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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FLY PROJECT: On Consistency & Game Plan


Swan Dive on the Ladder Barren
Swan Dive on the Ladder Barren with my trainer, Kevin of Vivian Zapanta Pilates Studio (Salcedo).

On my 9th week (On my third pilates class), my trainer and I had a thorough chat about goals and timelines. We agreed to set clear intentions on why we’re doing what we’re doing. Again, Pilates is a mind and body movement; it goes beyond just lengthening and stretching, it also practices so much mind work and alignments.

While he was guiding me through my practice, he told me to keep in-mind this famous Pilates wisdom: “Wherever your eyes go, your head will follow. Wherever your head goes, your heart will follow

I’d have to be honest though, I cringed a little but as I wake up everyday, having it listed on my phone to notify me in the morning to remind me of the wisdom, it’s slowly bringing so much weight and meaning – not just in terms of the mindful movement workout but also in general life decisions.

The game plan was ruled out. In a nutshell, I’d have to be diligent to my commitment. I promised to attend to my pilates sessions at least 3x a week for 90 days and we’ll focus on core and posture correction including progressive flexibility. As much as we wanted to tackle weight loss, we wanted to base the progress more on my body’s adaptability towards movement (and the inches). In my head, I was already imagining myself doing more headstands with much grace, handstands with so much strength and get to do splits again. Until then, maybe, Pilates would be the key towards working on my dream to happen. I do still want to take up Yoga certification in India. A girl can dream, right?

After Kevin and I had that chat while he was rolling some pilates balls on my back (the best part of each

Eye on the Prize. Let's work on Progress.
Eye on the Prize. Let’s work on Progress.

session, PROMISE!) he had me go through posture analysis and karada scan to check on my body composition.

To check on progress and for me to keep an eye on the prize; we agreed to have the posture analysis after 30 sessions and have the composition check every month. Let’s talk about pressure! I’m excited and nervous all at the same time.

Being someone who hates knowing what the numbers say, I fearfully faced the reality. There’s so much work to do.

If you haven’t heard it yet, One shouldn’t depend on movement alone. Pay attention to nutrition. Remember: Change happens in the kitchen. The equation states: 80% Nutrition, 20% Movement.

My week 10 turned out this way:

  • Monday: Pilates (Focused on the back and upper body)
    Tuesday:  Cassey Ho’s 1000 abs challenge
    Wednesday: Pilates (focused on lower body and sides)
    Thursday: Rest Day
    Friday: Pilates (focused on legs)
    Saturday: Tara Stiles Build Strength Evenly Yoga
    Sunday: Rest day but took a Corridor walk tour (lots of walking!)

Also, I just wanted to share my very first controlled headstand. Let’s turn the world upside down. So Stoked!

November Wellness Expo All Set in Subic


Subic Fitness Festival Poster

With sports, fitness, and wellness gaining so much following in the last two years, it is not a surprise that fitness and wellness centers are mushrooming all over the country. So many different sports events like marathons, triathlons, and even boot camp sessions are lined up for a whole year that the enthusiasts would already have a difficult time squeezing in an activity or two into their busy schedules, not to mention having second thoughts of joining for fear of not being able to keep up.

The Subic Fitness Festival (SFF), happening on November 15, 16, and 17 this year, promises to make sports, fitness, and wellness available to everyone by showcasing a large Expo of different products and services, multi-sport events, fun group exercise classes, and awesome performances all over the soon-to-be Sports Capital of the Country. Some of the highlights are a Zumba Fitness Party, a Yoga Super Class, an Urban Dance Challenge, an Invitational Triathlon competition, a Victory Night Run, and a battle of the fittest teams (or gyms) – The Circuit Warz.

Sports and fitness enthusiasts from Metro Manila, nearby provinces and, hopefully, some from Visayas and Mindanao are expected to take part in this exciting hallmark event.

SFF is the project of F & F Events International in partnership with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Ayala Harbor Point Mall.

Follow them on social media: @SubicFitFest

Work at Home: Take Yoga with You


yoga at work

Can’t find the time to attend yoga in this competitive world or perhaps the bed seem to always pull you back in instead of allowing yourself to get into a good stretch or sweat? If you haven’t heard on the benefits of yoga as a stress-buster and the perfect companion to pair with those who’s always anxious on deadlines; here are few poses you may do at home whether you’re listening on a conference call, in the middle of finishing your decks or trying to shoot as much emails a day can fill.

Begin your yoga sequence on the floor to give yourself a break from being seated for hours.

The Child’s Pose

Just like honoring the king, get into the balasana (resting pose) or child’s pose as we call it. A perfect therapeutic asana to those who are stressed.

Child's pose
balasana (Child’s Pose)
  • Gently stretches the hips, thighs, and ankles
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • Relieves back and neck pain when done with head and torso supported

 

 

 

 

 

 

Modified Three-Legged Facing Downward Dog

This Adho Mukha Svanasana is perfect to those with tight hips and needs a little help on loosing it up after all the day’s work and weeks of just being seated in front of a computer or over-staying at the nearby coffee shop.

Modified Three Legged Downward Dog

  • Full-body stretching
  • Strength building
  • Energizing and rejuvenating the nervous system
  • Relief from stress, headaches, fatigue, poor digestion, and back pain
  • overall balance

Cat’s Pose

This is usually paired with the Cow’s Pose. Keep that posture away from protruding or having your back prone to misalignment.

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  • Stretches the back torso and neck
  • Provides a gentle massage to the spine and belly organs

Cobra Pose

This heart opener which is also called as Bhujangasana will keep your chest free from
stiffness as you’re always scrounged for working seated.

Cobra Pose
  • Strengthens the spine
  • Stretches chest and lungs, shoulders, and abdomen
  • Firms the buttocks
  • Stimulates abdominal organs
  • Helps relieve stress and fatigue
  • Opens the heart and lungs
  • Soothes sciatica
  • Therapeutic for asthma
  • Traditional texts say that Bhujangasana increases body heat, destroys disease, and awakens kundalini.

 

 

 

Dolphin Plank Pose

Aside from it works on your core to tighten and activating it. This pose is great as an overall strengthening for your body and balance.

Dolphin Plank Pose
  • Calms the brain and helps relieve stress and mild depression
  • Stretches the shoulders, hamstrings, calves, and arches
  • Strengthens the arms and legs, and core
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will be featuring three (3) more in the next coming post. Remember, always keep your chest open and square your hips. Each of these poses would help you sheer away from the stress at the back of your shoulder.

Trust me, it’ll help. Big time.

*information from yoga journal.

Benefits of Yoga for Migraine


Migraine belongs to the world’s most debilitating medical disorder, and in 2004, the World Health Organization ranked migraine as the 3rd most prevalent health illness worldwide. According to a study conducted in New Delhi, steady yoga sessions can cut back migraine attacks by 70%.

What is Migraine?
Migraine is actually a neurological disease that has incomparable symptoms to regular headache. In regular headache, pain develops when blood vessels constrict but in migraine, pain gets worse when blood vessels expand. Symptoms of migraine are more depressing than regular headache. Migraines are triggered easily and pain doesn’t go right away.

Some of the predisposing factors of migraine include weather, chocolates, fish, cheese, lights, smoke, certain smell and stress. Taking birth control pills also trigger migraine attacks.

Why Migraines are Dangerous?
Migraines are a one disease that should be taken seriously. Migraines are dangerous because they can lead to life threatening conditions such as stroke and aneurysm.

Does Yoga Benefits Migraine?
There is a little scientific study between the benefits of yoga for migraine. The disclosure was affirmed by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke which has revealed that regular yoga sessions help rebuff migraines by reducing stress levels in the body as well as muscular tension. On the other side, in a published article of Headache, result of the study revealed that participants who have continued sessions on yoga have reported lesser migraine attacks compared to those who don’t take yoga classes. However, it must be cleared that yoga is not the sole resolution for migraines but a technique to reduce stress that in turn causes migraines.

Meanwhile, it also has been found out that certain brain chemical plays an essential role in headaches. Serotonin, for example, is found in decreasing levels during migraine attacks. Yoga, as proven in studies, is able to improve levels of serotonin in the body.

What are the Benefits of Yoga to Migraine?
Yoga has stress-reducing ability and not only benefits migraine but likewise freezes other health problems. Yoga is safe, effective and found to have no complications except for individuals who have problems on posture and joint damages.

In a nutshell, the following are the justifications regarding the benefits of yoga for migraine:

• Yoga decreases cortisol in the body which is as a precursor hormone of stress.
• Yoga reduces stress, anxiety and muscle tension, three of the common incitations of migraines.
• Yoga improves posture.
• Yoga increases body awareness. You are able to know your body and identify even the most subtle changes. For example, you are able to recognize that migraine is coming on by its initial signs.
• Yoga calms your body by performing restorative poses of yoga.

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.

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.