On Wellness

I posted last week about how I wanted to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. Guess what? So far so good with eight straight days of tai chi! It’s the first thing I do every morning: alarm at 5 am, rise up at around 5:20, then do around 20 minutes of tai chi 18 (shibashi). What I like about it is that it hits two birds with one stone because aside from movement you also get to meditate. Mind and body wellness in 20 minutes!

I first learned tai chi when I lived in a Buddhist temple back in 2011. We learned tai chi 18 & 24, as well as tai chi fan and sword. Tai chi 18 is the simplest of the four and, luckily, there are tons of good YouTube videos to follow. I encourage you to try it. It will feel weird at first, but it is really relaxing and energizing. And I don’t think anyone can deny the proven benefits of this excellent Chinese exercise. :)

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A Way Back to Mindfulness

The last two weeks of February derailed me from the routine I was slowly getting used to. Intestinal flu caused me to miss two sessions of yoga and a symposium in Cebu caused me to miss another two sessions (I’m not complaining for the latter, though). Add to that prior commitments with friends, which meant staying out late at night even though you have not fully recuperated from flu. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the play we watched and I definitely enjoyed the company of my friends. But what I detest about staying out late is that it meant waking up late– something I strongly regard as one of the most horrible feelings in the world.

It so happened that on the last day of February I woke up at 10:30am because of a concert the previous night (the first time I watched Awitan! Yay!). As expected, my body felt terrible. It didn’t feel well-rested despite having more than 8 hours of sleep. Obviously, I had to pull my act together. There was no way to function efficiently given the state of my mind and body.

I rushed out of bed to prevent anxiety from taking over my mind, took a cold shower, and unpacked my bag that was left untouched since I arrived from Cebu the morning before. I didn’t bother eating breakfast anymore since it was almost 12nn. There was an attempt to catch up with work after lunch, but all I managed to squeeze out of my system were instructional plans. What to do when you lose control of things? Let go.

So I let go of everything I told myself I needed to do that day and focused instead on what I think my being wanted me to do. I fell silent for a while to listen and then finally I heard something. It said, “music.” At first I listened to Haydn then Mozart, then played the piano, then the flute. My sanity was slowly coming back.

And then March 1 came. I woke up early this time, around 6am. A sudden urge to meditate kicked in and that was when I stumbled upon one of the best meditation apps I have encountered so far: Headspace. I registered for free and started the Take 10 program. It reminded me of how wonderful it was to start the day with just 10 minutes of meditation. One of the things I love so much about the app is that it is soooooo aesthetically pleasing! They also have a blog and podcasts that really helped me slowly find my way back to mindfulness. The video below is an animation from Headspace showing very simply what happens during meditation.

headspace

It was a good start this month. I may already have a pile of papers waiting to be checked, but at least I won my sanity back. Hopefully that would be enough to catch up with work without compromising time with family and friends.

Here’s to a mindful month ahead! *fingers crossed*

Links to Mindfulness

A friend invited me on Facebook to join “Go As a River: Day of Mindfulness” to be held at the La Mesa Eco Park on November 23, Sunday, 9AM-3PM. It has been ages since I joined a meditation retreat, so I thought I’d grab this chance, especially that the venue is just in Quezon City (much nearer than Manila from our place!). You can find out more about the event here.

Go as a river

Meanwhile, below are some links I encountered as I read through the Facebook Page of Plum Village, Philippines. Feel free to share more links about mindfulness practice, or Buddhism in general, in the comments section. :)

  1. About Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh – the link will bring you to the Plum Village website where you can find more resources about mindfulness practice
  2. Chopra Center Meditation Resources Library – free meditation resources
  3. Lion’s Roar: Buddhist Wisdom for our Time – I haven’t fully explored this site yet, but it looks so interesting!

 

Enjoy your weekend! Omitofo! _/\_

Fatigue

This week has been my most unproductive time academically, but my most productive in terms of reconnecting with family and friends.

It was a time of having dinner with a balikbayan aunt and having coffee to catch up with the same aunt and a cousin I haven’t seen for a long time (who ironically works in the same university as mine).

It was a time of writing snail mails to friends and family. Oh, that exciting feeling of gluing stamps on envelopes and sending them via PhilPost!

It was a time of a spontaneous trip to a park with friends to ride a “go-kart” for fifteen minutes, have a cone of dirty ice cream, walk around, and take pictures as if we were tourists in a city we’ve known for so long.

It was a time of having dinner with high school friends and talk about career, family, future plans, and that inevitable moment of looking back to the “good old days” (goodness, we must be growing old! haha).

But as I’ve said, this week was terribly unproductive academically and I think I partly know the reason why after reading this article from Time.com.

I was literally drained. I lacked exercise for the past month or two, didn’t eat breakfast until after my first class was over, slept for only an average of three hours to prepare lectures, worked during weekends, and yes, I have to admit that I can be a perfectionist at times. Sounds awfully tiring, right?

I don’t want to experience that again in the coming weeks! At least I am now aware of some things that zap huge amounts of energy. I’ll try avoiding them in the future! Exercise started today. Hopefully I can establish an early morning exercise routine that doesn’t take much time (maybe around 20 minutes will do). I think it would feel great to do yoga and have a hearty breakfast before going to work. Ahhhh, just thinking about it makes me feel good already!

Here we go. Wish me luck next week! :)

Feeling weak

So it’s the fifth day now. I was apparently hit by some form of intestinal flu 5 days ago that has left me feeling weak. Climbing the stairs up to my room, chewing food, and short-distance walking all make me catch my breath immediately. :( I try to apply breathing techniques, but I guess a flu is a flu. Been sleeping early for the past few days as well and, honestly, my body is not fond of too much sleep. My head feels heavy! I have lectures to make, experiments to do in the lab, abstracts to write, and so on. Sigh. To think I’ve been so productive the previous week being able to do work with (finally) some time for blogging, meditation, and even some yoga. Then now…pffft!

I still try to look a the bright side (i.e. this is a reminder of what it feels like to be weak, a reminder of the importance of regular exercise, etc.).

Right now, however, my body just really feels so weak. Sigh.

Walk Your Talk, literally.

Here’s an innovative way to conduct one-on-one or even small group meetings. However, I think most companies in the Philippines would have a hard time implementing this because walking in the busy business districts here would mean a hot and humid environment. Not to mention the car pollution you’ll be inhaling. But it’s still worth a try (late afternoon meetings perhaps?).

I think universities can benefit a lot from this idea as well. Remember when you were a student and how you would spend your day sitting for hours! University researchers also suffer from sitting extensively, especially when writing a technical paper. I imagine how nice it would be to have consultations with, say, thesis advisers by walking around the academic oval at our school (shown below). With today’s technology, you can just bring a tablet and show your PowerPoint updates as you walk.

Part of the Acad Oval
Part of the academic oval (from wanderingcaloy.blogspot.com)

I agree with Ms. Merchant’s TED talk, especially when she said that “sitting has become the new smoking of our generation.”

Time to start walking! :)

Shooting for a Healthier Mind and Body

Gandiva Archery Range and Cafe is one of the most accessible indoor archery ranges in the metro. Located at the 7th floor of One Corporate Center in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Gandiva has more than bows and arrows to offer because their cafe also serves vegetarian food! I learned about this place from my best friend who works in the same building and we decided to check it out early this year, but it was only this month that we got a chance to taste the food. I don’t intend to turn this blog entry into a full review of Gandiva so I’ll cut to the chase and tell you that the food tastes really good and is worth a try! It’s a nice place to catch up with friends and meet new people. :)

pageShooting (and eating) buddies!