The Bali Curse

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After 4 days of hiatus from Bikram yoga – ie just eat and play in Bali – I returned to the hot room today and felt like a wreck the moment I completed the eagle pose.

I felt nauseous, gassy and generally clumsy. I believe it is because I ate too much carbs when I was in Bali, and also the fact that I drank less water than usual with all that activities under the hot sun. I could feel the difference immediately. I was dehydrated.

My reflections – a mere 4 days of losing focus on what one should nourish the body with can damage all the hard work put in!

Moving forward, will hydrate like mad, increase my greens, cut the processed foods and bikram daily until I get the groove going again!

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Bikram 30 Day Challenge

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After a hiatus from Bikram as I went on my “Eat, Pray, Love” trip to Nepal and India in December for a whole month, I rebooted my regime by committing to the 30 Day Challenge at BYCH (Bikram Yoga City Hall).  I have just completed my 16th consecutive day and I feel really good. BYCH is a very nice studio with very friendly instructors and staff – feels like a second home the moment I step in daily.

What I like about the practice is that every session feels different even though the poses are the same. One day I could feel extremely powerful, yet another day I can feel like I have the weakest limbs ever. I have learnt not to expect anything, but just accept the way it is and just be. Very similar to my Buddhist meditation training where my teacher would always instruct me to “watch the mind, rest the mind, observe without any fabrications and simply be present and watch”. Of course, it is not easy. Concentration in ‘watching the mind’ is a challenge but when practiced often, the mind can rest more easily. From a few seconds, to probably a few minutes. And it is this ‘restful’ state which brings much bliss to the meditator.

Applying the same concept to my Bikram practice, I simply concentrate on the teacher’s instructions, and move into the poses with 101% effort and concentration. 101% is an aspiration, but most of the time I swing between 70 – 99% depending on the internal dialogue like “oh it is too hot today/ the instructor is annoying me today/ the person beside me is breathing so hard/ my legs need a rest/ i think the sweat is infecting my acne…..” and it goes on and on. There comes the benefits from mind training – the moment I lose concentration, I am able to bring the mind back to the present, and just flow into the pose with mindfulness.

I like Bikram yoga because it is an active form of physical meditation in complementing my journey in mind training. It is very hard to describe or put it to words because it is experiential. No matter how much I tell you how tasty the food tastes, you will never understand unless you taste it for yourself. The joy comes from that very few seconds of clarity when you are in the pose itself – and this joy simply follows you throughout the day.

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Sweat with me?

Sweat with me?

Those who follow me on Facebook would know that I have been attending Bikram classes at Bikram Yoga Harbourfront daily for the past 18 days religiously. It is still tough for me as a newbie but I would like to encourage you to give it a try. There are many articles about Bikram yoga online so I shan’t spend time marketing it here. But if you do want to try a 10-day unlimited pass for $50, please let them know that I have referred you. Thus far I have convinced 5 of my friends to join me already and they are really loving the benefits.

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September 24, 2013 · 1:33 pm

The Torture Chamber

Today was my 6th consecutive Bikram yoga session. And it doesn’t get easier at all. 90mins in a 40 deg C hot room with 40% humidity is a totally awful experience.

But I don’t know why I keep going back. During the classes, I felt like I hated everything. I hated the poses, I hated the fact that I had only 2mins rest (savasana or the ‘dead corpse’ pose) in between the challenging poses, I hated the breathlessness, I hated the heart thumping I swear I thought was going to go into a cardiac arrest, I hated the thirst…

But when the class ends, the hatred dissipates into a kind of bliss that I cannot describe. It follows me throughout the day.

And then I go back to the torture chamber again the very next day, trying to improve on the poses paying attention to the instructor’s dialogue, while I struggle with my own internal monologues.

“Lock your knees, lock your knees, lock your knees!”
– Yah if I could lock my knees you’d out of your job.

“Open your shoulders like a flower blooming.”
– I must be Rafflesia…wait how does a flower bloom in 40deg?

“It’s going to hurt but don’t be afraid…bend, bend, more and more till it is a 360 deg wheel”
– If I can do that I would have been in cirque du soleil and not here.

Anyway, I am still alive and will still be going back tomorrow. Bikram yoga is a love-hate relationship. It is addictive.

Try it and you will understand what I mean.

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Meatless-ly happy

2 months. Or 63 days to be exact. No meat. 

It started as a ’30-day trial’ as I was not even sure if I could stay on a vegetarian diet for long. Surprisingly, a lot of ‘inconveniences’ were self-conjured. Over the past weeks, I discovered that there were actually many vegetarian dining options out there – and many many other possibilities of how one could prepare a hearty meal without harming any animals. Most importantly, plants can taste good, if not better!

I am confident enough to say that I am pledging to be a vegetarian for life. I don’t want that awful sensation of putting animals into my mouth anymore. I don’t want to burp dead animals. I want to put a stop to violent animal farming practices. 

That said, I hope you don’t see me as some arrogant self-righteous animal rights crackpot. I am still your normal friend and I don’t mind you eating animals in front of me. My dearest Dad still enjoys his pig trotters and assam fish head while I quietly savour my lifeless vegetables at the dinner table. Our conversations are normal and family bonds remain as strong as before. Nobody at home could really find any reason to complain about me eating plants in front of them, so there. 

Nothing has changed really, I am still me, except for a slight stirring from within – that I am meatless-ly happy. 🙂

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Non-dairy alternatives

Friends exclaim in bewilderment when they realize that I don’t drink cow’s (or any other animal’s) milk. I like my coffee black and so I don’t feel that I am missing anything. The idea of drinking bodily fluids from another unknown animal sickens me…that’s just me….

What about your cereals you may ask. Well, I do take milk, but only from plant-based sources!

For the month of July, NTUC is having promotion on the following:

Eco-mil Almond Milk (Sugar-free)

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$5.20 (U.P $6.50)

Good Karma Flax Milk

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$4.75 (U.P $5.60)

Of course there’s always soy milk, but too much soy is bad too, hence it is important to drink a variety of plant-based milk derived from other sources. These include rice milk, whole grain milk, hazelnut milk…oh man there’s just so many alternatives out there and you’ll be spoilt for choice. Trust me, they taste helluva better than dairy milk! Do give it a try!

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Completed 30 Day Vegan Challenge

I am glad to announce that I have thrived well after becoming a vegan for the past 30 days!

I have no cravings for meat but I must say I do miss eggs sometimes. The other day while having breakfast with a friend I saw him eating his runny egg yolk I did waver a lil’ thinking how yummy it would be to have an egg yolk in my mouth.

That said, after one month of this vegan trial, I feel happy and energetic. I would like to stay on being a vegan as long as possible, but probably will not refuse dairy/egg products like ice-cream or cakes once in a while. Will not be that strict but definitely will stick to being a vegetarian for life. If we want to be strict about labels, I will probably be 80% vegan and 20% vegetarian. Haha.

Anyway, to all aspiring vegetarians/vegans, what are you waiting for? Just start today and stick to it! It’s not as difficult or scary as it sounds. What’s so scary about plants anyway? They have no eyes, no ears, no mouth…they don’t run, crawl or fly…in fact now I FEAR eating animals!

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