Monthly Archives: January 2012

Change is immortal

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You’ve heard it before. When you find yourself grumbling about something in your life which is not quite going the way you’d like to someone will always happily chirp in to say “Change is the only constant in life” or “this too, shall pass”. I deliberately choose to leave out a description of what I do for a living in the ‘About’ section – and no, it’s not because I am running some illegal underground trade selling stolen Dior handbags, but for the most part, I’d like to keep those two things, the profession and the personal side of things separate in its own neat little box.

But yesterday I ran across the quote which appears as today’s blog title while researching on the next generation of Change Management. And I just have to have it as the title to my entry, because it rolls so deliciously on my tongue and sounds seriously profound that it makes me want to run to the closest tattoo shop and have it inked in cursive around my wrist. Lest I ever forget that every bit about life right now is bound to change in some form or another.

One of things that I love about yoga is the (no-pun intended) flexibility that enables one to tailor a sequence to suit his/her current need. With the exception of the sun salutation which consist of a fixed series of repetitive movements, all other asanas can be build and weaved together to aid a certain injury you may be experiencing, to provide emotional relief at a difficult period of your life or to specifically target those jelly arms because you have had one too many pineapple tarts during the festive season.

One of my favorite balancing pose: the tree pose helps keep bones strong

As women, we are bound to go through cycles of changes that will affect us both physically and biologically. This is not to say that men are spared from the crazy cycle of change that is called life but pregnancy and hormonal fluctuations put women’s bodies through more stress as it naturally adapts to accommodate these changes.

Recently when I ran across the following article (“A Woman’s Lifeline“) it became clear to me that I need to constantly alter and tweak my (almost) daily practice to suit my current need at that given time. And who knew, certain asanas are best for certain ages because it may address situations that you tend to experience most during that period of time.

Thus, as the German philosopher,  Arthur Schopenhauer once said “Change alone, is eternal, perpetual, immortal”. Everything is bound to change as we grow into ourselves, and continue to paint our own canvas of life. It is only fitting that we too learn to adapt our fitness regime to complement and support these different transitions.

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Old Wives Tale (and some cure..)

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A few nights ago, my mum and sister together with our house helper were sitting around the dining table, talking about nothing in particular right after dinner when the topic of food came up (we talk about food right after having some, we just love our food that much).

Mum was telling us about some lady she knows whose husband is obsessed with eating chicken’s butt. Yeap, you read that right. Chicken’s butt. Apparently he loves it so much, he buys it by the kilogram and even gets his young kids hooked onto it too. I’m right with you if you’re thinking “what? they sell chicken’s butt by the kilogram??”

So this story eventually lead to her recalling some of her late grandmother’s advice. And I can never be too sure if this is just a characteristic of the old-world, traditional Malay culture but it is said if a person consumes chicken’s butts (I mean really, what happened to the rest of the chicken that normal people usually eats??), they will become forgetful people. I’d like to think of it more of, you can’t get over the fact that you’ve just consumed a part of the chicken where poop comes out from, that all other short-term memory you have becomes irrelevant as you ponder upon your recent culinary decision.

All together now! My hump, my hump, my hump

Chicken’s butts aside, I do have to admit there are some quite good, tried-and-tested traditional cure that I sometimes find are a better, drug free way of attending to one’s ailments and minor illnesses. When I was younger, I was one of those sickly kid that was always prone to catching someone else’s bad germs. So, out of the 365 days in a year, I would probably spend 1/3 of that time either down with fever, bronchitis, cough, flu or something of those variations. I was in and out of the hospital, and eventually made good friends with this tall, towering cylindrical oxygen vessel that will be known as the ‘nebulizer’.

One of our Indonesian house helpers at that time, figured that she should take matters of my health into her own hands and save me from the drug-saturated approach I have been put through up until then. Off she went and bought some fresh turmeric (curcuma longa), skinned it, and started pounding away with the pestle and mortar we had in the kitchen. And before I knew it, I was presented with half a glass of brilliant, saffron colored liquid that smells absolutely horrendous to my 5 year old nose.

I am not sure if these days, the very act of forcing a child to drink up her herbal medicine which would almost immediately result in violent convulsions of regurgitation to expel all that phlegm (ok, fine I may be exaggerating just a little bit) can be considered as abusive. But I use to dread those times, and its surprising that I haven’t been traumatized completely off herbal medicine from that experience.

These days I much rather prefer to describe that smell of freshly pounded turmeric juice as ‘earthy’. I add a teaspoon of honey into the concoction, and I am not so crazy as to pound away a half glass worth of turmeric. Fresh turmeric always produces a lighter, more pleasant tasting medicine than does its powdered counterpart. But either way, a couple of tablespoon of this mixture is normally enough to stop my coughing spasm. One bonus that I have discovered by accident recently is that, turmeric + honey work wonders for deep uninterrupted sleep. You’ll wake up the next day, fresh and you won’t even remember the horrid turmeric taste that you’ve subjected yourself to the night before.

All information and recommendations on this site and this disclaimer is linked to are not directly meant to diagnose, prescribe, treat, or cure any disease or illness. It is essential for every reader to always check with his or her physician or any qualified health care specialist prior to following any advice

My Sunday Joy

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Most of the people I know, especially those who are in the corporate world will often wish for Friday and the weekend to come by as soon as Monday rolls upon them. And I am guilty of this too. While some others are looking forward to hit the clubs on Fridays and drink to their hearts content, or to sleep in on the weekends, I find myself looking forward to my 90 minutes Sunday yoga classes instead (hey, to each of his/her own!).

Of course all the standard, typical reasons as to why one enjoys yoga and its subsequent benefits are part of it, but lately I have begin to notice other things about my class not related to yoga itself that contribute towards what I shall call my weekly dose of Sunday joy. Every Sunday, from around 9:30 in the morning onwards there will be about 20 of us slowly filing into the studio and spreading our mats, usually in the exact same spot every week. I love the sense of community that seems to establish itself with such ease between the students in the class. I doubt everybody knows everyone else’s name in this class, but the conversation and the greetings that take place every week is never absent of warmth.

There are husbands and wives in the group, singles, young teenagers and elderly people in their golden ages. It’s one big mix of people, from all walks of life, background, religion and culture. In my 6 years that I have attended classes at the studio, 1/2 of the people I see in my Sunday classes are the very people I’ve met on my very first day. There’s this elderly man whom I’ve seen around in one of my first few classes back in 2006, he is still in my class, better than ever with his sun salutations and his wife is even training as a yoga teacher.

His partner-in-crime is another elderly man, possibly around the same age or maybe a few years younger than he is whom our teacher calls his ‘twin brother’. This guy makes me laugh mid-pose when he starts sighing, and grunting in pain, and took it onto himself to start counting down to zero as fast as possible for the class.

About a year ago, Dan Buettner presented his findings on what makes people live longer lives. One of the common threads he found in his study called The Blue Zone was that elderly people who surround themselves with friends, family and who co-exist within a tight sense of community tend to live longer and healthier lives. I watched his presentation on Ted Talks recently:

I don’t certainly wish to live for as long as 100 years old, but as the years roll by and the numbers that define my age gets bigger, I do wish to age gracefully (and if I can have it my way, maybe die in my sleep too like those women from Japan). Knowing that I have a great example to compare against of what the real experience of community can feel like however, gives me a little bit of comfort. And ample amount of joy. And a real hope that we can all co-exist happily irrespective of our creed, skin colour and religious beliefs.