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.