Today I realized that it really is true that you never stop learning. Even after completing my Rainbow Kids Yoga Teacher Training and the first module of my Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training, I realized that there is really SO MUCH more to learn, not just about yoga, but about life in general. As always, being on the mat gives me a chance to reflect about this.

Today, I attended a Flexibility Not Required (or FNR) class at the Urban Ashram Manila with JP Cox, a teacher I used to practice with here in the south back when I started my practice. The FNR classes are foundational classes that are exclusive to Urban Ashram. It may be beginner friendly, but I wouldn’t think it really is just a beginners class. What the class really does is break down sequences and poses to the basics so you can lay out a good foundation for your practice. Both new and seasoned practitioners will benefit greatly from such classes. In today’s session, for example, we just worked with Surya Namaskara A. More specifically, the transitions from plank to chaturanga dandasana. While I have been practicing this quite a bit, and I’d like to think I can teach it too, I still learned a whole lot from the experience today. It gave me a chance to really go back to the foundations of my practice and reconfigure bad habits I had formed and incorporate modifications that work for me without compromising the integrity of my body in the pose.

From the class, I didn’t take just a better understanding of chaturanga, but also of the way I respond to life off of the mat. Because we worked so much on transitions, I was reminded that it is, indeed, important to take pause in between moments, and to not rush into pushing forward or too quick in drawing back. Being in chaturanga after healing from a  shoulder injury and having a core that isn’t too strong yet is hard! And it hurts! And so when I shift forward to that hard part of the flow, when I have to hover over the ground just before moving on to upward facing dog, I rush it. I skip the hard part because it hurts. But because I keep skipping it, I don’t develop the strength. In the same way, when I deal with situations off the mat, that’s how I respond. I rush through the hard part and hurry to the comfortable, forgetting that everything is a necessary part of the process of growth…of life.

And so today, I found that sometimes, flexibility is indeed not required. At least not immediately. It must begin with the basics: building a strong base, a stable foundation, and in time, the flexibility will follow.

 

Urban Ashram Manila is located at Bonifacio High Street and Brixton St., Capitolyo. FInd them on Facebook or check out www.urbanashrammanila.com. Click here for a complete listing of studio information.

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I have been so in love with yoga for the past year and a half, and I don’t think it’s just a passing fancy :) After all, I am going to be a yoga teacher, right? If you asked me why I love it, I can go on for days on end, but to cut a long story short, here are 10 quick reasons why I love yoga:

1. It’s all about me :) Hehe. What do I mean? In yoga, I don’t have to worry that I’m not as good as the other person next to me. All that matters is me.

2. It quiets my mind.

3. It makes me feel good.

4. I am able to get to know my body, heart, and soul in so many ways, deeper everyday.

5. It’s relatively easily accessible…no special equipment needed nor is there a need to lug things around or for those kuat racks at cracksandracks.com to be installed in my car so I can transport gear or what not. All I need is a mat. Or grass :)

6. I meet awesome people through the practice.

7. I sweat like crazy and yet I feel rested and relaxed after.

8.I become more attuned to the natural way of things.

9. There’s no pressure to excel. Just sheer acceptance.

10. It brings me home to me. Does that make sense?

:)

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Oh yey. My home away from home is branching out :) And in a place much, much closer to my home! This Monday, September 17, 2012, Beyond Yoga opens it’s doors at the fort. Located in a quiet nook at the third floor of Bonifacio High Street Central (past R.O.X., same building as Mango and Jamba Juice), Beyond Yoga creates a little haven for yoga and fitness enthusiasts with offerings such as different styles mat yoga (such as Yin, Restorative Yoga, Vinyasa 1 and 2, Ashtanga 1 and 2, Jivamukti, among others), Anti-gravity Yoga, and two signature classes exclusive to Beyond Yoga: Beyond Sculpt and Beyond Core Flow. Dance classes are also offered at the studio.

I hear that the design of the studio is inspired by the Antigravity Yoga hammocks. I soooo can’t wait to see it!

In celebration of their opening, they are holding a series of FREE classes for all to try! Hope to see you in one of those classes :)

The one downside to this new branch is that I’ll miss my matmates!!! I promise to still visit BY-QC!!!

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I keep saying this…I should go to the Flow Retreats soon! I keep missing it!! This is another one I will be missing :(It’s a slightly different Flow retreat, though, as the Flow girls take you to the Enchanted Farm to discover your inner green goddess instead of the beach for some surfing :)

Here are some of the details for the FLOW Farm Yoga Samba Retreat.

When: September 22-23, 2012

Where: Gawad Kalinga Organic Enchanted Farm in Bulacan

Why you should go: Take a breather from the hustle bustle of day to day! Also, step back from the city to create space to clear your head and break the repetitive patterns of your mind

What to expect:

•Organic Farm Walk Tour
•1 Sunrise Vinyasa Yoga class
•1 Sunset Yin Yoga session
•1 Samba session with Escola de Samba de Manila
•Green Smoothie Workshop
•Theo & Philo Chocolate Workshop
•2D/1N stay at the GK Enchanted Farm
•Meals & Snacks
•Flow Bag with freebies
•Flow Shirt

Fees: Package rate per person is P5,500 which includes the following:

For a more detailed itinerary, check out www.flowsurfyogasamba.com or send them a message at 0917-8386261 or through Facebook (flowsurfyogasamba) and Twitter (@surfyogasamba)

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I have a little secret.

When I first became a vegetarian, I honestly did not know why it happened. It was a spontaneous decision on my part. It wasn’t really for weight loss, or to be healthier, or what not. It just happened. As I shared before, it was a random trip to The Farm at San Benito that led to me becoming an accidental vegetarian.

I used to scoff at people who had this whole I don’t eat animals attitude. I guess I couldn’t get it. But for some reason, as my yoga practice progressed, it felt like the natural next step. I do, however, still have eggs and dairy in my diet. Maybe because I still haven’t figured out how to work on the protein issue and knowing how to work on better substitutes for my diet.

Anyway, during teacher training, one of the things we did talk about was vegetarianism and how being aware of our food choices makes such a great impact, not just on our physical health, but also in the economy, the agriculture and farming industries, and the lives of people who work to make food available for us. One of the things we did in training was watch the movie Food, Inc., and it gave me a new way of looking at how we eat. I used to say that my motivation for becoming vegetarian was not really fueled by animal rights and the like, but after watching the film, I think unconsciously, I did find that the way the animals were being killed and harmed to fill my belly was a factor in this decision.

One thing I like about that film is that it wasn’t all about how animals are slaughtered and how badly they are treated (although they are! I still have the images of the pigs being herded to their death. Granted that they’re slaughtered in quite a “mechanical” and hygienic manner, as compared to old fashioned slaughterhouses with blood gushing all over the place and hooks and the like being held in place with drywall anchors, it still gripped my heart to see what happens to them). It wasn’t a stereotypicalwhy you should be vegetarian type of movie. In fact, it didn’t even emphasize that so much. It was really about knowing how our demand for food has changed the dynamics of the industry.

What I took from that movie is that I must really be more aware of how my food choices affect the greater world out there. One thing I am determined to do is work better at purchasing produce from local sources. This way, I can contribute even one small iota to reducing my carbon footprint. Think of it…when we purchase products from Vietnam such as rice, or onions from Taiwan, though a little bit cheaper than what we get from the local industry, we end up costing the world much more because of the greenhouse effect. It takes so much energy and resources to import these, after all.

And so yeah, I am vegetarian, not just because I care for the animals welfare, but also because I care about the welfare of my earth.

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