….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
DAY 17 1/6/2020 (Total hrs = 112)
AM 2hrs This may sound strange. I hope not. This big pair of green cat’s eyes stared at me for no reason for 1 hr this morning…why? he doesn’t anything, he just stares!!!!! lol. It feels like he is feeling neglected because all my spare time and energy goes to my Yoga course, so I tried a bit of “Yoga with Cats” with my Cat! That and he clawed my new yoga mat and took out a few chunks. So I decided to see if I can include him in my yoga! Except in reality every Yoga I do is Yoga with cat! I tried to do a bit of Eyes staring and rolling yoga with the cat…He won the staring competition!
PM 2hrs Worked on my Yoga Asana, Sequencing and Final Class plan. It is going well. I practice the plan on my one2one students. They like being a guinea pig for my class plans.
Reflection: After hearing about all the riots because of the Racist killing of #GeorgeFloyd I thought about this BKS.Iyengar quote. I consider Racism “what need not be endured”. When I was a teen, I was introduced to a lot of practice wisdoms of BKS.Iyengar, I am only just growing with it now. Namaste.
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.” BKS.Iyengar
DAY 16 31/5/2020 (Total hrs= 108)
AM 1hr Organised a Lockdown Balcony Yoga class to my neighbour while I was doing Yoga Stretches this morning in the sun! Just got another offer to do Online Office Yoga Class to Corporates stuck at home Teams, complaining and driving their managers crazy. That’s x2 in a week!!!! I am researching Diversity Inclusive Yoga so that I can teach in compliance with ALL EU laws on Equal Opportunity and Office environment!!!! I am doing a sample Balcony desk yoga with my neighbor who manages big teams of Bank desk workers….she says,”Pls tell me as soon as you qualify and get your insurance. WE NEED THIS !!!!” How great is that??? Eid Mubarak! Happy Ramadan to all my Muslim friends around the world who went on a Ritual FAST for one month! Amazing! All ancient cultures have fasting rituals connected to Spiritual developments!
Noon 3hrs Finished “The Audacity of Hope ” and the Biography of Rosa Parks. In light of what happened to #georgefloyd RIP I feel that it is my spiritual practice to build my allies with my African American friends and also to better understand their culture. So I’ve been reading more books in Audible and reaching out to those who may feel vulnerable given the Level of viscious hate crimes in the USA under the vile orange nazi Trump. Coincidentally my scottish friend sent me these two portraits of Obama. I like the one in the Tan suit! Finished Audio-Reading the Audacity of Hope by Obama. Yes it is worth reading! I enjoyed it. It is smart….too smart for a section of Trumpland who is too “Thick” to get that he wants for them what Ive had my whole life in Australia, Hong kong, Sweden, EU, Britain, India, China even Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal….basic healthcare for all…. That’s all!
PM 2hrs PM Yoga with Patricia Walden’s Moon Salutation inspired sequences. Also had a look at BKS.Iyengar’s lesson notes to his students, some of them shared by his son Prashant Iyengar as open source.
Day 15 30/5/2020 (Total hrs = 103) 16hrs fast , breaking fast with Swedish Cracker bread, Strawberries on Mascarpone, Spirulina Smoothies and Basil Tea! (My favorite Brunch)
PM 3hrs Studying Anatomy + Asanas Urdhva Dhanurasana on the yoga ball as support+ Practicing Restorative yoga. Focus on Contentment! Asanas and Meditation.
Reflections: I am enjoying my yoga teacher online course so much! I noticed today that while I was waiting at the shops in the queue I was correcting my posture Iyengar style AND…Out of nowhere….this guy who is volunteering to take donated food to all those who are stuck at home (mostly elderly and disabled) asked me,”Do you want some bread? They gave us loads!” and I was like,”No I don’t take carbs. Thanks! But I’d take the flowers!” He goes,”I would but I can’t, they are for the old people’s common Room!” I go,”That’s great. Thanks. Have a great day!” How nice is that? The vibes you send out is the vibes you get back….Basic law of Karma!
Day 14 29/5/2020 (Total hrs = 84)
Noon: 1hr It was a very busy day. I had to meet a proposal deadline. I don’t think I drank enough water. But I was able to do a bit of Shavasana in the sun on the balcony!
PM 3 hrs Kurmasana, Krounchasana, Malasana , Matsyasana, Supta Virasana, a lot of stretching into Upavista Konasana and Padmasana really took a lot of slow training and effort. I can try Hanumanasana for the Divine Monkey Pose slowly….maybe I will get it eventually. 🙂
Day 13 28/5/2020 (Total hrs = 80 ) Another busy day. I got a chance to do some practice when my day finished.
PM: 2 Hr Asanas on the Balcony practicing the following asanas, slowly with Iyengar style alignment instructions: Sukhasana, Siddhasana, Padmasana (that took a lot of gradual hip opening stretches, not as easy as when I was 16 and could just slip straight into the Lotus), Virasana, Dandasana, Gradual stretches for Akana Dhanurasana, attempted both Padmasana and Akana Dhanurasana , I attained it but lacked the muscle strength to hold it for very long. So I focussed on breathe and gradual alignment. I noticed while I was doing that I really remembered the Iyengar teaching to my first teacher Liz and also discussed by Patricia Walden about “Your Practice, Not your Ego”. That was like a mantra for me when I attempted the more difficult poses. When I could not hold the advance poses and went back to Tadasana & Utkatasana. I did several rounds of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama followed by Paschimottanasana. Then really focussed on Vrikshasana, trying to stay balanced. I noticed there was pronation of my right foot because there was slight lateral rotation of my right knee in Vrikshasana Peak Pose, so I trying to use strap to modify when I did Utktasana to make sure my knees stay in alignment above my toes, hip width apart. This was good body awareness training for the next time I try Vrikshasana. I am aware of this postural problem so I am very careful and slow with each pose. I also tried a supported Natarajasana using the rail of the sunny balcony.
1hr Shavasana Meditation on the Present Moment, with my own Tibetan Singing Bowl sounds for chakra clensing.
Reflections: Staying in the Present Moment was very important for me today. I have a work deadline and had to attend a UN online Africa Regional briefing about Covid19. I keep thinking about the mantra like reminder of Guru Iyengar: “Your Practice, Not your Ego.” I found myself repeating that as I did my Asana. That was very positive.
DAY 12 27/5/2020 (Total hrs = 77)
AM 1 hr Nadi Shodhana Pranayama (Alternate Nostril Breathing) + Contemplated the concept of “offerings” in the form of generosity “giving of DANA (dāna is the practice of cultivating generosity) “.
From the Upanishad (root text of yoga) तदेतत्त्रयँ शिक्षेद् दमं दानं दयामिति“Learn three cardinal virtues – self restraint, charity and compassion for all life.”— Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
Noon 1hr Weight & Cardio training with a Personal Trainer. Got more advise about Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)
PNF is a progressive stretch involving muscle contraction and relaxation. My physiotherapist used PNF on me by gently stretch the muscle and I resisted the stretch by contracting the muscle for about 5 seconds. When I relaxed the muscle, my physiotherapist gently stretched the muscle further for about 30 seconds. There is about 30 seconds rest and the process is repeated again several times. My Trainer also used this technique sometimes.
PM 1hr Online Yoga Zoom with Haley to discuss modifications and adaptations for Chair pose for a client with strong muscles but delicate hips, using straps etc…
2hr Study the Anatomy related to backbend poses + Practiced Ustrasana (The Camel) against the wall. I mostly studied the Adaptation of the Camel (using a wall support) as I had one student who is a dancer with Glutes strain, so I wanted to find a way for her to ease slowly back into the camel in the future, without losing confidence.
Day 11 26/5/2020 (Total hrs = 72) 17hrs fast. Broke my fast with very Yummy Italian at Lunch. I drink a lot of water during fast days, as well as Basil tea. I rewarded myself with a midday Pink Gin and tonic in the sun after the Urban Yoga! 🙂
Today was a very busy day. I had to rush to the office because the maintenance staff needed to get into my space to check the plumbing. During lock-down, the buildings pipes while un-used and leaked so the place looked like a construction site. LOL. We offered the poor Building Concierge a drink at lunch. He needed it.
Noon 1 hr: I taught my first “Urban Yoga” Class. It was so much fun. We went slowly and focused on alignment and breathe. I got to use “adaptation” because someone had a delicate hip. Because of social distancing, there were no chairs for me to use as a support. But we found a very sturdy industrial sign that was a very solid Tripod Public sign, so we went with it! Finished with a Mother-Daughter De-stress Pranayama session with the Gourmet Chocolatier in the same building as my studio.
PM 1hr: 10mins Guided meditation on Healing Peace + Silent mindfulness focussed on breathing and decreasing blood pressure. Used Tibetan singing bowls to clear Chakras. This is one of the best Tibetan singing bowl chakras clearing healer I know! 🙂
Day 10 25/5/2020 (Total hrs = 53)
Noon (1hr) : Had a look at the Shift’s network (I am very familiar with their work because of my work with Voices of Women World.tv in NYC), web material on “Chakra work” as suggested by my YTT training material.
PM (1hr) 30mins Yoga Asanas: Still working on Natarajasana, left side. 🙂 + 10mins Guided meditation of “Self-worth” with Steph’s 10 days of Meditation course + 20mins silent meditation.
Day 9 24/5/2020 (Total hrs = 50)
AM (3hrs) Sunrise Meditation: Tibetan chanting OmanipadmeHum Sanskrit: ॐ मणिपद्मे हूँ (mantra of Buddha of compassion), Studied Anatomy for Yoga, Yoga Sutra of Patanjali and did a short Yoga at your Desk by Rodney Yee (a preparatory routine for meditation) as I think I would like to design something for Office workers as one of my class plans. He has very simple and clear verbal cues and has great alignment in all his poses.
This is the pdf text of the Tai situpa publication of this Tibetan Chenrezig ritual chanted in the video here: http://palpung.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Chenrezig-TEXT.pdf
PM (2hrs) Yoga + Shavasana (Meditation on Forgiveness – 10 days of Meditation)
Reflection: I noticed I’m finding it much easier to get into Natarajasana (King Dancer Pose) if I spend more time with the preparatory poses. When I was a teen, yoga came easy to me and I did not develop a good daily practice. When I first returned to daily practice of yoga under Covid19 Lockdown, I was very stiff and had a hard time doing Natrajasana on my left side due to stiffness of the left hip but it was easier today.
“Ability by itself seldom leads to maturity in practice. When ability is restricted, then determination, will power and full intelligence develops and your practice matures naturally and quickly. Ability alone is limiting.” Prashant.Iyengar
Day 8 23/5/2020 (Total hrs = 45) An easier day of Rest.
AM 2 hr Studying the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, read as an audio book, over Brunch.
PM 30mins Flow Yoga with Pranayama.
30mins Journaling: Very grateful for receiving my First Edition of “Around the world with Auntie Mame”. It arrived today! As soon as I read ” Auntie Mame” and saw the film, I knew I was destined to travel as it validated all my teenage impulse to see the wonders of the world and all the amazing things in it. The film visualised a Life affirming story based on a wonderful book and script! After travelling around the world x2 , Up the Himalayas, into Tibet and down the Amazons, into the Jungles to see a new Mayan burial site, I bought a Rare book First Edition copy of Patrick Dennis’ book in its glorious pink silk cover ! 🙂 Thank you for the great joy and defiance Auntie Mame represented. Quite frankly, as a Professional Visual Artist, I do not find her “outlandish” at all. She seemed quite normal, as was her friends and her love of Yoga with the Maharaja. lol. ❤ ❤ ❤
Day 7 22/5/2020 (Total hrs = 42)
AM 1hr Yoga Flexibility and Shavasana (Sunrise Meditation)
1 hr Studied the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali.
PM 1hr Yoga Flexibility -Patricia Walden ( the Italian language version 🙂 ), so I switched off the sound and focused on following her Alignment and postures! I really liked that she showed the Sanskrit name of each pose with captions. This helps me learn the Asanas for the course! I am multi-tasking! The opening sequence showing off her flexibility is so impressive! Stylistically, she looks like a carbon-copy of my first Yoga teacher Liz in Australia. I can see they both learned from the same guru, BKS.Iyengar, because of their precise alignment, discipline, strength and flexibility! 🙂
Day 6 21/5/2020 (Total hrs = 39)
Fast & Meditation. I decided to do a 16hrs Fast. Broke Fast with Fresh Guava, Pineapple, Apple and Blue Spirulina Smoothies. 🙂
AM 1 hrs Meditation on the Bhagavad-Gita and the Buddhist Diamond Sutra: Non attachment to the outcome of Action. Non-attachment to the extremes of duality, not even to the duality of the existence of an Atman. See Diamond Sutra.
1hr Yoga flexibility Stretches I am a little stiff in the left arm from the weight training yesterday so just focussed on stretching the upper torso area.
PM 1 hr Yoga : Conditioning for Women Patricia Walden Gaiam Program. I had a very busy day and I felt some stiffness in my left hip so I decided to do the Patricia Walden Program because in the past when I felt stiff from sitting in front the computer, this program helped me stretch out and open my hips/pelvic area to alleviate lower back tension. I aspire to get the level of smooth “flow” in her program. I love the way she transitions from different pose so smoothly, seamless and effortless. Usually her programs are very elegant compared to the awkward transitions of less-experienced instructors.
1hr Shavasana: Meditation on Gratitude.
Reflections: I would like to let go of the feelings of frustration when the days are too busy, the ordinary tasks just cannot be done as I would like to. On my Wish-list, right now, is to have the resources to hire a professional cleaner as I feel the effect of so many weeks of Lock-down. The energy of my whole space needs a deep clean. I guess it is a longing for renewal and order in my immediate environment! So I would like to reflect on how I am very Grateful for a beautiful and supportive Home during lockdown. ❤
Day 5 20/5/2020 (Total hrs = 19)
Noticed the Swallows nesting under my roof. Added Meal worms to my shopping list for them. ❤ I was really inspired by them, knowing they lived there for years, watching their babies turn into adult swallows gliding through the air, effortlessly!
AM (40mins) Asana Warm-up with 5mins opening up chest area with block, Supported Bridge position with block 5mins: Slowly Practicing Urdhva Dhaunrasana or Chakrasana The wheel using a wall and also with a Yoga Ball as a support to gradually get into the Pose. Very slow, focussing on Alignment, bringing the elbows in, keeping legs and feet hip width apart, pushing chest forward as I slowly bring my torso up, think of making a upside down U-shape, very very slowly and breathing deeply. Breathe. (2hrs) Bhagavad-Gita audio book study while performing various daily tasks with mindfulness of breathe.
Midday (40 mins) Shavasana, Biaural Beats with Tibetan Singing Bowls for Deep Relaxation, raising positive energy and letting go of negative.
PM (30mins) Weights and Resistence Private Training session to strength arm/back muscles. (2 hrs) Studying Anatomy and Asanas, thinking of how I would plan a Beginner’s class to help alleviate Back Pains and Stress, with slow gentle, useful but effective transitions. Thinking and applying what I know/learned…doing it slowly, drafting ideas with the Yogidia tool.
Day 4 19/5/2020 (Total hrs = 13)
2hrs AM Meditation + Pranayana + Yoga Study
I meditated on Aspects of Chenrezig or QuanYin, Buddhist Practice for Compassion and Universal Kindness. Chanted the Chenrezig Mantra OManiPadmeHung in Sanskrit. brethe work.
Study: Started my Yoga Asana Sequence ideas on Yogidia with Fantastic Sequencing resources for teachers. A free alternative to Tummee.
2hrs PM Yoga Study + Hatha Yoga
Then studied Yoga sequences and ideas for my own Classes reading
1hr Hatha Yoga focussing on Moon Salutations.
Day 3 18/5/2020 (Total hrs = 9 )
1hr AM Meditation: Great Invocation, Meditation and Pranayama.
1hr PM Yoga Flexibility Stretches with Yoga Ball, able to do BackBends with Yoga Ball to Keep Postures.
10min Guided Meditation on Happiness
Reflections: Noticed my procrastination with my proposal writing which is a heavy weight on my chest. Decided to focus on my Heart chakra instead of all the ‘should”s and “must”s.
Day 2: 16/5/2020 (Total hrs = 7 ) I slept a lot after my first day of online Yoga school….but then my cat woke me by PLAYING THE PIANO. MY CAT PLAYED THE PIANO! OMG!!!!! Is there nothing that Cat will not do to demand attention???
I laughed with Great Joy Animals bring to our world and shared that with All online.
30 mins AM The Great Invocation for Universal Peace. Pranayama : Alternate Nostril Breathing (Nadi Shodhana Pranayama) and Yoga Stretches.
2 hrs: Studying the Bhagavad Gita (translation by Eknath Easwaran) For Yoga School I need to Re-read the epic Gita from the Mahabharata . Thanks for the audio Blue Mountain Center of Meditation founded by Eknath Easwaran.
The Epic (Truly epic) advise Krishna gave to Arjuna on the “Freedom from the Bondage of Karmic Inter-causality, through conquering the Distortion of the Mind and Attachment of the Senses (The great illusion), by realising the Immateriality of One’s Attachment thus Free-ing oneself from the clinging/cravings that cause Sufferings…” is actually the BASIS and the Starting Point of the Philosophy of Buddhism. I read different aspects of the Mahabharata many times because I was lucky to having good Sanskrit & Pali Scholars in Tibetan Buddhism Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso and Lamas trained by him, that gave me a FULL picture of how Buddhism developed and how it differs from Hindu philosophy YET is born of it… Thank you so much. Namaste GuruJi
1.5 hrs: Hatha Yoga Class online with Swami Satchidananda Chanting + Asanas + Pranayama
Thoughts/ Responses that came up with: I noticed there were bits of my body that was different from when I was a Teenager doing the same posture. At first, I felt a sense of adversion, thinking,” Oh no, that’s not a good look.” But then as I progressed with the entire Class with Swami Satchidananda, he talked about “Yoga is not a competition.” And I laughed realising I am being competitive with my younger self and tried to let go of that! Hahaha! It felt both silly and liberating! Om Shanti Shanti!!!
Later I googled the Swami and found out that he was the yogi that Hillary Clinton mentioned in her book that I just finished. I am amazed by how I subconsciously gravitated towards his class today. His chants had very strong and powerful vibrations and I imagined Swami Satchidananda opening the epic Woodstock Music Festival with his chants! How wonderful and fun! Under lockdown I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to go to a Summer Music Festival NOW! ❤
Day 1: 15/5/2020 (Total hrs = 3)
(3hrs Practice)Under Covid19 Lockdown. I decided to start my Yoga 200 hrs Teacher training. Morning: 30mins I began with a Mindfulness Meditation of Gratitude for my Past Yoga Teachers. Starting with sending a Positive “thank you” message to my first Yoga teacher in Melbourne , Liz Coon who was student of BKS Iyengar in India.
After my Gratitude Meditation, I added this photo (c) Elizabeth Coon (Founder of Harmony School of Yoga) with BKS Iyengar to my Spiritual development Vision board: I aspire to retain my flexibility and suppleness when I get to Liz’s age! Hatha: I did Online Yoga session 30mins PM Yoga from Patricia Walden’s Gaia online streaming website.9pm-11pm: I went through the first Introductions to the 200hrs course materials and Finished with DAY 3 of Steph’s Guided Meditation on Equanimity: 9ming guided + 30mins silent.
Thoughts and Reflections: I noticed that my lower right eye lid and upper cheek was twitching and my left jaw was slightly clenched at the beginning of the meditation. There were some feelings of being angry/annoyed that I had not anticipated when thoughts came up about the past. I had some judgement about myself ie. not making the full use of my time from when I was doing a teen able to do all the advanced yoga position, to now…where I feel like I lost a lot of my suppleness. In the meditation which lasted another extra 30mins after the guided meditation ended, I felt more affirmed. I came out of the meditation thinking: Actually I did my best. It is okay to accept that my body cannot do the same as what it could do as when I was a teen. It doesn’t mean I cannot return to my best yoga form for my current age again! 🙂 Namaste.