Not to debate right or wrong is the most effective way of communicating

I was fighting with my mum today. We fight more often than I care to admit. And fighting with someone you love stinks; nobody wins, everybody loses.

Thinking back though it almost feels as though there is a theme every time we fight. We talk, on the phone, and some topic sparks up and I find it interesting and wanted to debate about it, sometimes doubting the regular notion of what usually is being said and talked about, mum gets annoyed that I just wanted to argue about everything. She thinks I’m in a sour mood and tries to pick fights or worst yet, was lecturing her. I get annoyed (and mildly surprised) that she doesn’t get this isn’t about mood, or lecturing, but discussing and pursuing the truth (so righteously so in my head). We make off hand comments about this annoying pattern of communications we have, I say bye and hang up.

For a long time I thought maybe this is my old rebellious teenage attitude popping up as we speak, the more this pattern repeats though, the more I begin to realise this is a new, adulthood Sandy problem altogether. I think back, and re-assess (which I don’t encourage anybody to do, because this drives you absolutely crazy), and realise I have these type of conversations with others (particularly my husband) and never have this problem.

Could it be the lack of command of my mother tongue when we speak of these things? Could it be that she is not used to her adult child speaking back with anything with compliance? We haven’t really been living in the same place since I was 22, afterall.

And then I think to myself, how do I discuss these things in English? And what kind of tones do I use?

And then it strikes me, that this kind of discussions, translated directly from English to my native tongue, almost never really happens in the culture my mum grew up in, unless people are quarrelling. In fact, I don’t even think there’s such a differentiation between “argue” and “quarrel” in that culture.

This type of discussion, literally isn’t categorised and prioritised.

In fact, as I tried to look these words up in Chinese on google, the very first entry titled “not to debate right or wrong is the most effective way of communicating”, and comes second of “the difference between (…all the different words that has an association with arguments….)”. And as they explain them all, none of them has a neutral connotation such is “debate” or “argue”.

And at that same time, in school we were told that it is important to learn critical thinking and “to think for ourselves”.

No wonder I have always found the way things are discussed and communicated are always murky and slightly vague at times.

We literally have a cultural difference even though we speak the same tongue.

“Not to debate right or wrong is the most effective way of communicating”

I ponder on.

And love.

This has nothing to do with yoga.

Or does it? Because yoga is just, is. It is life as the purest form as it is.

But I want to talk about love.

Of the various kind, at the various time, with the various people.

I am caught up in the “call me by your name” craze. Summer/ Spring of 2018, new movie about a boy and his first love.

I saw this analysis about this particular type of love stories, and it hits me so hard.

It is the dream world, the commentator/analysis says. Where things are just helping along, where the world is just so friendly and encourages your first love to be; free, daring, sour, stinging as you wish it to be.

The never had I ever experienced it before; the longing to understand; the non-jaded approach. Before any hurt, any pain, any realisation would have happened.

The purest, scariest, most exciting, almost orgasmic first love.

It is the idea itself; the anticipation; the wanting to cross the border but didn’t dare. The enjoying of the crossing the border. The beauty in the pain, the excitement, the struggle, the shame.

 

And then we tried. Maybe with great, lasting affair, maybe not.

But nonetheless it is the journey.

Is it the idea of the person we were in love with, is it is the idea of love, on its own; the very materialisation of love, after seeing all the movies, reading all the stories, listening to all the corny love songs, that is to ecstatic? Or is it the potion of love, soul-crushingly, addictively, in itself?

Nothing is quite like the first love, they say.

Call me by your name, and I’ll call you by mine, Oliver says.

To become one, the single entity where home is.

Love is home.

 

Nothing is quite like the first love.

But nothing is quite like the second, or the third, or the other ones afterward either.

Nothing is quite like love, be loved, and living and breathing love.

 

It is the moment when human connection sinks in, when what we are programmed to do, as homosapiens, finally makes sens.

Some would say I still love my first love, to this day. And it would not have been incorrect. As it would not have been incorrect to say I still love my second, my third.

Once you find that connection, the real, intimate passing of two separate entities, becoming one, in a way that is beyond just what we understand as mentally, physically, transformatively (which, in my regrets, is not a real word) or metamorphosiscally (that is not a word either, but should be).

Call it what you wish, it is what is going to make sense, that it had made sense, to you, already.

You feel it in your bones, when the connection, the pairing signal, the translation becomes the norm; the very reality.

It doesn’t have to come in the pairing of romantic relationship either. It can be without the hormones, the mating call, the love as modern culture depicts.

Here I am, in all my contradictions, looking at the clear blue sky, thinking about that time, in the capsule of time, in the daring of the youthful mind. Thinking about the idea of time capsule, the idea of love, and most desperate form of love.

And the love that I have for the ones that’s about to come, the ones that I have in my life, the ones that both me and them know, mutually, without naming, right now.

The love I have for you, and you, and you and you and you that comes across this journey in my life.

 

 

It is love.

 

 

And how I wish for life to slow down, in this capsule, this exact moment, the exact view, smell, colour, and feel.

And life moves forward.

 

Like the old man I am looking right now, topless, on his own balcony, rubbing his outdoor table.

 

This sound, the sensation of the wind, this thought of my first love, will stay with me, for the rest of my life. Without me being able to pinpoint, to replicate, to even tell it as it is.

Just as the sound, the sensation of this temperature, this thought of my current love, it is the now, the details you can see, from the colour spectrum, the sound, the underlying feeling of it all, will stay with me, for the rest of my life.

It is exactly why,that is all worth living for.

Live now, and not a moment earlier, or later.

And love

be love,

To truly be seen

When I first moved to Denmark, I very quickly learned the lesson that I shouldn't share myself too much.

I never dawn to me that as someone from the Cantonese culture, I'm very prone to sharing what I have done, what I am proud of, what I am in pain for.

I remember distinctly comments from my husband, about conversations I would have with my mother-in-law. And he was almost a little embarrassed that I was telling her how I was in the singing team and was a pretty decent singer. He thought that I was bragging, and it was embarrassing for him.

For a long time I took his advice and became very hyper aware of this behaviour.

I was becoming so afraid of showing my pride, and along with it, showing my weaknesses.

When I came clean to family and friends about my depression, what people said to me was, why didn't you come to me, or, you know you could always talk with me, right?

But I was ashamed of it.

I was deeply, agonisingly worried about how I would then be seen.

Worried about how I would draw too much attention to myself, how I would become a baggage to others, particularly to the people I love.

Familiar?

I believe we have a problem in this society. I have seen, with my own eyes, students in a restorative class, lying and twitching in discomfort, and say not a single word. Despite me having said it specifically, and distantly that it is the point of the practice to ask for help.

I have witness my own husband, friend, family who tried as hard to hide and conceal their sadness, their pain instead of venting it out.

I have this talk with my dear friend about how we need to make this a practice for her to stop brushing it off as "I'm okay, I'll prow through it".

One of the greatest TedTalk I have ever seen is from Brene Brown, and that of vulnerability:

It strikes me so hard that without being able to see my friend, my family, my husband's vulnerability, I do not know how to connect with them. Without showing my own flaws in all its glory, I do not know how to wholeheartedly believe they love me.

Yet we are living in a place where people are so used to going into hiding. So used to "not bothering someone else", "not to draw attention to myself", or feeling guilty just to ask for help.

But like Brene Brown says, with numbing just the selected negative emotions, how are we ever going to feel alright?

How can we truly connect, and truly be seen?

Practice your vulnerability, and practice it with passion and conviction. For it is then, we can truly embrace our own perfect little flaws, for it is then, we can truly and unapologetically be happy.

 

Sending you lots of love,

The epitome of being

I taught a good class this morning. A honest, heartfelt class where I was calm inside the whole way, where I felt in sync with the students at the end.

So one of the students there at the end of class, told me, “you are a good teacher”. As I was chewing that over in my mind, and thanked her, my inner voice says “it’s you who are the good student”.

At the beginning of my teaching life, I used to fly over the moon for such a compliment. In my lesser confident day my mind will dig up that compliment and rewind it, so to give me a boost and reason to feel better.

Even though getting these comments are still a big inspiration for me to keep teaching, and keep learning to teach better. I couldn’t help but notice a shift of mentality in my head.

I don’t feel I should be taking credit for this, I thought to myself.

Being on the other side of the fence of teaching has shown me that, more often than not, it is these particular classes that were good, despite the teacher. While being more experienced, having a stronger practice definitely helps, some days it is just not possible, within the setting, to conduct as good a class.

As teachers, our roles in others’ practice are limited.

There are days where everything just makes sense, words glide off the tip of my tongue on their own. There are days where I feel haunted by my own messy thoughts, and have a harder time guiding.

I’m not perfect, and I refuse to sit on this pedestal.

And I ponder on, if there are teachers out there, who just facilitates amazing classes, day in and day out.

Has anybody out there who has reached the epitome of teaching?

And my inner critic laughed a little, and said to me “has anybody who has reached the epitome of being?”

So perhaps, as we are dragging our feet through the mud, brushing my hair off the sand, and sniffing the air through the dust, we are already at the epitome of being.

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Honour the less honourable

When I first started studying and attempting to understand my own state of mind, I was so surprised and even a little ashamed to find out what the inner me thinks.

My inner critics, as I have long suspected, speaks poorly not just of myself, but to others as well.

I have a complicated relationship with my mother, or rather, the inner critic that takes on my mother’s voice, disguises as memories of what my mother was like.

This faux mother voice that I have talks exactly and precisely like how I (hazily and hormonally, during teenage years) perceived my mother had.

Many times, without a great reason, I get incredibly defensive and angry whenever I talk to my real mother, even though she was, and still is my best friend. More often than not, as I reflected after these conflicts, they weren’t very justified.

About 4 years ago, I moved the furthest I have ever been away from home. So every time I go back, I get excited and had so much love before I go, but whenever I was home, we ended up fighting and hurting each other.

And at times it felt as though I had so much anger towards her.

I used to cry every time on the night before she would fly home/I would go back to Denmark, mourning the time we lost fighting, being upset at myself for not holding my shit together, agonising over my intense feeling of love and anger at her.

So I make up my mind to be better next time, to be calmer, a nicer version of myself next time.

I never quite fully comprehend what it is that I am so angry with her about.

I often joke about how I think both my mother and I went through teenage years together. To think that she was only two years older than I am now when I went through teenage years, a young adult nonetheless, with just me, my brother and her at home most of the time. To think that we would struggle to learn the way to be, to pretend to have our shit together more than we actually did, at the same time.

Yes of course we fought, ferociously, like two tigress in the same cave, without any choices, tearing at one another. But there was also so much tender love and companionship as well.

But at times I was caught up in episodes of being so angry with her, way into my adulthood, into my 30s.

I never quite comprehend to what extend this is until I came across this video recently, of a speech a father gave to his child. “You don’t always have to be happy, you don’t always have to be silly or funny. But the important thing is, whenever you are feeling in a mood like this, is not to just stay there all the time. You want to accept it, you want to honour it, you want to acknowledge it and let it go, and then it will get better, you are still loved and you are still safe.” he said.

And then it strikes me how I, without much thinking, was comparing this to my mother, more precisely, the inner critic version of my mother. It strikes me how much contempt I have towards her, towards this inner critic. It strikes me how in my little subconscious zone, I have decided my mother never let me honour my bad moods, and how part of me decides that’s why I was miserable going through my teenage years.

But this is not true, my real life mother never just told me to forget how I felt, never discredited what I thought.

I realise this is one of the critics that’s inside of me, being angry at the version of my mother that she had remembered. The helpless, the irritable, the bad tempered, the hurt version of my real mother. It is a memory imprint, a evil clone of when my mother was having the most difficult time of her life.

And some part of me was angry at her, more precisely at her at that particular time, after all these years. Even though she is so much more than that, even though she has came such a long way since.

And this evil clone is really a old fragment of my mind, an old version of my inner critics, who used to tell me to hide, to armour up, to defend. And another part of me is trying to defend my right to stay open and vulnerable.

To quote Jack Kornfield’s “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry”:

“As in a dream, all the figures in such a story can be found within us. We find the scaly dragon and the attending princess, the wise grandmother, the irresponsible king and queen, the hidden prince, and the unknown one who cast his enchantment long ago.

What this story reveals from the start is that the journey is not about going into the light. The forces of our human history and entanglement are tenacious and powerful. The path to inner freedom requires passing through them. Receiving grace, opening to illumination, becoming wise has not been easy even for the masters. It is described as a difficult purification: cleansing, letting go, and stripping away. Suzuki Roshi called it a “general house cleaning of the mind.”

It is painful to cast of our own scales, and the dragons guiding the way are fierce. It requires the inspiration of angels; it requires diving into the ocean of tears.”

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Meal Time: Conditioning Your Body to Quit Refined Carbs

You are what you eat.

Our body and mind are one continuous single unit. When you are in distress, or are in a period of time when you don’t feel the top, have you ever noticed the same goes for your digestions?

I’ve started to believe this might go both ways, as our physical bodies, our digestive system suffers, our mind in turns follow and becomes dazed and confused.

What is the difference between refined and natural sugar, you asked? Well while we know a little sugar isn’t going to give you cancer or have your body inflamed right away, refined sugar, in the midst of the refining process, tends to have stripped the nutrients of the original ingredients away. So you are left with mainly calories, your body’s fuel, but it provides no nutritional value. That means if your diet contains mainly of refined sugar (read: Also refined carbohydrates), you will have fuel to run the engine, but no nutrients to make sure your engine runs healthily. Moreover, fructose in refined sugars are treated as a toxin in the body and can only be broken down in the liver. This overloads the liver and the excess, untreated fructose get stored and triggers bodily inflammation and liver diseases.

I am on my third complete refined sugar cleanse, and in the past, whenever I mentioned it, people often commented that they wouldn’t be able to do it, that it would be impossible for them. So here I am, to show you, it is in fact very simple, and you don’t need to quit cold turkey and suffer from the sudden change of diet. And here’s my plans of attack (I will include my simple meal plan at the end of this post)

  1. Mental conditioning: Strict diet, short time
    time-calendar-saturday-weekend-60032

    The most challenging I find is the starting of the process, most people frown even at the thought of having a long term no sugar diet, that sounds like no fun!
    What I find most helpful and manageable is to start with a strict limitation right from the start but begin with segments of short periods of time.What is short period of time? Say, this time around, I’ve started my diet with a 3-days castor oil cleanse, and that was my goal at the start. And by the end of the 3 days, if I felt fine with not having a lot of cravings, I extend it to one week, by the end of one week my body has started to adjust and felt a lot better with this new diet, I went onto extend it for a month, and by the end of the month, honestly I didn’t even want to eat any sweet things anymore.
    Starting with a short time but strict plan makes it possible to reach your goal. It gives you the rewarding feeling that you need to keep going. It’s a little bit like luring a small child into eating greens, first you start with a small portion, give it a reward, and increase the requirement gradually.


  2. Switching out the baddies with the goodies
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    Sugar is addicting, and for my fellow sugar junkies out there, quitting anything sweet all at once is not downright impossible, but pretty damn close.
    So allow your body to have the treat of your natural sugar of choice, say if you are crazy about milk chocolate, don’t go all dark/no chocolate straight away, opt for a replacement that resembles the taste. For example I don’t personally like eating candies very much but I am crazy about chocolate, ice cream and the occasional cake. Here are what I use to cheat my own brain into being satisfied:
    – Milk chocolate – Dried dates covered in cocoa powder/Raw chocolate mulberries
    – Ice cream – Frozen berries covered in heavy cream/replacement cream (add honey if you like) OR Nice cream (You have to try it)
    – Cakes, cookies – Opt for banana/maple syrup as replacement sweetener
    – Gummys – natural fruit bites /candies with stevia instead of refined sugar/Energy balls


  3. Find your choice of natural sugar
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    If you don’t like banana, you don’t like dates, the above probably won’t work very well for you. But sit, try, and ask yourself what are some sweet fruit that you like? Perhaps you like grapes, raisins, perhaps you like the taste of honey?Don’t give up as soon as one replacement doesn’t work for you, what we are doing here is not to have a total simulation of the food item that you normally eat, but a acceptable replacement that can trick our brain into accepting.


  4. Say yes to natural sugars, but limit the hours that you are allowed to
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    Being able to use replacement sugar doesn’t mean you should go nuts and eat as many as you want, fruit sugar and other natural sugar, though natural, consumed in large amount can still turn into excess energy, and these energy in turn gets stored and create the binding agent for inflammations.
    During the day, get your natural sugar hits as you need, but after dinner and night snack time, try not to eat any of it. If you are hungry and need something for your mouth, opt for the snack replacements that I mention in the last paragraph of this article.



  5. Cutting refined grains
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    When I have stepped into phase 2 of the meal plan, I start cutting down refined grains as well. Refined grains like pasta, white rice in effect is one and the same as refined sugar. Over processed, low nutritional value, high on calories.
    One common thing people worry about cutting refined carbs is that they will get hungry. But in fact, you don’t need to cut all grains, only to choose the better grains.
    Instead of using white rice, I try using a blend of wild/brown rice, quinoa, millets, barley, bulgur. The bigger the variety you can find, the better really. The lesser processed grains contain more fiber, more nutrients. And it fills you up for longer.
    If you have a hard time adjusting to the new texture in the beginning, try starting with mixing a small portion of wild grains in your regular rice. Try mixing half plain pasta with half whole grain pasta. Instead of regular bread, try introducing Rye bread into your diet (Nordic style).


  6. Boost up your protein and vegetable intakes
    asparagus-steak-veal-steak-veal-361184
    And as we are cutting down our refined calories, we also need to start upping our protein intakes. Proteins is essential for building muscles and other structural components, to help your immune system AND it fills you up for much longer. 
    Start introducing more protein into your diet, instead of having pure crabs, put in perhaps a piece of chicken, salmon or white fishes. If you prefer veggie options opt in for the varies species of lentils, beans, chickpeas, tofu.
    Find the right amount of each of these that will fill you up, and notice the amount of hours that it will keep you full, and slowly adjust to having 20-30% proteins and mostly greens and healthy grains.


  7. For the snackers
    I’m a massive snacker, and not having snacks kills me. In fact back in school I was the designated candy carrier in the class, everybody knows they would be able to get some sweets out of me, should they ask. In my recent years I’d gone more into salty snacks and I particularly can’t live without having chips or something resembles chips at least once every other day.popcorn-snack-salty-food
    So cutting snacks was super hard, and it is always so incredibly tempting for me.
    My solution was nuts, soaked nuts in specific.
    If you are a little like me, a little fuzzed about texture of the food, soaked nut might be an option for you.
    I keep a jar of soaked almond in the fridge when I’m in the beginning phase of my diet change, and whenever I get incredible tempted, or get so hungry and I need a snack quick, I try to ease with with soaked nuts instead of processed carbs like chips or candy. Occasionally, I pop my own corn and drizzle it with salt, pepper or a little bit of olive oil.


  8. Cheat day
    Do I ever cheat, you ask? Yes I definitely do. But I tend to try to stay away from any cheat days in at least the first 3 weeks of my new diet. I would take the occasional ice cream and cake after that, but to be honest at that point on my diet, I didn’t even really like the sensation I get from eating sugar anymore, so the work is done on its own.

Meal Plan:

  • Phase I: Castor Oil Cleanse (3 – 7 days)
    DAY 1-2
    Breakfast: Yoghurt/Fruit
    Snack: Fruits (banana, grape, blue berries)
    Lunch: Kichari/Dahl
    Snack: Soaked nuts
    Dinner: Kichari/Dahl/Steam broccoli
    Snack: Frozen raspberry/blueberry with creamon top
    DAY 3
    Breakfast: 1 tsp Castor oil + Small cup Orange juice, mixed well
    Rest of day: Kichari/vegetable as I get hungry
  • Phase II: Cutting refined grains (10 – 20 days)
    VARIATION 1 (light > heavy)
    Breakfast: Yoghurt/fruit
    Snack: Fruits
    Lunch: Kichari/Miso zucchini noodles/Ryebread smørbrød/Quinoa salad
    Snack: Nuts/Chocolate dates/Banana cookies
    Dinner:Fish/Chicken/Mushroom/Tofu + veggies
    VARIATION 2 (heavy > light)
    Breakfast: Boiled egg/Fried egg/Chia pudding/Banana pancake
    Snack: Nuts/fruits/Homemade Kale chips
    Lunch: Fish/Chicken/Mushroom/Tofu + veggies
    Snack: Nuts/Homemade Kale chips
    Dinner: Soups/Soup with rice or zucchini noodles

I hope this gives you some inspiration and/or ideas, let me know how it goes with your diet, and how you feel with your new eating regime.

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Cultivating Self Love

I'm sure we all had that moment when we feel as though we have committing ourselves into too much, we threw ourselves into things too quickly and deeply, and ended up feeling as though we don't have enough time, we don't have enough energy. I'm sure we have all felt it before, we aim to please so hard, we end up sacrificing our own happiness.

Do we love ourselves? How much do we love ourselves? How do we love ourselves more?

 

Here are some of the things I do to remind myself to stay right in the center, and not allowing my innit pursue to pleasing others and archiving some career/physical goal to get in the way of letting myself be happy:

* This is a new series of blog where instead of rambling on, I'll share some tips and ideas on what you can do as well, to get a healthier and better mental and physical health.

 

 

1. Meditation

Our mind is so used to having stimulations all the time, to a point that it is obsessed with it. Perhaps you have tried being so restless being idle; perhaps you have caught yourself closing an app and immediately opening it again.

2. NOURISHMENT

Movement is medicine. We all know that - if you don't have a physical practice of any modality, it may be a good idea to start one now. It doesn't have to be yoga, perhaps for you it is running, perhaps for you it is hula hopping. Start from a small dose of movement to condition your muscularskeletal body into being lubricated, being smooth again. 

3. SPACE

Get your own sacred, personal, non-doing space. 

Dedicate time in your daily routine to have 10 minutes of doing nothingness. No looking at the phone, no being on the computer, no cooking, talking, planning. Try to sit somewhere that you feel safe and undisturbed, and observe.

4. Go Upside Down

At the very beginning of me teaching yoga I was so nervous every time. One trick that I learned was to do a Downward facing dog before going into class. 

5. Decide your anchor

It has long been discussed that minerals are energetically aiding us. I have numerous palm stones and tumble stones, whether or not the stones has energetic properties, I am not going to discuss here, but what I find very useful is the shear act of palming an object, in my case, a mineral stone.

I hope no matter which ones draw to you more, you will find a little something that helps. 

Let me know what you would like me to write about by commenting below, or sending me a message at info@yogawithsandy.dk. Have a wonderful day.

Ground zero

And here I am, bearing it all.

Hair is somehow a very sentimental thing to people, to us.

It always feel as though it is a monumental moment to make a drastic change in our hair styles. It’s more often than not spoke of in relation to being reborn, renew.

And here comes the third time I’m reborn.

Maybe it’s the shredding of a layer where we usually hide from; maybe it’s the act of getting go of something we are so accustomed to.

I’ve been eyeing this buzzcut, this change for a while now. It feels necessary, it feels as though the longer I postpone and push off changing, the more urgently I need change.

It’s like spending all your saving on a long trip around the world; it’s like putting all your eggs in the basket that making a life, move, career change is going to work. It’s a gamble, it’s a risk. But god does it feel good to have that leap. It doesn’t even have to be a rainbow at the end of it; or even a silver lining to whatever is beyond, but the leap itself feels good. It feels cleansing, rebirthing.

Perhaps it’s the ritualistic part of transformation; perhaps it’s the change in the weight you feel in the head and neck; perhaps it is just having no fuss, no disturbance from the breeze to the hair to the face; perhaps it is the adrenaline of making a drastic change, of wowing people. There is something very monumental, celebratory, and exhilarating about the simple move of cutting one’s hair.

I remember the first time I made this cut, from long to short, I hated it so much. It’s like my femininity is suddenly gone, that I can see my angular face, my pronounce jaws. All the imperfections that I didn’t even realise I thought I had were coming right at me, every time I looked into the mirror.

But it is like a practice.

And I did it again, and again.

The change is just as monumental.

In the Chinese language, hair is sometimes also referred to as the threads of worries. And in some way, this is also so accurate.

You know how in science fiction movies, it is often depicted that people in the future will all have buzz cuts, because seemingly, at one point of humanity, hair wouldn’t matter anymore.

But with a constantly growing and becoming fossil dead threads of cells, it somehow is so damn important, ridiculously important.

Look at the thousand of millions of dollars that goes into researching hair grown products every year.

Logically it makes no sense that little things that sticks out from our scalp should have any impact to our identity, but it does.

And is it because we have so thin self esteem? Is it because we like to hide and camouflage even from ourselves? And why is being angular in the facial features (in my case), perhaps having mono lids, having thin hair somehow make us feel inferior to others.

If we do understand our truth identity, from beyond the external realm, beyond the hair, the muscle tone, the pants we wear, the way we portrait ourselves to other people, why should dead little threads of proteins growing from our follicles matter to us at all?

And yet here I am, feeling vulnerable, naked, and feeling great.

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Into the forest I go

With all the noises, the chatters my mind became so restless. It is one of those days where I couldn’t savasana.

Have you ever caught yourself having an opinion about something/someone you haven’t experience first hand? Or have you ever caught yourself changing your opinion about something after some chatters with people that you know?

My dear ones, I’m stressed out today.

With all the noises, the chatters my mind became so restless. It is one of those days where I couldn’t savasana.

Can you imagine your yoga teacher being so stressed out she couldn’t savasana? Well, here I am.

When a practice, a passion, a pure space becomes a source of living, things get a little complicated. The chatters from talking about yoga asanas and nice tea to have after class to, so how do I make this work? The chatters from talking about spaces being cozy being nice to chatters about which one pays better and which one has a nutter of a owner.

This is a very conflicting component to a craft that I love very, very much.

Oh, but don’t let me confuse you; I LOVE the teaching. It is the things that comes with trying to do it as a source of living, that I find terrifying.

Your teacher, the human attached to the voice telling you to calm and take deep breathes is in need of some serious reminding today.

And that is ok.

I tell myself, that it is ok.

For I do believe this is for a good reason, that along with all the stress, what I need to learn is within them. For I believe along with all the noises, the voice I need as my guide, is amongst them. For I believe the feeling I have in my gut, the restlessness I experience in my savasana, is the teacher that will take me to a higher, better place.

On a day like this, it’s easy to fall into the softness, and want to hide. And hell do I want to hide.

But tighten my core, lengthen my spine I go. And I believe, much like surfing, the only way to travel far, is to ride onto the wave, despite it being scary, being wobbly in the beginning.

For I believe, something very, very good is waiting for me at the very end.

And into the forest I go.

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Home away from home

I want to document this yet I am not sure how to start.

Got back home away from home, this feeling is complicated. Having spent 2 weeks with my family at home throws me off balance.

I moved away from Hong Kong when I was 22, almost 10 years ago. From Shanghai to Beijing, to Copenhagen. From being too excited to be free and on my own to wishing that I live just a little closer, that I could spend a little more time with my parents, my brother.

To tell you the truth, it is not until the recent 2 years had I started to realise how much I have missed out. I missed my brother’s last years of high school, missed watching him grow up from a wee teenager, to the adult man he is today. I missed the yacht trip that i know my mum really wanted me to join every summer, I missed her teenage again spirit. I missed my own grandmother’s funeral, I missed the many appointments my brother managed to bring my other grandmother to.

Living in a culture so very far removed from them makes it so difficult to have something to talk about every time we are on the phone. Living half way across the world makes family gathering so condensed, so intense.

Being constrained by geographical location, space and time. It takes me 2 weeks every time to get in synch with them again, just in time for me to fly “home” again.

I flew back to Copenhagen this morning, decided to teach.

But I quickly realise as much as I do enjoy teaching, there’s a part of me who’s not quite in the mood.

My inner child is mourning, not about saying goodbye again, but the time I am going to miss being away.

I can’t help but think about the remaining years that my grandmother still has, my mother, my father still have left. And that I can only manage to see them 2 weeks at a time, twice a year. Yet every time I go, I feel as though I am not allow to show this sadness, for I am the one who has chosen to move away, chosen to live the life I live today.

Perhaps I’m just being a big cry baby but how does one remain whole being so far removed from the lives of those that one love, that one literally share the same history, root and blood with?

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Ahimsa

I just finished a practice that I didn’t really enjoy. Not so much in the sequencing or the pace or the poses that I didn’t like, but more the teaching.

Being a teacher has its downsides; it is difficult to let go of the teaching brain sometimes. In a practice in my own home, following just a video, I should be able to relax and forget about the teaching, but that’s not quite how it works.

I caught myself thinking that this is dangerous, wondering how many people get hurt from online yoga classes of this sort. To when I couldn’t help but shouting to my computer screen what she was saying was utter bollocks (not very yogic, I know). It infuriates me that there are someone out there giving so little care about how people would be practicing it; and worse yet getting injured by it. I asked, how is this even legal?

And then I caught myself wondering, if there is really a reasonable way to do this digital teaching, so far removed, so the opposite of tailored classes. In the yoga teaching world it’s often discussed how ancient yogis practice one-one classes following their master, and the practice is unique to the person. Our regular yoga classes have about a 1 to 20 teacher-student ratio. And then we go further, into the digital realm, we are have a 1 to however many thousands maybe tens of thousands teacher-student ratio. How are the teachers suppose to know what level they are to teach? How are they suppose to know what kind of modification/cues they should give?

And then I asked myself, how do I know? Yes sure I can see my students’ physical bodies, their energy and expressions, but how am I to truly know what is going on inside of their meat and bones?

I am sure that ought to have happened, students came to classes, me not knowing their body, gave them a strain or worse yet, an injury. And I am willing to bet that I am not the only one. We, as guides, are but to try our very best, base on what little we know.

“To respect your body” or “to listen to your body” have been said so much it has became a cliche, it became one of those mumble jumble that yoga teachers love to say. But if it wasn’t you who is practicing that is going to be the guard, who is in a better position to do so? In a regular teacher speaks, students follow class setting, how are the teachers suppose to know when something like this is taking place?

I started my yoga with home practices. I used to follow this teacher who loves to set an intention of ahimsa (non harming) for all the classes, and ironically, having tried to do that every time, I have had multiple injuries under her classes. For a while I thought that means I really should be going to class having a teacher in real life instead. But over time I realise practicing at home, having had my own share of injuries, have instead taught me to be very aware of my own limits and sensations. It is through the injuries, the trying, that I have learned ahimsa.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as I assess my still somewhat busted ankle, used to be busted knee and hip, my no longer hurting lower back, I suppose that is somewhat the truth.

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Welcome to Sandy’s yoga ramble

After being a yoga teacher part time for a year, I have decided to go the full time path. So in this blog I’m going to document what I think, what I observe, what I learn as a broke ass yoga teacher.

After being a yoga teacher part time for a year, I have decided to go the full time path. So in this blog I’m going to document what I think, what I observe, what I learn as a broke ass yoga teacher.

Welcome to this personal dialogue of the pain, the fun, the sour and all the favours I endure in this journey. Maybe it’s humor, maybe it’s information, maybe it’s inspiration or anti inspiration, whatever it is that brought you here, I hope there is a little something in it for you 🙂

Sandy