So we arrived on Jurassic park or should I say Cat Ba island in Vietnam. Seriously though, I felt like any second a T-Rex was going to gobble up one of the little mountain goats, or a pterodactyl was going to glide down over the ocean.
The town itself of Cat Ba felt a little odd. Every morning we would see the locals chugging back the local beer, becoming drunk at 9am. It was strange to see as we’d become so accustomed to the traditional Vietnamese iced coffee for breakfast. Traditional food also seemed hard to find. Cooked breakfasts, pizza or chips no problem but could we find a bowl of Pho!
Luckily if you drive a motorbike, or have a partner who does you can escape all of this, discovering the real beauty of the island. Weaving through the jungle infested limestone karsts, that protrude as far as the eye can see, we saw just how beautiful the Vietnamese landscape is. Stumbling upon cave after cave, the final one proved to be the most interesting. A cave used in the war as a secret hospital, I wasn’t sure if there were more people or ghosts. However I wasn’t staying long enough to find out! On leaving the cave, the most epic thunderstorm started. As the clouds blackened and got thicker, along with the thunder roaring, I realised there was only one thing for it – so I filmed you guys a short core strengthing yoga flow. I know I sound like a broken record, but once WiFi improves I will be able to upload this.
I wonder how many times somebody has told me to ” engage my core “, basically translating in my head to squeeze my stomach. Actually your core runs through the entire centre of your body and there are many ways to strengthen it; building the muscles in the stomach, however, is a great foundation. When you practice any “core strengthening” flow, remember you should only ever feel the fire in your belly. If your back, especially the lower, starts to take any of the heat you need to stop or take a rest. All asanas need a certain level of stability through the core, some more than others. For example when I’m practicing my hand stands, I always warm up my core before hand.
I can’t give you a specific guide on how to achieve this pose, as it still requires so much of my concentration. However I can tell you some tips I found helpful to move me away from the wall.
– If you’re just starting out use a wall! A sturdy one with no pictures hanging up!
– Warm up your spine, it helps with the fear of going over (slightly!).
– Have your hands slightly further apart than usual.
– Point your toes like a ballerina.
– Keep the gaze between your palms and visualize your chest going there too.
Finally, breathe! Take control of your inhales and exhales. Even if you’re popping up into the pose for a split second, try not to hold your breath. Every time with hand stands I seem to forget it’s an inversion. Don’t make my mistake by becoming light headed. Rest in child’s pose in between attempts. More importantly, have fun! Its hard not to as it reminds me so much of being a kid! Grace x