When life gets in the way

Is it just me?  This year has been a toughie! My life has chugged on, mostly on target, for years. This year I suddenly lost my beloved Dad.  Yes, he was 90, but he deteriorated over about 3 weeks and was suddenly gone.

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Now, as I write this blog, there have been at least six people within my family, work and social circle, who have passed away this year. In addition, people I know have been diagnosed with ‘dread’ diseases. These unpleasant experiences have triggered an inward view of my own life. It’s vital that we live life to the fullest, making the best out of each and every moment.  I want to be in the best possible condition to be able to make the most of this precious life that I’ve been given.

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  Here are 6 of my top prerequisites for squeezing every drop out of every possible moment: 

1.    Mindfully sourcing, preparing and consuming natural whole and life-force producing foods as fuel for my body.

2.    Drinking the purest (possible) water.

3.    Exercising to keep my body in the best condition.  Remember if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

4.    Getting ample, good quality sleep each night. (for me that is seven to eight hours)

5.    Interacting with family and friends on a regular basis.

6.    Connecting with Nature; thereby calming my mind to best cope with all the stresses and strains that life throws at us.

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I’ve gone through a process of taking my foot off the pedal to mindfully manage this year’s curved balls. I now look forward to the season of love as we prepare for Christmas and the end of year holidays. Sometimes we need to go back to the basics.  Re-assess, Re-focus, Re-build to ultimately REVIVE BALANCE and SUSTAIN ourselves in peak condition! 

THE CHALLENGES OF OUR BOTSWANA SAFARI

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Everything in Nature is in balance – so too was our Botswanan adventure.  In the first blog I waxed lyrical about the joy, peacefulness and calmness we experienced.  This is the other side of the proverbial coin. 

Our initial challenge was water crossings, the first of which was on the road between Nata and Maun. A huge expanse of water (more than 2km long) faced us – we couldn’t see to the other side of it.  The road had washed away.  The water was half way up the car doors.  It was impossible to know what line to take and terrifying when, well into the crossing, we had huge trucks heading straight for us travelling in the opposite direction!  We all thankfully reached the other side with eyes as big as dinner plates.  It had been a water baptism with a difference for our German friends who were experiencing their first Botswana Safari.

Water crossings occurred frequently thereafter.  It’s usually good practise to first walk through the water to gauge depth and any potholes etc. and at the same time being aware of the presence of hippo and crocs.  This had not been possible with the first crossing.

On our first day out traversing in the park, we returned to total devastation of the interior of the two caravans – a baboon raid had occurred in our absence. Our friends’  hired caravan had had the grocery cupboard door ripped off, all the foodstuffs ripped open and puddles of baboon urine was everywhere!  In our caravan, they had ripped open the stitching around a canvas window.  The only food which was available to them was a container of home-baked high fibre rusks which they proceeded to consume; with the high fibre content having an immediate effect on their bowels!  The ensuing mess and smell was indescribable!  Fortunately, it was midday and the clean-up process began immediately with loads of hand washing of bed linen - thanks to sunny warm weather most of the washing was dry by the evening.  Thank goodness for a spare set of bed linen!   After this nasty encounter, we ensured that there were always a few camp guards (from our group) left to ward off any marauding baboons!

Our camp elephant was also a challenge.  He enjoyed the Marula fruit which fell from the trees in the campsite.  However, being in musth, he was unpredictable and we had several encounters with him, the last of which was pretty up-close.  One night he ventured through the middle of our camp in amongst all the guide ropes and investigated what everybody had in their kitchen.  We were gathered around the camp fire when we noticed this enormous head between two trailer-top tents.  He squeezed through this seemingly impossible narrow opening and kept coming towards us running his trunk along one kitchen surface and knocking a pot to the ground.  He then changed direction and decided to go back along the road and ‘melted’ into the shadows.

It was slow going on the ‘roller coaster’ road from Moremi to Savuti.  The usual route to North Gate wasn’t possible as it was flooded, so we had to back-track taking the cut-line.  This route also had a long deviation that took us through “scratchy” winding Mopane woodland vegetation as there was an enormous lake in the road with water lilies growing in it – an indication that the water was deep.  There is no signage, so it’s guess work to find the way through the maze of criss-crossing tracks!  Eventually though, we found our way back to the road just on the other side of the ‘lake’. It was dusk as we arrived at our camp and we still had to tackle setting up camp in the dark.  Grateful thanks, once again, for a delicious and nutritious ready-made Minestrone soup with quinoa and veg patties on the side.

The onward journey from Savuti to the Chobe Reserve was also a long, tough journey, but we emerged to a spectacular view of the enormous expanse of the Chobe River seemingly doubled in sight!  Being fully aware of the challenge of baboon raids, we generally left a few people in the camp whilst others went out on game-viewing drives.

In closing my account on this amazing adventure, I have an excerpt from my diary.

‘As I write this, I have a spectacular view from our little veranda across the lush green lawn through to the Chobe River with the sunlight sparkling on it. Tonight is our final dinner in Kasane where we’re all going to gather at the Old House Restaurant.  Tomorrow we leave at 7.30am to travel to the border at Martin’s Drift.  We’ll be staying at Kwanokeng Lodge – a journey of about 8 hours.  Then it’s an early start to be at the border at 6am (as it opens) to make a head start for the journey to Pretoria and then the next day a 5am start on the final leg back to Durban.’

Memories crowd my mind; some of which are documented by the photos  which will give you, the reader, a small window into our Botswana experience.

Yoga for Kids: Turning on the light

Last week Cami Barausse, owner of Yogi Bears based in Kloof, KZN, explained how Yoga unites and disciplines the mind, body and breath. Today she is unpacking just some of the benefits of yoga for children:

Yoga and Body:

Constantly bombarded with societal pressures of inadequacy, yoga teaches kids to love themselves. Learning this from a young age equips children with the life skills and tools for the coming teenage years when self doubt may begin to creep in.

·      Develops core strength, flexibility and body awareness

·      Builds co-ordination and balance

·      Relieves stress which promotes better sleep

·      Tones internal organs

·      Enhances performance of other extra mural activities

Yoga and Mind:

Through the asana (postures) children learn more about their bodies and what they are capable of. They learn more about their minds and how they can affect and change not only their own attitude to life, but also the attitudes of the people around them. They learn that they are capable of this through their own thoughts and how they choose to react to any given situation.

·      Builds self esteem and confidence

·      Nurtures mental balance and awareness

·      Inspires imagination, creativity and empathy

·      Improves concentration and self discipline

Yoga and Breath:

Combining the body, mind and breath helps children develop into more wholesome, confident, kind and responsible adults. Yoga teaches children to be present, and to concentrate and focus on their breathing in an ever demanding world. They learn how simple breathing techniques can help them throughout the day, in any situation. Typically children deal with frustration by crying and throwing tantrums. When they learn proper, healthy breathing techniques and tools to focus and quieten the mind, they begin to apply these tools in their everyday lives and to react appropriately to any situation.

·      Improves lung capacity and detoxification through increased exchange of carbon dioxide and        oxygen

·      Reduces anxiety

·      Calms the mind, creating physical and mental balance

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Yoga and Emotional/Spiritual:

By connecting the Mind, Body and Breath children are able to discover themselves and love themselves, to see the good in themselves and n others. Through this journey of self discovery they learn to focus and calm their minds as well as become aware of their instinctive capabilities. Aiding children in this way allows them to develop skills to cope with the journey of life, making them stronger and more capable of dealing with the stresses of life. Children are often pushed and encouraged to be super productive, leaping from one activity to the next all day long until they crash at bedtime. Yoga teaches children that it does not always have to be this way. It teaches children how to relax and be still. This process of “stillness” will teach them to handle the demands of today’s world in a much more wholesome and proactive way, thus allowing them the downtime needed to understand what is going on inside them and around them.

·      Promotes compassion and self-awareness

·      Enhances the connection to oneself and nature

·      Teaches respect for ourselves, others and all living creatures

Thank you for reading our blogs, if you would like to learn more about this incredible life-skill and allow your little one the opportunity to become a Yogi Bear too, then email Cami on yogibearsza@gmail.com

With love

-Liesel

Building our little ones through Yoga

In this week’s blog we are delighted to showcase Cami Barausse, owner of Yogi Bears based in Kloof, KZN. Cami has so much to share with us about the amazing benefits of Yoga for children that we have decided to spread this blog over 2 weeks.

My five-year-old daughter Hannah has been a “Yogi Bear” for the past five months, and she is loving it! We are already feeling the benefits that Cami speaks about:

“It is vital that children are given the tools from a young age to strengthen their minds and bodies, helping them to build up their self esteem and self awareness. Especially in today’s world which is dominated by the competitive nature of the media and the constant advancements of technology, children get very little time to download and process themselves and the world. This makes it very hard to find balance in the home environment, school and other activities.

 

Children are given few life skill tools to deal with emotional, social and physical challenges or conflicts that occur throughout life, giving rise to emotional imbalances. Today’s world is very much oriented around being the best, the strongest, and achieving the most. Yoga, which means “to unite” connects the whole self; mind, body and breath. Yoga teaches children that everybody has a different body and that different bodies can do different things but all bodies are the same. There is not one body better or worse than the next in yoga, we are all just discovering our bodies and learning from them in our own way.

Yoga is truly for everybody. Yoga helps introduce children to themselves, through their body, building self awareness, self confidence all the while quietening their minds. The best characteristic of yoga is that it is portable, no mat, special clothing or room is necessary, only the willing body.

Namaste: the light in me sees the light in you. Yoga teaches acceptance and tolerance of others. In practicing yoga, children learn early in life that all living beings are to be cherished and respected as they are, thus helping to create harmonious communities and a more peaceful world. All children are natural born yogis.

The combination of an unpolluted mind, innate sense of trust in others as well as an absence of inhibition allows children to receive the teachings of yoga and grow from them in inspiring ways. Leading them to yoga is our responsibility as, while they are discovering themselves, they will be teaching us as adults.”

Look out for the second part of this blog next week when Cami unpacks all the amazing benefits of yoga for children.

With Love

Liesel

Planning for a camping Safari

Planning, Prepping and Packing for a CAMPING SAFARI EXTRORDINAIRE to the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Part 1 - Planning

We’re so excited to be taking our German friends (and old friends) on an epic Botswanan adventure – camping in the stunning beauty of the Okavango Swamps, Savuti and Chobe.

Over the years I’ve honed my skills of the 3 P’s – Planning Prepping and Packing for Safari experiences using ‘Qualitarian’ and ‘Nutritarian’ foods, ensuring that we continue to nourish ourselves with THE BEST FOODS EVER whilst enjoying THE BEST HOLIDAY EVER!  

When planning a trip like this, it is very important to keep two key things in mind, the available space in the caravan or trailer, and the fridge or freezer space. As they say, practice makes perfect -  this definitely gets easier the more often we do it.

On our trip, there are no shopping opportunities to replenish supplies for the first 2 weeks. Here are some of the things we do to make sure our planning goes smoothly:-  

·         Quantify the number of meals required for the period.

·         Distinguish the type of meals required, such as en route in the car, complete meals (for late    arrivals), breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, treats, and also hot and cold drinks.

·         Choose recipes to make for the freezer or to store in airtight containers.

·         Draw up shopping lists to purchase the relevant ingredients.

·         Plan to systematically make the meals over the two weeks leading up to departure - starting with the frozen meals.  This food must be frozen solid before packing into the camping freezer.

·         Plan the big pack ahead of time - preferably over the weekend prior to departure.

·         Non-perishable foods should be packed into “ammo” boxes.  Heavy duty plastic, stackable boxes with firm clips are a must as monkeys and baboons can’t open them!

·         Perishable goods must be purchased as close to departure date as possible to ensure freshness.

My thinking is to make sure that there is sufficient choice, and flexibility in the menu for the whole trip, which in this case is 3 weeks.

Maximum preparation beforehand ensures that I maximize my relaxation time when I’m away.  Most of the work is done and I can enjoy the holiday!

I have peace of mind that the food quality is excellent, that the foods that I’ve chosen will deeply nourish us, that it will offer us a wide spread of rainbow colours, and most of all that each meal will be delicious.

The secret is in the planning!

 

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