Friday, February 26, 2010

A Delightful and Enlightening Yoga Retreat

Came back from the Bali yoga retreat on Monday night and had such a wonderful time there. It was such an enlightening trip and the yoga retreat was all the more fun with four lovely Malaysian celebrities along.

Before the trip, I had wondered how the retreat would be like as looking at the schedule, we would need to get up at 7.30 a.m. every morning for the full yoga practice with another yoga workshop session at 5.00 pm in the evenings. I was amazed to find the high energy level as everyone came back for more each day even though our bodies were aching and sore from working our psoas (pronounced "so-az") and gluteus maximus for the yoga asanas as well as from all the walking for our shopping trips in Ubud and Kuta. We had also stayed up late most nights as we were having so much fun getting to know each other.

It was a perfect group of 10 pax with a yogini, Ade from Indonesia joining our group as Azmi was able to make the necessary adjustments that each of us needed and when we needed to partner up to do some of the poses like headstand.

The theme of the yoga retreat was “An Art of Letting Go” and there were Pranayama sessions where we learned breathing techniques which included Ujjayi, Anuloma Viloma (Nade Shuddhi) and Kapalbhati. We also started our morning practice with a 10 minute Meditation session each day which help us to find inner peace and balance before we did the full practice. For the workshops, we learned the fundamentals of grounding our foundation. balance and focus, awareness and letting go, using our breaths to help us go deeper in the poses, working our core and facing and conquering our fears. We were taught on how to use the psoas which is critical for balanced alignment, proper joint rotation and full muscular range of motion. By engaging our psoas muscle, we are able to lift our legs higher with the least effort, with our legs feeling light as it lifts up. As we use the psoas muscle all the time, it is important to keep it limber in order for it to function smoothly with the other muscle of the body to support an upright posture and a flexible lower spine and hips. When the psoas is strained or contracted, it can lead to an increase in lower back pain, knee pain and tightness in the hips and inner thighs. We should regularly engage in stretches which will help to address a tight psoas and poses such as the triangle pose, warrior poses, forward bends and bridge pose helps to awaken the psoas.

On the last day of the retreat we had a sharing session before the certificate presentation and everyone agreed that we were bringing back what we had learned at the retreat not only to our yoga practice but also to our daily life.

The retreat ended with a spa outing where we had an exhilarating full body massage to relieve the soreness in our body before it was time to leave for the airport to catch our flight back to Kuala Lumpur. It was such a fantastic retreat where new friendships were made with a handsome yogi and 8 beautiful yoginis sharing the same passion of learning from a great teacher in the beautiful and enchanting island of Bali. I have all the lovely memories of the retreat entrenched in my heart.

Thank you Azmi (for your patience and guidance and opening your home to us, we had such a wonderful time there!), Erica (for enlightening us with our life paths!) Daphne, Attila, Hani, Sazzy (for all the craziness; it was such fun watching you gals doing the “whose line is it” at Induz, you are all so talented!), Bee Yen, Nick, Michelle and Ade (for just being there!). Hope to be with you all again at the next retreat!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Gong Xi Fa Cai

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year’s eve where the Chinese will be having their reunion dinner with the family. Whether you are having the reunion dinner at your house or at a restaurant, it is a time to feast on the abundance of delicious food with each dish on the menu having a symbolic meaning. So remember to eat “fa cai” to bring you prosperity, “ha” (prawns) to be happy and merry and “yu” (fish) to have a plentiful year.

I will be celebrating part of the Chinese New Year (which is celebrated for fifteen days) in Bali as I am joining the yoga retreat led by Azmi. We will be leaving for Bali on the fifth day of Chinese New Year and will be there for 4 days. I am looking forward to the trip as I have never been to Bali and going there for a yoga retreat means that I get to practice yoga in this land of mystic and enchantment as well as exploring what this beautiful paradise has to offer which would comprise of shopping, spas and Balinese cuisine.

Meanwhile, the first four days of the Chinese New Year will be spend collecting “ang pows” which would give me some extra pocket money to spend on the trip.

May the Year of the Tiger brings you all good health, wealth, peace, joy, love and light. Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Happy Hour Yoga

If you have been looking at Beyoga schedule for this month, you would have noticed that there is a Happy Hour Yoga class on Friday at 7 pm with Lila. You must be wondering "What is this Happy Hour Yoga class?"

Tonite, I went for the first class thinking that it would be a Yoga Dance class since Lila had told us that we might be doing the yoga dance class as our Yoga Dance class on Mondays had been pulled out from the schedule. I even wore my yoga dance pants, the pants are good for sliding on the floor as some of the poses in yoga dance needs us to do a 360 degree turn rolling on the floor.

Well, Lila had to change the class at the last minutes as she could not play any music due to some technical problems. She started the class with us sitting in a circle and putting one hand on our heart and the other hand on the back of the person next to us as we chanted three “OMs”, feeling the sound vibrating around us.

We did a few rounds of Iyengar style sun salulations before Lila got us to do some partner yoga poses where we stretch our shoulders, hamstrings and calf muscles with the help of our partner.

It was then back to our own mats to do the poses which incorporate what we did in the partner yoga poses as Lila asked us to apply the techniques while doing the pose on our own.

The stretching poses really helped to relieve the tension from my body from sitting at my office desk hunching over the computer all day and driving through the heavy traffic going to class.

But what really helped to release the final bit of tension from my body was the laughing meditation before savasana. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful class.