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.

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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!

Throwback: When I Used To Run

Was doing some post-lunch clearing of emails when I came across this link to a running-related comic that I have saved.

running_0header

Link: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/running

There are 6 parts to it in total.

As I look back at my running days now, it has dawned on me that my very 1st race (Great Eastern Women 10K in October 2006) was exactly a decade ago!

Exactly 1 decade (10 years) on, I have stopped running – with my last run being in March 2016. This current phase of life coincided with major changes at work, the closure of California Fitness (where I used to gym/workout at) …… and subsequently taking up yoga – which is my to-go regular workout currently.

I guess it came to a point that I stopped enjoying my training runs, and no longer look forward to waking up at 4-5am to go for Sunday races. And right now, not missing it nor regretting it as I’m enjoying my yoga sessions very much.

Never say never. I have yet to achieve my goal of a 1 hour 15 min 10km so I forsee I will end my ‘hiatus’ / break from running and get back to training for this specific goal. No timeline to this yet – will probably go with the flow as I need to start adding more cardio-based activities progressively to my current workout regime.

Not sure if I will ever do a 3rd marathon as I’m not keen to do long distance runs anymore. In the event I don’t – I can still live in peace knowing that I have completed 2 full marathons, albeit in lousy timing. Can’t take away the fact that I’m a finisher 2 times over*

* Thinking about it now also, it is pretty incredulous that I was being lectured on how to complete a marathon and to apply that to work when said person is not even a good example to begin with. But of course that chapter is over now so peace out!

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.

A Letter From March 20th, 2016

This was part of the 30DLBL program that I was doing in the earlier part of the year – where one of the tasks involved writing a letter to my future self 6 months down the road. This came into my mailbox 2 days ago on 20th September – Tuesday evening to be precise while I was having my post-work dinner.

As this exercise reflects the ideal vision that I have for myself in the future, thus it is also a good opportunity for me to look back how I have progressed this past 6 months and reflect back 🙂

While not everything has gone exact to plan – with the closure of California Fitness resulting in my exercise/fitness routine going into shambles (for now), and while my time management (on daily activities) can still be improved further.

And I should be writing another letter to myself soon – to be read 6 months down the road.


Dear Wendy,

It has been a good 6 months since you have started on 30DLBL. How are you getting on?

By now, you should be living more fulfillingly, purposefully, meaningfully, and productively. You no longer procrastinate on making a client call / follow up, neither do you idle your mornings away.

You wake up nice and early everyday, raring to go. You start your work days nice and early, and by 5pm, most of the work you have set out to do for the day is completed, leaving you with a clean slate in the evenings to do your favourite things i.e. enjoy a nice dinner, read my favourite books, catch up on project work, watch your favourite dramas/variety shows.

You are also a fitter Wendy, as you can now run 1 hour non-stop comfortably. You have also become stronger and more flexible. And hopefully, slimmer and more toned.

With your routine set in the right direction through your continuous efforts and determination, and with a little bit of faith and confidence, you should be able to see the ‘fruits’ of your labour – being happier at work and actually enjoying your work again. And as a consequence, doing better, earning more, being able to save and invest more, contribute more to the household.

Also, making better relationships, and renewing existing friendships.

Last but not least, continuously growing to be a better person.

Love,
Wendy

 

End Of An Era

‘Suffered’ a bit from a messed up sleep cycle at the start of the week …… and ending the week with slight flu cum sore throat which kinda sucks as I feel tired, sleepy and drowsy. And now sleep-less again after meds, post dinner nap and a late shower.

I had originally intended to blog about this earlier in the week but sleep (and everyday life) got in the way. After the uncertainty over the previous weekend with the sudden closure of California Fitness Raffles Branch, the final ‘death knell’ came with the official announcement on Wed morning (0000 hrs after to be exact) of the closure of the remaining Bugis and Novena branches …… which more or less signifies the end of California Fitness in Singapore as liquidators have been appointed to handle the closure of the gym.

To some of my friends surprise, my reaction to the gym closure was calmer than they thought (I suppose this is so after having to go through BIGGER issues over the past half a year). Rather than anger, I feel sadness at seeing the end of California Fitness, especially having been a member since 2003/2004.

Whilst JV Fitness (the management behind California Fitness) could have handled the situation more ethically …… while I have lost some money (since mine was a prepaid membership running till 2018), I feel a lot more for the staff (customer service, membership sales, trainers and instructors) who were totally kept in the dark about California’s precarious financial situation right till the end. As I blog this now, I can still remember the faces of the tower counter staff who have been with the Bugis Branch since Day 1 of its opening (in year 2005).

Do not have any plans to sign up another new membership for now. On a personal basis, it is indeed an end of an era, and one more change in the midst of the many changes I have been experiencing in year 2016 to date. Will definitely miss my usual Thurs spin class and recent Sunday workouts . As I told J yesterday, life will go on without a gym.

Thanks for the memories!