Honoring Your Body

For the past 10 months, being pregnant has brought me into a new realization, to be more aware & connected to my physical body, more than ever.

To most women, main concern in being pregnant nonetheless is worrying your hip gets wider, belly gets flabbier & the fear in not getting back into pre-pregnancy shape/weight. I was in that shoe as well, hoping to be able to fit back into my yoga attire in 6 months time. However, never let such thought affect your food intake during pregnancy as ultimately, you wish for a healthy baby.

As a mother-to-be, I went through tons of changes psychologically & physically. Apart from the growing belly, hormones are going crazy within my body. First trimester was consistently tired, second was a breeze, last was heavy & restrictive. I stayed in my practice & teaching until I was 36 weeks pregnant. I had to modify my practice on a weekly basis as the same pose that feels open & good, might become tight & challenging few weeks later. I learn to listen to my body a whole lot more than I used to be, every breath & every movement. Besides, I too had to take a step back, to remind myself that yoga practice is not about how beautifully you can hold a pose, it is about the connection to your mind & body. Some people got worried/frighten seeing me doing inversions still during last trimester, some may thought it’s the ego to prove on strength. But deep down I was just doing what my body allows me to do, to make myself feel good. My practice is the only thing that never fail me, it keeps me sane & stay positive.

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I delivered my baby girl, Athena at 37 weeks pregnant, she came unexpectedly early. 4 hours after labor, I was able to get down  from bed & walk around, chit chat with family, relatives & friends who visited at hospital & spent quality time with my baby girl. I was tired & sleepy from labor, but not exhausted. 2 weeks after my delivery, I was only 3kg back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Frankly, my body impressed me. My recovery was quick, I feel well & energetic even before my confinement ended (though being a new mom, I was deprived from sleep too!! It was yoga that helped me through my pregnancy, labor & recovery.

So, love & honor your body, it can do amazing things!

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Namaste Festival 2013

After 4 months of being deprived from a good class, finally I’m on my way flying to Jakarta for  a 3 full day yoga festival. Main objective is to recharge my physical thirst in a strong practice & also meeting some great teachers.

Day 1, while queuing up to enter 1st session of this festival, i’m so impressed with the energy as well as yoga spirits here! 30% of the yogis are male!! It’s so great knowing the significant number of guys that value yoga practice around, unlike many other Asian countries. Everyone is so open, friendly & nice. You can just leave your belongings (obviously with valuables like yoga mat, props or even wallet) in the podium & it’ll be exactly where it was when you get back. How awesome that can be placing trust in a foreign country with whole bunch of strangers? I admire this yoga community~

Briohny & Dice’s fitflow is such a demanding practice, which requires tons of core & arm strength, totally my cup of tea. I’ve learned so much particularly in all the handstand, headstand, inversions & arm balances sessions. Tiffany Cruikshank is another awesome teacher, who breaks down all the anatomy details as well as enter & exit strategies in advance asanas. 8 hrs of back to back yoga practice in a day is physically & mentally challenging, 20 hrs of yoga in 2.5 days is truly pushing to limit. The burning hot sun in morning & heavy rain pour after lunch added even more in our plate. While your body is in a vulnerable state, it is putting your mind to test. We often give up too early, surrender to that tiny little voice that we are too tired or weak. But if you can move pass that, you’ll realize it is the mind that need to be convinced.

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During this festival, I experienced extreme fatigue for pushing my physical body too much. But I too came to realized that it was my mind guided me in completing all 20 hrs of practice. Apart from all the awesome knowledge in advancing my personal asana practice, my biggest gain is taking 1 step closer to self realization.

Change of Perspective

After 4 weeks of intensive teacher training, I came back to where it all begun, in a different role.

The next day I met up with my teacher, Michelle, I shared all my experiences, things I learned & things I love in Koh Samui. She was supportive & invited me to co-teach with her. I walked into the middle of the studio, trying to share what I know, trying to make corrections on my fellow yogis. It feels so natural, doesn’t feel like teaching, I’d say it was more of sharing. That night, I received a message from one of them. “You are so different after the training. Come back with loads of confidence, well done!” Her exact words were playing in my head over & over again that night, it’s an impactful confident boost to my system. I was then offered to teach my own class in a yoga studio. Serine, the studio owner offered me a Tue class without doubting my ability to teach. Her trust allows me to start teaching immediately. I’ve been very lucky, to have great people lending their helping hand, making the beginning of my teaching path a silky smooth sailing.

A week later, I started co-teaching with Michelle in gym. The room was so cold, & I’ve not seen so many corrections need to be done in a class for a long time. When I speak, I need to throw my voice out as it was a huge room with 2 glass door front & back. So much to do yet so little time. My throat hurt after class even I was only speaking for 20mins. What a real life teaching experience. There are so much more to learn, to assess overall students level, to modify yoga sequences on adhoc basis, optimal voice control apart from being my true self!!

I came to realize that, I’m no longer the yogi who can be on my mat in class, focus only on my breathing & asana practice. I can’t just walk into a class, plan the sequence to my own liking & just do my thing anymore. With a change of perspective, my ultimate goal now is to inspire my students, to share what I believe is best for them, to be sensitive towards one’s feeling, to spread my energy, love & light…