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 😛

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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 for that matter), 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!

May Reminiscence: Bali 2017

2 mins to the end of May and here I go to log in a blog entry (in order not to leave the month of May ‘completely blank) ……

Now where did ALL the time in May go?

Ended April & Started May in Bali – my only holiday for year 2017 so far (with plans for another one in the works). Came back to Singapore, came down with food poisoning / stomach virus (because it could be airborne as well), and spent pretty much the remaining 3-4 weeks of May (ironically the month of May is a 5 week month by itself) getting back my footing (and struggling quite a bit along the way) …… and experiencing quite a roller coaster of emotions. Somewhere along the way – had wanted to do 1 photo challenge as well but life got in the way.

And that sums up May for me!

And now for the highlights of my Bali Trip – the main title of this blog entry!

For this trip, we were based primarily in Ubud, and did not venture out to other areas (i.e. Seminyak, Canggur, Kuta etc.)

Very ‘quotable’ quotes that we spotted along the streets of Ubud

 

Not forgetting the delicious local Balinese cuisine we had throughout our 4 days stay ……

Starting right from the top – Bali Guling (balinese suckling pig) from Ibu Oka

2nd row, from the right side – Fried Duck from Bedek Bengali (which was only 5 min walk from our hotel!), Balinese style Paella from Casa Luna (easily one of the best meals we had, and fantastic blend of flavours and ingredients), Ribs from Pundi Pundi (within vicinity of our hotel as well)

3rd row, from right side – Seafood Skewers with Mash Potato from Pundi Pundi as well, Ayam Betutu (Balinese style steamed/roast chicken which looked very unassuming and took the kitchen rather long to prepare, but it was really delicious as well), Tomato Omelette & Fish from Run’s Warung (looked unassuming too but was really really delicious as well).

Weather was generally great save for 1 rainy day (3rd day of our trip). Even managed to capture a beautiful moon picture (with no headlights obstructing) after Yin Class on my walk back to the hotel.

Not forgetting the main objective of this trip – DIY Yoga Retreat. Ubud is literally yoga heaven. Which means Yoga Barn (of Eat Pray Love fame) was a must-visit!

Both myself and Z have very different objectives and ideas about our individual practices. For myself, I didn’t feel strong enough to do 2-3 classes in a day, and was intending to do like 1 physical asana class per day. Did end up having 3 days of 2 classes (out of which for 1 day i.e the rainy day we mixed 1 morning flow class together with a roll and release class, while I did a meditation & pranayama class on my last day). In the end, we were able to compromise and come to a common understanding on class scheduling and it worked out well.

Also visited Radiantly Alive – another major yoga studio in Ubud as well. Have heard about the stones that were given to ‘mark’ your attendance when attending class …… and I was really looking forward to receive them.

Below are the ones that I got for the 4 classes I attended at Radiantly Alive. Notice the pattern – prosperity (X3) + good luck (which was the last stone I got on my final day). Definitely a manifestation of my innermost consciousness as having a abundance vs scarcity mindset was consistently on my mind ….. while good luck was obvious as I had a challenging follow up to do at work.

The yoga itself deserves a separate entry of its own. Will blog if I can get over my acute writer’s block.

Ubud is also known for having lots of clean eating options, however the local Balinese cuisine (see earlier photo collage) was relatively inexpensive and too delicious to miss 😛 …… Do miss having the fresh cold pressed juices from Garden Kafe (part of Yoga Barn). It was not only fresh, but really cheap at 45,000 IDR (rupiah) – which is around SGD 4.70! A similar sized bottle from Juice Junkie goes for SGD 10 to 11 *gasp*

As much as this was meant to be retreat to rest/recharge/refresh and do lots of yoga – by the 3rd day, my mid back was starting to feel strained/tired simply by just holding downward facing dog. And so it was pretty much it, no more asana-based flow classes for the remaining 1.5 days in Bali.

Unfortunately too, immediately after touching down in Singapore, started to get the runs (which interrupted my sleep completely – when I didn’t sleep that well in Ubud) and it was full blown food poisoning post trip for the next 2-3 days that completely drained me and lost my appetite totally.

Instead of feeling refreshed and recharged …… I ended up in a really dark and negative state and being unhappy/frustrated at every single thing post trip and post food poisoning. It didn’t help also that I suddenly felt regretful of not enjoying much scenery (be it the scenic Bukit Campuhan Ridge walk or a gorgeous beach / sunset view) during the trip as well. Thankfully, I’m pretty much out of this negative state after some reflection and self-adjustment. After taking a yoga ‘break’ post trip, and despite having to rebuild my strength and flexibility again post food poisoning – am happy to say I’m getting the ‘mojo’ and enthusiasm back in my practice again, and with a stronger focus 🙂

In fact, I am thinking of a return trip next year. Hopefully by then, I will be a much stronger yogi than I am now. And if I were to return – will definitely have mountain/ridge/beach/sunset time incorporated in as well.

Skipping Over February

Finally have the time, space and energy to sit down to do a blog entry proper!

Now where did February go? Definitely the 1st time in a long while that I didn’t blog (or rather didn’t manage to blog anything) in 1 entire month and the time just went by like that ……

January ended with the CNY festive season. After which, it is straight back to work and daily life.

And yes, one significant thing that happened right before CNY was the breakdown/’death’ of my Lenovo laptop. As documented on this blog, after the initial replacement issues (when 1st bought), and an earlier breakdown of the hard disk just back in September, the Lenovo decided to hang by itself when in office one fine Monday afternoon. To cut the story short, after calling the technical support line, dropping everything down to head to the service centre at McPherson for 2nd diagnosis, and another opinion from a repair shop at Jurong Point – the final conclusion was motherboard failure. The replacement would have cost $500+ …… and thus it would be a more feasible solution to just get a new laptop instead – which is needed as I had work to finish right before CNY beckons.

And so, I bought a new Acer Swift 3 that is gold in colour for a ‘golden’ new beginning.

The laptop has been working great for the past 2 months that I have been using it – and this is my 1st blog on this laptop 😛

In a figurative way, the Lenovo represents frustration and pain through the 2 years and 4 months that I have used it. And I will be better served with a fresh start with a newer and better machine going forward. Sounds like how my life has been going for the past 1 odd years 🙂

February is also another month where I experienced numerous body wiggles post-yoga (right achilles tendon pull, tight hips, on and off wrist strains on my right). Also came down with sore throat / flu for a good part of the month which recovered, then came back again after Hot Yoga 101 (believe I caught a chill as the room as stuffier than usual which even the instructor felt so as well), which is reduced to chest cough on and off still as the virus has yet to go away 100% – which sucks!

Partly as a result of some of the ‘muscle imbalances’ that I was experiencing post-yoga, took the plunge to try Yin Yoga as I have read on some of the benefit of Yin Yoga include increased circulation, fascial release and greater joint mobility (through holding poses for 3 to 5 min long) ….. which was something I needed to ‘repair’ my body and feel good again.

After my very 1st Yin class (on Sunday morning) where the final pose before savasana was a reclining head to toe stretch (with a bolster placed right across the tight) – my hamstrings loosened immensely.  After which, I attended my semi-regular Tuesday evening Hot Yoga 101 class. Even after some pretty intense work in the class, my thighs/quads no longer have the intense post work achne (the technical term for it will be DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness) that will take me the entire evening and the good part of the following day to recover from. I have always had tight hamstrings and quads which I finally realised was a result of inadequate post workout stretching from my running and spinning days. The increased flexibility from holding stretches 3 to 5 mins is real indeed. Not to mention feeling much lighter and more relaxed for the rest of the day, and enjoying improved sleep.

I have decided to incorporate Yin to be part of my regular yoga ‘programming’ as I target to do it once every 2 to 3 weeks. Plus waking up early and going for the early 1015 Hrs Sunday morning class at Gulliemard is a great way to re-adjust my bio-clock and sleep patterns – as well as to re-connect with my body and wind down the weekend.

Before March comes to an end, I also hope to try another new type of class (most likely Hot 26) -which is part of my personal goal/resolution to try 1 new class every month.

Ending 2016 ……

Its only now – with 1 more day to go before 2016 comes to an official close that I finally have the time to wipe some dust off this blog as I’m working from home today.

December has been a busy and relatively productive month. I hesitated to say ‘productive’ or ‘very productive’ as I felt I could have managed my focus and energy levels much better …… before I can confidently say I’ve been productive. More important is the self-awareness to realize that …… and this will be something I have to keep working on in year 2017.

Sometimes plans, how well laid-out it can be, will not always go swimmingly / within our expectation.

One thing I have set out to do is to do more yoga over the festive season (christmas eve right till the new year) – as versus to just 1 class per week. My original plan today was to take the day off, go for lunchtime Stretch @ Yoga Lab …… followed by a relaxing lunch and some shopping in town. However a last minute quotation request from client came in last night. And so in the end, I sacrificed my home practice last night and sleep (eyes were already closing at 11+) to send out the quotation requests so that I could get some indicative responses by noon (as some insurers may be on half-day).

In the end, no indicative quote was forthcoming (as this is a specialized risk). Thankfully, I managed to seek client’s understanding that the time frame is too rushed, and we can only see some outcome in the new year.

And so I’ll do home practice today instead and go for a Stretch Class tomorrow morning. Interestingly, my original intention/workout plan for this week is to do a Stretch Class either on Friday or Saturday after attending a Hot Yoga 101 Class earlier on Tuesday evening. Flip-flopped a bit last night by putting myself on the wait-list for Yoga 101 at 1745 Hrs later, only to eventually cancel it (after getting a mat) and reverting back to my original plan of doing Stretch Class.

Which brings me to another point – setting and managing expectations.

When dealing with clients, clients will always want their needs to be attended first and on asap basis (even though it may neither be urgent nor important). Looking back now, although I wasn’t able to get an indicative quote today (which was the ideal scenario I had in my mind) – most important thing is that I got my client’s understanding that it may be difficult to firm things right now since its festive season. And he/she was pretty cool with it. So after some rough hiccups in the business relationship along the way, it is a sign of progress that I’m able to handle fickle natures a lot better now – by managing expectations accordingly.

And that brings me to the next point(s) – patience and intention.

Ideally, if the quote could come in today, I will be able to close off my work and have the afternoon off. Or from another perspective, simply tell the client that its not possible and let’s wait till the new year – and have the entire day off to do what I want to do. It was good that I kept going at it – despite the less than positive outcome for now …… and eventually we should be able to come to a more reasonable timeline to firm up something soon once everyone is back in normal working mode (and also when client manages to firm their equipment leasing details on their end too).

When this deal (and the deals/cases that I have been working on pre and post Christmas) eventually comes through – the rewards/fruits of labour will be that much sweeter and more precious. And so a little waiting here for now after having put in my best efforts!

And having the above clarity meant that I was able to go back to my original intention of closing year 2016 with a yoga class …… after starting my Christmas holidays with Hatha Yoga Class on Christmas Eve (where I completely blocked out work) and to end 2016 with another yoga class (with no distractions). As I have learnt in mediation and from yoga – setting your intention is important, as that will serve as our original purpose to why we set out to do that particular activity.

What was meant to be a random musings entry turned out to be a longer reflection piece (unplanned). It definitely feels good to be able to crystallize my thoughts and blog/write once again.