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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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 🙂

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.

Pause

Yet again another 1 month ‘break’ of blogging before finally managing to get down to writing/blogging something yet again before October comes to a close. As I was telling C in the office the day before, that time passes really fast when you least sense it ……

Over the past 2 months, had many ideas to blog about food, yoga …… only to have this writing/bloggers block continue. Definitely a recurring theme throughout year 2017! And an area that I really need to work more on as this writing block is not just limited to this blog alone, but also in my work/business outreach and in my daily journaling as well.

Back to the theme of ‘Pause’ – had pretty grand plans to do a solo beach retreat / getaway, only to have perfectionism and procrastination get better of myself. Had originally targeted to leave last week of October, and as I’m writing now – we are IN the LAST WEEK OF OCTOBER!

Guess solo beach retreat / getaway is not going to happen anytime soon as I have opportunities to write more business for this last quarter of 2017 before banding year close. It will happen one day when all stars align again.

Beach Retreat Phuket

Be it Phuket or Koh Samui or Okinawa, no harm putting up a picture as a form of goal visualization for the future. Will also update my vision board with this picture as I intend to do a Version 2 Vision Board sometime down the road as well.

A quick note on my yoga practice – the main thing that I write about these days (if I ever get to write that is) …… slowed it down quite a bit for the past 2 to 3 months due to struggling with various strains (hip, lower back, right shoulder rotator cuff) and struggling with my energy levels. It was pretty telling when I totally stopped doing Core and Power classes since mid-July onwards, until the Deepavali holiday last Wednesday (18th October) when I finally got myself to a Core class. Struggled big time with the drills – which was precisely what I needed to get stronger once again as I go into more difficult poses/asanas.

Guess that’s all for now as versus to a long rambling entry 😛

This Is Why I Do Yin Yoga

Have been struggling not only with stress, but also poor energy levels, disrupted sleep. It got really bad last week as I got drained out by various stuff at work and with certain people.

Thus I decided its time for a Sunday morning Yin Yoga that my body really needed – as versus to the Core class I was intending to do (or any asana based class for that matter).

While Yin is not a sweaty type of yoga class (as versus to a more intense asana based class or Hot Yoga), after 5 weeks away since my last Yin class during the Hari Raya Puasa long weekend – even holding supported pigeon pose (with bolster right under the hips) for 3 min becomes challenging ….. let alone the straddle splits that the class was in for a total of 10 min! That’s why we say it is more difficult to do the basic things correctly and consistently …… as versus to aspiring to nail that fancy looking inversion / arm balance.

Am thankful that I listened to my inner voice and opted for what my body really needed – nourishment …… as versus to building strength (Core Class). Felt that I started the day right with an early start, body immediately felt better post Yin, enjoyed yummy fishball noodles for lunch, came home and got in a much-needed nap guilt free …… and had quality sleep to end off the weekend proper.

And to end off this blog post, a very insightful article courtesy of Yoga Journal on why we should make time for Yin Yoga

10 Reasons to Make Time for Yin Yoga When You’re Too Busy

Some points / extracts from the article that really resonated with me. These are more of the ‘intangibles’ in addition to physical benefits such as restoring the range of motion, and lengthening the muscles and fascia via holding poses.

…… Yin is an introspective practice that offers a chance to turn inward and nurture the calm, quiet center that is innate in all of us. It is a practice in stillness, patience, and non-reactivity. Through yin yoga we become adept at self-care. We become better listeners with practice tuning in; we become wiser as we get to know ourselves from the inside out; and we become more curious about the world through the exploration of our own inner worlds.

This is why I LOVE travelling to Guillemard studio for Sunday morning Yin. It feels really calming and soothing for the body and mind to ‘Yin’ to the rustic surroundings of the studio, and a great way to wind down the week.

…… The yin practice forces us to slow down . Yin poses’ long holds offer a chance to marinate in stillness. When you allow yourself to stay present and experience the near-imperceptible shifts that occur while holding a yin posture, time opens up. Deadlines, commitments, pressing matters, and to-do lists fade to the background, leaving tremendous space for rest and renewal.

…… Yin yoga cultivates balance. Your own health and wellbeing is a balancing act. If you look at the yin/yang symbol you will see that the white and black forms are in perfect balance. Many of us live very active (yang) lifestyles and leave little or no time to foster the quiet, introspective side. Over time this can be physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Through the yin practice we can restore equilibrium and feel whole.

YES to this. Our daily lives already involve a lot of rushing, timelines and deadlines. And to a certain extent, this can even extend to the physical asana practice when some people constantly preach to you that going faster and sweatier is the way to go. There has to be a time where our practice also needs to take a step back and slow down …… And the same applies to life too.

And the bits on self-compassion and sitting in with our emotions is also very true.

Two-Thirds Of The Long Weekend So Far ……

Another long weekend beckons ……

And a much needed one as well after running pretty much at full steam end May / June. Of course some pretty unpleasant stuff / minor setbacks occurred over the past week – putting a brake to the ‘momentum’ I have been building up, to my discontentment.

Which means its time to take a step back, take stock for a bit and do some necessary ‘re-charge’ to get back to a more ‘optimal’ state of mind again.

Long weekend started early for me as Friday was my usual-out-of-office day. However couldn’t shake off my restless state of mind (must been the angst I have been carrying out throughout the week). Meditation …… heart opening yoga sequence (only to end up struggling on the balancing poses) did not help much. Guess I need more time to get over this ‘bump’ ……

Yesterday (Saturday) – went back to office as planned to do my monthly scanning/clearing/decluttering/archiving. Somehow, at the half-way point of the year, I feel that my progress on the scanning/clearing/decluttering/archiving front has been rather slow. I’m still working on older stuff (pre-2013 materials) before even getting to the newer records (year 2013 onwards) that I will need to start extracting from the common data folder provided by company. Not sure if just 1 Sat afternoon per month (which I started only in April proper) is sufficient to finish up by end of this year …… but just like yoga/life, have to keep going …… and going! Perhaps for the next round in July, I shall try to reach office earlier (around 11) to give myself a better headstart.

Of course, the highlight of going back to work on a Saturday is always filling myself up with a nice lunch. Initially planned to have pasta at Everton Park, only to realise said restaurant is closed on Saturdays. So walked to Amoy Street Food Centre …… saw that not many stalls were open.  Ended up walking further down right to the end of Amoy Street, and settled for Korean lunch @ Wang Dae Bak – one of my ‘more regular’ favourites that serve tasty and value for money Korean set lunches.

Had a seafood soup + seafood pancake …… and together with side dishes, it made for a pretty appetizing and filling lunch. Moreover, I had a pretty light breakfast and was kinda hungry as well 😛

Packed up and left office a little after 6 …… and came home just in time for dinner. Decided to take a break / day off from yoga practice / stretching (have learnt not to guilt trip myself for taking breaks) …… and sat down to finally think about and start jotting down some ideas/things to do/destinations for my next holiday!

Nothing firmed yet. The only thing I know right now is it will be 90% a solo trip as I desire to have some space & quiet this time round. I hope I can make it happen, at the time period that I’m looking at (Q4 2017). Being in the last lap of the banding year, there are also work considerations to think about. It will also mean $$$ spent (versus saving it) …… but let’s think abundance 🙂

Rather than wasting away my Sunday, got up nice and early to go for my once-a-month YIN yoga class @ Yoga Inc Gulliemard – as a ‘treat’ to myself for the long weekend. Probably my ‘longest’ break from YIN class – 6 weeks to be exact as my focus was on rebuilding strength and flexibility post Bali and post food poisoning (a.k.a Bali Belly). As one would describe YIN class, it is about feeling 1% uncomfortable (in the form of holding poses for longer periods – up to 5 mins) to be 99% comfortable (i.e. to allow the muscles to relax). And the tightness in my hips is apparent …… and it does feel slightly uncomfortable and getting used to be holding poses for long periods again after all the ‘yang’ workouts that I have been doing.

The bonus was the rain, and it was really chill and calming to have the cool air coming into the studio. Just like the saying from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow goes – The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain. 

And enjoy the moment!

The theme of ‘courage’ floated in my thoughts throughout the 1 hr 15 min class – it will be something I will think about/reflect/meditate upon in the next couple of days.

Preferred to have local food for lunch post class, and so braved the rain (with umbrella in hand) and walked over to Lor 28 Geylang to check out Fishball Story as originally planned. The noodles did not disappoint and I am very happy with my lunch. Realised there are many coffeeshops within Geylang itself and wondered why didn’t I venture out earlier (the default choice is always to walk to Old Airport Road FC after class for a meal). Gonna google some food bloggers’ Geylang recommended eats as I type now 😛

Took a bus down to Bugis after lunch – specifically to Sephora at Bugis+ to get a new shampoo to try. Starting to feel the YIN in my legs, and so headed back home, lazed a bit and writing this blog entry.

Probably gonna play catch-up on some work and my journalling (super back-log dating back April *gasp*) after dinner. Was deliberating between doing 9am class @ Yoga Lab CBD for another early start tomorrow versus a longer self practice …… but since the 9am class is waitlisted (it was still book-able during lunch), it seems like self practice will be the plan for the last part of my long weekend!

Significance

In my previous entry, I posted this collection of stones – which were used to mark our attendance for classes at Radiantly Alive.

After blogging my previous entry (while struggling with writer’s / blogger’s block), it occurred to me subsequently that there is a deeper meaning to these stones other than simply getting 3 prosperity stones in a row and a good luck stone for my ‘last’ class at Radiantly Alive. Thus this follow-up entry.

Classes attended in the following order:

1.  Starting From Top Left – Gentle Flow at 0730 Hrs on a Monday morning (1st May 2017 no less).

My original intention was to attend the Meditation and Pranayama (yoga breathing) class happening concurrently to the studio’s signature Gentle Flow class.

However for some reason, the Meditation class was cancelled last minute, and having paid RP 50,000 for the driver to take me there – it means that I ended up doing Gentle Flow instead. I could have been pissed and simply turned back, but decided to be open and do the Gentle Flow class that I have been wanting to try (although this instructor was not my preferred instructor).

I liked the sequencing for the class – very focused on hip opening and working the spine, which left me feeling really good for the day ahead. More than sequencing / the ‘asana’ part of the class – the teacher’s main theme for the class is heart, mainly on opening your heart to a brand new day, new experiences etc. …… Thinking aback now, I guess this was what we mean by an open heart – in going into something with no expectations.

2. Top Right – Still Gentle Flow, albeit the next morning (Tuesday 2 May 2017)

And still a prosperity stone – which I believe is a reminder for me to keep an abundance mindset as always.

This class was taken by Jasmine Danino – one half of the husband-and-wife team who own Radiantly Alive, and she came highly recommended as a teacher in various online reviews that I have come across (thus wanted to do her class).

Jasmine started going into the theme of the class – which was family. She shared with the class that she was thinking about her family back home (Note: She is Peru-vian). And co-incidentally, it was a packed class, with the majority of the Radiantly Alive teaching team in attendance as well to flow along with the rest. In her words, her Bali family showed up just when she thought about her own family …… which I thought was really sweet. Personally, I did think of home for a moment as I looked forward to getting home after hols come to an end.

3. Bottom Right – Still A Prosperity Stone.

Returned back in the afternoon for some much needed Roll & Release as my mid upper back is starting to feel tired/strained after all the downward dogs 😛

Apart from the recurring message of prosperity, I think of it now as prosperity in having a ‘free’ body – and being strong and flexible at the same time. In fact, I’m looking into ways to maintain this Roll & Release routine that is good for my fascia / overall body and incorporating into my practice / daily life.

4. Bottom Left – Meditation & Pranayama

Since we had to go back to the warung further down the road to ‘reclaim’ our umbrellas (that we accidentally left behind), we went back to Radiantly Alive on our last morning for classes. Although my mid upper back felt much better after the Roll & Release the afternoon before, but I decided to skip Gentle Flow (was getting sick of doing downward dog after downward dog) and do instead the Mediation and Pranayama class that I have been wanting to do.

Not only did I learn how to get into a good sitting position for Meditation (to keep the spine straight aka above ground and not sink), also learnt proper breathing/pranayama techniques. These are stuff that I have been experimenting/DIY-ing myself over the past year, and it was good for me to learn some of these basics as I have always believed that Yoga is beyond asana practice.

Anyway to cut the story short – the teacher shared something very personal at the end of the class, which to me is the most poignant – the most important thing to do in yoga (and in life) is to show up!