Blog posts

Four steps to taking a self-retreat.

Sometimes, you just need to get away from it all. Life may seem stale, or life may seem overwhelming. Sometimes. you may feel no one understands you or no one truly appreciates you. All these are perfectly valid reasons to take a self-retreat. Another perfectly valid reason to take a self-retreat is just because you have time and feel like you want one.

Taking time off to heal and rejuvenate is totally fine: after all, you need to look after yourself before you can look after the other responsibilities you have. Recently, I took some time off and did a few brief self-retreats, culminating in a full-day at-home self-retreat that really did the trick! Here are a few pointers I would like to share with you.

Why do you need a self-retreat?

When I was planning a self-retreat, I thought I just needed to get away from urban life and daily routine. So I thought I would feel renewed after Eddy and I took some time off in Cameron Highlands. I was wrong.

The Yoga Lunchbox.

Bite-size yoga toolkit to manage your stress!

Empowering you with quick tools to help bring clarity and calm to the mind and body.

Find peace.

A corporate yoga and mindfulness workshop.

Have a toolbox at your fingertips to help you de-stress at work in bite-size form, so that you can progress through your day with clearer, fresher minds and bodies.

The Yoga Lunchbox is a three-hour workshop empowering busy workers with quick tools to help bring clarity and calm to the mind and body.

Participants of the workshop are taught mindfulness tools and yoga stretches – independent of each other – to use as and when they need them, so that their decisions and actions at work will be free from stress, reactiveness and overwhelm.

Let’s explore Kuala Selangor.

Travel, and getting out of routine, is so great for our wellness. Late 2001, everyone was had a sense of weariness due to the numerous lockdowns and capriciousness of the whole COVID-19 situation. When our doors were open to internal travel again, Eddy and I decided to a short getaway to Kuala Selangor.

Once upon a time, the capital of the state of Selangor, it is situated northwest of the state. I actually don’t really know the area well, having been there only for seafood meals during the day or evening.

Let me be clear though, most Malaysians would view Kuala Selangor as a day-trip (if at all) because it is pretty small and there isn’t much to do there. There are some excursions, like the fireflies (apparently, disappointing because of the lack thereof due to development), and also the Sky Mirror (for which you need to go out to an island somewhere, and be up really early in the morning).

In Kuala Selangor itself, there’s just quite a number of places of worship, Bukit Melawati (with its memorials, museum and lighthouse) and – of course – seafood.

Expansion through the sun salutations.

The Classical Sun Salutes.

Using yoga movement to salute the light within ourselves..

The classical surya namaskar.

The classical sun salutations (Sanskrit = surya namaskar) is a yoga movement flow that combines a number of yoga asana. In the case of the classical version (or Sivananda tradition) discussed here, there are 12 steps or movements to the flow for each side.

When we practise the sun salutes, it is an inner salute to two aspects of the sun (as a metaphor) within us:

  1. Energy – we are energy and we acknowledge that energy that enables to move, be still, causes us to breathe, think, digest, blink our eyes and even to sleep – all our abilities made possible through energy;
  2. Light of awareness – our awareness to anything and everything that has our focus, including our breath and movement in the sun salute practice.

Reflections on letting go & moving forward.

Life has ironies. I’m not sure how it happened, but I myself went through a pretty big wall in my journey forward. I couldn’t feel the need, desire or wish to serve, work, even get out of bed. It was probably burnout, and usually after a break, I would be up and raring to go!

So, Eddy and I headed out to Cameron Highlands (more of that later), but sadly, after the holiday, I felt even more lethargic. In fact, I almost felt like I was falling ill.

I haven’t discussed it here, but I share caregiving duties with my brother to look after both my parents – who are ageing and somewhat unwell. That has taken a toll out of me, both mentally and emotionally. This obviously affects me physically and with my job.

So what did I do?

Workout routines.

Firstly, I continued with my meditation, reiki and movement practices. Part of me realised that my movement practices also felt stale, so I began digging around for something new to do, something that my reinvigorate me – and I remembered, swimming!

Deep Blue Desaru.

You know, I really wanted to focus on yoga, fitness and wellness, and leave all the travel stories out of this blog. But the thing is, travel is good for our betterment. Here are a few benefits of travel in relation to our health and wellness:

  • Travel helps to improve our wellbeing, decrease our risk of heart attack and anxiety, while also developing our brain health;
  • Travel helps improve our communication and language skills – even in a single country like Malaysia, which is multi-lingual;
  • Travel helps to promote peace of mind and encourages positive feelings; and
  • Travel promotes creativity.

And these are but a few benefits travel has to our wellness.

So, this is a belated post to Eddy’s and my exploration of Desaru at the end of 2021.

Yoga & other tools that helped me overcome COVID-19.

Some of you may know that I was down with COVID-19 recently. In a way, it was a good experience because we have been trying to keep the virus away from our system through lockdowns, and we have been trying to mitigate the damage the disease does to us through vaccines and booster shots.

Plus, there is some trepidation about going back into society in a bid to avoid COVID-19. Still, many people are catching the virus, and have no idea where they got it from! Me, included.

Many of my clients and students asked me how was it for me, what did I do to help myself during my enforced quarantine, what supplements did I take (if any), what was the experience like. So, I decided to share this in a blog post for everyone.

Firstly though, I would like to remind you that:

  • Everyone experiences the virus differently, with different symptoms, side effects and after effects, so what I experienced may not be the same as what you may experience;
  • Everyone has different levels of health, fitness and wellness, so our bodies have different abilities to fight the virus;
  • Some of us may have underlying conditions, such as diabetes, heart-related issues, and other lifestyle diseases that exists, so again, we have different capabilities in terms of fighting the virus.

As such, the first port-of-call for you if you caught the virus would be either your medical practitioner or your government, whichever is required by law in your country.

And now – my experience with COVID-19 and what I did and what I consumed to help!

Release through yoga folds and twists.

Folding forward is just the first step in our exploration of letting go and release through yoga. One step further in movement would be to fold forward and twist.

As we have discussed, anytime we bring our torso close to our thighs or the other way around, it is a forward fold. When we fold forward, we press our internal organs with our lower limbs – the stomach, live, spleen and intestines – thereby releasing possible residual toxins stored there.

When we fold and twist at the same time, there is the added component of pressure to these organs, as well as the opening of our posterior chain in a way we don’t usually stretch them out. This means we have both a release in the internal organs, as well as a release in the skeletal muscles.

Here are four yoga poses (some in modified form) to help you get on your way!

IMPORTANT: these instructions are for apparently healthy adults with no injuries. Please do check with your doctor if you may practise these yoga poses. If you do have injuries, and need modifications, please do contact me.