Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Yoga Journey #1 Yoga Mudra

When I had a highly stressed job way back in the early 2000s, I decided to look for a calming, relaxing form of exercise instead of the usual pounding away at the treadmill I'd usually do.

I was delighted to find a tiny yoga center in a quiet neighbourhood offering a low monthly fee and practice sessions from 7.00 - 9.00 pm.

Greeted by a friendly Swedish lady, she introduced us to the history of yoga and the first asana (pose) that we would learn, which was the basic yoga mudra.

According to the ArtofLiving.org, yoga mudras are:
"Entirely distinct and based on the principle of Ayurveda, yoga mudras are understood as a healing modality. The Sanskrit word mudra is translated as gesture or attitude. A mudra may involve the whole body or could be a simple hand position. Mudras used in combination with yogic breathing exercises enliven the flow of prana in the body by stimulating different parts of the body involved with breathing. 
Relating directly to the nerves, mudras create a subtle connection with the instinctual patterns in the brain and influence the unconscious reflexes in these areas. The internal energy is in turn balanced and redirected, affecting change in the sensory organs, glands veins and tendons. This adds a completely new dimension to the yoga experience."
How to do the basic yoga mudra:

1. Sit in a relaxed cross-legged position. Alternatively, you can also tuck in one heel against your groin and rest one leg on the floor in front of you instead of tucking it under your other leg.

2. Take a few deep, slow breaths - close your eyes and feel each breath going through your diaphragm and your nose as you inhale and exhale. You'll soon feel calm and relaxed.

3. Reach both hands behind your waist - right hand clasping your left wrist. Keep your back straight and your eyes looking straight ahead of you.

4. Take a deep breath and exhaling (keeping back straight), bend forward until your forehead can touch the ground. If not, just keep it as low and straight as you can. Breathe in and out once.

Asana - Yoga Mudra photo Asana-YogaMudra.png

5. Breathing in, using your abdominal muscles, raise your body to an upright position. Breathe out. Take another breath in and out.

6. Repeat steps 4-6 for another 3 times, gradually building up to a set of 8. I hope that you'll enjoy this basic yoga mudra.

Remember to relax after this in the corpse pose (savasana) with your eyes closed and palms facing upwards. Breathe in and out slowly.

Photo source: yoga.com

Eating real food, not supplements

Many people say, "I don't take supplements - I believe in eating real food."

1.How many kids like avocado, green beans, kale, broccoli, spinach and lettuce?
Well, it took me about 2-3 weeks of healthy habits before my son picked up a lettuce leaf and crunched it up on his own! Check out the "Real Food Challenge".

If YES - make sure that they eat 2 large eggs or 1 medium orange or 1 CUP of leafy greens EVERY DAY to fulfill their lutein and zeaxanthin requirements for healthy eyes and a strong immune system.

When I was a stay-at-home Mum, I could prepare a fresh and green salad for breakfast for myself and my toddler. Can you see her dipping a carrot slice into the yoghurt dressing? :)

2. Regular and wholesome meals
Now that I'm a full-time working Mum, I hardly have time to eat breakfast, let alone wash and cut fruits or veg!

I have been hard-pressed to prepare home-cooked food, aiming to cook 3-4 nights a week.
The kids? They have tons of homework every night and exams THREE times a year.
It's a miracle if I can feed them a wholesome breakfast and dinner yet they need the nutrition for growth and also the energy to keep up with their crazy schedules.

3. Rising food prices
We all know that we need to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet.

Do you know that healthy foods like fruits and vegetables have become increasingly expensive since 2010?

Cheap foods are processed foods (burgers, junk food, instant noodles, nuggets, sausages) that contain A LOT of additives and colouring to make up for the lack of content and nutrition. Let's not forget biscuits, bread and other simple carbohydrates.

How about super foods (anti-oxidants) like asparagus, avocados and blueberries?

I once bought a bunch of plums and was shocked to pay RM25 for them!

4. Food allergies and aversions
How about people who are allergic to eggs?
Or my son who hates tomatoes?

I think that they should still benefit from the goodness of these real foods.

Since I doubt that my kids are eating 1 cup of leafy greens/carrots/tomatoes  every day and I can't afford asparagus, avocados and blueberries every day, I give the kids 1 capsule of Super Lutein each on alternate days.

EACH capsule contains:
  • 6 carotenoids:
    1. lutein – 30 mg,
    2. lycopene – 12.00 mg,
    3. beta-carotene – vitamin A – 3.50 mg
    4. alpha-carotene,
    5. zeaxanthin and
    6. crocetin
  • Tuna fish oil – 74.50 mg
  • Wheat germ oil – 70.00 mg
  • Equal amounts of essential B vitamins (B1 – thiamine – 0.50 mg, B2 – riboflavin – 0.50 mg, B6 – pyridoxine – 0.41 mg and B12 – 0.50 mg),
  • Vitamin E – 35.00 mg,
5. Drugs or dietary supplements?
In July 2015, I started taking Super Lutein for my dry, red eyes because I had been reading and reading and reading a lot and no doctor could help. 

My eyes became red and watery and after visiting 2 clinics where both GPs prescribed generic eye drops, which did not really help. 

I thought, "This is not a long-term solution."

I have 20/20 vision thus my eye health is super important to me. No way was I going to drip generic eye drops on a regular basis.

When I started taking 3 x 3  capsules per day for two weeks, I was impressed when sticky, yellow crust built up in my eyes (like when you're recovering from conjunctivitis) for 1-2 days and then, my eyes feel clear and fresh!

6. Protect our health in today's busy and crazy lifestyles
Since Super Lutein worked for my eyes, I decided to read up on lutein and zeaxanthin.

In the info graphic below, you'll see that lutein not only "aids in protecting our eyes", it has also been shown "to boost immunity and support healthy skin, tissues and blood".

Here's what I found from the American Optometry Assocation:
"Two carotenoids, lutein (pronounced loo-teen) and zeaxanthin (pronounced zee-uh-zan-thin), are antioxidants that are located in the eye.
Lutein and zeaxanthin filter harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and help protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes.
Of the 600 carotenoids found in nature, only these two are deposited in high quantities in the retina (macula) of the eye."
If your kids or you are playing/reading a lot on the the computer or iPad, you need to PROTECT the eyes with lutein and zeaxanthin. There's only so much that "retina-protection" screens can do.

Trust me. I read a lot (one book a day) since I was 9 and I'm 40+ now. I still don't have short-sightedness.

7. Fight the side-effects of chemotherapy
I am a healthy adult - how about people with cancer who are living alone? Family members are busy with their own jobs and families. Parents are too old or there's only one surviving parent?

In  my late father's battle with cancer, I was devastated to see him shrinking day-by-day.
I've wanted to share his photo on this blog but I just can't. I want to preserve the memory of him as a happy, healthy man who lived life to the fullest.

In the past 5 years, I've witnessed MANY people (aged 25-35) blogging about their battle with cancer:
  1. They are busy vomiting in the first few days and
  2. Due to the above, they are TOO WEAK to go to the market or to cook for themselves.
  3. Fast food - nope, they're fighting cancer and they need healthy, nutritious food to boost their immunity.
  4. Cook their own food? They're advised to go for 100% organic foods. Only a lucky few survive because they have a) the $$$ and b) a strong support system to cook them healthy and nutritious meals
  5. Eat out? NO. Their immune system is now O, which means that they should avoid crowds to avoid infections.
That's why I think that Super Lutein and IZUMIO hydrogen water are excellent supplements as delivery services are available.

Do you know anyone who needs a top-notch dietary supplement? Just leave me a comment below. You can also text me at +6012 9122 436. 

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Sun salutations

Hello and good morning!

Am I happy to see an update on my fitness journey!!!

2013 - I was still trying to find a happy balance between going to the gym and doing yoga at home. 

2014 - No idea what happened there at all! All I remember is driving here and there all the time -_- 

2015 - I had a strange muscle ache and also a foot injury (caused by a Lego brick) but thanks to Izumio hydrogen water and Super Lutein, I eased myself back into walking, hiking and running... 

2016 - It's been a crazy start to the year since there was a birthday party, another birthday party, Christmas, another birthday party, Chinese New Year!!!

Today, I am happy to report that I did 4 sets of sun salutations, thanks to these two lovely ladies who brought me through the 12 poses gently and slowly:


Both my kids joined in too and my son remembered all the steps pretty fast. I am so proud of him :)

The little one's mind wandered off in the middle of it but that's OK. No pressure.

What a good stretch! And what a great sweat. Hope that you got in some exercise too :)