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Thursday, May 27, 2010

This and That (Part 1)

Hurrah! Tracey Thorn (of EBTG) has a new album out!!!

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/may/26/tracey-thorn-ben-watt-interview

The news songs are, of course, as depressing as ever ...



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Just came back from a v short overseas (work) trip - in bankrupt Europe. We stayed in the sleepy city (town?) of Brussels. So sleepy I managed a 15-hour uninterrupted sleep marathon the day/night before I took the flight out. It was rather glorious, actually.

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Facebook. I'm not on it. There aren't that many "faces" out there I want to connect/network with and vice versa. To get a scale of my online popularity ~ I am with a UK-based website called Friends Reunited and the number of Friends I have: ONE. Yes, ONE. And this is someone I went to school with when I was 12. We went to a different college after our O Levels then met up again, years later, at University. I guess this is a frienship that's worth keeping ...

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Just Googled self ... this week I'm being relegated to Page 2! I used to be on the First Page!!! What's happening to my life?!?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Some Serious Twisting

Phew! Just came back from two yoga classes ... very fulfilling and energising. By coincidence, both sessions this evening focused on spinal twisting and, if done properly, these poses can help loosen up the body. My twists aren't very deep and tonight I tried to go deeper - and sweated like a piggie along the way. Thanks to both the Perfect Human Specimen and Mister M - they helped me twist that little deeper - I was able to enjoy the benefits of these poses (am feeling great right now). The "problem" is that I am not flexible enough to twist deeply by myself. As I twist -- either while lying down (easiest), in a lunge (a bit harder) or sitting down (the most difficult), I meet a lot of resistance even with regulated breathing and it feels like my fat tummy is in the way, or my shoulders are too tight, neck too stiff etc. Hopefully with help from the instructors I'll be able to twist a bit deeper by myself in the future. We also did a couple of forward folds, with legs spreading wide while sitting down.



 
Flat on the ground

It's IMPOSSIBLE! I don't think I can achieve that in this lifetime ... maybe the next. Anyway, am going to be off the mat again for about a week -- just as well as my gouty left foot is still hurting a little. Actually, I don't think it is gout as a large Bruise has begun to appear tonight ... I think I actually injured myself while shopping for a phone for a colleague!! All that walking!! 

Will head for bed now ... and perhaps do a few more twists before lights out.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

More Yoga Talk

It's been a full week since I've been off the mat so I'm looking forward to returning to it tomorrow, first with the Perfect Human Specimen for a Hatha 1 class, then Power 1 with Mister M who is also one of my favourite teachers. I will try to observe my every move with my "inner eye" -- now that I'm reading these two anatomy (in yoga practice) books I bought from the Asian Yoga Conference (yogis attend AYC to learn, I attend it to shop).


This is what the Perfect Human Specimen would look like in an illustration

Anyway, this is all very interesting. Having practised yoga for two years I've become extremely sensitive to my body and what's going on inside. So, say, whenever I do a spinal twist, I become very conscious of how deep I am twisting and whether I could twist more with better breathing ... and if I cannot go deeper I want to know why: very tight hamstrings, adductors, rotators etc. What is even more interesting is that I used to be totally crap in biology and I cannot believe I am now spending money on books on human anatomy. 

But time to get some rest ... another busy day tomorrow! 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An Illness

Oh God, how I hate to be sick - and I have been unwell for about a week ... after that scrummy lunch I had at this super plush restaurant last Tuesday, in fact. I doubt it was the food (French) but it could have been the terrible company (French) ... I was overdosed on something called arrogance. Anyway, I felt drained after lunch and by the  time I got out of my yoga class that evening, I was shivering. It's definitely a flu but this one has lingered on and I still have a swollen gland as I type ... (actually, I think that has something to do with too much PSP-ing the past few weeks too as I tend to tense up - neck gets extra stiff - when I play) hope it isn't something nasty but when my doctor said if the headache continues, I'd have to have my brain scanned. A bit drastic I thought, but then I satrted thinking, rather mobidly, what if I was to (drama, drama) die ...

You see, here is a sad, true story. When I was in my final year at university, I got to know this bunch of young kids in the block I was staying in ... they were all first year students and jolly good fun. And there was this guy, a bit of a joker, but we all loved him because he was so ... full of energy and laughter (no one quite believed he read Maths, he just didn't look "serious" enough). Anyway, just before Christmas he got sick and none of us thought much of it and then, after the holiday, he never came back. He died of a brain haemorrhage and was only 18. When I heard the bad news I couldn't stop physically shaking. Why? Life, indeed, is very fragile and that's why - cliche that it is, we should all enjoy every moment when we are alive - and I think my friend did.


I was thinking, if I die now, what will I miss, what will I not miss? Have I lived life with no regrets? Yes, there have been plenty of regrets but if I were to die now, does that even matter? Oh, being ill always makes me feel sad.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Smack! Smack! Smack!

"Yoga makes you feel healthy, strong, and limber which will immediately boost your self-image and self-confidence." (Pure Yoga)

Not quite the case after my Hatha1 (beginners' level) this morning. Having practised for close to two years I'd decided to take a "basic" class (@ 9am!) by this yogi/teacher famous/infamous for his disciplined/strict approach to yoga practice/teaching. I was convinced I'd benefit from it... after all, a very good teacher once told us that it is always good to practise the basic poses because they form the very foundation upon which you build your future practice, you have to make sure the alignment is correct and remind yourself why you go on the mat in the first place.



 
Hips higher, back straighter, heels touch the ground!!

Anyway, the class began and we did our first down dog. However, instead of proceeding onto the next pose, we stayed in down dog shape for quite an extensive period of time. Which was fine until I heard:

PAK!

miGOD, did someone just had their thigh smacked/slapped?! Then ...

LEGS STRAIGHT!

PAK! PAK!

Oh yes, said teacher was going AROUND THE STUDIO checking EVERYONE'S POSE and if you don't get it right?

SMACK!

An acute sense of FEAR began to swell in my down dog chest ... and I could almost hear the JAWS theme in my head as the corner of my eyes followed Smacker's shadow, moving closer, Closer and CLOSER ...

I was ready to go up dog and beg for mercy by the time he reached my mat and was standing behind me. Then he simply pulled my hips up and back to allow my heels to down the ground. My pose was closer to perfection. Then he moved on.

Phew! But later on, he returned (to correct another of the only FOUR basic poses we practised) and I was, like, NOOOOOO ... the class became mentally as well as physically tortuous. Though he didn't smack me, when he told off the woman next to me (and she was REALLY GOOD): "Why do you keep moving up and down your mat????" SMACK! I thought, this is it, never again!

Yes, I think it was probably the second or third class over the past two years when I actually counted the minutes to asvasana (dead body pose). I felt healthy, strong and limber after the practice perhaps; but self confidence went down the bog (down bog ~ haha) very fast after the sound of the first thigh slap ...

Despite his physical superiority and arrogance, which can be pretty intimidating at times, The Perfect Human Specimen is not bad after all.  However, he will be spending more time in another studio so I will only take his Core class during the week, which means I now have MORE time to take OTHER classes ... who knows, maybe I will return to Smacker and get addicted to having my thighs, err, smacked?!?