Thursday, January 22, 2009

To My Beloved Papa

As a flames blown out by the wind
Goes to rest and cannot be defined.
So the enlightened man freed from selfishness
Goes to rest and cannot be defined.
Gone beyond all images -
Gone beyond the power of words.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Well, Chinese New Year is around the corner and as we all aware, its eating time! Let's eat smarter this year, the year of an OX.

For many people, learning to energy test the food changes their relationship to what they eat. Test to see if your body is going to like a particular food, not based on taste but either its increases or reduces your energy level.
Because preconceptions can affect an energy test, it is better not to try to guess what the results will be. Subtle energies are responsive to our thoughts, so clear the mind as as well as you can prior to conducting energy test. Drink water before the test as water conducts electricity, and dehydration inteferes with the flow of energy in your body.

1. Both of you take a deep breath.
2. The person being tested place one hand straight down the side of the body with thumb touching the outer thigh, palm facing to the back and fingers pointing down and the other touching/holding the food that she/he planning to eat.

3. The tester slips her/his palm (facing out) between the body and the arm, just above the wrist.

4. The tester then asks the person being tested to hold her/his arm firm, elbow straight (I often use words such as 'don't let me pull your arm away from your body').

5. With the hand and with pressure from one to two seconds, the tester slowly pulls the arm away from the body.

With neither person straining, the arm will either pull away relatively easily or it will feel locked in place. Do not struggle as this is not a competion nor it is about muscle strength; it's about energy flow.

If the person being tested feels she/he is losing her/his strength upon touching the food, indicates that her/his body vibration is not in harmony with the food vibration. This may mean :

a. the food is never good for you;
b. the food is not good for you right now or
c. you have an allergy to the food.

Always remember, one person's vitamin is another's poison.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Perfect Posture – The Yoga Way

Posture is body language, an asana (pose) that tells the rest of the world how you feel – about others, about your life, about yourself. Posture is personality.

So what does your posture say? Are you slouching, facedown on the world? Do you walk with a resigned, round-shouldered look on life? Is your back so straight that people think you are unbendable? Or do you strut, head up, back straight, like a peacock – adventurous, outgoing, ready to meet all challenges?

Maybe your posture isn’t an intentional stance, but the simple result of bad habit. Even so, it can give people the wrong message.

Good posture is practical for other reasons, too. It’s the perfect way to prevent backaches. Your backbone – 33 bony segments called vertebrae – is your body’s foundation. The vertebrae column is what enables you to stand upright. It surrounds and protects your spinal cord, and it is where muscles and ligaments attach to your back. It works as a weight bearer, yet allow flexibility in movement, so you don’t walk stiffly, like a zombie.

Muscles are the key to good posture. Back muscles in proper working order support the spine from the rear. Stomach muscles help to support the spine from the front.

Poor posture wears against the disc – the shock absorbers – in your spine. Poor posture strains and loosens ligaments and it pushes and pulls unevenly on all your muscles. A lifetime of slouching can cause chronic headaches, fatigue and sometimes body disfigurements. Here’s how to make your posture perfect.

Start each day in balance. Begin each day by putting your skeleton in alignment, basic stretches to help you find proper balance. Full extension of the spine, side flexion, hyperextension of the spine (forward bend) and reverse forward flexion of the spine (roll up) – part of warm up in all my hatha classes.

Tadasana (Mountain pose). Relax and practice standing up straight, not the stiff military posture. Distribute your weight evenly on both feet, shoulder away from the ears, hold your chest high, stomach will pull in naturally as you tilt you’re lowering pelvis slightly back. Notice that your buttocks will tuck under and lower lumber will have a very slight arch.

Release tension in the shoulder and neck. Release the tension with shoulder rolls and head circles – warm up in my theraphy yoga classes.

Tilt your pelvis. You can adjust and strengthen the lower lumber with ‘pranayama’ (breathing exercise). Standing too straight without ‘tiny little’ curve called flat back and too much curve called lordosis.

Slouch no more. Stand or sit with both arms at the back, clasp your hands and away from the back as far as possible. This will stretching muscles across your chest, pinching shoulder blades together and contracting those in the back.

Uncross your legs. Crossed leg will throw your body out of alignment. A good hairstylist or barber will tell you to uncross your legs before they cut your hair – they do not want their work to come out lopsided. Keep both feet flat on the floor.

Sit squarely. Sit up straight until you can feel the ‘sitting bones’ firmly on the chair or mat, when you cant feel those bones, you’ve probably rolled down in your seat and are slumping.

Keep your distance. Don’t be tempted to lean your arms and elbow on your desk or table. Sit 6 to 8 inches away from it when you aren’t working – too far to succumb to sound-shouldered posture.

Get good sleep. Sleeping on your stomach is the worst thing you can do because it accentuates the curve in your back. Choose a mattress firm enough to keep you from sinking into it when you lie down and you and your partner do not roll together in the middle!

Keep in tone. Stretch your muscles daily; posture is only as good as the muscles that keep you in line. Keep your muscles strong.

Get maximum relief. At the end of the day, rest your back and improve your posture at the same time. Viparita Karani – lie on the mat with both legs up against the wall.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chinese New Year Closure

The Studio shall be closed from the Jan 25th to Jan 30th, 2009. We will reopen for classes from Jan 31st, 2009 @ Saturday.
We would like to wish all our practitioners Happy Chinese New Year.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


I have two principal ways of discovering the areas where I fail to see myself. The 1st is acknowledging the qualities in others which irritate me, 2nd is recognizing the comments that make me defensive.

All I have to do to discover what annoys me in other people’s behavior is to review my latest encounters, but I have more difficulty recognizing when I am defensive.

I can identify it best by the following syndrome :

I answer quickly;
I feel in need of talking at length, and impatient when interrupted;
I explain;
I try to persuade;
But I feel frustrated even if I appear to be succeeding, as if the damage has already done;
I think hurriedly and I feel a strong resistance to pausing and considering as if something will be lost if I do this;
My face feels fixed and serious;
I usually avoid eye contact immediately after hearing the comment;
I am incapable of taking the comment any way but seriously; the words never seem light or funny to me.

When my reaction becomes apparent to the people present, they often take the situation lightly. I feel somewhat misunderstood and misused.

Now that I know that when I critise other I am seeing my own fault, I like to be very honest and very specific in my criticism. After I get it straight how I think this fault works in someone else, I can then look at my own behavior with a surprising new clarity.

This way of critising works best when I do it SILENTLY!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Arthritis – Alternate Route

I am not going to tell about new miracle cures or what arthritis is, but how to bring about pain relief without getting a prescription filled or making a trip to a doctor.

Lose weight, gain relief. More stress and pressure are placed on the joints of an overweight person compared to a person with normal weight. This increases the stress on the cartilage, which interferes with the bone, thus increasing the incidence of inflammation, swelling and pain.

Stretch gently for strength and mobility. Incorrect moving harms but intelligent moving heals. Don’t baby your joints. Moving hurts but not moving destroys.

I keep that philosophy in mind when teaching yoga for my arthritic practitioners. Yoga teaches movements with proper joint alignment which helps bring deformed joints back to normal position as appropriate muscles are lengthened and strengthened.

Find relief through less stress. Childbirth is very painful but women learn how to deal with that pain by learning how to relax thru’ breathing. If you are hurting and you tense up, you hurt even more.

Use ice to prevent pain and use heat to reduce pain.

Copper bracelet. Studies showed that some people with arthritis seem to have difficulty metabolizing copper from the food they eat, leading to increased pain. The dissolved copper from a bracelet bypasses the oral route be entering the body through the skin (refer to ‘The Copper Bracelet and Arthritis’ by Dr Helmar Dollwet, Ph.D).

Fish for relief, not everyone but some.

Master massage. Work the muscles that are attached to the tendons leading to the painful joints, using a compression technique.

Boost Vitamin C intake. Studies have shown that people with rheumatoid arthritis are deficient in Vitamin C.

Practice food avoidance. In most cases, nightshade family (white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, and all peppers, except black pepper) and milk products.

Cut back on vegetable oil. Known to contain high levels of Omega-6 fatty acids, which have shown to cause inflammation in those with rheumatoid arthritis. 2 oils are low in Omega-6 are canola oil (made from rapeseed) and olive oil.

Carry on with vegetable juice. Ahhhh…. My favourite.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Energy Medicine and Me

I have been asked for years about the nature of energy medicine - what is energy medicine? What benefits doeas it offer a person that he or she cannot gain from conventional medicine?

Energy medicine is safe, natural and accessible. It is both contemporary and ancient. The term being used in many ways todays, ranging from the introduction of 'shamanic healing practices' in modern cultures to the use of power electromagnetic and imaging technologies in modern hospitals. It embraces lawful principles and mysteries; routine procedures and artistry; matter and spirit. Energy medicine is the best term I know for describing the growing number of approaches where an understadning of the body as a system of energies is being applied for promoting health, healing and happiness. The belief that repressing an illness through drugs is of use to the healing process will come to be seen as harmful rather as beneficial.

And when shall we expect such changes to occur? Dramatic shifts in medcine and healing are happening all around is now. Our society has shown respect for the holistic movement and energetic medicine by it growing interest in learning more about this field and choosing to engage in alternative healing methds for diseases.

18 years of yoga practice has help me to take my first small step into the energy medicine world and I enjoyed every moment of it. It’s a gift; every gift comes with a heavy responsibility.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Body Odour

Never before in my entire life have I perspired as much as I did in Yogyakarta and Bali recently. Where does BO come in? BO is most often caused by a combination of perspiration and bacteria.

Yes, we all suffer from it, one way or another.

Being a Yoga Teacher demands a fair share of physical ‘work out’ especially if we are teaching beginners. We are our own walking billboard! Simple basic ways that help me stays clean (and smells good) through-out the day.

Scrub. The most basic way to hold BO at bay; particularly in those areas of the body that are most likely to smell, such as armpits and groins. Remember that perspiration and bacteria both work night as well as day shifts, in my case, I always shower and change clothing (yes, including inner wear) before class starts.

Wash more than the body. We can wash till our skin puckers like a prune but we’ll still smell bad if our clothes aren’t clean.

Choose natural fabrics such as natural cotton absorb perspiration better than synthetic materials. The absorbed sweat is then free to evaporate from the fabric. Indian unpolished cotton is my favourite; rarely (almost never) wear branded attire such as Adidas or even Nike.

Anti-perspirants work for some people but I totally avoid it as they are basically ‘drugs’. Many anti-perspirants combine anti-perspirant with deodorant but deodorants themselves cannot control perspiration.

Le Crystal Natural is a chunk of mineral salts, formed into crystal, that helps keep bacteria under control without irritating the skin. I remember my mum used this and still using it!

Watch what we eat. Extracts of proteins and oils from certain food and spices in our body excretions and secretions for hours after eating them and can impart an odor. Fish, cumin, curry and garlic lead the list! Fish? Yeap, hard to swallow but its true.

Once a month, I pamper myself with ‘mandi rempah’- pandan leaves, limau purut, crush old ginger, rose and ‘bunga cina’ petals and a cup of Epsom salt.