Yoga-A A +A
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
MY name is Jackie and I am an exercise addict. At 20, when Jane Fonda came out with her aerobics video in the 80s, I got hooked. If I don't get to workout, I get withdrawals and feel sluggish. It got worse when I was battling personal storms and "peri-menopausing" a few years ago that I would work myself out for hours at a time to the point of exhaustion, driving from 1 gym to the next.
Now, more than 30 years later, after trying all the different exercise trends, from hi-lo to spinning, boxing and taekwondo, weights to Zumba plus much more, my body is now telling me to slow down.
So, I decided to concentrate on Yoga, which was first introduced to my cousins and I in Tita Pat Montemayor's home by some foreign guests when we were young. They taught us how to do the lotus, the headstand, and some other poses. I remember "race-walking" in the lotus position with my cousins and it was just the funniest thing I had ever seen. Being around 8 or 9 yrs old at that time, we were still a bit flexible and fearless. In 3rd year high school in Assumption College, San Lorenzo, yoga became a requirement. It was one of the toughest and most dreaded PE classes because by then, we were not as flexible anymore so our muscles would be sore and we'd be walking like ducks for days every week.
Three months ago, when I started to do yoga religiously (as a beginner for the nth time), I would follow the instructor by listening to his/her instructions. We would start with meditation, basically to clear our minds of all thoughts so we can focus and prepare our minds and bodies for the session. We were taught how to breathe deeply because it is one of the most essential things in yoga. Then I noticed that with all the yoga instructors, we would do the same sequence of poses which, I later learned, was called Sun Salutations.
At first, I was stumbling through the poses, finding my balance which was impossible (especially because I was focused on watching the instructor), but as I got to memorize the sequence, I started to be mindful of my movements and poses, activating every muscle that needs to be activated. After a few weeks, I noticed the changes in my mind and body. I was not as high-strung, I was sleeping better, my muscles were starting to show beneath the layers of fat and lose skin and best of all, I felt energized!
Yoga is challenging, that I can attest to. One should train his mind to focus, surrender and listen to his own body and not to rush into the poses. It is also not a competition. To those who watch thru the glass wall, it may seem easy. My cousin, Ricky, once told me that he joined a class and thought he was going to have a heart attack!:D To get the full benefits, you should commit yourself. What got me hooked was when done properly, it detoxifies my body from its toxins, is low impact and fulfills my mental and physical needs. After every session, some yoginis stay on to practice some poses which we call "play time". This is the fun part. One afternoon, after a month of continuous yoga practice, my instructor and classmates convinced me and another yoga addict, Jude Jaugan, a 6 foot, 250lb (now down to 220) jolly giant, to try to do the headstand. We were both very hesitant... me, because of my cervical spine injury and he, because of his weight.:D Our instructor guided us through the steps and voila we were both standing upside down and able to conquer our fear!!!:D Now, we practice other poses and there are hundreds so it is never boring. There is always continuous learning.
Our class is a mix of different people with different backgrounds and age levels, from ages 18 to 78. Through yoga, we all connect and the sessions never fail to bring positive vibes to all of us. This is why, I have decided to commit myself to it. Who knows, maybe someday I'd even be able to give up meat for the love of YOGA!;) Namaste!
Dalisay Estioko -- Yoga inspires me to challenge my body to continue to function with fluidity and increase my flexibility, strength and endurance I need. It is an exercise suited for the elderly. The poses will limber the body and the aches and pains will no longer be experienced.
Amor Ramirez -- I was 10 kilos overweight when I started yoga early this year, and I have always thought that yoga is only for the light, skinny people that I see in the gym. After my first session with Fritz, I started to believe that yoga can help me fix my mind and body, but like all things, it will require dedication for its practice. The rules were simple: breathe, do not push too hard, and have the patience to submit and respect your body's limits.
Jeanette Grachico -- I have been battling with a severe shooting pain down my back and yoga has been an effective natural pain pill. It is also through it that I can play like a kid and feel young at heart and mind.
Maureen Lara -- Yoga is more than just the poses - its real beauty lies in the philosophy. Yoga is a way of life. It teaches one to know oneself, to respect your body by knowing your limits - physically, mentally and emotionally. Most importantly, it taught me acceptance of both my strengths and weaknesses because I am a perfect creation by the supreme being
. For these reasons, I am eternally grateful to have been introduced to yoga.
Abby Guiani -- At first I never thought I would be doing yoga. Since I have scoliosis I got scared that if I would make a wrong move I would badly hurt my back. But from day one of doing yoga, it helped me a lot with my posture. Yoga helped me develop strength, flexibility and balance. I learned things about myself not only on the physical aspects but mentally as well. I conquered my fear, that's why I simply love yoga!
Roel Rodrigo -- I'm in my 50s and being a late bloomer UltraMarathoner and Triathlete, I found out that I'm on my peak physical, mental and spiritual condition. Practicing Yoga improves my flexibility and agility, as well as helping me relax and manage stress and anxiety through peacefulness of body and mind. Namaste!
Ricky Doromal -- I love yoga because it helps me increase my flexibility, body tone and promotes inner calmness.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 22, 2013.