic symptoms of heat stroke, and only recovered 6 hours later. I’d suggest it might be dangerous to drive a car in this condition? Do you think so?

So that was was it for me. I forfeited the rest of my class fees and went back to gentle poses with a Hatha Yoga teacher. In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, I think Bikram as it is practised by the first teacher, is an abomination of the concepts of Yoga as I know it.

Feeling ticked off that it is even called Yoga, I began to research this style, and it seems that there are some issues that question the very integrity of Bikram, and these are evident in a basic internet search. Wiki tells us competition is a fundamental tenet of Bikram, something that is anathema to Yoga.

{http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bikram_Yoga] Another controversial component of Bikram yoga pertains to the prevalence of Yoga Asana Championships, regionally and nationally. While practitioners of other forms of yoga maintain that competition contradicts the idea of peace and unity, Bikram contends, “Competition is the foundation for all democratic societies. For without ‘Competition’, there is no democracy.”[

Legal issues

In the United States, {Bikram} Choudhury has claimed and been aggressive in enforcing broad copyrights in most aspects of the practice, teaching, and business of the system. While these claims are not definitively resolved (i.e., by any judicial ruling on the merits), Choudhury has extracted legal settlements from a number of yoga teachers and studios. However, in a recently issued, official statement, US Copyright Office concluded, that the copyright for Bikram’s sequence of 26 postures had been issued in error. Note: {These postures have been done for thousands of years and are not his to copyright at all}

In Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class (First Edition), Choudhury claims he conducted “medical” studies at the Tokyo University Medical School validating the medical benefits of his 26 postures. During one of the lawsuits, defendants demanded copies of the “medical” studies and Choudhury claimed he could not find them. In Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class (Second Edition), Choudhury removed all references to “medical” studies.[

Competition is necessary in democracy?  Copyright and legal issues? Fraudulent science?

Our six pack advised us that the techniques are “scientifically proven.”

No thanks, I thought. Gentle Yoga and Meditation is the only Yoga I will be doing. Bugger the Bikram.

This is me inwardly cringing

Have you tried Bikram Yoga? What was your experience like?

Something to ponder about in a more relaxing moment.

lizard
Community

Sunday Sayings -Nature

Inspired by Marie’s post about the restorative effect of nature, and Peggy’s post referring to an article, in the Guardian, about nature being loved to death in some National Park areas of the world, I found these wise words:

lizard
Bearded Dragon at Coolangatta Beach, Australia

“When one tugs at a single thing in nature,

he finds it attached to the rest of the world “

– John Muir

Planet earth is large, yet the systems we depend on, and everything within, is connected in some way – through the water we drink, the air we breathe, or the soil in which we grow our food.

Rainforest

“The proper use of science is not to conquer nature, but to live in it”

– Barry Commoner

Damage to one area can have an unanticipated implication for another system. That might be beneficial, or it might be detrimental. It might help in the short term, but be harmful to diversity long term. The ecosystems are complex, mostly resilient, but also sometimes very fragile.

Weekly Proverb

“When someone points at the moon, don’t look at the finger.”

– Ancient Buddhist proverb

Worth remembering is the sageful advice of the Ancient Buddhist proverb, written at a time when the environmental concerns we face today, could never have been contemplated. Yet the words seem just as applicable today.

Sunday Sayings

I find there to be profound wisdom in proverbs, sayings and quotes and I marvel at the way they are so succinct in communicating messages to the reader.

Mostly anonymous, they come to us from past generations and from across cultures. They speak of the experiences of lives lived and lessons learned.

Normally I would invite your comment and discussion on the various interpretations and intentions, of the weekly sayings and proverbs.

This week, I am inspired by Manja, and appreciate any comments or opinions you feel moved to offer, of your own volition.

As always, everyone’s opinion is important and should be respected.

Community, History & Traditions

CCC Challenge: Curie for Chemistry

her dissertation was the greatest single contribution to science ever written. Madame Curie…. amazing woman!

The World Is A Book...

“A woman of courage, conviction and yes, contradictions…”    — Julie Des Jardin

Curie image

Madame Curie (1867-1934) won the Nobel Prize twice. She was awarded half of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903 with her husband and the second in 1911.  Against all the odds, including traveling from Poland to Paris to get education, she earned a PhD in physics, and Professors declared thather dissertation was the greatest single contribution to science ever written.

Curies_lab

Julie Des Jardins, the author “The Passion of Madame Curie” (the Smithsonian 2011 October issue), told a story; when Curie was married in 1895 to Pierre Curie, a physicist, she donned a blue cotton dress that was practical enough to wear in the lab after the ceremony. And, her lab was in a dilapidated shed with broken windows and poor ventilation. Irene, her daughter, was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1935.

As a mother, grandmother, or aunt…

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