The Reluctant Stylista

My foray into yoga was not easy.  Well, literally, it wasn’t easy because I’ve tried a total of 2 weeks non-stop and it still winds me up.  But apart from that, if you can remember, I briefly mentioned yoga in my 2013 Beauty Resolutions List, and I implied that it’s never going to be my thing.

You can now officially call me a word-eater.

And because I love telling stories, let me just tell you how yoga and I started.

Around late September, I was on my way out of the house for Capoeira class.  I bent down to pick up my workout bag when suddenly–POP!  I felt a tiny pain in my right shoulder.  I didn’t think much of it at first–I’m used to a little muscle strain every now and then and they go away after a while.  But when I tried massaging the area to ease the pain, it did the exact opposite.  The tiny pain became much worse and it spread to my neck, then eventually my other shoulder.  Because we do cartwheels and handstands quite regularly in class, and a lot of other moves that usually involve shoulder and neck muscles, I thought it prudent to skip Capoeira that day.

Within 2 hours, I was nursing a fever and I couldn’t move from the bed without being in extreme pain.  Pretty soon, my mom was hovering over me while I lay prone on the bed, scolding me about my choices in career and sports, holding them responsible for my condition.  And that I ought to just quit.

Quit styling and Capoeira?  The thought was thoroughly depressing.  To be honest, I haven’t been having the best year so far, and those two things, I believed, were at least keeping me sane and occupied.  They were the only things that I looked forward to in a weekly basis.

So lying in bed that day, miserable and unable to escape my mom’s well-meaning but depressing tirade, I made a silent prayer.  ’God, please, if you make me better, I’ll take care of my body so I can continue doing what I love.  I’ll eat better, make myself stronger, meet my daily calcium requirements, take care of my spine, I’LL EVEN DO YOGA.’

 

Tantra Yoga Makati with Krissy
King Fisher’s pose with Krissy.  I don’t actually know what I’m doing.

 

Yoga for Cross-Training

I’ve been to three yoga studios in a month’s time.  It’s been a struggle, to be honest.  I discovered I wasn’t that flexible, I have to improve on my weight distribution when I do inversions or even just the basic salutations.  Why did I ever think yoga was boring and easy?  The zen faces of yoga practitioners I’ve seen are very deceptive.

On the upside, there was an immediate effect on how my body looked.  I only did a total of 2 weeks–non-consecutive, but each week was an unlimited 7-day run.  That meant I’d go everyday and sometimes twice a day on top of my regular Capoeira classes.  I also started consuming the boxes of Fitnesse that Nestle sent me, doing my own version of their 14-day program (I couldn’t follow it strictly because my BMI is 18.9, and it’s only recommended for 25 and up.  But I’ll talk about that in a different post).

After each week of non-stop yoga, I was visibly leaner and toned.  Okay, I’m aware I’m a mesomorph, meaning I do develop muscles more easily, but to be honest, I’ve been doing Capoeira for months.  And while it’s still my favorite workout, yoga in comparison made a more obvious visible effect in that short amount of time.  (Granted, I also abuse unlimited promos–I would attend at least 10 classes in 7 days.  Have you been to Bikram classes?  I always feel like I lose half my weight in there.)

I think yoga is perfect for cross-training because if you’re practicing martial arts, yoga gives you a better insight on the execution of movements.  You just get to know your body better.  For example, I learned better ways of stretching and holding poses.  It gives me a good core workout, which I appreciate, because I need that kind of intensity to prop myself for inversions in Capoeira.  I tried doing a Vinyasa class right before Capoeira, and you’d think I’d be worn out because I only had about 30 minutes of rest in between (and it’s not strictly rest, because I was driving a stickshift from Fort to Metrowalk).  But I found myself  stronger and energetic and just generally thankful that I was thoroughly stretched out with yoga that it seemed easier to move for Capoeira.

If you’re also interested in doing yoga for cross-training, I recommend Vinyasa, Hatha Flow and Yin Yoga.  These are classes I do before Capoeira, because I’m not too exhausted afterwards.  I’d suggest doing Hot Yoga and Power Yoga on some other days, because based on my personal experience, these tire me out.  But also take note that I’m a beginner in yoga, so maybe it’ll get better and easier for me later on.

Warrior Pose at Tantra Yoga Manila

Launching into Warrior’s pose

 

Tantra Yoga

At this point, I still want to go to yoga classes for proper instruction.  I need a yogini to check if I’m doing the poses correctly because I don’t want to hurt myself.  Tantra Yoga in Makati is the third studio I’ve tried, and I’m going back for more.  It’s the most practical option so far, because they regularly offer unlimited yoga classes for 1 week, priced at P1,000.  The difference is that you need to have your own mat, which I don’t mind–I already just bought one because I do need it for stretching exercises at home (not just for yoga, but for Capoeira as well).  Now I only have to worry about the classes and the schedules.  For future reference, I’ll also be posting a comparative review of all three yoga studios I’ve been to, so interested parties can decide for themselves as well.

I was invited to try Kundalini Yoga and Vinyasa at Tantra Yoga, both of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I’m at this point right now, though, where I got into yoga because of fitness.  I mention this because there are varying levels of meditation involved in different yoga practices, and this is what got other people into it.  In some classes, you begin by setting an intention for the day and you reflect on it quietly to yourself.  I like the idea that you’re beginning the class with good vibes.  I’ve talked to some people who love yoga because it’s meditative and spiritual–if you want it, you can achieve serenity and calm, an inner peace.  I am not quite there yet, but neither am I being pushed to be in that place so don’t think instructors force everyone to be tree-huggers.  However, I do acknowledge the fact that I probably do need this in my life right now.  I used to be carefree and a lot more laidback, but lately I’ve been stressing over my personal demons, easily pushed to anger regarding certain issues, and disturbed, saddened and disappointed over the country’s state of affairs right now.  Who can’t do with a little more zen in their life at this moment, right?

P.S. — Don’t let your cats near your yoga mat.

Tantra yoga offers all sorts of classes — Ashtanga, Hatha, Jivamukti, Flow, Vinyasa, Power, Kids and Kundalini Yoga.  The word tantra has been covered in veils of illusion due to all the different interpretations and misconceptions cast by both yoga practitioners and non-practitioners.  The essential idea of Tantra is that everything in the universe is an expression of the Divine and thus can be tapped as a source of Divine consciousness and being.  Tantra in essence is finding God in everything that we do — it may be as simple as sipping from your cup of coffee or having a conversation with your child or your spouse.  Or it could be something as deep as going into meditation and stillness.  Tantra yoga is mindfulness.

Kundalini Yoga at Tantra Yoga Makati
Kundalini yogini usually arrive early for class so they can meditate.

Eating healthy food with yoga friends at Tantra Yoga Manila

Eating healthy food. Well relatively healthy, anyway.  No meat was served.

Breville demo at Tantra Yoga

Guys from Breville doing an awesome juicing demo

Raw Food Demo at Tantra Yoga

Quick and easy way to make sandwiches and waffles!

Raw Food Demo at Tantra Yoga

Basil, cheese and tomatoes–one of my favorite combinations.  They call these Margherita Jaffles.  Very delicious.

Raw Food Demo at Tantra Yoga

I forgot what was in here, but it was mostly leaves.  I liked it, it had a hint of pineapple.  But Krissy was suspicious of anything that green, so I drank all her samples.

Yogini Victor for Tantra Yoga Manila

Then we did a Vinyasa class with Victor (photo) and his brother JP. No, we didn’t do this pose–you think I’m crazy?  But I think this is my favorite Vinyasa class so far because I got a massage after.  My reward for all that effort!

Yogini Victor for Tantra Yoga Manila

Some day I want to do this! I can’t hold handstands for too long.

 

Tantra Yoga is located at G/F of MG Building, 150 Amorsolo Street Legaspi Village, Makati City.  Nailsanity is also there, so you can actually relax and get a pedicure or massage treatment after a session.

Regular Rates:

Drop-in: P350
Unlimited One Week: P1,000
Unlimited One Month: P 3,500

Private session: P1,500 (one-on-one in Tantra Studio)
Class card: P2,500 (10 classes valid for 2 months)
Unlimited One Year: P35,000 (10 plus 2 months)

Healing (by appointment):

Reiki Healing: P500
Pranic Healing: P500
Theta Healing: P1,500

 

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