Open to wellness

FREEDIVE. Free diving class at the Moalboal retreat
FREEDIVE. Free diving class at the Moalboal retreat

In a time when everyone has had to learn how to cope with prolonged anxiety and isolation, a safe haven in Cebu opened to receive those in search of healing through yoga and overall wellness.

Dawata Wellness studio opened on Dec. 28, 2021 while Cebu was still recovering from Typhoon Odette. Studio owner Sepfry Grace Rivera and her partner Michal Lewandowski had hesitations about opening the studio at what might not be the best time.

But as one of Sepfry’s mentors, Jen Martinez said, “Don’t let challenges dictate your life.” It was now or never for Dawata—and they saw a full studio on opening day. Students came for classes and to contribute to the studio’s relief efforts for communities badly affected by Odette. The Dawata community has been growing steadily since.

Sepfry has been practicing yoga since 2015 and earned her 200-hour teacher certification for multi-style yoga training in India. She clarified that yoga is not a religion; “It’s how we’re connected with others and with the world; our values and feelings.”

More than a studio, Dawata is a venue to give and receive positive energy through yoga and other exercises for physical and mental balance. Its vision is based on the Bisaya word “dawat” or “receive;” a community that is open to receive anyone, and inviting all to be open to receiving holistic wellness.

Aside from daily classes at the studio, Dawata accepts private classes and corporate classes. There are events on most weekends like Sunday ukay-ukay and recently, Earth Hour yoga, sunrise yoga at Tops and Holi Festival of Colors. There are also sound healing sessions, Guasha therapy training and one-on-one reiki healing sessions.

Dawata regularly organizes yoga retreats outside the city, inclusive of accommodations, full board meals, activities for reflection and meditation, and of course, several yoga classes. The most recent one in Moalboal treated students to an awesome moonrise experience, and a beginner’s free diving course.

The itinerary is a little different each time, so that students have something new to look forward to at each retreat.

As part of Dawata’s aim to support local, one can find bracelets and mask holders meticulously handwoven in Malapascua, and products from their students, such as plant-based food from Only Vegan Food Cebu by Cathy Chiong, granola and butter from Natural Living Cebu by Renan Alquizola, Plantita Isabela plants by Carmela Millan Kaiser, Kombu-Tsa healthy drinks by teacher Jason Robles, and more to come.

The reception area at the studio serves as a café where students and visitors alike are welcome to hang out.

“All of our beans and pastries are sourced locally, and we are proud to serve our very own Dawata signature ‘sikwape’ or sikwate and coffee combo—a must try!” said Sepfry.

Dawata Wellness is located at the ground floor of Zenith Central building, Luzon Avenue, Cebu Business Park, Cebu City. For class schedules and other inquiries, visit @dawata.wellness on Instagram.


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