Happiness is…

bouncing about and doing (couple) yoga with friends!

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Almost every month, our group of friends will celebrate birthday with each other and it often involves some kind of activities. This time, Ade wanted to go jumping at Jumpstreet. Boy, it was so much fun! We were bouncing about, throwing balls to each other, slamming balls and pretended to be frogs amongst other things.

A friend who is also into yoga did couple yoga with me (I have to crop her off because she said she look indecent in shorts). We plan to do couple yoga together in another birthday meet up. Can’t wait!

=:D

What amuses me…

After a quick yoga routine in the morning, I sat down with a bowl of homemade Indonesian kunyit congee (failed at first attempt) and my iPad to read some news. I found this amusing trend in NYT: Snowga.

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Snow + yoga = Snowga (?!) I prefer sun over snow so my first reaction was ‘no way’! But it might be fun. If I see snow end of this year, I shall challenge myself to endure the cold and strike some poses!

Portable & creative exercise

While I was at Shereton’s hotel lobby sipping soursop slushy, I saw this clip
That’s when I realise why I like yoga so much; it suits my erratic lifestyle and gives plenty of room for creativity. Now that I’m back home,  I can’t wait to get back to my morning exercise routine (or night if I don’t manage in the morn). Gili Island yoga

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While I didn’t do more than a simple tree pose by the beach at Gili Island, I went snorkeling! I wish the ocean is portable. I would so swim paddle with the lifejacket and play with fishes everyday!

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Ahh, one day I will swim without it and truly chase after turtles (more about that soon!)

=:D

When?

Last year, I wanted to achieve a deeper forward bend. So I try to touch my toes daily. This year, one of the many things I want to do is the wheel pose which is particularly difficult for me (Read: Bending By The Beach). So I arch my back and straighten my hands everyday….though it involves some (good) pain and requires a lot of effort. Everytime I do this pose, I wonder when I’ll be able to do it like Miranda Kerr. I even have this photo on my tablet’s screensaver to remind me of my exercise goal…

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Today I remember why I picked up yoga. As I’m too loyal to my work and focus too much on my goals, I need to learn to relax and understand the virtue of patience.

***

Yoga, like Life, is about the journey and not the destination.

Namaste.

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12 things I did in Penang

This might be my best trip to Penang! Three reasons: 1) I went with my favourite people in the whole world and 2) It’s for my Mommy’s 60th birthday 3) I started my journey at the right place…a bookshop!

1. Visit a local bookstore
We drove directly from KL to Gerak Budaya. I can talk a lot about this place, but I’m trying to complete this series quickly (work involves a lot of writing and I am trying to record my personal journey as quick as I can…). All I can say is I’ve bought more books that I should and, on top of opening my eyes to a whole new Penang, they led me to #2 and #3

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2. Bought handcrafted mahjong
Very much into culture, I’ve found a book about dying trades in Penang. Since I’ve always wanted to get my own set of mahjong for Chinese New Year, I thought I’ll support a local artisan and got a set of handcrafted mahjong. It’s not cheap though – RM 310 for a set!

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3. Go on a tour at the Tropical Spice Garden
Ah, this is the highlight of my journey. There exist a beautiful tropical garden in Penang. It’s so secluded, you will probably miss it but you shouldn’t! I learned so much from Cikgu, our tour guide. I used a kacip, a traditional tool, to break open a betel fruit for it’s nut! 😀 Oh, and I so wish I have an edible garden at home. What will I plant? Sawtooth coriander, misai kucing and even cinnamon tree!

Read: Asia’s Hidden Eden

tropical spice garden penang

4. Discovered nutmeg drink!
My brother introduced me to my a unique drink in penang: nutmeg drink! Nutmeg is grown in Penang since the spice trade era and still exist today. Can’t believe I didn’t bother to know this before. I love this drink so much I bought bottle of nutmeg cordial for RM 8.
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5. Had local tea/coffee and toast at an alley
I had wanted asam laksa for breakfast but Penangnites rarely open their restaurant on time. So we went to a little alley for local toast, tea and coffee. Toh Soon is a good place to go when you’re in Penang. You will have to wait though. It’s crowded!

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6. Ate the real Penang white laksa (nope, not from the packet!)
I like my kerang cooked, but the owner of the store always refuse me. He say it’s “Penang style”. But I loved it anyway!

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7. Devour my favourite asam laksa!
I have no words for the most delicious dish in the world (can you see that smile on my face?!). Ah, I need to experiment to cook asam laksa as good as this. Ok, I shall do it this April!penang laksa

8. Eat at Nasi Kandar Line Clear
Unfortunately, I don’t understand the popularity of this place. All I know is the men in my life pile up heaps of calories and cholesterol on their plate *trying not to be a wet blanket*

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9. Explore Georgetown
A UNESCO World Heritage site in Malaysia, but most Malaysian only go there for food. What a pity! I need to go back to explore more museums, old shops and artisans. It’s such a unique town!
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9. Buy some tau sar peah
My family love this. I can at most take a few pieces. Isn’t it too sweet? But I love their sesame oil.

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10. Visit Chao Rasta market
A market you can get all kinds of snacks and other things like nutmeg oil. I need to create a shopping list when I go back next.rasta

11. Have cendol!
Of course, this cannot be missed.
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12. Babysit and Do yoga with Mommy
I am elated to find our hotel offer complimentary yoga class on Sunday morning. So I took Mom for her first yoga class. So funny to see a 60 years old bending into weird position. She’s good for a first-timer though – probably thanks to her frequent practice of qigong.

Yen is a wonderful yoga instructor. She taught me some new moves and tips to improve my wheel pose  (Read: bending by the beach). I also ask how I can do headstand without the support of a wall. She told me I need to improve my core strength and I’m getting there!

Ah, Mom is so playful. She wants to climb up the little rocky hill near the beach. I was so afraid she will slip and break her bones! Sometimes, I feel like I’m babysitting her 😛

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***

To-do next

  • Discover galleries and museums
  • Visit a nutmeg plantation
  • Buy local produce: nutmeg oil, nutmeg cordial, pickled nutmeg, etc.
  • Have asam laksa at Ayer Itam
  • Attend a cooking class
  • Check out more books at Gerak Budaya and get Gareth to answer my questions (e.g One book that changed his life)
  • Visit: Colonial Penang musuem, the Church along Lorong Maktab and Peranakan museum

Oh, can’t wait to return. Hope Sam will be back then!

=:D

Read. Shake. Sing. Pose. Play.

Both Businessweek and Time featured Taylor Swift as their cover stories. He told me they might interest me so I grabbed the copies to read.

The words my eyes so fervently ingested inspired me; we share the same idols for the same reasons – Olivia Benson in Law & Order for her strength and Ina Garten for her authenticity.

Then I had a sudden impulse to listen to “Shake It Off” and pulled him to the balcony to dance with me. I sang and we shake our body to the catchy beat. And that’s after half an hour of yoga earlier. Oh, how silly, how fun!

Then I return to reading with natural rosy cheeks on my tanned and sweaty skin (I’m really happy how being healthy sometimes makes makeup unnecessary). IMG_9124-0.JPGIMG_9120.JPGIMG_9122.JPG
What a wonderful morning!

Ps: I’ll try to record simple joy like this more 🙂

Going for the perfect forward bend

One of my resolution this year is to do a perfect forward bend (Uttanasana). What do I mean by perfect? Well, it means having my head on my knees and palms on the floor.

Due to prolong sitting infront of the computer, I’m troubled with tight hamstring and could barely touch the ground with my fingers. Then, the distance from my finger to the floor seems very far. So I drew this:

IMG_2151.JPGRecently, I make myself do at least few minutes of yoga in the morning. Slowly, from an immaleable stick, I’ve turned into a bendable toy. While my head can’t touch my knee yet, but it’s getting really close!

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I find it amazing that a few minutes of yoga in the morning make such a big difference to my flexibility. It shows that, small and consistent effort can yield unimaginable results!

=:D