What Kind of Yoga are you?

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One day, you’ve decided to finally start doing yoga, but after Googling classes, you’re confused. What is Ashtanga or Iyengar or Vinyasa or Kundalini or Yin? Why are there such an array of options? Which one will suits my need? These choices themselves might confuse and scare newbies off the mat.

Well, don’t worry! Like cross training, you might want to consider incorporating a variety of yoga into your regular practice to keep you in balance. I always love telling my students, go out and try different teachers, studios or styles. Find out what you like. Even for myself in the beginning, I tried almost all the classes with different teachers in my current studio to familiarize myself which kind of yoga will appeal more to my body. Once you know what style resonates with you more, dwell more time to practice that certain style/s.

Yoga is not necessarily a ‘one-size-fits-all’ practice. A 20-year old and a 70-year old person might need different workout and so are those hyper-mobile and flexible person will need different practice compared to those who are muscular and stiff.

So, when you are spoilt for choices, where do you start? Inhale and exhale, calm yourself, keep your Ujjayi breath, and choose smartly! I am going to share a few styles that I am more familiar with, some I tried before and some I’ve never done before, but I will try to be as informative as I can.

 

Hatha Yoga   urdhvahastasana-unicorn

About: Slow-paced, gentle, and focused on breathing and meditation

Benefits: Relieves stress, provides physical exercise, and improves breathing

Best For: Beginners. Those wanting to learn the basics of yoga

Vinyasa   vinyasa

About: Emphasizes the sun salutation, a series of 12 poses where movement matches breath. Flow from one pose to the next without stopping. Move with the breath. Emphasis on standing poses, which are often held for long period of time.

Benefits: Helps improve strength, flexibility and abdominal muscle toning. Reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

Best For: Beginners, Intermediate, Advance. Beginners can first try the slower movement classes to get a feel of the flow. This is suitable for people who wants to strengthen their bodies. Intense exercisers might enjoy this style because of the faster pace. Endurance athletes too are drawn to this type for its continuous movement to increase the heart rate just like performing cardio exercises.

Iyengar   warrior-01-unicorn

About: Focuses on body alignment. Props like straps, blankets, and blocks are used to assist in strengthening the body. Each poses are hold for a period of time.

Benefits: Bring the body into alignment. Helps improve balance. Speeds up recovery from injury (with doctor’s advise of course). Builds up body strength.

Best For: Beginners. Those with injuries, balance issues, and chronic medical conditions such as arthritis. Detail-oriented yogi will enjoy this style because the class teaches precisely about anatomy, movement, and form.

Ashtanga   twisted-unicorn

About: Considered as a form of power yoga. Fast-paced and intense with lots of lunges and push-ups. This a form of yoga that is challenging yet orderly in its approach. Consisting of 6-series specifically sequenced yoga poses, you will flow and breath through each pose to create internal heat. The same poses will be perform in the exact same order in each class. Most modern studios will have teachers calling out the poses while if you go to Mysore style, it will be an unguided class.

Benefits: Relieves stress, improves coordination, and helps with weight loss.

Best For: Beginners, Intermediate, Advance. Various level of experiences suited for fit people looking to maintain strength and stamina. Type-A folks will love this style. Perfectionists will love Ashtanga’s routine and strict guidelines.

Bikram/Hot Yoga   uncorntee_teaser

About: Also known as Hot Yoga at times, practiced in a 95-100 degree F room. For Bikram specific yoga studio, every class follows the same sequence of 26 poses. It is usually a 90-minute  sequence. The practice can be strenuous as it is under pretty hot room so hydrate before and after.

Benefits: Speeds up recovery from injury, enhances flexibility cleanses the body.

Best For: Beginners, Intermediate, Advance.Best for amateurs who are newer to yoga because of its predictable sequence. Also will be loved by sweat lovers who really look for a tough workout that will leave them drenched.

Kundalini    chair-pose-unicorn

About: It is pretty different from typical yoga class as it is physically and mentally challenging. There’ll be kriyas (cleansing), repetitive physical exercises, coupled with intense breath work – while also chanting, singing and meditating. The goal is to break through the internal barriers to releasing the untapped energy residing within you and bringing you to a higher level of self-awareness.

Benefits: Relieves stress, provides physical exercise, elevating spiritual experiences and mindfullness, improves breathing.

Best For: Intermediate, Advance. For someone who will be looking for a more spiritual practice. Those who are seeking something more than just a workout session.

Yin/Restorative Yoga    childs-pose

About: Healing the mind and body through simple poses held for up to several minutes. Uses props such as bolsters, pillows, and straps. This is a meditative practice designed to target the deeper connective tissues and fascia, restoring length and elasticity. Props are used to release into the posture instead of actively flexing or engaging the muscles. Like meditation, it may take most people a few classes to be able to release into the poses easily without feeling antsy and realize the practice’s restorative powers.

Benefits: Help with ailments such as stress, chronic pain, migraines, and insomnia.

Best For: Intermediate, Advance. Those seeking relaxation and flexibility. Not very suitable for people who are super flexible (might overdo some poses) or anyone who has connective tissue disorder. It may be pretty challenging for beginners but it will be a good practice for anyone who has a hard time slowing down, experiencing insomnia or people with anxiety. Also great for athletes who are on recovery mode.

Aerial Yoga    aerial-unic

About: Yoga postures and movements performed while suspended off the ground by a hammock-like piece of cloth.

Benefits: Increase flexibility by relieving compression, which releases tension, straighten the shoulders, and elongate the spine

Best For: Beginners, Intermediate, Advance. Very good for someone who is looking to increase flexibility and experience being upside down.

I personally am an Ashtanga and Vinyasa practitioner more than other style. I love doing Yin Yoga, but it’s not easy to look for a real good Yin teacher around my area in Singapore. So, I do it only when I feel my body really needs Yin practice more than the Yang. In terms of teaching, I do teach Ashtanga, Hatha, and Vinyasa. I’ve tried other styles like Bikram/Hot Yoga before, but not really something I resonate with myself. I’ve never tried Iyengar and Kundalini though, so I can’t comment much on those 2 styles. As for Aerial Yoga, I tried it couple times, but I guess it wasn’t really my style too. However, it will definitely be good for someone who would love to increase their flexibility, test their strength and experience being upside down. Besides, being in a hammock-like piece of cloth feel kinda fun too.

My daily practices alternate between Vinyasa and Ashtanga Yoga. I love the internal heat created within my body to help me sweat. I always feel so good to sweat and stretch especially in the morning. My practice usually will start with a 10 minutes meditation and that will help me clear up the mind before going into my asana practice.

For all those who is looking for any yoga style to practice with, go and experience those you have available within your areas. Pick and choose which styles you like most and practice them regularly to get all the amazing benefits yoga could offer you.

“Truth is ONE. Paths are many.”

one-truth-many-paths

 

Kombucha – Booch My Gut

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What is Kombucha?

Known as the “Immortal Health Elixir” by the Chinese and originating in the Far East around 2,000 years ago, kombucha is a beverage with tremendous health benefits

Kombucha is a fermented beverage of black tea and sugar that’s used as a functional food. It contains a colony of bacteria and yeast that are responsible for initiating the fermentation process once combined with sugar. After being fermented, kombucha becomes carbonated and contains vinegar, b-vitamins, enzymes, probiotics and a high concentration of acid (acetic, gluconic and lactic), which are tied with the following effects:

  • Improved Digestion
  • Weight Loss
  • Increased Energy
  • Cleansing and Detoxification
  • Immune Support
  • Reduced Joint Paint
  • Cancer Prevention

7-benefits-of-kombucha

The SCOBY: a Colony of Microbes

The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although it’s usually made with black tea, kombucha can also be made with green tea too.

The SCOBY, or Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, is the collection of microbes responsible for turning sweet tea into a probiotic beverage. Essentially, it is a living colony of beneficial organisms that turn sugar into healthful acids and probiotics.

SCOBYs are often called “Mushrooms” and are the reason Kombucha is sometimes called “Mushroom Tea.” On a practical level, a SCOBY is an unattractive rubbery disc that covers the surface of the brewing liquid to seal it off from the air. This allows fermentation to happen in an anaerobic (air free) environment.

You may also hear a SCOBY called “The Mother” as it is the parent culture that creates the tea. During the brewing process, the SCOBY also often creates a “baby” or secondary culture on top of itself, which can then be used to brew other batches.

If properly taken care of, a SCOBY can last for many years.

Kombucha Nutrition

This tangy fermented beverage contains beneficial probiotics and acids. It is lower-calorie than other carbonated beverages like soft drinks, with only about 30 calories per cup (8 ounces). Kombucha is fat-free and does not contain any protein.

One cup does contain about seven grams of carbohydrates and about 20% of the daily value of B-Vitamins, according to the label of the popular GT brand. Eight ounces also provides:

  • Bacillus coagulans GBI-30 6086: 1 billion organisms
  • S. Boulardii: 1 billion organisms
  • EGCG 100mg
  • Glucuronic Acid 10mg
  • L(+) Lactic Acid 25mg
  • Acetic Acid 30 mg

Kombucha Benefits and Probiotics

This ancient health tonic is attributed with several health benefits. The nutrients it contains are wonderful at supporting the body in various ways. It is important to note that while there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence from avid supporters, studies about kombucha are lacking.

To be clear- it isn’t some magic pill or silver bullet, but it may help the body function well by supporting:

  • Liver detoxification
  • Improved pancreas function
  • Increased energy
  • Better digestion
  • Improved mood (helps with anxiety/depression)
  • Reducing Candida (yeast)
  • Helps nutrient assimilation
  • May be beneficial for weight loss

These benefits could be partially due to the concentration of beneficial enzymes and acids present in kombucha, including  Gluconacetobacter, Lactobacillus and Zygosaccharomyces.

1. Improving Digestion

digestive-system

The research is still out on the specific way Kombucha affects digestion, but we do know that it contains probiotics, enzymes and beneficial acids and these have been researched for their health benefits.

Harvard Medical School explains that a healthy gut will have 100 trillion + microorganisms from 500 different identified species. In this sense, we truly are more bacterial than human. There has been a lot of emerging research on the dangers of an overly sanitary environment and how overuse of antibiotics and antibacterial soaps and products is literally changing the structure of our gut.

Drinks like Kombucha, Water Kefir, Milk Kefir, and fermented food like Sauerkraut contain billions of these beneficial bacteria, enzymes and acids that help keep the gut in balance.

Kombucha can also help heal candida yeast from overpopulating within the gut because it helps restore balance to the digestive system. Kombucha is a great way to fight candida because it contains live probiotic cultures that help the gut to repopulate with good bacteria while crowding out the candida yeast. Kombucha does have bacteria, but these are not harmful pathogen bacteria, instead they are the beneficial kind (called “apathogens”) that compete with “bad” pathogen bacteria in the gut and digestive tract.

One thing to mention here is that candida or other digestive problems can sometimes be complicated issues to fix and symptoms might actually get worse before getting better. This doesn’t mean that kombucha isn’t effective or is exacerbating the problem, just that gut problems aren’t always a straight path to healing and at times some patience or trial and error is needed.

2. Natural Detoxification and Liver Support

liver-clean.jpg

The detoxifying capacity of kombucha is immense. A perfect example is in its ability to counteract liver cell toxicity.

The liver is one of the body’s main detoxification organs. Kombucha is high in Glucaric acid, which is beneficial to the liver and aids its natural detoxification.

As Kombucha also supports healthy gut bacteria and digestion, it helps the body assimilate food more easily and provides quick and easy energy without caffeine.

3. Immune Boost

immunity-and-vaccines-merl.jpg

Kombucha is naturally high in antioxidants and supportive of the immune system. Again, there is no magic pill or silver bullet when it comes to immune function- it is best to support the body in its natural immune process.

It contains a compound called D-saccharic acid-1,4-lactone (or DSL for short) that has amazing antioxidant properties. This compound is not present in unfermented teas (though many teas are high in other antioxidants). DSL has been specifically identified as beneficial for cellular detoxification.

Scientists suspect that DSL and the Vitamin C present in kombucha are its main secrets in protecting against cell damage, inflammatory diseases, tumors and overall depression of the immune system. Also, we know the probiotics found in kombucha support the immune system.

4. Joint Care

joint

Kombucha is loaded with glucosamines, which are often recommended for joint health and to alleviate joint pain. Glucosamines naturally increase hyaluronic acid in the body which supports the preservation of collagen and prevents arthritic pain. In some trials, hyaluronic acid provided relief similar to over the counter pain killers.

5. Energy

cartoon-3-children-exercising

Kombucha’s ability to invigorate people is credited to the formation of  iron that is released from the black tea during the fermentation process. It also contains some caffeine (although in very small amounts) and b-vitamins, which can energize the body.

Through a special process known as chelation, the iron released helps boost blood hemoglobin, improving oxygen supply to tissues and stimulating the energy-producing process at the cellular level. In other words, by helping the body create more energy (ATP), the ancient tea can help those who regularly drink it stay energized.

6. Weight Loss

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Data from a study in 2005 showed evidence that kombucha improves metabolism and limits fat accumulation. Though we need to see more studies before we can confirm these results, it makes sense that kombucha supports weight loss since it’s high in acetic acid (just like apple cider vinegar is) and polyphenols, which are proven to help increase weight loss.

7. Cancer Prevention & Alternative to Sugary Sodas

cancer

Kombucha is a great alternative to sugar-laden drinks like soda. It is naturally carbonated. This means that the secondary fermentation process naturally produces bubbles and carbonation. Sodas, on the other hand, are artificially carbonated by forcing carbonation into the liquid.

This fizzy fermented tea is an attractive alternative to other carbonated beverages and provides probiotics and nutrients not present in soda. Kombucha also contains less sugar than soft drinks. The sugar in the recipe is simply the food for the beneficial bacteria and is largely consumed during the fermentation process.

As we know, one of the most common contributing factors to cancer is sugar. Drinking alternative sugar-laden drinks are therefore highly recommended. Kombucha is beneficial for cancer prevention and recovery. A study published in Cancer Letters found that consuming glucaric acid found in kombucha reduced the risk of cancer in humans.

Important Caveat About The Benefits

I’ve seen thousands of posts claiming kombucha cures everything from cancer to wrinkles. It is important to note that there are no confirmed studies about kombucha’s benefits and safety.

At the same time, there are anecdotal reports of its benefits and many people love its taste and the energy it gives them. Don’t expect kombucha to solve your health problems, but it is a great refreshing drink with some added probiotics.

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Kombucha

I love this ancient fermented tea and drink it often, but there are some cautions and side effects to be aware of when consuming it.

Kombucha Risks and Cautions

  • Pregnant and nursing moms and anyone with a medical condition should check with a doctor before consuming. It contains both caffeine and sugar, which should be limited during pregnancy.
  • Some people experience bloating from drinking it. This may in part be due to the presence of probiotics and potential changes in gut bacteria. Anyone with a digestive disorder should consult a doctor before consuming.
  •  If kombucha is made incorrectly, it may contain harmful bacteria and could be dangerous. This is rare but is more common with home brews.

Oral Health Concerns

The most logical concern I’ve seen with Kombucha is its potential to cause dental problems. Since it is high in natural acids (but still lower than most sodas) it can be harmful to the teeth.

These steps may help reduce the potential for the acids in kombucha to affect teeth: drink it all in one sitting, don’t sip it throughout the day, and swish with clean water (don’t brush) right after.

Caffeine Content

The base for kombucha is black tea, and some people have concerns about its caffeine content. The amount of caffeine in kombucha varies quite a bit based on the type of tea used and the steep time. In general, it is considered to have less caffeine than soda or coffee. Caffeine content also decreases during fermentation, so the longer the ferment, the less caffeine typically left in the brew.

Sugar Content

Sugar is used in making kombucha, and for this reason many people are concerned about the sugar content in the finished tea. Fortunately, the majority of the sugar ferments out during the fermentation process. Because the sugar is the food for the bacteria, it is not possible to make without any sugar at all. For this reason, sugar substitutes like stevia and xylitol do not work either.

Alcohol Content

Kombucha does contain a very small amount of alcohol, which has been a source of much controversy in recent years. Sources estimate that store bought brews contain 0.5% to 1.0% alcohol. To put this in perspective, a person would have to drink a six pack of kombucha to approach the alcohol in a single 12oz beer. In fact, a bottle of kombucha would have a comparable alcohol content to an over-ripe banana. Homemade kombucha also typically contains more alcohol than store bought, though still not much.

 

Bottom Line

Many people love Kombucha because of its taste. The internet abounds with anecdotal stories of its benefits. Research doesn’t yet support its health-promoting properties, but it is generally considered safe to drink if from a reputable source.

We do know that it is a good source of probiotics, enzymes, and beneficial acids, and a decent source of B-vitamins. It can be made at home or found in many stores. It may not be a silver bullet for health, but it sure is tasty!

Like with any raw/fermented product, those with any health condition or who are pregnant/nursing should check with a doctor before consuming.

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HAPPY DRINKING KOMBUCHA!!!

 

The Evolution of Yoga & Why I Love It

Yoga Evolution 01
Yoga History & Philosophy

Before attending the Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), I thought well, yoga is just yoga, physical exercise, people doing crazy stunts. What I never thought after the teacher training was I gained so much deeper understandings of the world we living in. The world that I suddenly grew to be even more curious about, the world that is full of magic and unicorns.

If we take notice, yoga didn’t start out as physical form of exercise (from picture attached). It was merely known as what we recognized today as philosophy, spiritual teachings, moral values, or science of this world’s existence. The yoga that most of us thought of nowadays are those physical movements that is known as Asanas or Hatha Yoga. There are many different styles of yoga practice in this modern era: diverse methodologies and distinct lineages. There is no one specific single yoga philosophy, no one methodology but there is similarity that connects all approaches to yoga, and it is this deeply over interconnectedness-the matrix within the pattern of what we call yoga.

Basically all we need to know in summary about yoga is: Yoga Citta Vitti Nirodah. This translates to “The Restraint of the Modifications/Fluctuations of the Mind.” The basic essence of yoga is about integration of the physical (body), astral (emotion) and causal (mind). Of which we always hear about yoga isn’t it?

So what is the first thing comes to mind about yoga to most people?

1.) Way of Life.

2) Stillness/silence.

3) Healthy mind & body.

4) Balance.

5) Opening your heart.

6) Connecting with yourself.

Are these yoga? I can only say that these are incidental benefits of yoga. Yoga is a realization of our own true divine nature. Yoga teaches us a set of principles of practices to apply to everything in life. And with all the yogic teachings, we should realize that we are never the victim of circumstances, we’re always the master of circumstances. However, we can only achieve this when the pond of our mind is still. In short, YOGA is about transcending the MIND. It is the art of living.

Most people asked how and why I chose to embark on sharing so much about yoga. Well this article basically summarizes what I would have to say about it.

“Here and now is where yoga begins…” – Yoga Sutra

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons NOT to do Yoga

“There are hundreds path up the mountain, all leading to the same place, so it doesn’t matter which path you take. The only person wasting time is the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.” – Hindu Proverbs.

To be healthy, there are many pathways. There are not one particular workout or diet that will be the sole way of reaching that ultimatum. You may listen to others’ opinions and try them on your own to see which suits you better. Disclaimer: I wouldn’t be able to tell you what diet works best and what workout styles will work to make you lose weight.  I will only be talking from my own experience and that doesn’t guarantee to work for everyone. 🙂

In today’s entry, I will  be talking about my opinion on Yoga as my choice of healthy living. Yoga of course is not for everyone. There are some legitimate reasons on why you might want to reconsider taking up yoga as your daily practices. Below are the reasons you should consider to avoid pain and suffering of dwelling into yoga:

1. It will ruin your foodie experience

Stop eating 01When you are regularly on your mat practicing, you will start to notice what the food you eat will do to your body. To the point that you actually may want to give up those oh-so-yummylicious, but oh-so-stomachace-inducing kind of food. For those foodie like me, life is a struggle when you know the harm those food will cause and you just gotta stay away. Simple as that.

2. It will force you be an early bird

Sleep early 01

You will start to realize that practicing yoga in the morning is more beneficial compared to the late hours, forcing you to sleep early so that you could be an early bird to start doing yoga. Late-night partying will probably be really numbered. It is always a torture to wake up so damn early to sweat it out when your body is still crying for some peaceful sleeping time.

3. You will have boring, no drama-mama life

gossip 01If you love to be in a drama kinda life, you should really skip yoga. Yoga will cause you to desire a more peaceful life. You will likely be just a good listener and try to shy away from the dramas. You will be a peaceful, simple and boring friend to be with. You will also stop wanting to judge people and rather be in a positive, looking-for-good in other people kind of mannerism that the drama community will not appreciate. Basically, you will be the odd one out. Will that be ok for you?

4. It will totally ruin your wardrobe collection

yoga pants closetWhere’s all your nice things? You used to have so many fancy stuff in your closets. What happened now? Over 100 pairs of yoga pants and clothes?

5. It will change your body, mind and soul

mirror selfThe softer your body becomes, the softer your heart becomes. The stronger your body becomes, the stronger your opinions and beliefs become. The strengthening yet softer physicality of yours due to yoga will dig up and open up the deepest self of you. Yoga is so steep in its tradition and spirituality that it will inevitably makes you discover your dark places in life and be more emotional. If you are not ready to face your feelings and subconscious mind, run away from the sight, sound, and smell of yoga.

The mat is generally the mirror of your life. The more you are on your mat, the more you will discover a lot of your current stage of your life. How do you deal with problems? How grateful are you with what you have? How resilient are you with challenges? And so on and so forth. Many things will surface when you are consistently showing yourself on the mat. Are you ready for the consequences and take responsibility of your current habits in life? If you are satisfied with your life now and not looking for a change, I think you might want to reconsider yoga.

Hopefully you can get the gist of this post. There are of course still yogis and yoginis out there who are still staying up late, drinking, smoking, swearing, being impatience, being judgmental, and being a foodie – they just tend to be more mindful about it.

Overall, it is true that yoga can change a lot of aspects of your life, but you are still the driver of your life and it’s up to you to choose. You always have a choice to take in what’s good for yourself. Only you know yourself better. Happy yoga-ing or not! 😉

Common Misconceptions about Yoga

“Yoga is not for me! I am not flexible.”

“I need to move around lots and lift weights enough to feel that I worked out.”

“I need to sweat more.”

“Yoga is boring and slow.”

“I am so fat, I can’t do yoga.”

“I am so old, my bones will break.”

Oh yeah, you hear that most of the time. And yes, to me, I heard it most of the time when I asked them why not join me to yoga or let me teach them. The idea that we yogis and yoginis spend our time daily standing on our heads, chanting, meditating, and eating only greens still run rampant through society around the globe. Surprise not surprise?! 😀 Yoga has been around for decades, but it has only start to gain its popularity as “lifestyle” in the recent years. Among the plethora of wild assumptions out there, I put some into my list and hope it could help clear out some of the misconceptions.

  1. Yoga is just “STRETCHING”

Yes, yoga is just stretching, says who? NO WAY! Well, I don’t blame anyone who thinks that way because I did think that way before. In the beginning I often go for yoga class only after my cardio, kickboxing workout. Felt so good after the yoga class because of all the stretching poses we did in the class. See! I used yoga for my stretching session. I wasn’t interested in yoga at all, EVER back then.

Well, not at least until Oct 2014 when I didn’t even know why I decided to give yoga another shots into my “have-to-master” list. Sometimes in life we just have to go spontaneous right?! So, yeah, I went over to a yoga studio and signed a 3-year membership to get me started. Lots of money spent and thought, I have to be COMMITTED (don’t want to waste money basically). I said to myself, NOW or NEVER! I attended my very first few Vinyasa/Ashtanga classes and I changed my mind that it was “just stretching.”  I found the classes that I attended were mostly very challenging, sometimes leaving me to question why did I even think of doing this again. I was struggling with most of the poses and felt lousy at times, but I kept feeling this addiction that I need to keep coming back again and again. My subconscious mind (at least I think so) seems to love yoga at that point of time.

“Yoga is just stretching” misconception is not that all wrong indeed with the many different styles and lineages of yoga widely available from the sweaty cardio sessions (e.g.: Vinyasa, Ashtanga) to physical therapy sessions (e.g.: Yin Yoga). The different styles of yoga can act as a restorative, meditative, or even muscle strengthener depending on what you choose to practice. While it is also true that with yoga you can improve your flexibility, the practice also could be of benefit in terms of your breath awareness, body mindfulness, and mental clarity. This is why we always say that Yoga means UNION. Union of the body, mind, and soul.

Tree of Asanas
Tree of Asanas

2. Yoga is MERELY an exercise

The joining of the physical, mind and soul is not just it. It is also on how well we could relate the external factors of our world to our own internal world and vice versa. When it comes to yoga, most people will immediately think about “stretching”, moving the body through flows of basic movements, and performing a set of postures. What many people failed to realize is the fact that yoga is a way of life. What? What way of life you may be asking. 2000 years ago, Yoga Sutra was put together by Patanjali to assist the students to understand better the core of yoga. It consists of the eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for yoga practice throughout centuries.

In brief, the eight-limbs of yoga are:

    1. Yama:  Universal morality
    2. Niyama:  Personal observances
    3. Asanas:  Body postures
    4. Pranayama:  Breathing exercises, and control of prana (breath)
    5. Pratyahara:  Control of the senses
    6. Dharana:  Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
    7. Dhyana:  Devotion, Meditation on the Divine
    8. Samadhi:  Union with the Divine
8 Limbs of Yoga
8 Limbs of Yoga

We will not go into details today in this post about those eight-limbs (maybe some day I will write about them). I just wanted to point out the part where most people known yoga for today, which is the third limb in our yoga sutra, we, practitioners called asanas. Sure, flowing from one postures to another in asanas could be physically challenging and exerting, trying to find the perfect alignments and catching the breath (especially in hot yoga). Thus, with that in mind, yoga could definitely pose as a form of exercise. Bear in mind, that yoga, though, is a way of life. The way of life in terms practicing the eight-limbs, speaking truthfully, practicing self-discipline, living simply, controlling the senses and emotions. This could be achieved through practising asanas, meditation, and pranayama. With this in mind, you will be reminded constantly to be mindful of how you react to certain things in life, be it positive or negative. You will take notice more on your quality of relationships not just with people, but with yourself, the environment, and your divine/spiritual self.

Honestly, the point for which I mentioned about yoga as a way of life is what drives me to keep practicing yoga and keep sharing this philosophy to many people around me. For those who knows me, I used to be someone with a lot of anger and negativity in me, but after practicing yoga over a year, I realize that I feel more peaceful with myself. Of course I wouldn’t say that I am now totally zen or positive all the time, but that’s the beauty of life, I get to experience getting emotional and be mindful of it, challenging myself to be better over time. Without challenges, life would be boring isn’t it? 🙂 We don’t need to resist or change what others think about us.  Always remember that in life, you have to accept yourself, love yourself, and be able to live with the consequences of being YOU. Others’ opinions don’t matter if you don’t love yourself that way. This life is yours and you are the one who has to walk the path, not that other people who think you should do this, do that, and judge you. You are not living other people’s life, you are living yours. Become the priority in your life. Yoga is your life and not merely an exercise to sweat it out.

3. Yoga helps to LOSE WEIGHTS much faster

Please……. for beginners to yoga, can I just tell you not to be disappointed? Nothing instant ever sustained for a long period of time. In yoga postures, a lot of them are to help strengthen your muscles and detox you by a sweating a little bit maybe or more depending on what lineage of yoga styles you practice. Get the fact right that it’s not the weights on the weighing scale that matters. You need to take a look at your muscle vs. fats amount in your body. Fats don’t burn other fats because they’re one family. Muscles help burn fats because muscles hate fats and they’re certainly not the same kind of species. 😀

Fats vs muscles
Fats Vs. Muscles

And please boys and girls, don’t keep saying that you need to lose weight although you’re already super skinny. The most important thing is to get you toned and healthy, not to be skinnier to the bone. Many people came up to me and ask me whether they can really lose weights through yoga. Hmmm…. can I tell you please stop asking? lol. Joking. Actually you can lose weights through yoga if and only if you really do practice self-control over food and discipline yourself through morning rituals of exercising the body. Trust me, you keep eating the same amount and type of food you’re currently consuming, yoga asanas can’t help. If you are already thin and think you need to lose more weights, please please please practice being grateful and in love with your healthy body in comparison to those obese or overweight people who wants to be like you. Yes, I will say if you wanna exercise your mind and help you go through life to be more grateful, welcome to yoga. 🙂 The secret of losing weight or I rather I like to call it as keeping fit, is self-gratitude, self-control over food/diets and self-discipline over daily exercise.

No matter what kind of misconceptions you have about yoga, all I can say is yoga will be good for you. 🙂 When you begin to understand yoga more in depth, you will love it because if you don’t, you won’t love your life. Yoga is a way of life. From ashtanga, vinyasa, yin to kundalini yoga, there must some styles that you will love. Commit yourself and find styles that suit you. As a way of life, yoga will help you through paths of self-discovery journey and hopefully you will love yourself even more along the trip! ❤

My First Post!

This is going to be my first post and probably just a few words to start telling you a lil’ bit about myself and my yoga journey.

Well, this blog is going to be me posting lots of my new passion on healthy living as well as my yoga journey. I have always been passionate on writing blog, sharing things about new discoveries. I stopped blogging when my corporate life kicked in on me. Didn’t have much time to write and shut down my blog. Since now I am no longer bounded by long working hours of corporate life and decided to pursue a new life path, I would love to share this life amazing journey and hopefully the content could be something of benefits to most. 🙂

I started yoga about a year ago, last year around Oct 2014. Little did I know that my decision back then became a profound part of my life today. I have heard and tried yoga way before 2014, but it never caught my heart. I have always thought yoga is a boring stretching exercise. Well, maybe that’s also because I took up yoga in the common commercial gym out there where they usually do offer basic yoga classes. Or perhaps I wasn’t ready to receive new lessons in life yet. In 2014 when I finally decided to sign a 3 year-membership with a Yoga studio, I made it a point and promised myself to HAVE to go to the classes every single day to make my money worth it. At the beginning, I was struggling in some classes especially those Ashtanga and Vinyasa classes which requires lots of flexibility and core strengths. I usually came out of those classes feeling lousy. Thoughts: “Why can others do it and I can’t? Why did it look so easy, but hell difficult to perform? Why why why why and why?” First thing: I was comparing myself to others. Second: I was so impatient with myself. Third: I judged and under-estimate simple things. Fourth: Too much questions! I looked back and realized that was me back then. My point is, I didn’t realize that yoga brought out my personality in me so obvious at that present moment that I tried to CHANGE. Cut story short, I got so seriously attached to yoga because at every class, with every pose that I do, I discover myself. I found things about myself that I want to explore more.

That curiosity brought me to accomplish my 200 hours Yoga Teacher Training in Santorini, Greece. I spent 3 weeks in Santorini, and after that, I could tell that I was at peace with myself after over 20 years of living on this planet Earth! A definite life journey that I am so grateful to every single day.

My blog is going to be dedicated to what I have learned during the discovery of myself and some healthy living tips that I myself believe in and will hopefully be of benefits to many of you guys who are reading the blog.

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The captivating beauty of Oia town, Santorini, Greece.