Downward Facing Dog… and Cat!

Too cute to not share!

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Is happiness a stream or geyser?

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Photo by: Geoffrey Plauche

Yesterday, something pleasantly unusual happened to me: All day I was filled with this wonderfully calm and serene feeling akin to happiness — but for no reason at all. (Those who experience this on a regular basis need not pity me; I’m doing OK, really. Haha!) When I get a positive feeling like that, it’s usually because of an event (a new job, attention from someone I’m attracted to, a pat on the back from an authority figure). So, yesterday’s levity was new to me. Being happy over nothing. Whoa.

This leads me to think that maybe happiness comes to people in different forms. For some, it could be a stream — a continuously steady and consistent flow. For others, like me, it could be a geyser that shoots up magnificently and forcefully without warning, which makes it hard to ignore and unforgettable. I’m quite sure it’ll happen again.

How does happiness come to you?

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Ahimsa

In the last couple of days, I came across some pretty disturbing news about a certain yoga school. I realized that no community is immune to controversy and that people will be people. We make mistakes. We get so high and then we crash. We spread unverified information that sparks a wildfire.

Photo by Grand Velas Riviera Maya

But there’s always hope that we will dust ourselves off and carry on, wiser and stronger. My practice is anchored on my choices and actions, not anyone else’s.

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Why We Should Say “Yes”

I reread this blog post by my friend malatemail every time I feel myself getting ambivalent  about something that is supposedly good for me but am too chicken to try out.

I guess it’s “yes” to krav maga… or Bikram yoga (waaaah!).

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How This Yogini Got Her Groove Back

Photo by Kerala Tourism

Hello. Sorry for neglecting this blog the way I did my yoga practice during the holidays and the weeks that followed. I guess you can say I was in a yoga slump. I was too lazy to do anything, let alone get on the mat. When I did go back to the studio, my body and mind were in resistance mode! I got tired easily and had to go into child’s pose every 15 minutes! My ego was at its nastiest, telling me I’d lost my yoga mojo and that I wasn’t going to get it back. In short, it was a dark time in my practice and, in a sense, my life. And then, I got sick. Meh.

I suppose all of these physical setbacks and ailments were manifestations of stress. I had to struggle to get back on the saddle, so to speak. During the time when my body was not cooperating, I had to fight the fear of not being able to do what I love, of losing this practice that has given me so much joy and peace.

So, I started from the very beginning – a very good place to start, as Maria Von Trapp once said. I did 15-minute gentle yoga in the mornings. Three cycles of Surya Namaskar were enough. After about a week of that, I went back to the studio, resolving not to overdo anything and just listen to my body. I let it guide me to where it wanted to go.

That’s how I got my groove back.

I realized that committed yogis and yoginis can get into this rut. This applies to everything else in our lives: work, relationships, learning a language. There comes a time when you feel you just can’t do it anymore, no matter how much you want to continue. But you will find a way to go on. If you love something (or someone) madly enough, you’ll find a way and you’ll take it one baby step at a time.

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2012 Challenge: How to Surrender

Photo by HaPe_Gera

This is a lesson I have been trying to learn for most of my life. I got into yoga because I needed a practice that would teach me to let go and be okay with the world despite the pain, disappointment and fear that lurked in every corner. Learning how to find joy and deal with loss have been the central themes of my life. I’m happy to report that I’m doing better these days.

In 2011, I got to see more of the world, met new people, gained new friends and kept old ones. I became more serious about my yoga practice and set some pretty lofty goals for myself. I went through some major changes at work and survived. Most significant of all, I lost my grandfather and uncle, events that strengthened my resolve to live each day like it’s the last. Through my grandmother’s example, I’m learning the true meaning of acceptance and resilience.

The challenge I am giving myself for 2012 is complete surrender to the will of the Universe (or God for some). Of course, I have goals: I do have plans and I intend to see them through. There may be times when I’d have to make difficult decisions or maybe even gear up for a fight — these are part of the dynamics of surrender. But my life will not be governed by struggle, grasping and clinging. Like river water trying to find its way to the ocean, my every move will be certain, but fluid. Wish me luck.

Have a blessed New Year.

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Over the Rainbow

Another member of my mother’s immediate family has gone on, this time her older brother, my uncle Eddie. With him and my grandfather no longer with us, this Christmas would have to be the most challenging of all.

But life goes on. I would rather celebrate the 67 years my uncle spent on earth than focus on the sadness of his passing. I will always remember him for his hearty appetite 🙂 and his ability to find joy in the simple things: bargains, chicharon, a good hair cut and massage from his favorite barber, conversations about Philippine politics, reading the morning paper, getting a good night’s sleep…

“Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there’s a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see.” – Helen Keller

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