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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Office Yoga

Sitting at a computer for long periods often causes neck and shoulder stiffness. Try doing these yoga exercises at your desk to relieve tension and stress as well as to help stretch the neck, shoulders, back, arms and hips.

Slow Motion Dive

Sit erect in a chair with your hands on your knees and inhale fully. As you exhale, slowly lower yourself with your hands to knee level and let your head hang freely. If you can go further, place your hands on the floor and continue to lower yourself. Pause there up to one minute, breathing fully, letting the weight of your head stretch out your neck and spine. Then, inhaling, lift yourself up with your arms, head still hanging until last. This pose stretches the neck, shoulders and upper back.

Seated Neck Stretch

Sit comfortably in a chair, breathing fully. Place your right hand behind your left ear, grasping the base of your skull. As you exhale, gently pull your skull to the right, stretching your neck, then turn and look at your right knee. Pause, gently pulling and breathing fully, then release. Repeat on the other side. This pose stretches the neck muscles.

Seated Half Moon

Sit comfortably in a chair, breathing fully. Place your right hand on the seat of the chair or the floor. With your left palm up, inhale and lift your left hand up, then exhale, curving to the right. Be sure to move sideways, rather than forward. Repeat on the other side. This pose releases the ribcage.

Seated Twist

Sit comfortably in a chair. Inhale and straighten your spine. As you exhale, bring your right hand across to your left knee and turn in your low spine to the left. Hold the position as you inhale, then as you exhale try to turn further, using your ribcage. Hold the position as you inhale, then exhale turning your head if possible. Repeat on the other side. This releases the neck and ribcage.

Circle of Joy
Sit comfortably in a chair. Interlace your fingers. Exhale and press your arms forward, palms away from you. Inhale and lift your arms overhead, palms up. Exhale, releasing your arms to the side and around behind you. Interlace your fingers, palms away from you and inhale, straightening your elbows as much as possible. Exhale, bending forward. Inhale, release your arms and sit up. Repeat as desired. This stretches the neck, shoulders, arms and back, releasing all the muscles used in breathing.

Bent Knee Dive

Sit comfortably in a chair. Place your left ankle on your right knee. As you exhale, lower yourself forward, head hanging. Pause and breathe, then raise yourself with your arms, head hanging until last. This pose stretches the neck, shoulders, back and hips.

Visit Yoga in the office: A quick and effective stretch for more positions to help stretch the wrists, neck, shoulders, back and legs.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sore Throat Remedy

The next time you have a sore throat, try this remedy. A concoction of the Chinese herb “Kam Cho” and dried salted lime (ham kat). Put about 2-3 pieces of the “Kam Cho” and 1 dried salted lime in a cup of hot water. Let it brew for about half an hour or more and you can drink it. Pour hot water in the mixture again and let it brew again for a second round.

“Kam Cho” is not an expensive herb but it is very effective in curing sore throats. You can buy it at any Chinese medicinal shop, just buy 100 gm and you can make about 5-6 cups. The dried salted lime can also be bought at some of the Chinese medicinal shop.

The concoction helps to soothe the throat, reduce coughing and also cools down the body.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My Daily Health Supplements

For me, my daily supplements form an important part of my health regimen. Supplements enhance our diet as generally, it is difficult to maintain a diet that meets the standard requirements of all nutrients. Moreover, we tend to eat only food that we like, resulting in deficiency in some nutrients. Supplements help to fill in those gaps for people who are generally healthy but for some reasons can’t eat a well-balanced diet every day.

My daily health supplements consist of the following:-


I actually started taking Spirulina when I was informed by the doctor that I was anaemia after I went for a medical check-up. I found out that Spirulina can counter anaemia and after taking it for a year, when I went for my yearly medical check-up, my anemia problem had gone.

Spirulina has a rich source of nutrients, containing up to 70% protein, B-complex vitamins, phycocyanin, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, vitamin E, and numerous minerals. Spirulina promotes health in many ways. It powerfully protects from oxidant stress and strongly supports the immune system and a healthy inflammatory response.

Super EPA Omega-3

This fish oil supplement has many benefits which include the following:-

- Lowers cholesterol and promotes healthy heart
- Improves mood, memory and concentration
- Relieves aching and inflamed joints

Calcium with Magnesium and Potassium

As I am lactose-intolerant, (I get diarrhoea when I drink too much milk) I take calcium supplements to help me obtain calcium which is a very important mineral to maintain strong bones.

Magnesium is needed for calcium absorption as magnesium suppresses parathyroid hormone (PTH) which draws calcium out of the bones and deposits it in the soft tissues and stimulates calcitonin which increases calcium in our bones and keeps it from being absorbed in our soft tissues. preventing osteoporosis and arthritis.

In conjunction with calcium and potassium, magnesium regulates heart rhythm. It also plays a role in the production and use of insulin.

Vitamin C and Zinc

Vitamin C enhances immunity, minimizes cold symptoms, speeds wound healing, promotes healthy gums and prevents cataracts and helps to protects against forms of cancer and heart disease. Zinc has many benefits; it helps to prevent colds, flu, conjunctivitis and other infections.

I normally take Redoxon Effervescent; dissolving 1 tablet in a glass of water. It is a nice refreshing drink with all the benefits of Vitamin C and Zinc.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

"Super Foods" for a Healthy Body

The following group of foods are called "Super Foods" as they can help to ward off heart disease, cancer, cholesterol, and more.

Oily Fish

Such as sardines, salmons and mackerels are the best known source of omega-3 fatty acids, which discourage the clotting tendency of the blood.


It encourages healthy bacteria to your gut to thrive and inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and yeasts. Yogurt helps to relieves gastrointestinal disorders, diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and food poisoning and prevents bad breath. Yogurt is also a great source of calcium.


Lycopene, the natural pigment that makes tomatoes red, can help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. It can also offer protection against cervical cancer of the cervix in women.

Shiitake Mushrooms
It contains a compound called lentinan, which is thought to protect against cancer in two ways. It prevents normal cells from developing into tumours and also inhibits the growth of tumours.


It is a good source of protein and the calcium it contains is readily absorbed by the body.
Milk has essential B vitamins as well as phosphorus and zinc (which boosts the immune system).

It is rich in vitamin C and contains beta carotene, a helpful antioxidant which protects the immune system. It also has generous amounts of fibre which is helpful if you have problems with constipation.


Soya beans contain an amazing range of health-protective and disease-fighting compounds. They are rich in isoflavones, a group of hormone-like substances that behave a similar way to natural oestrogen, which are known to combat heart disease, cancer and other serious illnesses. Soya also contains several types of antioxidants that help to protect against various forms of cancer, including breast, prostate and colon cancer.


Prunes are very effective in relieving constipation as they contain a substance called hydroxyphenylisatin which stimulates the muscles of the large bowel. They also provide potassium, iron and vitamin B.


Walnuts are a powerhouse of nutrients. Walnut lower blood cholesterol levels and thereby helps to protect the heart from disease. Their polyunsaturated fats supply essential fatty acids that the body cannot manufacture for itself (these have a special function in blood clotting).

Bananas are high in natural sugar which is released quickly into the bloodstream providing a rapid source of energy. They are packed with potassium, a mineral crucial for muscle and nerve function. Bananas also contain starch for energy as well as vitamins B3, B6 and C.

Naturally sweet, rich in vitamin C and high in fibre, blueberries makes delicious desk snacks. They may be helpful in improving eyesight and protecting against eye disorders. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, antibacterial compounds that are highly effective in fighting E coli bacteria, the cause of many gastrointestinal and urinary tract infections.

Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, all varieties of cabbage, pak choi, rocket, curly kale and spring greens are easily available dark green leafy vegetables. In addition to providing essential vitamins, mineral and fibre, they contain concentrated phytochemicals – natural compounds that are believed to help combat certain forms of cancer. These vegetables may also protect against heart disease by helping to prevent the clogging of blood vessels.

A word of advice, take these foods in moderation as too much of one thing is not good for the body.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My "ECO" Yoga Mat

Recently, I bought a new yoga mat over the internet. I was surfing the net when I came across the "Earth-Friendly" ECOmat™ listed in Crescent Moon website. Crescent Moon is a company that produces Yoga products that are innovative, functional and stylish.

What attracted me to the "Earth-Friendly" ECOmat™ is that it has a very innovative feature – it is a folding mat!

If you have been practicing for awhile you know that most mats develop edges that curl up and can get in your way. The reason these edges curl is because you have to 'roll' the mat up to transport and store it. By designing a foldable mat, they have eliminated the curled edges and kept the top surface of the mat cleaner as the top surface never comes in contact with the bottom due to the way the mat folds. With regular mats, every time you roll up the mat the dust and dirt from the bottom of the mat touches the top.

The "Earth-Friendly" ECOmat™ is made from patented TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer) foam which is non-hypoallergenic. The mat is fully bio-degradable and no toxins were produced in its production and the mat is 100% PVC free!

I received the mat about one week after I placed my order. The mat had to be shipped from USA as it is not available at Crescent Moon’s regional office in Singapore.

I have been using the ECO mat for more than a week now and found that the printed bamboo patterned micro-channel grooves do provide a better grip for my poses. I had been facing problems with my previous mat especially for the “downward dog” pose where my hands kept sliding due to the poor traction.

I am happy with the mat as it folds for easy storage and it is very lightweight (no need to lug a heavy mat while climbing the stairs to attend classes at That’s Yoga 3rd Floor studio) and it is very easy to keep clean.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Simple Stretching Exercises

Stretching reduces the risk of injury and stiffness, increases the range of movement in your joints and improves flexibility. The stretching exercises shown below should only take a couple of minutes to perform. Carry out stretches in a slow and controlled manner and do not hold your breath. Exhale as you move into the stretch and breathe normally as you hold the stretch.

1. Calves

Step your left leg forward and bring your right foot up into its toes. Bend your knees and place both hands on your left thigh for support. Press your right heel down towards the ground until you feel a slight stretch in your right calf. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds, then change legs and repeat. It you wish to increase the stretch, face a wall and use both hands to push against the wall.

2. Hamstrings
Place your right leg a little way out in front of you. Bend your left leg and place both hands on your left thigh for support. Slowly and without rounding your back, lean forward until you feel a slight stretch at the back of your right leg or behind your right knee. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds, then change legs and repeat. If you wish to increase the stretch, place your front leg on a step or low stool

3. Thighs
Place your right hand on the back of a chair for balance. Bend your left leg behind you and take hold of your ankle with your left hand. Without bending, slowly move your knee backwards until you feel a gentle stretch in the front of your thighs. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds then change legs and repeat.

4. Chest

Stand next to a wall. Place your left palm against the wall at about shoulder height with your arms slightly bent. Without straining, gently rotate your body to the right until you feel a stretch across your chest. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds, then change arms and repeat.

5. Shoulders
Cross your left arm in front of your body at shoulder level and place your right hand just behind the elbow. Use your right hand to gently pull your left arm further across your body until you feel a slight stretch at the back of your shoulders. Hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds. Relax both arms for a moment, then change arms and repeat.

(Taken from Reader’s Digest Healthy Bones, Muscles and Joints)