Syncing the mind and body

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Saturday, March 22, 2014


HOW do we keep ourselves in top-notch shape in the midst of the barrage of physical and mental noise that stresses our system?

Certainly, people do have myriad of ways shielding themselves from intrusion of unwanted stresses. One may hit the gym to firm flabbiness or flex muscles and affirm the physical strength. Others may hangout with friends for the weekend rituals of unwinding with alcohol or caffeine and sweet binge. Some may go to beauty saloons to pamper their souls by getting that desired new look. Or perhaps, lounge in their homes to watch movies like forever. Or simply get to the beach.

For Julie Ang, owner of chain of businesses in the city, syncing the body and mind has been the answer to the never-ending satisfaction of fulfilling egocentric desires. She found this syncing through practicing yoga. Yes, yoga. We have all heard and seen about this practice of the union of the body and mind from TV shows, magazines and the Internet.

Julie has been doing body wellness for over two decades. She has been an active sport doing cycling, mountain climbing, marathon and other rigorous physical activities especially during her younger days. As a sport buff Julie opened Body Basics Gym two decades ago. She felt so dynamic that in her 40s she was flexing her muscles and did nonstop fitness marathon to maintain a healthful living.

Turning point

One day, she couldn’t walk. Her knees hurt so bad and depression set in. It was also a turning point in her life – it led her to finding her core.

“I thought achieving a physically fit body was all I needed. When I was 40, I felt so proud of doing nonstop fitness marathon. It filled my ego. Then, I couldn’t walk… It struck me. Why did I feel that way? So, I traveled and went to India and other places to find the answer,” Julie tells Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

She realized that fitness doesn’t mean looking good and being sexy, having a well-built physique like toned muscles.

“Now I define fitness or wellness to be the wholistic total health of both the mind and body. The more I practice it, the more I realized that it doesn’t have to be physically tedious. Yoga has helped me find my core, my center,” Julie narrates.

At Body Basics gym, she integrated Yoga but as she immerses herself into it she found that Yoga and the gym are two different things. “The more I practice yoga, the more I realized that attaining the wholistic fitness begins with a mind that is controlled and yet it connects to the body. A controlled mind leads us to our core – of who we really are and not how people want us to be.”

Focusing on the physical aspect, Julie says, is only affirming what people tell me. “Whenever somebody tells you that you look haggard, you will never forget it. You will strive to look better because haggard is negative and people want positive affirmation. It hits the ego and so we follow what’s popular – hit the gym, run, swim, etc. But bringing the heart and mind to work as one is getting to our core – our center,” she reiterates.

One Yoga Wellness Studio: Mind and body wellness

Julie says yoga is the way today – it is the trend especially in societies that continue to develop and grow economically where people are pressured to work harder and do more to cope with this growth.

Cagayan de Oro City is the growth center of Northern Mindanao. The city used to be so laidback 20 years ago. However with the influx of malls, industries and realty its landscape has been changing since then. Traffic has worsened and pollution is up. Everyone gets home so tired. Thus, coping with stresses comes in many forms.

Seeing this changing of landscape and finding her core, Julie is bringing yoga to the city to make it accessible to those who are already into it and to those who would have always wanted to practice it but its inaccessibility stopped them to do so.

Julie closed the Body Basics gym and had her soft opening of the One Yoga Wellness Studio: Mind and body wellness on March 14, 2014.

“I am selling all those heavy gym equipment. Here at One Yoga, people who want to find their core can do yoga, pilates and tai-chi. These physical activities are very helpful in bringing the mind and body together,” she explains, referring on how her studio will be like as it gets fully opened in April.

The clamor of opening a studio from yoga enthusiasts is high, so Julie decided to open it despite the ongoing renovation of the space. But by April it will be up and running to serve Cagayan de Oro in full swing.

There will be a vegetarian café and organic products that will be sold at the studio, Julie says.

“Part of the wellness is also our diet. I am vegetarian for seven years now. Finding vegetarian food and organic products are not easy in the city and so I am bringing them here in the studio.”

For XT, one of the yoga instructors at the studio, yoga has taught him to appreciate life, the little details and gratitude in life’s spectacle and adventures.

“I have become grounded and always in the present moment. It has deepened my spirituality that is beyond religion. I find and know my true self and worth,” he tells Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

A gamble

Four years ago, Julie has started bringing yoga in the city. However, she found it difficult to invite people to do yoga, despite having it integrated as one of the programs at her former Body Basics gym.

“I brought here an excellent yoga teacher from Thailand and it was so difficult to invite people to attend to it. I only managed to bring five,” she recalls.

Today, Julie is bringing her passion regardless of the difficulties. She believes bringing the mind and body wellness center will help many residents in the city who in one one way or the other are finding their core too.

“This is a gamble, but I see the need for this mind and body wellness to be in demand. I am positive that bringing this here will gather all those who have been yearning for this practice.”

The One Yoga Wellness Studio will also bring the “Art of Living” that is being practiced in around 150 countries in the world. Julie is one of the certified teachers of the “Art of Living” in the country and she will be offering it at her studio.

The “Art of Living” is learning the rhythm of breathing to connect the mind and body while doing either yoga, pilates or taichi.

One Yoga Wellness Studio welcomes everyone regardless of gender and age. “This center will also be a place for the cancer survivors, the senior citizens and even the children,” Julie says.

You can visit the One Yoga Wellness Studio at Velez between Fernandez and San Agustin Streets.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 23, 2014.

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