Woes

Once again back to dust off some cobwebs before April comes to a close.

Before that, I took a quick look at my own blog and noted that my last entry was dated 3 March 2018 …… which makes it more than a month since the last one.

I guess like what conventional wisdom dictates, the lesser one does/practices something, it no longer becomes a habit. Similarly, it also takes 21 days (and more) to properly establish a new and sustainable habit. As much as the writing/blogging is getting more sporadic, I would think it’s still nice to come back to this space every now & then to serve as a outlet for my thoughts / what I want to get off my mind.

2 months on, not only the toxicity as stated here did not go away, but it has only gotten worse/intensified – both at a management level and around me (complaining aplenty followed by passive aggressive behaviour – find this really inconsiderate as it just makes the office even more unpleasant for everyone else, myself included).

It has gotten so bad to the point that I started to experience tightness and achiness in my upper back (together with some neck tension every now & then) …… whilst not majorly painful, still caused inconvenience and restlessness/lack of energy all over with spillover effects on my work and on my yoga practice. Based on what I have googled online, the shoulder / upper back tension is most likely due to all the accumulated tension and stress and unhappiness from my work environment – and this is something that I will have to actively change and tackle at the roots as avoiding stepping into the office is NOT a long-term solution to my woes if something fundamental DOES NOT CHANGE.

And I also came to realise that the moment I start to stress about something (be it something undone, being distracted by something unnecessary, worrying about something etc.) …… I end up NOT sleeping well, and as a result waking up to tight shoulders (happening quite recently as well) …… which in turn spoils my momentum for the day. And that was what exactly happened yesterday. Started to have a bit of tension headache after dinner on Friday evening and unable to get to bed early. And so decided that I would cancel my mat for Saturday Morning Hatha at 1030 Hrs (as the trip to Guillemard studio will require me to leave the house a little after 9). And true enough, not only did I not get quality sleep, I woke up with some slight ache in my shoulders once again which kinda spoilt my mood for the entire Saturday (what a waste of the weekend to catch up on various stuff).

Thank god after some drama marathoning, managed to sleep much better on Saturday evening, and with a good 8 hours clocked in, woke up with no achnes and in a more raring to go mood …… and a yoga class was possible (after having not done any this week due to a myriad of distractions). Decided on 1230 Hrs Hatha at Yoga Inc Tiong Bahru as it was nearer (as compared to Guillemard), only to reach exactly at 1230 Hrs due to the slow MRT journey, sigh. Immediately felt better energy post Hatha (the sequencing did feel a lot like a Power class though as it was a lot more sweaty and intense than C’s Hatha class style).

Was glad that I not only stepped out of my comfort zone to try out a different teacher, but also kept to my intention to actually try out a new teacher to shake up my practice – which is one small goal that I had for this week. The hot weather + rushing to class + sweaty class itself made for a good excuse to have Creamier ice-cream post class – the only thing on my mind from half-way to end of class 🙂

(Note: tried their Earl Grey Lavender flavour this time round as I preferred something lighter due to the hot weather)

As I navigate through my work woes, 2 things I should definitely do more of at this point – Eat More Ice Cream & Do More Yoga Classes (provided various distractions do not hold me back from going for more classes) as they give the good vibes that I needed, and allow me to experience happiness in small forms.

As I end this entry, I realised that I had intended to blog on something else, only to end up rambling and deviating from my intended subject proper. This is what being rusty/having the writer’s block does to you.

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Food Mission 2017: Menya Sakura

Yet another entry intended for February that got ‘carried forward’ into March 😛

Another food outlet that I managed to tick off in year 2017 itself – Menya Sakura.

Menya Sakura specialises in Nagoya-style ramen and tsukemen. Speaking of tsukemen – it is basically cold ramen/noodles being dipped into a hot sauce/stock as versus to the soup version (you can read more about the difference here) and this is a style of ramen that I first tried in Japan and loved.).

In Singapore, most of the ramen shops serve the soup version and there are not many that specialise in Japanese style tsukemen. Did try a few here and there, but a good one remained elusive until I read about Menya Sakura where some bloggers have proclaimed it to be one of the best on our Singapore shores.

Location wise, they are located at 69 Boat Quay. It was a pretty long walk down from Raffles Place MRT (UOB Plaza Exit) as No. 69 is located right at the end of Boat Quay itself (towards the direction of Singapore River).

Interior wise, it is pretty simple / functional. There is also the option of al fresco seating right beside the river, but the al fresco area was closed since it was not crowded on Saturday (plus it was also a very hot day). There is also a complimentary salad bar at the side. Took a bit of the stuff there and it is cold and unappetizing at best.

The 2 signature items on their menu will be their Pork Tonkotsu Ramen (Soup) & Tonkotsu Tsukemen (Dry with Dipping Sauce/Stock). As mentioned above, the Tonkotsu Tsukemen for me is a must-try since I have been on the hunt for a good/decent Tsukemen in Singapore 😛

As there was also a concurrent JPassport promotion, I got the set which includes the gyoza. In addition, I also got the complimentary drink (green tea) since it was my 1st visit to Menya Sakura. On hindsight now, it was a good choice to get the set which included the gyozas as the ramen portion itself is quite a bit smaller than what the picture above shows.

In terms of the noodles itself, they use a thicker version which works better when dipped, while the broth has a nice flavour (I believe it is both tonkotsu and seafood based) without it being overly oily. Really decent bowl of Tsukemen. As mentioned above, the only complaint I have is that the portion is rather small (considering that in Japan itself, they even offer noodle refills for some outlets).

Another plus is that they are linked up with JPassport, and have various promotions from time to time. Will go back to check out their tonkotsu ramen next time!

 

Details:

Menya Sakura                                                                                                                                                     69 Boat Quay

Opening Hours:  Monday to Thursday & Saturday 1130 to 2230 Hrs (Last Order 2200 Hrs)                                                   Friday 1130 to 0100 Hrs (Last Order 0030 Hrs)                                                                                                 Closed Sundays & PH

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/singaporemenyasakura/

Website:  http://www.menya-sakura.com/sg/en/index.html

2018

And so it has taken me yet another festive season (CNY this time) and 1 draft to finally get back blogging once again. Not becoming a good habit when one of the major goals/intentions that I had in mind for year 2018 was to break out of my major writers/bloggers block and start writing again ……

Pretty much the same way on how 2017 was (having to deal with endless frustrations, distractions, disruptions, drops in energy levels etc.) …… the same themes continue to carry over into 2018 as January simply just whizzed by me (in a good and not-so-good way). With the bulk of the frustration being not being able to actually start (let alone see progress) on major goals/projects that I intend to work on for year 2018.

And not to mention the toxicity around me (mainly my current work environment) and coming to the realisation that there are people in my midst who enable selfish behaviour and make excuses/justifications for it.

And there are also days when I just want to retreat into my own tiny little shell away from the world/from my obligations, day-to-day responsibilities …… the disconnect is real.

And also making space for the things I want / desire, and manifesting them.

As I focus more on my personal self care (in the form of taking work breaks every now & then, daily meditation, going for a yoga class / home practice, catching up on my Korean dramas/varieties, giving myself a dessert treat every now & then etc.) …… I also worry about how long the underwriting requirements for this major case continue to drag out as clearing it will mean that I’m closer to my target. The $$ aside, I will get peace of mind and perhaps finally get down to booking that 2 week long holiday that I have been wanting to take since last year. It is not that booking this holiday now will dent my bank account significantly …… but it is more of the concern that in the event of worst case scenario, I will need to spend more effort to ‘catch-up’.

Perhaps I worry too much at the back of my mind / in my subconsciousness. It is just like I had that one moment of hesitation (as feedbacked to me by Z and by Teacher C) when attempting a drop back into wheel pose (yoga) for my very 1st time during BackBends workshop last Christmas Eve. The hesitation could be lack of trust (in myself) …… it could also be fear within me that I will actually fall on my back (since it was such a big pose that was completely new and somewhat terrifying in the 1+ year that I have been practicing yoga). As I write/ramble on in this space – this clarity becomes clearer as I keep writing.

Ever since meditation has become a daily habit of mine, it has deepened my consciousness and self-awareness as I find myself constantly thinking about issues such as self-compassion, finding & speaking my inner voice/truth, creativity/ideas and since last Friday the practice of non-attachment (one of the 8 limbs of yoga). Came across this Wheel of Intentions by Kimothy Joy on instagram and felt that it sums up very well my hopes/aspirations for year 2018 and beyond.

2018-02-02 16.36.57

Ending this long blog post 1 minute to 0400 Hrs, and at the end of it all, feeling more of a emotional release. Catharsis through writing never felt better. And at the same time, inching 1 step closer to finally breaking out of that writer’s block after struggling pretty much with it for the whole of 2017 🙂

Christmas Weekend

Felt like ages since I last enjoyed a long weekend that went into a public holiday on Monday.

In fact, the Christmas long weekend began early for me starting from Friday (22nd December) which happened to be Winter Solstice. Since we made plans to eat out this year for Winter Solstice – it felt right for me to sort of take the day off and have an early start to the long weekend 😀

And so dinner @ Peony Jade was the 1st highlight. We opted for their signature ala-carte buffet dinner so that we could sample the various items on their menu (as versus to being restricted to a set menu of 8 to 10 courses) …… and out of 60 items on the menu, we sampled about 18 in total (not including desserts). It was a good experience and most importantly, time spent together doing something as a family 🙂

And then the weekend where I finally got to do not just 1 yoga class …… but at the same time a yoga workshop as well – my 1st yoga workshop after practicing for the past 1 year.

First up – back to 75 min Power class after a sort-of hiatus from tougher classes. Once again, same as when I previously attended K’s class, it was an arm-balance class where we become Crows + also exploring transitions into Tripod Headstand and EPK2.  Slight difference was since it was the Christmas season, and K was back at Yoga Lab for the 1st time in a while, the theme for the class was on ‘Community’ and coming together over the festive season. Even ended up striking a casual conversation with my mat neighbour as a result of this intention. Real moment of truth for me once again as I need to continue to build on both my arm strength and core strength, although I skipped some of the transitions due to slight throbbing tension headache on my left side *sigh*. Despite the challenging, and hot & sweaty class (due heat generated from within from practicing arm balances), for the 1st time ever, I went into a sea of blue (and flashes of green) at the ending Savasana …… which meant that my throat and heart chakras were at work – a recurring theme for me throughout this last quarter of the year!

The calories burned came in handy as it was Christmas gathering with the girls (or more accurately half the group) afterwards. Class at CBD / Telok Ayer worked out well into my schedule as it was 2 MRT stops from Telok Ayer to Fort Canning via the Downtown Line. Got the sushi that I set out to get at Medi-Ya @ Liang Court before heading down to G’s place next. Smaller, cosier gathering that was very last minute put together, but nevertheless left all ‘bad’/’negative’ feelings aside and had a good time with the food and fellowship …… especially when such gatherings are rare these days.

Side Note: The Lemon Cheesecake Z baked was so good that I had 2 helpings *gulp*

And since I had done 1 class on Sat afternoon, this meant that I could sleep in as planned (or else I would have headed out to Yoga Inc earlier for a class before workshop). Got up at 945-ish, which was not very late still …… BUT since workshop is at 1330 Hrs, did end up lapsing into a bad habit of dily-dalying around the house, and ended up leaving my house only at 1215 Hrs. Reached Bugis MRT a little after 1, and decided the best plan will be to grab a bread from Four Leaves (since I only had 2 small buns for breakfast) and hop onto a cab/Grab to Guillemard (since Bus 7 / 197 will take a while arrive based on SG Buses app and I will most probably just reach on time). However due to some miscommunication, the 1st Grab Driver I booked cancelled on me (the human jam at Bugis Junction basement also meant that I could not get up to level 1 taxi stand fast enough) …… dropped the idea of getting a bread and instead, proceeded to quickly book another Grab drive that thankfully got me to Guillemard with 5 min to spare 🙂

As mentioned above, 1st time doing a yoga workshop proper (signed up for it since Z happened to have signed up too) …… and this Christmas Eve workshop is on backbends. Thankfully, unlike arm-balances and inversions, backbends are a less weak aspect of my practice, no doubt helped a lot by the #survivederica Thursday backbend classes that I do every now and then (the tough drilling really did work!). As this Ekhart Yoga article eloquently puts it – Open Your Heart And Release Your Spine! In a typical back-bending class – we open up the front body (and spine) physically and eventually open up our hearts emotionally. Which sounds about right as I experienced my heart chakra (green colour) at work the day before in class, and after that put aside my misgivings/grievances for a while and managed to have a normal conversation even with L during the gathering. Back to the workshop proper – it was more of a 2 hour class where the warm-ups and prep poses are more in slow-motion, with various explanations in between the poses/drills which may not be possible in a 60 minute class setting. It was a good 1.5 hour worth of warm-ups and prep poses before the peak pose for the day – Wheel, Forearm Wheel and Dropbacks! The shoulder mobility exercises helped greatly, as this time round, I managed not to experience any strain on my right wrist. The 1st Drop Back was scary though as there was some fear and hesitation within me (when trying something out of my comfort zone), but managed to get into it thanks to ‘some support’ later in the workshop. Another asana that I will keep working on come year 2018!

After which, it was time for some much needed food (only had 2 buns for late breakfast and no lunch, which somehow worked well for backbending workshop) and catch up time with Z. Didn’t manage to eat at The Masses (as that was our original plan for Christmas catch-up) …… ended up instead at Wild Market and later at a new coffee joint Caffè Vergnano 1882 Singapore at South Beach – which was nice, cosy and not crowded.

After a busy weekend, Christmas Day itself will be a ‘slow-living’ day as I intended to just catch up with my drama backlog, and do some reading …… only to end up taking a long afternoon nap thanks to the hot weather!

Doing Things CORRECTLY

Had a *ahem* health scare throughout October & November before it finally cleared by itself.

While grateful for seeing ‘the light’ at the end of the tunnel at the end of this health scare, however the issue played havoc big-time with my body (and mind) as well.

Suffered very bad energy blockages which affected my moods/outlook a fair bit, and impacted my business/work productivity as well (October was a new low in terms of work activity). Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I was stressed out by my current office environment (TONS of negative energy / issues sprouting out left, right & centre – toxicity at work) and to a certain extent – various mis-behaviour/inconsiderate/unmindful behaviour causing this horrible ‘imbalance’.

Of course, I can count on a ‘kick-ass’ yoga class by one of my favourite teachers E to put things to right again – which was exactly what happened last Tuesday.  First things 1st, the teacher is not a ‘god’ or miracle worker for that matter, but practising with a teacher whom you can resonate with is so important in one’s yoga journey. As much as the teacher can guide, we still have to do the work – on and off the mat!

The decision to do a hip opening 101 lunchtime class (versus a more challenging Power Class the night before that I booked and later cancelled because was not feeling up to it at all in body & in mood terms) was probably one of the best self care decisions that I made myself in recent times. I generally have quite ‘open hips’ in asana terms, which brings me back to the title of this post – Doing Things CORRECTLY.

Specific to Teacher E – his/her classes have a strict emphasis on alignment and doing it ‘correctly’ as an important part to foundation and practising safely. In terms of the hip opening poses covered – it means legs spread mat width apart (and beyond mat width) in malasana (yogi squat) …… which is painful when the 3rd extension came about, and the knees started to ache BIG-TIME. The ache didn’t get better as we were required to go full stance (read: really wide legs) in Warrior 2, and in Crescent / High Lunge, and essentially in majority of the standing poses. Seriously, a hip opening class never felt THIS HARD before, as we were holding various standing poses for lengthy periods of time. The ache was real post class, and really felt it all the way after lunch and back in office.

But surprisingly, the next morning I woke up, my body never felt better …… and amazingly, the knee ache went away. This is important as I tend to have sensitive knees (e.g. knees will start to achne when I hold chair pose for beyond 10 breaths). I guess doing hip openers not only lead to emotional release (especially when you have been holding A LOT of negativity in your body system as explained above), but also the fact that the teacher requires you to do everything CORRECTLY in class makes the class much tougher, but the payoff / reward in return is tenfold and even more. Of all things, it took for a hip opening class that focuses a lot more on lower body work (as versus to a strong Vinyasa / Power yoga class) to re-set the body and mind towards a more optimal condition again. As the article states

In this way, practicing hip openers is a way to cleanse the body and welcome renewal.

To take it one step further OFF the mat (and into our daily lives), when we set our intentions correctly, and apply the correct fundamentals/foundations to the various issues we have to tackle – be it at work, in our financial planning, in inter-personal relationship management and other relevant aspects of our day-to-day living …… we will live a much more productive and satisfying life, there will be less complaints/screw-ups that we need to deal with (which is what I’m struggling with right now).

Something so simple and yet so hard to put in actual action indeed.

Witch’s Court

Finally didn’t have to wait till end of the month or 2 months later to log in another blog entry 😛

And also for once non-yoga & food-related entry 🙂

Some time back, I was regularly watching Korean dramas, to the point that I even had a page on this blog to specifically ‘track’ the dramas that I have watched / plan to watch etc. …… until my viewing habits gradually shifted towards varieties which requires less energy and time to ‘chase’. Another reason was also that it’s not that much fun watching already-telecast dramas when spoilers are all over the internet.

Until recent stresses and frustrations here and there got me re-thinking about my evening routine again, and viola, drama watching came back into the picture again! After reading around soompi / dramabeans for what’s currently in the K-Drama scene …… decided on Witch’s Court.

Somehow or another, it is always more ‘fun’ catching up with a drama ‘live’ as opposed to watching backlogs 1 month later (see above) as there is the added excitement of knowing how the plotlines gradually pan out.  As much as it is not a hallyu wave drama with idol/top star casting, more importantly the acting is decent, and the cases interesting enough in spite of a rather vanilla villain lurking in the background.

As Witch’s Court subject matter primarily deals with sexual assault crimes, ironically in a case of reel mirroring the real life – the recent news has revealed impropriety of a famous Hollywood studio mogul and of Kevin Spacey as well.

The upside of it all –  I have something to look forward to on weekday evenings which includes prowling soompi forums for live recaps, catching up with the drama itself later on my tablet/laptop. Since the main female lead (Jung Ryeo Won) was in the classic ‘My Name Is Kim Sam Soon’ a good 12 years ago (year 2005) – it got me keen to re-watch this drama again as well. Will see what comes next then.