Friday, June 17, 2011

Lift and Lengthen. Love and Laugh.

Days 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.  

"Oh yes, you ARE eating properly."

This was Jeanne's response to her own question of "are you sure you are eating properly?", which she answered as soon as she gazed down at my plates (the operative letter is S), a few days ago at breakfast.  I had my fruit plate with papaya, watermelon and banana (with a drizzle of honey).  Next to my fruit plate was my "main course" plate with two poached eggs covered with Heins ketchup, two slices of wheat bread, a mound-full of salad greens with tomatoes and capsicums.

*note on capsicums: I make sure I have a piece each of the red, green and yellow one every time as this makes my plate look really pretty.

Next to my "main course" plate was a bowl with yogurt, squash seeds and watermelon seeds.  Oh and of course I had a glass of fresh orange juice next to my glass of warm water.  I am still trying to figure out if she saw those two lovely pieces of oat muffins that were safely hidden under tissues.  Up to this day, I am still deeply embarrassed and now she probably thinks I eat like a pig.  Lesson learned:  Let not the buffet fool you.  Smaller portions is the way to go.

So no, nutrient deficiency is not a problem, neither is hydration because I drink about 8 liters of water a day.  

Jeanne and I were discussing my back issues, which up to now, is still a bother.  

Allow me to rewind a little bit.  

I had complained about a funny pain on my back the night of day 12 and did not think anything of it.  I did my usual evening rituals and went straight to my comfortable, fluffy bed.   On the morning of the 13th day however, I woke up with my back as stiff as a board and with no feelings whatsoever on the lower part of my back.  Naturally, I panicked and made my way to the Jungle Studio to explain my sticky situation to my teachers.  I thank my lucky stars for having been excused from class that day.  They suggested to stay in the steam room to loosen things up a bit so I gave it a try and lasted only 3 minutes, with great difficulty.  Ironically, I hate being in steam rooms, even if I do find myself falling asleep in a 40 degree hot yoga room.  Not only am I claustrophobic, I also cannot take the feeling of scorching steam going up my tiny nostrils.

*Information for the ignorant:  Hot Yoga is not yoga in a steam room.  It ticks me off every time people ask me that.  Extreme pet peeve.  

Anyway, to make long story short, we found the best possible explanation for my back problem.  I have worked hard the last two years to get my spine as flexible as it is today.  Backbends, standing bows, floor bows and all of those that are so beautiful for your spine.  Unfortunately, it seems that I was relying too much on flexibility that I had neglected spine strength and its wonders.  I tried to work new back muscles to apply what I have been learning at Yoga Lab and received an annoying lumbar strain in the process. 

It is not a pretty sight and the difficulty of having to do daily routines are of a much higher level, as compared to dealing with sprained ankles or strained knees or anything of that sort.  Try wiping you bum with a strained back, after you have gone poo-poo.  You will see what I mean.  It also makes me feel like such a wuss, having complained about that little knee strain I got a week ago, which is doing perfectly well, as of today.  Thank you, God.

On the second day, I decided to listen to Jeanne and gave Sara a visit at the Detox Center upstairs to get my back rubbed out.  She is their Australian (I think she is an Aussie but I may be wrong) remedial therapist who has hands, a face and a voice like that of an angel's.  She did wonders, not only for for my back, but also for the rest of my body and soul as well.  That hour and a half of therapy was probably the ONLY hour and a half of total rest that I had in those two days.  I would not be surprised if I had fallen asleep, snoring, as she was lengthening and stretching out my spine.  The nights before then were rough.  It was a struggle to find a comfortable sleeping position without having to worry about my back.  

Thank you, Sara.  I will never forget you.  Please continue to heal people with your touch.  The world needs more people like you.  

My friends really are the best.  For Yoga Lab, they helped me bring a chair in so I can be comfortable in the 2 hours of sitting down.  You guys are the sweetest.  And thank you for the blocks, my sweet Teacher Pim, even if they made me look like a midget. 

No shower, little sleep and looking like a jungle woman again.

My back really bothered me that day that it had slipped my mind to shower in the morning and I had gone to class in my pajamas.  Another one of those flattering moments, captured on a happy photo souvenir.  Thank you, Eve.

We finally had a chance to teach parts of a real class that day.  I think I did ok.  I like teaching Half Moon, but I probably like teaching it because I am confident I have the words safely stored in my brain.   I have sung it out too many times in the shower.  Again, this is not a pretty sight (or sound for that matter).  I was allowed to say my dialogue and just stay in the studio to observe how class went.  It was fun.  I snapped some photos too.

Getting ready for our first real class practice teaching.

Volting in.

Harreson! Lock both knees! Point your left toes back towards your face!

No corrections here.

I love backbends and I love Doris Kemptner!

Second set, camel.


I found it very fitting to have a day off after all that.  Free day started the night of Tuesday and since I was not in the best condition to be going to town with the rest, I stayed in and decided to make use of the movie room.  Eva, Bree and I watched Love Actually and found ourselves in silly tears at the middle of the movie.  Happy tears.  Girly tears when we watch those sappy love movies.  

Doris and I after dinner.

Getting ready for movie night, with some take away chocolate from the Kitchen.

Movie night with Eva.

Beach day last Wednesday was a perfect day.  I was able to rest my body and my mind, get a massage at Cheong Mon to release all that tension in my lower back, study dialogue with Julie and Eva, eat my Som Tam, and have a lot of bonding time with the girls at the beach.  It was a lovely.  I needed that so much and I savored every moment of it.

My new friend and I.  I named him George.

Doing dialogue at the beach.  Such good girls!

Group photo!

Happy feet.

Day 16 swung by way too fast, that details of this day have flown out the window and have gone straight to Koh Pha Ngan, ahead of me.  I just remember having really good lunch of fruits, vegetables and this beautiful fish that I cannot stop thinking of now.

Teacher John and Megan at Yoga Lab.

Another one of those beautiful Samui evenings.

Day 17 was just glorious.  Despite of the first 3 hours of my day being stuck in bed, sulking a great deal, the rest of the day was just perfect.  I did not want it to end.  Ever.  It was a sweet and wonderful surprise for all of us from our teachers.  I am dying inside to share but I would rather not spoil this for the future teacher trainees. 

Just know that I am extremely thankful for today and I have gathered so much strength, being in my beautiful element, not to mention the wonders that it did for my back.  Mine is a refreshed and recharged soul all over again.  Thank you, my dearest Jeanne, Pim, John and Harreson.  You guys made my day.  As Bree Veins would put it, it was a day of happy mouth-fulls of teeth (referring to a day of all smiles).

Happy day brings big and happy toothy smiles!

Please know though, that I took so much time getting ready for my “International Day” and I am slightly disappointed that all my efforts in learning Module 10 in Filipino have gone to waste.  For someone who failed her Filipino classes back in grade school and high school,  learning this module in THIS language is no joke.  Not a laughing matter, I am telling you.

Random thoughts from the last few days that I want to share with you:

Another affirmation that pheromones really do exist and are running strong in this place:  10 girls from training are on their moon this week, including myself.  It is not even suppose to be here until another 10 days.

Being a yoga teacher means you know how to multitask.  Now I do not wonder why there are more lady yoga teachers out there than men.  For those gentlemen who are such awesome teachers, hands down! (flat on the mat, spreading fingers wide onto the floor, keeping your arms straight)

There is a first time for everything.  I have never sent postcards to anyone before and I figured now would be a good time to start since I am in such a beautiful place and I want others to be green with envy.  I bought some at 711 today for 5 baht each and I will send them out tomorrow morning to loved ones back home.

Green is the color of the Anahata Chakra and it still is my favorite and probably the most open Charka in my body. 

I made a mistake with my laundry today.  I had a laundry bag full of freshly laundered clothes that came in a day ago.  I made a mistake and dumped two soiled shirts into the clean bag earlier this morning and sent that bag to the laundry.  What a little genius, this one is!  Lesson learned:  Focus!  Never lose focus, even if it is just laundry.

What was not suppose to go to laundry today.

Manduka’s reminder for everyone today:

“Practice curiosity - the singular cure for a ho-hum day.  Wonder what happens when we point our toes, our spine, our hearts in a different direction.”

We open new possibilities when we point our hearts in a different direction.  Always reach forward, always reach out.  Thank you, Manduka, for reminding me of this today.

Just to share, I received the sweetest goodnight message from my new friend at training tonight:  

“Awesome soul you have, you are inspiring! Only angels can fly with you. XOXO.”

Thank you for such a sweet note, Philippe.  All of you are the angels flying with me in this one!  I will remember your note as this is definitely something that will keep me going the next couple of days.  We are all going to do great.  I know it!  I can feel it in my bones.

So goodnight now, my Samui family!  Rest well and have the sweetest of dreams.  We have bigger days ahead.  Tomorrow is going to be awesome, and my back is going to be better. 



  1. I really enjoyed reading this post. I chuckled with you pretty-ing up your plate with capsicums :)

    I hope your back's better!

  2. I want your anklet! haha oh, and hope your back has all healed up! Post about partying it up in Kho Phangan next? ;)