Dear Yoga Virgin: An open letter to anyone who’s about to join a yoga class for the first time

Dear Yoga Virgin,

Namaste! First of all, let me congratulate you for finally coming inside the confines of a yoga studio for the first time. You may not realize this today, or not even in your next few days of yoga practice, but you are doing yourself a favor. You see, yoga has long been practiced in Ancient India as a means to reach one’s enlightenment. Sure, that image of yoga has been overshadowed by Western ads featuring bikini yoginis in wildly impossible contortions, but I hope that as you step onto the yoga mat, you keep an open mind and an open heart about the experience that is about to unfold.

Before we continue, please switch your phone to Silent Mode and keep it inside your bag. Most likely, you won’t need it during class. You won’t even get time to check it.

Since this is your first time (and you’re probably in the gym about to take a Flow class, or in a studio waiting for your Ashtanga teacher), let me tell you in a very calm, yoga teacher voice, it will be the worst 60 (or 90) minutes of your life as you know it. Or at least that’s how I felt during my first time (because really, this is just me sharing what it was like for me and I assume it’s going to be the same for everyone). Again I ask you to keep an open mind and an open heart, and if possible, a straight spine during meditation (unless you have kyphosis or some other spinal condition). Exaggeration aside, yoga is probably harder than you initially imagined. It’s not just stretching limbs, you know. In a full yoga asana class, we stretch, we bend, we lift, we balance, we do push-ups and one-handed planks, we stand on our heads, and sometimes we take a fun ride using our arms. It’s a full body workout and you will use muscles you’ve been neglecting for years. You will have to execute some of the most awkward postures you’ve ever done, and there will be strange sensations you’ve never felt before. Suffice it to say that you will feel really sore the next day. Honor your body at all times. If your body is telling you to rest, please do so. If your body is telling you that it has reached a certain limit (of flexibility or stamina perhaps), listen to your body and don’t push beyond that.

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Credits to the owner of this image

Which brings me to my next point: Whatever happens in class (unless it’s an emergency), please, please, please (and I say this as a teacher), stay on the mat until the final Savasana (that little nap time at the end of class). If you have already endured the rigorous Sun Salutations, odds are you’ve endured the hardest, most tiring part of class, and you are well on your way to making peace with the asanas. And if you’re feeling really uneasy, you can always rest on your mat in a seated or lying down position. Don’t get me wrong, if you step out of the class, no one is going to judge you. But it’s distracting for other practitioners to see someone walk out pre-Savasana. It makes your teacher wonder if he/she did something wrong to be walked out on. Don’t worry though. He/she will move on the second you close the door and forget it ever happened. No judging, no explanations required. If you absolutely must leave before class ends, please lie down in Savasana for a minute or two before heading out. I promise you, that exact moment when you open your eyes after Savasana is probably one of the best feelings in the world that it actually offsets any of the initial physical awkwardness that you felt during the class. Of course, the reason why you feel such peace after Savasana was those tiny awkward moments you had to endure, and the relief knowing that you’ve already survived that.

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Credits to the owner of this image

I’m not aware of your intentions in coming to this particular yoga class. If you’re like me, you’re probably here just to try it out, not knowing what to expect, and completely devoid of any intention. You may or may not like your first experience. If you don’t enjoy the first time, I urge you to try at least two more times before you decide whether or not yoga is for you (I’m sure it is).

The yogic journey usually starts with working on the asanas (or postures). But in time, if you give yourself the chance, you will find out that yoga has a deeper purpose than that, and physical fitness is only one of the innumerable benefits of yoga. I’m not gonna dwell on that for now because your class is about to start and I don’t want to overwhelm you.

So just try to have fun and try to see past the perfection of your alignment. You are already beautiful as you are. Embrace yourself fully, for all your strengths and all your weaknesses, and you will breeze through this practice. Don’t pressure yourself if an asana seems too difficult. Just laugh at it and do what your body can handle. 🙂

Until here. Have a safe and meaningful practice.

Hari om,
Leona

7 Ways Yoga Made My Life Better

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1. I found a job I actually love.
Money or no money, I love teaching yoga. Yes. I am a teacher. I claim it. Being a yoga teacher gives me the emotional fulfillment of watching someone grow and learn, but without the hassles of grading papers. 😉 Teaching is also a wonderful learning process. Every once in a while, people notice the methodology and I am met with compliments or criticism. Either way, I learn which methods are effective and I find out on which areas I need to improve. I learn, I earn, and I am thankful. Being a yoga teacher, I always try to be mindful of my words and actions. I try (not always successfully) to adhere to yogic principles of Yama and I always hope in my heart that my students do the same.

2. I no longer slouch (sometimes).
Yoga improves the posture. That’s inarguable. In fact, one of the eight limbs of yoga is asana, which literally means ‘posture’ in Sanskrit. Since I started practicing asanas, I’ve engaged muscles I never even knew existed. “Sthira sukham asanam” – asanas are steady and comfortable. And somehow, a level of comfort resonates in me when I do certain postures. I’ve heard my teachers (and myself) say “lengthen your spine”, “widen your shoulders”, and “open your chest” more times than any other phrase in the world that these words have already been implanted in my subconscious. And what the mind says, the body follows. That’s why yoga is so effective. It doesn’t just give your body a work-out, it gives your mind a work-in too.

3. I have established a deeper connection with myself.
One of my favorite things that my teacher says is, “Make a conscious effort to [insert specific verb of action here]…” Yoga is also about awakening your consciousness in a whole deeper level, and that usually starts with the breath. I notice that when my teacher says “close your eyes, take deep breaths, acknowledge your emotions, and let them go”, and if I do exactly that, that’s when my mind becomes hyperactive. That’s when I come to realizations about the way I’ve been living my life, treating others, treating myself. Those are the moments I’m grateful for. Those few moments before I let my thoughts go give me a chance to think about wanting to become a better person.

4. I make a conscious effort to take things in moderation.
Should I eat this cake? Probably not but I can take a few bites. Am I allowed to have wine? Of course. A glass or two would suffice. I don’t necessarily have to deprive myself just because I practice yoga. But it is very important that I become conscious of my habits before I can even indulge. Can I do Bakasana (Crow Pose) 10 times in a row? No, that’s how people rip their shoulders. Maybe try 2-3 times and then rest.

5. My patience has tremendously increased.
The thing about yoga asanas is that more often than not, they are very awkward to execute in the beginning. You have to deal with your limbs flaying out or bent in a way that doesn’t really give comfort if you’re a beginner. But these moments of discomfort have been my defining moments. Whether it was holding a Warrior 2 for over a minute daily, or slowly working my way towards a wall-less Headstand for nearly two years now, or painstaikingly engaging my core so my Crow can take flight, something in the awkwardness has changed me. Now I can (try to) breathe into the discomfort and know with mild certainty that my mind will not give in to the stress. And when your mind is calm and clear, you can handle anything with grace even under pressure.

6. I have forgiven those who wronged me.
I forgive the security guard who won’t let me park in front of his establishment (even though easement is public property and anyone is legally allowed to park there), because he is only doing his job. I forgive my friend who ditched me when I needed her most, because I’m not the only person in her life and I should be fine with that. I forgive the girl who stole my ex-boyfriend, because I’m also thankful that she did. I forgive the boy who broke my heart, because then I learned what to look for in a partner. I forgive the guy who commented offensive things about rape and sexism, and pray that violent things don’t happen to his sister or daughter. I forgive the girl who talks about me behind my back, or the guy who thinks I’m full of shit. Life is too short to be angry all the time. As the cliché goes: “You’re in my life for a reason – either you’re a blessing or a lesson.” I hope everyone extends the same understanding, or at least tolerance, for people who have different cirumstances and views in life.

7. I have forgiven myself for being human.
It is an unfortunate inevitability that humans are inclined to err. And this is something I accept about myself now. I won’t go so far as to say that I purposefully make mistakes, but I have allowed myself that certain margin of error wherein I can just let things pass and not give myself shit for days on end.


Join us for yoga classes at Bodhi Yoga Center GenSan! And check out our upcoming yoga teacher training courses.


Questions to Yoga Teachers from Non-Yoga People…and My Response

1. Can you teach me yoga…for free?

Yes, we can actually do that. Reaching out and sharing the gift of yoga to as many people as possible gives tremendous joy in our hearts. We would love to teach for free. It is our social responsibility to promote yoga and help others in whatever way we can. Which is why we have KARMA YOGA (usually for free) sessions. You know what we can’t do? Teach you IN PRIVATE for free AT YOUR OWN TERMS just because you feel like learning yoga isn’t worth paying for.

While we do love conducting free classes for groups who really need it, or for promoting wellness, teaching is also our means of earning a living. So we try to structure our free classes on timeslots that are available to a wider audience and for a demographic who would most likely respond positively.

Please keep in mind that if we have to give a free session, we would have to sacrifice time that we could have otherwise used to place food on our table (so ask us nicely). You wouldn’t want your teacher to go hungry, would you? Unless it’s for Karva Chauth 🙂 (Maybe if you ask a little more nicely…)

Also, as teachers, we need to constantly update our knowledge and improve our skills. This requires rigorous training programs that are usually not available in our own city. These programs do not come cheap. They most certainly don’t come for free. We have to pay for workshops, teacher training, books, and all other living expenses incidental to joining these programs just so we could provide quality service and keep our students safe.

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It ain’t easy ~

Please consider all these things the next time you ask us to teach you for free. And again, ask us nicely. 🙂

2. I don’t need yoga because I’m already flexible / I am not flexible enough for yoga

Improved flexibility is one of the many benefits of yoga. But what a lot of non-yoga people don’t realize is that there is so much more to yoga than just being flexible. Asanas (postures) alone can improve your balance, stability and coordination. Asanas will challenge your strength and activate muscles you never knew you had. Apart from asanas, you will also learn how to control your breath, which will subsequently lead you to control your thoughts and your responses to those thoughts. Yoga is more than just improving the physical body. Yoga is a union of the body with breath, of mind with soul.

3. Yoga is for girls / Yoga is gay

HAHAHA! I can’t help but laugh every time I hear that because it usually comes from a blatantly chauvinistic ignorant person who probably couldn’t even hold a chaturanga for 5 full breaths if his life depended on it. I wouldn’t even try to convince that person to try yoga because 1. he doesn’t have the heart and strength for it and 2. he’s a blatantly chauvinistic ignorant person and frankly, at the risk of sounding egotistical, who wants to associate with that? Hahahaha.

Do you even lift, bro?

Do you even lift, bro?

4. I can’t do what you do in your photos!

Don’t worry, neither could I before I started my practice. Everyone has to start somewhere. What you see in my photos isn’t the starting point. Not even close.

5. Yoga is against my religious beliefs

WHAT?! What religion is against non-violence, truthfulness, non-covetousness, purity, and non-greed?!?! Those are the 5 universal principles every yogi tries to follow.

6. Do you actually sweat in yoga?

I live in the Philippines. I sweat even when I don’t move. If you live in tropical regions where the climate is generally hot and humid, I would say “Yes, you actually sweat all your fluids out in yoga”. But if you lived somewhere cold, I guess you would need an intense Power Vinyasa sesh or a hot room for gentler classes, to break a sweat. So, this one depends on where you are and what season it is.

7. Yoga is just stretching…

I have read a fair amount of literature about yoga. I try to study yoga from its roots. And I can tell you with almost a full certainty that yoga is not JUST stretching. But yeah, stretching is a good place to start.

8. Does yoga make you lose weight?

No. Diet, exercise and discipline make you lose weight. Yoga just happens to be a discipline that somewhat requires moderate eating and light exercise. Also, I just happened to lose 20 pounds since I started practicing yoga. It could have been just a happy coincidence.

Life After Rishikesh

 

Taking all the energy I can so I can share the vibes at home

Taking all the energy I can so I can share the vibes at home

It’s easy to tell yourself (and others) that you have found inner peace when you live in a world where people literally seek the same thing as you. When you find yourself in the company of people who radiate certain positive energies, the vibrations tend to rub on you too. When the strangers you meet on the street smile at you for no other reason than to greet you “Namaste!”, those smiles become infectious. You hold those smiles in your heart for as long as you can, knowing you won’t meet strangers as jolly and friendly as they are anywhere else in the world.

Vinyasa Yoga School batch October 2014

Vinyasa Yoga School batch October 2014

When you meet authentic yogis – not those who merely practice asanas, post yoga selfies on social media and proclaim themselves “yogis” (yep, I’m guilty), but those who actually seek to become higher versions of themselves – you know you are in their presence almost immediately when you notice their lack of ego. You recognize their compassionate hearts. When you try to learn an art or a science from people who really embody what they teach, you know the knowledge they are trying to impart something authentic. They are sharing a piece of themselves to you, and you take in every piece and try to protect each one by practicing and teaching others to the best of your ability.

[I would like to thank my teachers in Vinyasa Yoga School. You’ve all been such a wonderful inspiration.]

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(L-R) Harsh – Mantra Teacher, Helen, Joan, Leona, Mahesh – Yoga Philosophy + Therapy Teacher, Kusshal – Yoga Anatomy and Physiology + Yoga Business Administration Teacher , Vikas – Vinyasa Teacher

It’s easy to drastically change your lifestyle when you have no other option. When you’re stuck in a city where your normal diet is no longer the norm, when the food you wouldn’t even consider eating back in your own home is the only thing that’s available to you, then you not only reconsider, but you actually partake. Not only that, you begin to enjoy what you have and wish it would always be your norm.

Celebrating my 25th birthday by being sung to in 7 different languages. Thank you, classmates and teachers for making my birthday memorable!

Celebrating my 25th birthday by being sung to in 7 different languages. Thank you, classmates and teachers for making my birthday memorable!

It is so easy to tell yourself and others that you are genuinely happy with your new life. You feel at peace and you love what you have when the world around you is very much conducive to peace and love. The only moments you dread in this new life of yours are the few short hours in the early morning when the temperature drops below what you’re accustomed to. But even with that, nothing can cool the new flame of joy in your heart. Of course you know deep within, this couldn’t be your new life. It’s a temporary retreat from the world you’ve been so familiar with, the world in which you were brought up, the world which happens to be your home, the world you need to come back to in a few short weeks.

Ready for river rafting at the Ganges. Not exactly waterproof. But I had an amazing experience.

Ready for river rafting at the Ganges. Not exactly waterproof. But I had an amazing experience.

What’s difficult is returning to your separate reality and see that the world you were used to, the one where you come from, the one where you’re supposed to thrive, hasn’t changed. You come back thinking you were supposedly a new person, only to find the same hustle and bustle when you come home. That’s the real challenge – to maintain calm and composure, and to keep a positive perspective in life in the midst of all surrounding tension and turmoil. That’s when you know if your retreat really made an impact on your life – if you still have that joy in your heart despite the external situation. And that’s when you become thankful that of all the new asanas and mantras and philosophies you have learned, letting go of attachment was one (and mostly emphasized) of them.

Thank you, Rishikesh!

Thank you, Rishikesh!

Coming to Rishikesh, as with most decisions I make in life, was deemed unnecessary by a lot of people in my life. But I’ve learned that sometimes you need to go seemingly insane and make unconventional and irrational choices so you can regain your focus again. Sometimes all you need is to completely overhaul your surroundings to realize that it doesn’t matter what’s going on outside. What you need, and what you hope to become, has always been inside you. Thank you, Rishikesh, for showing me exactly that. I will forever be grateful.

Quiet Your Mind

If only for a minute. Or ten. Detach yourself from your senses. Enjoy the sense of calm you inevitably feel when you worry about nothing. Close your eyes. Take long, deep breaths. Do away with your emotions. And just let go.

Let’s Get Certified!

I often come across articles on the Internet criticizing how numerous yoga practitioners these days are getting some sort of teaching certification. These write-ups question the necessity of acquiring such credentials at the early stage of one’s practice. There is now a growing concern about inevitably having inexperienced, unqualified “certified” teachers in our midst if this trend continues.

This attitude of berating our peers is so un-yogi-like. I feel that as a yoga community, all of us should inspire and encourage the growth of everyone as an individual. It is not for any of us to say who qualifies or not to obtain an RYT-200, because people doing this have their own, valid reasons. Some people opt for this training to deepen their personal practice and have no intention of teaching at all. Some experienced practitioners/teachers go through this “bureaucracy” because it’s the only way for them to further their careers. And there are those who, like me, would like to test the waters of teaching.

My take on teaching asanas started early this year when my mentor, Helen, offered specialized teacher training to the next set of Marichi Yoga House teachers. I fell in love with teaching almost immediately. Giving cues, aligning students, asking them to let go of their baggage and their ego before coming into their mats just gave me a sense of joy that not even receiving snide looks and remarks from some students could put me off. My practice was relatively young (and it still is), since I only started doing asanas in April 2013. But my God, how my life has changed (particularly my attitude). With yoga, I found my peace. And I would like to share it to anyone who would listen. My practice may be young, but I believe my heart is in the right place. And so I do what I can to deepen my practice and develop my teaching skills.

With my mentor, Helen of Marichi Yoga House, behind me.

With my mentor, Helen of Marichi Yoga House, behind me.

While none of us may have a say on who gets “certified”, we do have a say on who we let into our lives. We can always choose which teachers we want to take classes from. I know that “certified” does not necessarily equate to “qualified”, but I would like to believe that anyone who has the heart to teach yoga would never allow themselves to compromise the growth and safety of their students. Current and aspiring yoga teachers do their maximum best to give the students their time and money’s worth for the experience.

Practice teaching with the faculty of Marichi Yoga House

Practice teaching with the faculty of Marichi Yoga House

But let us keep in mind that as individuals, we should not solely rely on the teacher for our ultimate growth in the practice. Although it is true that a knowledgeable teacher must be able to guide us safely through our asanas and pranayamas, we cannot possibly depend our lives on them. For one, teachers are also human beings. They DO NOT know EVERYTHING. But they do know how to keep you safe. Safety is crucial. Having said that, we must also do our part as students to ensure that our practice remains a safe, sacred and solid personal experience.

So, instead of bashing our aspiring/current teachers, let us offer them our constructive criticism instead. They will greatly appreciate honesty as it will help their growth as teachers too. Negativity only leads to hostility. Let us be kind and patient with them as they are with us. And don’t get too bothered with the fact that everyone (and their sister) is getting certified! Let it go! 😀

What is Yoga? No, really.

Before I had my own yoga practice, two things would come to my mind when I hear the word “Yoga”. First is a vivid image of a woman with her limbs over and around her head. Second, a seated man crossing his legs and levitating. Haha! Sorry. I think it’s safe to assume we’ve all had our misconceptions about this ancient practice.

But what REALLY is YOGA? In the modern world of scientific fitness programs, yoga is an exercise performed by contorting your body into a pretzel like the Lululemon ladies of Instagram. Right? Well, not exactly.
asanas

Yoga is not just about doing these things. Asanas or postures are only one aspect of Yoga.

This is how Google defines yoga:
yo·ga
ˈyōgə/
noun
noun: yoga
  1. a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.
Origin
Sanskrit, literally ‘union.’
If you’ve ever tried a yoga class even once in your life, you would know that there is much more to yoga than acrobatics. Doing a set of postures, as cued by the instructor, is only one of the aspects of yoga. Personally, I like the challenge of withdrawing my senses from my surroundings in order to concentrate on breathing and posture.
According to the Hindu sage, Patanjali, in his Yoga Sutras, Yoga actually has 8 aspects. The Eight Limbs of Yoga are:
  1. Yama – deals with ethical standards and focuses on behavior. The five Yama’s are:
    • Ahimsa – non-violence
    • Satya – truthfulness
    • Asteya – non-stealing
    • Brahmacharya – continence
    • Aparigraha – non-covetousness
  2. Niyama – has to do with self-discipline and spiritual practices. The five Niyama’s are:
    • Saucha – cleanliness
    • Samtosa – contentment
    • Tapas – asceticism, or severe self-discipline for spiritual growth
    • Svadhyaya – study of the scriptures and of one’s self
    • Isvara pradnidhana – surrender to God
  3. Asana – the postures performed to care for and strengthen the body
  4. Pranayama – control of breath
  5. Pratyahara – detachment from the senses in order to direct awareness towards the self
  6. Dharana – concentration of the mind
  7. Dhyana – meditation or uninterrupted concentration
  8. Samadhi – a state of ecstasy as a result of a profound connection with the self and the Divine. Samadhi can only be experienced through constantly treading the yogic path

Each of these limbs of yoga warrants its own blog post, and I will exhaust all efforts to comply. But for now, let me conclude the Yoga Sutras by saying what we know about yoga is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to being a Yogi than just being able to hold an inversion or a deep stretch. You may show up on your yoga mat every day, but if you still wear your ego like a badge of honor, then you will still have failed at being a yogi.

Yoga is a way of life. It’s not just a weight-loss program. It’s the whole nine yards. With how I understand it, it’s completely surrendering to something bigger than yourself. It is adhering to the laws of this land in order to coexist with other beings in perfect harmony. It’s being aware of our thoughts, words, and actions at all times to ensure we do not hurt ourselves and others. It’s taking care of our physical being, knowing that the body is the instrument to reach our own divinities. It’s not giving in to temptations of greed and indolence. It’s focusing our mind to achieve our goals. It’s directing our energies into great and positive things.

But of course, these things are easier said than done. I can pour my heart out in detailing how yoga changed my life, but if we are not open to the idea, everything will still seem like utter bullshit. You see, yoga may not be for everyone. Yoga is for the one who has set an intention to become a higher version of him/herself.

There are so many words to define what Yoga is and who the true Yogis are, but in the end, it’s the experience of yoga that truly matters. It is that part of you that you lose when you start to take your practice seriously. You will (hopefully) lose your anger, your arrogance, your ego. It is that lightweight feeling deep in your core that tells you you’ve let go of the negative, unhealthful trivialities in life. It’s knowing that there is something/someone out there that is bigger than yourself, and that everything will be okay. It is being able to laugh at yourself for the times that you have fallen. It is knowing that you will fall again and again, and being okay with it. It is knowing peace. That’s what yoga does to you. And if you’re still not doing yoga, that’s what you’re missing out on.

Yoga for Yolanda - a fundraiser for the benefit of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Central Philippines. A true yogi would not think twice about helping a soul in need.

Yoga for Yolanda – a fundraiser for the benefit of the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in Central Philippines. A true yogi would not think twice about helping a soul in need. Image from the Facebook page of Marichi Yoga House.

* The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is just one among so many ancient texts about yoga. Modern texts on yoga are even more numerous. It is not my intention to stir a debate on which text is the most accurate. This is a personal blog, not an academic one. *

So, India

After an eternity of begging my father to allow me one final trip abroad before my 25th birthday, he finally agreed to let me take my 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in no less than the world’s yoga capital itself – Rishikesh, Uttarkhand, India – a city on the foot of the Himalayas, along the banks of the sacred Ganges River.

I’ll be going on this trip with my mentor, Helen Prieto. I am beyond stoked! A little bit scared, but excited, nonetheless. I’ve made all my travel arrangements and now I’m just counting the days (errr, weeks) until my flight to Delhi.

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To Fly or Not To Fly?

How many Yoga asanas are named after birds? Let me name those I know:

  1. Eagle
  2. Crow
  3. Crane
  4. Peacock
  5. Swan
  6. Rooster
  7. Pigeon
  8. and my personal favorite, Bird of Paradise
Seated Bird of Paradise

Seated Bird of Paradise

When we see birds flying, we take for granted their grace as they glide across the empty sky. What we fail to see is the constant, tiring flapping of their wings when they tread against the gust of wind. We don’t hear them complain about the struggles of flying. And when we see them at rest, they proudly hold their heads up and chests out (unless they’re eating, which is the only time we see them bow down), as if they had not just flown 50 kilometers in the vastness of the sky.

So many of us (myself included) want to be (or at least experience being) free as birds in flight, thinking only of the grace and sophistication of these tireless creatures. We never consider the consequences of being free. Then again, we only want things we think are somehow beneficial. When we truly want something, do we let the negative side effects bother us during the time we struggle to attain it? I guess not. It’s human nature to only want to see the good things. That is why 80% of the time, we plan only positive outcomes. We fail to consider contingencies, especially when it’s only for the mundane occurrences of life like moving across the country for college, or accepting a job half-heartedly, or learning a craft just for the heck of it.

See, unlike birds, most of us humans don’t have clear intentions to justify our actions. We have our selfish, temporary reasons. And when the time comes for us to analyze why we truly want what we want, we cannot give a definitive response, even to ourselves. See, when birds fly south for the winter, they have a reason: SURVIVAL. Humans are more complicated. We are already surviving, yet we want something more. The sad part is, most of the time, we do not know what we want exactly. We just know we want more.

Looking at my life, I guess I already have my little piece of paradise. I have a solid support system in the form of a loving family and a small but reliable set of friends. I have no material need that remains unfulfilled. And I am walking forward with the life I choose. Truly, I have no more wants – except to flap my wings.

Bird of Paradise

Bird of Paradise

Of Plans, Plants, and Other Rants

Plans

I don’t believe in creating a bucket list. For one, it’s a list of things a person is supposed to be doing before he/she dies. It’s vague for me how a bucket list works (is it mandatory or optional? how do you finance it?)

Since I’ve spent most of my adult life with a day planner (or a daily to-do list), a bucket list should be second nature for me. But, no. I cannot have my life’s goals depend on a LIST. A list is simply not enough. I need details, bullet points, lists within lists within a list. I need a point of reference, commencement and culmination dates. I need financial mapping, where to get money from and where to spend it on (consider monetary logistics, because money is a good gauge of whether or not I can push something through). OCD aside, I need my life’s goals to be laid out in a manner I can work with and work on.

Yes, sometimes my head is so far down my ass I see wonderful things in all its glorious tightness. But after fucking messing up so many times, I think people will understand if I have developed a natural disinclination to allow things to fall apart. So, I control what I can. But it’s a depressing fact of life that some things are ever so naturally beyond my control (hence, I practice yoga asanas and meditation).

So anyway… Since I started practicing yoga about a year ago, I’ve built my life around a premise that in whatever I do, it must have some sort of benefit to my body, my environment, my economy. OKay, so that’s another gauge. I’m not making any coherent sense, but allow me to ramble on…

Plants

I remember in college when I told myself I’d turn vegetarian by age 25. I never actually meant it then. But now that I’m a mere 6 months away from the silver age, it’s starting to make more sense. I better put more thought to this. And more greens.

And other rants

  • Pet peeve: uncertainty in all its forms and inconveniences. Had a recent run in with this. I try not to dwell on it. I try. I do.
  • Yoga: Not really a rant but I’ve been making great progress, using my old stiff self as basis of comparison. Got a new Manduka Pro Drift mat. Slippery when new, awesome when (forcefully) broken in.
  • Income: I need more. I’m not lazy. But I just need to divert my attention to income generating activities. Gotta pay the bills somehow. Hmmmn.
  • Love: I love India. What can I say. I haven’t been to, but my idea of a spiritual pilgrimage is to spend at least a month in an ashram in Rishikesh, Uttarkhand. Wake up and smell the curry! I want to eat, pray, fornicate LOVE. 😀
  • I’m in dire need of cohesion. Seriously.