Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I will be away from next week and will not be doing any new posting in my blog during this period.

Wishing all of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tips for a Better Yoga Practice

You will find it uncomfortable to do a yoga practice after eating a large meal, so wait for about two hours before starting a practice. If you want to practice but feel very hungry, eat a piece of fruit or other small snack.

Stand or sit and become aware of your breathing at the beginning of each practice. Reflect on your inhalation and your exhalation until each is smooth and regular. Try to keep that awareness and smoothness throughout your practice.

Use your breath as your teacher. When your breath becomes forced or uneven, your teacher is telling you to rest and wait for your breath to recover.

When your attention wander during practice, gently bring your attention back to focus on your breathing and the movements of your body.

"Feeling irritated, restless, afraid, and hopeless is a reminder to listen more carefully" - Pema Chodron

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Simple and Natural Ways to Keep Fit

Here are some simple ways to make exercise a part of your daily life.

Wake-up Workout

When your eyes open, sit up slowly without using your hands. With legs straight out, lean forward until you feel a gently stretch in your back and hamstrings. Hold, then, using your abs, lower yourself flat. Rest and repeat two or more times. Strengthen core.

Balance Booster

While brushing your teeth in the morning, alternate standing on one leg as you switch mouth quadrants (every 30 seconds). Balancing develops your core muscle and may even be good for your brain. You can also do this at night before going to bed.

Be a Ballerina

As you wait for the water to boil, stand sideways, put one hand on the counter, and lift the outside leg straight in front of you, keeping it extended. With upper body straight, hold for a few seconds and move it to the side, hold and extend it behind you. Do five to ten times on each leg. Tone outer thighs, hip flexors and quadriceps.

Recharge Yourself

Anytime you’re waiting in line, stand evenly on both feet, clasp hands behind your back and squeeze your shoulder blades together to open your chest, an energizing yoga-based move that stimulates the nervous system. Hold for ten to 20 seconds while breathing in and out, taking longer on the inhale.

Play Footsie

After dinner while you’re still sitting at the table, extend your right leg out and slowly bend it up and down, squeezing and holding it the up position for at least five seconds. Repeat on each leg five times. Sculpt quadriceps.

Lift those Hips

Before you tuck yourself in for the night, try doing this. Lie on your back on the floor with your legs up on the edge of the bed or a chair. Slowly bend your knees, lifting your hips off the floor. Hold for five seconds, relax and repeat 10 to 12 times. This exercise firms up hamstrings and core.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Mosquito Plant

During my recent trip to Kuantan to visit my cousin who owns a nursery, he gave me a plant that repels mosquitoes. My mum had been complaining that the mosquito sprays purchased from the supermarket and the fogging arranged by the condo management were not effective in getting rid of the mosquitoes.

So, when my cousin told us about the mosquito plant, we were only too glad to accept it from him. The plant has a sweet lemony citronella scent and is easily grown as a potted plant with its attractive foliage. This plant contains citronella oil, the oil is the ingredient necessary for repelling mosquitoes. Citronella has long been used to deter mosquitoes. It doesn't harm them, but they don't like citronella and avoid it.

The other night while I was sleeping in my room, I could hear the buzzing sound of the mosquito near my ear. I decided to pick a few leaves from the mosquito plant and place them in a small plate in my room. It really worked as the mosquito disappeared and I have not been bitten by any mosquitoes since. My mum also picked some leaves and left them in her room and had the same effect.

The leaves are most effective when they are crushed and rub on the skin to act as a repellent as this releases the citronella. As the leaves still maintain a strong fragrance even when they start to wilt, I have placed the drying leaves into a bowl and place them in my living room.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Throat-Control (Ujjayi) Breathing

There are various ways to control and refine your breathing in yoga. Throat-control breathing is particularly useful because you can use it throughout your yoga practice. By making a soft sound in your throat, only audible to yourself, you become more conscious of whether your breath is smooth and regular or becoming focused and rushed.

1.Open your mouth and make a “ha” sound with your breath rather than with your voice as you breath out.

2.Now close your mouth, and try to make the “ha” sound with your breath. You will find yourself making a soft hissing sound in your throat.

3.Throughout your yoga practice, except when you are resting, always breathe through your nose.

4.To begin with, try to make this hissing sound loudly each time you exhale.

5.As you become more familiar with the technique of throat-control breathing, you can work more quietly and also add the sound to your inhalation.

6.Use ujjayi breathing as much as you can in all your practice. You will soon find it natural to use it all the time.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Foods to beat the Flu Bug

The weather in the Klang Valley these days can cause us to fall sick easily, especially when it can be hot and sunny in the afternoon and then in the evening, thunderstorms and heavy rain or it could be raining non-stop for the whole day.

Here are some foods that can help to boost your immune system:

Orange juice

Vitamin C may shorten the duration of your cold, helping you get back on your feet.

Oatmeal, bananas, fish, chicken, turkey

They help maintain the health organs that make infection-fighting white blood cells.

Apples, cranberries, tomato sauce

These contain flavonoids, anti-inflammatory substances that can strengthen your immune system

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

5 Easy Ways to Keep In Shape

Regular strength training will help prevent injuries, protect joints and improve posture, Try these five moves.

Calf Raise

Stand with feet shoulders-width apart, arms by sides with a dumb-bell (or two small bottles of water or cans of soup) in each hand. Exhale as you raise your heels off the ground. Inhale as you return your heels slowly to the ground.

Abdominal Crunch

Lie on back – legs bent, feet flat, hands behind ears. Exhale as you curl up slowly. Only lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor. Don’t pull on your head or neck. Inhale and slowly uncurl until you are lying back on the floor.

Triceps Kickback

Kneel on all fours. Hold dumb-bell in hand and bend arm at the elbow (upper arm should stay in line with side of body). Exhale as you straighten your lower arm behind you. Inhale as you bring it back down.

Leg Press

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and a dumb-bell in each hand. Inhale as you squat slowly down. Keep your back straight. Don’t bend your knees past a 90-degree angle. Exhale as you push back up. Don’t lock your knees.

Lateral Raise

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms by sides and a dumb-bell in each hand. Keep elbows slightly bent. Exhale as you raise your arms, inhale as you lower them,

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Instant Home Spa

Stiff from too much housework? Give yourself spa-style relief by trying these recipes from Healing Home Spa by Valerie Gennari Cooksley.

Sore Hand Scrub
Mix 1 tsp olive oil, juice of ½ lemon, 2 tsp honey and 2 drops almond extract. Massage into hands and wrap with a towel. Rinse after 15 minutes. The lemon cleans and the oil and honey soften.

Hot Stone Foot Bath
Place marbles or smooth, clean stones in a basin fill with hot water. Add 1 tbs unsweeted cocoa powder, 2 tbs buttermilk powder, 2 tbs baking soda and ½ tsp cinnamon and mix. Roll your feet over the stones, concentrating on sore spots and then soak.

Macho Muscle Rub
Mix 1 tbs olive oil, ½ tsp ground ginger and a pinch each of cayenne pepper and hot mustard pepper, let stand for 10 minutes. Massage into muscles, avoiding your eyes and any senstitive or broken skin.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Foods that can help beat Indigestion

Peppermint Tea contains substances that can ease spasm in the gut walls. Mint or peppermint tea made from fresh mint leaves is said to help improve your digestion after a large meal. It can also help to control nausea.

Cardamom helps protect against digestive problems such as indigestion, flatulence, stomach cramps and can prevent acid regurgitation and belching. Cardamom has a delicate spicy flavour and can be added to a variety of sweet or savoury dishes such as curries, rice puddings and biscuits. But the simplest way to use it to improve your digestion is to drink an infusion of the seeds after meals.

Fennel can help to improve digestion and relieve stomach cramps. Fennel tea relieves nausea, flatulence and bloating. However, fennel seeds are also believed to encourage menstruation and should therefore be avoided by pregnant women.

Manuka Honey is made from the flower of Manuka or New Zealand tea tree and possesses strong antibacterial qualities. A dessert spoon of cold pressed Manuka honey after each meal and another at bedtime can help heal stomach ulcers and kill bacteria.

Ginger is a popular as a treatment for digestive problems ranging from mild indigestion and flatulence to nausea and vomiting. Some people find that sucking a piece of crystallized ginger or drinking ginger ale or ginger tea does the trick. To make ginger tea, simply grate 1 cm piece of fresh root ginger into a mug of boiling water and leave to stand for 10 minutes before drinking.

How to prevent Indigestion

•Eat several small meals a day but don’t miss any.

•Take your time over eating and chew your food well.

•Avoid fried and fatty foods and any other foods which you know cause you problems.

•Control stress and avoid tense situations.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Online Yoga Music

I have always like to listen to music while on the net and have been looking for online radios that play the kind of music that I like. Well, I came across this website live365 internet radio that broadcast thousands of radio stations offering different genres of music ranging from easy-listening to classical. You can opt to listen free online without subscription with commercial breaks or you can sign-up for their VIP package with unlimited and commercial-free access.

I found some stations that play yoga music to inspire your practice on and off your yoga mat. My favourite stations are Asana – Music for Yoga, the playlist includes music from Terry Oldfield, Russill Paul, Krishna Das and Rasa; Lotus Flower Radio which plays healing and spiritual music; and Healing and Relaxation for music to ease stress and relax after a busy day.

Due to the royalties involved in broadcasting internet radio, some of the stations may be unavailable at peak times of the day if you are not a VIP subscriber. You can tune to other stations if the chosen radio is not available.

Meanwhile, for this holiday season, I am tuning in to the stations that play Christmas songs.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Anti-Stress Tips

We all suffer from stress at one time or another which is a symptom of modern living which is virtually impossible to avoid. The following tips may help you relax and reduce your stress level.

1.Eating with a friend is very relaxing – sharing conversation and food at a table makes you eat more slowly so you can unwind.

2.Exercise is very important. Regular physical activity – at least 30 minute sessions three times a week – strengthens the immune system and promotes relaxation. Low-intensity exercises, such as swimming, jogging or cycling, trigger the body to produce endorphins (natural body chemicals) which produce a sense of well-being and euphoria.

3.Treat yourself to a massage – aromatherapy, reflexology or shiatsu. Massage helps to increase energy and reduce stress.

4.Take deep breaths. Stress causes breathing to become shallow and irregular. Deep breathing increases the amount of oxygen in the blood and slows down the heart rate.

5.Learn how to meditate – this can lower raised blood pressure and help to calm you down.

6.Essential oils such as rose and lavender are relaxing, rosemary and geranium are anti depressant.

7.Set aside at least 20 minutes a day to relax. This doesn’t have to be complicated – read a book, go for a walk, listen to music or simply sit quietly.

Relieve stress with these yoga poses and rejuvenate your mind and body.

You can also assess your stress level by taking this quiz.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Osteoporosis Risk Factors

(From posted by Dr Brent Ridge, Health Expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia)

What kinds of things might cause me to have a higher chance of getting osteoporosis?

• Female gender, Caucasian or Asian race, thin and small body frames, and a family history of osteoporosis. (Having a mother with an osteoporotic hip fracture doubles your risk of hip fracture.)
• Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, lack of exercise, and a diet low in calcium.
• Poor nutrition and poor general health particularly a lack of Vitamin D, calcium, and weight bearing exercises.
• Malabsorption (nutrients are not properly absorbed from the gastrointestinal system) from conditions such as celiac sprue.
• Low estrogen levels such as those that occur in menopause or with early surgical removal of both ovaries.
• Amenorrhea (loss of the menstrual period) in young women also causes low estrogen and osteoporosis. It can occur in women who undergo extremely vigorous training and in women with very low body fat. Those who suffer from anorexia are more prone to osteoporosis.
• Immobility from any condition that interferes with walking.
• Hyperthyroidism, a condition wherein too much thyroid hormone is produced by the thyroid gland (as in Grave’s disease) or is caused by taking too much thyroid hormone medication.
• Hyperparathyroidism, a disease wherein there is excessive parathyroid hormone production by the parathyroid gland (a small gland located near the thyroid gland). Normally, the parathyroid hormone maintains blood calcium levels by, in part, removing calcium from the bone. In untreated hyperparathyroidism, excessive parathyroid hormone causes too much calcium to be removed from the bone, which can lead to osteoporosis.
• Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. When vitamin D is lacking, the body cannot absorb adequate amounts of calcium to prevent osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency can result from lack of intestinal absorption of the vitamin such as occurs in celiac sprue and primary biliary cirrhosis.
• Certain medications can cause osteoporosis. Steroids are the most common culprit.

Five Steps to Bone Health and Osteoporosis Prevention:

1. Get your daily recommended amounts of calcium and vitamin D
2. Engage in regular weight-bearing exercise
3. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol
4. Talk to your healthcare provider about bone health
5. When appropriate, have a bone density test and take medication

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tips for Better Sleep

The following tips make it easier to relax and drift off.

1. Make sure your bedroom is comfortable and conducive to sleep. It should be adequately ventilated and not too hot. The curtains should be heavy enough to keep the room dark.

2. A firm mattress, slim pillow and covers made of natural fabrics are best for sleep.

3. Get into a routine of going to bed and getting up at the same time.

4. Avoid watching television or listening to the radio in bed.

5. Unwind before you go to bed by soaking in a warm bath with a few drops of lavender, frankincense, roman chamomile or clary sage oil. A sprinkling of any one of these aromatherapy oils on the pillow or sheets may also make you pleasantly sleepy.  You can learn more about lavender  oil and all its glorious benefits from Balance Me Beautiful website.

6. Regular exercise, especially if it’s in the fresh air, promotes good quality sleep – a brisk walk for 20 minutes a day could help greatly. It is more effective to exercise in the afternoon or early evening because exercising too late may over-stimulate you. You can also do some of the yoga poses that I posted in my blog on Bed-time Yoga Poses to help you sleep better.

7. If you find it difficult to get to sleep, don’t toss and turn or become obsessed with trying to doze off. Instead get up for a while, have a light snack such as toast spread lightly with honey. Read for a while or listen to soothing music.

8. Complementary therapies such as massage and acupuncture relax your body and are therefore very good sleep tonics.

9. Meditation is believed to be an even better form of relaxation then sleep.

“A taste of honey is not only sweet – it can help to soothe you to sleep. A teaspoon stirred into a cup of warm milk is just enough to keep your blood sugar in balance throughout the night”

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tips to Successful Slimming

The following tips may be useful to help you succeed in losing weight.

1. Weigh yourself once a week only. Your weight fluctuates from day to day and this can be misleading.

2. Eat regularly – don’t skip meals and snacks.

3. Never shop when you are hungry – otherwise you may be tempted by quick-fry fatty sugary snacks.

4. Take a list of the ingredients you need with you to the supermarket and stick to it.

5. Avoid night-time snacking and TV dinners. Eat at the table and be conscious of what you’re eating.

6. Serve meals on a small plate to make them look bigger.

7. Distract yourself when you feel like over-indulging – go for a stroll, take a bath or read a magazine.

8. Set specific goals such as losing a couple of kilos a month. When you hit a target – reward yourself with a trip to the cinema or a new book.

9. Make sure you get lots of exercise. Try to incorporate simple activities into your routine and work up to 30 minutes of daily sustained exercise.

10. Take the stairs instead of the lift, or walk part of the way to work everyday.

11. Instead of using butter or margarine, choose an alternative spread based on unsaturated vegetables oils such as olive or sunflower.

12. To stir-fry foods, use spray oil on a non-stick pan, or use a small pastry brush to add a little oil.

13. Beans and lentils are a good source of protein and fibre, especially if you are vegetarian. Eaten with rice and pasta, they make satisfying nutritious meals.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Healthy Desktop

You can become dehydrated very quickly in a centrally air-conditioned office. Depleted fluids levels lead to fatigue, so you should reserve a space on your desk for a bottle of water. Take regular sips throughout the day aiming to drink about eight glasses.

Clear your drawers of junk foods such as sweets and chocolate bars as these are the foods you should avoid if you want to stay in good shape. Buy an air-tight box with a snap-on lid and stock your favourite healthy snacks in it. Try mixed nuts (such as walnuts and almonds), dried fruit, small sesame bars, sunflower and sesame seed or also some muesli to bridge the hunger gap if you forget to have breakfast before leaving for work.

You may also keep supplies of your favourite alternative remedies in your desk. A small bottle of essential oil of lavender helps to reduce tension headaches. Sachets of herbal teas such as chamomile, fennel and mint help with digestive problems and rosehip boosts your vitamin C levels. Herbal teas are low in caffeine and make good alternatives to endless cups of coffee.

Get into the habit of taking fruit to work with you everyday. An orange, apple and banana and a few grapes make great desk snacks.

Make your own sandwiches to bring to work if you have the time. They are a healthy and delicious breakfast meal. Try out various breads such as ciabatta, foccacia or wholemeal roll.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Yoga Playtime With Lila

I have always enjoyed my classes with Lila as she uses gentle stretches, flowing moves and massages in her class to calm, strengthen, tone and release tension in our bodies.

If you would like to try out her class, you can join us as follows:

Wednesday, 26 November 2008 at 6.30 pm
Venue: Duta Tropika Clubhouse, Sri Hartamas

Sunday, 30 November 2008 at 10.00 am
Venue: Level 5 Poolside, Menara Bukit Ceylon
Visit Yogababy's site for further details.

You can also email me at if you need further info.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eat Colours For Good Health

Look out for foods that are deep blue, purple, red, green, orange and yellow – they contain carotenoids and anthocyanins, which have health-enhancing nutrients to protect against heart disease and cancer. These foods are rich in antioxidants and help prevent cell damage and reduce the risk of degenerative diseases.

Deep Green

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale are good sources of calcium for healthy bones and teeth.


Tomatoes, cranberries and pomegranates are beneficial sources of anthocyanins and lycopene which are possible deterrents to heart disease and cancers of the prostate, cervix and gastrointestinal tract.


Squash, carrots and sweet potatoes are great sources of antioxidants that can promote healthy lungs and fight off squamous cell carcinoma.

Deep Blue/Purple

Eggplant, blueberries, strawberries and cherries help lower your risk of heart disease by boosting the liver to absorb extra cholesterol as well as improve memory.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Get a FREE dress online

Too good to be true? So, I check out the website IrenelimFashion to see what it is all about.

Well it seems, I need to write a short review of the online fashion store in my blog. But what has a fashion store got to do with my blog which is about yoga and wellness.

Well, I went thru the dresses in the website and noted that there are T-shirts which you can wear for your yoga class unless you are one of those fashionable yogis who only wear branded yoga clothing for your practice. The T-shirts look comfortable enough for you to do your asanas and they can also be worn for outings.

Malaysia Online Fashion has lots of other clothing for office, dinner and casual wear. The pricing is very reasonable as the dresses are sourced from various suppliers including those from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. The owner has also assured on the quality of the dresses as they are hand picked and viewed by her before they are put on the website.

Irenelim Fashion
Well, I hope I get a free dress as Chinese New Year is just around the corner.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How To Jog Properly

Jogging is a form of trotting or running at a slow or leisurely pace. The main intention is to increase fitness with less stress on the body than from faster running.

When you start jogging, you should make sure you have proper running shoes and the right kind of clothing. If it is warm you will want a T-shirt or top that doesn't stick to you and shorts that make it easy to move.

Set your route and how long you want to jog for. Make sure you warm up properly before you start jogging, this includes stretching all muscles like quadriceps, hamstrings and calves to prevent injury.

As you jog, breathe deeply and keep your head up.

• Begin jogging at a slow pace.
• Raise your knees with each step.
• Land on your heel and push off for the next step with the ball of your foot.
• Keep your arms relaxed and bent at no less than a 90-degree angle, and swing them gently by your sides with each step.
• Swing each arm in tandem with the opposing leg.
• Keep your hands cupped but loose.

Try jogging with a friend or a club, it might make it more enjoyable and help you to stick at it better. Also, make sure you cool down after running by doing some more light stretching - this is as important as warming up.

Some tips to make you a better jogger.
• Set a time limit or a distance for your jog.
• Intersperse jogging with walking if you get tired.
• Jog facing traffic.
• Wear light-colored clothing so you're more visible on the road.
• Stretch and warm up with a short walk before and after jogging to minimize the chances of injury.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Heel Trouble

High heels may be sexy, but they can pose serious health risks, according to research.

The effect on the various parts of the body –

Knee – putting extra weight on the knees can lead to pain and in some cases osteoarthritis

Pelvis – tilting the pelvis can weaken pelvic floor muscles

Ankles – wobbling on thin heels can lead to sprained ankles

Lower back – increasing the curvature of the spine can cause lower back problems

Calf – walking on tiptoes can shorten the calf muscle

Foot – putting the balance forward can overload the bones in the ball of the foot

If you can’t give up high heels, these tips help you to make a better purchase.

Make sure the toe box is the shape of your foot (and not any narrower) and is 1 cm longer then your big toe.

The more padding the better – consider inserts

A strong strap over the arch of the foot can help stop the foot slipping forward and provide better support

How low can you go? Don’t choose heels higher than an inch.

Stilettos do not provide enough support, do go for a wide or thick heel.

"Prevention is better than cure." - Desiderius Erasmus

Monday, November 17, 2008

How To Walk Tall

These exercises, from deportment coach Jean Broke-Smith could improve your posture and save you from back pain.

Slouch eliminator

Lift your head up, stretching your neck until your shoulders drop back. Imagine you’re a puppet on a string being pulled up from the top of your head.


Tense shoulders are the enemy of deportment. Warm up the muscles by gently raising each shoulder towards the ear. Then bring forwards and backwards in circular motions.

Bellybutton crunch

Deep breathing is great for spinal alignment. Take deep breaths, inhaling and exhaling as much as air as possible. Keep the tummy pulled in.

Bottom line

Good posture means keeping the bottom “tucked under” not stuck out. Practise clenching and unclenching the buttocks 25 times.

Leg straightener

When you walk, try to bend only the leg that’s stepping forward; keep the weight on the back leg. To build up the muscles, practice sitting on the floor, legs straight out in front, and walk forward on your buttocks.

Carry your body, but please, don't let your body carry you! -Vanda Scaravelli

Friday, November 14, 2008

Accidental Fitness

Too lazy to work out in a gym or go for yoga classes? Do you know that you don’t have to “work out” to get exercise? The following small activities do count to help in keeping you in shape and may also lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Dusting works your shoulders, chest, triceps

Tidying cupboards works your arms, legs

Vacuuming works your back, biceps

Gardening works your forearms, wrists, triceps

Ironing works your chest, shoulders, triceps

Window-washing works your chest, shoulders, back, legs

So, what are you waiting for? Go and find some housework to do.

Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live - Jim Rohn

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Yoga In Mid-Air

These are some yoga moves you can do without leaving your seat when you need to stretch to relieve stress and mid-air kinks in the air-plane. Remember to breathe deeply through your nose.

Hands in the Air

While seated, interlock your fingers and on an inhale raise your hands above your head, stretching your upper body and arms skywards. When you exhale, drop your shoulders down while keeping your hand upstretched. Stay here for five to ten breathes. Release on an exhale.

Arms Origami

This posture will release tension through the shoulders and neck – perfect after falling asleep upright.

Stretch your right arm in front of you at shoulder height. Then take the left arm under the right arm so that the left elbow is nestled under the right. Bend elbows and grasp hands together. Extend your hands and elbows upwards on an inhale and release shoulders down on the exhale while keeping both arms up. Hold for five to ten breathes. Repeat, starting with the left arm.

For more yoga asanas while travelling, click the link to read the article on Airplane Yoga and Ease travel fatigue with yoga: these poses will energize you once you reach your destination - Yoga notebook: better health through movement
Natural Health, Dec, 2002, by Rachel Schaeffer

Monday, November 10, 2008

Weekend Yoga Classes with Azmi

For the past two days, I attended Azmi’s private classes which were held at the poolside in Menara Bukit Ceylon (Yogababy’s place). It was the first time that I had done yoga in an outdoor environment and it was really different especially when I look up and saw one of the residents of the condo looking down at us. I guess he quickly went back in when he saw five pairs of eyes looking back up at him. We also had to deal with the windy weather on Saturday while doing our poses but the weather was very nice as it was quite cooling on both days.

The class on Saturday was Hatha Vinyasa, a faster-paced vinyasa class newly introduced by Azmi. We started off with doing a few rounds of sun salutations followed by the warrior, standing and sitting poses, with vinyasas in between the poses. The vinyasas can be quite challenging for newcomers to Azmi’s class as doing the chaturangas can be quite tiring for the arms if you are not use to doing it after every few poses. But these vinyasas really helped to build up arm strength for the arm-balancing poses. Anyway, Azmi always gave us the option to go straight to the downward dog pose if the vinyasas were getting too intense for us. The shorter count for holding each of the poses (three breaths instead of five) means that we had to adjust ourselves quickly to go into the poses. I needed some time to adjust to Azmi’s slight variation for the sun salutation sequence but overall, it was a good workout as it is always with Azmi's classes.

Sunday’s Hatha Flow class was only attended by three practitioners with Yogababy as an observer cum photographer. (The photos shown here are courtesy of Yogababy. You can see more photos at Yogababy's website). I hope that we will see more practitioners coming to the class next week. The Flow class has some arm-balancing poses and with some pointers from Azmi, I was able to lift my legs off the floor for Baksana and Tittibhasana. The arm-balancing poses are always a challenge for me as I not strong in my core and I tend to look down instead of looking forward in these poses.

All in, I really enjoyed the classes especially with the attention paid by Azmi in adjusting and helping us to go deeper in our poses.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Private Yoga Classes

For this month, I have decided to join Lila’s private classes on Wednesday evening and Azmi’s Thursday evening and the weekend morning private classes.

I attended Lila’s 90 minutes Yogalates class yesterday and we had a really good workout as she did poses to open up our shoulders as well as some hip-opener poses. Lila is a very good teacher as she will ask us how hard we want to workout and what we need before the start of the class every time we attend her class. She will use the equipment inside the room as props to help us in our poses. As the class was held in a club house, there were two sofas in the room, she asked us to lie down on the sofa with our heads hanging from the side. (Sorry, no picture to show as all of us were doing the pose, maybe next time, we can get Lila to take the picture) The pose helps to open up the shoulders and she told us that we can do it at home on our sofa or bed.

The advantage of going for private classes is that the class is very small (there were only five of us yesterday) and the teacher can give us individual attention as she knows the problem each of us are having, e.g. tight hips, tight hamstrings, lower back pain. Lila would go round to each student for some of the poses and pressed our hip or back to help us go deeper in the pose. All in all, it was a very good class and all of us are looking forward to next Wednesday class.

"You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state" - Sharon Gannon

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Keep Walking.....

Found this very decided to post it here and share it with you all.

The organs of your body have their sensory touches at the bottom of your foot, if you massage these points you will find relief from aches and pains as you can see the heart is on the left foot.

Typically they are shown as points and arrows to show which organ it connects to.

It is indeed correct since the nerves connected to these organs terminate here.

This is covered in great details in Acupressure studies or textbooks.

God created our body so well that he even thought of this. He made us walk so that we will always be pressing these pressure points and thus keeping these organs activated at all times.

So, keep walking...

Monday, November 3, 2008

"Computer Wrists" Ginger Compress

For many of us who are office workers, the computer is an important tool for our daily work but it is also a health hazard. Improper usage of the keyboard and mouse could result in Carpal Tunnel Syndrome which is an injury associated with repetitive grasping and manipulating activities. If you have been having wrist pain and suspect that you might have carpal tunnel syndrome, it is important to get a professional diagnosis and treatment plan.

Meanwhile, you can try this warming compress to help relieve pain.

1 piece fresh gingerroot
2 quarts boiling water
St. John’s wort oil

To make:
1. Grate fresh gingerroot and tie it in cheesecloth.
2. Put the ginger into the boiling water. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
3. Cool to a warm but comfortable temperature.
To use:
1. If the skin on your hands and wrists is very sensitive, apply a think layer of St. John’s wort oil to the area around the wrist before you apply the compress.
2. Remove the cheesecloth with the gingerroot. Dip a clean hand towel into the ginger water. Wring out the excess liquid and apply the comfortably warm cloth to the tender wrist area.
3. Cover with a dry towel to insulate the heat.
4. Rewarm every 5 minutes, as desired.

Ginger is a natural circulatory stimulant and anti-inflammatory herb that has been used for centuries, both internally and externally, in folk medicine.

Adapted from Natural Hand Care, by Norma Pasekoff Weinberg

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yogitoes Skidless ® Towel Mat

For the past week, there has been an array of colours at That’s Yoga @ Damas from the yoga mats of the practitioners. One of the practitioners had ordered a shipment of Yogitoes Skidless Towel Mats from the manufacturer in US and had sold the mats to the members at That’s Yoga at a very special price. The Yogitoes mats have been taken up like hot cakes and when I was there yesterday evening, there were only 3 mats left unsold.

What is the difference between a Yogitoes towel mat and other regular yoga mats? Well, the most significant difference is that it is a towel mat made of a super-absorbent microfibre material (80% polyester and 20% nylon) that absorbs moisture. The Yogitoes towel mat is placed over a regular mat and the tiny silicone nubs on the underside of the mat provide traction to enable you to have a better grip to prevent you from sliding.

If you are using the yoga mat provided by the yoga centre, you never know who had been using the mat before you and the mat is normally cleaned by just wiping it with a spray of water. I have seen practitioners placing a towel on their mats and the Yogitoes towel mat will provide a better alternative for a hygienic layer between you and the mat. It is lightweight and can be folded up and place in your bag ready for travel anywhere.

The towel mat is easy to clean, either by hand wash or machine wash and tumble dry.

It is a multi-purpose tool as you can even use the reverse side of the towel mat to stimulate pressure points on both the hands and feet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

That's It for That's Yoga @ Damas

That’s Yoga @ Damas will be having classes until Friday, 31 October 2008. The studio will not be operating in November as the landlord has found a tenant to rent the premises on a longer lease.

That’s Yoga @ Damas has been receiving good response as we have been having some new yogis joining us for the classes this month. What a pity, that the studio has to stop operations as Azmi had planned to continue the classes in November.

Anyway, that’s life; there are some things we can’t control but we must not let them stop us from going forward. I am very glad that Azmi, Lila and Matthew have their own plans and I am sure with their dedication, they will be very successful in their endeavours.

For those of you who would like to know where the teachers will be; well, Azmi and Ninie will be opening their studio “Be Yoga Sanctuary” at Damansara Perdana which is scheduled to start operations in December 2008. The studio will be offering yoga classes and Esalen massage.

Lila will be heading a new studio “Inner Yoga” which is located at The Summit in Subang Jaya, opening in November 2008; while Matthew will continue to teach at Urban Yoga.

As for myself, I am still keeping my options open and am looking for fellow practitioners who are interested to join private classes conducted by Azmi and Lila. Those of you who are interested, can email me at so that I can arrange with the two teachers for private classes in November. I am also looking for a place for the classes to be held, preferably near Damas area, so if anyone got a place, please email me.

"Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." (Chief indian Seatle)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Strong and Healthy Back

Back pain is usually the result of lifestyle, ageing or accident. Good lifestyle habits – correct posture, good lifting techniques and plenty of exercise for a strong, flexible back – will keep your risk of back pain to a minimum.

The key to maintaining a healthy back is to be aware not only of your posture, but also of the everyday movements that place your spine and back muscles under unnecessary pressure.

1.Assess your posture regularly, both sitting and standing – it’s easy to pick up bad habits without noticing. Take a good look at yourself whenever you pass a mirror.

2.Change your position regularly. If you have to stay in one position for an extended period of time, at a desk, for example, try to take a break every 20 minutes or so to move around and stretch.

3.Avoid wearing high heels for long periods. High heels accentuate the normal curve of your back and tip your pelvis, which can contribute to knee and back problems.

4.Use both shoulders when you are wearing a backpack. If you carry a heavy bag, a briefcase or a suitcase, try to alternate the arm that you use to carry it.

5.Watch your wallet when you are sitting down. A bulging wallet in your back pocket can place pressure on the sciatic nerve.

6.Don’t snooze in front of the TV as an armchair or sofa won’t take pressure off your lower spine. Snoozing prevents you shifting when your back start to feel uncomfortable.

Good sports for bad backs include:

Swimming and other water based activities such as aquaerobics are useful because water counteracts some of the effects of gravity, reducing compression in the lower spine. Swimming is low impact and warm water can help to ease muscle spasm. Backstroke is particularly beneficial as it opens up the chest and shoulders.

Walking is low impact and helps to strengthen the back and stomach muscles without placing them under too much sprain. Try to walk with your body held tall and always wear supportive, well-cushioned shoes.

Tai chi and Yoga are both enjoyable ways to improve mobility, flexibility and muscle tone. The deliberate, flowing movements of tai chi and the controlled stretching required by the yoga poses encourage good postural awareness without straining and jarring your back.

Click link to read Yoga For Back Pain & Problems for yoga poses for stretching the spine to help reduce back pain.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Do You Exercise Enough?

Answer the following questions with a yes or no. If you answer more yes than no to most of the questions, the greater your need to incorporate an exercise routine into your daily life.

1.Do you regularly watch more than 3 hours of television?
2.Do you do less than 20 minutes of moderate, physical activity such as walking, gardening per day?
3.Do you do less than 45 minutes of mid-level activity such as yoga, swimming, jogging twice a week?
4.Do you get out of breath easily when walking?
5.Do you prefer to drive short distance (half a mile or less) rather than walking?
6.Do you have trouble sleeping at night?
7.Are you overweight?
8.Do you suffer from non-injury related aches or pains?
9.Do you often find yourself feeling irritable?
10.Do you feel you need more exercise? Answer honestly!

Place the first two fingers of your hand on the inside of your opposite wrist just under the crease and below the large pad at the base of your thumb. Press gently until you can find your pulse. Start counting the beats with the first beat counting as zero. Count the pulse for 10 seconds, then multiply the number you get by six to get your resting heart per minute. Check the chart below to find your approximate fitness level. If you score a “poor”, you may need to do more exercise.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Anti-Cancer Foods - Daily Menu Plan

Introduce at least five servings a day of the following selection of foods in your daily menu and vary your choices throughout the week.

One Apple, Pear, Peach, Orange or Banana

Pile slices of these on to your high-fibre breakfast cereal or have fruit as regular snacks.

Two Medium-sized Fruits

such as kiwi, plum or tangerine. These make good snacks in between meals.

Three Pieces of Dried Fruit

Such as apricots and prunes. They’re easy nibbles for car or train travel.

One Avocado or Grapefruit Half

These make a good first course for lunch or dinner. Garnish your avocado with prawns for extra nutrient value

One Cup of Fruit

Such as strawberries, raspberries, cherries or grapes. Add any of these to breakfast cereals or include them in a colourful fruit salad or a fruit kebab for dessert.

Two or Three Tablespoon of Fruit Salad

Eat as a dessert or with breakfast

Two Tablespoons of Lightly Cooked Vegetables

Such as tomatoes, carrots and celeries. Remember to cook them the healthy way. Vegetables retain cancer-protection properties if they are steamed, stir-fried or grilled.

One Bowl of Salad

Include this in all your main meals such as lunch and dinner.

One Glass of Fruit Juice

Deliciously refreshing fruit juice is good at any time of the day

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Poll Results

Here are the summarized results of the 3 surveys conducted in my blog.

The foreign teacher which had the most followers in Yoga Zone:-

1) Azmi (47%)
2) Pari (38%)
3) Matthew (35%)

Reason for joining Urban Yoga:-

1) Not joining (50%)
2) My favourite teacher is there (31%)
3) Convenient location (28%)

I am not joining Urban Yoga because:-

- My favourite teacher is not teaching there (28%)
- Don’t like the management (28%)
- Location of outlets not convenient (28%)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rainy Days and Mosquitoes

For the past few days, it has been raining every evening in KL. As usual when it rains, going home is a hassle as the traffic will be very bad and some roads will be flooded. Even though I am going for my yoga classes after work, the traffic is still quite bad after I finished my class at 8 pm, especially to Cheras, even though the Loke Yew road has been widen. Anyway, this post is not about traffic jams.

Do you notice that there are more mosquitoes after it rains? My mom watches TV in the living room and has been complaining about the mosquitoes; one night she managed to hit four mosquitoes within a few minutes. I am staying on the 7th Floor and am wondering how high the mosquitoes can fly. Can anyone staying on the higher floors tell us if there are mosquitoes flying into their apartments?

For many of us, being bitten by the mosquito is quite common but there is also a fear that it will lead to dengue fever. My brother was hospitalized for a few days after there was a drastic drop in his blood platelet count. My mom boiled bitter gourd and frog soup for him to drink everyday as she was told that this is an effective remedy to cure dengue as it soothes the body. He was released from the hospital when his blood platelet count went back to normal. A few of my friends who were suspected to have dengue fever, also drank the soup and got better.

There is no harm in trying this remedy as there are no side effects, besides going to the hospital to do a blood test to check your blood platelet count if you suspect you have dengue fever. Normally, the doctor will tell you to rest and drink lots of liquid. You also have to take a daily blood count to make sure the count does not drop. If it continues to drop, you may have to a blood transfusion.

How to make the bitter gourd and frog soup? Well, cut up one bitter gourd and boil with three whole frogs. Use 8 bowls of water and boil till you get 3 bowls over low heat and season with a little salt.

Anyway, I will be asking my condo management office when they are going to arrange to fog the building as it is an effective way to get rid of the mosquitoes.