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Me and my fellow Yin Yoga teachers Clarice, Cookie and Dona celebrating our blessings: our periods! Photo taken from Yin Yoga Philippines during our Yin Yoga for Women’s Health training.

 

Yesterday an article  made it’s rounds on my Facebook feed. I initially dismissed it as I felt I already knew what to do, given my long history of having lived with and made efforts to manage my condition. However, my friend Dona, who is a staunch Women’s Health and Menstrual Health advocate, shared the article and asked my opinion and so I decided to read it.

There were four steps outlined in that article: change your diet, exercise, take birth control pills (and at times, insulin sensitizing drugs since hyperinsulinemia is also another side effect of PCOS) and progesterone treatments. I believe strongly in points one and two. Three and four are helpful. But if I wrote that article, I’d dare propose two more “need to do” points on the list:

1. Yin Yoga
2. Change your sleep patterns/cycles
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One of my favorite themes for my yoga classes is that of the heart of a seed. It was inspired by a poem I used to teach in my preschool teaching days that goes a little something like this:

In the heart of a seed buried deep so deep,
A dear little plant lay fast asleep,
Wake said the sunshine and creep to the light,
Wake said the voice of the raindrops bright.
The little plant heard and it rose to see,
What the wonderful outside world might be.

I don’t really know who wrote the poem, but it has always been a favorite of mine. Since I started teaching yoga, kids classes in particular, I have used that theme many times over. These past two weekends, however, this poem took on a new meaning to me as I discovered what it really means to find that heart of a seed. After a long time, I finally had the luxury of immersing myself in a lot of yin time and slowness. No, this does not mean my life out of the mat had not been busy anymore, but I made a conscious effort to reconnect with my yin practice starting out with the weekend workshops of Sarah Powers and culminating with a Yoga Basics class last Friday and a Yoga for Women’s Health workshop Sunday morning with my long-time teacher, mentor, and dear friend Dona Tumacder-Esteban (on a side note: that workshop was something else and deserves a whole post all for itself, so watch out for that).

The workshop theme was about women’s health and so the moon cycle or our menstrual periods were the main focus of discussion and as Dona talked about this issue through the yin and yang symbol, it dawned on me that indeed, my body (and my practice) is so much like that heart of a seed. There is so much potential buried deep in there, waiting for the right moment to come into fruition. But like that plant buried deep, so deep in that seed, you can’t force it out by prying open the hard outer shell of the seed. Rather, it needs to be nourished by sunlight, buried in the soil, supported by the rain. Only then can this little plant rise up to see what the world is like out there.

In the middle of the workshop, a sudden realization hit me: because I have been so hectic and busy the past few weeks, so much so that I have not have enough time to cultivate enough yin in my life, I was making poor eating choices, not resting well and was extremely exhausted even when I’d get to sleep long enough the night before. I was simply running through my life, but I was not being able to pause and appreciate what a wonderful world outside may be. I wasn’t really being PRESENT for myself.

The workshop also made me realized the value of continuing to integrate yin in my practice. I have always valued and appreciated yin, yes, but I struck me that I should really not take it for granted. It hit me that when I work so hard at keeping up with what I think yoga SHOULD be and not what IT IS (a.k.a. pushing too hard to do an asana my body is not ready for rather than being integrated and true to the posture), I end up just hurting myself and not getting anywhere in the process. When I, however, take time to rest and connect with a yin state, I allow the creative energy to cultivate as I sit still, and from the depths of that yin-ness, springs the manifestations of that energy in my yang practice, allowing me a deeper expression of an asana, with integrity and integration. But if I keep on just pushing and pushing myself to do a pose, like that handstand I wrote about yesterday, I can’t get it. All I manage to do is build up so much yang and at the height of everything, I simply burn out. On a physical plane, this may mean I aggravate my old shoulder injury again. Emotionally, I am left drained and frustrated. And what did I end up achieving? Nothing.

And so after the very stilling, meditative weekend, my body went into it’s own natural yin state, even if my yang mind would not let it. I actually wasn’t even aware of it, but in hindsight, I do see that I did retreat into my shell and pulled away from the activity of the day. It wasn’t till the workshop with Dona did I come to realize that because I allowed myself to cultivate yin by showing up to my practice and allowing myself to take it’s course, I created enough space in my schedule, in my life, and in my practice to appreciate the goodness that comes from taking it slow. As a result, I received an important gift, one that I would have missed if I was going a million miles a minute: clarity. And for that, I am grateful.

Yin Yoga classes are offered regularly in a number of studios in and outside of the city. Check out Yin Yoga Philippines on Facebook for schedules, details and more information about this healing and nourishing practice. Click here for more of my posts about yin :)

 

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I never really gave the question of fashion during yoga much thought before, but now that I am teaching, I noticed that many of those who come to me ask me, so what should I wear?

From the get go, this was my standard answer: whatever feels comfortable :) Okay, maybe I should add a few points here, because comfortable can be a bit, um, tricky. Anyway, here goes: More »

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Although I have been doing Antigravity yoga for quite some time now, I more often than not end up in one of the AGY FUNdamentals classes at Beyond Yoga, mainly because of my schedule. Lately, however, I have been able to catch some of the more advanced classes called Flying Fitness. I did get a chance to try that already before but for the most part, I’ve been doing the FUNdamentals. I have enjoyed the FUNdamentals very much and each class is still exciting and quite different. However, the Flying Fitness class takes AGY to another level. It almost is like suspension training! Imagine: flying crunches, swinging side oblique crunches (well…you’re not supposed to swing but its the only way I manage mwahahaha!), and suspended planks and push-ups, and suspended pikes and tucks. Whew! Most of the Flying Fitness classes I got to attend were with Teacher Nik and my golly! He always gives us a challenging workout!

Today was my last Flying Fitness class (at least for now, while I do more mat yoga to prepare for Teacher Training) and although I still have a hard time keeping up with the class, I’m glad I finally survived a whole set of suspended push-ups and flying crunches! I still couldn’t to the tugs much though, boo :( I am determined, however, to be able to do them soon!

Have you tried AntiGravity Yoga? Do leave a comment and share your experience with me!

 

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Since May, my almost everyday yoga practice had suffered a lot. I had started a new job in Canlubang, which is at the opposite side of town from the studio where I usually practice. Also, I had to work extra hours so I did not have the luxury of time to go to a studio to join a class. I was complaining about it and a friend of mine told me about this website that would allow me to still be in a “class” everyday…YogaGlo :)

here’s a screencap of the home page of YogaGlo :)

All you need is a good internet connection, a computer/laptop (it can even work with an iPad I think!) and you’re good to go. Of course it would be nice to have one of those big screen iMacs or perhaps a nice elo touch monitor so it’s large enough to see from afar, but even a tablet is great :) More »

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