Laruga in Manila 2016: Your Downward Dog


Being new in practice (If you’re a yogi practicing at least 5 years) there are so much fundamentals for a yogi to learn and we tend to forget to be mindful of our asanas. Over the weekend, the amazing folks of Yoga Tribe brought in Laruga Yoga in Manila. It was a perfect opportunity to expand our awareness inside the poses we may have found most challenging in our practice.

I must say, my entire arm felt the sore. I typically feel the good sore in different areas of my body but this time, with Laruga’s teaching, I got to activate my arms correctly. As they say, where the good sore is, those are the weak spots your body felt needs a lot to be worked on and strengthen.

Laruga’s objective during the weekend workshop was to awaken our core: the Bandhas, Breath and to get into our arm balances with power and grace plus having to deconstruct how to transition properly by working back on our vinyasa.

It may sound simple but having to point out every movement gave us the experience on why our Bandhas (core) are important in our practice. This is something you get to hear over and over again especially athletes who are working on their strength and flexibility in different fields yet we tend to neglect.

Through repetition, you’ll eventually find comfort. If done correctly, it’ll be beneficial. Mindfully and Intellectually practice your asanas.

 

Deconstructing our asanas, the downward facing Dog pose was pointed out as the most fundamental in our practice as it is often done in preparation to warm up backbends; it’s intertwined in all the vinyasa and sun salutations.

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If you’re not comfortable on the downward dog, you may do the modified version. It’s okay if your heels doesn’t seem to reach the ground just yet (mine doesn’t!).

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In order for you to avoid having painful wrists and arms, you’d have to be mindful of each movement. You really want to make sure you’re not collapsing weight into the base of the hands, but rather, keep actively pushing the mat away by pressing into the base of the fingers and the fingertips. You may also roll the front of the mat and rest your wrist when you push you push the mat away.

Misalignment in downward dog can lead to tension in the body as practitioners struggle to hold the pose; or, even worse, strain in the wrists, shoulders, and beyond due to improper weight distributionIt’s important to also check on your overall alignment.

  • Let go of your head – avoid the tension.
  • Elbows rotate outward
  • Your arms/arm pits should be away to make your entire stretch long
  • palms and finger tips spread wide open
  • Feet and hips are aligned, distance apart.
  • long spine and keep your core tucked in
  • don’t pull your back down instead keep your core intact.
  • eyes gaze towards your navel.
  • press the heels towards the mat (no tip toe-ing!)

Once you dance your way to chaturanga, feel the flow on the mat. Most of us lift our toes up and adjusts wherein supposedly, or much better, curl and remain on the floor. With the right flow, there won’t be any adjustments needed from your toes to your arms (It takes practice, really! but it feels great to dance to yoga!)

The tone of the legs shouldn’t be forced, the thighs are lifting off the floor, it should never touch the floor from the time we do chaturanga up to the upward position and should activate the thighs. Draw the belly, and gaze towards the nose.

Here’s another trick: Gazing towards the nose will make our face soft.

Looks like I’d have to keep tab and curate different posts for all that I’ve learned during the workshop. Let me go through the bends on my next post.

Hope this helps! Keep learning, practicing and breathe.

PCOS and Me.


I haven’t blogged for months (or has it been a year?) and it’s about due time for me to get my active lifestyle documented to keep me going and even more accountable. When I started this blog back in the early 2000’s, it was measly just a blog to express how far I’ve run around the Butte of Jackson Hole, Wyoming and to entertain myself from living alone abroad without any family nearby and only just sports to keep my adrenaline up and happiness hormones spark.

Eventually from just trying to conquer a 3kms, I was able to progress to finishing pikermis and marathons; transitioned to trying out other sports and activities such as Pilates, Cycling, Swimming, Capoeira and tried all other things to keep me active.

Few years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and barely did anything. I didn’t have any urgency to take care of my body and just wanted to keep on going. Imagine not having to deal with red letter days for months and not having to endure the hassle and pain of women’s concerns every month, I thought it was cool. I thought it was convenient. Now that I am on my 30’s, when you’re thinking of family, all these fertility and making babies becomes your concern.

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I had myself checked by our family Doctor, Dr. Rebecca Singson, M.D, a Robotic surgeon, laparoscopic surgeon, gynecologists and obstetrician at Asian Hospital in Muntinlupa. I had procedures done to look into me and it stated I now have Polycystic Ovaries on both ovaries with 12 cysts compared to just my right with only 6.

No wonder I am having difficulty in loosing weight (Yes, I’ve gained so much) and paired to being sedentary since I was asked not to stress my body from heavy workout and tension. I couldn’t take it any longer, I am now cleared to hop back to action hence I am bringing myself back to running, cycling and swimming aside from my on/off yoga practice.

I stopped training for my first supposed triathlon in 2014. It’s been a year and a half, it’s time to JUST DO IT.

If you don’t know of it yet, Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a health condition common in women of reproductive age caused by hormonal imbalance. In this condition, small cysts form in the ovaries which affect the hormones and disrupt the normal menstrual cycle. Women diagnosed with PCOS usually have increased level of male hormones and insulin resistance and lowered levels of progesterone. Some of the common causes of PCOS are excessive stress, anxiety, depression, a faulty lifestyle or perennial tension.

On my 32nd birthday, as I have been cleared to hop back into sports. I promised myself to get serious to yoga practice (Read: Laruga in Manila 2016 Workshop). The benefits of yoga for PMS are numerous. The relaxing and rejuvenating power of yoga helps a lot in dealing with PCOS symptoms as well because it helps release the deep rooted stress in the system.

Everything is all about balance. The main target is to get every woman with PCOS’ hormones get in the proper groove. Here are great reasons why you should practice yoga and I swear by it.

  • relieve stress
  • promotes weight loss
  • builds your confidence
  • makes you get to know yourself better
  • increases flexibility
  • balances your hormones
  • improves gastrointestinal balance
  • naturally teaches you to be kind.
  • fixes your monthly cycle.

Try it yourself. There are a lot of types of yoga, see what’s is great for you and stick to it. If there’s restorative or yin yoga, choose that. Your body will thank you for it in the long run. If you’re like me who’s also struggling and in the quest to fight Polycystic Ovaries, join me as we #fightPCOS.

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Sweaty Betty: Fashion Meets Functionality


ImageMore and more women are incorporating activities to unload stress, give time for themselves and get their health back to tiptop shape. Gone are those days when loose shirts and sweat pants used to dominate studios and gyms; women choose what’s presentably fashionable and has more functionality rather than just a pair of workout apparel. In United Kingdom, Sweaty Betty has been the top notch choice of apparel. The Natural Fabrics and seamlessly engineered details of the key components of the yoga ranges; the sensitive fabrics and Q-skin technology ensures confidence in practice.

The Yoga designs connects to the hue of the earth: neutral palette. With the wide range choice of sporting activities; the apparel’s flexibility is abundant.

Get to use sleek and comfortable clothing according to your desired sporting activities: Indoor, Outdoor training, Triathlon (Swim, Bike, Run), Dance, Tennis and Snow cover-ups.

Regardless if you aim to lose weight, gain flexibility, or get to firm up that toned body. A women’s motivation comes on how good they look in the outside as much as they aim to get better inside.

Still seemed to be confused on what clothing you’d need for your activities? You may read through the depository of advises Sweaty Betty has under the Knowledge section.  A brand tailored for her, for You.

Denon: Exercise Freak!


I’ve used and tested tons of earphones. Bought the cheapest and most expensive ones; happy during the first few months but terribly disappointed once the in-ear cushion gets worn out or lost, worst when it can’t be replaced ever again.

I have lost the interest on earphones, learned how to run few kilometers without music on until eventually I just stopped logging mileage and didn’t want to look for “the one” for an earphone anymore.

But things do change and technology keeps on improving. Straight from Denon USA, they have tapped a distributor in Manila, Philippines which gave me the opportunity to try out and give these lightweight wifi earphone a spin.Denon Exercise Freak

Did I just read that right? It’s lightweight? wifi? and it can actually answer calls straight from pressing a button from the earphone plus get to ask Siri to call in someone from your contact list? You gotta be kidding me! It’s sweat proof also!  No wonder they named this pretty little thing the EXERCISE FREAK.

Don’t you just hate it when those earphones loosen up just when you were about to have a good time on the road or in the middle of a sprint? Getting worried on having your earphones peeled off and the cord getting wrapped around you as you stride? Well, you’d have to bid adieu on those concerns.

DENON, one of the most trusted names in the audio equipment has just the thing when it comes to convenience. It’s Super comfortable, I tell ya!. It has a built-in amplifier and control wheel which can control your mp3 player and calls right from your earphone.

Unboxing it was quite an experience, too.

UNBOXING denonThe EXERCISE FREAK comes in a hardbound box case, an in-detailed key features and functions written on the back of the box and the guide on which DENON app should you download for the specific model.

there are about 6 Denon apps to choose from and upon trying it all, what pairs this DENON AH-W150 is the Denon Sport. Just search on it on your apple iOS app then everything else is just a matter of having your Exercise Freak charged and used.

Denon no sounds Because the in-ear headphones features, you’ll be amazed on how fast the wireless bluetooth 3.0 connectivity is on your iphone, how it responds quickly upon pressing the push play or volume button and how useful it is on answering or hanging up on phone calls.

Have I already mentioned that it has this special reflective band on the back to help keep runners safe at night? Yup, that’s right.

The in-ear headphones are well snug to your ear, you’ll barely get to hear the noise outside but enough to hear the horn of the cars for your safety.

Upon using the Denon Exercise Freak, not only was I able to use it as an earphones per se — it actually helped me practice yoga by just having my podcasts playing on my phone, listening to my favorite hypnosis app to lay me to sleep and it actually won’t fall off when you continuously jump and down for jumping jacks or when you move so much on squats.

Denon Ohm

When paired via Bluetooth to your device they can sit up to 10m metres from the source. In the gym your device can sit in your bag nearby, on the floor in the gym or on the treadmill.

It may look like two hearing aids which fits perfectly and hides behind your ear just right. The sound is clear, crisp and clean with the right amount of bass which won’t tire your hearing.

Since it’s snug, I noticed it won’t give that mark, scratch or bruise your ear due to the sweating.

The only thing I didn’t like about this gadget? Wish it were waterproof and can actually be used underwater.

The app can log your workouts, map your runs using GPS, track your pace and calorie consumption, view friends’ maps live and share your achievements online and on social networks.

Go ahead, pair it with your smartphone! It last for about 7 hours on a full charged battery, and enjoy!

** Denon Exercise Freak approximate SRP is Php 7,500

Juicing: Meeting JOE CROSS in FLESH


Meeting JOE CROSS in FLESH courtesy of Breville

It has been three years since I last popped on 15mg prednisone, a synthetic corticosteroid drug that is particularly effective as an immunosuppressant drug. It is used to treat certain inflammatory disease such as allergic reactions from hives which I got from bed bugs back in New York and got me fly back to Manila instead of pursuing a life abroad.

Just like Joe Cross, the man behind the documentary: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; I detest being induced by such drugs and getting sick, it has given me such awareness on how to take good care of my body and learning why nutrition, eating clean and being vigilant on what you eat are of huge factor in living.

Slowly, I got up after months of depression and decided to cut the fat, wee away from the meat and just have fish and veggies as my meal and slowly gravitate back into running (which has brought me to numerous fun runs, ran for marathons and got me even more interested in fitness and health)

Joe Cross was the influencive man who supported my thinking that if external injuries can cure with proper care, the internal issues must also get cured — and it is only by nutrition. Food should be your medicine, not your enemy.

The juicing was quite a challenge for me since we didn’t have a juicer back then but instead, I ate tons of salads and fish instead. I’ve lost about 50 lbs so far and albeit on plateu due to lack of movement as much as I was running, logging so much mileage every week back then. I’m thanking the juicing entrepreneurs for introducing such food options to the public.

It’s been a year of juicing for me – a day or three days each month at least.

Meeting Joe Cross has reminded me of the journey I’ve gone through and with the support of the people around me, I’m ready to take the leap and go for more than 3 days to get my Polycystic Ovary Syndrome be cured. I’ve shun myself away from the medicines by making myself active on yoga but my body needs more nourishing inside and get my cycle regularized (my Doctor has been telling me to pursue my medicines but I strongly believe that there’s a better way to cure it, it’s not malignant)

Having my greens, logging yoga sessions and drinking so much water has already cleared me away from migraines, better digestion and other symptoms I usually get weekly such as fatigue and exasperation. However, the journey has been pretty progressively positive, I do feel and believe that if only I lose the weight targeting on the viceral fats, I’d be able to bid adieu to the PCOS I have been worried about since my family are prone of myoma (plus I do want to have kids in the future).

Thanks Joe for dropping by Manila, spreading the juice to the world and for being a living testimony who has shown the world that food truly is the medicine, nothing else but that and it’s never too late to take good care of yourself.

I’m so glad I was able to thank Joe in person and got to tell him how much he has helped me get up and just get going.

I’m going for a 10 days juicing challenge this month, care to join me?

Continue reading “Juicing: Meeting JOE CROSS in FLESH”

YOGA: Manduka, Launch inspires unBLOK party campaign and contest‹celebrating and giving thanks to community yoga studios


Manduka, purveyor of high performance yoga gear and the #1 choice of yoga teachers worldwide, revealed today the latest addition to its innovative family of yoga mats, props and accessories‹the Recycled Foam unBLOK. Thoughtfully designed to be the most versatile foam block in the market, the unBLOK¹s functional, sleek design, user-friendly shape and high quality eco-friendly materials will help provide yoga practitioners versatility in traditional poses, offering a deeper, more natural support throughout their practice.

Inspired by the unblocking that naturally occurs when you have a powerful yoga session, Manduka is supporting the launch with a digital campaign celebrating the community spaces that help practitioners achieve breakthroughs: local yoga studios. Kicking off today, the unBLOK party campaign and contest encourages yogis to nominate their local studio via Facebook, sharing how their favorite practice space helps them ³unblock² and return to the world with new clarity.

³Manduka’s mission is to soulfully engineer yoga gear to help people inspire the practice of yoga and find personal breakthroughs,² said Sky Meltzer, CEO Manduka. ³Many of these breakthroughs happen in a yoga studio environment. We are encouraging our community to give thanks to the people and places who have helped them on their path, acknowledging our local studios for their huge role in our practice and our lives.²

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Through the unBLOK party campaign and contest, Manduka is making it easy for practitioners to show their studio some love. Simply:

Nominate‹Head over to Manduka¹s Facebook page and answer a few questions on your inspirational studio. Manduka will thank you with a special offer.

Select‹Manduka will select five studio nominations to feature on a dedicated landing page: http://www.manduka.com/unBLOKParty. The selected studios will be outfitted in Manduka yoga gear. Additionally, five people who nominate will be gifted with an unBLOK kit.

Vote‹The community will be encouraged to visit the unBLOK landing page to vote for their studio of choice. The winning studio will receive additional Manduka yoga gear and an ŒunBLOK¹ party‹an in-studio experience inclusive of yoga taught by a high-profile teacher followed by a celebration with music, food and product giveaways.

Give‹Manduka will sponsor a teacher or teachers at the winning studio to do their own seva work bringing yoga to an underserved area in their local community.

Nominations are open starting today and will run through May 21. Voting on http://www.manduka.com/unBLOKparty will begin May 31.

For more information on Manduka, please visit: http://www.manduka.com join us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/mandukayoga or follow us @MandukaYoga

About Manduka Founded in 1997, Manduka was built on the simple idea that a better yoga mat can make a world of difference. Manduka strives to support and enrich the yoga community by providing premium quality mats and products while respecting employees, customers, materials, and the environment. Created for and by yoga enthusiasts, Manduka¹s technical and purpose-driven product designs meet and often exceed the distinct needs of all practitioners.

Today Manduka¹s products, which include yoga mats, towels, yoga straps, water bottles, and bags, are sold in more than 35 countries around the world. Not only focusing on superior design, Manduka also promotes their ethos of quality, thoughtfulness and sustainability in all realms of their business.

Yogi Glossy: Conversation with Alexandrine


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Back to the Basics: Bikram Yoga Hot Start


I haven’t attended the hot room for quite a while but have been meaning to but due to the work load which lasts me up until wee hours of the night; attending the practice would cause a self-inflicted injury.

I started doing Bikram Yoga back in 2005 when Tristan Choa first opened Bikram Yoga Manila in Salcedo Makati. It was an inspiring practice especially after knowing that he lost tons of poundage, saved his life from health issues and that he was also inspired by yogi’s who has been practicing up until old age (Yes, I remember flipping through clear books wherein there were photos of this old lady posing the infamous pretzel) from then on, I have been in and out of practice and have tried different kinds of yoga not until one day, I just found myself not practicing anymore.

Years gone by, I got back into running. I have found the solace that I needed. I was struggling fighting the steroids I induced for my allergies, the poundage I gained and the self-esteem which had to be a work-in-progress.

Along the way, after how many marathons, fun runs and mileage. The poundage just won’t go and I’ve been getting more migraines, back aches and all these other unbearable conditions. A visit with my OBGYNE gave me the answer; I have PCOS (Polycystic ovaries). I was asked to lessen the amount of exhaustion, fatigue and stress that I put into my body even though running, of course, is a great way to lose weight and strengthen the immune system.

Running back then was my life. I couldn’t imagine a day without logging at least 3km or 5kms, Sunday’s has been a ritual of waking up early and crossing that finish line. A tough decision that I had to take.

I got myself into swimming and surfing (that was an indescribable stoke every each time!) but further on, I was also asked to opt for another sport as swimming or surfing may cause delay on my red letter days. What else am I going to do?

I remembered, Yoga.

It was quite timely when my editor-in-chief asked me to cover a Bikram Yoga challenge which was just few kilometers away from my home. Of course, as the opportunity presented itself, I took the assignment.

Read about my BIKRAM YOGA Challenge HERE

Months after, I got addicted to other group classes and wasn’t able to head back to Bikram Yoga not until last Saturday when I got back to the hot room for Bikram Yoga Alabang’s Hot Start, an introductory class to those who are clueless about the practice.

Practicing yoga at home after my Kids Yoga Certification training, I fell in love back to the practice but this time, not am I only committing to change but also to progression.

Why attend an introductory class?

BIkram Yoga Hot Start truly is a good way to review your poses and get yourself re-acquainted (especially knowing my last practice got me passed out from having to much caffeine and lack of sleep), to those who have yet to experience the practice, the introductory class would make you realize all sorts of things, not just about the practice but also about your body and condition.

You’ll get to know that..

  • It’s done in a 40 C (105F) room with 40% humidity.
  • It consists of 26 “asanas” or postures and two breathing exercises that are done twice in a row.
  • It’s 90 minutes long.
  • The combination of heat and postures are supposed to be good for blood circulation, delivering more oxygen to joints, muscles and organs.
  • Sweating is supposed to be detoxifying.
  • It’ll help you breathe better which helps you recuperate from certain illness (colds,sinusitis, asthma etc)
  • Benefits are far more than what you see

Bikram yoga Back bend

During the HOT START, I paid attention to every word Betty was going to say and was teaching. I have been trying to decode about my heart rate and why I passed out (aside from the caffein and lack of sleep) but apparently, albeit it may seem that my breathing was correct all throughout those days of my practice — it wasn’t.

Here are few things which I learned:

  • Breathe through your nose and never ever open that mouth (challenged myself not to, not a single chance)
  • As you breathe, dont’ feel awkward about making that sound as the air pass/go through the lungs
  • Only take a sip of water, yes, be strict at it.
  • Yoga is NEVER a competition (reminded by this, as I was getting a little impatient on few poses)
  • Never ever eat anything solid or heavy 2 hours prior the practice (I only had Soy Milk instead, an hour before)
  • Have COLD WATER that’ll last up until the end of the practice. It’ll help balance the heat on your body.
  • Tuck those ribs in, pelvic bone out and be mindful to square those hips.
  • Proven equation: Hydrate a day or two prior (hydrate more than you used to in a day, actually)
  • Sleep earlier than early. Complete the 8 hours cycle.

Yoga is a progressive practice and every session feels like as if it were your first time.

Know more about Bikram Yoga Alabang HERE

Do You Yoga?


If you’re anything like me who couldn’t transport herself to the nearby studio to practice and would rather save time for elsewhere or work load other than braving the traffic and stop lights; home practice isn’t that bad.

Of course, there’s a huge difference being in the studio with fellow yogi’s for an extra motivational push and posture guidance; yoga being a non-competitive practice shouldn’t be too much on your shoulder.

I have been on and off since High School but it is only until after College when I realized I should’ve been more consistent back then. I had 5 hour breaks, more time after dismissal and definitely had long weekends compared to how it is now that you’re a working fella.

Strangely, I’ve become more consistent now than how it was. If I was able to do it within the four corners of my small room – you can, too.

Wanna set up your own yoga sanctuary? Here are the things you need:

  • Yoga Mat
  • Yoga towel (if preferred)
  • Space fit for your yoga mat to lay
  • Yoga blocks and straps, if necessary

You can also add some ambiance:

  • Speakers
  • load up your iTunes with relaxing tunes
  • dim the lights or have candles (be careful!)

If you’re the type who needs guidance; go ahead and feel free to tune in to YouTube and search through YOGA videos ( I suggest, Tara Stiles Yoga) or if you prefer being guided, Divine Wellness can teach you in real time by interacting through the reliable webcam.

Sometimes 7 minutes is all you need upon waking up and log in another before going to sleep. – Some Sun Salutations may be just right. You can also do side-to-side stretches as you head yourself to the loo; do some back bends in the office or by basically practicing pranayama as you go through your emails or if you need a minute break from a stress loaded assignment.

Yoga is anywhere, and can be done everywhere.

No matter what kind of practice you prefer, If you can attend a class or two in a week or a month, do so. It’s good for you.

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Yogi Glossy: Conversation with Tara Stiles


Dancer pose Tao Portion-Lynch style.
Dancer pose Tao Portion-Lynch style. Make Your Own Yoga t-shirt and leggings from Tara Stiles’ new line with Reebok.

Tara Stiles, a model turned unconventional yoga teacher of Strala Yoga in New York City, profiled by the New York Times as the “Yoga Rebel” has shrugged off the criticisms from purists by asking, “Who made these rules?”  and now, has successfully brought a great partnership together with Reebok promoting and supporting yoga, as a movement,  for all.

As I previously mentioned , Tara and I have been exchanging emails and twitter messages about yoga and her sweet announcement about the collaboration together with Reebok. Now that she was able to personally announce it for the world to know and wear; Tara, being the great motivator and teacher that she is with me virtually and for being a Reebok running ambassador then myself in Manila – I  am delighted with her permission to share to you what I’ve learned about Tara Stiles Yoga journey.

To those who sent in their questions, I have included them. Thanks for contributing!

Fitness Diary: How long have you been practicing  yoga?

Tara Stiles: My first memories were yoga like. I saw a lot of colors as a kid, synesthesia like. I taught myself how to meditate and spent a lot of time doing things like that as a kid. I was formerly introduced to yoga in my teens while I was in a ballet program.

Fitness Diary: What made you try yoga? Which practice did you try and which practice had you hooked and told yourself you’ll do this more often?
 It was just there in the program. I was drawn to it because the experience was like when I meditated as a kid. For me, yoga has always been like an element, something that is there, waiting to be discovered by us.
 Fitness Diary:  What made you realize that yoga is the best fit for you and this chosen yoga practice?
Everything about the practice made sense for me as a lifestyle. Also choosing my own path within the practice made a lot of intuitive sense for cultivating the life I want to live.
Fitness Diary: During the first day of your practice up until this date, what keeps you going to practice?
I know the affects of the practice and I’d be silly not to practice.
Fitness Diary:  When you started, were you really this flexible already and strong? What was the first yoga asana (pose) you tried and progressed on? 
I was always pretty flexible naturally, physically and psychologically. I used the practice in the beginning to build stability and strength on all levels.
Fitness Diary: Diet. Were there changes? What changed? 
 
Big changes. Gummy bears to Greens. I’ve always loved spinach though, but giving up the gummy bears was a change.  Now I’m really into plants.
Fitness Diary:  What is your favorite 7 mins or quick practice at home asanas?
Depends on how I feel. If I need to move some simple sun salutations and big movements and inversions do the trick. If I’m overwhelmed, hip openers and forward bends work.
Fitness Diary:  Why do you recommend yoga?
 
Want to feel better, live healthy, have lots of energy, calm mind, focused energy, oh, and look fantastic? Do yoga regularly.
Fitness Diary: When you started and continued to pursue yoga, what were that changed? Emotionally? Physically? Mentally? Overall wellness? 
 
I gained a better sense of how to communicate my inspirations and feelings into the tangible.
Fitness Diary: Were you trying to recuperate from any health concerns at that time which yoga cured? 
 
Yoga has in my opinion prevented me from anything that could have gone wrong with my body and mind so far.
Fitness Diary: What was your inspiration on designing and styling the reebok yoga clothes? How did this collaboration came up with? 
I wanted to create comfy clothes that feel amazing and look great too. Clothes that you literally want to wear all the time that reflect my easy going approach and attitude and are also, of course, super fun and fresh. It is really amazing with Reebok, this is their first big entrance into yoga so we got to create something from the beginning.
Fitness Diary:  Who made the rules? Why such campaign?
Why not? We get so caught up in what we think we should do from all directions of life, creating a who made the rules theme reminds us to follow our own intuition and create our own path. It’s quite empowering don’t you think?
Fitness Diary: How did yoga change you?
Yoga has always been there with me. It’s changed with me more like a dance than changing me.
Fitness Diary: Any advice for newbies, enthusiasts and Yogini practitioners? 
 
Just start today already! 5 minutes. Search on YouTube. there is something for you I promise 🙂
Tara Stiles and Reebok
Tara Stiles and Reebok
Tara has been guiding me for a month or two now and have already lost 7 lbs by following her short and sweet videos, correctional virtual guidance when I seem to have a hard time on my poses or seek for progressive moves for my practice. It is no wonder that people love her and although the purists disapprove — Yoga is for sharing, isn’t?  Who made the rules?  Thanks Tara! You’ll definitely going to be my first stop once I visit New York again!
You may get to know more about Tara Stiles through her BLOG, TUMBLR, TWITTER or through her videos on YOUTUBE.