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Friday, June 28, 2013

No Rest

I totally fell asleep during a commute ride just now and almost slept right through my stop! Woke up and felt totally zonked out when disembarking.  Am really tired these days (last night's Yin class also knocked me out)! Desperately need a break so v thankful one is coming up in a couple of months.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Scene On A Bus

And it wasn't a pretty one. A father was taking his mentally-retarded daughter to pick up some medicines (a long way from home) early in the morning ~ and she just wouldn't have it. She (not a girl but a grown up woman) just wanted to get off. The older man wouldn't let her. He yelled, he slapped her, he looked around, evidently, embarrassed. Several thoughts went through my head: is the woman being kidnapped? Why did she want to leave the bus? Is she dying to go to the loo? Then a woman sitting in front of them tried to calm her down (too young to be the mother, maybe a sister? A cousin? A helper?) Anyway, the girl eventually sat still ... and I got off the bus before they did.

Sometimes we complain about our lives: oh, things are not going the way we want; we feel being hard done by; life is unfair etc however, many of us don't have to deal with situations like the one above. Think of that family: the old man, his daughter, their relatives ... every day of their lives is probably a struggle, every day is about getting by without any major incidents. If our glass half full or half empty? This blog entry, however, is not about showing pity but how perhaps we can all be more humble and more appreciative of what we have.

Jeremy Piven doing the split!! Note his back leg:
that is where the hip flexor gets stretched

I'm going to be away from the mat this weekend, I think; the past week I've been doing quite a lot of splitting (on a tall block!) ... dunno why, of late, all of a sudden every instructor wants us to split (latest yoga trend?!?) Oh well, at least I'm (or my bum is, rather) - slowly - being gravitated towards the ground. I think it has as much to do with loosen hamstring in the front leg as stretched hip flexors in the back leg. And the more Yin poses I practise the more "relaxed" these muscles have become. And when it the pose, it actually feels quite good (!!!) However, here is one pose that you have to do a lot of warm up for. I think the last hamstring injury I had (which lasted some nine months to a year) was split-induced. I just have to be extra mindful while doing this pose ~ the rule of engagement applies here ~ so to avoid tearing the hamstring.

So, will play a bit more One Piece ~ which is getting more fun when more characters are unlocked.  My favourites at the moment are Smoker and the literally the cool dude Kuzan ...


Smoker
Kuzan
Dunno who these are yet (below) but they look kinda cool too ...





Saturday, June 15, 2013

Something to Look Forward to

Though the week-long yoga retreat I'm attending is not until September but have to start sorting out details this weekend / early next week (reservation and flight bookings etc as I'm trying to get cheap direct flight from where I am to Koh Samui). It's nice to have something to look forward to especially when the weather  here has been so miserable lately. Need a bit of sunshine, a bit of space (physical and personal), a bit of optimism as well as a bit of calmness, away from all the going-ons in the work and city life.

I've, again, booked a double class for tomorrow morning ... hope the instructor this week has prepared his classes better; the one last Sunday practically just prepared for one class so I was very disappointed, if not a tad annoyed, to repeat the same sequence for two really different classes: hatha and yin/yang. I think that's the problem with large studios. I don't really blame the instructors as their schedules are pretty packed but doesn't that kinda defeat the whole purpose of yoga when instructors are themselves all stressed out and not motivated?

The Bahamut from Type-0


Bought two new (and really neat) recordings @ the Asia Yoga Conference last week, one is called Invocation ... and Just found out one of the word's many meanings is:  "the act of summoning a spirit or demon from another world by ritual incantation or magic" (TheFreeDictionary) ... Wow!! That is a bit like the Summons in the Final Fantasy games (Type-0, which I have started playing again) ... Digressing here, still going gaga over the PSP Vita, which, unfortunately, is slowly being phased out by mobile phone/ tablet games (like Candy Crush Saga !!!) 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another Crack @ Dynasty Warriors Next

So, I bought this new game called One Piece, which I heard is pretty popular in Japan and I got the Chinese version. It's basically, as my friend put it, Dynasty Warriors in a different skin. So, I went back to playing DWN (just to familiarize myself with the gameplay again) and found myself addicted to it all over again. The thing is I discovered this new mode (Conquest Mode), which is really fun.

In this mode I can choose the characters I enjoy playing and put them on my team. So far I've been pretty invincible but I read the level will begin to scale as I conquer more land. I'm not a big hack & slash fan but it appears this is what I need right now to distress!!

Talk about distressing, am booking a yoga retreat @ Samahita Retreat in Koh Samui in September. Can't wait to take a break! Back to Tonight though, I'll take a hot yoga class just to stretch out the body, relax (maybe) and focus.

And to appreciate the Now & Present.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Kathryn Budig (Part 2)

Last night's workshop on getting in touch with the Core was FUN! Exactly as advertised, the class led by Kathryn Budig was creative and playful and we learnt things like "pick up + jump back" (moves that are familiar with Ashtanga practitioners). Woke up this morning feeling great -- though hip areas a bit sore -- which means other than the core muscles, I also worked my hip flexors (and other muscles in that area), which am not sure is good or bad.

My yoga practice always catches me by surprise and I make progress when least expected ... after having this hamstrings injury (on my left side) for close to (I reckon) some nine months, it finally healed and -- all of a sudden my heels can finally touch the floor in my down-dog pose. That is despite I, in general, have practised less (cos of the injury and lack of instructor choice at my yoga studio).

There was supposed to be a Part 3 to this multi- blog entry but have to skip the last of this three-night workshop to attend a work function. Which is a shame cos I much rather be on the mat ...   

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Kathryn Budig (Part 1)

Probably best known for those sexy, stylish (and for some, controversial) black and white ToeSox ads, Kathryn Budig is in town, in the flesh as it is, to host a three-night workshop called Aim True (this reminds me of a song by Elvis Costello/Everything But the Girl's Alison). Tonight, she explains to us what "aim true" means by way of a several examples/incidents: when she was dumped, those ToeSox ads, and when she found love again. Have to say her experience is harder for a guy to relate to but the rest of the class (mostly women) seems to totally get it and nod in unison.

Budig says since a child she'd been fascinated by the Greek goddess Artemis but this twin sister of Apollo gradually disappeared into the background as Budig grew up. Many years (and apparently boyfriends) later, Budig found console, strength and inspiration in Artemis, who is tough and independent and would forge herself forward even in face of adversities (i.e. being dumped). Choose love, not fear.

Wow!


Then there are those ToeSox ads, which feature her in various asanas, wearing nothing bar the Toesox. I thought this is a very successful ad campaign because it not only cries out for attention, but those black and white images really are very tastefully done. However, it also stirred up a bit of a controversy (in conservative US) when one (female) instructor wrote to the Yoga Journal accusing the campaign (though without naming any names) of objectifying women. Budig says she stood by her decisions and despite what other people say about her (in relations to these ads), she says she'll be true to herself. She has not regretted doing those ads because, well, she didn't mind having her beautiful body splashed across a major magazine and across America. Good on her.

The final story she told us was when she agreed to skydive with a friend. She totally regretted the decision later. However, she stuck by her promise to her friend and eventually did it ... the sweetest part of this story is that it was during this daredevil act that she met her fiance!

So Budig asks us to write down what "true aim" means to us and I wrote: just do it!!

The second part of the workshop is a flow class and we try out some challenging poses. But my core is weak so my body feels very heavy when going upside down. Well, tomorrow's class is all about making a connection with the core so stay tune! 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Anticipation

Still recovering from tummy bug; went to my GP this morning and he said I had food poisoning (hmm, still thinking what could it be ... the sushi rolls that I had last week?) ~ just as well I don't have to go into work this morning. I'm hoping to have this sorted pronto cos it's the first day of the three-day workshop with Kathryn Budig, who is also here for the annual Asia Yoga Conference. 

Shavasana


To "prep" for this workshop I went to two classes yesterday morning - hatha and yin yang - led by one of my favourite yoga instructors Anri. What I like about her teaching is that it is very progressive; every class is different and well thought out and they get progressively hard! 

The hatha session was quite challenging as there was a lot of sun salutations (+ reversed pyramid/triangle!) and we worked up a good sweat. That was followed by the yin yang class, which didn't look difficult but moving slowly from one pose to another is really a lot more harder than imagined. The only thing was the music she played was V sleep inducing and it's quite hard to concentrate when your body is tired ... But we did a lot of "body opening" poses, esp for the shoulders and the hips. I can feel the good sore this morning and am ready for the workshop tonight. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Tummy Bug

Not good. It's the weekend and there is much to do ... however not feeling too great. Still, need to get better pretty quickly because I'd signed up for Kathryn Budig's "Aim True" workshop next week. She is one of those yogis that make even the most challenging pose look totally effortless. I'm particularly interested in the session on exercising the "core": how to connect the mind and body with it. A strong core can help with many asanas, especially with arm balances and inversions. Incidentally, I am told Inversions can help with settling the tummy, maybe I should do a few headstands today...