The Miracle Seed

Posted by huihsien on 20 Nov 09 - Comments Off on The Miracle Seed

We, Malaysians love our rice. For many, it is virtually impossible to go through an entire day without having at least one rice meal.  In the past, the only option Malaysians had was white rice. But approximately two decades ago we were told that white rice was unfavourable due to the refining process that removes most of the nutrients and fiber. So the health conscious Malaysian started to introduce brown rice as a healthier alternative. And then with the rise of the health food phenomenon, we started to open up to wholegrain alternatives such as barley, oats, red rice, wild rice and flaxseed.

The latest kid on the block, which has only recently made its debut in health food stores around Malaysia is Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). Originating from the Andes mountains of South America since as early as 3,000 BC, it was a staple food for the local natives and still remains so today for their rural descendants. Although resembling the cooking characteristics of a grain, the Quinoa is not a real grain, but the seed of a leafy plant, closely related to spinach and beets.

This richly nutritious and versatile seed boasts many benefits that would appeal to all supporters of natural foods diets. Here are the top reasons to eat Quinoa.

  1. Contains all essential amino acids – promotes tissue repair and development of bones and teeth, excellent protein source for vegetarians
  2. High in fiber – aids in digestion, prevents development of gallstones, tones the colon
  3. Gluten free – safe alternative for those intolerant to wheat or gluten
  4. High in Riboflavin and Magnesium – reduces migraine attacks, childhood asthma, stabilises blood pressure
  5. Low in Sodium and High in HDL – lowers cholesterol, reduces chances of heart disease
  6. High in Manganese and Copper – act as antioxidants to rid body of cancers

There are so many ways to relish the nutty and flavourful Quinoa. It is wonderful cooked in casseroles, soups and stews, provides a nice accompaniment to stir-fries, can be transformed into a hearty breakfast porridge or be tossed together with fresh garden greens to form a crunchy cold salad.

Quinoa
Learn how to cook this fluffy and light rice replacement, the miracle ingredient for a fitter and healthier you.

Archived in the category: Health Food

Camel Pose (Ustrasana)

Posted by huihsien on 18 Nov 09 - 2 Comments

If you are suffering from rounded shoulders and sunken chest, Ustrasana (Camel Pose) might be the answer to improving your ill-structured posture. The main anatomical points of focus in this pose are inward rotation of the thighs, lengthening of the spine through the tailbone, lifting of the pelvis and torso, opening of the shoulders and stretching of the neck.

The two common options of Ustrasana are performed either with the toes pointing back or with the toes turned under and heels elevated (for those who have a distinct discomfort in the lower back when coming into the pose).

Ustrasana1

Ustrasana2

A progression to this would be to drop your head all the way to the back and reaching your arms over your shoulders to grasp the toes or heels.
Ustrasana3

Some of us may experience dizziness and nausea following the Ustrasana. To avoid this, come out of the pose without any haste while maintaining a steady stream of breath.

The camel represents the capacity to face tough challenges with tenacity and compassion. The wisdom through this heart-opening pose can be applied during those demanding times in our lives. Although never associated with being a relaxing pose, the satisfying after-effect of the Ustrasana makes it worthwhile. Similarly, successfully overcoming a difficult situation only makes us stronger and sturdier.

Archived in the category: Yoga Poses & Styles

Living with Lactose Intolerance

Posted by rima on 16 Nov 09 - 3 Comments

glass milk

Do you feel bloated or suffer from diarrhoea along with abdominal cramps after downing a glass of milk or eating dairy products? Do you experience nausea or flatulence? While there may be a myriad of possible factors that produce the above signs and symptoms, one that is often overlooked is lactose intolerance.

The most common cause of lactose intolerance is a decrease in the amount of lactase. Lactase which is an enzyme responsible for processing or breaking down lactose into simpler form is needed in our small intestines to process lactose which is natural sugar found in dairy products. In the absence of lactase, ingested lactose cannot be processed and this subsequently leads to embarrassing problems of intestinal gas, painful bloating and abdominal cramps as well as diarrhoea.

People who are lactose intolerant have little or no lactase to help them digest lactose. If you’re Asian, you may be interested to know that lactose intolerance is more common in the Asian population due to lack of milk consumption in our diet.

Apart from ethnicity, age is also a factor. Lactose intolerance tends to be less common in babies and young children due to their diet which consists of mainly milk. However, after the age of 5 when our diet is more varied, lactose intolerance incidence is usually higher.  This is because a diet that is less reliant on milk or dairy products results in the decrease of lactase production. Other causes like illness or injury to small intestines may also affect lactase production. In some cases, some babies are just not born with lactase due to hereditary reasons.

There are various tests that can be performed at a clinic to diagnose lactose intolerance. However, a simple self test can be done by observing your body’s reaction to food that contains lactose. So the next time you gulp a glass of milk or eat dairy foods, pay attention to your body and how you feel after. Watch out for symptoms mentioned earlier following 30 minutes up to three hours of dairy product consumption.  If you believe that you suffer from lactose intolerance, avoiding food that contains lactose may be your best bet.

Archived in the category: Your Body

A Journey in Yoga Nidra

Posted by huihsien on 14 Nov 09 - 1 Comment

yoganidra-english, w

Need help with your Yoga Nidra practice?
Want to explore the benefits of Yoga Nidra?

This article follows our recent article on Yoga Nidra.

A Journey in Yoga Nidra‘ is a newly released Audio CD that gently guides the practitioner through the traditional practice of deep relaxation.

Now available in English and German

Yoga Nidra CDs are available at:

N’Devo Arts & Crafts, (English and German)
Bangsar Village 1,LG 2a, Lower Ground, KL
Raaga’s (English and German)
Petaling Jaya, Seksyen 5, 23 Jalan Cantek 5/13
Manasa Yoga, (English)
Petaling Jaya, Studio 2, No. 2, 1st Fl. Jln. SS 2/61
Inner Glow Yoga, (English)
Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, No 4a, Lrg. Rahim Kajai 14
Mylon Enterprise, (English)
Brickfields, 100 Jln Tun Sambanthan
Patmasre Bookshop, (English)
Brickfields, 33-1-2 Jln. Scott Villa
Gopala’s Veg. Restaurant, (English)
Brickfields, Jalan Thambipillay
Sathiyanery Veg. Food Centre, (English)
Brickfields, No. 245/2, Jalan Tun Sambanthan 3

Price:
English – RM35
German – RM45

Contact for postal orders and enquiries:

Syame Training @ Consultancy
Barbara: +6012-337-2796
Email: syame-co@tm.net.my

Contributers

Archived in the category: Wonderful Stuff

Yoga Nidra

Posted by huihsien on 14 Nov 09 - 1 Comment

LotusAccording to the ancient Hindu scriptures of Mandukya Upanishad, there are four states of consciousness namely Waking (Jagrata), Dreaming (Svapna), Deep Sleep (Susupti) and Higher Consciousness (Turiya). Yoga Nidra, also known as ‘Yogic Sleep’ refers to the conscious awareness of the dreamless Deep Sleep state. Yoga Nidra is not to be confused with the state between Waking and Dreaming as it is a far deeper state that penetrates the subconscious level of the mind, beyond mental processes, mere relaxation and visualisation. This traditional method of meditation and deep relaxation has been practised by the yogis and sages of India for thousands of years as a source of strength, inspiration and as a means to cleanse the karma and to commune with the divine energy of the Universe.

Consistent practice of Yoga Nidra leads to an integrated relaxation on a physical, mental and emotional level, which helps to intensify the power of creativity, intuition and self-discovery. It enhances the self-healing capabilities of the body and can be used to mitigate stress-related problems such as migraines, headaches, insomnia, fatigue and high-blood pressure. Experienced practitioners of this technique have also claimed that half an hour in this state yields the benefits of three hours of deep sleep.

Visualisation and guided imagery techniques are useful processes in preparing to bring ourselves into this calm and serene state of yogic sleep. Enjoy the relaxation and the training of the mind that comes with your routine leading up to the state of Yoga Nidra. With patience and regular practice, you will transcend the obvious benefits and experience the formless depth of pure awareness.

I have personally always had problems completing the Yoga Nidra sequence as I would usually drift off to sleep before the end of the process. This had deterred me from taking my practice further, until recently when I discovered an audio CD that improved my Yoga Nidra experience tremendously.

A Journey in Yoga Nidra’ is a locally produced and newly released audio CD that guides the practitioner through a journey from mind awareness, resolution, body awareness, breath awareness, visualisation and finally to a deep relaxation . Let the relaxing sound track composed and arranged by the well-known Malaysian artist, Sesatre and the hypnotic voice of yoga teacher, Barbara Vadiveloo guide you through this traditional practice of deep and peaceful awareness.

Archived in the category: Yoga & Spirituality

Boat Pose (Navasana)

Posted by huihsien on 12 Nov 09 - 2 Comments

Navasana is one of those poses that look deceivingly easy to perform but in fact requires strong engagement of multiple muscles throughout your body. Most importantly the core abdominals must be strong to provide stable support to the posture.

The Navasana is approached from the seated pose of Dandasana (Staff Pose). An easier option is to bend both knees and slightly leaning back while lifting your legs off the ground. Bring your thighs closer to your chest, keeping your shin bone parallel to the ground and arms stretched forward in line with your shoulders. At this stage, there is a natural tendency to round the back and hunch the shoulders forward. Feel the grounding sensation of your sit bones and tail bone as you lengthen your spine and roll back your shoulders. Because all abdominal muscles, hip flexors, spine and quadriceps are working hard in this pose, natural flow of the breath can be restricted. Consciously ensure that you continue to breathe slowly and deeply throughout the pose.

Navasana1Once you are comfortable with the first option, and your deep core muscles are stronger, take the next step by straightening both legs. This is a good workout for your quadriceps, which need to be strongly engaged to keep the knees straight.

Navasana2Benefits include the toning of your intestines, abdomen, legs, thighs and buttocks. Several sets of Navasana a day keep that tummy flab at bay!

Archived in the category: Yoga Poses & Styles

Art of Living Consciously

Posted by huihsien on 09 Nov 09 - 0 Comments

living-conciously

Are you living consciously or unconsciously? How often do we ask ourselves that, or maybe the question never even crossed your mind. When you walk, do you think about the sensations of your feet with each step? When you eat, do you feel the texture and taste of the morsel you are chewing on? Mostly we just take these mundane actions for granted and let our minds drift off into other thoughts of the pass or the future. If this sounds familiar, then you are living unconsciously.

Why is it important to cultivate awareness in everyday living?

The answer is simple.

We are not able to change the past and neither can we predict the future. What we are in control of is the now and through the practice of awareness we learn to lead a consciously fulfilling life.

Do you remember when you were a child, where the world was a giant playground and the experience of sheer joy was so easily invoked? As a child we did not have so much of a past reminisce about and did not have much interest in the future because what captivated us was the present moment. Those were the wonderful times when we allowed our imagination to run wild, watching the clouds change form or when we danced gleefully trying to keep up with the fluttering butterflies in the garden.

As we grew older, all the wholesome things in life that used to bring us bliss became clouded when we eventually succumbed to society’s perception of reality. Greed and obsession to acquire object-based comforts threw us off-course into the vicious cycle of perpetual discontentment.

In Paulo Coelho’s Alchemist, a wise man sends Santiago exploring his magnificent palace grounds but with the condition that the boy carry a spoon with two drops of oil. Upon his return, Santiago was quizzed on the glorious sights that he encountered but as he was too busy concentrating on keeping the oil intact, he missed out on the surrounding splendour. The boy was sent off again but this time was so engrossed in soaking in the beautiful view that he spilled all the oil. The wise man then finally spoke, “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”

My analogy of this parable is that we should constantly be reminded not to get caught up with the giddy delusions of material happiness and in the process lose touch with the essence of what remains true to us. Cherish and be thankful for the warm roof over your head, for the good fortune of health that you enjoy, for the amazing wonders nature has to offer and for the loving relationship you have with your friends and family, as these are the stuff that you are able to experience now, in this present moment of reality.

sunset

Archived in the category: Learning & Lifestyle

Fish Pose (Matsyasana)

Posted by huihsien on 06 Nov 09 - 3 Comments

The Matsyasana is typically used as a counterpose for Salamba Sarvangasana (Supported Shoulder Stand), a pose whereby the back of your neck muscles and upper spine are stretched. On the other hand, the Matsyasana, stretches the front part of the neck, opens up the throat and compresses the upper spine. For many of us who spend most of our time hunched over the computer, this pose improves the posture and increases lung capacity.

There is a common inclination towards placing the entire weight of your upper body on the crown of your head as you arch your back into postion. Instead, you should continue to open up your chest by moving your shoulders back and transfer your upper body weight back down to the center of your abdomen.

There are a few variations in Matsyasana. Traditionally it is performed with your legs in Padmasana.
LotusFish
Or as a beginner both feet are placed together on the ground.

Fish
In the finishing sequence of Ashtanga, the Extended Fish Pose (Uttana Padasana) is performed. In this variation, both legs are raised 45 degrees from the floor and the arms extended forward with fingers pointing towards the ceiling.
AshtangaFish

My yoga teacher once told me that one can float by performing the Matyasana in water. I was sceptical at first but tried it out of curiosity, and surprisingly it worked!

Archived in the category: Yoga Poses & Styles

Yoga and Wrist Pain

Posted by huihsien on 04 Nov 09 - 0 Comments

The fluid and graceful movements of yoga may too quickly result in it being categorised as a low impact workout, hence lower chances of injury. Chronic pain is often dangerously ignored due to the inflated ego of a regular practitioner. In fact, newbies and old timers are both equally vulnerable to yoga-related injuries if safe and correct methods are not practised.

One of the most common injuries sustained are wrist injuries. Here are some tips on how to practise safely to avoid damaging your wrists.

1) Grip the mat

Poses such as Adho Mukha Shvanasana (Downward Facing Dog), Bakasana (Crow) and Plank are physically demanding on the wrists. In these poses, the wrists support most of the body weight. Many practitioners place their palms and fingers flat on the mat but by doing so, all the pressure is concentrated on the wrists. Instead, spread all your fingers as wide as possible, engage your hand muscles and grip the fingertips into the mat. This protects your wrists as weight is evenly distributed throughout all the fingers.

hands

2) Tuck in the elbows

Always keep the elbows as close as possible to the trunk of your body when in poses such as Bhujangasana (Cobra), Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana (Upward Facing Dog) and Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff). If the elbows are sticking out, the pressure that comes down onto the wrists is skewed towards the sides, which prevents even weight distribution.

elbows

3) Proper alignment and form

There is generally not enough emphasis on proper hand and arm alignment in Chaturanga Dandasana. People tend to push the body back towards the feet, which results in the elbows not being perpendicular to the wrists. This strains both the elbows and wrists. Next time, when coming down to Chaturanga Dandasana, push your body forward and ensure that your elbows are directly above your wrists.

chaturanga

Be on your way to a lifelong appreciation for yoga and its benefits through integration of mindfulness and awareness in your practice.

Archived in the category: Learning & Lifestyle

Delicious Vegetarian at Chayo

Posted by huihsien on 02 Nov 09 - 1 Comment

Craving for tasty vegetarian snacks, food and herbal teas? Then head on over to Chayo in Kelana Mall (Opposite Giant). Indulge in Western, Indian and Local delights in a relaxed cafe atmosphere. Open daily from 9am -9pm.

chayofood

Exclusive promotion for KL Yoga readers!!!

Free appetizer of choice with every order of a daily set meal. Just mention ‘KL YOGA‘ upon placing your order. Offer valid till 31 December 2009.

Click below for map.

chayomap

50-2 Kelana Mall
Jalan SS6/14 Kelana Jaya
47301 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-78062035

50-2 Kelana Mall

Jalan SS6/14 Kelana Jaya

47301 Petaling Jaya

Tel: 03-78062035

Archived in the category: Health Food
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