Who am I? What is my purpose? These are some of the questions I often ask myself. I am like everyone else; I don't have all the answers but I know I’ve been placed on this earth to ask questions, to seek truth, goodness and meaning. I started this site to share what I have experienced and learnt so far on my quest to live life to the fullest. I believe a “healthy ever after” life begins with a healthy relationship with one self. ‘Cause when you love yourself and find your self, you unlock the secret to a happier life.
A lot has happened in the past 12 years. Soon after graduating from college, I dove head on into the business world, founding The Clearwater Group with my husband. We've had 3 kids since then and somehow managed to keep a full head of hair (some which have turned grey) even while going through some pretty rocky patches in our marriage (Unless you live in a Disney fairytale, all marriages need work!). Life can get pretty overwhelming and at many points in my life I felt like I was drowning.
I reached out to therapists, life coaches, psychiatrists (I had maniac postpartum depression after having Jora) my mother etc. but nothing helped until I found- Yoga.
My journey with Yoga started 7 years ago when suffering from lower back pain caused by multiple slipped discs (7 to be exact). I recall telling my yoga teacher, Lay Gaik, that all I wanted was to bend down and touch my toes and to find some relief from the nagging lower back pain. Soon after, I fell in love with the practice and discovered that not only it was good for my physical body, it also offered my mind a sense of peace and grounding. I realised that on the days that I practised yoga, the quality of my day would be like:
My love of the practice grew, so in 2016 I decided to dive in further, to truly understand "what is yoga?" I reached out to a teacher, Sarah, whom I knew from visiting Bali in 2013. I did a week of prenatal yoga with her (I was 10 weeks pregnant with Jaan. I also think Jaan is such a happy baby cuz I did so much Yoga when he was inside me!) and she was the first teacher who taught me how to meditate.
To be honest I didn't like meditation at the beginning. I never saw myself as someone who could sit and meditate but Sarah made meditation easy by guiding me through it. I absolutely loved the way she taught, and thus reached out to Sarah for her advice on a suitable Teacher training. She pointed me towards Tara Judelle.
Long story short, I went to Bali for a month in September 2016 and underwent a month of intense training. It was mentally, emotionally and physically challenging. The training evoked several hidden demons, the biggest being waking up at 5:45 every morning (I'm so not a morning person).
Tara's Yoga training didn’t just prepare me to be a teacher, but it also shifted my perspective on life. To be honest, I was only hoping to master Srisasana (Head stand pose) and maybe lose a few pounds! Spoiler: None of that happened, no headstand and scale did not budge. But, I found my truest self.
We all know the concept of loving ourselves. That you must love yourself first before you love another. But what does it truly entail and how do you really practice it? Many years ago, a wise friend who's also a psychologist told me, “In order to love yourself you first need to forgive yourself.” It wasn’t until the training that I finally 'felt' the idea of forgiving yourself (there's a difference with 'knowing' and 'feeling').
The first step to forgiving yourself is to stop judging yourself. Stop the negative self talk, that’s what your haters are for! Instead, let go of the expectation of who you think you should be and just simply Be who you are.
I remember leaving the training feeling absolutely complete and whole. My body was my home and I had a new found love and acceptance for myself that I had never felt before. I now realise that yoga is not about a good sweat and stretch but about coming home to yourself and that our asana practise is merely a reflection of this quality. Life coaches and therapists don't heal you. YOU heal you!
It takes mindfulness to practice self love and the best way to cultivate mindfulness is through meditation. Meditation is not a religious practice - anyone can practice meditation and it doesn't require any special skill set. All it takes is your willingness to close your eyes, sit and be still. There are plenty of apps that you can download to guide you into meditation and one of my favourite app is Headspace. (Alternatively, you can join me every Sunday at 9:30am where I begin my yoga class with a short meditation, and it's almost free!)
My yoga teacher training was an awakening for me. I now have an urgency to live my life because I know we are not here for long, nothing matters more than to be happy and healthy; and that starts with me loving myself fiercely in order for me to truly love the people in my life.
So that's my little love story, what's yours?
For those who require visual to go with the copy, scroll through some photos from my wonderful month with Tara.
Beautiful flower mandala of Ganesha at the opening circle of the teacher training.
Silent morning walk through the padi fields to our Yoga Shala. It doesn't look like this anymore, Yoga barn has since built 2 large buildings on this piece of land.
Agni Hotra (Fire Ceremony) where I was ready to let go my negative emotions, bad memories and judgements and was offered in the fire ceremony.
Super delicious brunch prepared by Yoga Barn's cafe for the duration of our training. They changed the menu daily, it's organic and vegan. I don't think I could have done this training without the right food into my system.
Back then, I couldn't stand on my head, but I did stand strong on one leg!
With my beautiful Kula (Kula is a Sanskrit word that means spiritual community) at the water ceremony.
I sneaked out my phone to take this picture on the last day of our training. When I opened my eyes from meditation, the light behind Tara was simply amazing (this picture doesn't do it justice)
With my amazing teacher Tara and her gorgeous assistant Zara.