Debbie (aka Bee) is seen as one of the early birds at The Yoga Shala for her regular practice before she heads to her nearby office. Always quiet and focused, sometimes I wonder if she is actually half asleep.
Morning scene in the shala – everyone is rushing in and out through the door. We do briefly exchange morning greetings a few times before we head off to conquer the rest of our day.
We were surprised and delighted that Debbie finally made her first Mysore trip by herself. We caught up several time over of Indian breakfasts and realized that Debbie is chatty and has a great sense of humor. I guess it might have been the effects of Masala Dosas!
Besides her regular job, Debbie extends her relationship with food and cooking from the kitchen to sharing her knowledge and recipes on her recent food blog: www.tiongbahrukitchen.com
1) From exploring different styles of yoga to committing your time to the Ashtanga method, when did you realize that this method works best for you?
When it gave me the motivation to wake up in the morning! Waking up and getting to work have always the hardest part of the day.
I’ve tried other styles like hatha, vinyasa, hot and yin yoga. I had no idea what Ashtanga and Mysore class were. Learning it was so liberating because I had never come across a method that encourages me to be really independent and disciplined.
When I first saw the whole sequence it was quite intimidating but I managed to learn it with the help and patience of my teacher. I’m lucky that I have a practice that I can do anytime, any place or country with no need for fancy equipment. All I need is motivation and a mat!
2) Having to cope with work schedule and family, how do you manage to fit a regular practice in your life?
I don’t know how I manage really – just take one day at a time and try not to think too much. The only time I can fit regular practice in is early in the morning. With more responsibilities at work and home, I try to remind myself to be grateful that I have the chance to practice.
It can be hard when there are long hours at work and stress. Work doesn’t stop when I get home! So I just tell myself that it is ok to miss the practice sometimes to get enough sleep.
3) What are the “sacrifices” you feel that you have made in exchange for an early morning practice?
Waking up early means sleeping early. It also means having a lighter and earlier dinner. Otherwise I’ll feel it during practice the next day! But it’s also important to relax and spend time with loved ones especially if they happened to be night birds!
4) What is the most valuable gift you have received from the practice?
It’s hard to describe what is the most valuable. I think that the practice has helped change me a lot in the last 5 years. It taught me to stop thinking too much and just be.
I’m quite an introvert and sometimes when I feel down or depressed, it really affects my energy level. As this practice is so good for blood circulation, it gives me a lot more energy to handle challenges that are coming.
5) What is your most challenging aspect of the practice? And why do you refuse to use that as an excuse to give up?
If you mean the physical practice, my weakness is definitely the backbends! Sometimes I feel like it will never get better! But it doesn’t stop me from practicing because there are so many other benefits. I guess with time my backbends will improve too. And hey I can do a lot more than I ever did before so that is good!
The other aspects of the practice basically entails being a good person which I think is the more challenging part!
6) Being a Malaysian we know that you love your food and you can bake really well! Tell us more about this food blog and project that you are working on at the moment!
I came from a family of cooks – my grandma, mom and sisters all love cooking and baking. Cooking is in my blood and I have been doing it for a long time. I still remember my first epic fail baking a rock-hard chocolate cake! Now that I’m married my kitchen is my playground and I’m always cooking and trying new things.
With all the travelling I did last year, I upgraded my old SLR for a better camera effect. I really enjoy food photography so this food blog (www.tiongbahrukitchen.com) was a natural progression.