We have now been in Vietnam for a little over ten days. The majority of that time, unfortunately, I’ve been ill. Something nicknamed “Saigon squirts”, which I’m sure you didn’t need to know, and needs no explaining!
So I got to know our hotel rooms really well. I also started to miss home – a lot. I suppose laying in bed for a while gives you too much time to think. Anything James brought back for me to try to eat or drink I refused. Bottled water was about all I could handle. I started to resent what was outside my hotel door. The smell of “foreign food” made my stomach turn, literally. I wanted to hear a British accent whilst sipping Yorkshire tea and munching on crumpets. I was too exhausted to think about trying to explain to someone that I don’t eat meat. Basically I was fed up, ill and missing home comforts with a body that felt like I’d never practiced yoga in my life.
Up in the mountains and the cool temperatures of Da Lat, I’d had enough. James too. We made a trip to the local hospital. I sat on a plastic stool in the middle of a Vietnamese hospital explaining to a doctor that my tummy hurt and I hadn’t eaten for a few days. I was surrounded by sick people, seriously sick people. Blood samples thrown everywhere, babies crying, people laying anywhere. Suddenly I felt rather sheepish. Never the less I was seen, given antibiotics and back to my room I went. With a new mind set.
I’m not sure if it was the cool temperatures of Da Lat, seeing the locals in the hospital or simply having medication but I felt like a heavy weight had been lifted. After feeling like I’d turned my back on new experiences and cultures, I needed to open my mind and heart (in the hippie sense of course).
The few times I’ve practiced since being ill I have focused entirely on opening my heart and stimulating my mind.
Back bends are a fantastic way to achieve this. You may think I’m bonkers, but just stand and puff your chest out, open your arms, and you’ll feel a little more love. No? Here’s some guidance through crescent moon pose or Anjaneyasana.
Make sure you’re comfortable in a lunge first. If your knee on the floor is sore, use a blanket underneath for some padding. Sink down into the hips. Place both palms on the lower back to start with, either side of the spine. Draw the elbows together as you keep the chest (heart) open. Don’t see yourself bending your spine, visualise the hips moving forward, drop the head back when you feel ready. ONLY when you feel comfortable and feel the spine is flexible enough would I recommend taking the hands away. Creating a nice crescent moon shape.
Wheel pose or Chakrasana (below).
This asana opens up your heart good and proper, all the love is coming your way with this one. All I’ve done with wheel pose below is open my chest even more. Come into normal Chakrasana and bring your feet together. Start to straighten the legs and you’ll feel your heart lifting. This is quite strong on the spine, so listen to what your body is telling you. When you’re ready to come out of either of these poses, always finish with a counter pose. Something as simple as laying on your back and drawing the knees in to the chest. It’s my favourite anyway!
Have fun letting all the love in. By the way, that’s the post office in Saigon! How amazing is it, royal mail eat your heart out. Lots of love Grace xxx