Home » yoga

Tag: yoga

Retreat and Relax Banner

Retreat and Relax

We are coming closer to the middle part of the year. And since almost half a year has passed, I’d like to talk about Retreat and Relax cause between now and August is a great time to do both!

Why?

Cause we’re going into summer time in the northern hemisphere and winter time in the northern hemisphere. Both are great times to take it easy – whether to be more playful, or to take a reflective rest. 

Cause it’s the school holidays for those of you with little ones, still in school, or teaching at a school.

Cause it’s a good time to take a break, recalibrate, and gather energy to head towards the second half of the year :).

I believe that our beings are made up of a mind, a body, and a soul and that all 3 parts form a balanced trinity that make up our ultimate healthy, beautiful, amazing self. Unfortunately, most of the time, we pay more attention to 1 aspect of the trinity and neglect the others.

For example, in this crazy fast-paced world, often times, we only stop and take sick days from work when we are physically very sick. It’s rare that we stop and take a sick day when we’re just mentally exhausted. And that is not quite right cause a mental exhaustion impairs our ability to perform as much as a physical ailment. Luckily, our body is a very intelligent being, and normally we are just so exhausted that we take off days for the sake of our sanity and well-being.


Here’s an idea: don’t wait till your body sounds an alarm to take a break.

 

When was the last time you take a break from your life and really allow your mind, body, and soul to rest? When was the last time you go on a retreat?

Ever since I made my mental health and well-being a priority a few years ago, I started taking a retreat yearly and that is one of my greatest ways to stay balanced and to be reminded of the greater picture in my life. Some retreats led me to a journey of wonder and magic, like this one. Some reminded me why it is important to unplug from the world from time to time (as I wrote in my old post here).

So folks, if any part of you wishing you were taking a break somewhere else or if you’re wishing to retreat and relax, don’t hesitate. Make the time. Open your calendar and book the time and start making all necessary reservations.

Commit to honoring this time-off as much as you commit to your work cause your health and well being is extremely important and should be a priority in your life.


Now, if you’re interested to go on a retreat and don’t know where to start or where to look for one, you can join me and a bunch of friends at Glow in Thailand by Social Zen Retreats.e-flyer of Glow in Thailand retreat

My friends and I will be holding a retreat in August in the beautiful Koh Samui! Your days will be filled with Yoga, Meditation, Dancing, Great nutritious food, Pool time, and time to connect with the beauty of the island. Head over here to read all the details about Glow in Thailand!

I am extremely excited about facilitating Yoga and meditation in this retreat and I would be sooper excited if you could join us! It would be really awesome to share this beautiful retreat with you!

 

I hope you you give yourself a chance to retreat and relax and I hope you get to reconnect with your true self.

Good vibes,

PS: share with me stories and photos of your trip! I would love to hear about it!

My experience with Yoga

My lovely friend Gladys who started Dawn of Gaia featured me in her December 2016 Newsletter. So here’s my little sharing on my experience with Yoga :). Enjoy!


My first yoga class was when I was in high school – 10th grade if I remember it correctly. That was about 17 years ago, before yoga was cool, before trendy leggings and fancy mats. My mom bought some of those puffy exercise mats for her, my sister, and I, and we did Yoga in the studio, or sometimes at home.

As the years passed, I did yoga on and off, never continuously in a long period of time, but somehow, someway, I always came back to the mat. And as how most people’s yoga journey goes, it started off for purely physical reasons and evolved to become a tool to find myself.

I remember going to a boot camp in college that had yoga elements in it and the instructor told us that yoga is great cause we all are going to get a Yoga butt – a.k.a a very nicely heart-shaped toned butt. And I, who was overweight at that point, was like “hell yes, give me a yoga butt!”

And I remember years later, when I was a young professional in LA, finding (by chance) a Summer yoga session at the beautiful Santa Monica pier. And despite the start time of 7 AM on a Saturday morning, and despite my crazy 12 hours work days, I showed up every single Saturday just for that 1.5 hour of being under the sun, surrounded by the ocean, to find some solitude in my life. My greatest memory of that summer was receiving the most beautiful gift of witnessing a school of Dolphins jumping, playing and swimming in the distance as I was balanced in the Tree pose. At that moment I thought, “Life is perfect.”

Now, if you think I’m stretchy and bendy and can fly and do magic with head on the floor and feet up in the air, you’re not quite right. Despite years of getting to know yoga, I’m not quite advanced in the Asanas (postures) yet. I’ve only recently learned arm-balancing poses. All the years I’ve taken yoga, we tend to focus on Sun Salutations. Plus, back then, there was no Instagram, so there was no push and incentives for showing off the ability to do a hand stand while doing funky legs while being inverted. 😀

Actually, that Instagram Yoga culture got me a little frustrated and became the trigger that pushed me to finally take my Yoga Teacher Training this year. (So, thank you, Instagram!)

I love Yoga. I also love meditation – but that combination of moving body and breath just has a certain magic for me. And when suddenly the Western Yoga world exploded in the last 8 years and now everyone seems to be a yogi and there seems to be a huge emphasis on Asanas, I got frustrated. Cause to me Yoga is bigger than all that. I knew that Yoga wasn’t just about Asanas (or the physicality of it) and I was curious to find out what actually is Yoga.

And now that I got a glimpse of it, my oh my, it’s truly such a beautiful Philosophy of Life. Yoga is all about the coming together of opposing energies and about the balancing of the male and female energy. It’s about finding the highest Self and the connection between the highest Self and Divine. It’s about living a contented life without being affected by results. It’s about a centeredness that is not affected by the changes in emotions. And at the core of it all, is still Love and Light.

The goal of Yoga, as the goal of any spiritual journey, is enlightenment, or Samadhi. And to get to Samadhi, one has to do so many other parts of Yoga (which includes meditation, and breathing exercise, and having values and morality and devotion, and many others) and Asana is just one tiny elements of it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love Asanas because I do love moving body as a way to learn. There’s so much wisdom stored in these beautiful bodies of ours. But now that I understand the bigger picture, there’s so much deeper meaning of these Asanas and I will now share Asanas with that in mind.

As many readers in this community, I too discovered Meditation through Gladys at a time when I was in desperate need of help and at a risk of losing my life. And in the last 5 years, I had healed myself through Meditation and Rebirthing Breathwork, as well as through dance, creativity and art, yoga, and a lot of solitude, self-work, and reflections, all with the guidance of the ever loving Divine.

In 2015, I came to a point where I realized that one of my clearest purpose in life is to share about Love and develop a bigger community of Love. Since then, I had left the comfort of a stable job and a life in a modern country, shook it all up, embarked on a journey to get more centered in my Truths so I can contribute to Love. And I am extremely thankful that I have been led to this path where I’m given the tools and opportunities to share, and one of them is through Yoga.

Yoga Day 2-3

Here’s the bottomline, body awareness takes practice. Since I’ve been dancing most of my life, I’ve already had a pretty good basic of body awareness. I’m pretty good at sensing muscles. and knowing which muscles are working and not, and how to extend energy out from one part of the body, and how to generally use the energy within myself to move the body. But my day 2 morning practice was my first light bulb moment of how the energy of the earth connects with our body and connects with the space! And I don’t think I would get to this point if I hadn’t regularly meditated in the last 4 years and working on my level of awareness. It’s been an evolution, a process.

It was such an amazing moment when I finally understood, energetically, why we need to bring the body, the muscles and the energy inwards and upwards in Asanas, while being aline with the position. It is so that the gorgeous Earth energy can use my body as a channel, so the energy can rise up and lift me up to create this beautiful energy flow between the Earth, My Body, and The Space. Wow. And THAT is why, correct posture is ESSENTIAL in Yoga. Cause it’s all about the energy, the chi, the Prana flow, baby.

The moment lasted for 2 seconds max. But I felt like I was lifted by a greater force and it was such a profound realization.

Then today, in Day 3, I corrected my Downward dog through bone and muscle awareness and energetical allignment and my body got into another sweet spot where for the first time I fully understand how the energy in Yoga, in all of its poses – whether it’s flowing vinyasa or a held pose, is never a still energy. Instead it’s a beautiful rise and flow of tendrils, like the wave of the ocean. And that my body, once aligned, is open to the flow and thus flowing with it, undulating deeper and deeper into the the energy center. It was the most amazing 3 seconds of dance with the Prana.

And this leads to another A-HA moment in Day 2. So the true meaning of Asana is freedom in a pose, meaning: there gotta be stability which will bring ease. Now, Yoga is a philosophy of life, right? So living, is kinda like that. Walking on the path of self-realization to live a life full of Joy ain’t easy. It takes A LOT of hard work, contemplation, self-awareness, self-love, emotions, and so many others. But with all that, one gets to the point of stability where one can live with ease. Just like Asanas. The correct alignment for each Asana is hard. Even standing still, the simplest one. It takes FULL engagement of the body and all the major muscles are working at the same time. Standing up correctly can give you sweat. But once fully engaged the body stabilize and energy flows easily. And folks, that is how LIFE works.

Fully engage our emotional and self awareness muscles in real life, and we’ll get to a point where we stand strong in the midst of Life, fully open to to receive the gorgeous energy of the Universe.

Yoga Day 1

Alright, first day of teacher training is done and I decided that I’m going to write something everyday (or as often as possible) of one or two things that leaves a deep impression from the day’s training.

A big realization for me today is that I actually have been living yoga in the last 4 years. Yes, I don’t call it Yoga, I don’t call it anything to be honest but I’ve been working on myself to be a better and more loving person that without realizing it, I’ve gone through the 5 branches of Yoga and Patanjali’s 8 limbs – basically all these things that you should follow to reach enlightenment (cause Yoga ain’t just asanas, yo).

So the material today, I can pretty much share and teach on it already. All the sweat, tears, angers, sadness I’ve gone through and all the work I had put in on myself, had given me so much on this. Yes of course, I still have so much to learn, but the material is already in me in a way. I just have to tap into my soul’s wisdom.

And why am I bringing this up? Cause for the longest time I had a fear of taking Yoga Teacher Training thinking “Who am I to be teaching Yoga?” 

Haha. My god. If I had continued listening to that fear, I wouldn’t have been in the class today and realized that I’m already doing that.  So ladies and gents, moral of the story here: feel your fear, take deep breaths, find courage, and do it anyway, cause fear is just an illusion that keeps us small.

Now onto the 2nd thing. The material today was just beautiful and gorgeous. I love all these yoga philosophy, a.k.a philosophy of life, the universe, and everything. But my favorite is by far this passage from the story of how Yoga was born in the Indian Mythology.

It’s an exchange between Lord Shiva and his consort, Parvati. Parvati expressed her deep desire to be close and be one with Lord Shiva, yet something is holding her back and so she asked for assistance from Shiva. And this is what Shiva said..

“Your love is so strong, so genuine. That which you seek, union with me, is not an attainment. There is nothing to do, for I am your own True Self. I am not separate from you. The way to me is through knowing your own True Self. Out of your love for me, I will reveal the secret that is Yoga – the experience of communion. Yoga is the process by which you lose all identity of yourself as a separate being and become united with your nature as both Shakti and Shiva – expansive, creative energy as well as stillness, eternal bliss. Both this qualities are within you.”

Ain’t that beautiful. Ahhh so beautiful.

Thank you thank you thank you.

The Next Breadcrumb: Yoga

I’m sitting here in my bedroom, the night before I start my first day of Yoga Teacher Training Class. And the whole week, I’ve just been through a whole lot of mixed emotions about this.

Part of me is scared. There is a little voice in my head that keeps asking questions like “what if I can’t make it?” “what if I can’t keep up?” What I’m scared most of is whether I will have the stamina for it.

In the last 2 weeks, I’ve started taking 3 yoga classes a week, increasing the intensity with slightly more intensive classes and slightly longer sessions and even that was tiring enough. All the tiredness and injuries from the time when I was in dance rose up to the surface and I got stuck in the unpleasant memories. And I kept thinking how the first 10-day intensive, which is going to be the longest, and maybe the hardest, is going to suck.

I haven’t even started and I already declared that it’s going to suck. We’re not off to a good start here, Meta!

I don’t want to start with a wrong foot and the wrong energy. So let’s start over. Why do I want to do this?

I want to do this because It’s been in my mind for several years and I’d really like to give this a go.

I want to do this cause in the last 17 years, since I took my first yoga class in high school, yoga has always been what I come back to when I need balance, when I need exercise, when I need to move my body, when I need to connect with my body, when I need to find peace, when I need to release, when I need to love myself more. Nothing else sticks (not running, not gym, not swimming, nothing) but Yoga.

I want to do this cause taking normal classes is no longer enough. Yoga for me hasn’t been just about the poses and the exercises for a while. It’s been beyond that in a way that I can only experience and not necessarily can put into words. And I’m thirsty for more: I’d like to understand the seed of Yoga: I’d like to understand the energy of the movement and the breath, where’s the flow, where’s the center, what’s the state of my nerves, where is my consciousness, where is liberation in my body, how does freedom and strength works in a magical marriage.

I want to do this so I can use this as a vehicle to share with people about self love and having a beautiful relationship with our bodies.

In the end, I realized that I’m scared cause I’m going to have to go even deeper into being compassionate with myself when things gets tough and all I want to do is to give up. I feel like the Universe is smiling at me saying “hey, you said you want to share with people about this right? loving your body, being compassionate with it and all that? then here you go, a chance to understand it better.”

And I’m also scared because I feel like a lot of healing is going to happen, which means I gotta be vulnerable and open myself up, and that’s scary. 

I still have pressure I’m giving myself, for reasons I don’t yet know. I really don’t know where all these pressures come from. [I lied. I know. Growing up with a (mild) Tiger Mom + having to go through SG insane education system under scholarship bond + having a personality type that always wants to do well have a lot to do with it.]

But when the pressure comes, I remind myself that this is just a breadcrumb. I have a philosophy that life is about following the breadcrumbs. So this is really just another breadcrumb that I’m following, which is simply going to lead to another breadcrumb.

My life has been a whole journey of following the breadcrumbs, which has lined up perfectly to get to where I am today. In the journey, sometimes I get lost on where the next breadcrumb is, but it always shows up eventually. I get frustrated on certain breadcrumbs I have to pick up cause I wanted the shiny rock off the path that looks prettier. But the rocks don’t lead anywhere, so I come back to the breadcrumbs.

And this time, yoga is one of my breadcrumb and I shall follow it. Even if at this moment, despite my eagerness to learn, this breadcrumb kinda feels harder than others.

So I’m calling out for support from you. Please send some cheers and support and hold my hands if I need a hand to hold on to.

I can do this!