When In Manila, I am so happy to meet different kinds of people especially when I hear their stories. This day, I enjoyed my afternoon with a group of graceful, beautiful women, while they shared to me their beliefs about what they love. Most of them have been practicing Yoga for over 10 years now, saying that “Yoga is a way of life – of living.”
“It will depend on you.. when you are Ready…”
Connie Ponce talks about Yoga Manila
Connie shares, a very calm woman, she teaches Ashtanga Vinsaya Yoga and is one of the founders of Yoga Manila.
I asked, “Who is Yoga Manila?”
Nature shares “We are a family of teachers who have been practicing Yoga for some time now. Sharing this practice is our collective passion and our blessing. We are a mix of entrepreneurs, executives and former executives, full-time moms, professors, writers…”
At Yoga Manila, you learn with a teacher, with the people in class. We also build more of a personal relationship with our students.”
“Traditional Yoga? Hm, what specifically does Yoga Manila practice?”
Cherry shares “Yes, we practice Traditional Yoga, the Ashtanga and Sivananda Style Yoga.
Ashtanga is physically challenging to build strength, flexibility, and stamina. It is also a very purifying practice for the mind. And Sivananda Yoga is relaxed and gentle, it encourages a healthy lifestyle and train you for proper breathing, relaxation, exercise, diet, and positive thinking along with meditation.
Aside from Ashtanga and Sivananda, we also offer free flow Vinyasa classes.”
Can we learn Yoga alone, or with other students?
Yoga Manila practices at Makati studio
“We offer private sessions for those who prefer to learn individually. However, our regular classes such as Basic Led Ashtanga, Slow Flow classes are done in a group with a teacher leading the class.
We also have Ashtanga Yoga Mysore classes, where we teach in the traditional way – the students are given poses one at a time and while they practice together, they do this in their pace under the guidance of a teacher. For those who already have an established grounding of the Ashtanga practice, we offer our space for self practice sessions.”
But when is the best time of the day to join your class?
Ideally, Yoga is practiced early in the morning but of course everyone has a personal choice. That is why we offer our students different class schedules where they are most comfortable with.” Cherry discloses.
That is really helpful! And who are allowed to join Yoga Manila?
Yoga Manila Ortigas studio
Nature says “Yoga is for everyone. We have different advocacies and we reach out to a wide age group.
We have Pre-natal and Post-natal Yoga. This prepares moms physically and mentally – to be strong, supported and confident through breath, asana (postures) and relaxation – before, during, and after giving birth. Then we have Yoga for babies, this is usually done with the parent or guardian and we incorporate yoga and touch therapy for the baby. This also provides great bonding time!
We offer Kids and Tweens Yoga for the young ones and those entering adolescence. The movements are mixed with activities that are fun for them so they can be encouraged to keep a yoga practice even at a young age.
Because we believe it’s never too early or too late to learn yoga, we also have Special sessions for those in the more Senior years. Some of the teachers have special sessions with yoga practitioners above the age of 70.
At Yoga Manila, our advocacies as teachers are supported. We offer Yoga for Special Children. This is Cherry’s advocacy to share the transformative and calming benefits of yoga to children with special needs.
And I have Special sessions for Breast Cancer survivors, my advocacy as a survivor as well.”
So everyone is really welcome here. But, hmm, I’m just curious, how is being a teacher different from practicing Yoga as a student?
Yoga Manila teachers Roberta Feliciano and Cherry Du join the discussion
“You have to be a student for you to be able to teach.” Connie smilingly says.
Roberta relates “As a teacher, you become even more of a student! Even if you are already practicing it for a long time and know what to do, you have to be able to break it down. You have to understand more about what you’re doing than just coming to class.”
How do you learn more when you already teach?
Roberta continues “You teach from your own experience. Even though we are teaching the same thing, it will all come across differently because everybody has a different take on what Yoga is.
What’s good about Yoga Manila is all the teachers don’t just go to class and teach, we really have our own personal practices. And in that personal practice, we discover new things and bring it to class.”
My sister, Lour, who practiced Yoga at Maryland once shared to me about a “light” that you will see when you practice Yoga. What does she mean?
“Ashtanga Yoga has Eight Limbs, a path to follow. Yoga trains you to have a healthy mind, a healthy attitude, to avoid hurting people, to be strong…
It teaches you proper breathing, it is called Pranayama; to calm your mind. Then Yoga tells you to focus, that is when you see a “light,” if you are asked to focus and clear your mind, you can stay in a deep meditation or stillness and nothing can bother you.
But Joanne, that takes many, many years of practice!” Connie smiles.
Of course! (smiles) Well, you got tips on what to keep in mind when practicing Yoga?
Connie shares her checklist while I take down notes. :)
1. Food is very important, as much as your physical exercise. Your body you can be strong but if your diet is not right, it will manifest, you get sick, you get tired, and stress comes in. Always consider the logic of proper diet, and it has to be voluntary.
2. Take enough rest every day.
3. Don’t overstress yourself. Think positive, you are there to learn, not to compete
4. When you step outside of the class, visually, the place is not so relaxing anymore, but you must be in control of your mind , and your surroundings won’t matter to you.
5. Time in class on your yoga mat is your personal time.
6. As a student, you must be dedicated, all has to be freewill, voluntary, and you need to love what you are doing.
7. Beginners are encouraged to read the book of Gregor Maehle, it covers philosophy, anatomy, history of Yoga, diet, and a lot more.
8. But everything is not learned from a book or from other teachers but it is from years of practicing on your own and discovering new things.
9. You need discipline. After months or weeks or years of practice, you will be able to memorize the sequence of poses. Yoga is like any sport, even without your trainer, you go on and practice on your own.
10. Yoga, like life, cannot be forced; it has to have its own calling. You need to be ready.
Just wondering now, how was it like when you started Yoga Manila?
Yoga Manila invites you to join them!
Connie reveals “When we started, we teach even if we have only one or two students in the class, sometimes we don’t even have a student, but that didn’t bring us down. Though we are small and we provide simple spaces for practice, our shalas (studios) are our homes and we all love and love to share our practice…
When In Manila and you visit Yoga Manila, once you step into our home, you are welcome to join us, you are welcome to learn.” Connie smilingly says.
SMS Only: +63917.522.YOGA (9642)
Yoga Manila – Alabang
405 Bougainvilla corner Sanggumay, Ayala Alabang Village, Muntinlupa City
Yoga Manila – Makati
Greenbelt Mansion, Unit 506, Perea St., Legaspi Village, Makati City
Yoga Manila – Ortigas
Chi Spa, EDSA Shangri-La, Manila 01 Gardenway, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City
Yoga Manila – Quezon City
NY Theraspine Building 2F, 73G Dr Lazcano Street, Quezon City
Yoga Manila: “Yoga is for everyone, and for every stage in our lives. Our passion and service is to keep sharing this practice…”