Grateful

Joining the 200 hour yoga teacher training course has been a delightfully fruitful experience for my soul. Not only did I experience the beauty of yoga as a whole, but I got to learn more about myself and appreciate my existence in the world.

People now may view me as a steady and grounded person. However, about three years ago, I went through clinical depression, panic disorder, and anxiety attacks. I felt lost with my direction in life and had a bad fallout in my relationships which resulted in me wanting to commit suicide. It was a dark time in my life that I don’t want to go back to.

I took anti-depressants and had weekly therapy consultations. Did it help? No. For a while it was okay, then my depression, panic disorder, and anxiety attacks would surface again. I felt like riding a rollercoaster every few weeks or months. I stopped taking anti-depressants then I had to take them again when things got bad. This went on like a never-ending cycle for almost 1.5 years.

There’s a lot of story behind all this and the stories in-between that led me here, but then I’d have to write a book. So let me fast forward to main points of the timeline so I can get to the point of why I’m writing this.

My clinical depression gave me a binge eating disorder and I hit 74 kilograms. It was so bad that my mother literally dragged me to the car, took me to the gym and forced me to exercise right next to her in group exercise classes. I was trapped and there was no way out. She’s a tiny woman with so much anger (and love) whose hand slaps hurt like a bi***. This went on every single damn day for 3 months. All my finances were cut; passport, debit card, and cash taken away from me. Had to only eat low-carb food that my mother would personally prepare for me, so no dine-outs. I was imprisoned. This is not funny, I wanted to run away. You think Jillian Michaels is tough? Try living with my mother, I was shooting my own BIGGEST LOSER tv show. Eventually, I lost 9 kilograms over 3 months and then the fitness club manager asked me if I was interested in becoming a spinning instructor. Truth be told, my mother pushed me to go. She thought once I become an instructor, I would have no choice but to work out, which is true. That opportunity allowed me to become a spinning instructor.

Eight months after, I moved to Singapore to study for a second bachelor’s degree. I didn’t know if I would be able to teach spinning again, but Virgin Active gave me the opportunity to be a spinning instructor trainee (from being a member) which led to me becoming an instructor for their gym. Class participant numbers increased as members loved my classes and kept coming back. People told me I was a good instructor, that fed my ego and motivated me to go for advanced trainings to become a better instructor. And every training I went to, the master trainers told me the same thing — that I am a natural connector with clear coaching skills. I realised this was my skill since everyone was seeing it. Through that, I found purpose to help my participants (beginner, intermediate, and advanced) become healthier and happier through fitness.

Yesterday (week 4 day 1 of the training), whilst doing theory class on manipura chakra, Paalu said that you have to find your skills, talent, abilities to have goals, objectives to finally find and have purpose. It must be in this order. Not the other way around nor skipping from first to the last. And this deeply resonated with me and made me think about where I am standing at this point of my life.

I am currently in the phase of realigning myself, and this was slowly in progress even before starting the yoga teacher training course. I’m finally seeing my skills, talents, and abilities to form goals and objectives. Long before during my depression phase, I was looking for purpose first without asking myself what I am good at nor accepting my strengths and weaknesses which imbalanced me. I only realise now that I was focusing on the wrong things. Now that I understand, I aim to have a good relationship with myself with a lot of self-love. And I can finally say this genuinely, “I appreciate my existence in this universe.”

 

Miso

Yoga and Cycling

I have been teaching indoor cycling nonstop for 7 months now, I have six permanent classes per week and countless number of covers to step in for as needed. This has given me very tight hamstring, glute and quad muscles which I never bothered to take care of until I started feeling a strain in my lower back. 

A part of the reason why I decided to take the yoga teacher training during this period was because I wanted to know how to take care of my body through yoga before I hit the extreme. 

Ever since I began yoga, my cycling performance have improved and class participants have been asking me how I manage to ride smoothly with a big power output number, to which I respond, “I started doing yoga (asanas).”

That got me thinking. When I go to a typical yoga class where some teachers take participants through asanas after a minimum of 4 sun salutations, I feel that I’m not warmed up enough because my leg muscles are super tight compared to others. I feel that I need 12 rounds of sun salutations before I go into the asanas. And since the class doesn’t focus mainly on legs but goes through a wide range of poses (supine, prone, standing, sitting, and inversion), it got me thinking that there should be a yoga class specifically designed for cyclists/runners here in Singapore. I believe that will draw in a lot of people as there are loads of cyclists and runners in Singapore who don’t do yoga but go to physiotherapy. And believe me, there are so many cyclists who are always searching for ways to improve their performance.

It also has to do with naming the classes to attract and inform people that it is catered for them. For example, when you go to a “beginner yoga”, it’s never really for beginners but more for advanced beginners or intermediate practitioners. I hope someone creates and offers a class called “yoga for cyclists/runners” with smart sequencing that focuses on specific muscles for cyclists/runners. Or someone hire me so I can have a venue to teach that class, please? 

Smoothies make mi-so happy

Smoothies make mi-so happy. 

I love smoothies — healthy or unhealthy, I love them all. I always have frozen berries, avocadoes, bananas, mangoes, ice cream, etc. in my freezer waiting to be blended into a delicious smoothie. Sometimes I make healthy choices by making a protein or fruit smoothie or I go to the extreme by making an ice cream milk shake. The healthy choices are usually made in the morning and the unhealthy choices in the evening.

Since we have yoga training in the morning, I’ve been going to classes with an empty stomach because I have no idea if I’ll have to do kapalabhati or asanas. And most of the time when I have cycling classes in the evening, I come home by 9pm devastatingly hungry that I feel like the calories are burning from my bone marrow. I want to eat a meal, but if I eat solid food, I might torture myself the next morning. Therefore, the go-to solution was to have a smoothie.

Since we’ve learnt about the three gunas (sattvic, rajasic, and tamasic). I’ve tried making a delicious smoothie with a sattvic effect that also satisfies my evening sugar cravings. Recipe below!

 

The Mi-So Sattvic Smoothie

INGREDIENTS:

  • Coconut Milk – one and a half (1 1/2) cup
  • Water – half (1/2) cup
  • Avocado – half (1/2)
  • Banana – half (1/2)
  • Baby Spinach – one (1) handful
  • Dates – two (2) pitted
  • Turmeric Powder – two (2) pinches
  • Cinnamon Powder – one (1) pinch

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Just put them altogether in a blender and blend till smooth.

 

Namaste & Enjoy

– – Miso

Yoga for a Happier Digestive System

Since six years old (or maybe even further back), I’ve suffered from constipation. It’s been common for me to empty my bowels once to twice every week. My family and friends who know about my constipation, used to say it may be because I don’t drink enough water or eat enough fibre, but that’s wrong. I drink at least 2 litres of water per day and eat a well balanced meal with enough fibre.

To ease my constipation I’ve tried incorporating yoghurt in my diet (which helped a bit) but stopped due to frequent skin break outs and a stomach bloat. As well as taking probiotic supplements, which didn’t seem to make a difference.

As time passed, I’ve ignored my digestive problems, telling myself that maybe my body takes a longer time to move the waste out of my bowels. But then as I commenced the 4 week yoga teacher training course, I’ve been going to the toilet to empty my bowels every single day. EVERY SINGLE DAY! AND SOMETIMES EVEN TWICE A DAY! It’s been an amazing feeling, where my stomach feels empty and at ease.

I haven’t changed my life style, diet, sleeping patterns, etc. The only new thing that was incorporated into my lifestyle this past week has been yoga practice (asanas and pranayama).  Five days of yoga in a row, practicing the asanas along with pranayama for minimum two (2) hours in the morning before lunch.

One might suggest it’s because I’ve been “exercising”, but the answer is no. I’m a freelance spinning instructor, teaching minimum of five 45 minutes classes a week. I “exercise” enough, thank you very much. Sure you can get an “exercise” out of yoga, but I’d say I’ve been moving my body a lot more in different angles and planes, twisting my body along with proper conscious breathing which probably massaged my colon internally, thus stimulating elimination.

Yoga really does purify your body, especially your colons. I look forward to continuing this regular practice (partly) for a happier digestive system. You know what they say, happy tummy equals happy me.

 

— Miso