Monday, 30 June 2014

Bye-bye June!


I remember posting New Month, New Hope at the beginning of June and today, we wave bye-bye to June. What happened in between, everything seems blurry. I had my ups and downs throughout the month of June, but no regrets or whatsoever. Before I start yapping off topic, let me share with you some of my June highlights and some not so fun-lights.

HIGHLIGHTS.....

1. Summer Splits 2014 Challenge was so much fun. Then, I became ill and fell off the bandwagon. *sigh*

2. I'm done! Yes! Completed my Yoga Instructors Course! Advance level was gruesome but worth the time and effort! Graduation here I come!

3. Embracing friendships everyday.

4. Diligently practicing for the competition in August. This is way tougher than I imagined. But, I am seeing improvement in my flexibility, strength and stamina. Yippee!!

5. Apparently, I have lost weight according to those around me. That's a good news. 

6. Getting super busy by the day but I am not complaining.

7. As though I've had an Amnesia, I am A completely different person today compared to who I was a month ago. One month can make such a difference.

8. Instagram can change lives!

9. My love for trees continues to grow!


LOWLIGHTS.....

1. Second week of June was disastrous. I was terribly ill due to overworking my body with asanas. Lesson learnt the hard way.

2. My blog had to be neglected for some time due to my tight schedule and my physical conditions. Not happy about it.

3. I reached the peak of my stress level towards the end of June, some crappy situations. *sigh*

4. Being young, confused and vulnerable. Not a good combination. 


That wasn't so bad. I have learnt from my mistakes and definitely had some good fun throughout June. July is going to be super exciting. I've tweaked my schedule to allocate more time for blogging. Fresh ideas and exciting news coming up. More opportunities are waiting for me and new changes to life. Can't wait for July. Don't forget to join the #IndependenceARMy challenge throughout the month of July. Say bye to June and HELLO July!

~M~


Monday, 23 June 2014

Crunchy Roasted Black Eyed Peas
























Finally!!! I am posting a recipe of a savory snack. What can I say, I have more ideas of sweet snacks compared to savory. A girl's gotta have her sweet treats now and then. I have to apologize for the lack of posts for the past week or so. I was very ill and I blame myself for it. I overworked my muscles and I paid the price for it. After a week of rest from yoga practices and everything else, I am back to myself. I suppose it's a mid-year crisis that everybody goes through. It's crunch time and I'm unhappily crunched! So why not make something crunchy to satisfy your cravings.
























Ingredients.....


  • Black eyed peas - 2 cups
  • Vegetable oil (I used sunflower oil) - 2 tablespoons
  • Chili powder - 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric - 1 teaspoon
  • Salt - according to taste.
























Let's Begin.....

1. Soak the black eyed peas in water for 4 hours.
2. Pressure cook the beans with few pinches of salt until they soften.
3. Drain the beans. Place them between a cloth and wipe off the excess liquid.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰C.
5. On a baking tray lined with baking paper, spread the beans.
6. Drizzle with oil and make sure all the beans are well coated.
7. Add the chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Mix well for an even coating. 
8. Place it into the oven and set the timer to 40 minutes. 
9. At 15 to 20 minutes interval, take the tray out and give  a good mix and spread the beans evenly over the tray.
10. After 40 minutes, switch off the oven and allow the beans to stay in the oven for another 10 minutes. 
11. Allow the beans to cool completely and serve.

Black eyed peas getting roasted in the oven
























Time for a taste test.....

Obviously my mother would be the first one to test and comment. She said 'Mmmmmm.......' That's a good sign. It's crunchy, light, well seasoned and the chili powder added a little kick. As I always say, my taste buds may be different to yours. So feel free to spice up the recipe according to your taste. There's no right or wrong in this. When I first came up with this idea, I had no clue of measurements, I just added ingredients according to my liking and it turned out well. *Phew* I bet this will be your favorite portable snack this summer time. It's super easy and quick to prepare and you can make it way ahead of time and it will last you for days. Give this recipe a shot and let me know how it turned out. For those of you who are feeling a little under the weather, take a time off and do something to make yourself happy. Go to a park and breathe in some fresh air. Everything will be ALRIGHT! Hey, summer is supposed to be all about fun! Till I see you in my post, Take Care!

~M~

Saturday, 14 June 2014

The M word.....

What's the M word?

Meditation!
Something that I cannot fathom. Something that I'm unable to learn. I admit, I don't know how it feels. Is meditation all about sitting in a quiet space and letting your mind wander? Are you supposed to be monitoring your breath throughout your quiet time? Let's see what the dictionary says about meditation.

Meditate
1
:  to engage in contemplation or reflection
2
:  to engage in mental exercise (as concentration on one's breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the            purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness

Hmmm....contemplate, reflect and reach high level o spiritual awareness. That's deep! Well, I am very sure I am not at that level yet, probably someday I will, when I've felt the calling. Truth be told, I have only encountered people who are way older to me mentioning the word meditation. Personally, I have not seen anyone in their early 20's mentioning the word meditation to me. That made me think. Is meditation something that comes with age? Does that mean you have to wait to find your inner peace? I look at babies and children, they don't spend time in quiet rooms chanting and breathing, yet they have way more inner peace compared to adults. I think that innocence, nonjudgmental and carefree behavior is something beyond meditation.

Food for Thought

I may or may no meditate. It may or may not come to me. Currently, considering my age, my surroundings and the very little knowledge that I have, I choose to define meditation differently. Meditation to me is doing what I love. I feel happiness and inner peace when I do the things that I love the most. I enjoy my zen time when I am in the kitchen, cooking, baking and creating something new and healthy for my blog posts.Without me realizing, blogging has brought many positive changes into my life, helped me discover my love for reading, writing and photography. Blogging is my second form of meditation. My third way of having some zen time was a secret for many years. It's actually a craft form called quilling/paper filigree. Something that taught me patience and focus. See! It's not necessary to find peace by allocating time and space for it. When you do something that your heart loves and cherishes, inner peace and happiness will come from within you. That's my definition of meditation. Ask yourselves, what is the one thing you enjoy doing and love the most. Take an hour this week and spend time with it. Let me know how it felt.

Have a great rest of the day my lovelies! TTFN!

~M~





Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Sheetali & Sheetkari Pranayama.

Can you imagine the feel of drinking a cold, sweet drink filled with ice cubes up to the rim of a glass. Imagine the cold sensation down your throat. We have all been there and done that. Sounds refreshing, doesn't it? Well, have you ever thought of what happens inside your body after gulping a liquid which is that cold. Ideally, the human body is supposed to be maintained at 37⁰C. Let's say your iced drink is at about 10⁰C, can you picture how hard your system has to work to maintain the temperature of all your internal organs at 37⁰C. If you have some knowledge of heat transfer or even basic science, you would have probably heard of latent heat and that theory applies to the human body as well. Enough said. I agree it's easier said than done. Especially, when the summer heat waves really gets on your last nerves. All I have to say is, we can't change the environment, but we can surely makes better choices. Opting for fruits and practicing the breathing technique that I'm about to teach you can help you omit the need of iced drinks.

Let's discuss sheetali and sheetkari. The only breathing technique/pranayama that I practice. Why? Because, sheetali is the only thing that helps me deal with the excess body heat generated through intense level of practices. It really depends, actually. You're the best person to analyze your body. Some people need heat generating pranayama and some people need cooling pranayama. I leave that decision to you. Probably, get an opinion from a competent instructor before you attempt something new.

Difficulty: Beginners Level


Sheetali

Instructions:
  • Sit in any comfortable meditation posture.
  • Close your eyes and relax the whole body.
  • Extend the tongue outside the mouth without strain. 
  • Roll the sides of the tongue up so that it forms a tube. 
  • Practice a long, smooth and controlled inhalation through the rolled tongue.
  • At the end of inhalation, draw the tongue in, close the mouth and exhale through the nose.
  • The breath should produce a sucking sound.
  • A feeling of icy coldness will be experienced on the tongue, the roof of the mouth and throat
  • This is one round.

Sheetkari 

* For those who are unable to roll the tongue


Instructions:

  • Sit in any comfortable meditation posture.
  • Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
  • Hold the teeth together.
  • Separate the lips, exposing the teeth.
  • The tongue may be kept flat or folded against the roof of the mouth (khechari mudra) 
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through the teeth.
  • At the end of the inhalation, close the mouth.
  • Exhale slowly through the nose in a controlled manner.
  • This is one round.


When to do it?

Practice after asanas and other yogic practices in order to restore temperature balance.

Duration.

With practice, the duration of the inhalation should gradually become longer to increase the cooling effect.
Gradually, increase the number of rounds from 9 to 15. For general purposes, 15 rounds is sufficient; however, up to 60 rounds may be performed in very hot weather.

Precautions.

Do not practice in a polluted atmosphere or during cold weather.

Contra-Indications.

  • People suffering from low blood pressure or respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis and excessive mucus, should not practice.
  • This practice cools down the activity of the lower energy centers and those suffering from chronic constipatio should avoid it. 
  • Generally, this pranayama should not be practiced during winter or in cool climates.

Benefits

  • This practice cools the body and affects important brain centers associated with temperature regulation. 
  • It reduces mental and emotional excitation, and encourages the free flow of prana throughout the body. 
  • It induces muscular relaxation, mental tranquility and may be used as a tranquilizer before sleep. 
  • It gives control over hunger and thirst, and generates a feeling of satisfaction.

Enjoy Your Cool Summer!

~M~



Monday, 9 June 2014

Nauli: Make This Your Morning Routine!

Hello everybody! I'm flabbergasted. My phone has been buzzing constantly with new and exciting opportunities for the past couple of days. I'm nervous at the same time. The usual fear you see. I have to make adjustments with my current job in order to give these new opportunities a shot. I don't mind actually but at the same time, the risk of ruining your current comfort zone for something new, something you're clueless about. Thinking-to-much syndrome. It happens when you're young and you have your finger in too many pies. I guess I just have to roll with the punches. Like someone I know always says "Hey, YOLO!" As usual I have rambled out of topic. Focus M! Focus!

Nauli by Feed the Yogi

Yeah Nauli. Have you heard of it? Another form of yogic cleansing.. I learnt it 5 months ago but then I didn't start practicing until I heard the magic word 3 months ago. 'FLAT TUMMY'. Something every woman desires. Ever since, I have been diligently practicing. I have also increased my practice hours since I attempting on advance poses and training for the Malaysian International Yoga Competition 2014. Phew. Sometimes, while staying in a pose, I taste my own sweat. EEE! That's how tough it's getting day by day. Honestly, I am panicking. I am clueless like a headless chicken and I'm off topic again. *Sigh*

I am sorry to say. Nauli is something I cannot teach over a pictorial or step-wise description. If you are attempting it for the very first time, please, please do it under the supervision of an instructor. We are manipulating very delicate internal organs of the human body. You may ask, then why am I doing a post on it if I can't teach it here? Because of the numerous benefits, I would strongly advise anyone to practice it. Probably I can share a few guidelines prior to your practice along with the benefits.

Time of Practise:

Nauli should be practiced only when the stomach is completely empty, at least 5 to 6 hours after a meal. The best time to practice is early in the morning before any food or drink is taken.

Precautions:

Nauli should only be practiced under the guidance of a competent teacher. If any pain is felt in the abdomen during nauli, stop the practice immediately. Try again the following day with more awareness and less force.

Contra-Indications:

Nauli should not be attempted by people suffering from heart disease, hypertension, hernia, high blood pressure, abdominal pain, gallstones, acute peptic ulcer, constipation, or those who are recovering from
surgery, especially abdominal surgery. Pregnant women should not practice nauli. However, six months after normal childbirth the practice can help strengthen the abdominal and pelvic muscles.

Benefits:

  • Nauli massages and tones the entire abdominal area, including the muscles, nerves, intestines, reproductive, urinary and excretory organs. 
  • It generates heat in the body and stimulates appetite, digestion, assimilation, absorption and excretion. 
  • Regulates menstrual cycle, hormonal imbalances and any disorders related to the reproductive system.
  • It helps to balance the adrenal component of the endocrine system.
  • Nauli stimulates and purifies manipura chakra, the storehouse of prana. 
  • It helps to increase mental clarity and power by harmonizing the energy flows in the body.
  • Oh no forgetting...FLAT TUMMY! 

Get your Nauli on this Summer!

~M~

Saturday, 7 June 2014

An Asian Dessert: Red Beans and Black Glutinous Rice Stew.
























Hello everybody! Sorry that I have been MIA for the past few days. I am still adapting to a lot of changes with my new schedule. Let me put it in a list as usual.

  • I am back to my yoga school to finish up my hours to complete the advance level of teaching.
  • I am diligently putting in more hours to practice on my own at home to prepare myself for the Malaysian International Yoga Competition 2014. *panicky* 
  • I have taken up more teaching opportunities. Exciting times.
  • I have to squeeze in my work, self study, assignments and lesson preparation as well.
Well, I'm not complaining. More work or less work, I love blogging and I am not going to compromise it for anything in this world. I made a commitment and I'm going to stick by it. Yippeee! Sometimes I do feel guilty for not being as witty as I used to be because my attention is divided into various things at one time, but I'm not going to let that stop me from continuing what I love. It's just a temporary setback. This too shall pass.
So let's get to the recipe that I have prepared for today. 

INGREDIENTS.....

























  • Red Beans - 1 cup
  • Black Glutinous Rice - 1 cup
  • Coconut Milk - 1/2 cup
  • Rock Sugar - 250 grams
  • Pandan Leaves - 2 to 3
  • Water

LET'S BEGIN.....

1. If you want to be done quickly, please use a pressure cooker. Then, you omit the need for long hours of soaking and boiling.  Patience is not always a virtue. 
2. Add the red beans, glutinous rice, pandan leaves and 6 cups of water into your pressure cooking vessel. Keep the flame at high and you probably have to wait for 15 to 18 whistles until all the red beans turn soft and start to break apart.
3. Once all your red beans are soft enough, add another 1liter or 1.5 liters of water along with coconut milk and rock sugar. The reason for the addition of more water at this stage is because, the stew will continue to thicken as the sugar melts.
4. Turn off the flame and remove the pandan leaves. Allow the stew to cool down, serve warm or chilled.




TIME FOR A TASTE TEST.....

I loved it. It's packed with protein and the fragrance of the stew itself is amazing. Adjust the coconut milk, water and sugar measurement according to your preference. My measurements are just guidelines. If you have a pressure cooker, you will be done within one hour and it will be a great, before dinner snack. Let me know how your batch turned out. Happy weekend everybody!

~M~

Monday, 2 June 2014

Let's Take Up the Challenge!

 This image has been going viral since May. Thanks to Kino Macgregor for coming up with such a fantabulous idea. I challenged myself to take up the challenge for the whole month of June. I think everybody should give it a shot even if you are not a yoga practitioner. Just for the fun of it. Every time I mess up a pose, I end up laughing at myself. Just like Kino said, yoga has taught us to laugh at ourselves. At the end of the month, let's see how many poses we have mastered. I have already done 1 and 2 today. At a glance I can surely say that 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 15, 16, 19 and 23 are possible. Piece of cake. Best of luck to all you who are taking up the challenge. Don't forget to share your masterpiece using the #summersplits2014.
Happy Summer!

~M~

New Month, New Hope.

Where did the time go? It's June already? Oh well, time waits for nobody, right! Honestly, May was extremely overwhelming and devastating. Too much love and affection can lead to severe heartache. A blatant truth, but I still chose to give my all. It's in a woman's DNA. At the same time, it's impossible to express love with limits and control. When it comes to the matter of the heart, complications are inevitable. If I could buy the gift of patience and acceptance for this person, I believe time will heal all wounds. I tried hard and wholeheartedly, fate just wasn't on my side. My best friend once told me, people come and go into our lives, some stay longer because they haven't completed their purpose in our life, and some people leave halfway because they have completed their purpose of the presence. I would like to share how I convinced myself to stop going through misery and pain. I don't know if I should say this out, but the extreme frustration and depression led to mild epilepsy attacks and a suicide attempt. What I realized in the end was, I was suffering for one insensitive and ignorant person but more than one person were trying hard to help me survive through. Today, I choose to live for people who are worth my attention, love, care and effort. As I have said before, forgiving and forgetting is the best gift anyone can give themself rather than the person you are forgiving. Going forward, I am just surrendering myself to time. Let's see what time holds for me. I wish all of you peace and happiness. Be kind to one another.

~M~