Stay tune for my classes coming up at One Yoga! ** April**
More photos coming soon!
I'm back in my sweet home Vancouver Canada! Being gone for 2 years, it's so refreshing to put on sweaters and boots! As you can tell I've been busy finding the best spot to pop into a handstand since back. 1) English Bay 2) Yaletown seawall 3) False Creek 4-6) Rooftop Gastown Leggings by AltarEgo 'Flight'. Use my ambassador code: annieauyoga and get 15% off!
Stay tune for my classes coming up at One Yoga! ** April**
More photos coming soon!
‘Do you believe in manifestation, Ganesh?’ I asked.
The question came out unexpectedly while I was studying with Dr. Ganesh Mohan in Bali last month. During the Svatha Yoga Teacher Training, we have Yoga Philosophy for one hour every morning. Albeit you would think one hour is too short, trust me, it's long enough to get your wheels spinning. .
Quizzically Ganesh looked at me, and then his eyes flickered upwardly to the left. I can tell he is pondering my question carefully, like he always does with everyone’s inquiries. Seeking through the insurmountable knowledge within his cortex… physics, quantum physics, biochemistry, astronomy, yogic philosophy…
‘ No, I don’t.’ He replied.
‘ There are many things that contribute to your current life situations…like willpower.’ He continued.
Ganesh’s answer was straightforward, scientific and frankly logical. Simply sitting on my couch and meditate would not manifest my wildest dreams. It dawns on me that willpower is the secret sauce to my manifestation pot.
Since young, I’ve always been fascinated with manifestation. I like to write down my intentions in specifics and whispers to the Universe quietly that if you grant me X, I will thank you first, and then complete Y. Not sure if that’s the correct way to manifest, or is it simply a trade with who ever grants us good or bad luck. One thing I do realize is, whatever I thought was granted to me, I also paid my dues for them. That includes, dropping out of Uni to pursue a dance career, pack my bags twice for life’s adventures, living in Southeast Asia for 2 years on visa runs and open myself vulnerably to true love.
Manifestation must come with willpower.
Let’s put it this way, I truly believe that manifestation is a spiritual or an ambiguous way for goal settings and plan executions. It requires tremendous amount of willpower to anchor you when things get tough. I had to convince my parents (whom if you haven’t notice are Asian) to start a dance career that guarantees zero financial securities other than artistic satisfaction. It took immense willpower to travel with no destination or life goal in mind; to have to leave a country every 3 months simply because you’re always a tourist regardless of how you try to make it your home. Finally, to submit myself to complete free fall when it comes to the man I love. Without willpower, I wouldn’t have achieved any of them.
We all have willpower. It’s a matter of how we apply it. We can easily have willpower to not change in midst of stagnation, the willpower to stay in a violent relationship and the willpower to believe the world is filled with unhappiness. Do you know of someone like that? I sure do.
On the tips of our fingers, we can search online and receive ways to manifest our wildest dreams in split of a second. Much like shopping at Indigo, I often feel as if drowning in a pool of advices at the Self-Help section. To manifest our wildest dreams, we have to create our own tools.
My favorite quote by Sri Dharma Mittra:
“ You have to find your own tricks!”
For sure having some guidance in the process will help. In this vast Universe, it’s quite likely that someone else has also conceived, pondered, planned, executed and experienced the same thought I have. So I came up with ways to manifest dreams that worked for me. Here they are:
1) Decide on 3 things you’d like to do or achieve:
One seems too definite and two becomes an ultimatum. Having 3 choices in life helps you narrow down the infinite things you can do. Once you go beyond 3, you start morphing into a dreamer. So don’t go there.
2) Envision yourself doing each of the 3 things:
Again, if you can’t imagine yourself doing it, chances are you don’t want it enough. Before I moved to Thailand, I envisioned myself living there, doing daily tasks like getting groceries, walking to yoga class and making dinner. It felt right and possible, so I moved there. Period.
3) Out of the 3 envisions, find the one that resonates with you the most:
Not how it sounds like telling your friends, or pleases your ego. Sometimes, what resonate most with us is not the most adventurous or the boldest choice. Instead of moving to a strange island and setting camp, you might feel grounded and content just by taking a short holiday. We don’t always need drastic change in life to- make a change in life.
4) Consolidate, plan & execute
Here is what sets you apart from dreamer to achiever. Dreamers dream and achievers…well achieve. Manifestation is an empowering word for good plans executed correctly at a timely fashion. Even with the clearest intention, if you don’t go out there and get it, you’ve just missed the boat.
5) Lastly, stay fluid
Your intention should be focused and unwavering but the ways to get there should not. Just because you want to set sail to the Greek Islands now, you might want to finish your last semester at school. Give yourself reasonable timeline and sounded approach to reach your dreams.
Of course, there are a million other ways to manifestation. But of all of them, there’s one that stick out the most and it is –Take Action. However small that action might be, as long as we propel our body, mind and spirit towards our goals slowly but surely, we can manifest our wildest dreams!
It's been a while since my last blog entry. Don't mind me, I was bounded in Bali, surrounded by crashing surf waves and mesmerizing sunsets. On top of it all, I had really finicky WI-Fi.
The first month of 2015, I had the pleasure of taking Svastha Yoga Personal Wellness Development Program with Dr.Ganesh Mohan. Located at beautiful yoga space-Samadi Bali, it was a perfect place for authentic yoga studies. Svastha Yoga was originated by A.G Mohan and his wife Indra. A.G was a personal student of Sri. T Krishnamacharya for 18 years. Learning from direct lineage, his wisdom and knowledge was passed down to his children Ganesh and Nitya. Having spent some time with Dr.Ganesh Mohan, I was awestruck by his profound knowledge in both modern scientific researches and yoga philosophies. From cognitive behavior therapy to the Yoga Sutra, his intelligent way of linking yogic wisdom to modern science gave me a fresh look on spirituality. I will be slowly blogging more of what I learned in the program. Most of the information needed some marinating in my juicy head...slowly but surely.
A note on Bali. If you've never been, I feel obligated to present you a few facts. Bali is a magical place if you really enjoy:
Aussie hipster coffee bars
Overpriced Billabong, Rip Curl and Roxy stores
Tempeh and peanut sauce
Key chain that shape like a penis (comes in all size)
January is rain season so most of the beaches were covered in rubbish. However, if you travel to Lombrok, you can find clear water and few tourists around.
Highly recommend to rent a scooter or come with someone who can ride scooters. Otherwise, you can hire a car & driver for 60-80USD/8hr day. Expect horrible Wi-Fi anywhere you go.
Now that I'm back online, you'll be hearing from me a lot more!
Have a wonderful day guys!
Happy New Year Everyone!
Sharing with everyone a poem that inspired me to live my dreams:
The Road Not Taken - Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
May you chase your dreams, live your heart's desires and staying true to your inner light. Always.
Hey Yogis & Yoginis,
One of the most famous sayings by Dharma Mittra is "No Yama No Yoga."
So what is Yama?
This we need to go all the way back to Patanjali, an ancient sage, who compiled the most famous yogic philosophy text called the Yoga Sutras. The second section Sadhana Pada, it described the necessary actions to take in order to achieve 'yoga'. More specifically he introduced Ashtanga Yoga or the 8 Limbs Path.
The first on the list is Yama, it means our ethical standards and behaviors towards the external world. Yama is divided into 5 categories:
1. Ahimsa- Non violence
My personal philosophy and the reason of becoming a vegan. Ahimsa means non-violence but also extending love. To be kind to all living and non-living beings. So think about it, it's equally harmful to be a grumpy vegan than a loving meat eater. Try to find a balance in both is the art of Ahimsa.
2. Satya- Truthfulness
Do I look fat in this dress? Um...how to say what is true but not violating Ahimsa? Basically, try to speak what is true, kind and necessary.
3. Asteya- Non stealing
Pretty straight forward. However, although we don't normally steal things, we do unconsciously steal time, space or trust. Being late all the time is a classic example of stealing other people's time. Putting your belongings all over public space is stealing space and not carrying through your promises is stealing trust. Have you been stealing unconsciously?
4. Bramacharya- Moderation (specifically in sexual behavior)
A big one indeed. Back in the days, bramacharya meant abstinence for yogis who renounced their societal roles and completely devoted themselves to the divine. Now for us modern yogis, it has evolved to moderation in sexually activities.
5. Aparigraha- Non possessiveness
How many pairs of shoes do we need? Clear our space and we clear our minds. We learn the value of things when we have just enough. For me, I donate anything that I don't use for the last 6 months. Find your nearest charity shop and donate to those who are in need!
There is so much more than just physical postures. The yoga that most of us do is only a small speck of the whole picture. Yoga is more than feeling physically or emotionally well. It's a spiritual journey to your true self. A step closer to the union with the Universe!
Sri Dharma Mittra:
Born in Brazil, Sri Dharma Mittra has dedicated his entire life to teaching yoga. His wisdom has initiated hundreds of thousands on the spiritual yogic path. Based in New York City, his Dharma Yoga Center welcomes practitioners from all around the globe. See here for his full bio.
What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is to speak in front of camera. Growing up as a dancer, I can prance, jump, spin and flip in front of any audiences without hesitation. Put on the music and I'm yours. But to speak? That's a different ball game. I would freeze, stutter or come up with different (and strange) accents. Don't get me wrong, I can teach a big group of students or make a nice speech at weddings...but to have it record and watch again? Hell-no.
So my partner (life & business) had this awesome idea a few months back. Let's make a video trailer about our teacher training! GREAT!...but wait..who's going to be on it? He graciously deflected himself and promoted me and our lead trainer- Vari. Given we wanted a true representation of our courses, Vari and I are the lead trainers for almost 90% of the trainings, it was impossible to escape.
On the day of the shooting, I was super nervous. I put on make-up which is unusual nowadays and pulled my hair back as usual. Our videographer- Adam was beyond amazing. He gave great advices and guided me through the processes. Not to mention he also put up with all the out takes. (There were quite a few...!)
The day went by super quick. I began to ease up half way through and really started to enjoy every minute of it. I realized that the fear construed in my mind was the only thing stood between me and enjoyment.
In the end, I couldn't be more proud of the team pulling this video together in just a few days:
Adam Chin Sakoonserksadee - the genius behind camera,
David- coming up with ideas and support,
Vari- being cool as usual and the;
Oct 2014 students!
I still cringe a little seeing myself on video but slowly getting used to it. It is a great video and truly represents who we are- All Yoga Community!
Check out our video here!
What happened to last year’s resolutions? Are you still carrying the worries, guilt, weight or anger from the past?
Well here we are, only 10 days from the New Year, I started contemplating on how I can start the New Year in a brighter light. Instead of setting resolutions, I came up with some simple steps to be more positive and happier! After all, all actions come from the mind. If I can form better thoughts, the rest should come effortlessly!
Here are 10 ways to transform for a more positive and happier you:
#1. Smile in the morning…even if you have to fake it. Putting a smile on or laughing out loud first thing in the morning can trick the brain into thinking positively for the rest of the day.
#2. Make long pauses before responding. Most often we ‘react’ instead of ‘respond’. Try to pause for a moment before responding. You will make more conscious decisions.
#3. Be okay with imperfections. After all perfection is an objective opinion of our conditioned thoughts. It’s ok to have crazy hair, a few extra pounds or honest mistakes at work.
#4. Invest your time with positive people. Negativity can spread like fire and so can positivity. Devote your precious time with people who can brighten your day!
#5. Buy less & use less. Material goods bring us perceived happiness. We’re only exhilarated for the act of purchase and first few rounds of usage. Buy less and use less make us appreciate of what we have!
#6. Educate yourself. I don’t mean postgraduate school or doctor’s degree. I mean study something that interests you but not necessarily to make a living. Pick up a new language or music instrument, yoga retreat, travel, massage course…etc. By fulfilling your interests, you’re refueling the desire to live life passionately.
#7. Play with a child or play like one. Cartwheels, blow bubbles, hide and seek… The main goal of playing is to achieve happiness. So why not play more? Next time you walk in a park, don’t hesitate to pop into a handstand or cartwheel.
#8. Say what is true, necessary and kind. Words once spoken can only be forgiven and not forgotten. Each time we say something its sound can vibrate positively or negatively. Be a positive vibrator- that will make you and those around happier.
#9. Re-define the word-Rich. You can only be rich if you can afford your own lifestyle. Ask a rich person if he’s rich, he’ll tell you all of his liabilities and debts. To be truly rich, live a modest life free of material desires.
#10. Always choose love. It takes substantial courage to say I love you, to let go of the ego and surrender, to subject ourselves to vulnerability and lastly to follow our hearts. So always choose love because it will be your flickering light in the darkest hour. It will make you stronger and gives you strength to reach your wildest dreams.
Here you go, 10 simple ways to be the happiest you. I think if you try to do all 10 in one day you will explode and feel overwhelmed. So like a new diet, try 1 method a day and slowly you will become the happiest you effortlessly!
This is one of my favorite Indian recipe. Kitchari means mixture, usually of two grains. It's consider a tri-dosha food which means it's good for everyone. Kitchari can be infused with different vegetables, spices and oil. It's nourishing and easy to digest.
1/2 cup Basmati Rice
1cup Yellow Lentils
6 cups Water
1 inch Ginger, chopped or grated
1/2 tsp each Tumeric powder, coriander powder, mustard seeds, cumin powder, whole cumin seeds
1 & 1/2 cup Assorted vegetables
Handful of Fresh cilantro
Pinch of mineral salt
Rinse rice and mung beans. Wash each separately in at least 2 changes of water. Add the 6 cups of water to the rice and beans and cook covered until it becomes soft.
While that is cooking, chop the vegetables into smaller pieces. Add the vegetables to the cooked rice bean mixture and cook 10 minutes longer.
In a separate saucepan, sauté ghee and seeds until they pop. Then add the other spices. Stir the sautéed spices into the cooked dal, rice, and vegetable mixture. Add the mineral salt and chopped fresh cilantro and serve!
Happy Holidays Everyone!
It’s a little ironic that I’m writing about holiday distressing strategies.
First of all, I’m Chinese, we don’t stress over Christmas or New Year. The biggest anxiety we get is whether we make it to the front of the line on Boxing Day. Secondly, I now live in Thailand, hence it’s 35 degrees out and everyday is summertime. Nonetheless, I empathize those who have to struggle with Christmas shopping, turkey basting and holiday elevator music. For most people, the best way to get over holiday stress is keep filling up that glass of wine. After a few bottles and redden lips, suddenly family gatherings and awkward chats with distant relatives aren’t so bad anymore. Yet when New Year comes and our bank account shedded a few digits while our waistline gained a few inches, it’s probably better to find other solutions.
Here are 5 Yogic ways to keep your cortisol level low this year:
1. Pranayama (Breathing exercise)
Pranayama means life force extension. By slowing down our breathing, we can calm the mind and energize the entire body. While you’re lining up at the department store, listening to Jingle Bell looping the bazillion time, try this technique:
Inhale for 3* | Exhale for 3
Inhale for 3 | Hold the breath 3 | Exhale for 3
Repeat 3 x
Inhale for 3 | Hold the breath for 3 | Exhale for 3 | Hold the breath for 3
Repeat 3 x
(*second) Try it out!
2. Be a Part Time Vegan
That’s right. You don’t need to completely turn down all the holiday treats. Just strip down on saturated/trans fats and consume a clean plant based diet whenever you’re at home or on your own. Substitute milk for soy/almond milk, replace meat for tempeh/tofu and skip the pastries. If you have a sweet tooth, check out Deliciously Ella for vegan desserts. Eating lighter helps better your digestion, sleep better and look fantastic in your party dress!
3. Give a Non-Material Gift
Have a look at all your friends and family and decide if they really need that new pair of shoes or iTunes gift card. Sometimes the best way of giving is by helping those in need. Donate clean water to African children, a goat to a poor tribal family or second hand toys to an orphanage. You can help those in need and also educate your children on non-possession. It’s a karma deed!
Suggested donation foundations:
World Vision Christmas Catalogue
Save the Children Wish list UK
4. Do Some Yoga
In this holiday season, some of you might not have the time to hit the gym everyday. Luckily, you can do yoga in the comfort of your own home. Just need a mat and some comfortable clothes. I recommend 30-60 minutes of sun salutations, standing/sitting postures, back bends and inversion (put your legs up the wall) followed by shavasana (resting). You’ll feel rejuvenated for the rest of the day!
Receive a free 90 minute Ashtanga Primary Chart here!
5. Be in the Present Moment
The biggest yogic practice is to stay in the present moment. Enjoy every minute regardless of whom you’re with or wherever you’ll be. In this season, give the gift of your undivided attention and presence with your loved ones and friends/family you haven’t seen for a while. You’ll find each moment is an opportunity to love, give and receive.
That concludes my yogic tips for you. Wishing you all a happy holiday!
Peace & love
Do you have yogi family members or friends?
Not sure what to get them this Christmas?
I listed a few online yoga shops and products here. Most I have tried myself and others are by recommendations. Hope this will help you out!
Best yoga wear for hot yoga or yoga in tropical climate
I’m an ambassador!
Discount- Get 15% using this code: annieauyoga
Produced by 100% recycled plastic water bottles. No worries, the fabric is completely breathable. Your legs won’t feel like in plastic wraps.
PVC free, solid grip yoga mat. Personally tested the best slip-free yoga mats yet, I highly recommend this yoga mat for all levels of practitioners.
Eco friendly yoga mats. Jade supports many eco friendly or charity work foundations. Check out their websites for full details.
What’s better for the environment than no mats at all! Yoga paws are little gloves with grip in the palms. It’s best for traveling yogis who cannot haul a mats everywhere they go.
DRY 5 LIQUID CHALK
Best climber chalks is now used for yoga! Just a dollop of liquid chalks and applies it to your hands/elbows. It prevents slippage, no more yoga towels!
In this holiday season, don't forget to eat healthy and do yoga! It'll keep your jolly spirit through the new year!
Peace & Love,