Sunday, January 31, 2010

Everyone, Meet Hank!

His arrival was delayed till Saturday afternoon instead of Thursday. But better late than never. He was exactly 8 weeks old on Saturday.

He's such a cutie! Apparently he hasn't quite connected with his legs yet, so he stumbles around sometimes. And his head looks like it's too big and heavy for his body and he hasn't quite figured out how to hold it up yet. So sometimes his head goes *ponk* into the food bowl as he's eating.

He flew from Jo'burg to Cape Town into the big, strong rescuing arms of Kelly (as instructed by the breeder). Apparently Hank's really chilled out. When he arrived from Jo'burg, there were a couple other Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies, a parrot and some other dogs in the same hold as well. All the other animals were barking or sqwacking their heads off, but dear Hank was just chilling in his cage, unfazed by it all.

He also squeaks when he wants to go to the loo, and Kelly has managed to catch his signals every time (bar an accident at 4am when Kelly just couldn't get outta bed in time.)

Get ready for some Monday cuteness! (I'm also thinking it's time to get Hank a fancier collar than THAT!)

Pimp My Phone + Farewell Yogi Coffee

I've gone and done another Asian thing. I've pimped up my other < insert name of gadget here >.

In trying to make the Nokia a tad bit more palatable, I went to Paddy's Markets (in the heart of Chinatown, of course) and er... blinged out the Nokia. I figured I've got too much pink tech already. Pink camera, Pink Mac, Pink iPod mini... so if I got more pink bling on the mobile phone, I would be in danger of being mistaken for Paris Hilton. EEEK!

Besides, all the pink bling they had for the E71 either had hearts on them, or lips/ kisses, or Hello Kitty... and er... I don't want to be THAT crazy lady whipping out that tasteless pink thing. (haha, yes I'm being ironic. I love my kitsch. Shut up!)

Here it is. Stars are a little less Paris Hilton. I think. (AT LEAST IT'S NOT A HEART!!!!)

I'm not sure if I like it. And I'm not sure if I like it because it's just a tad bit too loud (but can anything ever be too loud?) ...or I'm not sure if I like it coz it's not pink. HAHAHA. (I'm trying to break out of my pink mould here. Change is hard!) :p

The extra bulk on the phone makes it easier to type on though... I've been finding it way too skinny so there's nothing to grip onto when sms'ing/ emailing on the phone and it always feels like it's gonna slip out of my hands.

After this purchase, I realized "Hang on. I'm going home in a few days. Singapore is the land of tech. I would be able to find a gazilion MORE BLING OPTIONS. And for cheaper too." DOH! Oh well, at least if I finally decide that I DON'T like this bling cover, maybe I'll find an alternative back home. Heh. (See why I NEED to purge & destroy?)

After practice today, I had coffee with some of my yogi friends. It was a "farewell coffee" thing. I think it was probably the first time the 5 of us had sat down for a proper chat over a drink after practice.

It reminded me of what Willem Dafoe said in the "Ashtanga, NY" documentary... something along the lines of... you practice side-by-side with these people every single day... you know their names, sometimes you don't... sometimes you haven't even heard their voice coz you don't talk to each other. All you do is just show up and practice on the mat next to each other... but you know them "well". They become so much a part of your life and seared in your mind as a part of your practice because of the shared energy in the room... but often you haven't even spoken to each other! And then he said with a glint in his eye "'s pretty wild, if you think about it."


I am inspired by these beautiful ladies' practices... and have 2 more days left of practicing amongst my gorgeous yogi friends.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Post-Primary Wooden Backbends & More B'bye Sydney!

Yesterday's full primary practice sailed along nicely. The one thing that jumped out as feeling exceptionally different were my backbends (and dropbacks).

The backbends felt like a dead, straight plank of wood. I was like "EH?!?"

Wow, getting used to doing regular Urdvha Dhanurasana after all those Salabhasanas/ Dhanurasanas/ Parsva Dhanurasanas in intermediate MAKE SUCH A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE to how open your backbends feel later in the closing sequence.

I had stopped doing reverse-namaste hangbacks before dropbacks coz my back usually feels nicely cracked open already after all the intermediate backbends. But yesterday's full primary practice meant I had to go back to doing those reverse-namaste hangbacks coz I could feel even in my 3rd Urdvha Dhanurasana that my entire spine just felt so stiff.

And the dropbacks were also quite rubbish. I almost grazed my head on the floor the first couple of times. And this hasn't happened in quite a while, so I was like DOUBLE "EH?!?"

It reminded me of what a twitter pal, @ruechel said: "Backbends are like pancakes. The first 2 are no good." HAHAHAHA!

On Thursday, the office made me a farewell card. I look like the (naked) 50ft woman of Table Mountain. (See how they photoshopped my right shoulder coz there was actually someone next to me covering it? I have 2 left shoulders. My shoulders look like one of Victoria Beckham's pointy jacket outfits!)

And if you've been following me on Twitter, you'll no doubt have read all of my moaning and whining about getting used to the Nokia dumbphone and trying to soup it up to be more "Blackberry-esque".


I am also grateful that at least I have a phone (with data connection capabilities, no less). Heh. Since it is an inherited phone, I came across some beautiful shots of Sydney that Kelly had taken when we first got here.

Seems pretty poetic that as I'm leaving here, I stumble across the photos we took when we first arrived.

Here's a gorgeous view of the QVB (aka Queen Victoria Building) and the rest of town at night, from our apartment window.

And views of the iconic Harbour Bridge & Opera House (while on the ferry ride to Manly).

Gorgeous! OK, maybe I should stop the whining. At least this phone takes better photos than the Blackberry did.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

B'bye Work! B'bye Gadget! B'bye Internet! ...Hello Newbies!

Today is my last day at work in Sydney.


I will, however, be extremely reluctant to return the company-issued Blackberry. I have become attached at the hip with it (I even tried to change TV channels with it the other day, thinking it was also the remote).

I am NOT looking forward to downgrading to a Nokia dumbphone (inherited from Kelly who has now moved onto an iPhone). Sure, it's one of the "smarter" phones in their "business" range but er... I've had to download so many apps to get stuff to sync which is usually standard-issue right off a Blackberry. (oh, and hello did I mention UNLIMITED DATA PLAN? ...Not possible while on a prepaid SIM during my travels.)


I am also internetless at home from today. DOUBLE POOEY!

To prevent internetlessness, which I promise you I will definitely suffer from... Now I'm gonna have to go to McDonald's, buy a drink and sit there all day to surf their free wireless. I'M GOING GHETTO, Y'ALL. So if I don't post as frequently until next week when I'm back home in Singapore, you'll know why.

While I've been on a tech roll and talking all things geek... I'm making the switch from PC to Mac. Yes, oh the horror! I was a PC. Was just used to the way they operate since it's standard-issue in most agencies I've worked at. Now that I've made the switch, and can say: "I'm a Mac!" I'm wondering... WHY DIDN'T I DO THIS SOONER?

I have been suckered into the Mac marketing hype, but believe everything everyone says about them: MAC ROCKS. (I am still not ready to switch to an iPhone, however. I need a proper keypad. Still with Team Blackberry on this one.)

My PC was upset with me coz it's gone and been infected with FIFTEEN viruses (even though I have a hardcore antivirus program running). All I can say is: SEE YA, SUCKER!!!

I have gone and done a really Asian thing: I pimped out my < insert name of gadget here >.

The Mac is now hot pink. You can even see the Apple glowing through the see-through hardshell case. (So what if my laptop's much heavier now? It's TRICKED OUT!)

While I've been geeking out in this corner of the world, Kelly's gone back to Cape Town to hang out with his dad (he starts another round of chemotherapy today, so pls. send him your positive vibes and healing light!)

Kelly's also been busy, pimping out something different (he's not Asian, so it doesn't involve techy things).

(The dog bed is allegedly flea-free, dust mite-free, and resistant to all kinds of other icky things. I dunno, my brain glazed over when he was talking about the wonders of this dog bed. HAHA.)

AWWWWWWW! The puppy flies from Johannesburg to Cape Town today too! According to the breeder, Kelly must be at the airport and be the first one to open the cage the doggy is in, to "rescue him" from entrapment. So the doggy will forever be grateful and love his "rescuer" forever and ever, Amen. Er... yeah sure. Sounds like some Dog Whisperer woowoo talk going on there.

PS. We might have a winner for the doggy's name that we've both agreed on. But Kelly wants to meet the doggy first to make sure the name fits him. I was gonna open up a poll on this blog for the name shortlist (HAHA!) but Kelly protested.

PPS. Speaking of gadgets, did you see the launch of the iPad a few hours ago? (Now that I am an Apple aficionado, I keep abreast of these things). That is some serious PRODUCT NAME FAIL. All the jokes about feminine hygiene products have already started. My fave so far from @mrbrown "I would wait for iPad 2.0. I hear it will come with Wings."

Handstands, Dropovers & the Final Dhanurasana's Coming Along

Yesterday was Australia Day. Given that Australia isn't a Republic (yeah, they still pay the Queen to use the Union Jack in their flag and to use her image on their currency... oh, and Prince William just made a 3-day rockstar tour here too. Not bad in exchange for paying them off. HAHA.) (Oh dear, my Ozzy friends are gonna clobber me now. I am only joking).

Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy! OY! OY! OY! (By the way, I thought all along that this phrase was a JOKE. But evidently it's not. Everybody was going around town yesterday shouting this out. It was really funny.)

Anyways, Teacher was really pushing everyone hard yesterday. She made one of my friends do 6 dropbacks (that's double her regular practice)... and she made me do handstands and dropovers to backbend - THREE times. Handstands aren't a regular part of my practice - if Teacher's Assistants are helping me with whatchamacallitasanas-crossed hands on chest and dropback- then they usually don't get me to do handstands afterwards.

Only if Teacher herself is assisting me, she'll sometimes get me to do handstands/ dropovers. I think she checks out my energy level first and determines whether I can go for it or not.

I was fine after the first one, then she said "Again". I was like ?!? (I've only ever done them once at a time). So OK... I did it again.

After the second one, she said "Again".

This time, I was like ?!?!?????@$&^$&!@(*&#$???

She physically dragged me from the top of my mat to the back of it coz I think I was digging my heels in. HAHA. I said out loud "SERIOUSLY? AGAIN?!?" (my friend who had just done 6 dropbacks and nursing her jelly legs by now heard me from across the room. Heh.)

Teacher said "Well, what are you doing after this? It's a holiday today, right? So... do it again." Phwoar. She can be pretty hardcore.

I forgot, or more like I couldn't find my bandhas on the 3rd go. HAHAHA. So I fell out, and had to jump up AGAIN. She let me hold for only 2 counts on the final handstand. At least she's kind too.

ANYWAYS... After TODAY's practice, she asked me how I felt today, and whether yesterday's handstands wiped me out. I actually felt pretty OK today, not too tired at all. So Teacher said "Good. Your stamina's coming along." ...and then she said she knows she gave me a good whack of poses in one shot in intermediate (remember when she gave me Salabhasana to Parsva Dhanurasana in one go?) - and she said this makes it really intense, but good for building stamina.

Ohhhhhhhh. My Teacher is wise.

And interestingly, now that I'm back to a more regular practice schedule this week, these Parsva Dhanurasanas are starting to feel a bit more real ("Real" in the "I own it!" sense). I mean... that final Dhanurasana initially made me feel like I was going to die and brought up all these angry thoughts... but the past couple days I've been starting to feel the length and extension in the pose. My mind is a little more quiet now too. :)

On a different note, I came across this hilarious picture of a boy dressed as... er... a helmet-less Darth Vader. Geez, I think his parents must have a pretty sick sense of humour (and I like it).

(Picture from here)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Strange Encounters of the Stranger Kind

A weird thing happened to me today after practice.

As I was sat in the train, waiting for it to leave the station, a guy walks into the carriage and asks "You practice with E, right? Ashtanga yoga?"


Mother taught me well... don't talk to strangers and all right? So I was immediately hesitant and a bit suspicious. (The first thing I thought of was "Oh no! Have I said too much on my blog now that stalkers can find me?" Haha, talk about EGO.)

But it was an interesting encounter, and we ended up chatting for the 10-minute ride into town. Apparently he practices at the shala occasionally and has seen me (but er... I've never seen him before) and he complimented me on my practice.

I feel uncomfortable when someone says this, especially a stranger at that. My practice just feels a little private and personal, almost sacred... and I was thinking "HOW DARE YOU WATCH ME PRACTICE?!" (ohhhh... Now I see why Sharath didn't want the rest of us watching the Intermediate workshop).

Anyway... He asked me if I teach yoga and why haven't I been teaching while I've been here, and blahblahblah, and we got to talking about teachers, teaching, how wonderful our teacher is and attachment to your teacher in general... and... how "you are your best teacher" at the end of the day.


I just found it interesting, considering what we've been discussing in the last post about the student-teacher dynamic and doing as your teacher says (see the comments here).

Also, what I found interesting is I was dicussing pretty personal observations with a complete stranger. Maybe I'm on Twitter too much and I need to differentiate between the cyber & real worlds. HAHAHA! Or maybe it's true what they say about us Ashtangis being part of a greater tribe - that we feel an instant connection with a kindred spirit (of the Ashtanga kind).

OK, I'm getting into woowoo territory here. I just think that the other guy sitting across from us in the train carriage who was OBVIOUSLY eavesdropping must've thought we were smoking our socks and run off to join the fairies or something. It's funny innit, this thing we do called Ashtanga?

Here's another funny (bizarre) Youtube video of Willem Dafoe doing dropbacks/ walking around in backbends/ standing up in The Reckoning... (Huh?!) It's what Arturo mentioned in yesterday's post (And thanks Liz for the movie name!) I guess he's also a little bit cuckoo and takes his yoga practice to work. HAHAHA. (Oh my, what a deep backbend! ...but I guess if he can catch his ankles in Chakrabandhasana right...) It's at about 25sec into it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Teacher Says So

Sundays are supposed to be my FULL primary till Parsva Dhanurasanas, remember?

But... I don't think my teacher is in with me on my plan.

While I was in the middle of Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana (bringing the leg back to centre from the side, and holding it there), she came to give me a leg-lift boost, and then told me AGAIN - "You don't need to be doing this now. After UHP, just go straight to Paschimottanasana. Next time, after Parsvottanasana, go straight to Paschimottanasana. Shorten your practice."

Erm... I almost wanted to say "BUT IT'S SUNDAY!! I WANT TO PRACTICE FOR LONGER!!" then found myself torn between what I wanted to do versus what my teacher told me to do. I just shut up and did as she said (secretly a little bit thankful too, coz it's my first practice in days since I've been in this moving-wormhole and my body's struggling to keep up!)

OK. As any Ashtangi knows, a large part of this practice is submitting to your teacher coz... well... "teacher knows best" and all.

But... what if I DO wanna push myself a bit more on Sundays? A large part of this is also coz I'm thinking ahead coz... well y'know... when I'm back in Singapore next week and Cape Town afterwards, my teachers there are probably gonna make me practice the full primary before getting to my intermediate poses and I'm afraid I'm gonna collapse from exhaustion coz my body's not been up to speed.

HAHAHAHA. Sorry, that just sounds so chronic.

I watched the "Ashtanga, NY" documentary last night. My twitter pal, @innerspaceyoga mailed it to me all the way from North Carolina. I think I must be like the last Ashtangi in the village to have heard of or watched this film. IT IS AWESOME! (Oh, and Guruji is wearing a tank top with my Teacher's old shala logo on it for most of the film. Heh.)

(Buy it here. Oh yeah, you also see Willem Dafoe grab his ankles in Chakrabandhasana. Woah, the Green Goblin is pretty advanced! And Gwyneth Paltrow in Dwipada Sirsasana. They look like normal yogis, not celebs!)

It follows Guruji on his final tour of NY in 2001 (the Twin Towers went down in the middle of his month-long workshop there too, making that trip even more poignant). In it, it mentions this teacher-student relationship... where you just submit, unquestioningly, to what your teacher tells you to do. The Sharath-Guruji relationship is a great example of this teacher-devotion.

It made me think today... maybe this is teaching me something about letting go of my notion of "the right and wrong way" of doing things. I mean... I've read all your comments on this weird split, and I also think it's a weird split... and coz it's not currently the way its practised in Mysore now, some part of me reckons it's not "the right way", or the "authentic" way... much as I highly respect my teacher and know that she's super close to the source. That's part of my struggle with doing this weird split.

Maybe the "right" thing for me to do now is just shut up and listen? No, sorry... that should be: shut up and just DO. Bahahaha! Another reason to bring 2010's "joyful surrender" into play, perhaps.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Space Invaded

I got 'em! Remember when I ordered the Space Invaders leggings impulsively?

They came in the mail yesterday, and the guys at Black Milk were ever so awesome... giving me updates of when they were headed to the printers to get them printed up, then sewn up (oooh! Makes it sound even better, when you know they only make them up when they're ordered...) And just as well they're also based here in Oz. Ultra quick delivery.

And behold! My limited edition geeky Space Invaders leggings! :)

First things first. They are LYCRA.

Seriously, I never, ever, ever, ever thought I'd EVER own a pair of LYCRA tights. But here I am, proud owner and WEARER OF LYCRA. The shiny sheen doesn't come across in the photos, but er... lycra is SHINY, and so are these leggings. But they're so far-out you kinda forgive them for being shiny.

And while I love that they're printed to order, the little detail like how the cloth is originally white underneath kinda shows through on the seams. Which isn't a big deal unless you're OCD like me. When the leggings are BLACK, and you see a WHITE line running down the seam (especially when the material gets stretched when they're worn). Well... that's a pretty big oversight.

I'm just turning the seams as far back as I can so I don't see them when I look down. HAHAHA.

But other than that... WELL DONE, BLACK MILK! I LOVE THEM!

PS. Someone asked if I'd be wearing them to yoga. Er... NO! (besides, lycra doesn't breathe and I don't wanna feel uncomfy like Superman). I am really gonna be wearing these leggings out - OUT. As in: IN PUBLIC! Hehe.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Life in 2 Cubic Metres

That should probably read "Our life" in 2 cubic metres... but Kelly keeps insisting most of the stuff in the boxes is MINE and he doesn't have much stuff in there. But of course. Blame the chick. Too easy!

So the movers came and went today.

After doing these international moves a few times now, I think we've become pros at it. This doesn't stop me from stressing and worrying about it of course (it's also an occupational hazard that I think of whether or not I've got all contingency plans covered)... Mister, on the other hand... was playing XBox, eating chocolate and brushing my worries off saying "It'll be fine. We got it sorted in a day the last time. Why are you stressing?"

This in itself didn't get me pissed off. What actually got me even more riled up was I knew that he was right and I just have a problem chillaxing about it. (Yes. I said "chillax". Another word that gives me the heebyjeebies).

I was so uptight I even had a nose-bleed last night. Seriously! I blew my nose and all this blood spewed out and then I went into my "Poor Me" mode last night. And then I wished I had a butler who could sort out my shit for me so I wouldn't have to lift a finger. Every single time I have to pack before a trip, I keep wishing I had a butler who could do this for me. It's just my "thing". I hate packing. I think I hate packing more than the Parsva Dhanurasana sequence.

Kelly & I have this thing where we go around saying "FANG PI!" (pronounced "fung pee!") ...which I suppose is the Chinese equivalent of "BOLLOCKS!" in English . Literally translated, it actually means "FART!" which cracks us up. (I think I've got this context right. My Chinese is pretty crap and "FANG PI!" is gleaned from watching Chinese dramas with English subtitles. HAHAHA.) So I've been yelling out "FANG PI!" all day and night in frustration while moving my stuff around.

ANYWAYS... If you're ever planning a move, the easiest thing to do (for the movers AND for yourself) is to pile all the stuff you wanna move in one spot BEFORE they get there.

Luckily, we don't have much stuff. And we've been pretty good about culling things along the way. With no furniture to move (we rented this apartment fully furnished), it's really just clothes, shoes, books and personal effects to ship. EVEN EASIER.

This is the final pile of stuff we made in the corner of the living room last night:

Then I looked out the window and thought of how I'll miss this gorgeous view of the city (I like how we're not looking into anyone's place and vice versa):

And then the movers came. Just TWO of them! HAHAHAHA! The last time when we moved from Cape Town, there was a whole squad of like... 6 people who descended on our little apartment. It was much less manic today and heckuva lot more organized. I think it's coz we were a lot more organized ourselves, putting everything in one spot for them. It was so much less stressful! (I hate people rifling through my stuff, so I think it was much less invasive too, when I'd taken everything out of drawers, closets and dumped them outside).

The guys came in, took a look at our little pile and said "Too easy!" and got straight to work. They're kinda sorta like your little butlers, I suppose. Legally, for customs purposes, the moving company needs to physically pack up your stuff and put them in the boxes... so when it came to the actual packing, I REALLY didn't have to lift a finger! It took them a total of oh, say... half an hour to be done?

Every box was also labelled with what's inside. (Don't they say that's a bad thing to do though? I hope the stowaways in the cargo hold don't get to the box with XBOX written on it).

Most of the stuff was really books & DVDs. Mostly MY yoga books. HAHAHA. (FYI - the only book I saved to bring around with me for the next couple months is: Gregor Maehle's Intermediate Series book. Of course.)

So that's it. Our lives packed up into 11 boxes of 2 cubic metres. Not bad for a day's work.

Oh, I'd just like to add that when we moved here, we had 14 boxes in total. I reckon we (and by that I mean: ME) did a good job of culling.

Let go of the old and allow new energy to flow in!! (And no, I don't mean this in the materialistic-I'm-gonna-buy-more-stuff sense. I really mean this on an energetic level!) Purge the old and stale, and let the new energy enter!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

T minus 1 day to Removalisation

Yes. I said "Removalisation".

I finally got to the shala today. Yay!

I practised the full Primary (including the extended standing sequence I usually cut out on weekdays), up to Parsva Dhanurasana in Intermediate. I figured I'd jump right in and not be a wuss today.

Interesting how the body is SUPER STRONG after 3 days' break, and ultra flexible too (THANK YOU SUMMER!). I felt like Wonder Woman today. Until I got to the Parsva Dhanurasanas of course. These still kick my ass. Even more so after 3 days' break. I still absolutely HATE THIS SEQUENCE with a passion.

I've been reading Maehle's book on the Intermediate series, and it's interesting seeing it from his perspective of upward energy - these back strengtheners all send your energy upwards, which I totally feel... but at the same time, once I'm done with them I feel absolutely floored and pinned to the ground - like someone's just punched me in the solar plexus and I'm out of breath.

I need to stop whining about this, it's not the first time I've whined about this!

By the time I finished all my backbends/ dropbacks/ standing ups and got to the final Paschimo-squash, I felt like I was going to throw-up into my thighs. FATIIIIIIGUE!

So anyways, with the full primary till the Parsva D's, I finished just in time - the usual time I finish. EXCEPT... my practice today was definitely a lot more hurried and rushed. The breathing count was a lot faster than usual. Haha, practise FAIL. (OK OK, it's not about winning or failing... but y'know...)

It kinda reflects my current state of mind. The removal company comes tomorrow. I spent last night organizing files then old stuff for the Salvation Army, organizing and re-organizing... dropped off a stack of old Yoga Journal magazines for my teacher at the shala... And tonight I'll have to pack my suitcase, weigh it, and anything else over 25kilos gets put in the pile for the movers to be shipped. (I'm not paying for additional check-in baggage weight!)

Did I forget to mention that my last day of work is Jan. 28th? And that I'm leaving Sydney on Feb 2nd? And I'll be home in Singapore for about a week before I head to Cape Town on Feb. 13th? For some reason I must've forgotten to tell my parents when and how long I'd be home coz my dad was surprised yesterday when he heard how soon those dates are. Oops.

I just need to remember to breathe. And slow the breath down too!

(Picture credit here)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

When Can I Get Back to Regular Programming Again?

It's been 3 days now that I haven't been able to get to the shala to practice. I've had super early mornings at work. And now's when I have to remind myself to apply this "yoga stuff" off the mat, minus the asanas. I'm not sure if it's working. I really feel like I'm losing my mind.

Selling on eBay is only fun if you have nothing else going on in your life. By this, I mean... if you're not going through the most intense week of work in your life, if you're not organizing to move your life TO A DIFFERENT COUNTRY, if you're not also trying to maintain a pretty damn strong yoga practice at the same time... then it's probably OK and even fun to sell on eBay.

Otherwise, if you've got all the above going on... this week I found myself asking "WHY AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF?!?"

I asked for it. OK, sure I sold 21 items and made $301 for them. BUT... having to deal with retarded questions was one thing. Now... I have to deal with people who haven't paid up yet. I mean... if you bid for stuff and won the bid on a Sunday... why would you wait to pay?!? It's Wednesday now, people. I'm so over this.

And sorry Grimmly that you didn't win my Kale eQua towel. I sure like your pink aka Sunset one though!

On another note - while I was on shoot last weekend and had some down time, I re-organized the labels on this blog. I got fed up of all my yoga posts under the generic "yoga" tag. Since this has evolved into more of a yoga blog where I get specific on some of the poses, I've broken down the "yoga" label even further.

They're still prefaced with "yoga" so you can get to them easily, but after that they go by whichever yoga topic I've written about. I hope it helps you in your practice too if you're working on particular asanas in the ashtanga series. Maybe the way I break things down while trying to figure them out might help you too.

Monday, January 18, 2010


What happens when you leave a guy to his own devices for 3 weeks?

He goes and gets a puppy.

OK. In Kelly's defense, he has been wanting a doggy in like, forever. Except while we've been in Sydney, we've been living in an uptight wanker-designer apartment that's as uptight with its animal-in-apartment regulations. And adopting a pet would have been too much hassle.

We've talked a lot about adopting. And mind you, I am NOT for puppy mills AT ALL. Y'know, those awful breeders who breed pups and spit them out like they were from a factory line. I firmly believe in going to the SPCA and giving one of those poor pups or kitties there a fair shot in life. (I've been wanting a kitty, whereas Mister has been wanting a doggy).

While he's been back in Cape Town visiting (and obviously with too much time on his hands)... he's been talking about Boston Terriers. Googling them, looking into who breeds them (ARGHHH!)... chasing down owners walking their Boston Terriers in the streets... you get the idea. I've always been quite partial to them - they were my Uni mascot after all! (Boston University. Go Terriers!!!)

I like how they're kinda ugly till they're cute. Y'know. Like if a Gremlin shagged a Pug... you'd get a Boston Terrier. HAHAHA!





So before I knew it, during our evening Skype sessions, he would give me updates on which breeders from where he'd been in contact with... I would grill him on how these breeders operate (since I was and am still very against the idea of buying from a factory-mill breeder vs. rescuing from the pound).

To his credit he had checked out dogs at the pound but has been dead set on "I WANT A BOSTON TERRIER!" and since they're kinda rare in S.Africa, of course there were none at the pound. So he found a few reputable people who only have a few litters a year, since they claim to have the animals' welfare at heart. (But really, if you had the animals' welfare at heart, would you really be breeding puppies then wrenching them away from their Mamas all for a price? OK, don't get me started here).

And lo and behold, I open my inbox a few days ago and he has gone and put a deposit down for the little one on the left (the bigger one).


First thoughts: CUUUUUUUUUUTE!!!!! (Awww... he looks like a little turd!)

Second thoughts: WHAT THE EFF?!?!??????? YOU PUT DOWN A DEPOSIT?!?!????

But you know what... the deed's been done, the deposit's been placed... the puppy's still with his Mama until he's big enough to be... "wrenched away from Mama"... into the big hairy arms of Kelly in a few weeks' time. Oh dear, I'm talking like it's only his dog when I know it'll really be my dog too.

I am of course extremely excited and thrilled coz he's gonna be such a cutie!! BUT... I'm also kinda nervous about this since... well, dogs are a big responsibility and they're kinda clingy, aren't they? (Spoken like a true cat person. Oh, and did I mention I'm also ALLERGIC to dogs?!) Yeah, that's just a small oversight which held us back a little from adopting a dog before too. *nervous laugh*

OK. Hello Joyful Surrender. Hmm... I suppose there's a good Kinesiologist in Cape Town I could always visit if this allergy starts acting up. There, I have my Plan B in place.

So... I guess... you can look forward to more doggy pictures and stories in the near future. I CAN'T WAIT TO MEET HIM!!! (We're already thinking up poncey names for him.) :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Universe Has a Sense of Humour...

Qantas lost my bag.

The Universe must be testing that I really mean it when I say I am in joyful surrender to what comes my way this year. GRRRRRRR.

Something told me not to check the bag in and just bring it on board but I was tired and couldn't be bothered to schlep it around with me.

I was also overjoyed we finished the shoot early enough on Saturday so I changed my flight to return last night instead of this morning (er... I wanted to come back early to practice at the shala. Seriously! After a moon day and Saturday break, I HAD to come back on the mat today). Premature happiness. Ha!

And after speaking to Qantas today, guess where it's ended up?

In Perth.


How does a bag from Brisbane to Sydney end up in Perth?!?

I suppose I should be thankful that they can still track it in the system and that it's not ended up completely missing altogether. Oh wait, I should cross my fingers and hold my breath and not say such things until it well and truly ends up delivered to my doorstep like they promised.

This bag is allegedly due to be in Sydney at 1pm today.

OK Qantas, let's see if you WIN or FAIL.

I think I reacted pretty well to it last night... the only bugger if I lose the entire bag altogether is:
#1: It's a really cool bag (but I can always buy another COOLER bag. HAHA.)
#2: My toiletries and cosmetics!! (but even though half my bag is full of toiletries & cosmetics - it's a girl thing - I realized last night that the only important toiletries in that bag are toothpaste and face moisturizer).

Good thing I managed to find an OLD tube of toothpaste in Kelly's bathroom (yup, he uses the guest loo so we don't have to hurry each other out the loo in the mornings!).

And also good thing he's a guy who doesn't squeeze all the toothpaste out the tube. This is one of my pet peeves - people who don't squeeze the toothpaste neatly from the bottom of the tube, leaving bunches of toothpaste left in the tube. But this time, my pet peeve worked in my favour. (And don't even get me started on the state he left the toothpaste CAP as well.)

The WRONG way of squeezing:

(Picture credit here. Hey look! A whole post about the right & wrong way to squeeze toothpaste! See, I'm not the only chronic one!)

It's also a good thing for Teacher & her assistant when adjusting me today I found the toothpaste! Can you imagine my stinky dragon breath otherwise? HAHA!

So... I suppose the Universe is again telling me that one really doesn't need that much STUFF. I mean... out of the whole bag that's in transit, I'm only missing face moisturizer and toothpaste? ...that's pretty good for PURGE & DESTROY.

Over on the practice front today, though I was exhausted, I decided Sundays would be my Full Primary till Parsva Dhanurasana days. In case you haven't followed from earlier, after I was given Krounchasana, Teacher cut up some of my Primary - and told me to do my practice up till Parsvottanasana, then fast forward to Paschimottanasana, finish the rest of Primary then continue till where I'm at in Intermediate.

I thought it was a weird split, other people commented that it was a weird split... and everyone was kind of puzzled what the thinking behind it was. I asked Teacher some time last week why this split, and she said matter-of-factly "Well, how long do you want to practice?!"

She went on to explain that once you've got sufficient proficiency of the standing sequence, you don't HAVE to do the extended standing sequence (from UHP to Virabhadrasana B). She said it depends how each individual feels though... and said you know how your body feels from the first few sun salutations and maybe some days you need more standing and some days you don't. She sometimes skips standing altogether and goes straight into the 3rd series after the sun salutations. PHWOAAR.

Oh! Hmm... OK, not quite the dogmatic, traditional point-of-view I suppose, but this makes sense. (FYI - she's certified by both KPJAYI AND Iyengar, so she knows what she's talking about!)

And fair enough too - I timed myself today for Full Primary till Parsva Dhanurasana... and with a long Savasana (about 15 minutes), it was about 2hrs. I don't have this amount of time on a regular weekday! I usually average between 1hr 30min to 1hr 45min if I cut out the extended standing sequence, so I think I'll keep it this way on weekdays, and only go the whole hog on Sundays. I don't want to keep looking at the clock on weekdays and feel rushed to finish so I can get to work.

But once work is done and I'm in Cape Town, I won't have this excuse anymore!

Kelly arrives this arvo (arvo is Ozzy slang for: afternoon) for a week, so we're gonna be moving this "moving thing" up a notch. The removal company comes to pack up this Friday.

I'm taking a deep breath, then taking a shower, then going out to the Mac shop and allowing myself to get lost in gadgets & tech for a couple hours before the chaos begins.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Behold the Power of the Internet

In 5 minutes, as I'm about to head out to this shoot, I bought Space Invaders leggings. That I found on a tech geek blog. At a time when I'm supposed to be purging and destroying.

It must be retail therapy.


I so know I'm gonna regret this impulse buy.

(From here)

I'm Full But Not Satisfied. And Tired.

9.55pm and I'm having dinner in front of the computer while banging out MORE emails and uploading more stuff on this sloooooooow 3G connection. Er... at least it's room service in a nice hotel?

Wah-heyyyyyy! I'm in Brisbane now. The only vegan things on the in-room dining menu are minestrone soup (they topped it off with cheese that I had to scrape off) and a side order of steamed veggies. B.O.R.I.N.G. (I suspect they tossed the veggies in... BUTTER). Blech.

Why am I telling you about my dinner, that's even more boring.

I am exhausted. Got another 2 big days of shoots ahead of me. I shared a cab to the airport with the editor on another job I've got on. It's been so manic and down to the wire that he was editing on the Avid on his laptop IN THE CAB as we were speeding to the airport. He almost threw up on himself.

Just before I left the apartment this morning, I checked the mailbox and guess what arrived today?

Mr. Swenson, I heart you and Imma let you finish your Practice Manual and all, but right now Gregor is muh hero.

WOOHOOOOOO! Time for some bedside studying tonight.

(First thoughts: Okaaaaay, so it's printed on 100% recycled paper. But does recycled paper quality have to be SO CRAP?)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Don't Ask Retarded Questions Coz I'm Having a Bad Week

Too. Busy. To. Blog.

But before I get back to work, can I just complain about what idiots exist out there?

I have just got a message for an eBay listing for a BROWN & GOLD jacket I have listed. There are photos of the jacket and I have explained in detail where the gold ribbing is, how the 3 Adidas stripes are gold... and bloody hell, there are like FIVE photos uploaded of said BROWN & GOLD jacket. (Please don't ask another retarded question on why I have a ghetto-fabulous BROWN & GOLD Adidas jacket. It is too ghetto-fabulous even for me and was never worn. This is why I'm selling it!!)

And the question goes: "Is this a white & grey jacket as advertised or is it brown & gold?"

I felt like replying "Is this a joke? Are you blind and can't you read?!"

I even double-checked my listing headers and descriptions... and there is NO MENTION of white & grey on the listing AT ALL.

I don't understand why people ask retarded questions. It just adds to my already manic week and makes my blood boil even more.

I had a so-so practice today. I felt the impending doom & gloom before I started my first Dhanurasana. I really don't like the intensity of this sequence (Dhanurasana - Right side Parsva D. - Left side Parsva D - Dhanurasana). Plus, while my drishti's at my nose, I find it really awkward... like WHERE DOES MY HEAD GO? (in the sideways versions) Teacher had to physically adjust my chin down, to get my head lower to the floor coz apparently I was tilting it up to the sky. Ugh. I hate this asana. (For now). And for the first time EVAR, I am quite happy to stop my practice at this point, with no desire to move forward in the series at the moment.

Oh look, I have created a blog post in 5 minutes. Back to work now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Feeling the Heat

Yup, I'd say I'm suitably stressed right now.

In the past 4 days, I've done the following:
1. Called removal companies for quotes (and some of these Ozzies are living up to their reputation and taking their time to get back to me!)

2. Cleared through stuff and decluttered

3. Listed 31 items on eBay (including taking photos and writing up individual listings... and you've seen the way I do my blog posts. My eBay listings are pretty detailed too. All 31 of them)

4. Moved around Kelly's South African & Sydney flights (YAY! He's coming back to help pack for a week!)

5. Tried to move around my Singapore and South African flights (with no joy so far).

6. Set up 2 shoots in Brisbane this week. Holy crap. I still have to make it there at the end of the week to BE AT THE SHOOTS! (That's this weekend blown. But hey, maybe I'll get to snap more pix of Brisbane the Sunshine Coast for you guys! If I'm not stuck on set all day, that is.)

7. Looking after a total of 8 productions in various stages of development and I'm spinning those plates in the sky furiously. My boss is away for the next 2.5 weeks until my official last day of work, so I'm about to fall apart right about NOW.

Yup. At 8.45pm last night I got off a one-hour conference call, of which most time was spent discussing getting various A-list Hollywood actor types to lay down voiceovers for an upcoming commercial. Some were actually interested. Some agents wanted to be made an offer. But after all that wasted time talking, discussing, negotiating, going back and forth... I don't think this client can put their money where their mouth is. Which means: WASTED TIME & EFFORT. Bloody amateurs.

I didn't even have an appetite. Couldn't finish half my Korean Bibimbap (with tofu) which I normally wolf down in one go.

No practice today. Have to get to work early. And there's a flood of bloody eBay questions to answer. URGHHHHHH.

Just 2.5 more weeks till I'm done with work. That's all. That is all.

But look at this walking Ugg boot I saw over the weekend (in the middle of summer in Australia - I'll bet he's feeling the heat too).

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Lola Pendant & More Intense Back Work

When I have time to start designing more jewelry, I'm gonna have to design one with that title... "The Lola Pendant". It will have nothing to do with nubile young nymphs though, and everything to do with the vinyasa-jumpback. HAHAHA! (Sounds like an ugly pendant already!)

Patrick had mentioned Maehle's little tip in the comments from my "take it up the lotus" posts a few days ago, and I've been industriously working at it the past few days.

I've snapped a picture of Maehle's tip on Lolasana for those of you who don't have Gregor Maehle's book. And if you don't have this book, you're missing out! It's a super-duper great reference!

(This is from Page 70 of the book. There's another similar tip at the end of Padmasana which roughly speaks of the same.)

It's kinda making the jumpbacks make more sense to me. I've been doing "take it up" (as Sharath says), and pointing the feet back... then instead of cheating by using one foot to kick off the floor as I jump back (coz who am I really cheating right - Myself!)... the past couple of days I've been swinging on the spot like what Maehle recommends.

I'm hoping by building up that moementum, it'll help me to swing back (yes yes, momentum is still a cheat, but let me use momentum first, then build strength later!) I'm still not fully jumping back and my feet are still grazing the floor slightly as I'm swinging and I'm still slightly kicking off in order to get that final jumpback... BUT!! It's feeling quite different for me already.

For a split-millisecond yesterday, I had a flash of that point where everything connected and the stars were aligned and I actually got enough lift to shoot the legs back to chaturanga. It was only a split-millisecond... and in that time, I also had time to think : "OH MY GAWD. It takes THAT much MORE bandha control to achieve THAT?!?"

And er... this morning when I woke up, my abs were sore (I haven't felt sore in a while, mind you)... the muscles on top of my chest (oh dear, here comes my shocking anatomy knowledge)... I think it's the pecs? The muscle on top of your boobs that connects to your armpits (y'know... the ones that makes those weightlifters look like they have man-boobs) Yeah, those ones. They were also slightly sore today.

Hmmmmm... what am I doing that's new? I'm not sure if it's the Backbendus Maximus new poses I was given yesterday (maybe the sore-man-boobs-muscles could've been from Bhekasana)... but I suspect maybe I'm engaging different muscles with this new way of lola-pendant swinging back (coz I'm rounding the back a bit more and dipping a bit lower at the end of the swing, maybe?)

Today, when I came to Baddha Konasana, I had the thought to "Conserve energy! You've got a bastard of back strengtheners coming up!" (Thanks Susan, for pointing out that those are more like back STRENGTHENERS than backBENDS). Er... I remembered to conserve energy a bit late into the primary series coz I was already at all the supine poses which aren't that tough!

I like Salabhasana and Bhekasana, those are pretty easy to nail. What gets me is that LAST Dhanurasana after the Parsva Dhanurasanas. Coz... the sideways Dhanurasanas kinda knock the wind out of me a little... I'm not pushing at my maximum in an effort to "conserve energy", and also just thinking of which muscles to relax, and which to bend into a little more... but after coming up from the left side-backbend I have nothing left to give that last Dhanurasana.

And by this time, my quads are SCREAMING. It's these weak legs of mine. Grr. I had to take a little rest again before the closing sequence.

As I was starting my practice today, Teacher asked "How are you doing from yesterday? OK" I nodded and said "OK. But it was INTENSE." And today was no different.

PS. Liz dedicated a whole blog post to ME?!? Did you see it? I LOVE IT!!! :) :) :)
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