Just stop and listen

Self-center happened when one lives too much by ‘because of’.

‘How could I ever finish my work? That senior asked me to help him to do some work, and you know he doesn’t take no.’

‘I can’t even have a proper 8 hours of sleep everyday, how would I ever go for a squash game? By the time I reach home from work, it’s already 11pm!’

Due to courtesy or being nice to people, when one finds it difficult to say no, it will become a habit, then things will turn downhill because this person will be having less and less time / space for himself.

I was like that. Until more and more incidents of not being appreciated came, I started to say no nearly to everything and selfishness kicked in. In my mind, ‘I came to this world alone, and I’m gonna leave alone too, why would I live for them? I should be the one to drive this life and I am the one and only who can love no one but myself.’ Then I don’t listen and pay attention to my surrounding anymore, just myself.

There I felt unhappy with my work and life and distance myself away. ‘Why would I care?’ I thought. Still, instead of getting the peace I thought I could get, I got more and more negative. I complained and got frustrated easily, and can feel that this started to affect my surrounding. That was when I decided to take a break from the normal life, to think everything through, to do self-reflection and understand about my true self.

Then I questioned, ‘What role would I like to play on this surface of the earth?’.

Few times my answer came in as, ‘I want to help, but not sure whom and where to start.’ Then last week session with Master Sree woke me up when I mentioned about the Australian Wild Fire, ‘There’s only so much we can do. We are not Superman,’ he said. He also mentioned about Cave Yogis who begged food from people, not to ease their own hunger and survival to live, but to take the sin and disease from people by receiving food from them, then bless them for good life. Then I started to look around, everyone needs an ear to listen to them, just like I do. My uncle told me that I’m someone who fights til death for things I stand for. All because I needed someone to listen to me, to recognize me, to feel being accepted. And when I had a conversation with him few days later, I started to listen to him when he vented about my cousin. I started to understand his point of view, I felt him. I didn’t argue like I used to do to prove that what I know is correct. And am glad that I offered my ear to listen. I hope this is a good start, to discover more about myself, and answer that question with firmer statement.

Everyone has their stories and reasons for actions taken, and there shouldn’t be anybody to judge. We just have to stop and listen, then we will realize why we shouldn’t judge at the first place.

Note to self: I shall start to listen to myself carefully. And don’t judge.

Self-upgrading

Detachment in self-studies helps me a lot in self-upgrading via doing spring cleaning for my life. Not just only for the house cleaning, but also for the hobbies, thoughts, planning and etc. Subconsciously, we tend to feel ‘rich’ when we have abundance of things in life, but in real life, out of those 20 pieces of tops that one has, there will be always that 5 pieces frequently worn.

Just like before throwing anything out of the house, items will be laid on the floor and to be selected which will not be used anymore, too old and torn to be used anymore, brings bad or traumatic memories, these are all ready to be packed and thrown. Whatever left to be kept do not only makes the closet less packed, this makes us clearly see what we actually lack off and needing, and also allows more new items to be fit in to make our lives better.

As for the hobbies or thoughts or planning, these can also be listed down and filtered through, whichever not beneficial to the current and near future life, outdated and traumatic ones, all can be discarded out. Whatever passed are all history and to be archived as memories. One important note to self while doing the filtering work: Whatever not useful for current life, don’t keep and stop thinking I still can keep it for future use, because this will never come.  From here we can see that whatever left are what currently defines us, and also allow more space to learn and absorb more things. Through this, negative energies can be lessen internally to allow positive ones in.

Learn to let go, there only the new beautiful things will come. Now it’s time to do some listing and filtering work.

Note to self: Collection and keeping in abundance are 2 different thing.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on Energy in Yoga

There’s always a balance in everything in this world: strong & weak, pretty & ugly, positive & negative, poor & rich, & etc. Lessons in YTT opens up my mind to another point of view which has never came across my head regarding spirits and paranormal activities.

Science told us that energy cannot be destroyed but has always been recycled into different forms and stronger energy will overcome the weaker energy, however, the positivity or negativity of the energy can only be explained via Yoga, that is: comes with the intention behind the used of energy: Positive ones makes the surrounding comfortable and people happy; negative is harmful and dark.

Below are some examples of scenarios regarding knowledge of energy which I find interesting and make sense (do correct me if I’m wrong):

Have you every wonder where does the energy in our body goes to after we die? Like I mentioned before, energy cannot be destroyed. Scientifically, every action will produce reaction and release of energy. Every food we eat will produce energy to our body to work. So when the body decomposes, actions happen, hence there will be released of energy into different forms into the earth. But I do believe certain percentage of the energy will turn into aura form, and that’s how human might feel or see the passing people.

Do you believe there’s another ‘dimension’ our eyes cannot see? I do believe there’s one which sometimes crisscross in our daily lives, and I respect that as it is a place we are not supposed to cross to, and we have no business to do that. Like my father always told me whenever I go to any foreign place and I don’t ‘feel’ right, just whisper, ‘I’m not here to do harm, but if I cause any uncomfortness, I apologize.’ I mean, c’mon, those who live in the other dimension are ‘people’ too, right? Courtesy is never wrong. Just remember, words are powerful, if, you mean every word that comes out of your mouth.

Every one of us do have positive and negative energy inside us, we just have to balance it well. Good people have more positive ones and hide of the bad ones, and vice versa. The current world is cruel and unhappy, isn’t it better to spread more positive ones by providing more good doings to yourself and the surrounding to balance the negativity off?

Exhale out the negative energy and see the world with a beautiful smile. 🙂

From All Perspectives

Hello everyone, how are you?

I will be writing the final blogpost for TTC as our exams are tomorrow. I apologise for the slight delay in uploading this as I just returned from U2’s concert at the National Stadium.

U2 is an amazing band and many of their songs carry political messages, they opened the concert with Bloody Sunday and closed with One Love. Many of their songs preached universal peace and  many talked about understanding a situation from various perspectives.

Some things in life need not be only viewed from the front, there can be other useful angles for observation too!

I was wondering of how I was just revising adjustments of asanas a few days ago. Similarly, there are 3 planes where instructors can inspect and modify their student’s asanas and muscle movements.

Frontal Plane:

The frontal or coronal plane of movement dissects the front of the body from the back.

The movements along this plane can be easily seen from the front or back of the body. Imagine an axis drawn from the top of your head down the centre of your body which splits it left and right, meaning any time you abduct (move away from the middle axis line) and adduct (move toward the middle axis line)

Transverse Plane:

The transverse plane of movement divides the body into upper and lower portions. All movements in this plane involve rotation, either inward (internal rotation) or outward (external rotation). It is important to note that Joints which permit rotation include the shoulder and hip.

In yoga, asanas that move in this plane are twists like Marichyasana D. 

Sagittal Plane:

The sagittal plane of movement dissects the right and left sides of the body.

Sagittal plane movements take place when we move our body front or back such as forward folds or backbends. We can often adjust the students alignment in postures like Vrksasana by observing from the side of the body for the lifted leg which may tilt front or back, or the hips which may not be lifted. Kakasana and ukatasana can be also accurately observed and modified from the sides of the body.

Santosha – Contentment

In a blink of an eye, we are at the end of the course. I remember whining about having to wake up way before my usual routine, to make it for daily 8am classes. My course mates and I would joke about how dreadful mornings are, and seek solace in one another sharing the same struggles to this new routine.

Fast forward to the second last day of the course, thinking about how our YTT journey is coming to a close and the possibility that our paths may not cross again leaves me feeling bittersweet. Overheard in class today, “I am going to feel so lost. No need to wake up early and come here?” Funny how when YTT is ending, we are actually going to miss waking up at 630am!??

It also reminded me of Santosha, the second Niyamas of Patanjali’s Eight Limbs of Yoga –  contentment.

Demand is high only and especially when supply is low, vice versa. We whined when we had to wake up early, and then start missing this routine when it is coming to an end. In a nonexistent perfect world, if Santosha was in practice, we would be appreciative of every new day we have from waking up from our sleep, our able bodies, the opportunity have a class to attend and the luxury of time to be able to attend this course. We would be in the present and enjoy every moment, without complaints. But of course, this is highly unrealistic. We know this in theory, but practicing it is a different ball game. All we can do in our best ability is to be mindful. Accept and appreciate what we are, what we have and make the best out of it.

I believe showing gratitude to the luxuries of time, health, money we currently have will fill our hearts. More often than not, complacency takes over and we tend to forget that life is unpredictable. A twist of fate can happen any moment, and everyone would go “THAT’S SO SHOCKING” … as if we never knew how life works.

In light of Thanksgiving today, I am thankful to share the last 19 days with my course mates, and an impish buddy who cracks me up every day. Thank you Sree for sharing your stories and wisdom with us.

Namaste

Asanas

I will be sharing about my favourite asanas in this post but don’t worry, it will not be too long.

Setu Bandhasana (Setu Bandha Sarvāṅgāsana) – Bridge Pose

This is a great asana for opening the chest to go into deeper backends. With regular practice, bridge pose builds strength in the lower back quite quickly and is recommended for people with lower back pain to help gain strength and flexibility. It also stretches your back, neck, and chest and relaxes your body, remember to breathe with the throat as you press your chest into your chin.

Utthita Parsvakonasana – Extended Side Angle Pose

Another chest opening asanas which lengthens the side of your body to create openess in the chest area and the heart. It deeply stretches groin, back muscles, spines, and hamstring.

Those who seek to strengthen themselves can tip toe on the front leg and lift upwards, or go indo a bounded side angle pose to create a twist that massages internal organs/meridian points.

Ardha Pincha Mayurasana – Dolphin Pose

This is one of my favourite pose to practice as I venture into more arm balancing and inversion classes. Dolphin pose strengthens and stretches the shoulder, arms, upper back, and legs at the same time. It really is an elevated downwars facing dog and provides relief from headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and mild depression.

In this pose, one begins to understand and feel the body weight on forearms and shoulders and work on keeping the back straight by bending the knees, and eventually work towards putting the heels on the mat.

Supta Baddha Konasana – Reclined Bound Angle Pose

This is a pose that has been difficult for me due to my tighter hips. This asana increases blood circulation in the lower abdomen and improves digestion. I feel that it works my entire hip regiong, sretches the inner thighs and also increases range of external rotation in the hips.

Baddha konasana or supta baddha konasana then becomes an immensely useful posture for those of us who lead the modern lifestlye aka long sitting hours in the office.

Mock Class Teaching

Hello everyone, how have you been?

Towards the end of YTT, we had to do some practice mock classes for 30mins – ultra beginner (which was just stretch actually), beginner, intermediate, and 2 theme class.

Teaching was a little difficult at the start due to us not being familiar with the class format. One rookie mistake made was the assumption of how advanced beginner students are.

Master Sree shared that he sometimes get ultra beginner students to do eye rotations! This drew some gasps from the rest of my YTT classmates too.

However teaching does get easier after some practice and I learnt a lot about how to adjust different body types and the kind of students that we can encounter in class. The best advise given to us was to “go with the flow” because no matter how you plan, there might be students who might come with unforeseen circumstances like a pulled muscle or even a huge belly.

Master Paalu shared that we can build our yoga classes around 5 of our favourite asanas, I found this extemely useful so I will be sharing some of my favourite asanas in the next blog post!

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Be Present :)

“Yesterday is history,

Tomorrow is a mystery,

And today is a gift…

That’s why they call it present” – Kung Fu Panda

 

We heard this quote most of the time. But how many people are really living in present?

 

The best take away for me from this course is understanding of ‘being present’.

 

Past – our memories

Sometimes we will think about our childhood memories or any of our happy and sad memories and as we think about the memories, we are subconsciously comparing our current life/moment with our past and usually this is where the sadness come from. When we faced problem in life, usually we will think and miss our childhood times, and at this moment we will feel sad because we are consciously or subconsciously comparing past and present.

 

Future – our expectations

Sometimes we will think about how we want our future to be? We want to have a big house, have a good career or perfect partner. If we focus too much in the expectation or life projection, we will look forward or have overactive imagination in the life that not exist yet and forgo to enjoy the current life we are living. Moreover, if things do not go according our way, we might living anxiously which affects our health.

 

Of course, the ‘past’ and ‘future’ are part of our life and we cannot forget or ignore them. Our past is our life experience and lessons that shaped us to who we are and our future projection is the motivation for our improvement in life. However, we need to balance them with ‘present’ and yoga has personally help me on this ‘balancing’.

 

In yoga, while we practising pranayama, we learn to focus on our breathing and how our breathing affects each part of our body, our thought without any judgement and actually this is the time that we focus on the present moment. Also, we will learn to practice asana with present-moment awareness by anchoring the mind to the physical movement, breath control and also muscle movement. By living and enjoying the present moment, we will be contented and find happiness.

Teaching Yoga

I always thought teaching yoga is easy as the teacher seems effortless when instructing the class. But after these three days of teaching, I started to understand the effort that goes behind the scene.

There are a lot of factors (see below) need to be considered when conducting the yoga class and usually these factors needed to be performed simultaneously. As mentioned by Master Paalu, teaching one hour class might be equivalent to two hours of working in office due to the intensity of the focus you given to the students in the class.

  • Breathing instruction
  • Counting
  • Sequence of asana
  • Transition of asana
  • Variation of asana for different level of student
  • Anatomy of asana
  • Physical alignment for student
  • Observation/ attention to student to prevent injuries
  • Instructor’s tone/ Morale of the class
  • Benefit of the asana
  • Detachment of personal emotional of the teacher

Last but not least, the most important key is to teach with heart. We need to put ourselves in our student shoes, we might be able to do all the advance poses but the student we teaching might be ultra-beginner who are not able to bend or stretch properly or elderly persons who has physical health problem such as knee cap or leg injuries. Regardless of the type of students we have, we need to be empathize with them by teaching them the poses which are suitable to their physical limitation.

Teaching yoga is not an easy job. I really respect and appreciate the seen or unseen effort of all the yoga teachers.

Yoga Lesson Plans

One more lesson to exam. OMG time really flies; I am sure I will miss my weekends with the girls and having “boot camp” early in the morning – precious memories.

Am glad I signed up this course, no regrets and also grateful to have Master Sree and Master Paalu who guided us patiently 😊

We were taught on how to sequence lessons for the last part of the course and it was an eye opening experience for me because, there were so many things to consider!

Are there any new comers in the class?
Anyone doing Yoga for the first time?
Any medical conditions?
Simple postures which I took for granted might not be suitable for beginners.

Gosh!

The timing for each pose, the sequencing of the pose, the warm up, the opening, the closing, the tone of your voice all needs to be taken into considerations of the class you are teaching.

But the contradictory thing is that after painstakingly planned for 2 classes, I actually enjoy planning the rest of the class, taking note on the type of asanas, which asana comes first, seated first of standing first – so much fun!

But of course, being a student is so much easier.
Be in your Yoga wear, come in time for class and just follow the instructions.
Finish, go home.

New found respect for the teachers.

Bravo!

Oh thru class planning, I found out some of my favorite asanas – Tree, Malasana & Camel!

21092019 Weekend YTT
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Shirley