Ninie Ahmad: Off her yoga mat.

Her affirmations of staying optimistic especially when she's (upside) down.

Archive for the ‘I watch & listen’ Category

‘Gravity release me, and never hold me down. Now my feet won’t touch the ground’ (LIFE IN TECHNICOLOR II)

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Those close to me will know that my car and iTunes only rotate Coldplay (and occasional Radiohead / Padi ) CDs and those who have visited BE Yoga‘s website would have noticed I intentionally used Coldplay’s lyrics to introduce my beloved yoga teachers.

With MTV World Stage (Astro Channel 713) premiering Coldplay’s VIVA LA VIDA: Tokyo tour this week, it refreshes me of my day trip to Singapore in March this year solely to attend VIVA LA VIDA: Singapore.

During VIVA LA VIDA: Singapore, my jaw dropped when I witnessed Chris Martin dropped back to Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Bow pose) from standing! Only if you practice yoga, you will understand how preposterous this stunt can be unless you have perfect balance of lowest two chakras (feet and hips) strength, open back flexibility and of course, balance.

So I was looking forward to see the same pose from him as I immensely enjoyed MTV World Stage – Coldplay: Tokyo. To my surprise, he didn’t drop back in Tokyo (or I could have missed it / maybe he did but the clip was just for an hour) but – to my very eyes, I caught him rolling back to Chakrasana (Rolling Wheel posture) in between the finishing of Viva La Vida and to start Lost! Only if you practice yoga Ashtanga, you will have an idea how almost impossible it is to perform this Chakrasana vinyasa gracefully let alone onstage with concert costume and in front of twenty thousand people.

I know Gywneth practices yoga since she used to be bestie with Third Series Ashtanga practitioner, Madonna so I googled Chris Martin and yoga. And found out, Chris Martin not only does practice yoga (I have had enough of “I do yoga but the my last class was three years ago and I was doing it like once a month for a couple of months”, right..) but he practices Ashtanga at least an hour everyday for the past five years, a vegetarian (and vegansexual!) and for the world’s biggest if not coolest rockstar, HE DOES NOT DRINK ALCOHOL AND COFFEE EITHER!

Among my favourite online findings of Chris Martin and yoga is this article whose first paragraph ends with “.. but Coldplay’s Chris Martin is too nice.

(FIONA) APPLE Hi, Chris. God, I’m depressed. I’m at the top of all these critics’ best-of-2005 lists. If only those old creeps bought records.

(CHRIS) MARTIN I wish I could be so fucking depressed! Maybe my lyrics would improve. Just turn that frown upside down, Fiona. Don’t you know Apples are my favorite fruit?

APPLE Hey, you stepped on my granny-apple-doll wood-carvings!

MARTIN Have you ever tried piyoga for that bad attitude?

APPLE I hate you.

I stand by my review of X/Y last year: The trouble with Coldplay is that, despite the calming, balanced, almost Enya-esque beauty of their music, they’re so denuded of danger, risk, grit, rebellion, and sexuality (apart from Martin’s ADD-style hip-thrusts behind his piano) that they threaten to become the musical equivalent of St. John’s wort.

So what is at play with Coldplay? What drives the music, the vision, and, oh, those much-maligned words?

I believe it’s yoga, and Martin’s ashtanga teacher Anthony Carlisi can confirm. Shortly after Coldplay’s Shoreline date, I tracked down Carlisi via e-mail and asked him if he believed the practice leads to good music and, really, decent rock ‘n’ roll — which most would probably associate with unhealthy and downright antisocial antics like rolling around in broken glass and doing lines of coke off speaker cabinets.

He replied: “Absolutely !!!!!!!!!!! (sic) In fact I just saw Chris in Phoenix before the concert there. He has been practicing now for several years. I visit and teach him and Gwyneth when I am in London. He was telling me that he loves how it has enhanced everything he does. His energy was electric at the concert…………….Great Show!!!!!!!!!!!!”

See? It’s not rock, after all, but yoga. All of which probably explains Martin’s greatest feat at the Oakland appearance: bending over backward while playing keyboards and touching the ground with the top of his noggin. Brings a whole new meaning to the lyric ‘rush of blood to the head.’

I don’t need to look elsewhere for a yoga rockstar inspiration when I can find one in form of Brit rockGod with yoga master’s mind and words (it doesn’t hurt that he definitely has a yoga body too).

I am praying with my fingers and lotus feet crossed to be able to live long enough to witness Coldplay live in more concerts, continue seeing lights / hearing enlightenments in their future albums (“Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones, I will try to fix you”) and hopefully practice with Chris Martin in Mysore (the Mecca for aspiring Ashtangis) in the future if not in my nearest yoga nidra.

See You Soon.


Written by Ninie Ahmad

October 21, 2009 at 2:02 AM

‘I am optimistic and sentimental to the point of being annoying, especially to people who think that being cynical and cold is cool.’ ~ Yasmin Ahmad

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I meant to write another lenghty entry on my recent quest of becoming an Ashtangi but I was distracted by a lousy tribute show for the late Yasmin Ahmad on Astro Ria. I had to stop writing what I intended to write because the show (and other ‘tributes’ done by different channels) just did not do justice, not even close to what Yasmin had contributed to Malaysia and how she changed us all!

I, for one, chose not to blog nor Twit about her passing last month because everyone else was doing it (I thought I was playing Yasmin Ahmad’s faux-cool bit :(, read again post title).

But recently, especially tonight, especially now – I suddenly feel the urge to.

At first I thought I was furious at this pseudo-THS: Yasmin Ahmad show for using disappointing AF has-beens that do not live up to Yasmin’s contributions and for not being able to capture the ‘loss’ emotion and tragic sadness from the people they interviewed BUT then I realized:

I was mostly angry for it startled me – if Yasmin had directed this, I would have cried, teared up and most importantly, moved by now.

I am just angry for all of us wouldn’t be able to appreciate another simple yet most powerful masterpiece from an incredibly talented and from what I gathered, insanely humble human being we all knew as Yasmin Ahmad.

I have personally met Yasmin only once, during the media premiere of Mukhsin (2007) but we did communicate when Leo-Burnett (the ad agency whom she was their beloved Creative Director) contacted me to conduct yoga sessions at their firm and when I left a comment at her blog in which she took her time personally replying:

Ninie Ahmad commented…

Dearest Yasmin,

I love you.
And love is an understatement.

I admire you for making me not ashamed of having been going to the cinemas again to watch Malay movies (although I had to walk out on Senario The Movie and Jangan Pandang Belakang after 15 minutes. God knows, I tried).

I thank you for portraying Malaysia beautifully in your ads, for capturing beautiful Malay values in your movies, that I am not proud to say – most of the time more beautiful on silverscreen than what we know happening and for making lines from Malay movies memorable again.

I am a Malay Muslim (soon to be banned?) yoga teacher in KL that’s having the trial time of my life by MY own people that can’t seem to stop keeeeeeep telling me (in my blog) ways to ‘be a good Muslim’ by listening to our Muftis, to cover up, to not live with non-Muhrim when all I am trying to do is, to ‘be a good person’ with big dreams to make Malaysians look better and live longer.

(I am) On the brink of giving up ‘blogging’ (before I become the words they have been putting in my mouth), I thank you for lending me some strength from the meaningful quotes you often paste here, for your lovely words and wonderful insights and for many more inspirations you never know.

Thank you.
May God bless us all and forgive all cruelty we have done to each other.

Peace, love and light.

November 20, 2008 9:21 AM

Yasmin Ahmad replied…

gosh, ninie. i don’t know what to say. i wish i knew what rasulullah s.a.w would have to say about your yoga and my films. someone wrote on my blog that i had no right to utter the words “alhamdulillah” because i don’t wear the hijjab. i told them if i can’t say those words, than i can’t recite the fatihah, and if i can’t recite the fatihah, then i can’t do my solat, and if i can’t do my solat, i’d be very, very sad and lost.

why do they judge people so easily? do they think they will gain allah’s pleasure by condemning a fellow muslim like that? and why do they always comment anonymously?

oh well, allah knows best.

i read in al-baqarah that there will be many who will say they believe and worship allah, but in truth, they don’t. and they don’t even know that they don’t believe! na’uzubillah. was the koran referring to these people?

allah knows best.

November 20, 2008 9:46 AM

That very reply of hers lent me the strength to keep on fighting for my yoga when it faced the thoughtless tribulation late last year.

I am reminded and kept borrowing her last line of advice “Allah knows best” whenever I get asked, “How dare / come you are still doing yoga?”

For that, I am still here.

For her haunting & beautifully-written and love & kindness-laden movies, I am inspired to keep feeding my yoga classes with beautiful poses and love & kind words.

For her success of having proved (brilliant) Malaysian movies do not have to have Mat Rempits or Datuk’s second wives in them, I aspire to prove to the world that not all Malaysian Muslims do not exercise (BBC London reported ‘Malaysia bans exercise for Muslims’ on November 24, 2008).

Everytime I repeat reading her blog posts, I feel like quitting blogging altogether (in a good way!) for I will never be able to share and write as beautiful, as articulate, as honest and as humble as Yasmin did.

Everytime I repeat watching any of her movies, I immediately feel like I am already a better friend, a better family member, a better lover, a better Malaysian, a better Muslim and a better me.

For that, I will remember Yasmin Ahmad as a familiar stranger that has the biggest impact in my life  if not a cool big ‘sister’ (anak-anak Ahmad) I never have.

An excerpt from Muallaf (2008) that ‘Malaysia may never get to see’ and learn a lot from (I hardly get angry, but when Malaysians / Malays get generalized from some ignorant minority, my fuse blows):

“Did you forgive anyone that hurt your feeling today?”

LET’S DO THAT. Everyday.

LET’S SCAN AND FILTER OUR SYSTEM. Every night. So we would wake up the next morning feeling lighter and not hating the gift of living another day.

I am sure Yasmin meant that, for everyone to at least have thought of doing so – while she wrote the movie (I plead our government to uncensor Muallaf like how Yasmin would have preferred and begged for it to be shown in cinemas HERE).

‘It is in forgiving that we are forgiven’ ~ YASMIN AHMAD (1958 -2009)


Written by Ninie Ahmad

September 18, 2009 at 2:39 AM

I go forward by going back. Get by giving out.

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I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) for the third time with great interest this morning after teaching my 7am Begin yoga class and was moved all over again –

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

.. of how NOTHING lasts forever (especially youth, beauty and health) and even what we thought great love only lasts a lifetime.

That is why I love yoga and what it constantly reminds me of:

We go forward by going back,
go up by going down, go out by going in
and get by giving out.

Love and light.

Written by Ninie Ahmad

August 27, 2009 at 12:55 PM