Celebrating International Yoga Day at The Sanctuary Village

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Yoga has its benefitsboth to the physical health and holistic well-being of a person. In recent years, it has predominantly been women attending classes across all studios in the metro. This is due to the myth that yoga is too touchy-feely and that it requires extreme flexibility.

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I’ve started doing yoga a few years ago, mainly because I wanted to lose weight. Plus, my orthopedic doctor required me to do exercises that have low impact on my bones but would strengthen my core and back muscles. Though I haven’t lost as much weight as I wanted to, yoga still has helped me transition and maintain my strength to do other sports.

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Last June 21 2017, in celebration of International Day of Yoga, a yoga class led by Ria Tirazona was held in the Sanctuary Village Residents in Barangay Addition Hills. This was a project by Certified Calm in partnership with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

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Upon entering The Sanctuary Village, warm smiles and hugs greeted us by the women and volunteers that were present. The Sanctuary Village is a residential institution that serves as a safe house for women recovering from psychosis and other mental illnesses. It was with hope that through the yoga class, a spark of positivity, and energy would be ignited.

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Initially, just how I was when I started my yoga practice, there were women who had a hard time sitting down due to pain felt in different parts of their body such as their knees and back. In each pose, they were given options to do, guided ultimately by their breaths. In yoga, the breath is as important as the pose. In the practice, the diaphragmatic breathing is then followed by consciously and gently extending each exhalation.

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One participant’s realization struck us when she said that yoga is, “parang mapayapang pag daloy sa dalampasigan” (like a peaceful flow of the ocean). It was quite hard to keep tears at bay, seeing how the participants opened their hearts to the yoga experience. Some even hugged us after.

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I had an initial mindset that it’ll be an easy breezy yoga coverage, but I ended up with a changed heart–a deeper understanding on how yoga can be. It is truly not just a physical practice, but being in touch with your inner self. In this holistic endeavour, opening oneself requires mindful breathing and acknowledging the “now.”

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