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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apps and Abs

Thanks to modern technology, I now carry three pieces of gadget on me when I am out and about:

* Blackberry Bold - mainly for work/social communication with email, text and BBM. Oh, yes, and to make calls. It actually has a grossly underrated music player; I use it as my "Walkman" (SO 1980s!). Camera is totally crap;
* Nokia N86 - mainly for texting with a Nokia fanboy pal. Also for voice communication. It has a decent camera and runs on Symbian OS, which, with all its quirks, I am quite fond of. I also use it for tethering (i.e. turning it into a wifi hotspot);
* iPad - mainly for entertainment + personal work. Wonderful piece of technology (see earlier postings) though it is quite heavy to lug around. I cannot imagine using it to make calls, even though I think you CAN Skype on it.

So I'm quite familiar with the various mobile OS systems (though I no longer use Android, having sold my ?Google phone a couple of weeks ago). Have to say Blackberry is by far the less interesting one - but then again it IS a business phone so it can be forgiven for being boring. Its (few) apps are not that useful (to me, anyway) and they are not free. It does have a nice on-line dictionary/translator powered by Google, which is useful.  

With its Ovi shop, Nokia offers some nice location-based apps such as Nokia Maps with navigation capability as well as apps that faciliate instant online blogging. But it's a bit annoying some of these apps come with installation errors so why released them?!? This morning I downloaded the WhatsApp onto my Nokia, hoping that with that I can now "sms" my friends using the iPhone, Nokia and Blackberry ... but that requires Constant data transfer and my phone starts to get warm after 5 minutes.

Apple Apps are pretty cool. I have now downloaded the BBC, New York Times as well as Marvel Comics and Kindle onto my iPad. There is also this cookie-pushing game that people are getting addicted to. I played it and had it uninstalled after a day partly because playing it makes you EXTREMELY hungry (after awhile you are also pushing brownies and doughnuts) and partly because I really didn't see any point to it ... I am looking forward to making greater use of the iPad, especially for my little yoga project that I'm starting up with a couple of yoga enthusiasts ~ so watch this space!



Speaking of yoga, after yesterday's hip-opening session, I'll be taking a Hot Yoga class today ~ quite nice in this cool weather (for readers in the Northern Hemisphere, temperature below 20c in this part of the world is considered cool ... though that's probably Summer weather for you ...), and this Thursday is my Core session with the Perfect Human Specimen. All that military-style exercising is hard work but I do see results. 

Oops ... just bought the Nokia N97 ... Can't believe I am building up on my phone collection ~ Again! All thanks to Nokia Fanboy Pal's incessant asking on which models he should get ... only it is *I* who always end up buying !!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Hip Opening Workshop

The Hip Area is a mystery to me. Like, what exactly IS going on down there? Ever stepped on a yoga mat, sat down, crossed your legs and your knees kind of went "Whosh!" and shot up so high you risk hitting your chin with them? Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit here but you know what I mean. Apparently that is the result of us spending hours sitting at our desk, day in day out, and the various bits around the hip area (I am not gonna go technical here ... but look at the diagram below to get a sense of the anatomical complexity within) just either get shortened or tightened.


I actually have spent the past two years trying to open those hips but I have to say the progress has been slow. The strangest thing though is that, in certain positions, my hips are actually not THAT tight i.e. I can squat down easily with little problem. So I suspect there are other reasons why doing, say, the cross-legged Lotus Pose is so difficult for me. Maybe that's because I just have very small hips (??)

Anyway, this morning I attended this three-hour workshop that was both informative and practical. It was taught in the Indian style, that is, holding poses for a long time with limited flow between them (though we did do the sun salutation, like, 20+ times, which really warmed us up). The instructor taught us what Fexion/Extention, External Rotation/Internal Rotation, Adduction and Abduction are and took us through a series of exercises that set out to, well, exercise the various bits in the hips so they'll become less tight and more loosen.

Hopefully, one day I can do this (not so much the karate kick but lifting the leg high!) without falling flat on my face ...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Quick Plan

According to the "traffic stats" of this blog, Monday Morning with ... is now reaching a small, but quite steady (and to me, very important!) audience from around the world! Oh, hi there, YOU from Guadeloupe Island! Thank you for checking this blog out and, if it wasn't for you and your page views, I would NEVER have googled "Guadeloupe" and to learn that it is a gorgeous (French?) island in the Caribbean (?) You have to forgive my gross ignorance because I am absolutely crap in Geography ... in fact, it is one of my weakest categories in Trivia Pursuit.



Also Big Hello to Canada, the US, UK/Europe, Russia, Ukraine (!) and all of you here in super duper Hong Kong. I surmise you guys stumbled across this blog because you misspelt something in your search or you are interested in:

1) yoga
2) phones
3) dogs
4) PSP games
5) Revenge of Kitty Galore

It's good to know I am not alone. Well, my quick plan for the future is to write more on these subjects that are so close to my heart (no no no, Kitty Galore really is only a joke ... seriously) before taking over the world. So watch this space! :o)


A Scorpion doing Handstand 

Today, I had two good yoga practice sessions: the first one was really challenging and a continuous exploration into heart opening (though I must confess I am not very big on anusara yoga), while the second one was more therapeutic - just what was needed. I feel lucky to have discovered yoga; I think understanding one's body is so important and practising yoga does help me get in touch/tune with my body, how it is and how it feels. Believe it or not, I think many of us are not aware of our bodies and leaving it in a state of negligence for years! 

Now, for those who enjoyed my two clips on the master Shiva Kumar demonstrating, here is a photo taken by my friend. Amazing, right? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Letting Go

The station was unusually crowded. As I headed towards the turnstiles, I felt a jolt. I turned around and saw people pushing and shoving. I went home ~ and it was gone. Yes, some b****y b*****d nicked my PSP (with my favourite game inside) from my backpack outer pouch (am too trusting ~ and stupid to put it there in the first place). I was a bit annoyed at first and then I thought, well, the console is pretty old and so is the game. I hope it explodes on the thief's face! Nah ... cannot be bothered. It's just another earthly thing to let go ...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Question Hovering Over My Head (3)

I love Tech. And I love Yoga. But take ME out of this equation, can the two be related or connected in any way?

(EW, did I sound like Carrie in Sex and the City just now?)

I stumbled into some answers today. I was reading this (excellent) quarterly called Namaskar (it's "a voice for the yoga community of Asia) and there is this (excellent) piece titled "The Art of What is Needed" written by this yogi called Paul Dallaghan. He was saying (me summerising here) that sometimes we take/have more than what we need.

How very true. I, for instance, once had, like, six phones. Oh yes, and the last time I checked I only have one pair of ears. That coupled with the fact I don't really have THAT many friends, I have no idea why I ended up with so many phones other than the fact I am totally obsessed with them. I just like pressing buttons I guess. To give you some idea, I think since 1994, I have owned/used more than 100 phones of various models (I am known to my friends and colleagues as Dr Phone). I know there are people out there who don't use mobiles and I have friends who have stuck to the same phone for a long time. But hey, if Imelda Marcos can have Zillions pairs of shoes, what is 100+ phones over, err, 16 years? I am not a freak!

Anyway, this Paul bloke was saying "give away all things you do not use or need anymore, now see how light you feel." Actually, he went on to say "even more effective in healing, but perhaps harder to achieve, is letting go of the ideas, prejudices and past hurts we hold on to." Okay, he is not exactly talking about phones but I can see how the principle behind might work for me. So, today I packed up three of my five phones, sold two and gave one away. Okay, I kinda went into this ohmygodwhathaveidone panic mode for several minutes but gradually, I felt light -- just as the yogi had said. Also, why hang onto to so many worldly or material things? If I were to drop dead tomorrow, would I be able to take any of them with me? No, sir!

So that was the first (profound) connection I discovered between yoga and tech today.



The second connection was discussed during a yoga session with my (excellent) instructor this afternoon: we can all use Tech to promote Yoga. To go back to the (excellent) iPad again ... there are now Apps, but not many, that help people learn about yoga and they, in turn, help us share our knowledge and experience ... it is perhaps an area that I think I should be looking into??



Sunday, October 17, 2010

i-Volution

And I'm not even an Apple fan-si. I had a 2G iPhone long before everyone in this city has one (and I mean everyone) but I was so unimpressed with it (how do you type on that darn thing?) I sold it within a couple of weeks. But now, I'm semi-reformed and my latest obsession comes in the form of what's known as the iPad (which, incidentally, has been hovering at the top of my Flavour of the Week right below Yoga for a couple of weeks... so yeah, that is Major). 

Some of you might remember when the iPad was first announced, people (mostly in North America) were sniggering at its name because, when translated into non-North American lingo, it practical means "iTampon". (Apple is, after all, run by blokes like Steve Jobs). But hey, guess who's having the last laugh now? The tablet computer has already taken a huge bite into the global netbook/notebook market and its share is likely to skyrocket further when the newer version(s) come out in the (near) future. Its reach is expected to be a lot wider than the iPhone (you don't need a service provider with the wifi only version) and let's face it, what is the competition out there? Samsung? Yawn. Toshiba? Comatose. Sony Vaio? It would have been a realistic competitor if only its keyboard is, like, usable. 

But I am digressing a little here. The thing is, the iPad is just The Future. It has a fantastic screen, runs lots of apps and, seriously easy to use. And it is not evevn that heavy. Battery lasts forever and its virtual keyboard is totally usable. I've already downloaded several apps onto it ... mainly reading stuff including Kindle - as opposed to all those coin and cookie pushing games ... I mean, what are these games about? But for me, the HIGHLIGHT of owning an iPad has to be the ability to read Marvel Comics on it (oh yes, I am so excited by that that I am actually blogging about it...)

Who's Side Are You On?

For US$1.99 (only), I am able to download comic books that would have otherwise cost me about 10 times as much in this town. So I immediately downloaded the entire Civil War series and was/still am completely taken by how great the artwork/colour look on the screen. I shall never be bored again during my puke-inducing daily commute to work! (Last Friday, for instance, when trapped in an hour-long traffic jam with three other colleagues, out came the iPad and we played a game of Trivia Pursuit - what a great way to kill time instead of each other in that confined space!)  

The BBC app is also fantastic. Leveraging on its radio and TV services as well as its Internet, the Beeb is able to offer users live radio broadcast, TV clips as well as instant news. How fantastic is that?

I also think that kids in the future will only need to carry an iPad to school because there won't be any need to lug text books to their classes. And all the homework will be done on and stored in the computer. Just how cool is that? It probably will make doing homework actually fun. 

So in my humble opinion, this  gadget is a great leap forward ... an Evolution! A Revolution! An i-Volution! Only I completely made up the last word... 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Astonishing Demo (Part 2)

Reaction to this (Amazing) yoga demo video has been pretty mixed. Some thought it was a bit strange while others, like me, were marvelled by the kinda perfection on display. Anyway, here is Part Two (the rest of) the Master Shiva Kumar's demonstration, which still inspires me.


My body feels/is a lot stronger today, with that dull pain in my lower back gone. This morning, I could do the "wheel" pose a couple of times without feeling my back was about to snap into halves; stretching my hamstrings was also less stinging. It's fascinating how our body keeps changing daily/hourly and I am just amazed for 30+ years I had never paid attention to it ...


Saturday, October 2, 2010

An Astonishing Demo

Not for the faint-hearted ... here is the thigh-slapping master yogi Shiva Kumar who teaches at the studio where I practise ... NOW I understand why his classes are so tough and his teaching kinda ... strict: this is SERIOUS yoga and, yes, the result of years of determination, dedication and endurance ...


(This Video was taken by me at a members only event for this blog)

Note (if you can see the details ... this vid is a little low-res) how the master controls his breathing in order to make room for anatomical expansion and lengthening -- his extremely flexible spine is very straight and de-compressed at all time, observe his forward folds and bends. His joints are obviously very loose and strong at the same time :o0 What a totally inspiring performance (to watch, that is ...I am still staying well away from his classes though ...)