Moving Forward

I’ll admit, I was emotional this morning. I had shed a few tears, overwhelmed by something I don’t really know. In the past I would have used this as an excuse to not do any yoga and allow myself to wallow in the depths of my sadness, or whatever it was. Today I didn’t. I let myself sit and breathe, shed the tears, roll out the mat and tried my best to put my distracting thoughts away for the hour I was practicing. After savasana (corpse pose), I felt better. I even concentrated with my full heart hearing the closing prayer today.  I was immediately proud of myself. Why? Well because I feel like I’ve grown after this one practice. I didn’t let myself use any excuse to stop myself from doing something that benefited me. I sucked it up and got over myself. Even in times of sadness and turmoil, people need to pick themselves whenever and wherever they can and try to live life.

Afterwards, I watched a cool Kino video and read an article about David Swenson and his journey into yoga.  What I got from both posts was that yoga will find you, and when you are ready, things will come.  I’ve been practicing on and off for a few years now, and am now finally falling in love with Ashtanga yoga.  I would love to dwell on the past and what I could have done to get to where I am now, in terms of my practice and life in general. But I have to focus on the present and move forward. Don’t have doubt. The answers are there when I am ready for them.

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My Class at Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

I was a bit nervous going yesterday to the Ashtanga yoga class because I wasn’t sure how I’d manage to do an hour and a half of it. Plus, I haven’t been practicing much as I’d like to lately and there are still lots of poses I haven’t attempted yet.  But, I promised myself I’d give this a try, and as a treat (because it is sooo darn expensive at 260 HKD!!!) I got myself a class this month.

Walking into the hotel I already felt like a swanky person.  Just something about walking beyond the concierge at  a five star luxury hotel just oozes awesomeness. Plus, five star hotels do this lovely thing where they pump a wonderful scent (Shangri-la does this, we luckily recieved a room scent hamper by a manager here and I feel like I’m in heaven every time we spray it on our sheets) and I was just in love.  I’m probably a bit silly this way, but I don’t care.

The yoga studio is on the fifth floor, which is part of the spa.  Now, if anyone has ever walked into a spa part of a five star hotel (yes, I keep mentioning this, but this was all I thought about, really!) you would know how awesome and calm it is. The staff were very friendly, and after I signed up an attendant kindly walked me through the change rooms and all that junk. Let just say that the showers are just fantastic! People who live in Asian countries can understand that when most of time you have water simply dribbling out of the shower head, it’s nice to have a nice shower with good water pressure. Oh and the towels! The towels!

Alright, I digress, but I just loooovvvvvvveeeee (did I mention love?) fancy towels and all things awesome from nice hotels. Let’s go on to the actual yoga studio and class.

The yoga studio is not large at all.I’d say max it’d hold about 15 people, which is fine by me. If I’m paying a lot of money for a class, I’d certainly want a more intimate setting.  The day I went there were about 6 people, so the teacher had plenty of time for adjusting and all that junk. Mats and towels are all set up for you, but I brought my own non slip yoga towel because I know I get sweaty palms. They also provide water, tea and fruit for you before and after your practice.

I forgot how much I enjoyed a yoga class. I know when I practice by myself I still struggle with keeping my mind focused and remembering the routine.  I felt comfortable with the led Ashtanga yoga class because I was able to concentrate on going into asanas and remember what was next.  The teacher (Siu Shan) was very nice, and asked questions and pushed me just enough to get me deeper into postures. There were some that I never knew I could do! I did certain poses and she asked me to do the full asana, and I felt elated when I was able to go in and out of them smoothly.  I also felt like I fed off the energy off the other students, and realizing I was able to do more than half the primary series makes me feel a sense of accomplishment.

I few things I learned from attending this class.

-A DVD can NEVER replace the guidance of a teacher, especially when trying new poses. I still enjoy Swenson’s DVD as a guide. I think next time I go I will ask the teacher to help me into a full headstand.

-Attending a yoga class really motivates me. I know I have to trek all the way to HK Central for this, but it’s worth it.

-I can do more than what I give myself credit for sometimes. I think this also translates into all parts of my life.

-I LOVE the ‘high’ I get after yoga class.

-There is nothing wrong with being sore the next day. It’s a sign I’ve worked my body good and hard.

-Be ready with LOTS of water to drink afterwards.

-I sweat a lot (haha!).

The verdict. I will DEFINITELY go again.  Aside from the fact that this is one of the only places with Ashtanga yoga classes (and the only one with certified teachers in Hong Kong), it is a nice setup, the staff are friendly, the ammenities are wonderful, and the teacher was nice.  Such a relaxing vibe, and I can’t help but giggle every time I walk out the door and there is a fancy doorman opening the door and greeting me. I’m weird I know.

You don’t need to register, just drop in about 15 minutes (or earlier, I went at about 30min before) and sign up.  You pay when you leave. For more information, check out their website.

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I’ll admit, I’ve been horribly lazy with my camera and I haven’t done much wandering around with it as I would like. I went to the OCT last weekend with a friend and I forgot my camera! It must be a sign that I’m too busy/tired? Not much going on at the moment or any funny observations (other than the awesome outfits, which I should do a post on someday).

Random crap in my life now if you care:

-Started Chinese lessons again with our awesome tutor. I will say that I remember a lot more than I give myself credit for, even though I didn’t study much in the summer. I will have to schedule time where I’m studying, and not always just catching 5 minutes here and there to refresh my memory.

-Work is busy as usual. I’m tired!

-Playing around with my workout routine. Joined gym with hubby cause there is a pool there, and maybe some weightlifting will help me get stronger for Ashtanga as well (it’s probably more physchological, I know I gain a lot of muscle from the practice, but maybe this is a confidence boost?). Maybe gym on weekdays, yoga on weekends. I’m also debating whether or not to wake up at 5 am do to yoga so there’s no excuse about lack of time after work.

-food food food! Currently trying to make western dishes using only ingredients found in Chinese restaurants.  It isn’t as hard as one thinks. I wonder if I can try this though.

-planning on cities I want to visit before I leave China for good. Toured the major ones, now what?

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I’m really starting to get into Ashtanga yoga these days. I feel the wonderful effects of it after I am done, and how accomplished I feel when I advance in a routine or am able to do a pose I am not able to do before. I’m currently on a 45 minute routine and am looking to go further at the end of this summer.

I recently purchased the David Swenson manual (awesome Ashtanga yoga teacher btw, I highly recommend his DVD) so hopefully in the summer I am able to squeeze in 3 sessions a week when I’m over at the in-laws. Last summer I was able to have some time to myself, but it’s a little bit hard when you’ve got nieces, nephews, and then a whole slew of people to see. Crossing my fingers.

This is the first time in my life that I’ve really committed to a fitness routine, and I’m really hoping I’ll continue with this.  It’s been a hard road for me, this fitness stuff, and routines are often difficult for me to implement. So yay for something awesome I’ve accomplished!

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