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Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

What Yoga Does.

I was reading through my old blog posts about yoga and I realized how truly deeply yoga has changed me. I do miss writing that way, I must say. Reading through those posts showed me so many sides of me and it made me appreciate even more what yoga does. One great thing yoga has done for me is that it changed my manner of responding to the world. Correction, it taught me how to respond better to the world. There was a time in my life when I would respond to challenges by spiraling down into a deep depression, even using food and alcohol to numb my feelings. If I had gone down that path even more, I wouldn’t be surprised if I would be needing alcohol treatment and intervention. Seriously. I probably would have been doped up on antidepressants as well. However, yoga showed me I was stronger than that. And in time, I found my ground.

Yoga is amazing. Read more about my experiences of yoga at www.archetypesandasanas.com.

Open Up and Fly

A week ago today I had the pleasure of chatting with a yoga teacher I hadn’t practiced with for a long time. As always I got to the studio quite early, and so we had quite a bit of time to catch up.  We talked not just about the practice, per se, but also quite a bit about how yoga is really more than asanas. I couldn’t agree more. I told her how about how yoga has been such a wonderful gift to me this year. It has helped me weather the greatest of storms and allowed me to get to know myself better in ways I never would have imagined. I told her, too, how through the practice I saw sides of me I didn’t know existed…the girl who was carefree and happy, the me who was open and willing to try new things, the me who just was. It was quite interesting how she said something about how, upon meeting me, she felt like i was a free spirit and we laughed at how I said I thought of myself as the opposite.  That got me to thinking about how I often force myself to fit a mold that has been designed for me. I have, in many ways, caged that spirit.

And so in class, I set my intention that I be able to find the courage to soar. After all, they say a caged bird never sings right? And I thought that it’s about time I allow my heart and soul to sing again. In savasana, I watched myself open up my hands and fly. While having lunch, I glanced up at the little corner of the cafe I was in and saw this…

Open the door, Ri. fly. That was the Universe’s message and Christmas present to me, I’d like to believe.

The next day, I drove to this pretty little sanctuary down south and did just that. I flew on a pretty silken cocoon through AntiGravity yoga :)

It was the best Christmas gift I have ever received and for that I will eternally be grateful. Who needs a new mat or a yogitoes towel when you can have the gift of flight, right? Har. I am, however, looking forward to the mat my sister sent me for Christmas. I still love mat time, after all :)

Merry Christmas, my friends. I wish you happiness and joy. I wish you the courage to fly as well, in whatever way, shape or form this may be. Most of all, I wish you love.

A Peek At Beyond Yoga

Yesterday I had the pleasure (and honor, I must add :)) of checking out Beyond Yoga, one of the newest yoga studios to open it’s doors in the metro. My dear Yin Yoga teacher, Dona Tumacder-Esteban (who also happens to teach there), took me along for the ride and I got to attend two classes in this pretty, pretty space.

I wasn't kidding when I said it was pretty, right? Even the bathroom was SOOOO pretty :)

Classes start as early as 7am and there are about3-5 different schedules and an array of yoga styles to choose from. I got to attend the Hatha class with Johan and the Yin class with Dona. Other classes include power yoga, vinyasa, hot yoga, ashtanga and yoga basics. Drop in rates are Php 450 per session. Weekly, monthly, and yearly unlimited packages are also available.

In between yoga classes, the studio also offers dance classes, such as Belly Pop, Belly Dance and Zumba. Lockers and showers are available for your convenience, and should you be hungry after the practice, they also have a little cafe in the premises.

As for my experience, well, the yoga I loved, the dancing…well, I don’t dance, right? Haha. I skipped that even though Dona was cajoling me like all hell to try it out. It looked fun though. I will write more about my experience of the hatha class (I’ve already written much about yin after all!) in my diet and fitness blog, so do watch out for that :) I’m just a little too achey to do it now, hehe. Kinda rediscovered my core yesterday and well, suffice it to say I kinda forgot how that felt!!!

I must admit that Beyond Yoga is (pardon the pun) beyond far for me, especially since I live in Parañaque, but it surely was well worth braving the distance to check it out. I am soooo looking forward to the opening of their Antigravity Yoga classes and even if it is very far, I would definitely, definitely love to try that one out. Let’s just hope I don’t get too hooked…I can’t afford the gas and toll expenses harhar. Then again, as my friend said yesterday, kung nakakagimick naman tayo sa Morato, why not come for yoga diba? HEHEHE!!! So, yes, maybe now I have a new reason for going to Tomas Morato! :)

Beyond Yoga is located at the 3F Il Terrazzo, Tomas Morato Avenue corner Scout Madrinian St., QC

Check out their website at www.igobeyondyoga.com or contact them via mobile at 0917-5BEYOND (0917-5239663). You can also follow them on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/IGoBeyondYoga) or like them on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/IGoBeyondYoga)

Oh…and on a random note….yesterdays practice at Beyond Yoga made me soooo want to get a Manduka mat….I so wanted to roll one of them up after the practice and tuck it in to my bag hehe. Joke :) They do, however, sell mats and other yoga merchandise. I made it a point to not even ask how much that maroon mat was because knowing me, I would have given in to impulse :)

YOGA BEAR!!! :)

Lookit lookit!!! Yeeeey!!! I finally found the shirt I was looking for.

Since I discovered yoga one of my dear friends has been calling me  Yogi Bear and so when I saw one of my friends from yoga wearing this shirt, I immediately said it was soooo bagay me!!! Hehe. Problem is she had bought it in Robinsons in Gen San! Today one of my other yoga friends was wearing this and she was like, go get one too!!! And so I did haha.  Like I said, I’ve been wanting this shirt for the longest time, and while yes, my friend Angie was right when she said “you, a t-shirt, Ri???”, and yeah, I really don’t wear T-shirts like these very often but this was too cute to pass  up :)

Immazooohappy :)

Random bits of sunshine on this rainy day :)

Silent, Still and Steady

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. ~Mahatma Gandhi

I was once asked to describe a place where I felt most safe and happy and whole. The image that came to mind, and still very often does, is sitting by a beach, with the quiet movement of waves coming in and out to meet the shore and the warm golden sunshine warming me inside out. For a long time, whenever things would get too rocky or difficult, a quick trip to the beach puts everything back into place and when I return to my regular life after a quick side trip to the beach, I’d be okay. Even when I’m in my shavasana after a yoga practice, it is the sound of the waves that comes to calm me and lull me to a restful state where I find release and freedom from all that ails me. It is sitting by the ocean where things suddenly become so clear to  me, where everything just falls into place and makes sense. Yes, that’s how connected I was to the beach, and how much it has been a place of solace and comfort for me. It is where I can take a step back from the things that are happening, drop my guard, stop thinking and just be me.

A few days ago I told a friend of mine that I was surprised that I managed an entire summer (now that I think of it, six whole months!) without going to the beach (well, save for that one day I went to Subic and stayed by the waterfront, but that wasn’t a REAL beach, right? teeheeheee). She said something like perhaps I have really learned to breathe through whatever challenges I face (and believe me, these past six months have been SOOOO very challenging, at times so difficult I’d feel like I’d be at my wits end) and that I no longer need to run away or escape to the beach to feel safe.

Perhaps she was a bit right….that maybe I have learned really how to be still and steady in the midst of a storm, no longer needing to run to a safe haven because I have found some strength in me somewhere. And that perhaps, I have that in me to begin with. As my yoga teachers always put it, it’s finding that “back body” to fall into and retreat to to find more space to just breathe (while yes, they may mean that in a more physical realm but as I have learned to appreciate in this whole yoga practice, it’s more than just the physical).

Today it dawned on me even further that I really have slowly began to really understand and appreciate the value of silence. In the quiet solitude filled with nothing but the sound of my own breathing, I have found comfort and stillness. No, I haven’t decided to live a life of seclusion or have I opted to withdraw to a quiet little bubble where only I exist. All I mean is that now I have learned to speak when necessary and shut up when it’s more appropriate to do so. I will admit that I’m still working on the whole “just trusting in things even when they’re not said or seen or felt” as I still find myself questioning my place and purpose from time to time, but in a small way, I can feel more sure about where I stand more often than not. I do still crave affirmation and reassurance, mind you, but I’m beginning to know how to settle myself and just remember that sometimes the best things are said with no words at all.

I guess in essence I can say I have begun to grow up :)

And so while I still love the beach, and that will always be my shelter and home, I have learned what it means to be silent, still and steady, even right smack in the eye of a storm. I can take a step back, so it seems, even without moving and it’s so safe in there, but by stepping back, it doesn’t mean I run away.

Most importantly, in this silence, I have found clarity.

 

 

On My Mat…

when i’m on my mat, the whole world fades away
all the fears and doubts, and my insecurities and hurts disappear
all that’s left is just me, my breath and the Divine,
shining a light in me, reminding me of endless possibilities
and strength beyond my imagination

in it i learned grace and gratitude
and what it means to really be at peace
with it i learned to give and to take
because of it i learned to trust and love even more
while releasing myself of fear and attachment

when i’m on my mat, i find my way to being me
and the freedom to just be
with not a care except to breathe and be in the present moment
when i pick myself of my mat, i take with me a bit of that
piece by piece each and every time

one day i hope, nay, i pray,
the world around will be my mat
a place in which i own my space
where my heart will know just that
and my soul will feel exactly that.

Letting Go, Trusting the Freefall, and Believing I’ll Be Okay

When I started doing yoga, I came across two poses that I disliked oh so very, very much: the saddle and the snail.

 

I hated those poses, not simply because of the challenge they brought and not just because of the weight thing (although, yeah, having all that extra flesh that kinda gets squashed along the way sorta makes it a little bit harder for me haha. At that point it may have helped to go get liposuction or to try out a diet supplement like OxyElite Pro haha. Joke!), but more of the mind games it would play on me as it required one thing that was quite difficult for me to do: to trust a freefall.

For the most part, I have never been the type to readily be comfortable in the unfamiliar, to let go of control and to just trust that things will be okay. That mindset dominated the way I moved, breathed and even did things. To some degree, this also dictated the way I would allow people in and out of my life. Much as many do not believe it, I am a painfully shy person who is sooooo insecure about many things, especially about whether or not I am liked or accepted by people around. Chalk it up to always having been overweight all throughout my life, or perhaps also because I had to grow up so quickly in life, or the simple fact that the dynamics of most my relationships have often been that way. Whatever it is, I always, always operated in that way. And so because I get sooo caught up with those thoughts and ideas, I cannot allow myself to just open myself up and allow people to see me for who I am. The fear of whether or not I will be “caught” (which I realize is what I perhaps mean when I say that there are just a few people who ‘get me’ or understand me for my quirks and all) does not allow me to just welcome possibilities. Also, part of the not wanting to welcome new things, I guess, has always been the fear of losing them in the end anyways, so what was the point, right?

However as my yoga practice has progressed, I have seen myself slowly learning to trust in the unknown, embracing change even though they bring anxiety, letting go of all attachments while still giving a hundred percent, completely, freely and with passion but believing that even if all these happen, I will be okay.

To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go. Mary Oliver

Suffice it to say, this does not only go with the yoga side of me, but in life off the mat as well. As things that have been familiar to me and comforting to me slowly change, from the job that I just left behind, to the movement of people and things around me, and even my decision to finally face up to the one thing I have hidden from the most professionally (aka my danged masteral thesis haha), I am learning to just open up my hands, bend over backwards and just let go, trusting that as I fall, I will be okay. Yes, there’s still a little fear there, but this time, the fear is just a reminder that I am, after all, just human.

 

Playing Out the Wave

To say the past two weeks or so have been like treading on rough waters is an understatement. Perhaps caught in the middle of a summer storm in the middle of an angry ocean would be a better way to describe how it has been for me. Yes, that rough. So much so that almost every night, tears stained my pillows as I stuggled to fall into a restful sleep and even my yin yoga class last Wednesday (which is one of the things that gives me the most pleasure lately) was a great struggle for me. It’s been quite difficult to deal with so many things that have been going on, so many things I feel I messed up with and perhaps, yeah, there was some mistaking there, but it just felt so overwhelmingly difficult that it was like being caught in a riptide with barely enough lifelines to hold on to, or strength and desire for that matter, to do so. In a way I guess I should say I was glad I was on holiday break because save for Monday, the only people I had seen were my yoga teachers and so I didn’t really have to explain my goldfish eyes or have to pretend I was happy and okay and that my heart wasn’t so painfully wounded by words said and unsaid. I could just be sungit and quiet and that would be fine.

Although the storm seems to have tapered down a bit, and the faint glow of the sun was slowly returning, I found myself so very tired from treading the waves that were so big and strong. And so with a very tired heart last night, I did the only thing left to do. I prayed. I heeded to a message I was sent not too long ago, that I should pray more. I should pray for strength, I was told.  And for hope. And for love.

And so as I wrote down my prayer (I like notes, so there :)) I prayed oh so very hard for those. I said, Lord, I am trying to find reason in all of this, but I know the more I search the more I won’t find it but that all I need to do is believe there is reason for it. So please, take it from me and give me an answer to what I ask for. I’m tired, I had said, of having to figure out what to do, how to fix things, how to manage, and of doing everything myself. So I asked for the strength physically and mentally to be able to just keep trying, even if I always feel like I’m falling short, to keep going, despite all the bitter disappointments, and yes, to hold on even if I don’t want to anymore. I asked for the strength to keep on giving and caring, without expecting or asking anything in return and to let go of bitterness when disappointments set in. I asked for hope to be able to quiet my spirit and give my heart some rest. But most of all I asked for love in all sense of the word, from myself, from family, from friends. I asked for a love that I could understand and believe in, and one that wouldn’t go away or get mad or push me away when I am hard to understand (which very often admittedly I am).

Um…demanding much? Haha. Maybe, I guess, but as I dried up my tears I felt a stirring in me that said go to the Chapel on the Hill tomorrow and you’ll find the answer there.

As I did last October when I felt that need to go on a road trip to converse with my soul, I fought and rationalized at first. It’s a waste of time, you have lots of other things to do, it’s a waste of gas and money yadiyadiya. I even went to yoga class this morning and told my teacher I had planned to go to Caleruega but opted not to because I’d rather go to her class instead.

But no…the Universe, nay —God, had better plans for me.

My teacher often has a theme in her yoga classes and today was all about waves and how we everything is like the wave of an ocean, it comes and it goes, like the tides. So you just have to play out the wave, she says, go with it and allow it to take you where it needs to take you. Talk about being toinked while doing your asana, right?

So I was in the snail pose today, one that I struggled with for a long time prior to today, and for the first time, I find comfort in it, feeling the pleasurable surge of energy and chi flowing in my body. And it hit me: ride the current and breathe, Ria. Play out the wave, don’t flail too much and soon you will make it back to still waters. Thus I decided to play out that wave and listen to the voice that told me to go drive to that chapel.

And so after class, I came home to change, threw in my camera, my iPad and a blank craft box with some pencils and coloring materials into my and drove away.

When I got to the chapel, I entered through (as would be expected of me) one of the side doors and as soon as I did, the answer I had asked for last night was right there:

Caleruega Chapel on the Hill

remain in my love that your joy may be complete...

I asked for love, and I got it.

Or should I say, I was reminded that I had it all along.

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