Adventures in Thailand, how to, yoga

Fighting with Yoga

One of the biggest misconceptions about yoga is that it’s all about peace. Since it’s all about peace, yoga practitioners never fight and they never confront. Right? Right? Ahh, not exactly.

Sure, for the most part we are easy going. We have chosen a spiritual path and usually that goes hand in hand of not being affected about what society may think of us = free spirited = easy going. I actually think of us more like elves in LOTR, we do our own thing but we are pretty skilled archers. Speaking of archers…

Here’s the shocker for those of you who don’t know. One of the most cherished texts in yoga, the Bhagavad Gita, or known simply as the Gita, is a story about war. And the main character is Arjuna, an archer. An archer with a moustache. Here’s a picture of him and Krishna (the avatar reincarnate of Vishnu).

Krishna_Arjuna_Wallpaper_g0mp2

So back to the Gita, the story of the conversation between Arjuna and Krishna on the brink of war. It’s a very long story, so forgive me if I miss a few points. In a nutshell, Arjuna seeks the advice of Krishna as he is about to go into battle against the evil cousin, Duryodhana. Arjuna and Duryodhana grew up in the same kingdom, being cousins and all, are related by blood. Since they grew up together, they knew the same people.

As Arjuna is about to charge into battle, he sees these faces on the other side – the faces of his teachers, friends and family. Naturally, he feels a sense of sadness and doesn’t want to kill them. He questions the entire war, the needless suffering of loved ones and what the outcome of war will bring.

Krishna begins to counsel him and the major themes of the Gita play out – Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga and Raja Yoga. Time seems to stand still while Krishna explains how the celestial universe works to Arjuna. Arjuna then comes to a higher realization of self and the universe.

In the end, he goes into battle and wins.

I have thought a hundred or more times about this text during many stages of my life. And each and every time, I find more and more meaning to it. Even the meaning changes every time I read a line or two from the Gita. It’s really something special.

It represents my most favourite thing about yogic philosophy. It teaches me about strength, not the muscle kind we get from chaturangas (which is great too), but the true individual strength. To be more precise, it teaches me about when to be strong and brave, when to surrender, when to hold on and when to let go.

It extends to people in your life. Being strong, knowing when to say, “No, enough is enough.” and also when to be soft-hearted and say, “I’m sorry. I made a mistake.” It extends to experiences in your life. Keeping your values and being honest with yourself and others, yet, knowing when to let go of experiences and events that we had or have no control of. It teaches you to move forward. Be more balanced.

The point of this post is to say, yoga is not just about non-violence (ahimsa) and peace. It’s much more than that, it’s both and it’s more. While I do practice ahimsa, I have also used yoga to fight my (metaphorical) battles. And equally as many times, I’ve used yoga to forgive. I’ve used it detach from negative influences in my life and to cherish great ones. I can be a cobra or a rabbit. I can be a warrior in battle or a humble warrior.

At the end of the day, my goal is to stay balanced, to choose my battles, to stay completely present and experience the world with a calm confidence. These teachings I have learnt in yoga teach me to continue to grow with grace. And that, to me, is true strength.

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How to Clean your Diva Cup

A while back I wrote about using the Diva Cup and why I like it and some other stuff about it.

After a while, you’ll notice your cup turns a little brown from the constant staining. And those holes…ewww, the buildup gets pretty gross. Well, you’ll never really get it to look brand new again, but you can get pretty close.

The website offers some tips on care and cleaning.

 

They say boil it under supervision. They say use toothpicks to get into those holes.

I say, “Eww, boiling my menstrual cup in a pot I cook with is gross.” And the toothpicks didn’t do a good job.

What did work for me. Baking soda and vinegar. Used to clean silicone baking dishes with so it’s safe for your cup – is there anything baking soda and vinegar can’t do?

Ahhh, and for the holes…I almost don’t wanna tell you. It’s genius. These babies:

brushes for braces

 

Those sample brushes that you get from your dentist for braces, even though you don’t have braces. Maybe he’s trying to tell you that you need them.

Well, Mr. Dentist…I say screw your skewed perception of beauty in relation to straight teeth! I’ll happily use them for my Diva Cup!

how to, travel, yoga

Getting over your fear of self-promotion!

Woot woot! I’ve finally finished my yoga posters.

I spent hours drafting up many posters then trashing them. At first, I thought I just couldn’t find the right design. But I realized it was not that.

It was the fact that I hated self-promotion. I guess it stems from my asian roots, we were always told never to show off and always be humble. And somehow making posters about myself seemed a little like bragging from my perspective. And who am I, little imperfect me, to brag? Even uploading picture of myself doing yoga postures on Instagram and Facebook was a struggle for me. Forget about selfies! That’s cray cray talk.

And in the last month I did all the above. I uploaded pictures on Instagram and Facebook…and a selfie!

What changed?

I realized that if I’m ever to make a stable living out of this and not return to a desk job, I’ve gotta get myself out there. I’ve got to stop that craziness and be honest with myself. I am proud of the work I’ve done to get where I am, and showing the work I’ve accomplished is not showing off. It’s saying I love who I am.

Trying to suppress who you really are so that you don’t offend anyone else isn’t any kind of way to live. You hear about it over and over and over again. Be who you are. As long as you’re not going around shooting anyone, free yourself from those chains and just be you.

Here are the posters that inspired this post.

Yoga Poster-page-001

Yoga Private Lesson-page-001

Another struggle I have besides self-promotion is perfectionism. When I worked with these posters, I saw pixelated photos, the angle and lighting were not quite right, maybe more graphics…

So to tie this entire post together, I’d like to say that you can pick apart a million things, and then you are left with nothing but a million parts. As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

What matters is you are unique and you are beautiful. And if you see that in yourself, others do too.