Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Sharing what we have is a beautiful way of relating to others
Our friendships are much enhanced by the quality of generosity
Even more significantly, the cultivation of non-greed becomes a strong force for liberation
What keeps us bond is desire and grasping in our own minds
As we practice giving we learn to let go

Monday, March 16, 2009

Kedgeree (from Khichuri)

The original Khichuri is easily digestible dish (no fish, meat or egg) that is beneficial for all constitutions. Westerners call it Kedgeree. Nigella replaces the earthier Indian flavours with the sharper ones of Thailand. A subtly spiced rice dish, almost original if I may say, but with extra vegetable, Mackerel and egg (my improvised version).

2 cups brown unpolished rice
4 cups water
1 small handful coriander leaves
½ tsp mineral salts (organic)
2 tsp ghee
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 big onion, finely sliced
5 shallots, finely sliced
½ tsp fresh turmeric (grated)
½ tsp coriander powder
½ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp whole cumin seed
½ tsp whole mustard seeds
½ tsp mild curry powder
1 pkt baby Kailan (organic)

2 pcs Mackerel
2 large eggs (free range)
4 stalks Coriander leaves

Wash rice and set aside.

Saute shallots, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder, whole cumin seed, whole mustard seeds with ghee for a few minutes. Add rice and stir so that it’s all well coated. Transfer into the rice cooker with 4 cup of water and add salt.

Steam the Mackerel and flake it with the fork.

The eggs required for this dish need to be what French wall mollet – hard enough to peel but with a soft, oozing yolk. In order to achieve this, you must not harshly boil the egg but gently simmer them, then turn off the heat and leave and leave it in the water for a while. Mine did not turn out as expected!

Use clean pan, saut̩ sliced onion until soft with olive oil and add curry powder, cook for 2 Р3 minutes. Add in baby kalian and flaked Mackerel, toss quickly.

Add the rice and serve hot with eggs and coriander leaves.

A healthy meal in a pot, my dinner for last night. Very delicious actually. Try it out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jackie, My Friend

It is not always easy to know when someone will have a great influence on us. The best way to handle this is to be nice to everybody.
When I first started teaching Yoga (moon-lighting) at the fitness clubs/spas, Jackie was one of those few people that gave me a chance, a chance to prove myself. How we met was totally unexpected. When asked, she always said we met ‘at the roadside’! I saw her ‘ad’ on the tree trunk. Yes, she posts the ‘ad’ for Yoga teacher onto the tree trunk, along the busy main road of Jalan P. Ramlee. Called her and manage to fix an appointment for the very next day.

To my horror, she’s forgotten about our appointment - I waited for almost half an hour before she sees me. What supposedly to be half an hour ‘interview’ turns to almost 3 hours of chit-chatting. She even sends me to LRT station! And I got the job as well. My friendship with Jackie blossoms into something very special up until today.

She’s always there for me – when my business in trouble or when my relationship with my ex crumble. If I need a kick in the ass, she’s the one I’ll turn to. She made me think outside the box, to look at life from different perspective and do something that I am not good at, be out of my comfort zone!

And I must say, she brings the best out of me.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Surya Namaskara

Stand up straight, keep rooting your feet firmly onto the mat, both arms at the side, alive and energise, palms facing inward. Pull the top of your shoulders back and relax them. Keep your head centered and your neck neutral. Be aware of the spine, especially lower lumber, remember to tilt the pelvis. Feel the abs.
Exhale and bring your hands to the heart center, in the middle of the chest, pressing the palms together.

Inhale slowly, raise the hands up until upper arms are next the ears or behind the line of the ears. No tension to the shoulder, lift torso forward with a straight spine, hinging at your hips, reaching up to the ceiling.
The legs should be firm and straight.

Exhale slowly and swan dive forward with a straight spine, hinging at your hips.

Your arms sweep down sideways, stopping when your fingers reach the mat on either side of your feet or the lowest allowed by your body. Ideally, palms should be flat on the mat, if possible.

Focus on drawing the crown of your head down toward the mat. Feel the stretch the back of the legs and lower back.
Thumbs are next to the baby toes, spread the fingers with middle finger pointing forward.

Inhale slowly, without moving your hands, pressing both palms onto the mat (bend the knees, if required), stretch the right leg backward to maximum, on the toes. Drop the right knee on the mat, point the right toes, soften the right hip (hamstring), slowly stretch the head up and gently lift the palms off the mat, until only fingertips touching the mat.
Front knee and ankle are in one straight line.

As you hold your breath, tuck in the right toes, straighten the right knee and lift if off the mat, lunch the left leg (front leg) to the back, next to the right leg.

Both hands directly under your shoulders, stacking shoulders, elbows and wrists in one vertical line. Shoulder blades are spiralling down your back, away from your ears and tailbone is scooping down toward your heels. Engage the quads and lift the front of your thighs, lift your belly to your spine.

Rotate the elbows facing the back, tucked both arms close (elbows point to the back) to torso and squeeze inner thighs, press toes down to the mat, exhale slowly ; bend elbows and lowered face and chest toward the mat.

Do not crunch the neck and upper back by allowing the mid-torso to sag.

Inhale slowly, pressed the toes and knees onto the mat and gently move chest and head forward. Keep elbows pointing to the back, tucked in both arms closed to the torso. Let your navel and thighs come down to the mat, pressing the toe nails down onto the mat, straighten the knees.
DO not look up, your view should about 10 – 20 inches infront. Maintain and lengthen the spine as ONE. Feel the stretch at the lower abs as well as ‘good’ stretch at lower lumber.

In this step, exhale, press both palms onto the mat, shoulders relax, tucked in the toes, bend the knees, and bring the head and chest down; slowly raise the hips up. You are in an inverted V.
Both spine and legs are straight.
Inhale and by pressing both palms firmly on the mat, launch the right foot forward, next to the right palm; if not possible, drop the let knee on the mat and then walk the right foot slowly until baby toe is next to the thumb.

Drop the left knee on the mat, point the left toes, soften the left hip, slowly stretch the head up and gently lift the palms off the mat, until only fingertips touching the mat. Lengthen the spine.
Front knee and ankle are in one straight line.

Exhale and bring the left foot forward next to right foot, straight spine, hinging at your hips.

Hands either side of your feet or the lowest allowed by your body. Ideally, palms should be flat on the mat, if possible.

Focus on drawing the crown of your head down toward the mat. Feel the stretch the back of the legs and lower back.

Thumbs are next to the baby toes, spread the fingers with middle finger pointing forward.

Inhale slowly, upper arms next to the ear or behind the line of the ears, lift torso forward with a straight spine, no tension to the shouler, hinging at your hips, reaching up to the ceiling.
Exhale and slowly lower both arms back to step 1.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Yoga Path

Yoga, in Sanskrit, can be translated as ‘union’. It originally comes from the root word yuj, which means ‘to yoke’, to attach yourself to task at hand with ox-like discipline. And the task at hand in Yoga is to find union – between mind and body, between individual and her God, between our thoughts and the source of our thoughts, between teacher and student and even between ourselves and our sometimes annoying friends.

Today, mainly people come to know Yoga through Madonna or its pretzel exercises for the body, but this is only Hatha Yoga, one limb of the philosophy. The ancients developed these physical stretches not for personal fitness, but to loosen up their muscles and minds in order to prepare them for meditation. It is difficult to sit in stillness for many hours, after all, if your hips is aching, keeping you from contemplating, your intrinsic divinity because you are too busy contemplating, “wow….. my hips really aches”.

But Yoga can also mean trying to find God through meditation, through scholarly study, through the practice of silence, through devotional service or through mantra – the repetition of sacred words in Sanskrit. While some of these practices tend to look rather Hindu in their derivation, Yoga is not synonymous with Hinduism, nor are all Hindus Yogis. True Yoga neither competes with nor precludes any other religion. You may use your Yoga – your disciplines practices of sacred union – to get closer to Siva, Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha or Yahweh. During my stay at the Ashram, I met devotees who identified themselves as practicing Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and even Muslims and at the same time others who would rather not talk about their religious affiliations at all, for which, in this contentious world, you can hardly blame them.

The Yogic path is about disentangling the built-in glitches of human conditions, which I’m going to over-simplify define here as the heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment. Different schools of thought over the centuries have found different explanations for man’s apparent inherently flawed state. Taoist calls it imbalance, Buddhism calls it ignorance, Islam blames our misery on rebellion against God and psychologist explains it ‘desire is the design flaw’.

Yoga is the effort to experience one’s divinity personally and then to hold on to that experience forever. Yoga is about self-mastery and the dedicated effort to haul your attention away from the endless brooding over the past and your nonstop worrying about the future, so that you can seek, instead, a place of eternal presence from which you may regard yourself and your surroundings with noise. Only from that point of even-mindedness will the true nature of yourself be revealed to you.

It’s about the journey, not the destination. Self journey. Self discovery. The Path. The Yoga Path was conceived based on that foundation.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Latest addition to my Garden

Everybody loves lilies, and today's hybrids are a snap to grow, unlike some of the more difficult ones of the past. What I have in my garden is called Spring Lily (Oriental Hybrid Lily Bulbs) - slightly pinkish with very light sweet scent.