September 2017: Preparation for 10-Day Vipassana…..

Screen Shot 2017-08-29 at 8.47.31 am.jpg

OK.. so this is really happening! 

Since I made the decision to go for this and been accepted, there has been some form of anxiety around it from time to time as I think about it. 

I’m happy to be disconnected with the world, technology and just be with myself for 10 days.. However….

Sitting down for hours is going to be a physical issue for me especially with my hip issues and joint pains. I can get frustrated and annoyed easily as well.

But I guess that’s precisely what this 10 day is going to teach me… to “see things as it is in a non-judgemental way” Ha!

Attended the perfect meditation few days ago that precisely brings out this notion and has set the tone for the pending retreat on point .

“Quieting the Inner Critic “ - Tibetan Singing Bowl Meditaton with my dearest Desiree Duclos of Float Your Boat Therapy. 

You bet all the inner critique was coming out so loud in the mind it was screaming in my head and manifested in my body. 

I’ve been recently working on some issues surrounding the upper back and heart chakra area…. 

During the session.. the vibrations from the bowls penetrated to where my physical issue was in the left upper back.. it radiated upwards and out really intensely.. 

…some time after the radiating pain moved across the spine towards the right shoulder and out….  So much release happening physically and emotionally !

It seems that the 2 weeks leading to the retreat is filled with a hectic schedule and will prepare to lessen each day’s load few days just before I fly out. 

Here’s what my 2 weeks countdown to 10-day Vipassana meditation looks like:

  1. Cut down on caffeine!
     
  2. Plan ahead- Make a To-do list for tasks needed to be out of the way
     
  3. Schedule important meetings ahead of time and keep 3-5 days prior to retreat relatively free and easy
     
  4. Plan to have a day or 2 of rest after retreat to help slowly re-integrate back into life. Don’t over pack schedule right away
     
  5. Prepare to inform important people about being uncontactable and give emergency contact of centre management
     
  6. Spend some time alone each day in sukhasana and breathe … longer duration leading up to retreat…
     
  7. Don’t over think and drop all expectations about what you have read or heard about from other people’s experiences! It’s good to know some basic idea but let this be your own adventure into your own mind and being. 
     
  8. Be grateful for this Me-time and the courage to take this up!

Stay tuned next month for my review of my experience at the Vipassana Meditation retreat!

Love,
Amanda

 

August 2017: Creating New Space...

There isn’t a more appropriate timing in Decluttering and Creating Space than the moment of Now. 

Through the process of decluttering, a new space is created physically, mentally and emotionally, allowing more clarity and capacity to invite the new. But before allowing the new in, the old and dirt within us has to be resurfaced to be let go permanently.

Many of my writings focuses a lot on facing up to your inner darkness and pain, decluttering, facing all the uncomfortable things we do not like about ourselves and those parts we are not wanting to admit. This is part 1 of Decluttering. Part 2 is about the New Space Created. Often, we focus on the life and things we want in our lives but realise how come it doesn't turn out the way it's 'supposed' to be and end up in circles. Perhaps, the space we live in , physically and mentally is filled with junk and stuff that we don't need and trying to squeeze new things in to a full trunk is just counter-intuitive. 

In a bigger cosmic way, there are Huge shifts happening in the Cosmos, human consciousness is continually expanding beyond the 3-dimensional realm. 

Things keep coming up to the surface for us to deal with as it seems the Universe has its way of just needing us to sweep them all up and start breaking it down so we can have a break through in understanding all the suppressed pain, anguish and emotional baggages .

It is now time and the opportunity to learn what lessons were put in place for us to Grow and Mature Spiritually. When we aren’t getting the lessons right, situations will keep coming at us in a similar pattern and we wonder why it always happens. 

It is not just myself going through it but many people around I know are going through some kind of crisis/shift/block/darkness that seems so heavy and sticky. 

It is a critical time to keep pushing on and perservere ,allowing yourself to have all the love ,support and guidance from light, yourself and loved ones. 

We are gifted with the gift of Willpower. Some might eventually choose to stay in the darkness for whatever reason it may be until they have learnt their lessons in this life and some might choose to recognise and honour the darkness and leaving it behind and head towards Light, where healing, love and deeper transformative experiences may come.

Some time ago, I had a meeting with my financial advisor. We usually catch up and share some insights to our life experiences before talking numbers and plans. 

We were sharing about positivity vs negativity and there was a woman who was sitting alone at the table right beside us. She suddenly turned to us and said : “ Sorry to eavesdrop and intrude your conversation but you were talking about negativity vs positivity and I want to know more because I have so much negativity around me I don’t know how to deal...… “ Before we could answer, she started unloading her whole life story about negativity at home and she kept asking in agony: 

 

"Why is this always happening to me?” 

 

I felt she was deeply hurting inside stuck in her own thoughts. My financial advisor friend and I almost in unison replied “ What about asking ‘ What do I need to learn from this?” instead?"

Sometimes a subtle shift in the way we phrase the words we think and say transforms the moment’s experience and meaning and opens up a new path way and direction to a path that we may seek our answer from.

 

Which question would you ask yourself the next time you hit a wall? 

 

Come by this month's Yin Yoga, Yoga Nidra and Singing Bowl Meditation session as Desiree Duclos and myself bring you a nourishing practice in Creating Space for New Possibilities.

Love,
Amanda

“Consider the possibility now that anything could happen. I’m not asking you to believe this, but only to consider that it might be true. Simply thinking this thought—that miracles are possible—does more to pave the way for your healing than you can imagine. It opens the door to a realm of infinite possibilities, regardless of what you have been through or what you are going through now. "
― Marianne WilliamsonTears to Triumph: The Spiritual Journey from Suffering to Enlightenment

July 2017: 10 Years On......

This month marks the exact 10 year mark since I started my first yoga class and embarked on a journey of self-discovery.

I can’t believe time went by just like that. 

It all started with a mini-family session of taking yoga classes together at a small conference room in a colonial house style space at the now defunct Spa Boutique.

The class grew beyond our family and friends capacity and the spa management decided to build a beautiful outdoor pavilion beside the pool to accommodate for more public sign ups. 

I am thoroughly grateful to my first yoga teacher , Yvette Tee who introduced me my first yoga experience through her grounding and nurturing guidance. Her classes are strong, beautiful , graceful and very authentically rooted in the eastern philosophy of living. Typing this out now makes me reminisce about the morning and evening practices at the outdoor pavilion, surrounded by nature, breeze, sunlight, crickets, birds, traffic, the smell of citronella, the water feature at the outdoor pool. I felt really lucky to have had a few good years of learning yoga from scratch at this place instead of sweaty indoor yoga studios! I never learnt yoga with mirrors thus, I am uncomfortable practicing in a studio with mirrors or even teaching with mirrors. 

 

As I progress in my yoga journey towards getting certified, I'm grateful for the teachers that I have studied with: Kosta Miachin, George Anthony, Ting Ting Peng , Ram Vakkalanka of my YTT days at Vikasa Yoga. The amazing teachers, Manoji and Shivani of Vyasa Yoga, Ganesh Mohan of Svastha Yoga which I am now studying yoga therapy studies with.Lots of great wisdom from the lineages of Swami Vivekanada and Krishnamacharya,  Mira Binzen, of Global Family Yoga for the wonderful skills on teaching yoga for kids. 

My personal journey with the yoga practice have contributed to the 180 degree shift and transformation in life, spirit and existence.

Like many others, I tried yoga in 2007 as an effort to get toner and fitter . I was practising pilates for a year since 2006 before making the switch. 

I was immediately awed with the minimal and simple approach that the practice of yoga requires only you and your mat and a whole load of focus and self love. I appreciated the idea that each pose was named after nature and animals. 

From the original intention of trying out yoga for physical toning and stretch, led to the deeper mental and emotional aspects which I benefitted from.  It has been a spiritual awakening journey since then. 

Being heavily in the entertainment industry then has its own self-destructive way of eating you up. For 3 years around the time I started yoga,  I was on a cocktail of prescribed anti-depressants, consuming them like candies. It didn’t help that I did abused the usage , mixing with alcohol, partying every night while being a heavy smoker. ( Ok don't judge me now! ).
After 3 years into the practice, in 2010, yoga and pranayama helped me get out of my head and into my body, practising more self love and compassion. I was able to reduce my medication usage and by end June 2010, I have successfully quit smoking though using some help from an anti-smoking medication ( on top of antidepressants) . 

By the end of 2010, I have decided to ditch all the pills , and opt for healthier alternatives . I went to a nutritional naturopath doctor that was able to explain more in detail about using natural herbs, supplements and vitamins to help rebalance the hormonal and brain biochemistry. (Eg. Zinc is a great relaxing component for anxiety, too much copper in the body causes anxiety or might present other problems like hyper thyroids etc).

This was the start of my wellness journey from all angles. I began to explore nutritional ways to keep body and mind healthy, signed up for various workshops in health and wellness. I reignited my love of essential oils and began to use them again. I also started learning energy healing , Quantum Touch healing, Reiki Healing and gone to numerous spiritual healing sessions of different modalities to understand the deeper meaning of all these pain, suffering and vicious cycle I was stuck at. 

It seems to me when the body, mind and spirit gets beaten down to its core, a sense of desperation arises. The drugs were numbing me , preventing me from clear thinking and vision. It created more issues and side effects that contributed to more downward spirals. I just didn't know who and what I was becoming... Looking back, by a stroke of luck and divine timing and guidance, my spirit must have had an awakening through that dark times and was always searching for something to go back to its natural state that it knew of.

The practice of Yoga allowed me that particular safe space to feel what I needed to feel, to do what I needed to do, Be who I truly am. It empowered me to appreciate life, my journey and even owning my personal stories and struggles. ( I think this will resonate to many people in their own journey because that's the beauty of Yoga! It allows you to rediscover and reconnect back to your own true self )

Yoga to me never was about the asana’s like how it has blown up on social media. Going to classes then was never about taking pictures of before and after shots or posing for this and that. I loved the practice and shared the practice through speaking to friends and family the wonders of it. I felt really happy just being able to show up for myself on the mat, and noticed the strength and flexibility I felt in my body rather than "looking" at my body to notice the difference.  Embodying the practice was alot more satisfying to me than a picture. Sometimes I dragged friends to come experience with me and it opened them up to another world.
It has always been an introspective practice for me and above all of it, people could slowly see how I became a changed person.  A better person. 


I am personally not in the habit of posting posture pictures up on social media just to show achievements, or a need to receive validation from people because I simply wasn't in that practice or that kind of person.  In fact, Instagram didn't even exist then! Haha

Through the practice of the physical asanas, it reached the deeper layers of the self (5 Koshas), it has allowed me to touch base on the potential of who I truly can be if I show up for myself more. 

In my first years of practice, I didn't have patience for Pranayama and didn't know how to appreciate Yin Yoga. 

Only many years later, I started appreciating Yin and Pranayama which ironically I'm teaching more of these days!  

I think by the time 2010 came, I was taking 2 classes every day . I tried some other classes in other studios, and still preferred the non-mirror studio setting. Slowly, I quit the night life scene as well, Giving excuses that I had to go for yoga class on sat morning so I don’t have to go out on a friday night. 

I am pretty old school and traditional in many ways. I believe to be a teacher, you need to have some years of experience as a practitioner , to live through the struggles and triumphs of the practice(beyond physical) and applying the practice and theory into your own life as an individual before being ready to be in a position to teach. 

It wasn’t till 2012, 5 years into my practice of steady, strong and supple growth in my practice that I signed up for YTT at Vikasa Yoga . 

So…. it has been 5 years since I started teaching… and so much more to learn! The more I teach, the less I know and the more I want to Learn! If you are familiar with StrengthFinder, My top trait is Learner! *No surprises* Hehe

There were Many ups and downs.. I started like a nobody. Not well versed in marketing and struggled with reaching out for an introvert personality like me but slowly and surely I just had to bite the bullet and the experiences teaching anywhere ,anyone until I found a better way and build the confidence.

Did I also mention one of the main reasons why I started teaching is so to conquer my fear of public speaking?

I have always had issues speaking up as a young child, have a soft voice and not able to project my voice and stutter in public speaking context.  So I made a point to teach so I can practice letting go that fear. 

Went through numerous voice coaching sessions , applied it for a few years and I can’t say I am good at speaking now but certainly teaching a few 1000 hours now in total have allowed me to gain a newfound confidence to speak and express myself * Ahem Throat Chakra thingies haha* 

Well.. through these 10 years of practice, I have gone through the phases, of trying to achieve a certain pose, attempting and doing all the “advanced” poses only to come to the understanding and in the phase now that true “advanced” technique is not mere mastery of the physical asana. All acrobats can do that. 

True advanced technique in yoga is the consistency of being still in your mind while living from the Yamas and Niyamas of the Eight Limbs of Yoga. 

 

Meditation is the goal of all the physical yoga, but is also a great challenge. We all need to satisfy the outward physical movement goals but it doesn’t end there. Those asanas prepare you to be able to sit down in silence so you can be aware of the rise and falls of the thoughts in the monkey mind, so you can bring stillness, peace and exude the ananda self in samadhi state.

 

So this has led me to wanting to sign up for the famous 10-Day Vipassana meditation retreat.

 

*Gasps* I know. We probably heard it through the grapevine about this rigorous silent retreat. Meditating close to 11 hours a day for 10 days without any form of contact to the world. Writing, reading and playing music is prohibited. 

I’ve always felt I could do with not talking for 10 days. I’m really a quiet person anyway. But I get into my inner world a lot everyday, reading, writing, planning, listening and playing music…. so I think without these, I’d like to see how far my mind is going to take me before I go mad or some form of breakthrough happening.

Still in my midst of researching which country to go for Vipassana meditation , this will be a birthday gift to myself as I turn 33 years old in a few months! The more I think about it, the scarier it seems and I'm getting a little bit more uncomfortable each day. It's like I wake up thinking maybe I shouldn't put myself through this when I can just have a more luxurious holiday elsewhere. But this resistance I am identifying is the reason that I probably Need this 10 day silent meditation as well. It is the suffering that my mental mind is creating ie. I'm trying to avert myself away and crave pleasure. Haha. 

 

These 10 years have given me the time and space to discover my true self, to live and express authentically, to be happy and healthy, to appreciate and live simply and more minimally.
It has also ignited the more altruistic , compassionate part of myself I have never seen and explored. All won’t be possible without the deep study (svadhyaya) and practice of the ancient science of life called Yoga. :) 

 

No matter where you are in your journey, keep getting curious, open your heart and mind to experience, dig deeper than just asanas, appreciate the stillness and quietude, don’t get distracted with noise from the over saturated and commercialised world of yoga on social media. Stay true, go deep, live and share and be in service to the world with your own unique gifts and talents!

 

Love,
Amanda

June 2017: International Yoga Month

21st June of each Year has become an official day to celebrate the practice of the ancient art and science of life called Yoga. 

In honour of this , I'd like to share some yoga quotes and teachings from the greatest Yoga Masters that has continually inspired me as a practitioner, teacher and an individual in living the yogic and spiritual way of life.

– T Krishnamacharya  IMAGE SOURCE: http://krishnamacharya.net/blog

– T Krishnamacharya 

IMAGE SOURCE: http://krishnamacharya.net/blog

“Yoga is awareness, a type of knowing.”

"Yoga Āsana practiced with long inhalation and exhalation is important. To reduce the disturbances of the mind, to gain mental strength and to increase longevity, Prāṇāyāma is necessary."

"Use Āsana for problems of the body and Prāṇāyāma for problems of the mind.”

 

 

 

B.K.S. Iyengar

B.K.S. Iyengar

"The primary aim of yoga is to restore the mind to simplicity and peace, and free it from confusion and distress"

"The study of asana is not about mastering posture. It's about using posture to understand and transform yourself."

"The practice of yogasana for the sake of health, to keep fit, or to maintain flexibility is the external practice of yoga. While this is a legitimate place to begin, it is not the end Even in simple asanas, one is experiencing the three levels of quest: the external quest, which brings firmness of the body; the internal quest, which brings steadiness of intelligence; and the innermost quest, which brings benevolence of spirit."

"Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life."

"Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.”

“Yoga, an ancient but perfect science, deals with the evolution of humanity. This evolution includes all aspects of one's being, from bodily health to self realization. Yoga means union - the union of body with consciousness and consciousness with the soul. Yoga cultivates the ways of maintaining a balanced attitude in day to day life and endows skill in the performance of one's actions.”

 

 

January 5, 1893 - March 7, 1952

January 5, 1893 - March 7, 1952

"Change yourself and you have done your part in changing the world."

"Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become."

"Yoga is a method for restraining the natural turbulence of thoughts, which otherwise impartially prevent all men, of all lands, from glimpsing their true nature of Spirit. Yoga cannot know a barrier of East and West any more than does the healing and equitable light of the sun."

“TO EVERY THING there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” 

“If you criticize others judgmentally, rather than simply commenting on their behavior impartially, that shows that you have their faults to work on in yourself. By criticizing others, moreover, you increase those faults in yourself. What you condemn in others, you will have to experience, someday, yourself. That is the karmic law. In that way, people are taught compassion.”

 

Swami Satchidananda December 22, 1914 -August 19, 2002

Swami Satchidananda
December 22, 1914 -August 19, 2002

"The five points of yama, together with the five points of niyama, remind us of the Ten Commandments of the Christian and Jewish faiths, as well as of the ten virtues of Buddhism. In fact, there is no religion without these moral or ethical codes. All spiritual life should be based on these things. They are the foundation stones without which we can never build anything lasting. (127)” 

“Mere philosophy will not satisfy us. We cannot reach the goal by mere words alone. Without practice, nothing can be achieved. (3)” 

"Though we can't always see it at the time, if we look upon events with some perspective, we see things always happen for our best interests. We are always being guided in a way better than we know ourselves."

"Let us accept all the different paths as different rivers running toward the same ocean."

 

"Be happy for those who are happy, have compassion towards the unhappy, and maintain equanimity towards the wicked."

"Seated posture should be steady and comfortable."

 

 

 

Swami Vivekananda 12 January 1863 - 4 July 1902

Swami Vivekananda
12 January 1863 - 4 July 1902

"You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul."

“Learn Everything that is Good from Others, but bring it in, and in your own way absorb it; do not become others.” 

"BY the study of different religions we find that in essence they are one. "

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May all be blessed with love, light and enjoy the journey of the practice!

Love, 
Amanda

May 2017: Staying Balanced

 

April was an amazing month of opportunities and connection of more and more like-minded individual! The good aligned vibes just keeps coming and I am in Awe with how the Universe provides and nudges you towards your potential. Amen!

April’s Sonic Flow™ at Palm Ave Float Club was wonderfully attended yet again.  I keep the flow fluid each time depending on how I “sensed” the crowd with a good balance of what my intended structure was. Deeply appreciate the support and love with each attendance! 

Highlight for April was giving a talk and workshop with performance for Esplanade’s Tapestry of Sacred Music.

 

It was over subscribed and was pleased to have seen new and familiar faces. This marks a new beginning for myself and fellow Shima Healing singing bowl team (Akiko Igarashi, Desiree Duclos and Kaori Tanaka ) as we focus on educating the public about the therapeutic wonders of the bowls and bring it out to the world as sound is everywhere that we can tap into and reap the healing properties of it .

I’ve embarked on producing sound healing music and been working with various healers and yoga teachers to produce some meaningful music for healing and meditation. This is a dream come true since my teenage days;  I wanted to create healing music besides rock music. I just intuitively knew that as a kid for some reason. Like I knew I wanted to use these gifts properly for a higher meaning. :)

April was lululemon duxton’s Anniversary and I provided a quote for them for a corner they dedicated for each ambassador. In case anyone missed this, it’s a question that I have learnt to ask myself about my purpose and reason for doing things.

I hope this question may inspire you to think about your own life purpose and gifts too! Once we reflect and align with this question, new possibilities and a frame of mind appears. Old self with Old belief systems that don't work fall off, and a New Improved Self emerges. The True Self emerges. :)
When we come from the angle of "How Can I Serve?" We strip away all our perceived self entitlements from our self-centred egoistic self and allow the compassionate, empathetic self to emerge.


Let's talk about this month's focus on Balance. 

How can we balance our overly active mind to be more calm yet steadfast ?

What does it mean to have a balanced yoga practice?

Is it all about leg and arm balances or inversions?

Is it all about the physical “ test your limits” approach?

Is it all about meditation and no physical practice?

Is it all in the mind?

A yoga practice to me seems a well balanced one if we are able to Grow from and with it. Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Energetically, Spiritually. ( Five Koshas). Of course a well balanced diet too.

It might take various forms; A combination of a good strong physical asana practice alternates with a passive yin style practice to complement , heal and regenerate. 
Adding in Meditation daily regardless of a strong or passive practice seems to be the best balance in my experience. 

There are days that we might want to push more than usual and days that we just want to chill , or just plain Lazy (which is ok at times! ). So physically the practice may vary. When we get into a physical yoga practice, the physical benefits boosts our mood and mindset through the dopamine and endorphins created. 

But what happens during those days that we don’t get a good “workout” to feel all that? Do we allow our conditioned default minds and emotions to take over? 

How can we stay Balanced and Consistent in our thoughts, mindset, mood and emotions that drives our thoughts, actions and behaviour each day?

Tadah..

Meditation is the medicine.  Not alcohol, food, drugs or any form of activity that becomes an addiction to fill the void and yet unhappiness still lingers.

I wasn’t much a meditation fan in the beginning as I am always restless , a typical Vata. I relied heavily on prescription drugs and alcohol to fill a void I was in but problems didn't go away, instead, they pile up and morphed into monsters that ate my whole sense of self and worth . I made a point to stop that and to allow myself to explore natural methods instead. 

I’ve taken meditation workshops that allowed me some simple practices to try daily but I didn’t follow through for some time until I hit another wall and decided to affirm my decision to be more committed to the practice. Active meditation like mindful eating , walking , showering and doing just about any daily activity allowed me to stay present in each moment. With this practice, the transition to seated meditation seemed to be more natural.

I still falter a little until I discovered how Tibetan Singing Bowls helped in Meditation through Sound.

It is the quickest way to allow the chatter in your brain to shut up. Your brainwaves entrain into a meditative state simply by just passively listening to it. No need to “force” yourself to think of nothing . Just observing the breath and thoughts, the sound vibrations naturally take over and relaxes the brain , mind and body. 

Nada Yoga, is a branch of yoga , The Sound of Yoga. It is a practice really , where the essence of sound vibrations and its quality impact and affect our whole consciousness. From the audible to the inaudible, to empower ourselves with Good Vibrations all over. If you understand the law of attraction and affirmations. Sound when used in the right intention , is the affirmation of infusing positive and healing vibrations into our system. After all, the Universe is created from Sound. It makes sense to tap into the Power of it.

For Example:
The Earth has its own vibrational resonant frequency. They call it the Schumann Frequency or the "Earth’s Heartbeat" of 7.83hz. ( It is currently amplifying and accelerating because of human consciousness rising in alpha and theta states). When astronauts travel into space, they are being fed this frequency into the spacecraft so they don’t feel out of whack or ungrounded in space living in zero gravity environment.

I’m hearing many people sharing with me about how they enjoy listening to binaural beats and singing bowls on youtube and they go into that meditative state, they are able to let that “go go go” mentality and impulses just relax and let be. 

There is a rise of the demand in mindfulness meditation in the highly stressed corporate industry. Sound meditation is just a variant of it and I see it as the Medicine of the Future. In the recent weeks, many situations have affirmed this and I’m really excited to be working with various collaborators in facilitating sound meditation.

Stay tuned as there will be many opportunities that I’ll be facilitating about Sound Meditation as a stand alone or with yoga as Sonic Flow™. 

May you all stay healthy, happy and in full of abundance of love and light!

 

Love,

Amanda

March 2017: Island Immersion on Koh Yao Noi

Greetings from sunny and sometimes rainy island of Koh Yao Noi!

Immersing into this quiet and serene island has been really a grounding yet elevating experience.
No fanciful villas or tourist things. Just plain wooden kampong huts, simple thai food fare and the occasional authentic italian pasta and healthy organic cafe. 

The grounding tasks of doing administrative and manual errands, being in touch with the earthy elements balances with the uplifting element of deeper spiritual insight and development through the singing bowl experiences. 

The practice of karma yoga takes place each moment as I help out at Shima Healing.


When we humble ourselves to be of service with little or no expectations, we get to gain much more than we thought we would. I am thoroughly learning many life lessons and in a very compassionate, supported and mind-blowing way.

A Universe Made Of Strings. Everything is vibration and we are all really connected in one way or another. As they say. “ Your Vibe will attract your own Tribe” .. I see and experience it now how this works with the laws of nature in an intrinsic way :)

IMG_8778.JPG

It is really beautiful to be surrounded by trees , flowers, plants all around the house. Maybe because I have lived in high rise apartments all my life I don’t get to experience the earthy elements of landed houses. 

Back home, I struggle with keeping plants as I always forget to water them and then they die. Boohoo....I’ve always wanted to build a small lil herb and veggie garden in the concrete jungle but lacked discipline in watering them everyday. 

Now, experiencing the beauty and abundance of greenery and herbs motivates me to become more attentive and appreciative to the relationship with plants. New goals to start small with taking care of smaller plants first. 

Plucking flowers, lemongrass/veggies to use for cooking makes me think why do I need to spend so much money buying them from supermarkets. 

It has been really a busy time with a gazillion errands to do each day but yet, the serenity and pace of life doesn’t make it stressful. It has been really inspiring and creating music seems a lot more in the flow! The people and villagers on this muslim island have also been friendly with their thai hospitality. 

I haven’t been using alarm to wake up as the morning roosters outside the room goes off at 5am-ish together with the prayers from the mosque across the road.  It feels really good not needing to snooze the alarm! 

I am thankful it is really cool at night and have been able to sleep without air-conditioning. 1 month on an island with no A/C could be one of the most uncomfortable factors for most city dwellers who needs a/c. But knowing me, I'm in the stage in life that I Enjoy Challenging myself in things I don’t like to do. Ha.

So… it takes roughly about 10 days for me to climatize to surroundings and be comfortable with the lifestyle. Ie. To live with insects flying every corner of your eyes each minute and the fear of them lessens each time I allow myself to Just Be. ( That also means to continually spray repellant like no one’s business!) 

I get to stretch out and have some yoga time each day.. but it’s so hot it’s just like hot yoga. Honestly, I have always thought Hot yoga can just be done without the heaters in asian countries; Just ventilate the room with a fan or 2 and the heat being built from within is a lot more powerful and meaningful than external heating factors. Save electricity !

Anyways, I’ll be here for another 2 more weeks before heading back home. Things are going to get really busy.. So much to look forward to when I get back . More super exciting news and updates to be released :) 

End off sharing a lovely card I picked that might inspire you to look within too. <3 

Take care, Stay Calm and Present and Be with your Heart.

Love,

Amanda

 

 

 

February 2017: A Fiery Loving Rooster Year!

Image Source: http://selfgrowthseeds.com/wp-content/uploads/edd/2015/12/Heart-Meditation-4.jpg

Image Source: http://selfgrowthseeds.com/wp-content/uploads/edd/2015/12/Heart-Meditation-4.jpg

A wonderful prosperous Fire Rooster Year to All!

This month is packed with travel, study and learning new skills in new environments. 

As I’ll be in Thailand for a month long as an apprentice with Shima Healing, some classes will be stalled for bit so I apologise for any inconvenience caused!

Things will pick up March onwards with new offerings, classes, workshops and events.

_________________________________________________________________________________

For the month of Feb, I’d like to zoom in an focus on the theme of Love, Light and Compassion.

Often, our relationship with ourselves is the same as our relationship with others. How do you nourish love for the self ? ( I hope it's not through validation from external sources in the material world!)  For the more spiritual peeps, Do you have a routine or meditation that allows you to draw love and inspiration from your various faiths? 

Regardless of faith , here is a really beautiful meditation I’d like to share about drawing and receiving love from Above while bringing your loved ones into the heart of it to bless, love and support them. Including yourself! 

I invite you to take some time after work or before bed, light a candle or incense and try this out:

Heart Temple Meditation

 

Image Source: http://davidji.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Luminous-heart-300x240.jpg

Image Source: http://davidji.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Luminous-heart-300x240.jpg

  • Sit Comfortably
  • Bring awareness to the area of your heart
  • Imagine in your heart, a flame about the size of your thumb. Within this flame resides your heart temple
  • Notice this temple and the terrain that surrounds it. Gently sloping hills, gardens, trees, flowers
  • Notice the gently curving path leading to the entrance
  • Observe the details of the doors as you enter through it. This is your heart temple
  • Take in the layout, design, colours,the ornamentation
  • Become aware of the essence that presides over your temple. It may be Jesus, Buddha, Allah or any other supreme being that resonates with you. It may be something more abstract- the great spirit that moves in all things, universal consciousness, whatever to you feels like your connection to the Source
  • Take a moment to commune with this entity in a way that is nourishing and authentic for you.
  • Now, begin to welcome into your heart temple all those in your life you wish to bless,love and support. Your family, the children of your life, partners,friends, anyone you feel could benefit from this heart healing
  • As each person enters the heart temple, become aware of a light that radiates just above your head, like your own personal sun
  • Become aware of the other person’s radiating light, and as the two of you embrace your heart temple, feel these two suns merge. This person then communes directly with the entity presiding over your heart temple
  • Watch as this person is totally , and unconditionally embraced, merging light and love.
  • Experience this with each person you welcome into your heart temple.
  • Once you feel this heart blessing is complete for now, take a moment to bless the whole group as well as yourself.
  • As you feel ready, draw in a deeper breath and open your eyes.

Have you ever felt so big, happy warmth and happiness in your heart?

How about using that to connect to the people around us and help them in spreading the same feeling?

The world needs more Love and Unity even more during times of uncertainty and divide. May we be blessed with love, light, wisdom ,tolerance, compassion so we can bring this imprint out and heal the world. 

Namaste.

Love and Light,

Amanda

 

 

January 2017: Happy New Year

2016 seemed to be really challenging for many, the world lost many talented and legendary music and movie icons, and in reflection, there had been lots of personal struggles along the way. 

I started the year with a lighted candle, taking a short silent meditation, compiling my wishes for the year for 2017 before blowing out the candle, allowing the wishes to be taken into the universe for it to resonate and manifest to the highest good of all. ( This happened after witnessing the Marina Countdown on FB as fireworks was choreographed to my band’s music. Surreal and grateful moment! ) 

I’d like to firstly thank you for the support through the year/s, whether a regular student, a pop in, or have come across any of my yoga and Sonic Flow™ classes and singing bowl workshops. I get inspired with each individual I come across with. 

This year is going to be interesting:

  1. Apprenticeship program starts for me at Shima Healing in Thailand. Yay! If you would like to know more about the Singing Bowl Courses offered here, hit me up! I'll be more than glad to help. 
  2. A lot more singing bowl workshops planned out with Shima Healing’s practitioners at Float Your Boat Therapy.
  3. Sonic Flow™ will commence again each month or bi monthly with some special collaborations this time round.
  4. I’ll be offering Self-Care Workshops that serve to empower you with accessible tools for daily self care through Yoga and Sound- Firming up the program and will be sharing the details in due time.
  5. I now provide private treatments with Singing Bowl Therapy at Float Your Boat Therapy. Check out http://www.floatyourboattherapy.com/soundtherapy.html  . You may book appointment through the website. 
  6. New class timings at Freedom Yoga

 

When I started blogging and sharing, I came with an intention to share more about lifestyle-ccentric posts that encompasses around holistic approaches and yogic philosophies with a monthly theme.  

I don’t fancy taking pictures much of myself or “selfies” /“poses” due to the introvert I am. When some people ask me why. It’s simply because it is not my liking to fuss around taking pictures whilst being a very private person. ( My family would know well that I hated taking pictures as a child. Lol ) 

Also, when I started my yoga practice 10 years ago in 2007, there wasn’t instagram and much social media to glorify yoga in a commercial and aesthetic way like it is now.
My learning experiences from Day 1 with yoga was more about internalising ,rather than exhibiting.

However I’d like to understand more about reader’s interests and choices for what makes them compelled to read further…so I’ve got a question for whoever is reading my blog or have been following:

What would you like to see me blog about?

You can reply in the comments below. I welcome any other question as well! 

I wish you much love, abundance, joy, happiness and contentment for 2017! 

Love,

Amanda

December 2016: Tis' The Season..To Celebrate

Sunrise Yoga Class at Koh Yao Noi, November 2016.

Sunrise Yoga Class at Koh Yao Noi, November 2016.

I've been pretty swarmed with homework and geeky research so this would be quite a short entry for the final month of 2016. 

Seriously where did all the months go this year? 

I hope everyone had a fulfilling year!

 

 

 

Reflecting back, I am thankful and happy that I have made this year really productive. Doing Less ( being selective with what I’d like to get involved in) allowed me to have ample time doing More things that are meaningful and the opportunity to dwell deeper into various interests. 

Through these pursuits, I have met many many wonderful people from all walks of life that resonate and/or in similar journey. So many new beautiful friendships formed that are built on trust, love ,openness, support and spirituality . Whenever I feel a pinch of doubt or having a crappy day, I just think about all these connections I’ve made, and it does give that boost to push further. 

Maybe this is all about growing older and maturing or perhaps I just have an old soul. I value and enjoy engaging in conversations about wellness and the kinks on sound and yoga therapy. It’s just too mind-blowing not to share it with the world! So next time if we cross paths, do halt me if I am rambling too much! lol

Let's take a moment to celebrate all the achievements, struggles, tears, battles, frustrations and every little crazy or amazing thing that happened. Know that everything happens or not happens for a reason. Celebrate each baby triumphant step you take each day in your work, life and relationships. Self- assurance and acceptance is a start to many breakthroughs. Keep celebrating anyway!

Christmas is coming up and I love all the warming elements of the season . Eg. Warm spices, root vegetables, soups, scents etc.. 

So how about some citrus spice diffuser aromatherapy to fill your home this season?

2 drops Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil

2 drops Sweet/Wild Orange Essential Oil

2 drops White Fir

Enjoy the aroma! Tis the season to be Jolly… Merry Christmas !!

May all your deepest desires and wishes come true and manifest abundantly in your life!

Love,

Amanda 

November: Slow Down With Thanks!

Slowing it down.....

Year ends are always a favourite time. The cool rainy weather sets in, perhaps travel plans are in the pipeline and more time to allow the years worth of activities wind down little. Although for some industries and individuals like myself, it can get busy! 

Either way, taking some time to allow our senses to quieten down brings us better perspective as we close the year in reflection.

What are some of the ways or activities that you can do to slow things down and be in Self-Care mode?

  1. Practise Yin Yoga ( I'll be teaching a Mindful Yin Class at lululemon duxton 11th Nov )
  2. Read an uplifting book
  3. Go for a massage
  4. Avoid jam packing schedules
  5. Take a leisurely mindful walk and breathe deep 
  6. Soak in hot tub with essential oils and relaxing music
  7. Live minimally- Less is More 
  8. 80/20 rule.  Plan to work wiser around chores/work/relationships and life. 20% of effort into whichever areas that leads to 80% success. I believe if you can grasp hold of the “ Less is More” concept and apply/Live it, this 80/20 concept becomes a lot more doable because one can already identify and recognise what are the areas that can be emphasised, which can bring most abundance or happiness. One can eliminate tasks or activities that don’t create enough value. Quality over quantity!
  9. Take time off each day and meditate on Gratitude for 5 mins!

One year ago I wrote about A gratitude practice “Count Your Blessings”......... 

How many of you actually count your blessings in daily life regularly upon waking and before sleeping? 

Gratitude and Love are really the highest forms of vibration that can shower us with much blessings and health. Though easier said than done. Stress is all created by the mind. When thoughts of gratitude takes place in the mind regularly, it can kick some ass by bringing light to stressful, negative thoughts. It doesn't make our problems go away for sure, but it allows us to see things from a different pair of eyes. It can give clarity and composure to our state of mind. 

Upon reflection in this past year with my personal gratitude practice, I’m really surprised how things, mindset and circumstances have shifted quite remarkably. Call it Law of Attraction.

New perspectives, opportunities have opened up in abundance. I have and am still working on letting go of some old false beliefs that prevented me from my life's journey. In the process of acceptance and letting go, comes freedom of being. 

Everything starts to make sense . Everything and anything isn’t by chance. Lessons are put in place for learning and growth. 

This month, I embark on a personal journey as an apprentice to my teacher/mentor Akiko at Shima Healing for the year of 2016/2017. I am thoroughly excited to be travelling to Koh Yao Noi, Thailand intermittently to learn and be of service to the healing centre, working on some programs and retreats, while helping out with her charity project on the island. I am really thankful to be fortunate enough to be creating life work through my passions. 

I will be also hosting more singing bowl workshops and sound sessions in Singapore with the Singapore team to spread this Sound healing modality with Tibetan Singing Bowls. 

Sonic Flow™ is picking up with the monthly pop ups at various spaces and I’m so happy and thankful that I’ve been working with people that resonate the same way! 

Last month was conducted at Palm Ave Float Club where some participants are able to try the float for the first time together with Sonic Flow. It has been so lovely hearing the feedback ! I've started experimenting with some sound recordings with the bowls, while on an intensive 22-week Audio Production course for Sound Healing with renowned recording engineer, David Gibson. 

The best of both worlds for me. Can't be more thankful than ever!

 

If you have not attended Sonic Flow™,  this month’s session will be held at the beautiful Yoga Seeds Green Room @Aramsa!  

May you have a wonderful November!

Love,
Amanda

October 2016: Travel Wellness On The Road.....

Trying to fit in a yoga practice during travels can be challenging. What more during on tour in a band? 

There are many equipments and luggages to lug around!

I am responsible for 2 keyboards, 1 mixer bag, keyboard stand, personal luggage and a carry on backpack. That totals to 6 bulky and oddsize items. (Currently configuring how to downsize my setup for next year's tour!)

This is just part of our luggages/gears .

This is just part of our luggages/gears .

Although we all share the load, the constant shifting, pushing and lifting can take a toil on our bodies especially on our lower backs. While some in the band rely heavily on painkillers for an existing slipped disc issue, I offered up to be the in-house resident therapist/yoga teacher to ease up some discomforts on tour! Lol. 

Yoga Strap and Trigger Point Therapy Massage Ball are a wonderful add on for travels. Especially the ball! The ball is great on flights for the back, butt, hamstrings when on long haul /red eye flights and before going to bed.

Sitting on the ball for hammies, hips or sandwiching ball on the back of the seat and back muscle will do the trick. It is like accupressure massage on the go! 

Strap is great to stretch out the hammies and hips in supine position after long hours of sitting.
Place strap under sole of one foot, with hands firmly holding on to strap, pull leg closer to the chest with option to bend the knee if hamstrings are overly tight. Take a couple of breaths and relax. This can be repeated with hips rotated externally to stretch inner thighs or a twist to rotate internally to stretch the IT Band. Repeat on the other side.
 

Although I brought along my trusty Manduka eco-lite foldable mat and have sneaked in time to do a full hour practice , I know I would need to prepare for future tours that might not have luggage space for the mat or anywhere in the room for it.

So a practice can be adapted to just a hotel Hand Towel! Even Hostels, motels would have them so they are easily accessible. 

Here is a snapshot of a video I filmed for some daily instructional fitness activity that I sent to the band's groupchat ! hehe.

with both feet on the towel, stand in Tadasana, Mountain pose 2. Fold to Uttanasana, standing forward fold with palms at the side, 3. Engage core, and slide the towel back into plank, Hold a few breaths 4. With next exhale, use core and push arms down firmly, slide towel back towards palms.  5. Repeat 10 rounds. Note. Do not overly rely on quads to move, but rather transfer focus on to the lower abdominals. 

with both feet on the towel, stand in Tadasana, Mountain pose
2. Fold to Uttanasana, standing forward fold with palms at the side,
3. Engage core, and slide the towel back into plank, Hold a few breaths
4. With next exhale, use core and push arms down firmly, slide towel back towards palms. 
5. Repeat 10 rounds.
Note. Do not overly rely on quads to move, but rather transfer focus on to the lower abdominals. 

Working the plank with the towel this way works alot more on the lower abdominals .
It boosts energy, protects/strengthens the back from the heavy lifting and gets you fired up for performances!

I also attempted doing Sun Salutations with the variation of sliding the towel back and forth for a deeper core challenge than the usual way. 
The towel sliding method is widely used by seasoned practitioners working their way to sliding up into handstands and inversion stuff. 

 

Travelling is pretty much Vata ( Quality of Air in ayurvedic terms) by nature . I am very much a Vata person with some Pitta(Fire quality) as part of my Dosha (Ayurvedic term of body types) . I bloat very easily when I'm on flight and the gas built up gets really uncomfortable ( not forgetting various food allergies that contribute to that too). Having grounding elements like rice, potatoes and peppermint tea on flight helps for sure. The moving around cities, hotels, venues add on more Air into the experience and thus, it can make me feel "off" easily. Being able to have hot teas, nuts, snackbars, grounding scents help to ground and settle myself in better. 

Travelling to places like Australia and China challenges the dietary options I have. Having Gluten, Dairy and MSG allergy, I was always worried about the food. Antihistamines are always in my pocket as I would never know when an outbreak of reaction might occur. Chinese cuisine do have many Rice or rice noodle dishes but overladen with MSG and Oil !   I made sure I ate a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and porridge stuff to not only fill the tummy but to balance out the dry, vata energy with warm, earthy and healthy oil based foods. 

However, it was unfortunate that I caught a cold in between and took about a month to recover. I hated the feeling of drowsiness caused by flu meds and these natural remedies were really effective in managing the cold without the side effects on the road.

Doterra’s On Guard and Oregano oil are what I swear by. 

3-5 drops in an empty capsule goes alot easier on the stomach as oregano oil has a pungent and stingy sensation .

3-5 drops in an empty capsule goes alot easier on the stomach as oregano oil has a pungent and stingy sensation .

Oregano oil is

  • Anti-Viral
  • Anti-Bacterial
  • Anti-Microbial
  • Anti-Fungal .... and many many more

It contains carvacrol and thymol, which are two components that have powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. They are nature's antibiotics! I have used them when I get sore throats, stomach issues and many more. 

On Guard is a blend of Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Bark/Leaf, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower essential oils. 
It is similar to Young Living's Thieves blend. But personally I prefer On Guard due to its sweet scent of wild orange peel. A few drops on the soles of the feet or taking the capsules boost/protect the immune system along with some good quality Vitamin C supplements.

 

Other Must-Have ( tried and tested) Travel Essential Oils: 

Lavender oil: A drop on the pillow each night to help with sleep. (especially musty, dusty student hostel rooms in China!) Great for small cuts, wounds and burns too.

Peppermint oil: Bloating, stomachaches, clogged nose, nausea , headaches, rashes.

Balance blend: Blend of Spruce Needle/Leaf, Ho Wood, Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower, and Blue Chamomile Flower essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil. This is extremely pleasant and grounding blend I use on the road/flights often and using it like a perfume. 

Frankincense oil : A deeply grounding and protective oil for the vata nature of travelling. A short meditation/prayer in the room with Frankincense oil grounds, and also protects, from any eerie hotel room encounters ( We certainly encountered some in our drummer’s room. eep!)

I also brought my Zen Spray concoction to mist over rooms to make me feel like home.:) 

Hope this post inspires you to think about travel wellness and what you pack into your luggage the next time you hop on to your jetsetting adventures!

Although I have had many experiences of touring, I realise the body keeps evolving and changing, and of course, aging. I no longer have that high levels of energy in my 30s now compared to when I started touring in my late teens/early twenties. Late nights are exhausting and would rather retreat to rest or have a good soak in the tub before bed.

Each experience prepares me for the next, whether it comes from packing the luggage, wearing 1 pair of jeans for a week, downsizing my music set up, managing the day to day happenings, or figuring out how to sneak in a yoga sesh. It'll just get better. Being on tour can be tiring but I'd repeat this cycle over and over again because it is from these lived and shared experiences with a band of people who share and live the same goal, passion and drive that makes living worth living. Be here in the Now. And there were many NOWS that were lived with Rocking Greatness! 

When you have established a discipline to show up on your mat, you will naturally show up off the mat in your daily life. Yoga doesn't need to be practiced just on the mat, it doesn't need to be validated through instagram pictures,  it doesn't need to be showy, or overly focused on achieving a certain pose, it doesn't even need to be justified. Yoga is, Just Be, to be unified to each personal experience we have, to be taken along every and anywhere you go, with whomever you are with, however you interact with the world. It is a way of living life to the fullest moment in the present, in gratitude and contentment. =)

What is your Yoga? How do you take Yoga on the road with you when you are not on the mat?
 

Love,
Amanda

 

September 2016: DIY Aromatherapy Recipes

Many have approached me after classes to enquire about the yoga mist I used during Savasana and what stuff is in there. :) So, because all good things must share, I shall reveal the heavenly recipe in this blog!

Aside from the Sound Therapy interest I have, I’ve been an avid Aromatherapy user since a tender age of 12, I loved geeking out at essential oil books , bought my first few bottles of essential oils at a shop in Tanglin Mall in 1996 called “The Essential Oil ” shop or something... 

By 16, my staple blend was Lavender, Bergamot and Geranium; A must have for those nights when burning midnight oil for O’levels. Bergamot was really one of the scents that kept me alert and focused due to its citrusy zing. Lavender kept the anxiety under control and Geranium balanced it out with its beautiful floral and nurturing notes.

Fast forward many years…..experimenting with various essential oils, my liking in scents matured, exploring woody, musky ones like patchouli, cedar wood, myrrh, Frankincense and sandalwood to name a few. 

It wasn’t until I took up an oil blending workshop with Alina of Abundant Earth, hosted by Little Green Dot that all of that love for EO came back. Armed with a better understanding of the oils, I have created specific therapeutic blends of massage oils, face oils, mist sprays, facial toner, aftershaves and shower gel! 

The blends are never-ending. I have various bottles mixed for, “Menstrual oil”, “Muscle and Joint oil” etc....
Check out http://www.abundantearth.sg/pages/events-mar1 for updates on The Art of Blending workshop by Alina. 
There are various DIY recipes available at http://littlegreendot.com/blog/category/diy/ by Militza too!

I haven’t used much commercial facial moisturisers for about a year and my skin has dramatically improved. ( Paired with a balanced and healthy diet of course!)
This simple easy and cost effective way is really great for those strapped with budget but would like naturally healthy skin without the effects of harsh commercial chemicals. 

About brands of essential oils.....

NOTE: Please only use HIGH GRADE Certified Therapeutic Essential Oils. 
Please consult your health doctor for any allergies in the safety of using EO's for therapeutic uses. 

After many years of experimenting and trying out various brands, it really is better to invest in a higher grade EO especially when you want to use it for therapeutic uses. iherb has some great offers on commonly known brands , but it really depends what you would like to use it for. Eg. I like using Rosemary EO from NOW to mix it with my all natural floor cleaner in the pail for extra antiseptic and cleaning purposes, but would most likely use better grade Rosemary EO for hair and skin use. 

I recommend supporting local brand, Abundant Earth or if you have more budget and like to explore deeper into essential oils and blends, try Doterra.

I have tried Young Living and Doterra with personal preference geared towards Doterra and its ethics more. I'm not big on the whole MLM thing but by being a Wellness Advocate, I get better deals with the oils for personal use. So these days I have a combination of oils from Doterra and Abundant Earth as part of my collection with some YL oils that I'm trying to finish. Robert Tisserand has been a long time favourite too. 

You can purchase Carrier oils like cold pressed almond oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil from iherb.com. They are much cheaper than if you are to buy them at the store here in SG. 
For the amber bottles, I get them at http://www.medtra.com.sg/ 
It comes in bulk purchase of 20 at a go so you can use them to create handmade gifts for friends/family! That's what I did last Christmas and everyone loved it. 

 

So here we go with the recipes!

Yoga Mist ( I called it 'Zen Spray')

60ml amber bottle with spray mist
15-20 drops Lavender EO
15-20 Drops Geranium EO  
5-10drops Peppermint EO
10 drops Frankincense EO


Fill the rest of the bottle with filtered water until it reaches bottle neck.
Cover, roll bottle between hands to allow oils to blend and let it settle for a few days.

*Peppermint is strong and cuts through easily, so use it sparingly. 

Face Oil

15ml amber bottle with dropper
10 drops Geranium EO
5 drops Frankincense EO
15ml Grapeseed oil

Cover, roll bottle between hands to allow oils to blend and let it settle for a few days.

( Geranium for balancing , Frankincense for anti-aging) 

**This smells soooooo heavenly!**

Many years ago, I fell in love with Como Shambhala's Invigorate Shower Gel after discovering it at a hotel in Thailand. I secretly kept a few bottles, asking housekeeping to top up more because I had "used" them all. hehehe!
When I was more confident in the blends I made, I bravely attempted to make my own version of "Invigorate" Shower Gel at home! 
 

Invigorate Shower Gel

250ml Glass Amber Bottle with pump
250ml Unscented Castille Liquid Soap

10-15 drops Eucalyptus EO
10-15 drops Peppermint EO
20 drops Geranium EO
20 drops Lavender EO

 

Add all contents , give it a good shake and let it settle for a few days and voila, step into a shower spa in the comfort of your own bathroom!I am really satisfied with the blend! Feel free to tweak it to suit your personal preference. Just be more careful with the minty oils. Always good to start with smaller amounts first.

 

Happy Blending!

Love,
Amanda

 

August 2016: Happy Hips or Not..??

I get really stuck when it comes to hips. It’s the biggest and most challenging physical thing for me to work on. I'm hyper mobile in every part of my body but the hip is at the extreme opposite. With a structurally misaligned, degenerative and elevated hip and irregular bumps on femur head , sometimes the simplest of movement or poses can be excruciating. 

I have extensively shared more about my hip issue and journey in my teacher training Blog. 
If you are curious and have the time , you can pretty much read all about my personal journey in yoga, healing, health and the gruelling, painful-but-pleasurable life changing teacher training here: http://vikasayoga.blog.com/2012/04/20/beautiful-days-in-koh-samui-vikasa-yoga-ttc/

………………...................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

So....moving on..... I’d like to draw attention to the emotional nature of the hips. 

Deep pain and emotions we suffer from traumas and situations in life can get trapped in that area. When practising and working on these poses, bring patience, kindness, compassion and love to the area as we open ourselves to vulnerability. This is Ahimsa (non-violence), one aspect of Yamas, from the philosophical text of Patanjali's Eight Limbs of Yoga. When we approach our practice with non violent thought/emotions (  inner negative self talk, being overly harsh and judgemental about ourselves ), we will be able to move past the unnecessary and achieve certain breakthroughs faster. It can be a very empowering process through the release.

Aside from the emotional release, physical release of low back pain and tightness are being facilitated through the poses. There's also improved blood circulation to the pelvic and gastrointestinal organs which allows for better internal health. After all, our “second brain” is in our Gut, supported by the pelvis!

 

Here are some essential juicy hip poses to help with the release:

I wish you an Abundant August and keep those Hips Happy!

Love,

Amanda

 

 

 

July 2016: Soulful Reads For Me-Time

You don't necessarily have to catch up on reading on a plane or at a beach holiday. I find it really therapeutic to read while waiting between commute, at a cafe, in between appointments and classes and before bedtime. The pockets of waiting time outside serves as great opportunity to dwell into books compared to being sucked into games and social media indulgence on the phone.

I am personally a non-fiction, philosophy and self help sort of reader. They aren't just about giving insights to knowledge and wisdom but also because they are so relevant , stuff that can be applied instantly to various situations. As a practitioner and teacher, these nuggets of wisdom from books are just going to remain as ideas and concepts until they are brought to life in experimenting and applying them to daily situations, classes I teach, people I meet and how I manage life in general. 

There seems to be a wave of people going through transitions, taking time off to reconfigure and recalibrate their direction in life, at major crossroads etc... I hope whatever juncture you are at, these book recommendations below may serve to your advantage should any of them resonate and inspire you in your own personal journey through life. I have read most of them and all have powerful messages within them. They have opened up my heart, mind and being, to new, compassionate ways of seeing the self, the world and the power we all infinitely possess and learn to harness it to wholeness and greatness!

May you be blessed with wisdom, love and joy with these books!


 

1. Light on Yoga - B.K.S Iyengar

A classic text for yoga practitioners and teachers. I resonate greatly with the philosophical wisdom of the late B.K.S Iyengar although I don’t physically practise the Iyengar style. 

Favourite Quotes: 
"Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit broken pieces together."

“Yoga is like music: the rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”

“You must purge yourself before finding faults in others. When you see a mistake in somebody else, try to find if you are making the same mistake. This is the way to take judgment and to turn it into improvement. Do not look at others’ bodies with envy or with superiority. All people are born with different constitutions. Never compare with others. Each one’s capacities are a function of his or her internal strength. Know your capacities and continually improve upon them.”

2. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

This book is such a magical read close to the heart. It took me places, inspired and transpired realisations and ideas into action that has since journeyed me to discover dreams and places I have never thought possible. I am so thankful for the wisdom of Paulo Coelho!

Favourite Quotes:

"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

“We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”

3. The Prophet - Khalil Gibran

Timeless, ageless book about freedom, tolerance, unconditional love.  Beautifully written .

Favourite Passages:
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.” 

“The timeless in you is aware of life's timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today's memory and tomorrow is today's dream.” 

"Say not, 'I have found the truth,' but rather, 'I have found a truth.' Say not, ' I have found the path of the soul.' Say rather, 'I have met the soul walking upon my path.' For the soul walks upon all paths. The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed. The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.” 

4. The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz

4 Simple but challenging values in showing light about self-limiting beliefs that prevents us from living a wholehearted life .
Read more about the ancient toltec wisdom here: http://www.toltecspirit.com/ 

1. Be Impeccable with your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best

Favourite Quotes:

“We have the need to be accepted and to be loved by others, but we cannot accept and love ourselves. The more self-love we have, the less we will experience self-abuse. Self-abuse comes from self-rejection, and self-rejection comes from having an image of what it means to be perfect and never measuring up to that ideal.  Our image of perfection is the reason we reject ourselves; it is why we don’t accept ourselves the way we are, and why we don’t accept others the way they are.”

“God is life. God is life in action. The best way to say, "I love you, God," is to live your life doing your best. The best way to say, "Thank you, God," is by letting go of the past and living in the present moment, right here and now. Whatever life takes away from you, let it go. When you surrender and let go of the past, you allow yourself to be fully alive in the moment. Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now.” 

“Also, go inside and listen to your body, because your body will never lie to you. Your mind will play tricks, but the way you feel in your heart, in your guts, is the truth.”

5. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,
   The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Marie Kondo

Before we can invite new opportunities and possessions into our lives, we have to clear out some clutter, make space for newer better things. The state of the physical space we live in reflects on our inner state of mind and emotions. When we are able to physically clear out material possessions, our minds seem to go through a cleaning process too, thus, eventually having more space, clarity and ease . I had such a merry time reading this book and so excited to jump right into the action.  I have always thrived on the motto of Less is More, and this activity reinforces this. Do we NEED that many shoes ? handbags? clothes? etc?? Are possessing material items a way of filling the gaps and emptiness of life? I am so happy clearing out dozens of thrash bags worth of clothes, misc items and donating them away. What's left are just the essentials. Never have I felt much "lighter" and clearer.

I have always harboured a morbid yet practical thought: what happens to my stuff if ever (touch wood) something happens to me at any point in my life? I’d visualise what conversations or scenarios could happen when loved ones pack and decide what to do with them. So I guess at the back of my head, I actually Do have it all planned out already. heh heh. Many items I currently possess are easily available for donation to the less fortunate. I have a wish to relinquish material and money things and contribute them back to the needy and/or organizations that need any form of support at that time. This is an easy a resolve for me as my life experiences has cultivated me to learn the art of detachment to the worldy possessions that most men thrived deeply in. It is the skill that one can learn to avoid the chains of bondage of over-reliance of material possessions. I believe the lesser stuff left behind at the deathbed, lesser worries to bring into the final rest, means more space to Live- enjoying the process of life and death. The only prized items are my musical instruments and singing bowls which need more thought to whom they will be donated or sold to eventually. Everything else are just necessities and disposables. Eg. I am happy living with just 2 pairs of slippers and 5-6 pairs of sneakers. Functional is the new Style, for me at least. How is your living space like? Are you a hoarder or a minimalist? 

This book is written in a simple and Kawaii japanese fashion so its really easy reading and enjoyable.

Favourite Quotes:

“Does this spark joy?”

“ When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: An attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”

“Keep only things that speak to your heart”

6. You Can Heal Your Life - Louise L. Hay

We already know that many diseases start from the mind.  We have been thinking, fearing and feeling our way negatively to being in a state of Dis-ease. A line from the book states, “ All Dis-ease comes from a State of Unforgiveness” 

This is a book that helps us to understand the relationship between our bodies and illness through the mental patterns, belief systems, emotions that we hold to from years of conditioning. It comes with many exercises to work on so that by the end of the book, certain changes through awareness can already start getting shifted. There are a lot of affirmation-based work . As cliche as positive psychology can be, there are truths within it. The mind and human consciousness doesn’t define time and itself through past, present and future as we know of. So whatever we think in our minds, that will be what it holds for in truth for the moment. When we are able to connect the dots between our thought patterns that affect our moods and therefore our health, we would start being more mindful about how we treat ourselves from within. 

Favourite Quotes:

“Loving the self, to me, begins with never ever criticizing ourselves for anything. Criticism locks us into the very pattern we are trying to change. Understanding and being gentle with ourselves helps us to move out of it. Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” 

“We forget that we create the situations, then we give our power away by blaming the other person for our frustration. No person, no place, and no thing has any power over us, for “we” are the only thinkers in our mind. We create our experiences, our reality, and everyone in it. When we create peace and harmony and balance in our mind, we will find it in our lives.” 

“Your security is not your job, or your bank account, or your investments, or your spouse or parents. Your security is your ability to connect with the cosmic power that creates all things.” 

“Trust your Inner Guidance to reveal to you whatever it is you need to know.” 

7. Anatomy Of The Spirit- Caroline Myss

This is a more in-depth book about the connection of mind ,body and spirit. Healing doesn’t begin from outward in but inward out. Dr Myss brings together the universality of the 7 stages of 3 spiritual traditions: the Hindu Chakras, Christian Sacraments and Kabbalah’s Tree of Life. Reading with an open curious mind, I was wow’ed over by the synchronicities of the 3 traditions and in wonder of creation , the universal laws that brings us to one. Going deeper , Dr Myss explores the links between spiritual and emotional stressors that affect particular parts of the human body which illness manifests from. It gives insight to cultivating an intuition she calls ‘ symbolic sight’, where one can spot areas that are energetically unbalanced but hasn’t manifest into physical problems yet. I recently went for a Biofeedback session which the machine was able to pick out the information about the health of my organs , the health of my emotions and thought processes through gaining data from the informational field.
Like what these 2 books are about, it was able to spot the energetic imbalances of certain organs, which are caused by a certain emotion or thought pattern that vibrates at a lower than optimal frequency. It was a pretty accurate assessment thus, gaining a deeper understanding about my own internal , subtle health. Certain dietary changes are needed with more awareness of the inner work. Will definitely re-read this book to support and deepen my understanding and awareness of the anatomy of the spirit. 

Favourite Quotes:

“The soul always knows what to do to heal itself. The challenge is to silence the mind” 

“your biography—that is, the experiences that make up your life—becomes your biology.” 

"Our goal while on this earth is to transcend our illusions and discover the innate power of our spirit. We are responsible for what we create, and we must therefore learn to act and think with love and wisdom and live in service to others and all life."

"When we harbour negative emotions toward others or toward ourselves, or when we intentionally create pain for others, we poison our own physical and spiritual systems. By far the strongest poison to the human spirit is the inability to forgive oneself or another person. It disables a person's emotional resources. The challenge is to refine our capacity to love others as well as ourselves and to develop the power of forgiveness. “

8. Mindful Relationships - Dr Richard Chambers & Margie Ulbrick

A must-have book that is valuable to be kept for reading over and over again. 

Relationships of any kind are about relating with people, communication is the medium to relating. Effective, loving and compassionate communication starts from the way we communicate to our innerselves. More often than not, our fears and insecurities are masked by the hurtful and insensitive words we speak (which comes from our emotions and thoughts) to ourselves and to the people surrounding us. 

What is mindful communication to you? 

Mindfulness in its notion is about taking a pause in the moment and be an observer of the present reality with non-reactivity, non-judgemental attitude. It is Definitely easier said than done. However the success in practising Mindfulness lies not within how good you are at it . Also, beating yourself up when you set expectations and then realise your thoughts are all over the place in the attempt to practise is also counter-intuitive. It begins with self acceptance and compassion, unconditional friendliness and love to ourselves, the moment and eventually towards the relationships we hold. 

It explores how parts of the brain ( Prefrontal Cortex vs Insula Vs Amygdala) function when we are on default mode vs mindfulness mode. It is possible to develop the “mindfulness muscle” in the brain and with regular practice, it will be strengthened and benefit us greatly. Neuroplasticity is what this process is. The brain has the ability to restructure itself with repeated practice of a certain habit or task. 

Favourite Quotes:

"Mindfulness starts with being. Only when we learn to quieten down and become intimate with ourselves and the world around us can we start responding appropriately. Prior to that, we are merely reacting. But once we learn how to be, we can discover how to bring that being into the world- into our work and play, into our relationships, families and communities."

"Mindfulness offers us the capacity to wake up.We begin to see the patterns that may have held us back and the ways in which we have been stuck or saying no to life."

9. Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can't Stop Talking- Susan Cain

This is for the quiet warriors. 

“ How does the Introvert I am relate and stay relevant to the world that is dominated by extroverts minus the anxieties and awkwardness?
For many years, this nagging question was in my mind. I didn’t know where or how to seek an answer from. I often get misunderstood by people who think I appear snobbish, arrogant, or what locally we call "dao". But in reality, I am just shy, introverted, quiet, reserved, doesn't like talking much to people I don't know and definitely have low-zero attention seeking trait. ( But I can yak alot to close ones and it takes long time for me to warm up ). I am pretty selective but that doesn't mean unfriendly. 
A repeated comment on my primary and secondary report books were : " Amanda is a quiet and reserved student" " Amanda needs to participate more in class discussions" .
I do agree speaking up is always an issue I struggle with. So I challenged my intensed public speaking fear by well, becoming a teacher! I taught music to schools , 1-1 , and now yoga. Alot more can be done but I think the progress has been unbelievably evident. It's fascinating how a change in mindset coupled with readiness can spur changes that I never thought possible. Relieving and letting go of self-limiting beliefs has been one of the toughest battle I fought within. Still fighting!
I prefer solitude most of the time. Otherwise I don't think I would hang out with more than 4-5 people at a time as it really does drain me out. It's just the way I am wired perhaps. I won't usually be the one starting a conversation nor do I like to have small meaningless talk. So yes I can be socially awkward. Even more awkward during the days of being heavily involved in the media's limelight. I struggled with identity issues because being young and less skilfulI, I didn't know how to strike a balance between being comfortable with the introverted self within the overstimulating extroverted entertainment industry and its ridiculous expectations. I was feeling conflicted and socially awkward most of the time as I always felt displaced in any social situation. Being alittle under the radar now gives me space to be much more in my skin, and being confident of who I am. I've learnt to embraced the traits of what makes me, me with a little more TLC to the self. 

I am so happy to have discovered this book . A true godsent as the answers are all presented in there! Even better, there are tons of research done over the years, and so many case studies to relate with and learn from.
It starts with a historical insight to the transitional era of the Pre-1900’s ideal of Character as a virtue to the early 1920’s shift of Personality as a Virtue. Virtues like shardworking, loyal, honour, integrity now has been sidelined while charisma , fascination, dominant, attractive, energetic and forceful virtues have taken the place.

They say blame it on the media, and true that. 

To promote the charismatic personable ideal, people are encouraged to be more vocal, outspoken while injecting the hostility of the public eye unto the mass, and the extroverts thrived. This Extrovert Ideal became an anchor for humanity’s way of life up to now. In that era, the quiet, shy ones are considered a problem and the media perpetuates that with their advertising campaigns. 

A 1922 Woodbury’s soap warned “ All around you people are judging you silently”

Williams Shaving Company advises “ Critical eyes are sizing you right now” “ Let your face reflect confidence, not worry! It’s the “look” of you by which you are judged most often”

In the 1930’s, Lux laundry detergent run an advertisement featuring a plaintive letter written to Dorothy Dix, the Dear Abbe of those days.
“ Dear Mis Dix, How can I make myself more popular? I am fairly pretty and not a dumbbell, But I am timid and self-conscious with people. I’m always sure they are not going to like me…Joan G”

The rise of the competitive culture, hunger for social validation and media’s influence has obviously caused an epidemic of anxiety outbreak and self-esteem issues. What was even more shocking was the effect of this. A drug company, Carter-Wallace decided to cash in on this epidemic by releasing an anti-anxiety drug, Milton, in the 50’s, “ reframing anxiety as the natural product of a society that was both dog-eat-dog and relentlessly social…... Within a year, one of every 20 Americans had tried it. By 1960, a third of all prescriptions from U.S doctors were for Miltown or a similar drug called Equanil. “ Anxiety and tension are the commonplace of the age"  read the Equanil Ad. The 1960’s tranquilizer Serentil followed with an ad campaign even more direct in its appeal to improve social performance. “ For the anxiety that comes from not fitting in,” It emphasized. 

<I was churning in my stomach with disgust about these brainwashing madness. This piece of history speak volumes to the state of the prescription drug overdoses and abuses happening right now.  It basically gave birth to Big Pharma.  Being on Anti-depressants, Zoloft and Xanax for over 3 years to cope with my anxiety issues, the drugs nearly destroyed my life instead of saving it. It made the existing issue worse with side effects which needed other meds. It didn't make sense after a while and I started to realise the money making business within it.  At that brink, I had to cut it off and boycott prescription drugs altogether. They really ROBBED the life out of me , leaving me numbed and empty. I am so thankful for the yoga practice I had that allowed me to find some space to invite more love to the self and eventually felt more alive while adopting natural herbs and remedies to cope. >
Moving on from the historical accounts, it begins to unfold into data, statistics, case studies, stories that made me go “ Yes yes yes! That’s how it has been for me!” So insightful and reassuring. 

I am 2/3 into this book and I’d like to savour it really slowly. I begin to better understand the differences of the variants of extrovert-introvert types. We all possess a certain amount of degree of each, depending on what the situation calls for. If you have taken the Myer Briggs test on your 4 letter traits, If you are an “I” , this book serves as a great empowering resource!

Favourite Quotes:

“ Solitude matters, and for some people, it’s the air they breathe."

“Introverts are drawn to the inner world of thought and feeling, said Jung, extroverts to the external life of people and activities. Introverts focus on the meaning they make of the events swirling around them; extroverts plunge into the events themselves. Introverts recharge their batteries by being alone; extroverts need to recharge when they don’t socialize enough.” 

“Soft power is quiet persistence.” 

“a 2010 University of Michigan study shows that college students today are 40 percent less empathetic than they were thirty years ago, with much of the drop having occurred since 2000. (The study’s authors speculate that the decline in empathy is related to the prevalence of social media, reality TV, and “hyper-competitiveness.”)” 

10. The Chick The Parent The Wardrobe - Jacyln Chan

This book is special because the author, Jaclyn is my ex-schoolmate in secondary school. She reached out to me many years back to contribute a little piece of my story during the time I co-founded Thunder Rock School with some friends. Although I do not run the school now, I am happy my purpose was served during the founding days and watching it grow healthily under the care of the amazing team of musician teachers.  Here’s a snippet of it. 

This book is for the growing teenage girl, parents of teenage girls or daughters entering teens . It includes tips, advices, journalling activities and even letter to parents to allow them to understand what goes on in their kid’s mind during those awkward hormonal booming phase in life. A great gift to your female mommy friends or teenager !Do support her and grab a copy here: jacylnchan.com

To end the post, I'd like to share a beautiful spiritually grounding piece written by Reverend Jim Cotter, from the opening pages of "Anatomy Of The Spirit"- Caroline Myss. Thank you for your time in reading my nerdy soulful sharings! Feel free to share the list to people whom you think may benefit or in need of some inspirational reads. :) 

Love,
Amanda

June 2016: International Yoga Month!

21st June was proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and founded by the United Nations as the International Day of Yoga

21st June was proposed by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and founded by the United Nations as the International Day of Yoga

Yoga is a 5,000-year-old physical, mental and spiritual practice Having its origin in India, Which Aims to transform both body and mind. On December 11 in 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared June 21st as the International Day of Yoga. The declaration came after the call for the adoption of June 21st as International Day of Yoga by Hon’ble Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi during his address to UN General Assembly on September 27, 2014 wherein he stated: "Yoga is an invaluable gift of India's ancient tradition . It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being. It is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with yourself, the world and the nature. " In Suggesting June 21, which is the Summer Solstice, as the International Day of Yoga, Mr. Narendra Modi had said that, "the date is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and has special significance in many parts of the world. "

Yogi and mystic, Sadhguru notes the importance of this day in the yogic tradition: “On the day of the summer solstice, Adiyogi [the first yogi] turned south and first set his eyes on the Saptarishis or Seven Sages, who were his first disciples to carry the science of yoga to many parts of the world. It is wonderful that June 21 marks this momentous event in the history of humanity.”
**Source Quoted from : http://idayofyoga.org/ **                              

.

I’ve had the honour in 2015 to facilitate a yoga session and a talk at SMU amongst 1000’s of instructors across the island/globe to be part of the First official International Yoga Day to spread the goodness of yoga! 

Sun Salutations/ Surya Namasakar

sunsalutationfinal.jpg

 

Surya Namaskar or Sun Salutations consisting of 12 poses are pretty much the staple in most yoga practices/styles especially the vinyasa type classes. Different poses are sequenced in between various versions of Sun Salutations to make it a more dynamic and creative practice.

It is a great warm up and exercise routine while offering so much more benefits. When done slowly, it provides a great overall stretch for the body, when done at a faster pace, it can be a mild cardiovascular activity. 

Why should we practice Sun Salutations?

  • Improves blood circulation and heart health
  • Maintains healthy digestive and respiratory system, stimulating internal organs and facilitating maximum oxygen intake and removal of toxins
  • Build and maintain healthy strong bones, muscles and joints
  • Promotes flexibility, strength and stamina
  • Energizing
  • Balancing
  • Refreshes and Clear the mind 

A few rounds of Sun Salutations have the ability to shift the mood and energy from within.  It is traditionally practised at sunrise in the morning or in the day to energize the body and mind, when practised in the evening, it helps to unwind from the day. Sun Salutations are expression of gratitude to the Sun/Divine that gives energy and life to everything on the planet. 

The many benefits of Sun Salutations keeps the body, mind and spirit strong, calm and healthy from a regular practice and it is highly recommended to all yoga practitioners, young or old, beginner or advanced!
Roll out the mat and start flowing!

Love,
Amanda

May 2016: A Gratitude Reflection + Sound Therapy with Tibetan Singing Bowls

A Gratitude Reflection

I am really blessed and thankful to have gained clarity through my personal and teaching experiences in enabling the process of Integrating all of my love and passion into One, unified purpose of Uplifting Humanity. 

It always baffles many, how my life revolve around many different things at seemingly extremes of the spectrum ( eg. being in a rock band vs being a yogi vs tibetan singing bowls), but actually, they all are quite the same for me. 

I draw many similarities within the layers of yoga and music, and music broken down to its fundamental is, Sound. 

After all, the world was created with word of sound.

I am very thankful to have met many teachers of various disciplines along my journey in life and in recent months, a deep shift started to happen after taking An Introduction to Singing bowl workshop with my Singing Bowl Teacher Akiko Igarashi of Shima Healing.

I bought one bowl at the end of the workshop and worked with that for 4 months in my personal practice and in yoga classes. The amazing shifts started happening. My personal practice reached more depth than before, I gained a new perspective of the world and experiences with a sense of clarity and calmness, people were smiling in bliss (even more) after savasana, not wanting to get up so soon. The calming wave settled the busy and stressed mind. 

The Learner trait in me got really curious about this transformational experience and the ancient wisdom of the bowls. I signed up for the Level 1 course in March for a week in Thailand and the experience just got deeper and deeper. I met so many wonderful people on the same path and glad to have found some Singaporean counterparts!  We now keep in touch and are planning for a really really exciting and meaningful event coming up in July!

I was able to be more attuned to my intuition in what we call “gut instinct”. I tested my gut instincts out on various occasions and I have had lessons learnt about learning to TRUST my instincts more. I have since learnt to hear what stories the singing bowls “sing” to me through developing a discerning ear and understanding the nuances and characters of the sound waves. This involves in hours of deep research and reading together with self experimentation, allowing the experiences to feed me with wisdom from within.
Having an extensive and thorough background in music certainly made the process really enjoyable and purposeful too!
The role of Music and Sound for me, has repurposed from an angle of entertainment, fun and self-fulfilment to a healing, therapeutic and educational angle to serve and uplift people and their wellbeing.

It is strange how even having Tinnitus and some degree of High Frequency Hearing Loss, this is actually opening me up to sensing and hearing on another level. The Ting Sha's have been helpful in managing Tinnitus specifically. I have also worked on some of my chronic pains with the bowls and it has miraculously reharmonized itself from pain level 9 down to a 2 !

Everyday is a learning experience to contribute back to the practice, teaching, learning, living. I am deeply grateful for the doors that opened up, the great big hearted loving people I have met, the wisdom and experience from the bowls, the students/clients that I have and people that matter to me who have been very supportive in this journey.

Sound Therapy with Tibetan Singing bowls + Sonic Flow™

For the first time ever, I am elated to introduce my newly created Signature, Sonic Flow ™

Sonic Flow™ is a signature that I have created that combines the 3 (Yoga, Music, Sound)  elements that interweave each other in a seamless fashion. 
This integration enables the body, mind, spirit to resonate in a healthy, happy manner. Aromatherapy infused, it inspires a multi-sensorial approach to the practice and experience, being able to draw a more conclusive connectivity to the entire self. It is designed to be versatile enough to suit a group or individual session.

For a group session, It is facilitated through mindful yin yang hatha yoga flow followed by relaxing sound meditation with the 7 singing bowls.

For an individual session, It is facilitated through yoga therapeutics suited for individuals’ area of concern followed by singing bowl therapy with placing bowls on or around the body during treatment.

Im pleased to be able to debut the group sessions in various events happening end of may and in June and have plans for workshops too. Look out for them!

I am also offering Individual Singing Bowl Therapy Treatment for those who want to skip the yoga and go straight to the soundwaves!

Please refer to the MENU for more description of each of them and book a slot with me today!

Love,
Amanda

 

April 2016: Life in Balance

"The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life." ~ B.K.S Iyengar

"The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind and the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life." ~ B.K.S Iyengar

How often do we feel a harmony of balance with our body, mind and breath? 

Stress and anxiety, lack of exercise and various lifestyle habits may bring our bodies out of sync with our breath and mind. When our breath is imbalanced with irregular rhythmic patterns, respiratory issues arise, which would then bring about an avalanche of health ailments. 

Good breathing habits helps the respiratory and circulatory system to be charged up for optimal absorption of oxygen which contributes to healthy functioning of all systems within the body, voluntary or involuntary.

When we are able to harness the breath, it is a means to bringing a balanced mind-body connection into the present in harmony.

It is like riding the horse. If you are able to reign the horse with skilful control with ease , it would be a smooth ride. If you are unable to reign the horse appropriately, our breath and mind, like the horse, will be out of control. and sooner or later, you will be falling off the horse, falling out of sync with ourselves. The way one handle the reigns are like one is handling their breath.

Appropriate usage of breathwork into asanas can be challenging especially balancing asanas! Once mindfulness of breath control are applied while attempting the poses, one would move through success through the notion of effort vs effortless, precision, focus and determination. 

Approaching standing or arm balancing poses with light heartedness helps to lift the heavy cloud of self-expectation and over-achiever self off. When we try not to be overly serious about it and smile it off, joyfulness and lightness surface for this momentous experience.

Instead of going on about the world of balancing ( inversions, arm balances etc.. which I love to challenge myself with in my own time ), let's break it all down and start with the Breath. For without breath, we won't be alive to be executing the amazing poses anyway!

I live by the motto and belief that
Less is Always More. ( And it is Enough )

Balancing Calming Breath:
Nadi Shodhana ( Alternate Nostril Breathing )

Benefits: 
- Calming and Centering
- Promotes balance between the two nostrils.
- Increases vitality
- Lowers stress and anxiety
- Beneficial for respiratory ailments
- Harmonises right and left brain hemisphere

1. In a comfortable sitting position, fold index and middle fingers of right hand towards the centre of the palm
2. Close right nostril with the thumb, Inhale deeply from the Left nostril.
3. Close the left nostril with the ring and pinky fingers and exhale deeply through the Right nostril
4. Inhale through the(same) Right Nostril, close the Right nostril with the Thumb and Exhale deeply through the Left nostril
5. This is One round of Nadi Shodhana
6. Repeat 6-10 rounds slowly .

 

What does a balanced life mean and look like to you? Are there any areas you feel out-of-balanced that you might want to visit, acknowledge and make some healthy changes to?

Approach with mindfulness, love and gratitude for each experience you encounter and enjoy the process!

Love,
Amanda

 

March 2016: Speaking With Truthfulness

Ashtanga, the Eight Limbs of Yoga in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras are essentially 8 steps that act as guidelines to be living a meaningful good life.

One of the Yamas, ( moral conduct on our behaviour ,ethics and sense of integrity) in the Eight Limbs of Yoga, is Satya ; Truthfulness.

What does being Truthful mean to you?

How do you practice truthfulness in your daily life from a place of love?

Staying True to your own purpose, your own voice and your own identity is a great starting point. 

It requires some courage, vulnerability and compassion to speak from a place of truth within ourselves, which then is communicated through the words we speak and how we speak it. 

We explore a few poses to stimulate and balance the throat chakra to seek and bring some balance to the way we communicate certain truths to ourselves and people around us.

Plough Pose 



Benefits:
- Stretches calves, thighs and hamstrings for leg flexibility
- Stretches spine and shoulders
- Relieves bloating and gas
- Stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands,throat, lungs and abdominal organs
- Therapeutic for stress,insomnia, menopause, headaches
 

Contraindications:
- Neck injuries
- Pregnancy
- Diarrhea
- Menstruation

1.   Inhale, raise the legs together slowly and gracefully without bending the knees to 45 degrees.
2.   Continue to inhale and raise legs further up to 90 degrees position and simultaneously bring the arms down placing them next to the buttocks.
3.   Exhale, raise the buttocks and the trunk without lifting the head. Support the back by the palms. Rest the elbows on the ground firmly to get better support to the back. Maintaining the legs parallel to the ground, straighten the trunk by pushing it up with the hands till the chin is well set in the suprasternal hollow. Inhale in this position.
4.   Exhale, bring down the toes further to touch the ground. Release both hands and rest the arms straight on the ground parallel to each other with palms facing the ground.
Maintain in this position for one minute with normal breathing.
5&6. Inhale, come back slowly step by step as 3,2,1 to rest he trunk on to the floor.
7. Now exhale and bring down legs to the ground.
8. Relax in Savasana.

Shoulderstand 

Benefits:
- Similar to Plough pose
- Improves digestion
- Reduce varicose veins
- Tones legs, buttocks


Contraindications:
- Pregnancy
- Menstruation
- Neck Injuries
- High blood pressure
- Diarrhea

1. From Plough Pose, lift one leg up with core engaged to steady the pelvis, lift the other leg up.
2.Bring both feet together and keep lifting tailbone up. 
3. Maintain thighs in line with the mid torso ,squeezing inner thighs more to lift.
4. Stay for 8-10 breaths.
5. Release legs back into plough pose and gently bring trunk and legs down to floor.
6. Rest in Savasana.

Fish Pose 

Benefits:
- Stretches hip flexors
- Stretches intercostal muscles around the ribcage
- Mood lifting
- Strengthens upper back and neck
- Stretches throat
- Relief throat and respiratory ailments
- Stress and anxiety relief


Contraindications:
- Back injuries
- High or low blood pressure
- Migraine

1. Slide below the hips/buttocks, bring forearm and elbows tucked beside the torso.
2. Push down through the forearms and lift the upper back and bring crown of head touching the ground, gazing to the back.
3. Take 8-10 breaths.
4. Gently release the head and upper back down to the mat and rest in Savasana.

My favourite blue crystals! From Left, Blue Lace Agate, Lapis Lazuli, Sapphire bracelet, Blue Agate bracelet.

My favourite blue crystals! From Left, Blue Lace Agate, Lapis Lazuli, Sapphire bracelet, Blue Agate bracelet.

Blue is a colour of calm, creativity and communication. Surround yourself with all things blue or wear an accessory or two with blue elements to remind yourself about the creative communicative energy we intrinsically possess and learn to use it wisely to speak our own truth from within.

Till the next time!

Love,
Amanda








February 2016: Loving Heart Openers

Start the month with Loving yourself right!

I believe in truly being able to love anyone in any kind of relationships, is to start loving yourself good as a starting point. 

How have you been loving yourself? Do you have more negative thoughts about yourself or positive ones? Do you get so hard on yourself with the crazy expectations and then get angry with yourself when things don’t go to what you expected?

Whatever is going on, is to have Self-acceptance of what your reality is. When we are able to be in a receptive mindset to Accept, we will be able to move along in being loving to ourselves, thus finding more ease and grace within our struggles. It is really easier said then done. We all have our own struggles and limitations to overcome but once we have cultivated this within ourselves, it can bring about powerful transformation. 

These Heart openers postures surely will ignite some lovingness to yourself and your practice, which will then translate to the people and experience around you. 

Heart openers are essentially back bends, that focuses on opening from the thoracic spine, just behind the heart! These will leave you feeling liberated, energised and having the posture of the heart ready for receiving greatness and lovingness.

Be sure to be creating space throughout the length of the spine. The lumbar spine is usually more flexible then the thoracic area so be sure to strengthen this area.

Practise a few rounds of Cat-cow to warm the spine up before attempting the poses listed below.

 

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Benefits: Strengthens back muscles. Opens chest, shoulders, quads . Alleviates fatigue, anxiety, respiratory ailments. Energizing and mood lifting.
Contraindications: High/low blood pressure, serious back injuries, migraines

  1. Both knees on the ground, hip width apart, Hands on the hips. 
  2. Engage the quadriceps and bring hips forward, internally rotating the hips, drawing thighs to the centre. 
  3. Inhale and bring tailbone rooted towards the ground, creating space in the lumbar spine area and lift the ribcage out.
  4. Look up towards the ceiling and keep neck engaged.
  5. One arm at the time, swing it to the back ,catching on to each heel ( tucked toes for easier reach).
  6. Once both hands catches on toes, keep engaging hips forward, extend front side and breathe deeply for 5-8 breaths. Extend one arm out to the back for a deeper challenge.
  7. Slowly come back up with both hands on hips/lower back for support.
  8. Rest in Child pose for a few breaths.

Wheel Pose (Chakrasana)

Practice a few rounds of Bridge pose before attempting this. 

Benefits: Open and stretches chests and lungs. Strengthens shoulders, wrists,  arms, back ,leg and buttock muscles. Alleviates depression, back pain, respiratory ailments. Increases energy and mood lifting.
Contraindication: Back injuries, wrists injuries, High/Low blood pressure, heart problems

  1. Lie down on the back with both knees up, feet firmly on the ground hip width apart, keep heels as close to the sitting bones as possible.
  2. Bend the elbows and bring both palms face down to the sides of the ears beside the head.
  3. With inner feet firmly planted on the ground and palms down, lift hips up and gently bring crown of head to the floor, being mindfully to spread weight more towards palms and feet while staying lifted in the mid torso .Stay here for 5 breaths. 
  4. To move along to the full pose, gently press up all the way to wheel pose. Straighten arms , and turn inner thighs inwards. Take 5-8 breaths. 
  5. Slowly make your way down and gently bring both knees to chest and hug knees to chest for a counter pose and take child pose for a few deep breaths.

Regular practice will enable you to reap the benefits of the various poses in the long term.Stay focused, disciplined and be consistent in a loving manner!

I wish you all a Prosperous, Abundant and Happy Monkey year ahead and much more Love and Goodness in your life!

Namaste,

Amanda

January 2016: New Year, New You - Setting Intentions

Namaste,

Happy New Year to Everyone!

I hope Christmas and New Year was a blast. 
The New Year has come and it is the best time to Reflect and Set Intentions for the year ahead.

This month's post will be short and sweet so as to start the New year with clarity, precision and ease!
You may write down the guideline below and keep in somewhere in view for daily reminder.

Let's start with listing our Reflections and Important lessons learnt in 2015, then list down Intentions you would like to set for yourself in this coming year. 


"Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back.
Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need.
This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.
Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life.
Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. 

Stop being who you were, and change into who you are." - Paulo Coelho

List 5 Reflections/lessons of 2015

2015 was a year of :

1.

2.

3

4.

5.

List 5 Intentions for 2016.

2016 will be the year for:

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Have fun with this process! Remember, we create our reality with the thoughts we have that will be translated into the world. 

Love and Light,
Amanda