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Full moons, habagat winds and present moment consciousness

1 Aug

Tomorrow night is the full moon in Philippines and right now it’s the season of habagat – not sure of the exact translation but it’s a super super windy season. This is a pretty terrible combination. Winds can make people restless and flighty and the full moon can send people a bit crazy. Case in point: today I laughed sporadically but loudly and wholeheartedly for 3 hours thinking of what often goes wrong when you’re singing the happy birthday song in a group setting.

I also did my yoga practice today while trying to self-time my camera so my teachers at home can see what I’m working with and now my back hurts. I was trying to clean up my room while texting and my fave nail polish fell on the ground, smashed and died. Before I finished cleaning this up, I decided it was a good time to find my toe ring that literally got kicked off my foot into the abyss of the end of my bed, never to be seen again. Which then meant I had to seriously clean up the nail polish mess with nail polish remover and then take off my spoilt polish. Boo-urns.

But when I rode my bike to my little restaurant (a little way on the left side just to feel at home) and I felt the wind in my face and listened to conversation grow loud then soft again as I rode past and saw flashes of street doggy eyes before they turned and waited on the side of the road until I went by, I felt truly in the present moment. I just let all this sensations come on and go just as quickly and felt truly content. Even under a full moon and with habagat winds blowing all around me, all it takes is the stillness of your own awareness to ground you.

Luckily I still have 6 nail polishes to practice my awareness on…

My rooftop yoga shala. If I didn’t have yoga, I would be pretty crazy living out here on my own

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Passion and conviction and (re)inspiration

8 Jul

Late 2010 I had my first proper boyfriend. He went alright. I knew he wasn’t a forever boyfriend but I was pretty attached to him as an idea. I had been doing bikram yoga on and off for years and really hated it, but he lived near the studio and one day I walked up the stairs and took a vinyasa class and at the time just really like it. When he broke up with me out of nowhere, I was devastated even though I knew it wasn’t working and I remember yoga somehow making me feel better.

A couple of months later, 5 girls set off on a holiday which would totally change my direction. My friendship with these girls became sister close but also the bevy of wanderlusting travelers seeking adventure with passion and conviction we met inspired and unsettled me and I came back not sure what to do with myself, a feeling i didn’t shake for a long time on returning. A school friend died shortly after and her funeral touched me not because we were particularly close, but because her life was celebrated too because of her passion and conviction and I realized my restlessness was a feeling in myself that I had neither of these. Around the same time I had been seeing a guy we met in Thailand for a couple of months and when he left for England, his home, I was devastated.

I remembered yoga made me feel better after my bf dumped me, so I turned to it again at this stage feeling restless and broken hearted. The more classes I took, the more it’s transformational power hooked me, transforming me from someone who took yoga to make myself feel better to someone who did yoga to try to make myself a better person to help others. This was especially profound when I met and took class with Les Levanthal, who I would follow to the end of the earth (but that year, just to Bali) just to feel his loving kindness and the passion and conviction I felt I lacked that he radiated through every pore of his being.

I spent the next few months, including my stint in Bali, using yoga to help me develop passion and conviction for living life with loving kindness so when a colleague casually told me about her experience as a volunteer in Indo, I knew that was the perfect opportunity for me to take all the benefits I gained from yoga and use serve others. This assignment was advertised and after more than 6 months of lead up, I am here and being pushed to my absolute limits and feeling everything on the emotional spectrum.

I wanted to tell this story not for my blog readers really but to remind myself on this night, when I am feeling dark after a weekend of solitude and stormy skies and lethargy, that I came here by my own choice with the knowledge that this would be an experience and with that experience would come extreme highs and like this past week, dark lows. I told this story to reinspire and remind myself that on the yoga mat, when we fall, we don’t stop, or cry, or walk out or give up. We breathe and take a moment and come back into the pose.