Category Archives: Yoga

. embracing who i am .

I was catching up on one of my favourite yoga instructor’s blog when I came across an entry that really strike a chord with me. In her post titled “Embrace Who We Are“, she talked about the need for us to feel whole and embrace our unique & true self so that we may feel fulfillment in life. Now, take this moment and reflect upon your own life. What is it that truly makes you happy? Are you guilty of conforming to societal norms and sticking to the comfort zone, just because it is the easier thing to do even though your heart says otherwise? Like so many people out there, I will be the first to admit that I’m generally a people pleaser and I do seek comfort in external justification. Reassurance and approval from other people that I am either doing the “right thing” or am “on the right track in life”. Yet, despite the nod of approval from others, why is there still the sense of emptiness that lingers in my heart?

For those of you who have been following my blog for awhile, you would have known that I have been facing a self-proclaimed quarter-life crisis for some time now. On many occasions, I often assumed that this quarter-life crisis stems from a lack of true satisfaction in my job. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful for the learning opportunities that I have been given, the transferable and tangible skills that I have picked up through the years and the benefits that come along with it. But, half a decade of slogging through the drudgery of life – work. earn money. pay bills. work. earn money. pay bills. repeat. – does get to me. Was this the life that I am going to live for the rest of my life? And mind you, we aren’t even talking about bigger commitments such as housing loans and child support here.  Yet, upon introspection, it suddenly hit me that the bigger picture lies in me. That I have not been able to fully embrace the true me because in times when I feel vulnerable or fearful, I tend to seek assurance from external parties. However, if we don’t feel that we are enough and worthy, no amount of external validation will do the job. We have to love ourselves and be true to our beings, in order to find more meaning and fulfillment in our lives.

As of late, I have been doing a lot more soul searching. Reflection through yoga. Reading inspirational true stories or blogs that resonate with me. Practice mindfulness. Those, along with the process of growing up and having a more mature outlook in life, have taught me to slowly accept and acknowledge that it is totally fine to be imperfect. To make mistakes. To have fears and weaknesses. To fail and fall apart. To be different. But, none of which should make me question my worthiness because, to quote Asami in her blog entry, that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.

These days, I won’t deny that I am quite contented with all that I have been blessed with. Of course, there are always other areas to work on. Honestly, if you ask me, I must confess that contentment and living life to the fullest will probably always remain a constant challenge. It’s alright though because that’s part and parcel of life and what that keeps me alive. By embracing who I am and accepting that I am not perfect, I’m making the choice to live a life I seek pleasure in, rather than to simply go with the ebb and flow of life.  If that means wearing hand-me-downs instead of buying the latest trendy clothes, drinking fruit juice instead of alcohol during party nights (because I truly dislike the taste of alcohol), exploring hidden gems instead of hitting the malls in Orchard Road, I’ll do it because these are what that make me happy. A very good friend of mine has always reminded me to “Just Be Myself” and I’m truly grateful for these little reminders that keep me focused.

Many people I know from all walks of life – friends, colleagues, acquaintances and even blog readers – have shared with me that they often questioned their purpose in life. Inevitably, many equate the lack of fulfillment to their unsatisfactory jobs, lack of financial stability, non-existent love life, etc. But sometimes, we need to look deeper within ourselves to realise that it is possibly ourselves that we have to overcome. Take the moment to self-reflect, understand yourself better and embrace it wholeheartedly, the parts that you love and the parts that ain’t as great.

“Be in love with your life, every detail of it.”
~ Jack Kerouac

. sights: chakra ma .

20140130_182403
Sights: I’m in  ♥  with Chakra Ma jewelry
Solar Plexus Chakra: self-empowerment
Crown Chakra: oneness

. sights: pigeon pose .

pigeon yoga

Sights: One-legged king pigeon pose.
Still working hard to perfect this pose;  1 day, I’ll get my head to touch the foot and bring the arms closer together.

. unlocking emotions during yoga .

Truth to be told, I have contemplated really hard if I would like to share about my experience of an emotional release during some of my yoga classes. After all, it is extremely rare and weird to have someone bawling their eyes out in the middle of any yoga class (Personally, I have never seen anyone doing so). In other words, my ego doesn’t want to be seen as someone who’s “abnormal” or “bizarre” but my inner self felt that it was important to share my story and let anyone who happens to experience this release but think it’s awkward to know that it is alright and that there’s nothing wrong with it.

The scary thing about me is that when I’m really addicted to something, I can spend hours at it and likewise, I have, unknowingly, spent more than half of my day at my yoga studio … Attending classes after another. It started with Hot Stretch, followed by Hot Slimming Therapy, Hot Flow before ending off with Hot Back Bend. Honestly, my physical body did feel a tad burnt out (especially, when I was just surviving on a cup of milk with chia seeds and a slice of peanut butter bread for the entire time. I think Chia Seeds works wonders!) but I felt empowered and was energetic. It was almost as if nothing could stop me from continuing with my yoga practice all day. The physical asana practice, especially vinyasa, ashtanga and core yoga, have slowly toned my body and gave me the strength like none of the other exercises that I have done but more importantly, it is the slower forms of yoga that help me to cleanse my emotional body and provide me with a slightly better insight of my spiritual self. I know, it probably sounds all too hippie and skeptical for non-yogis. But hey, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Back to the subject, I realised that I have slowly cultivated a liking for body opening yoga sequences such as back bending, hip opening and chest opening. These particular poses require my full concentration and dedication – To focus inward, relax and release the tensions in those tight areas. However, very often, it’s common to meet some form of resistance because of the fear of injuring oneself when you push yourself too hard. Taking this as an example, we can also relate it to our body that is often overworked to control and manipulate our emotions and behaviour when we are in public. Only when we relax and truly be ourselves, can these emotions come to surface.

And then, it happened when 1 of my instructor pushed me real hard in a standing back bend pose (dancer pose, for those of you who practice yoga) and I swear that something in my left thigh popped! Major ouch! I could feel the tears welled up in my eyes almost instantly. Yet, it wasn’t the ache/pain that caused me to tear. It was the fact that I was ready to let go of the fear of going further in that pose that resulted in me letting go some of the negative emotions and baggage that have been pent up within me for too long – consciously or subconsciously. Fortunately, we were at the tail-end of our class so when we finally settled into the corpse pose (Savasana), I could feel the tears rolling down my cheeks immediately. Well, I must say that I controlled it well and only released the floodgates when I got into the shower cubicle and at home.

The emotional release was totally unexpected and a tad scary. I have gone for so many yoga classes in the past couple of years and I must say that this was probably only the 3rd time that I have experienced such a need to cry. Nonetheless, I must admit that this surreal moment of freeing myself a bit from the negative baggage felt so amazing and empowering. Quote me, I would dare say that it beats riding a thrilling roller coaster or even getting a month from work, any day. And I finally realised that it’s only when one is ready to let go and accept, then can they begin to release those emotional clutter and move on.

Live, Eat, Breath Yoga. 

. my little zen corner .

my little zen corner

These days, I find solace on the yoga mat as yoga has been a time for healing that often leaves me liberated at the end of each class. Outside of the yoga studio, I crave for some time alone in my room where I may play some relaxing spa music at the background, unwind with calming aromatherapy, watch the tiny fishes swim around and just, live in the present. This is my little zen corner. Ah yes, im a little hippie at heart.  (:

. anahata yoga retreat 2013 .

My rekindled relationship with yoga has ignited an insatiable appetite in me to learn more about yoga and I was eager to embark on a journey of discovery. I knew that a yoga/detox retreat is on the cards but never did I thought that I would sign up for one on a whim. On hindsight, it was really quite an impulsive decision to sign up for a relatively expensive yoga retreat with a group of strangers from a studio that I have never even visited! Then again, my spirit of being sporadically spontaneous has, thankfully, brought me nothing but great adventures. 

The 1st day of the retreat was, as I could vividly recall, pretty intimidating as I soon found myself mingling with other students who could effortlessly jump into all sorts of funky inversions and arm balances. All of a sudden, my sense of self-worth and ego were being questioned. What an irony, considering the fact that we are supposed to cast our ego aside during our yoga practice. However, as time would quickly tell, my sense of self-doubt was absolutely uncalled for.

Over the next 5 days and 4 nights, the group of us – 20+ strangers from all walks of life and different nationalities – came together and bonded over the common language of yoga. Some of us came for the retreat with the intention of developing a stronger yoga practice; some wanted time off for self-reflection and others? Just a respite from work, stress and daily issues. That’s me and many of us, actually!

I jumped with glee and excitement during our fun-filled acro-partner yoga workshop as I attempted to defy the law of gravity and “flew” off the ground! It was, in my humble opinion, the impossible made possible! 🙂 Our mind is constantly on the go and filled with clutter/ noise/ ideas so in order for us to seek the clarity and stillness to deal with these mind chatter, our instructors – San and Fabrice – had arranged for a few mornings of silent meditation. For someone who detest awkward silences, I must say that I actually enjoyed the moments of solitude and peace. There was simply no need for the unnecessary small talk. Having said that, I cannot imagine going on a digital detox (whatsapp, YouTube, surfing the net!) and having nothing to entertain me but myself and my mind for hours at a go, let alone days like what some people do during silent retreats!

 The nightly satsang (also known as a heart-to-heart sharing session) was an unexpected surprise. In fact, I had initially contemplated forgoing some nights of satsang in exchange for an earlier bath but as life would have it, these nightly sessions probably gave me the best takeaway from this trip. It was amazing to see how easy it was for the majority of us to break the barriers and start sharing our personal stories and life experiences with one another. Well, I’m a closed book so I was relatively particular over what I chose to share during the sessions but some of my counterparts were extremely open about sharing their utmost fears and challenges in life with the rest of the group. Their stories provided me with a new perspective in life and made me realized that my fears and obstacles are just part and parcel of life, not uncommon to those that most others have faced.

In a nutshell, while others might deem a yoga retreat as too hippy-dippy; I, however, was glad to have taken this opportunity to immerse myself in yoga under the guidance of the truly inspiring San. Unlike most instructors who tend to be technical and a bit “robotic”, San enjoys injecting emotional elements to her classes. To her, yoga is more than just being physical … Instead, it was a way of life and it was through her that I had learnt to grasp a better understanding of the value of “Acceptance“. To accept oneself – our capability, vulnerability and flaws. Accept it. On an ending note, I would also like to express my gratitude to my bff, Soy, who, despite not being a yoga practitioner, agreed to accompany me on this retreat without any hesitation. Let’s just say that living so close to nature and bugs are not exactly a city girl’s cup of tea and I’m glad we survived each other and our quirks!  

anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-2013

20130601_184348
20130604_082340

anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-4

anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-3

20130601_143629
anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-2
anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-1anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-8

anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-6anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-7anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-11
anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-9

20130603_173139
anahata-yoga-koh-phangan-10most pics credit to anahata yoga

Anahata Yoga is having a Facebook promotion for 2 now! Click here to find out how you may enjoy 4 sessions at just $20/pax.  

It has been 6 months since I posted my last blog entry … The longest blogging hiatus that I have taken since I first started this blog 5 and a half years ago. Sooo … As you can probably tell by now, much have come and gone in my life for the past 6 months and I have, honestly, been in a bit of a life funk lately. Somehow along the way, I found myself lost in life’s direction, being suck into a quicksand of negativity, suffering from a lack of self-confidence and basically, losing sight of the simple pleasures and meaning in life. Instead, I was always on the go – Finding things and activities to do to keep me busy and occupied… Perhaps, to take my mind off a bigger picture that I still can’t quite figure out what it is yet. 

The year was nothing quite like I would have envisioned it to be as – I was often frustrated and lost with the monotony of life. Finding contentment was a bit of a struggle for me. There were fleeting moments of happiness and excitement although most notwithstanding. It’s almost as if I’m existing but not living. What happened to the once carefree soul and spirit that I was?

However, there was always a constant that I turn to in times like that. My yoga mat. When I first signed on the dotted line of my yoga contract and handed my credit card to pay for a year-long of membership at Real Yoga, it was purely for the physical aspects. Being a jack of all trades, I have dabbled in many kinds of activities and sports – From combat to internal training to kayaking – but none was able to give me the exercise discipline that yoga (especially hot yoga) was able to instill in me. For many months straight, I was practically on a yoga high and was diligently going for regular classes. And I saw the benefits. Good-bye flabs (although I still have pockets of fats) and hello muscles! Having said that, laziness and procrastination got the better of me and I, unexpectedly, took a short hiatus from my yoga practice for close to a quarter of the year. Nonetheless, it took only 1 hot yoga class for me to re-discover the joys of yoga.

It was my rekindled relationship with yoga that made me reconnect with my inner self and joy. I know how “hippy” and “bullshit” it might sound to non-yogi but my second stint with yoga made me see and finally understand the benefits of yoga beyond the physical aspects. Sure, I’m still loving the fact that yoga, specifically ashtanga and vinyasa, is able to tone my body like never before but more importantly, it taught me how to live in the present. No wandering thoughts of the past or future. In fact, some people I know call yoga “a moving meditation” as it helps to keep your focus on life as it is at the present moment. In addition, I tend to focus on the breathe as I flow through the various yoga poses and while I never saw the importance in breath-work before; I, now, know how crucial it is in a yoga practice. It is, essentially, the breathe that helps push you further when you need the extra oomph to twist more or hold the pose longer.

It is on my yoga mat that I’m able to find some sort of sanctuary and peace (with myself). To be able to slowly take the moment to cast all worries and thoughts aside and simply focus on living in the present. To release the tumult of emotions and let go of some negative energy. For those who know me, I am not one who wear my emotions on my sleeve so it was quite a shock when I found myself tearing when faced with my emotions during some of my yoga classes. And I let it go rather than to keep it all pent up.

Some of my friends reckon that I’m addicted to yoga and I have never denied that I am an addict because my yoga mat provides me with a temporary outlet to escape and gives me the clarity that I sought for. It has taught me experiences and lessons to be more in-tune with life. But I know that it is ultimately left to me to make permanent changes to my life and mindset … For the better.


Why We Breathe – A Yoga Documentary
“Shot over the space of 6 months across the US, in a variety of situations and lucky encounters. Why We Breathe was born out of the idea to understand why people do the things they do. For the documentary, we wanted to ask the question, why do you do yoga? Why keep doing it? Why do you love it? We wanted to ask experienced yogis these questions, and gain an insight into the possibilities that yoga can offer.”