I’ve known this Yogini since I was a child, she was in high school and I was less than 10 years old. She’s been an active athlete who has played in the fields, danced, and even gone through acrobatics, martial arts to extreme sports.
Truly, admired by many.
This month’s Yogi Glossy is Alexandrine “Drinie” Aguilar. A yoga student, Guru and now a proud mom to her Aniela.
If you’re a yoga enthusiast and is expecting or on post-partum, may her experience also inspire your practice.
Get to know more about Drinie:
When was your very first introduction to yoga?
It was right around the time I graduated from high school. The gym that I went to back then, Fitness Advantage offered Ashtanga yoga. I like trying new things and I just had this feeling I would like it. So I decided to check it out and it was love at first class!
After graduating Highschool, you somewhat disappeared from the manila scene and been traveling. What were you upto then?
Yes, it was very refreshing to get myself out of the Manila scene and travel. I went to Sydney, Australia to study Media and Cultural studies for my Bachelor’s degree. I’ve been in and out of Manila since then. I worked in Singapore, became a nomad traveling for about a year and a half and then decided to live in LA, which is where I am still based now.
I just love the independence, personal growth and variety of experience that comes with living in a different country. Manila will always be home though. I’ll keep coming back for sure.
Aside from cheerleading and playing soccer. What made you practice yoga?
I was always athletic growing up from gymnastics, swimming, tae kwon do, running, and as you mentioned cheerleading and soccer. I was fascinated with what the human body could do if you trained hard. I enjoyed pushing limits. So in my efforts to train hard I looked into yoga to help me out. From my limited knowledge back then I knew that it would atleast help me become flexible. I heard that it was relaxing and spiritual as well. So I was like “Oh yeah? Lets see what this is all about!”
It turned out to be perfect as it not only helped me in my training, but offered grounding from such a busy schedule.
What was the very first yoga you attended to and were there any other practices which you experienced and tried?
My first practice was Ashtanga, which only lasted a few months since they discontinued the class at the gym I went to. I found Bikram yoga while I was practicing in Sydney, Australia. That’s what I did for years until 2007 when I moved to Singapore for work. I practiced at Pure Yoga which had lots of other styles on offer. It was there that I studied Hatha Yoga and met some of my most influential teachers.
Were those steps towards being a teacher?
Yes, it was in Singapore that I deepened my practice and learned yoga philosophy with my teachers Arun Rana, Patrick Creelman and Twee Merrigan. I was so inspired that I was willing put my career as TV Host aside for the moment to dig deeper in my studies. I wanted to teach eventually because that meant that I would have to learn it in depth. I was intimidated, but knew for sure that I wanted to do it.
At what point did you decide that you wanted to teach?
I finished my first teacher training on my 28th birthday, which was also a time of major transition in my life. My practice, which became stronger each day through the help of my teachers is what empowered me to rise above the challenges that I was going through.
That’s when I realized the power of what yoga can do for you – physically, mentally, emotionally. And that’s when I realized that I found my calling to teach.
Where was your teacher training and what type of yoga practice are you teaching?
I did my 200 hour certification in Anusara inspired Hatha by Patrick Creelman at Pure Yoga, Singpaore, 300 hours in Prana Vinyasa Flow with Shiva Rea. Since then I have also been trained in Yoga Trance Dance, Pre and Post Natal, Yoga Sculpt and Bhakti Yoga by Govindas of the Bhakti Yoga Shala.
The yoga style that I teach is a Vinyasa for all levels. We link movement with breath, and flow through poses that work on both flexibility and strength. I cater to all levels by giving modifications so that beginners don’t feel left behind and more advanced students can go further. Since it’s something that I enjoy doing, I tend to incorporate lots of inversions and arm balances in my class.
How long have you been practicing and teaching yoga?
I’ve been practicing yoga for over 10 years and have been teaching for 4 years.
How many times a week do you practice?
Everyday. I aim to do an Ashtanga practice six times a week and a vinyasa or a restorive practice on the 7th day. Now that I am a mom it doesn’t always go down that way, but I do what I can to follow it.
When you found out that you’re going to be a mom. What changed in your practice? How did you handle pre, during and post yoga practice?
Naturally my practiced changed while I was pregnant. I stopped practicing Ashtanga, but made it a point to do my own practice that included a lot of breath work and meditation.
My post partum practice targets re-connecting with my core strength and pelvic floor muscles.
Up until what pregnancy term were you practicing yoga?
I never stopped practicing. My practice just evolved from a more heated, athletic style to a gentler vinyasa flow practice and in the last 2 months, a more meditative and restorative kind of practice. Yoga is for everyone and at any time there’s always a style that can work for you.
Are there limitations when it comes to what you practice when you were pregnant?
Yes, I avoided twists, deep backbends, and forward bends… anything that limits the space the fetus needs.
You have such a lovely daughter. Now that you’re a mother, how do you juggle being a mother, yogini and of course other aspects of your life? are there any other things that you do aside from teaching yoga?
Thank you! You’re right, it sure is a juggling act especially here in the States where you do everything yourself. One thing that helps a lot is to make lists and schedule everything in a calendar so that things get done.
At the moment aside from teaching yoga and taking care of my baby girl I train in Capoeira around 3-5 times a week, I’ve been taking a business course that requires a lot of implementation and I’ve been working on my website to bring my teachings online through blog posts, videos and online classes. So stay tuned!
What is your favorite thing about yoga?
I love that it’s about building positive relationships -with yourself, with everyone else and with the Universe, Divine, God, or whatever you would like to call it.
How did you progress and what other changes that you’re still working on?
Progress comes from consistent practice with devotion over a long period of time. I progressed in my practice and my teaching by doing just that.
Do you recommend yoga for those who are expecting?
Most definitely. Physically it eased the discomforts in my body and gave me energy so I didn’t feel so lazy and sick. Mentally, I became more focused and clear, and emotionally, connecting with my breath helped eased my anxiety. I have my yoga practice to thank for helping me get through a long challenging labor.
What do you eat to refuel? especially during your pregnancy practice?
Lots of organic fruits and vegetables, super foods and protein from natural sources like sweet potatoes, beans, spirulina, quinoa etc. There are so many good things to eat that are protein rich, yummy and vegetarian. I plan on sharing recipes of the dishes that I make soon on my site.
Any advice to those who are curious about yoga, pre-natal yoga and those enthusiasts?
My advice is to read up on the styles and then choose one that you think would be suitable for you. Sometimes that means trying out different styles and teachers.
See if you can come to your yoga practice with an open mind by getting rid of any pre-conceived notions – “I’m not flexible, I’m too old, fat, etc.” Yoga is for everyone. You just need to make friends with yourself and be accepting of where you are. So just start from there, and practice…EVERYDAY!
Your Mantra: Om Namah Shivaya
It is a mantra that bows/honors your inner Self, your true Self, which is the spark of consciousness in all beings.
I hope through this conversation, you were moved as much as she moved me. Drinie has always been a woman I’ve always looked up to and though we’re miles and an airplane ride apart, she continuously been teaching me to keep on exploring.
Thank you for the virtual yoga lessons, drins! Can’t wait for more of those videos! Keep ’em coming!
Get to know more about Drinie through http://www.alexandrineyoga.com for some yoga notes, video 101 and her yoga classes in California.