After a month of living out of a suitcase and almost two without internet (sorry for the long hiatus!), I’ve officially relocated again. Charles and I have made MANILA our new home…
The adventure begins!
Moving to a new city can come with as many obstacles as getting into shape. For instance, I didn’t expect it would take us months to find an apartment we both love and fits our budget. We even began apartment-hunting last November! After several delays with visa application and a ton of other paperwork, we finally found ourselves a cozy apartment overlooking the beautiful Manila Golf Course and Makati skyline. WIN!
In fitness terms, I would say; Don’t expect immediate results and keep sweating to figure out what works best for your body. You can’t rush something you want to last a long time, right?
Welcome new challenges.
One of the things I secretly love to do in the kitchen is pretending I’m a famous chef. Living out of a suitcase made it hard to fix a home-cooked meal so I was compelled to eat out. Everyday. For about a month. My not-so healthy eating habits affected my well-being to some extent. And I’ll be completely honest; for a while, I lost the motivation to hit the gym. I missed being a chef…
A photo posted by Fay Hokulani ⭐ (@fayhokulani) on
Keep calm and plan ahead.
For a while, I was caught up in a limbo during the transition period between moving from Singapore to Manila. Being in a completely new surrounding, away from friends and family brings new uncertainties.
I’ve had moments of excitement, happiness, stress, depression and more.
Not all of those feelings are fun, let me tell you.
Spending time looking inward, either while meditating or working out, I’ve been able to identify the root of those feelings, which have led me to understand what I was afraid of so that I could then reframe that perception into opportunity.
I’ve learned that when you’re in the unknown, you don’t know what might come … and so you have to flow with this change. One way to get the courage to begin, from which everything else flows, is to plan and prepare thoroughly in advance. Getting caught up in the things I can’t control in my life only takes away my energy to capitalize on all of the moments I can control.
I was over the moon when I found out I get the chance to visit Europe again after two years since my trip to the Nestlé headquarters in Switzerland. This time I flew to Germany for an exclusive tour of the adidas global headquarters. What a dream!
Before I take you through the badass sporty world of adidas, here are some photos from the first day I arrived in the city of Nürnberg. I’ve always been fascinated by the history and architecture of castles. My mission was to find the Nürnberg castle. I decided to walk since it was *supposedly* not too far from my hotel. I wandered the city alone, without a map (other than my phone that had no data roaming) or clue to where the castle was. A little adventurous; a little silly, really…
With a bit of help from some locals, I managed to find my way to the castle. Not without getting a little bit lost!
Last April a bunch of friends and I went on a hiking trip to Mount Rinjani in Lombok (Indonesia). We made an effort to train for the big climb by practising a few hikes before the trip.
I’ll be honest though; the journey was a lot more challenging than we had anticipated!
I found out my Marmot backpack was NOT waterproof so I had to use a plastic bag as a cover; I should’ve bought a rain cover for it. Glad that at least it had a front zipper so I had no problem taking out whatever I needed, even if it was at the bottom of the bag. If you’re thinking about buying a hiking backpack, consider getting one with a front zipper instead of a top-loading bag, it’ll save you a lot of hassle.
We definitely pushed our bodies to the limits. Our legs felt like jell-o. Our backpacks got heavier as we had to lug our wet clothes. We were soaked in sweat and rain. Badly needed a shower.
“Embrace and make peace with where you are, and your journey toward something new will feel much more peaceful, rewarding, and satisfying.”
It can be very hard to know ourselves; it’s easy to be distracted by the way we wish we were, or think we ought to be, or what others think we should be, until we lose sight of what is actually true. Since my trip to Vikasa last November, I’ve been inspired to meditate more in order to create self-awareness and reflect deeper on my thoughts.
Instead of coming up with a whole list of new year resolutions, this year I came up with a lifetime resolution. I’m focusing more attention on my mind and soul while taking care and nourishing my body for good health. I’d like to be more in touch with my deeper thoughts, emotions and relationships with others.
Why is this suddenly important to me?
For most of us life is a series of practiced steps. Daily, weekly, monthly routines…routines piggyback routines as months turn into years and our lives race by. Have you ever stopped asked yourself why?
Why do I follow these routines? What do they do for me? Are they moving me towards my higher goals? Are they moving me towards my life’s purpose? Are they helping me become the person I want to be?
To answer these questions and to re-evaluate our assumed routines, we need to increase our self-awareness. Being self-aware can help us re-prioritise our lives so that we live in accordance with what really matters to us; so that every day we are moving ourselves closer to the place and the person we want to be.
Self-awareness is more than just knowing our strengths and weaknesses. Becoming self-aware means acknowledging that there are things we do that keep us from living the life we want. That is why increasing self-aware is difficult; it means asking hard questions; it means facing ourselves fully; it means recognizing and admitting our limitations.
When we fully know and understand ourselves; when we can look at our vulnerabilities and not cringe, we will be able to make changes. We will be able to stop repeating the same mistakes. We will be able to consciously adopt new routines that do move us towards the person and the place we want to be.
Join me on this new journey of self-discovery. Let’s get to know ourselves and open up to those who provide inspiration in our lives. Be happy. Appreciate this moment. Resist nothing. Love yourself and others. Be grateful for small blessings. Make happiness your number one priority.
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So there. That’s what my mind has been occupied with in the last two months since I updated this blog. I hope it gives you something to think about… Speaking of updates, let’s pick it up from where we left off – from around November 2013 until now. Prepare for a long post!
When friends saw my new haircut they asked “Why did you cut your hair?”
I asked myself why having long hair had been so important to me and I’ll be honest, I realized it had something to do with some deep insecurities… 1) I’d play with my hair when I felt nervous and 2) most men tend to think women look more beautiful with long hair.
So fucking what.
Let’s set this straight: It’s not about your hair, it’s not about looking good with make-up on. I wanted to feel confident the way I am and I wanted to try something new for myself. So I turned to my stylist Glenn, from Essensuals Bugis, and told him I want to brave a new haircut. I fell in love with it immediately. I wouldn’t have known I’d like something different for myself had I not stepped outside the comfort zone.
Charles grew a mo’ for Movember, changing his look entirely as the weeks passed. I didn’t realize how different he looked until the end of the month when he finally shaved it off! I’m happy with my mo’less Charles.
December was Charlie’s birthday and we celebrated with an intimate dinner with some close friends at Don Quijote.
On his birthday weekend, we checked out the treetop walk at Macritchie with our good friend, Mark. If you haven’t been here before, it’s definitely worth checking out! The view is amazing. It just feels good to be surrounded by nature.
We spent Christmas in Hong Kong with Charlie’s family and enjoyed more outdoorsy stuff…
After a week in Hong Kong spending quality time with the family, we headed back to Singapore to re-pack our bags for a holiday in Bali. Looks like Denpasar airport just got upgraded to meet the high demand of tourists coming into town during peak season.
We stayed in Ubud for the first time to avoid the crowded areas like Kuta and Seminyak during the holiday season.
We had a lovely dinner at Il Giardino on New Years Eve, definitely check out this restaurant if you’re craving Italian food in Bali! Romantic atmosphere, great service and really, really good Italian food. Weather was not on our side though, as it poured the whole night. We decided to skip Kuta after dinner since we figured traffic might be bad on the way there especially with the rain… and it was, even those in Kuta had trouble getting around as roads were blocked for NYE). We ended the night with a bottle of wine.
The next morning, we checked out and took a flight on Merpati airlines to Lombok. The flight was delayed for a while, most likely due to the bad weather, but I heard this happens a lot with Merpati. Despite the challenges, it was our first time in Lombok and definitely not the last.
Arcing away from the northwest corner of Lombok, are 3 idyllic atolls, where the sand is still powdery white, the water a clear sparkling turquoise, and the sunsets over Bali’s volcano Mt. Agung in the west simply spectacular. Described as pearls in the ocean and located just north of Lombok, the Gili Islands, which comprises the three islands of Gili Air, Gili Meno and Gili Trawangan, are fringed with white sands and lush palm trees.
We ventured to Gili Air, after we finally managed to charter a private boat to take us there. I feared we wouldn’t get to go at first because of the bad weather but luckily… the sun came up for a while!
We were lucky that it stopped raining for a few hours that day because as soon as we got back to our villa, it started raining cats and dogs… all night.
We checked out the next day and drove to Kuta (Lombok) for lunch at restaurant in Novotel. I’d love to stay there next time, the hotel villas looked amazing… the best part is, the beach was only a few steps away.
After a lunch, we flew back to Bali on Merpati Air and stayed at a beach house in Padang Padang. The house was exactly 90 steps down the cliff, a bit of an adventure to get to but it was right by the beach. During high tide, usually at night, bigger waves would crash onto our decks.
It was straight back to work after that longholiday. Getting back into my usual training was a struggle at first but seeing people workout at UFIT, even the trainers, gave me the motivation I needed. I met the winners of #fitwithfay + #mygirls contest and gave them their free yoga mat plus 1-hour trial personal training at UFIT.
Hope you all enjoyed the PT session and make use of that pink adidas yoga mat daily!
When Stuff magazine Singapore asked if I wanted to shoot for their cover and write a review about the adidas miCoach Smart Run, I was more than happy to, especially being I’m a huge gadget nerd myself. Gotta love Stuff, it’s a great magazine to refer to if you’re curious about the latest tech toys in town, it might even give you some gift ideas for that special someone.
I visited KL for a cover shoot for Health & Beauty magazine and stayed for the weekend to hangout with old friends. Miss ’em!
Charlie and I spent the following weekend in Bangkok for a friend’s wedding ( #JahKnightWedding ). Even bumped into #mygirls Thailand, Si Phitsinee there!
Alright that’s all I have for now. Next, I’ll share a bit about the adidas miCoach Smart Run, healthyMEtv, Boombot Rex speakers and my favorite green juice recipes. Stay tuned!
When life gets too hectic in the city center, plan an escape and go on a little island getaway. Take the time to relax your mind and heal your soul. Even if it’s just for the weekend…
A couple of weeks ago, I ventured to Koh Samui for the first time and did a 3-day yoga retreat at Vikasa. Vikasa Yoga Retreat is set in a spectacular ocean cliff side environment which gives you breathtaking sea-views throughout the resort, be it from the yoga salas, the rooms, the infinity pool or the restaurant.
Although Mother Nature doesn’t always follow the rules, Southeast Asia weather is somewhat predictable with two distinct seasons: wet and dry. I was aware that the ‘wet season’ in Koh Samui falls around mid-October to mid-December, but I wasn’t going to let a little rain dampen my spirits. I couldn’t spend another weekend in a concrete jungle.
Charlie and I booked our tickets on Bangkok Air and arrived in Samui on a Friday night. It started to pour just as we were leaving the airport but we had already planned to spend the night in anyway. Rainy weather makes staying in on a Friday night all the more cozy!
Much to our surprise, when we arrived in our room, we were welcomed with fresh fruits, coconut drinks and a bottle of white wine. A thoughtful complimentary gift from Vadim, who had invited us to stay at Vikasa.
The next morning at 9am, I attended the Hatha Flow yoga class conducted by Betti. The word Hatha means willful or forceful. Hatha yoga refers to a set of physical exercises (known as asanas or postures), and sequences of asanas, designed to align your posture, muscles and bones. The postures are also designed to open the many energy channels of the body so that energy can flow freely.
Hatha is also translated as “Ha” means Sun and “tha” meaning Moon. This refers to the balance of masculine and feminine aspect within all of us. Hatha Yoga is a path toward creating balance and uniting opposites. In our physical bodies we develop a balance of strength and flexibility, reflected in our minds as well, making us more calm and kind to others. Hatha yoga is a powerful tool for self-transformation, or evolution. It asks us to bring our attention to our breath, which helps us to still the fluctuations of the mind and be more present in each moment.
I had never practiced yoga outdoors and I must say, the sound of the ocean made the whole experience truly enjoyable. The Hatha Flow class helped me tremendously with stress, relaxation, anxiety and overall well-being.
After class, I headed to the Vikasa Restaurant for a hearty breakfast with a breathtaking view of Samui. The organic restaurant serve a combination of vegan-friendly, international, fusion, western, raw, Thai as well as non-vegetarian dishes.
I love oats for breakfast. Maybe it has got to do with a happy childhood memory I have of my granddad who used to make me Quaker oats when I spent weekends in his home. The wholesome oats served at restaurant had raisins and honey in it, sweet and delicious!
It rained again on Saturday afternoon. In fact, it was storming! We took the time for ourselves and talked about subjects that were difficult to deal with at the time. We opened up to each other about childhood memories and things that really affected us in our lives. When faced with pressure (be with work or personal) and stress, we tend to supress certain thoughts and emotions. This can really affect our behavior and actions in the present. Perhaps it was the yoga session that morning that really inspired me, but I felt clarity that day. I was in the moment. It was a beautiful day. Stormy seas, but calm underwater.
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I woke up the next day to blue skies and serenity. It was almost as if it never rained. I could say that day was destined to be sunny so at least I got to see the glorious sun and the beauty of Koh Samui just before we had to leave.
I tried meditation for the first time. There’s a free meditation and pranayama session every morning from 8am to 8.40am. It was a perfect way to get in the right frame of mind for the 9am yoga class. The class I attended was conducted by Sergio.
Meditation isn’t just about relaxing or sitting there and zoning out.
It’s really concentrating on emptying your mind and stopping it from running. That’s not easy when we’re trained to constantly be multitasking. Doing nothing is harder than it seems.
When your mind is relaxed, you can take in information with less distortion. You’re connected to your emotions, but rather than being overwhelmed or randomized, it’s more like using your emotions as input. When your mind is ready, you are responsive. You are able to easily see the situation and respond with skill instead of react out of fear or anxiety. When your mind is resourceful, you are able to easily think the thoughts that serve you. Your creative mind is ready to solve problems with you instead of work against you
After the meditation class, I headed to the other yoga sala located nearer to my room,next to the swimming pool.
The Vinyasa Flow class was also conducted by Sergio. A mixture of slow, dynamic asana, specific sequences performed with short hold times, typically for 1 or 2 breathing cycles followed by a series of asanas with special breathing awareness techniques and a longer hold 5-7 breathing cycles).
This class was milder in terms of physical effort but the subtle energetic effects can be deeply felt if you’re able to follow the instructions and precise breathing. The session went on for a little over an hour and by the end of it I was hungry for some breakfast!
A trip to Koh Samui wouldn’t be complete without visiting the spa. The Vikasa Ocean Spa offers a range of luxurious services that will leave you feeling relaxed and refresh. They specialize in authentic Thai massage as well as Swedish and Indian massage styles. The spa is open air and constructed on a natural ocean cliff side.
It was a truly unique experience to get a massage in the open air that allows fresh breeze to flow and the sound of the waves just makes you feel at ease. We did the Swedish massage, which was relaxing but also revitalizing.
I wished we had more time to explore Koh Samui Samui. However, I found comfort in knowing that I will definitely be back soon. After checking out, we caught up with Vadim and Kosta for lunch at W Hotel.
Konstantin ‘Kosta’ Miachin and his pioneering brand of yoga called Vikasa, represent the ‘evolution of yoga’. His practice and teachings have brought him to all corners of the world. Vikasa yoga center is dedicated to the study of yoga, holistic health and consciousness evolution.
The vision for Vikasa yoga was born on Koh Samui with Kosta’s realization that the deeper dimension of yoga is a spiritual journey and a conscious evolution of the individual. Seeing this as the ultimate human endeavor, he committed his life to supporting others on this path.
Thank you for inviting us to stay at Vikasa. The yoga and meditation classes were inspiring, and as mentioned in my interview for Livefitter and Shape magazine, I plan to take up a yoga teacher training course next year. Hopefully this brings me back to Vikasa. I have a good feeling it will!
Do you love yoga?
Would you like to take your practice to the next level?
Would you like to have a freedom of choice?
Are you ready to set yourself free?
Do you want to be a yoga teacher?
If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions, then you are ready to go deeper into your practice and experience of Yoga. Vikasa is holding an online contest which offers 1-month Yoga Teacher Training in Koh Samui for the winner. Check out the website for contest details.