About ME

Robert A F van de Voort – Studio Photographer and more…

Mindfulness.
It looks more and more interesting from here. Photography is an important aspect of my life but here is another view…:
May I share some of my experiences of my journey into being who I am now.

I’ve been attending a gym for about 25 years.  It started off as exercising, just pure physical movement, not knowing what I was really doing. How different it is now!

I don’t like to build muscle; I like to be healthy and functioning well. I just want to enjoy it and making it (the body) go the way it should go, for a long time to come.

As I have been practising yoga for quite some time now, about 10 years, my gym exercises focus on complimenting my “moves” in yoga so everything functions in harmony, I would not like to develop any muscles that would contradict my other practices.

My focus is on understanding and listening to my body (myself), and working with it so I can do whatever I want/like to do, although there are still quite a few limits to what I can do at present.
Persistence and regular training of body mind and soul will make fewer and fewer “limits”. Actually limits is the wrong word, it is negative – it stops. Change limits into challenges and it is sounds so more achievable…

This aspect of saying I can’t do that because of “blah blah blah” is just an opinion of someone else and not fact based. So I keep stretching myself, everything takes time to achieve.

As I have been practising more and more I have understood that everything can be done if you steer it (your mind) in the right direction. Draw from inside yourself, there is an unlimited resource within. There are no limits. I have to rephrase that, of course there are limits, I cannot fly.

I’m meaning to say I don’t accept the limits that supposedly are set by age amongst other things. It is actually the opposite. The older (to use a common phrase in fact I mean getting more experienced) I get more understanding of how to move and work my body and mind.

Age is that lovely concept that means you are learning, growing up, and getting more knowledgeable, not getting decrepit and bent and wrinkled and going downhill. Why should you?

There is absolutely no reason for me to give in to the concept that getting old means wrinkling up and doing less.

If you think like that, your life is going to run you, you possibly accept the stories of other people that because somebody is old  – they cannot do this or that.

Possibly true for quite a lot of people, they are getting old and can do less but they have not thought about living.

They accept every day when they wake up that the day will grab them and make them do things they have to do because the day has started and commands from them what they have to do, they have to work, they have to have breakfast, and quite likely if they are over 65 are told that they don’t need to do this or that because they are so old.

Is your day starting because the alarm clock wakes you up so you have to get up? Or do you wake up because you want to wake up, your body is refreshed and had enough sleep and your internal clock is set to get you up and going? Most days I get up because I like to get up. I think if you can start your day because you want to start today you have gained so much already.

I like to see it in another way too, every day for me is a chance to tell the day what I can do with it. It’s my day and I can mould that day into what I think it can be for me. I like to give my day quality. I have chosen a career or profession that I like to do. My work is my hobby. I can possibly say that I have never worked. I have really tried to make everything work with me instead of against me.

Of course I have done many things that were commitments and obligations. To achieve something you have to overcome hurdles and obstacles and work for it to get there. There is a balance between those two. But that balance creates a dynamic that makes every day a pleasant day. That happy balance puts me in a good mood and well-being.

For me exercises and yoga are my life and health insurance. They shape me into being a person that is able to modify and work with the opportunities that are presented to me, not fight them. If I can understand myself, if I know how I work inside me, I can work far more efficiently.

It’s hard to express, but I’m trying to say that if you feel that you are “master” of your own self you can achieve so much more and every day provides a chance to achieve that. If you believe that you are not a master of your own self, but that the day or your situation you live in – owns you, you could be a “victim of your own life” and you may experience the effects of your surroundings more heavily and possibly in a negative way. That is definitely what I don’t want to experience,

I want to see my day as a positive opportunity to achieve what I can achieve and not to be too limited. Does not happen every time, I do get caught in daily events and get side-tracked. That is so easily done.

Mindfulness, if you can think of actually concentrating of what you are exactly in the moment doing and not let your brain wander, that makes you focus in the right direction. Hard to explain, there are books written about that.

My health is precious so I want to keep my body healthy by listening to my body and give it what it needs, I am convinced that my daily meditation is an essential part of that health. Complement that with yoga and some muscle exercises I have found a wonderful combination to achieve a reasonably healthy body. I’m not thinking that certain exercises are impossible, if I compare what I can do now compared to 10 years ago I can do a lot more, not less. If I didn’t exercise at all, I would possibly do very badly physically. And mentally not be as strong as I am know. It is amazing how concentration/attention on the body “in the moment” can be such a benefit t my mental and physical health.

It comes down to listening to yourself, tune in to what your body and your mind really want to tell you. Accept your limitations, do not judge yourself (and others!), we all have different bodies and minds so we cannot always do what other people (tell us) do.

Anyway that’s not something I strive for; to do better than somebody else, I’d like to be myself, and even that can be a struggle. Not everything always works out my way. I have to put efforts into creating that life.

Life is vibrant, it continuously develops, throws curved balls at you and all kinds of other challenges and benefits of being alive. If you think that you’ve only got moments to live, why don’t you live like that, it becomes a very good full life…

I do not like to look backwards to see where I was but appreciate where I am now in this moment. It is far more fun to look in the present and ahead and live each day to the fullest (most aware?) extent exploring all the opportunities that you can make into other opportunities. It is hard – I still miss many – but if you make that opportunity = one door opens and then another door opens. Enjoy your journey like I do.

Namaste.

Robert A F Van de Voort.

Acknowledgements:
Massey Recreation Centre Albany.Their instructors especially Shona Fernandes.Recently Shona has been assisting and instructing me in doing my exercises the way they fit my “regime”.I’ve been able to express the way how I like to do my exercises, controlled, slowly, utilising my body and not fighting my body too much against the law of physics and gravity. Shona asked me to share my “experiences” with you, hopefully I have been able to put it together for you in a pleasant way.

Michelle Robinson, Neil MacKay, and all other B.K.S. Lyengar yoga instructors/teachers that have given me so many of their insights and experience to make my yoga so meaningful.
About inner awareness – complimenting yoga and meditation:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkTC6jrtbfY is a link to a book titled ”Full Catastrophe Living” by Jon Kabat-Zin.

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