Monday, July 30, 2007

Classes 13 and 14 Coming Soon

Classes 11 and 12 last week especially suffered from low energy and stuttering. This week, I have yet to see. Dialog is nauseating to look at, but I must persevere, this time write it out then say it aloud instead of just reading and reciting for practice, I guess. Signed a contract today. Got my paycheck for this month's 5 classes, yippee! Class 13 tomorrow, class 14 on Friday. Stay tuned.

For those in Manila, why not give it a shot:

Bikram Yoga Manila

-Makati (I teach here more often than not):
15/f, 88 Corporate Center (beside PS Bank; across One Paseo Center, formerly IBM Building)
141 Valero corner Sedeño Streets
Salcedo Village, Makati
Phone (632)889-1011

-Quezon City
5/F CKB Centre (building where Italianni's is)
203 Tomas Morato Ave. (corner Scout Rallos)
Quezon City
Phone (632)376-4632

A Dark And Isolated Place

So there we were last night, on our way home being dropped off from a wedding reception. Almost turning into the street that would lead to our house, BAM! Possible whiplash effects, we were disoriented and not a little bit alarmed. What happened: a flat tire?? Holy shit, what the hell...

A taxi had bumped us from behind, HARD.

The road was dark, barely illuminated by orange street lamps, with no living soul in sight. (It's a good thing my Dad was at the back; otherwise, he would have gone down immediately and beat the guy up) My grandparents' driver, slight though he is, was spoiling for a fight, and in the chaos, he would have gone down, had my mom's voice rang out: "Nobody gets off the car!" And my Dad and I both said, "Just drive! Go!" Against his pugnacious instincts, he inched forward, still sneaking side glances for that infernal taxi. I urged him on, faster, snapping at him to go, because I'd experienced what could have happened had he gone down, and that would have been terrible. For what is more valuable: a car, or a life? [It's usually the latter, FYI!]

We got home safe; quite shaken, but safe. I can still remember my grandparents' faces, trying to put a brave front, but disoriented as hell. Those bastards. Will they really stoop down that low for money?

Apparently, yeah. Afterwards, my mom said the fact that we were many (or supposedly in their terms, "loaded") discouraged them. I called my grandparents once they got home; I'm just glad we all got home safe.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I'm in a really nasty mood, and I've no idea exactly why. Have been easily getting tired, as well, accompanied by splitting headaches, but when I sleep at night, slumber comes fitfully and sporadically. My teaching's been crappy: I've been told I lack energy and I stammer, major downslide for me from the week before. And this opposite of improvement is frustrating me to no end, getting me in a worse mood, and so on.

Ironically, this week coincides with the end of my Landmark Forum, where I was supposed to improve, and I thought I did, so why this?

Anyway. Got an external hard drive of 320 GB capacity. Not bad. :) Backing up my [Bleach AVI] files as I write.

Also, for fellow fans of the now-defunct Cooking Master Boy, here is the link to the first part of the last episode. It's in Chinese, with English subtitles, instead of the usual Japanese, so it's pretty neat to listen to, as well.

As for shopping, I got a pair of Melissa shoes. They've been written about as super comfy; let me see if that is the case: my halluxed feet will testify.

It's also heartening to be able to go to a store and find bottoms that fit, finally. In Aura, I even went down a size--not bad :) However, they didn't have the smaller size in the color I wanted. Oh well: you win some, you lose some.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Consummatum Est

*Thank you, Wikipedia.

Bought the book last Saturday. Started reading it in between workshop breaks, as much as I could. Finished it yesterday, the same day my workshop ended. Deathly Hallows was a major change from the disappointment of Half-Blood Prince, if I may say so, though the movie was a complete opposite, where Chamber of Secrets was much better than Order of the Phoenix.

Even as the Harry Potter empire series has come to an end, I still wonder how Harry graduated from Hogwarts, what job did he get, etc, how his kids look, whose hair, whose is red, etc; how the rest of the Wesley family fared, who became the next headmaster at Hogwarts (Minerva McGonagall?), and if as the latter books progressed, she had the actors/actresses in mind with the storyline.

Of course, the questions can, and will, keep on coming, but it was a good run, and a good read. Thank you, Ms. Rowling.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Avoid at ALL COSTS

1. Hydrogenated oil (or trans fat) - A process that turns free flowing oil into a lard-looking solid at room temperature. The food industry uses it to increase shelf life of products and maximize profits. Eating this stuff increases the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body and is bad for your heart.

2. Enriched flour – All the grain’s nutrients are destroyed in the refining process. Companies add a little bit of the lost nutrients back and label it “enriched” so it seems nutritious.

3. High Fructose Corn Syrup (or HFCS, also corn syrup) – Your body processes this differently than good old-fashioned cane sugar. It contains more fructose than sugar and converts to fat more easily, which adds to weight gain.

4. Refined Sugar – When you put sugar into your system, you experience a “sugar high,” that rapidly raises your blood sugar levels. So 2 hours later you “crash,” feeling tired and empty. Sugar that’s naturally combined with fat or fiber sources, like in fresh fruits, will absorb into your body much slower. Then you can avoid the roller coaster sugar ride.

5. Saturated Fats – These are found mostly in animal products and oils. Avoid the ones that are solid at room temperature like lard. They increase your cholesterol levels and clog your precious arteries, which causes cardiovascular disease. Plus they can also be used for furniture polish - how appetizing is that?

Troubled Times

It's already the 18th of July, fancy that. Seriously, I haven't been keeping track of the days anymore. They've just been passing in and out of my consciousness.

The last time I wrote, I was sick with the flu. Now, thanks to a heady combination of Vitamin C, B6, B12, Calcium and Biotin, that is no longer the case. However, my mind still seems to be stuck in limbo. Or is it my body, or both?

Coming back to the studio from illness, I return to find it in a quiet uproar, chaos very carefully, discreetly hidden...unless you look very carefully, stay perfectly still, and sense the roaring discord barely muffled, the huge confusion and angry bewilderment. The tide is now moving so fast, you don't know how to stop it, or move along with it perfectly in sync, so you just get swept up and start to cease caring. In the studio, it is a quiet disaster, and too afraid to be caught in the crossfire, I am resigned to the unsettling vibe, carefully trying to avoid the large gaping hole where a presence used to be last week.

I came in to this vibe only minutes before class, and only a day before I was to teach my 7th class. [After class,] a well-meaning student chided me on stuttering, telling me to ignore my director who also took the class. However, my director told me it was a huge improvement from my previous ones, so much so that it was one he would pay for. Wow! :) 'Hope I keep it up.

Tomorrow I teach my 8th class. Gotta review and rehearse, even as I'm told to let it flow; I'm still at that stage where I need to practice, even knowing that it won't turn out like it was rehearsed, but still, it's at the stage where "every bit counts." At this moment of uncertainty, I was told, and indeed it is, that "life is full of surprises, ever-changing; all we can do is yoga to stay calm..." Indeed it is true.

At the core of all this is also a belief in the self, a belief that we will surpass anything that comes our way. A fellow (albeit senior)teacher-yogini sent me a particularly nice quote below, a quote to reassure, and to give strength for my continuing path:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." - Marianne Williamson, "A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles"

Monday, July 09, 2007

Living Small (Should Be) No More

So here I am, still sick with the flu. I just noticed something, though: I sneeze small.

I sneeze with my lips pursed, body tight and tensed, held back, only to produce a sound a kitten would produce: a muffled "tch." I try to make the smallest sound possible.

It makes me remember something my director criticized me with, and that is living small. He says I do not help myself by living small; instead to live big so that others can follow that light. I also recall something said in training: to be interested and not interesting. In my opinion, living small isn't even interesting, but there you go. I think Letitia from Santa Fe said it, that shy people are selfish people, keeping their light to themselves.

In this regard, my director again pointed out that "living small has worked [for me] for 23 years" Indeed it had, and has. My parents (bless their hearts) are such dominant beings, and here I am, Ms. Big Mouse. In fact, after class, where I was silently beating myself up over my mistakes, a fellow classmate-student asked me if I was an only child (known perfectionists!) and when I admitted I was, she told me to live with imperfection; "we are not perfect, and that's ok" she smilingly says.
Another teacher tells me to get MAD, (sing angry songs like Alanis' he says, not sweet songs like I usually do) and to project, banish my fears, my insecurities, bring energy with my voice. And THAT is hard for me--me, who is so used to living small, wanting to always make myself blend in with everyone else. Argh. But they are all right in that it IS a mindset, and in being that, is hard to break. As Bikram is fond to say, it's all in the mind. And that is the hardest thing to change.

We are not perfect, and that is ok. So live BIG, shout out, sneeze out loud, and that's ok!

Perfect, by Alanis Morissette

Sometimes is never quite enough
If you're flawless, then you'll win my love
Don't forget to win first place
Don't forget to keep that smile on your face
Be a good boy
Try a little harder
You've got to measure up
And make me prouder
How long before you screw it up
How many times do I have to tell you to hurry up
With everything I do for you
The least you can do is keep quiet
Be a good girl
You've gotta try a little harder
That simply wasn't good enough
To make us proud
I'll live for you
I'll make you what I never was
If you're the best, then maybe so am I
Compared to him compared to her
I'm doing this for your own damn good
You'll make up for what I blew
What's the problem ...... why are you crying
Be a good boy
Push a little farther now
That wasn't fast enough
To make us happy
We'll love you just the way you are if you're perfect

*DISCLAIMER: I love my parents!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

6th Class and Counting

I just taught my 6th class yesterday. When is the next class? I still honestly don't know. First off, I'm sick and have no voice, and second, having no chauffeur in upper middle class Manila + über-protective parents = immobility. So here I am at home, not that I'm regretting it: I'm getting to rest. Good Lord, who ever knew it's so tiring to teach a class? I haven't gotten to that point where energy between me and my students are shared and not just supplied by me.

So I taught my 4th class last Sunday--my biggest one yet: 40 people, and of those 40, 6 being newbies. I briefed them about the yoga before class, as well: my first briefing, ohmygosh. Anyway, so I taught--on the platform: my first time to. Hoo boy, was it different--but in a good way: I could feel the energy, though it was agreeably a lot more than my usual 8 student-class. Then things started dropping in triangle, and dropping fast: students were dropping like flies. And I panicked, then my voice went down, and along with it my command of the class. Argh. After class, an attending teacher (actually, my teacher) told me my class was better than he thought it would be. [The next day, he told me my timing was good, and I had energy, but it's still trapped in all my insecurities and lack of confidence. So he had me practicing entering a class and throwing my voice across the room. Eek: the latter was particularly hard!] However, that night, my studio director called and told me he heard it was a horrible class, so I still have to do mock classes. That was a blow; I thought I was doing better: I had been working on my dialog; I guess the client just didn't think I was up to snuff. When I shared this with a friend, a newbie who had taken that class to show her support, she said the class was ok, and said not to mind that particular criticism: as a newbie, I'm allowed to make mistakes more than usual! I guess. But it left a sour taste in my mouth regardless. When I went to class the next day, I was still exhausted from that class: is that normal?!

My next (5th) class was last Wednesday. The day before, I had already been given a copy of the keys to the studio so as to open the studio early, for a 6:30 am class. Also, I practiced the full dialog the night before, which made me feel more secure. More friends came to show their support, this time fellow yoginis who'd already been practicing for a while. And this class was good: everyone said do afterwards. I was so happy. They said I smiled more, breathed more, relaxed more. Probably it's because the director isn't here, my students joked. I think that getting me to mill around the students helped a lot, too.

The most recent one was yesterday. Even before this class started, I was not feeling well. The night before, I barely practiced the dialog, I was so tired. So yesterday, my energy was off: I felt it, but I soldiered on. Afterwards, my students didn't say anything, though some said that though last Wednesday's was better, this one was still better than last week's. Another student added to review the floor postures, as my standing series is already pretty good and I'm already pretty comfortable with it. Good feedback. Will do that tomorrow. I just decided to take the rest of yesterday off, as well as today. My voice is just on and off, but my throat hurts like hell. All my joints seem to hurt, and my head feels like a huge weight on my shoulders. My director's asking for help to teach a class in his other studio on Monday, but in my condition, plus no transportation to get there, I don't think that's possible at this point. Still, as much as it's lately gotten a bit difficult for me to start the ball of teaching rolling, so to speak, though I still get a bit tongue-tied in class, and though it's been sucking the energy out of me, I love doing it. It is a beautiful, liberating, life-changing process, or experience, whatever you want to call it. Actually, can it even be named? It's so huge, to the point it's beyond explaining. And that whole...thing....I love it, am terrified, humbled, and exhilarated by it.

'Til the next class, then.