Thursday, 20 December 2012


The people of Siem Reap have really captured my heart. The temples have also captured my heart. It is a place I would love to return to- perhaps my new favourite place. The people here are so warm. Next time (hopefully very soon) I will capture their smiles to share. This time, I just wished to enjoy the moments of shared smiles and laughter. 

You see kids everywhere. I thought at first that there were many kids in siem reap but it clicked later that it is because kids are playing freely outside, so you see them everywhere. The fear of people is not yet present so they speak to everyone. Mostly, they want to know your name and where you are from. I had no encountered anyone begging or asking for things. Some tourists hand out sweets and toothbrushes- really hope that soon more people will understand that this does not benefit anyone. It is difficult to criticise good intention. 

Anyway, we hired a bicycle for a day and decided to take another day pass around the temples. If you are visiting and have time (& don't mind the humidity, can cycle the distance, as well as walk the temples) then I recommend this highly. All the kids wave so do look out for them. Don't miss their lovely smiles when you wave back. It makes you smile. Can't think of anything better than smiling all day, just from smiling at each other. 

So we had met a lady in a shop who had told us that if we had time we should visit Preah Khan temple so we did. Amazing! It had the most amazing corridor! You could not see then end of it! It was not deserted, as we thought, but there were few people here. Towards the end of the corridor, we met an elderly nun. She sat in a squat, low to the ground, had no teeth but smiled with her entire face and body. Just to add here, by this time, we had visited many temples and encountered many nuns and monks- this one was...different. I was not even in a very good mood this day lol. On the way out, I approached her and gave her some Riels for a blessing. If you've not had one, leave it till you get here. She had the gentlest voice. As she ties the bracelet on your wrist, she says a little prayer (they all do it, but her voice touches your heart), a soft touch on your forehead, she blows onto your face and then sweeps it off your hands and then giggles happily & places her hands together in front of her heart (Cambodian greeting) Maybe she said something funny hahaha It didn't matter. The exchange of energy has remained with both Steve & I. It felt like she had just married us. What made it even more special was that, we were in this beautiful ancient temple of ritual, at this time, there was no one else around us and this little ritual was being received. This was the highlight of my trip. 

What is special here? 
The energy is special here. The energy from the temples and from the people. 
(I will blog about the 'poverty' in the next entry)


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sweetness of Practice

Today is day 5 of my current visit home to Malaysia. The way things worked out this time (eg: I was on a night flight for the first time ever), I started my trip with a weird jetlag. I would be up by 04.00 & made an early decision to pop into the Mysore ashtanga sessions till my clock sorted itself out. Of course, the practice itself put my clock on track within the 2nd day. However, I have stuck to the practice. 

I stopped (regular) ashtanga practice after discovering vinyasa flow. I was struggling with it so much & when I got into the vinyasa practice, I felt like a whole new happy world was revealed to me. I was a asana yogi at this time. I am pretty sure my teachers then explained that the yoga starts when the crap comes, but I heard nothing. All I felt was my tight body, all I understood were my limitations & my ego played up every day when I was not allowed to continue into the sequence. 

Today has been like one of those 'eureka' days. I started to recall all those things this morning, probably because I started to feel them again! But I have learnt some things since then and saw the opportunity I had missed back then to deal with those things. I guess that is just how the journey of practice flows, except that these days, there are many more teachers out there, many more combined experiences & many more avenues to share and receive these teachings so that we may miss less opportunities. (Awesome stuff!)

Anyway, in this Ashtanga practice, I am not very far off where I left it last! Lol It is not surprising since, in my own practice, I tend to leave the things that I do not enjoy & have been fortunate that they do not come up in class often! (Especially Marichayasana D) Fixed practices are great for me- I know I am not great at making myself work through the difficult stuff. And really, I know better, life is not just about the good stuff. The sweetness of life is made up of the great stuff and the tough stuff. Today, it was clear to me what has been missing from my practice. Don't get me wrong, I do do the tough stuff...but only the ones I like (*laughs*) The thing about fixed sequences is the repetition. Learning to "fail" every day until you succeed is a great practice in itself! 

All the yoga practices begin when the challenges begin. The practice of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, samadhi begins. The sweetness begins...


Monday, 3 December 2012


  I always notice so much the first few days I am back here in malaysia. The first thing I always notice are the trees & the hills- I guess because Norfolk is so flat. I always think to myself how green it all looks along the motorway. I figured out this time that it is not so much that Norfolk is less green (although it is) but more that, it is a different shade of green. The green here is greener- deeper green maybe. During spring in England, the greens are definitely more vibrant. Here, I would describe this green like....a deep green, even in how it "feels" is different.
I suppose also, the trees look different. Leaves are very much denser. I guess that is why they look different. I think they leaves are even thicker. 

Then there's the general sound of the city. This is incredibly different. My mum lives in a suburb. I grew up here. I think we moved here when I was 7. Back then, we were surrounded by hills, lakes and rivers. There weren't many homes here so we all knew each other. It was the biggest and the best playground in the world! Things started to change some 8 years later. It's all gone now and we are now surrounded by other homes, shops and towering apartment blocks. 

Anyway..... I don't hear as much traffic sounds as I do back in Norwich so without that constant hum of engines, it is quieter. I hear birds chirping in the day and dogs barking in the night. It seems to be acceptable here if your dog barked (or cried) all night long. It didn't even bother me- I am not sure why. I would also hear- tv's, clanging of woks at all sorts of times (it's predominately Chinese in this suburb so eating at all times is expected) people speaking loudly (some dialects are very loud) and oh yes- that chicken! I suspect the cockeral is gone- thank goodness! Now, he, pissed me off. Now it's just the gentle clucking of a chicken. More dogs barking. I can't conclude if it is noisier here or in Norwich. But this noise does not seem to bother me. I am more irritable about noise back in Norwich. What I do not miss is the sound of wailing sirens! 

Here's a picture of my mum's garden. I am just looking out onto it as I write this. Monkey's roam the neighbourhood so we can't have our doors open unless we are here. They come in and wreck havoc & cute as they may be, they also carry diseases. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


it is obvious..
the law of life...
if we keep taking from the earth and not nurture it in return, eventually, there will be no more for us to take and it will die..

friendship is no different

2012 in pictures

This has been the great stuff of my 2012 so far!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Passing Fortee

It seems quite clear to me now, that I went off the rails a little, turning 40.
People say all sorts of philosophical stuff to you when you turn 40 - I never received such words of wisdom turning anything else, so I knew it was more words of comfort than wisdom haha. If you are turning 40, I can tell you, it's fine- what can you do if it is not anyway?! Might as well enjoy it. It's not that it's great but it's alright. I am sure more words of wisdom will pour in when (and if) i turn 50 and so on ;-)

The nice thing about 40 is, like turning 30, things are less confusing. You know yourself quite well by now and even become quite set in your ways. Your frustrations are no longer directed at yourself but at everyone else! LOL

Anyway, now that 40 is passing, i feel like the storm is settling. 
I don't have to go mad anymore
And can sit back and enjoy my tea!

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

empty the cup

how amazing, that from birth they fight for their lives and find their own way- one step at a time
So if you have been working all year on your sankalpa or resolution, this is a great time to start "taking stock". Start reflecting on your journey from the time you made your sankalpa . It is a good time to look at what has worked, what has not and what has stopped you from getting there yet. Even if you have not reached your "deadline". 

And if you have achieved your goals, it is equally important to investigate the things you did to make it happen, including, circumstances, attitude, motivation because you should not mistake your success as chance and recognise the effort you had put forward.

And if you have not achieved your sankalpa, try again! Our practice tells us that if we keep practicing, it will come. Repetition helps us learn. In each repetition, we gain more experience and do more things right. Eventually we all get there. If you try once and give up, you loose a great opportunity to succeed the next time. The second, third, fourth..... times are always better. And if it is important enough, then it should not matter how many repetitions we have to make.

Dump the unnecessary stories your mind creates to stop you trying again (because, after all, giving up is much easier than trying) These stories are 'maya' - illusions. And these illusions mask the true potential within us. I love this quote i found on artist Nick Gentry's blog
"Each day holds 1440 minutes. The possibilities are endless" 

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Some guy parked his van behind my car in my drive whilst I stood watching. I approached him and said he could not park there as I was about to go out. He wound up the window and in a non chalant way told me that he will not be long... 


I came to the conclusion that for most of us, our parents (grandparents, aunts & uncles included actually) did such a great job raising us; paved the way for us to have the best opportunities in life, gave us whatever we wanted within their means and even beyond their means some times! We seem to now believe that everything is our God given right! 

By the way... I was so mad- but thank goodness I was shocked into speechlessness that he walked away before some shameful words could escape from my being! I stormed up to my flat- flustered and pissed off, sat on my desk and realised... the ***** guy.. was cool as a cucumber and really, by being angry, I was only really harming myself, my peace... why?!

So i sat and watched another of Meghan Currie's time lapse video and within minutes, was happy once more. Really.... it does not take much to change the vibration in our bodies. I was just watching the video! Imagine if i had gotten on my mat and did some yoga! That is all it takes - time out of something that makes us mad, into something that makes us happy <3

Something to share: these boys make me smile all the time! 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

comfortable or complacent?

Wow.... some of the yoga practices out there are just.... mind blowing beautiful. I try to imagine what it feels like to be able to have all that strength, flexibility and fluidity. I question; is it still fun when you can just about do everything? I can only conclude- YES! it must be super fun! And that inspires me to go that extra 10,000 hours to get there - because, really, you will get there if you put in the hours. 

To be completely honest, I am not putting that kind of hours in. I am on my mat every day- but I can honestly say, the practice is not 100% committed towards doing the "hard" stuff- ie: the stuff I struggle with, the stuff I fear. It is fun to just flow through a practice without struggling (which is why I am certain that when you can do just about everything, it is even more fun) So mostly, I am happy to do what I can. I throw in a couple of things I struggle with at the end of the practice- mostly fear stuff- like forearm stand and handstand. I have no idea why I fear them. The fear does not come from a place of experience- because i have not had a bad fall from them. As a matter of fact, all the falls have been alright, so it is baseless, senseless fear. 

But this is what part of the yoga is about;  awakening to our habits! Especially those that cause us to be contracted and complacent; in our minds, our bodies and our spirit. And where better to start than on the mat- because really, here, the work is easiest. We learn to push our boundaries safely. We learn to be comfortable and open to trying something new. When faced with challenging postures, we learn to watch our thoughts. And the beauty of it all is that no matter how much of it you do- the lessons never stop serving us! 

Click hereenjoy! xxx

Monday, 8 October 2012

Yoga Gives Back

Completely forgot to update news about the lovely Yoga Gives Back global event that took place at the studio on the 29th September! It was sooo much fun!! It was a cosy group but lovely mix! I love it when practitioners from different classes get together! The total pledged to the event was US$500. As promised, I had pledged a percentage of class funds towards the event and am grateful to everyone who made it to class that week to make this possible! I am looking forward to news about the total global effort! 

What I love about these events is that so little is asked of us. It is not difficult to do - hold a class, attend a class, spare some lunch money? And then sit back and watch the magic that some special beings do, when they work to change life's! Small effort - big results! 

Thank you all for being a part of it! Without the small effort, the big things struggle to happen! 

Norwich Thank You Mother India Event
Proud to represent Yoga Gives Back

Monday, 24 September 2012


One of my favourite practice is reciting mantra's (preferably with a group of people) or singing kirtan. Whilst I have sung at school choirs and plays, singing is not my forte. For this reason, I never ever thought I would enjoy kirtan but after my first experience, I was hooked! 

I grew up reciting sutra's. As a kid, I never questioned them. It was like a competition of who could remember more and recite it faster. One of the punishments my brother and I often received when we have been disobedient was reciting the mantra Om Mane Padme Hum. We would have to sit infront of the alter and finish a round of the mala beads if not more. Mala beads remind me of those days (fondly) 

Why are mantra's "powerful" or special? The vibration of these words and these composition of words is the reason. It is like 'AUM'. If you chant AUM in class, you know that "feeling" and that is one (but very special) vibration. Everything vibrates - including all of our cells. All these sounds, they just enliven our vibration! 

Here are some of the (yoga) one's I have collected.  

Peace Mantra's

OM sahana vavatu sahana bhunattu
saha viryam karawavahai
maa vidvishavahai
om shanti shanti shanti

together may we be protected together may we be nourished
together may we work with great energy
may our journey together be brilliant and effective
may there be no bad feelings between us

sarveshaam svastir bhavatu,
sarveshaam shaantir bhavatu

sarveshaam poornam bhavatu,
sarveshaam mangalam bhavatu

sarve bhavantu sukhinah,
sarve santu niraamayaah

sarve bhadraani pashyantu,
maa kashchidh dukh bhaag-bhavet

om shanti shanti shanti

Let it be so ordained (bhavatu), that all the people (sarveshaam), experience well-being (svastir) ; let all the people experience peace or tranquility (shaantir). Let all the people experience wholeness and completeness (poornam) ; let them experience prosperity and auspiciousness (mangalam).
May it so happen (bhavantu) that everyone (sarve) receives happiness (sukhinah) ; let them all be saint-like (-santu) and be without disease and in good health (niraamayaah). Let them see with their own eyes (-pashyantu) the goodness of life (bhadaraani) ; And let them not (maa) contemplate in their conscious mind (kashchidh) any sorrow inducing (dukh) thoughts while they remain beneficiaries (bhavet) of good fortune (bhaag).

Lokah samastha sukhino bhavanthu

May all beings everywhere be happy and free and may my thoughts, words and actions, contribute in some way to that happiness and freedom for all

Other Mantra's mostly for learning 

Guru Satyam
Guru Jnanam
Guru Anandam
Guru Shanti

My or the teacher is truth
My teaher is knowledge
My teacher is bliss
My teacher is peace

Guru Brahma
Guru Vishnu
Guru Devo Maheshwarah
Guru Saakshaat Para-Brahma
Tasmai Shri Guruve Namah

Brahma = Supreme cosmic spirit. God of creation
Vishnu – Creator & destoyer of all existence. God of Sustenance
Eshwara – Lord of the heart
(brahma-vishnu-eshwara trinity- the 3 guna’- satva, rajas, tamas)
Guru is Shiva, Guru is the absolute Brahman incarnate.
My salutation to such a Guru who is verily the supreme one


Asatoma Sadgamaya Tamasoma jyothir gamaya
Mrutyorma amruthan gamaya            

Lead me from falsehood to truth
Lead me from darkness to light
Lead me from death to immortality

Saha Naavavatu, Saha Nau Bhunaktu
Saha Viryam Karawavahai 
Maa Vidvishaavahai
Om snati shanti shanti

May that protect us, both teacher & pupil
Together may we be nourished
Together may we work with great energy to find the truth
May we never quarrel 

OM Namah Shivāya Gurave
Satchidānanda Mūrtaye
Nishprapanchāya Shāntaya
Nirālambāya Tejase

I offer myself to the Light, the Auspicious One,
who is the True Teacher within and without,
Who assumes the forms of Reality, Consciousness, and Bliss,
Who is never absent and full of peace
Independent in existence, the vital essence of illumination

Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra
great death-conquering mantra

Om Tryambakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam
Urvarukamiva Bandhanam
Mrityor Mukshiya Mamritat

We meditate on you, third eyed one (Shiva) who is full of sweet fragrance and who nourishes human beings. Free us from disease, bondage and death

I once found this translation that made us all giggle:
May he liberate me from bondage, even as the cucumber is severed from the vine.

Surya Mantra’s

These are the 12 salutations to the sun 
If i remember right, this interpretation is from Shiva Rea

Om mitraya namah                     Salutation to the friend of all
Om ravave namah                      Salutation to the shining one
Om suryaya namah                    Salutation to he who induces activity
Om bhabave namah                  Salutation to he who illumines
Om khagaya namah                  Salutation to the one who moves through the sky
Om pusne namah                      Salutation to the giver of strength and nourishment
Om hirayagarbhaya namah      Salutation to the golden cosmic self
Om marichaye namah              Salutation to the rays of the sun
Om adityaya namah                 Salutation to the cosmic mother
Om savitre namah                    Salutation to the stimulating power of the sun
Om arkaya namah                    Salutation to he who is fit to be praised
Om bhaskaraya namah           Salutation to the illuminator

Ashtanga Mantra

Vande Gurunam Charanavinde
Sandarashita Svatma Sukhava Bodhe
Nishrayasa Jamgalikaya Mane
Samsara Halahala Mohasantiye
Abahu Purusharkaram
Sanka Chakrasi Darinam
Sahasra Shirasam Swetnam
Paranamani Patanjalim

I bow to the two lotus feet of the Guru's
which awaken insight into the happiness of pure being
which are the complete absoorption into joym the jungle pjysician
eliminating  the delusion caused by the poison of conditioned existence

I prostrate before the sage Patajali, who has thousands of radiant white heads
who has, as far as his arms, assumed a human form
holding a conch shell, a wheel and a sword
to him, i prostrate

Swasti Praja Bhyaha Pari Pala Yantam
Nya Yena Margena Mahi Mahishala
Go Brahmanebehyaha Shubhamastu Nityam
Lokhaa Samatha Sukhino Bhavanthu

May prosperity be glorified
May the world be ruled with law and justice
May divinity and knowledge be protected
May all beings everywhere be happy and free 


The spelling of the sanskrit words often vary. Translations vary a lot due to the beauty and complexity of the language (ie: it can seldom be translated directly, if at all) It is helpful as well to understand some philosophy, in order to understand some of the mantra's. I am not yet the person to translate these and may never be, as I am not well learned in the subject so these translations here have been from various sources accumulated over the years <3