Yoga, chocolate and sencha

Yoga, sencha and chocolate. Wednesday morning sorted

The knowledge that my alarm doesn’t work if I switch my mobile off is best not discovered at 05:58 AKA two minutes before your exercise routine starts. I usually wake up at 05:30 naturally but I had an awful night’s sleep of tossing and turning. Each morning I’ve been getting up to join Manyan – my Japanese aunt – to do Raijo Taiso, the Japanese exercise done from school up until you cannot physically move any more. It’s so much fun and gives a much-needed energy boost at an ungodly hour. Next week, here in Nakano-ku, the community will exercise in the local park. Needless to say, I will join them and try to get some photographs of me doing the routinely (very badly).

Getting older has given me more focus and energy to find a place of peace. I’ve been reflecting more on what I want from life. If there’s only one thing I ‘discovered’ last year it’s that life is not endless. There I was, just going about my business, having fun, enjoying the moment and dreaming of this, that and the other when it suddenly occurred to me that these dreams need to be more than dreams. I have always subscribed to the notion that for people like me (those born and living in free and democratic countries) life is what you make it. You make mistakes but you learn from them. I certainly have. I’m pretty good at cutting negativity out of my world and not partaking in/interacting with anything/anybody I feel brings a darkness into my life but I’m not very good at focusing on what makes me happy on a day-to-day basis. I have to take control of my life. I was recently sent this quotation from L.P. Jacks:

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.

So inspirational and meaningful. I’ve been reading it daily hoping that one day, I too will find myself in this position. I’ve been so tired and stressed which makes me unproductive and frustrated. Recently I met someone who is all about making the right decisions to suit their needs, their priorities and most importantly, their happiness. Being away from London has given me an opportunity to finish two projects I’ve been working on for about four months, to listen to my body and stop when I need a break, to read and just be. Upon the shared interest with someone special, I started yoga again. I’ve only done it twice in the last week but I feel as though my existence has somehow been enriched. I think it’s less about yoga and more about making time to do something I very much enjoy, though I feel a sadness that I lost so many years of doing something for myself. Making myself, my needs and my happiness a priority needs to become a daily thing rather than giving myself a couple of hours a week.

What I know for certain is that something will have give from October. There are some people fully capable (and happy) to manage work, study, relationships, family and a buzzing social life. I am not one of them. Between my ongoing academic pursuits, blogging, relationships and work, I’m struggling. I don’t want to fail or give up anything but I barely have a moment for myself to read a magazine. I needed an eleven hour flight to get through nine back issues of The Economist and three copies of the FT from March! I have no idea how this is going to work but for now, I am in Tokyo and all is right with the world.

This morning’s activities include a little yoga (so happy to find my favourite yoga magazine in Japanese), a pot of sencha and a lovely present from London: chocolate from Artisan du chocolat (British brand with a French name). Some favourites to start my Wednesday.


  1. 17 July 2013 / 15:22

    First of all, how wonderful that you are in Japan! I hope I will visit one day too, because I am fascinated by their culture and way of life (I think we have a lot to learn from their life philosophy). This is a beautiful post. I relate to so many of the things you’re writing about here. In the past couple of years I’ve learned how important it is to cut the negativity out of my life, including people who were constantly bringing me down with their negative thoughts.
    Enjoy your stay!

    • Not Just Another Milla
      23 July 2013 / 11:53

      Hello Ada, so lovely to read your comment. I hope you’re well. Japan should be on everybody’s travel list: the mixture of traditional and contemporary in just about every sense, the caring culture we seem to have lost in the West, the scenery and don’t get me started on the food! One of the most important life lessons I’ve had is realising that other people’s negativity affects me. It affects the way I think, behave and feel. I am simply not willing to give other people that power over me. Surrounding myself with people who want nothing but joy for themselves and others is the way forward. I wish you luck with it. Ciao, Milla x

  2. 17 July 2013 / 16:08

    Beautiful post- this really resonated with me at this moment. Exactly what I needed to hear! All the best.

    • Not Just Another Milla
      23 July 2013 / 11:47

      Thanks for your comment Alexandra. I think we all need a moment to stop, reflect and action our feelings and desires. I hope you too will be able to do this. All the best!

  3. 19 July 2013 / 15:51

    I cannot wait to visit Japan again! And I’m so glad you’re finally on Instagram. It’s so much faster to update each other, non?

    I’m looking forward to see what develops next for you 😉

    • Not Just Another Milla
      23 July 2013 / 11:46

      Instagram is a new world of wondrous world of pretty pictures, friend updates and some seriously crazy cat people. I’m addicted!

      Thanks for your continued support 🙂

  4. 26 August 2013 / 10:30

    Thank you for an inspiring post. I’m one of those people that are always on the go and that always results in that inevitable crash at some point which takes longer tor recover from. I practiced yoga ( and more spirituality) when I was younger and it did wonders to bringing a sense of balance into my world. However, now is when I need it most. Perhaps my morning matcha routine should be preceded by a ten minute yoga session again. And, the L P Jacks quote resonated with me too. Ann x

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *