What is Gaba?

Gaba is a naturally occurring amino acid that works as an inhibitory neurotransmitter in our brain.  It is a chemical messenger.  It blocks or inhibits specific signals in the central nervous system and decreases activity in our nervous system, in other words, slowing down the brain.

A lack of GABA leaves your central nervous system with too many neuronal signals and causes conditions like epilepsy, seizures or mood disorders.

If you would like to understand how could asana and pranayama help to stimulate Gaba?

Click on the link below,

Gaba – Cherry Chan

My journey of conquering Salamba Sirsasana (Headstand)

I picked up yoga since the beginning of circuit breaker.  Instead of sitting at home and do nothing, I started a habit of working out every single day.  I learned all the basic yoga postures through Youtube.  Apparently it was a very weak foundation compare to the rest in my class.

During the first YTT class,

“In the exam you have to hold the position for 3 minutes.” Said Master Ram.
“Seriously?” My heart screamed.

Obviously, I have never thought of doing (or even trying to do) headstand in my life, but since that is the requirement, let’s give it a shot. Nothing is impossible right?

16-17 October – First weekend I realised I got to learn headstand.

23-24 October – Still had no idea of how to lift my legs up.

30-31 October – Stressing out, as everybody managed to lift the legs in the air.

7-8 November – Finally managed to lift my legs up in the air, but it could only stay for 3-5 seconds, a lot of work to be done in terms of balancing.

13-14 November – Good progress, managed to hold for 30 seconds.

20-21 November – Managed to hold for a minute, yes!  Let’s try to get rid of the wall.

27-28 November – Managed to lift up my legs without the wall occasionally, could hold for 3 minutes.

4-5 December – Successfully get rid of the wall, working on perfecting the posture by engaging the core more.

Practice makes permanent.

Lesson Planning for a 60 minutes Beginner class

Instead of meditation, I am slightly more intrigued by an active and living yoga lesson. 

With this in mind, this is how I would construct a yoga lesson.  A lot more movements, a lot of stretching, not much break in between. 

Introduction – 5 minutes 

Focus: Core training, and hamstring stretching 

Warm up – 15 minutes

  • Upperback and hamstring stretching 
    Come to the top of the mat, open our feet to the width of pelvis.
    (Inhale) Lift your arms up, extend your spine, bend slightly towards the back
    (Exhale) Release your arms and bring them next to your thigh. Come back to our standing position.
    (Inhale) Once again, extend your spine, lift your ribcage up, stay there for another breathe, and (Exhale) release.
    (Inhale) Last round, lift your arms up and put palms together, stay for another breathe, shift the weight of your upper body to right, flex towards the right, give the left side of your waist a good stretch.  For those who can, twist a little bit more, twist belly button upwards, gaze at the ceiling, stay for 5 breathe.  (Exhale) Slowly, come back to the centre, let’s work on the left side, stay for 5 breathe.
    (Exhale) Fold forward. Flex your hips, bring your hands around the back of our knee, pedal our legs, flex our knees, put both hands on the ground.

    (Inhale and exhale deeply) Bring our belly to the thigh, chest to the knee, stay there for 5 breathe.
    Slowly abduct our back, with fingers pressing on the ground, push our shoulder plate backwards, and twist our hip bone towards the ceiling, gaze forward, stay for another 5 breathe.

  • Lunges, high plank
    (Inhale) Extend your left leg take a step back, and slowly bring your right leg backwards, come to a high plank position.
    Make sure your shoulder is directly above your wrist, do not arch your back, engage your core, stay here for 5 breathe.
  • Chaturanga Dandasana, Cobra
    Continue from the previous position, bring our knees to the ground, flex our elbows, squeeze both elbows towards the ribcage, brush our nose and chin against the floor and glide up upwards, come to a Cobra position, open up your chest, engage gaze between the eye brow, stay for 5 breathe.
    Benefits: Cobra pose helps us to strengthen the spine, our arms and open up our chest.

  • Downward-facing dog
    (Inhale) Flex our hips and shift the body weight backwards, come to downward facing dog.

    Option 1: If you feel like your hamstring is still tight, you could pedal your feet a little bit more.
    Option 2: If you feel very comfortable and would like to challenge yourself, step your heels firmly on the ground and lift up your toes, stay for 5 breathe. Flex your knee, shift your weight to the bottom, walk or jump forward.
    (Exhale) Fold forward deeper.
    Buckle our elbows, let the gravity pull us towards the ground, stay for 5 breathe.
    (Inhale) Once again, extend our spine and pull our upper body backwards
    (Exhale) Release and come to your standing position. 

Standing poses – 15 minutes

  • Warrior 2
    Spread our legs wide, externally rotate our right foot 90 degree towards the right side, make sure your heels are in line and when we flex our knee, it is in line with our ankle, maintaining a nice 90 degree.

    Outstretch our arms at shoulder height, rotate our neck towards the right side of the room, gaze at the right thumb, stay for one breathe and come back to the centre. Repeat the actions for 10 times.
    For the last time, hold your position, stay for 10 breathe. Vice versa for the left side.
  • Warrior 1
    (Continue with the previous position, with our legs spread.)

    Rotate our foot toward the right side of the room, square our hip, abduct the arms alongside the ears at shoulder width, or if you want a greater challenge, put your palms together.
    Rotate your left foot 45 degree to the left and flex your right knee, maintain a 90 degree angle with the ground. Make sure you tuck in the tailbone to create space in the lower back, and lift your chest towards the ceiling. Come back to the centre. Repeat for 10 times.
    For the last time, hold your position, stay for 10 breathe. Vice versa for the left side.
  • Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana A & B (Make use of the wall)
    Facing the wall, stand hip width apart.
    Flex the right knee towards the chest level and grab your big toe with the right hand.  Place your left hand on the waist and (Inhale) extend the right leg.
    Make use of the wall to help you to find the balance. Lift the sternum while gazing forward. Stay for 5 breathe.

    (Exhale) Externally rotate your hip to the right and slowly bring your right leg to the right, rotate your neck towards the opposite direction and continue on straightening your right leg. Stay there for 5 breathe. Vice versa for the left side.

Seated poses – 15 minutes

  • Paschimottanasana
    Come to Tadasana.

    (Inhale) Abduct your arms, exhale, extend your spine and (Exhale) fold forward, so you have a few options here.
    Options 1 you can Hold your big toes ;
    Option 2 Hold the side of your feet ;
    Option 3 you may Bind the wrist ;
    Stay for 5 breathe.
  • Navasana (Boat pose)
    Flex our knee, with both our feet on the floor. Place our hands next to our thighs.
    (Inhale) Engage the inner thighs, raise both legs up and lift the chest.  Extend our arms parallel to the floor and draw our lower belly in.
    Option: For Those who wants to challenge yourself, straighten the legs.

    Stay here for 5 breathe.

  • Salabhasana – Locust pose
    Option to challenge: Dhanurasana

    Lie on your stomach with your arms at your sides. Rest your forehead on the mat. Extend your legs straight behind you, hip-width apart. Do not roll your heels inward or outward. Press your weight evenly across the tops of both feet.
    (Inhale) Lift your head to look forward, lift your chest and arms. Keep your arms alongside your body with your palms facing up.  Lift your upper spine and reach your arms back toward your feet, Use your inner thighs to lift your legs up toward the ceiling.
    Option: For those who wants to challenge yourself, flex your knee backwards and bring the heels close to the sit bone, grab your ankles to make it a Dhanurasana instead. Stay for 5 breathe.
    Benefits: By lifting the front of your torso, it helps to open the lungs to improve your breathing capacity.

  • Child’s pose (counter pose) 

Relaxation – 10 minutes – Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama

Jack of all trades

Since young, I have always been an outgoing active girl who loves to pick up new skills and enjoy challenges. Sit still is the last thing that I want to do. Good thing about that is, people would be amazed of how much you know and how much have done in life.

“So you are a singer?”
“Well, I do perform in music café from time to time, does it count?”

“You have completed a full marathon?”
“Yup, I started running since 2016, so far I have done 3 half marathons and 1 full marathon in Singapore.”

“Your shoulders look quite toned.”
“Thanks to my fitness trainer, I work on quite a lot of weightlifting recently.”

“And now you are in yoga teacher training?”
“Yes, it has been quite fun.”
“So are you really good at it?”

*Silence*

Bad thing is, you maybe the jack of all trades, master of none.
Sometimes I got irritated with myself. Do you call it an all-rounder? Or it is simply fickle-minded.
Satya taught us to be truthful. Truthful to our body, our thoughts, our will, and our desire. While Santosha taught us to be contented. Appreciate what you have and focus less on what you do not have.

Why should I fear to be jack of trades?
After all, if you miss shooting for the moon, you will land among the stars.
Nothing could go too wrong.