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Bipolar yeah?

There were a time when I get excited to cook and bake and eat. But it is not the case now, I dread cooking now, I don’t want to cook, I feel like I am cooking the same things again and again and I just don’t want to cook. And I don’t feel good about it, cooking and eating was such a big part of me and I feel that something is wrong with me when I lose passion for cooking. But still I cook, I cook, but I just don’t want to do it.

When I am reading back on my posts, I realized that stress has always been a problem of mine. Self love, self care is lacking. I admit I have always been a stressful person, I get pressure really easily, maybe not even from an outside source, I just put pressure on myself all the time, and I have a general level of stress for normal days without anything significant to worry about. But I think this year my stress level has been pretty bad. I am about to graduate, what do I do with my degree? We have been trying to conceive, but when is that day finally gonna come? I started teaching group fitness classes, I thought you always want to be a fitness instructor, but why you are more stressed and nervous than happy when you teach? So does it mean that I have one less career path? Why do I keep having nightmares and bad dreams? How can I feel good about starting a day when I dreamed I am late for exam, forgot lyrics before going on stage, or being shot by some mysterious man? What does these dreams mean? What about dreams that I am in a sexual context? How should I feel about those? I am confused and helpless.

It started around Christmas time 2016, I kept having bad dreams and nightmares, I feel unsure about me teaching fitness classes, will I be the best instructor? Will I have students that want to come every week to my class? Can I teach dance? I love dance but I don’t have any background like other instructors do. Shall I take the challenge head on or shall I just chill and be easy on myself? What shall I talk about before class today? I want it to be inspirational and fun. I want people to learn things or be happy from my talk. Shall I cover for others’ class just because it will be thought highly of by the coordinator? Shall I go to her classes because she will be gone soon and I shall show my respect and love?

We are TTC, and it has been 5 months without results, it’s funny how before whenever I got my period I am like Horray! and now when I get my period, I am like, Are you for real? I have done everything I can and still no baby? It is hard when I like the kids so much but at the same time afraid that people would start questioning when would you have a baby? You should have a baby too! I thought you have been trying, still no result? You should relax and it will come. Relax is not something that I am good at. And now, I am like, OK, let’s just take it easy and for real, just let it go, no counting the ovulation days, no measuring body temperature every day first thing in the morning. No planning and just let it be. It doesn’t help when my mom keeps sending me pictures and videos of little babies every now and then. Although it doesn’t seem too big of a deal at the beginning, I think it could be adding up to my mental stress. Maybe I shouldn’t have told them that we are trying from the beginning. Just let everything be a surprise. No stress and all.

2017 is slipping by so fast I can’t even believe it. I am much better with food now, no fuss, no stress, and I am pretty happy where I am right now. Speaking of which, the eating disorder started in my college years, now it is finally under control.

I went to the counseling center yesterday, I was talking to the counselor what are on my mind. I burst out crying in the middle of nowhere. surprised me. I am always quite composed when I go to counseling sessions, sometimes burst out crying after the session, but never during a session, and with a new counselor? That’s pretty new, oh boy was I holding a lot in. I feel like after I stated my problem, the counselor was trying to convince me that it is a better option for me to go to counseling somewhere else, since the model here at the university counseling center is ‘quick’, I will be better off and taken care of with some specialist that can meet with me every week. I feel like the counselor is definitely doing this a lot to others coz I feel like some of the things that she was trying to use as pros doesn’t really work for me. And I also feel like she was trying to convince me that I am bipolar. I was diagnosed with bipolar earlier in 2012, but the whole time I was thinking to myself, that was just an accident, I am not bipolar and this diagnose is just ridiculous. But I think she made one point pretty clear to me that once diagnosed with bipolar, you are pretty much bipolar your whole life, but with therapy and medication it could get better. At first I was a little shocked with the fact that I could have a mental disease, but then actually a little released that this is actually a disease and not so much my own fault or something. I felt like she was really trying to label me with bipolar, repeating that terms so many times without hesitating to directly acknowledging that I am a bipolar patient. It is not “If I have bipolar”, it is “you have bipolar and … is best for you.” She asked whether I am open to medication, I said yes although my instinct is no. I am pretty clear that I will only take parts of what she is saying and have my own judgement too. And I feel kind of released after I left the counseling center, I feel like I always have this kind of feeling when I am diagnosed with something, instead of feeling bad or sad or unhappy, I instead would feel kind of released, kind of like, OK, I am sick, I have a serious medical or mental condition, so somebody please take care of me. I was googling bipolar online, and hearing people talk about their own conditions, I know I am not as serious as some of them. But still I do need to take my mental condition seriously. I always just blame it on myself for feeling lonely, sad, stressed, depressed. I always think it is my own problem and my own fault that under perfectly good environment I would still feel crappy. But what if my genes were to blame, what if my neuronal structures in my brain were to blame. I could be just a victim instead of the criminal.

Time kind of stopped and slow after I went out from the counseling center, I did some experiments and then waited to go home. I told what happened at the counseling center to JB and waited for comforting words. But he didn’t know better. He didn’t comfort me at all, and of course I cried.

Growing is really painful, good memories about the old days is always so great to even just savor for a second. I am not sure where this is going.

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My eating lately

Recently there have been some changes to my eating choices. For one, I started eating pizza. I remembered early in 2013 I was really restricting my food intake and I would crave pizza so much, then I stopped restricting myself and I never crave pizza again. And then I was vegan for about a year and a half, during that time I never had pizza, I remembered several occasions there is pizza in front of me but I just don’t want to eat it, it feels really greasy and I felt like I wouldn’t enjoy it. Then a few days ago, I was babysitting for my advisor, he had ordered pizza for us. I started to know that the little boy really like pizza, and they would have pizza about once a week. At that point, I haven’t had pizza for a long long time, and I don’t crave that at all. But the day before I went to their house, I was actually quite anticipating it. Not so much about the pizza, but the atmosphere of me eating a pizza with the kids of my advisor casually. It just feels really relaxed and chilled and fun. And that day I had 4 slices, didn’t exactly feel that it was the best thing in the world, but still quite a fun experience eating take out with kids.

Then came the app that I have on my phone, pocket points, you gain points by not using your phone when you are at school. I had so many points. And I get coupons of free 3 cheezer bread from Hungry Howie. Then it somehow became a weekly thing. And I kind of didn’t feel bad about it. Plus, the pizza lady was so nice to me every time when I was there. It was not so much the pizza, but the fact that Oh I am taking out pizza and that’s so fun! type of thing.

Similar situation with chips, I actually started eating some potato chips, which I think I haven’t had for years. For the longest time, it was just so out of the equation, that I didn’t think I would enjoy it.

Then the other day I had some chocolate chip cookie, which again, I haven’t had for long time, coz I was thinking it’s just bunch of sugar, how good is that gonna taste. Boy was I wrong, it was just the kind of warming feeling that I get, not so much the cookie itself.

So at first, I was feeling like this looks kind of like a slack. But then I start to think, when I was really small, I had these things, I had ice cream a lot, I had chips sometimes, those things somehow became labeled “unhealthy” later in life. And I start to realize that it might be a little unhealthy if I keep it too healthy too clean. Why not free all the labeling and just enjoy what I want for once.

Sometimes when I get insecure about my body, like “oh look at your belly”, I then quickly stopped there and told myself “so what, this is natural and this is me. I am strong and healthy. Don’t mind what others think.” I think self love came with age, many may struggle early in their life, but later as they learned more about themselves and the world around them, it might become a part of them. I think it has been an issue for me, but this has been one of the focus that I want to work on for myself for the near future.

 

 

 

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Benefits of Ashtanga yoga

I am going to share the differences that I have noticed since I started practicing Ashtanga yoga.

  1. Digestion is better. I noticed a big difference when I started, going to the bathroom never is so easy in the morning, sometimes I didn’t even finish my morning 1L water before I go the the bathroom.
  2. Skin is better. I was reading guruji’s yoga mala, he suggested that any sweat should not be wiped away by towel but be rubbed into the skin, it will make the practitioner stronger. I followed this and felt that my facial skin becomes just gorgeous. Many times after practice when I went to wash my face it is so clean that I almost don’t feel the need to wash. And I don’t use any cleansing product, just some water and that’s it.
  3. Purifying force working inside me. I was having some period issues when I started, and has some dark red discharge for a while, then I started practicing, that discharge is gone and my period is back on track. Also I noticed that I sometimes feel a metallic kind of odor coming from the lung when I am breathing. Not sure what that is, maybe also related to the purifying force and although I don’t understand the asanas enough to say how they are doing the magic, I know that they are designed to cleanse and purify the body. And I can feel that.
  4. Better posture. Before when i was doing heavy lifting in the gym, other times I was just so tired. I don’t even want to hold my body straight. But I always always feel so good after yoga, and I started to have a much better posture, walking with my head high and chest open.
  5. More confidence and acceptance. I don’ t know how this is happening. But I care less what everyone else is doing. I just care about what I am doing and I don’t care that much what others think of me. I learned that what they think of me doesn’t matter but what I think of myself matters the most. And it is their problem what they are thinking of me. I feel like I have better confidence in life generally. I know that I have the ability to do things well, and whichever path I chose I will be fine. And I am even thinking of chasing my dream to work as a fitness trainer. Also, I don’t find weight bothering me much. I just know that I am strong and I am getting fit, and I don’t need a number to identify with. And I will keep getting stronger.

I know that every morning when I am going on the mat, that I will feel so good the rest of the day. And that’s see what this journey of yoga keeps bringing me good stuff.

 

 

 

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journey in yoga

Yesterday I was looking at some intro video to Ashtanga yoga, the instructor in the video was saying for almost all the asanas, “it doesn’t matter if you can reach your toes, if you can’t, just feel the length in your spine, and elongate.” And it struck me that whether you can get into the deepest possible pose is not the point, the point is you are progressing, and you are practicing.

Recently I has just started the seated sequence of primary series, and I got a little frustrated with the jump back and jump throughs.I know that these are advanced, and people practice years to be able to do that. But still, when you are just stuck in the middle of the pose and couldn’t get your legs back in between your arms, there can be a little frustration in my heart.

I remembered when I first started practicing in August, I was so looking forward to the morning yoga practice, coz I know I will be paying full attention to my body and let all my energy develop and flow in my body which feels great, and I always get a sweat on after the practice. But these past couple of weeks, I didn’t really feel the passion in me even though I still practice every day. It is just lacking the spark I thought.

And I know one of the reasons is that I start to get to new postures and some of them I can’t even modify to do it. But I remember the excitement when I can get a posture about right when at the beginning it was really hard.

Watching advanced practitioners practice let me know what each posture should look like, but yesterday after watching the intro level video, I start to realize some problems in my practice. I was struggling in some postures that my breath are shallow. But I think I should not struggle in the asanas. I should relax into the asanas, not pull or push into it. “Use asanas to get into your body, don’t use your body to get into asanas.” And I realize that the postures should be peaceful and graceful and relaxed. It should not be tense or struggle or short of breath.

“Practice, and all is coming.” As Pattabhi Jois said. I shall trust the process and my body will open to the postures as I go.

 

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Slowly progressing in self love

I have been reading a few books that has helped me with my self image.

the first book is ‘the four agreements’. In that book, I learned that if someone calls you fat or says something that hurt your feelings, you shouldn’t take it personally and really it is their own problems to overcome. I was struggling quite a bit when my father and mother in law says I need to lose weight. And they were saying overweight is related with heart diseases, which I have to say, had some influence on me. And I was thinking to myself, OMG, I could have heart disease if I am like myself now. But I think the real problem is I think I am fat too. I was looking at my own pictures and thinking oh if I lose a few pounds it would look better on the picture. And their saying is just like one more confirmation.

but then I realize this mentality does no good in helping me lose weight. I was crying a lot even when I was losing weight but still heard them asking me while video chatting, did you have too much rice? We think you should eat more meat. I was depressed. And it is almost like when I was video chatting with them I just want to find a good angle to let them know that I have been losing weight.

now that I think about it, I realize that I should be more content with myself. I am not going to be able to please everyone. I know they are coming from a good heart, but if I still take those as ‘I am not good enough’ it is bad for my body and mind.

so I felt like a big burden is relieved that I don’t need to lose weight to please them anymore. I don’t need to change anything, I am just where I need to be right now.

but then I know that whenever I am standing on the scale, if it is a low number, somewhere in my heart I am happy. And just like the past few readings, it gets higher than usual, and I got a bit like: what am I doing wrong? I feel good, I am doing yoga every morning. Period is regular and didn’t feel so moody as it comes. And my little mind start to blame things on random, which I don’t even know relate to the weight gain. It could even just be related to the period.

so I know, that I am not entirely free from the imprisonment of weight on me.

But one good improvement that I realize is that yesterday when I was at a friend’s house, they were trying on the scale and see if the scale is working. Usually, I would be so reluctant to step on the scale in front of others but yesterday I just felt like I can. Everyone is different and I am just what I am. Although it is only a tiny thing, but I noticed the difference in my mindset and I am happy about my change.

i know it is all gradual change but I am seeing it already taking place and I have faith that I am becoming more and more acceptant and content with myself and what I got.

 

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yoga sutras

Practice (abhyasa) means choosing, applying the effort, and doing those actions that bring a stable and tranquil state (sthitau).

When the mind loses desire even for objects seen or described in a tradition or in scriptures, it acquires a state of utter (vashikara) desirelessness that is called non-attachment (vairagya).

Those who pursue their practices with intensity of feeling, vigor, and firm conviction achieve concentration and the fruits thereof more quickly, compared to those of medium or lesser intensity.

1.30 Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles naturally encountered on the path, and are physical illness, tendency of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of attention to pursuing the means of samadhi, laziness in mind and body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect assumptions or thinking, failing to attain stages of the practice, and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.

1.31 From these obstacles, there are four other consequences that also arise, and these are: 1) mental or physical pain, 2) sadness or dejection, 3) restlessness, shakiness, or anxiety, and 4) irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath.

1.32 To prevent or deal with these nine obstacles and their four consequences, the recommendation is to make the mind one-pointed, training it how to focus on a single principle or object.

1.34 The mind is also calmed by regulating the breath, particularly attending to exhalation and the natural stilling of breath that comes from such practice.

1.39 Or by contemplating or concentrating on whatever object or principle one may like, or towards which one has a predisposition, the mind becomes stable and tranquil.

1.48 The experiential knowledge that is gained in that state is one of essential wisdom and is filled with truth.

1.49 That knowledge is different from the knowledge that is commingled with testimony or through inference, because it relates directly to the specifics of the object, rather than to those words or other concepts.

2.1 Yoga in the form of action (kriya yoga) has three parts: 1) training and purifying the senses (tapas), 2) self-study in the context of teachings (svadhyaya), and 3) devotion and letting go into the creative source from which we emerged (ishvara pranidhana).

2.5 Ignorance (avidya) is of four types: 1) regarding that which is transient as eternal, 2) mistaking the impure for pure, 3) thinking that which brings misery to bring happiness, and 4) taking that which is not-self to be self.

2.15 A wise, discriminating person sees all worldly experiences as painful, because of reasoning that all these experiences lead to more consequences, anxiety, and deep habits (samskaras), as well as acting in opposition to the natural qualities.

2.29 The eight rungs, limbs, or steps of Yoga are the codes of self-regulation or restraint (yamas), observances or practices of self-training (niyamas), postures (asana), expansion of breath and prana (pranayama), withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and perfected concentration (samadhi).

 

 

Credit to http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-list.htm.

 

 

 

 

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Ashtanga yoga

I have done yoga before, but it never has become a commitment. Lately, I have been going to some power flow yoga classes and I am really liking it. I started finding out more about those more robust kind of flows and discovered Ashtanga yoga.

I have been practicing every day in the morning. I started following the primary series and right now I can go until the end of the standing poses.

Before this, I actually decided that I would do some yoga every morning, just for stretching purposes. And that’s what I have been doing, usually some side bends, some twists, sometimes sun salutations.

The spark came when one day I started to connect my breath with the postures. I find myself sweating a lot even just after a few rounds of sun salutations. I always think of sun salutations as a really intro level beginner sequence. But when I try to coordinate each breath with the flow of the postures, it really becomes much more engaging. I never thought it would be hard to do Sun salutations A and B. And I learned that the gazing point when we are in postures are also very important. For example, when we are in forward bend, we should be gazing at our nose, and it really made a difference and you can feel the pull inside your body when you are just shifting the gazing point.

So I understand that the poses are only one thing, and the breath that coordinates the poses is really important, if I am just doing the poses and the breaths are all over the place, it is not optimal for a calming and concentrating mind. So I should be able to breath freely when I am in a pose for 5 breaths. And also the gazing point when I am in postures helped me to stay within.

I feel that I am much more engaged when I am paying attention to my breathing and gazing point, even though sometimes my mind wanders, I can quickly come back to my breathing and gazing to find the place within. After half an hour of practice like this, I am really feeling good.

I think I was just not ready for yoga before, and I think I am finally ready for it. I feel really committed to doing  my practice every morning. And I know I am new and I am just beginning my journey, I already feel that the practice is really benefiting me in my everyday life. I am really looking forward to the practice in the morning besides the breakfast that I am also looking forward to.

They say it is a life long journey. I am curious to see what this journey brings me to.

Namaste.