The Yogini from Manila

A Day of Yoga, Vegetarian Food and SIGG


Today, I spent quite a few hours at Pulse Yoga’s studio. Firstly, it was their official opening. Secondly, they were offering FREE classes in varied yoga styles: anusara, iyengar, hatha, sivananda, 8 limbs and kids yoga.

11:00 A.M.

I chose to attend the anusara class with Francesca whose teacher is the Anusara Yoga founder, John Friend.

Anusara (which means ‘going with the flow and following your heart’) is a beautiful combination of body, mind and spirit. Most of my life, I have been a head person. Everything is analyzed, options weighed, risks evaluated before I take off. But lately, I have been exploring the spontaneous side of me, which I know is there but buried deeper than I thought. The times that I experienced spontaneity were moments of bliss and happiness as outcomes were delightfully unexpected. Anusara yoga seemed one way by which I could explore that openness, vulnerability, child-like happiness that comes from lessening the ‘planning’ and just opening up to whatever comes my way.

The desire to try this yoga style started when I got to know Elsie and Hillary, two wonderful, warm anusara yoga teachers (and bloggers!) in the United States whom I befriended over the web. Both of them are not only friends but they do yoga podcasts together at Mudra Moments. The times I got to chat with them online were great “connect” moments which I thoroughly enjoyed because they were always gracious, accommodating, and exuding warmth that reaches out to you from across the miles.‘s website declares their philosophy as follows:

“The highest intention of practicing Anusara Yoga is to align with the Divine. As we deepen our alignment with the Supreme, we step deeper into the flow of Grace. It is through the revelatory power of Grace that we awaken to the truth that this Divine flow is our essential nature. This higher knowledge naturally fuels our deepest desire to lovingly serve the creative flow of life through each breath and posture in our yoga practice. On our yoga mat we artistically offer our individual light and our unique music with the heartfelt prayer of adding more beauty, love, and goodness to the world.

The art of Anusara Yoga is a co-participation with the Supreme-not a practice of domination, subjugation, or control of Nature. The poses in Anusara Yoga are considered to be “heart-oriented,” meaning that they are expressed from the “inside out.” Instead of trying to control the body and mind from the outside, the poses originate from a deep creative and devotional feeling inside. On our mat, we endeavor to always remember the spiritual purpose or highest intention of practicing hatha yoga, including reconnecting with our innate goodness and expressing ourselves from that Divine place.”

Francesca said that the theme for our class today was “Usefulness” (or Ease and Disease).

We did 3 OHM chants first to open the class. Then she made us turn to our neighbor yogi/yogini (we had one guy in class!!!), introduce ourselves, and share what was our Ease (areas of life that we found easy) and Disease (those areas that we were having difficulty with). Oh!!! This is a different style indeed! I have never “shared” thoughts in a yoga class before!

The asanas she introduced us to were not intensive but leaned toward heart opening. We did Parvritta Balasana (Twisted Child) first. Cat/Cow poses were done together with the Lion Pose. Sun salutations were always done with arms open, fingers spread apart — a trademark of anusara which always focuses on the heart. In Warrior I and Warrior 2, she showed us how to find that distance between both feet that allows us to open up into the asana. And in Triangle pose, what I found different was her encouragement to bring the outstretched arm further to the back (opening up the chest in the process) instead of just keeping the arm in T-form alignment with the other arm  .

On our backs, we also did the Bridge and Side Leg Swings while holding on to the big toe of upright leg.

And just before Savasana, we did a preparatory asana to inversions, which was to do a half handstand with legs against the wall.



After class, Tesa gave a brief speech on the studio’s opening, followed by the launch of SIGG, a Swiss brand of aluminum water bottles.

SIGG bottles have these features: aluminum, reusable, eco-friendly, lightweight, durable, 100% recyclable, safe from leaching. They are the perfect companion for sports people and fitness buffs. What I found interesting was the fact it could hold both hot and cold drinks, including juices, coffee, isotonic sports drinks and milk. And they come in all sorts of designs – plain metallic colors, for kids, Asian, nature, etc. For hot drinks, it is advisable to buy the insulation bag to keep your drink hot. Shoulder straps and extra spouts are sold separately also, which is practical when your spout needs changing.

SIGG designs available locally

I met a young group of 3 friends: Marjorie David, Tiffany Tan, and Cham Tan — the ladies of DKI Group, sole distributor of SIGG in the Philippines.

Marjorie, Cham and Tiffany

the team from Pulse Yoga, SIGG & I

Me with Cham and Marjorie

I had a great time chatting with these young entrepreneurs. Firstly, they all graduated from the same high school as my girls. Then 2 of them got their education from the BLUE school, again where my girls are. And they used to be members of the Celadon Club which C1 is very active in. Such commonality!

Lunch was catered by New Bombay Cuisine (see video clip #4 below for details)

1:00 P.M.

Iyengar yoga followed lunch. I wanted to join this class as well as it was conducted by Cle Souren, Founder/Director of the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Institute Amsterdam — one of the largest Iyengar institutes in the world.

By the time I entered the room, there were already many students and I was late, having eaten a slow lunch. So I contented myself with taking pictures and videos of the class. Yes, in true Iyengar tradition, they did use a lot of props including wooden blocks (which I wish they sold in sports shops instead of the foam kind), bolsters for back support, and straps. Cle, from my short observation, is indeed the fatherly instructor one would want to have — gruff when he needs to be but always filled with humor and concern for the students that actually allows you to be receptive to his corrections.


Simultaneously conducting hatha classes at another shala was Madeline from Sweden. Chona and I met her at the last Rockwell Weekend of Fitness so it was nice to bump into her again today.


After taking my shots, I lingered at the lounge area of Pulse and started up conversations with some other people there. One lady looked particularly familiar and it took a few seconds before I realized I was talking to the mom of Robin Padilla! I struck up a conversation with her and discovered she was a wonderful person to talk to. We chatted about her first attempt to do yoga as well as other things showbiz (ano pa!) 🙂

Ms. Eva Carino, mom of Robin Padilla

Another amazing lady I befriended was Emma Dee. Amazing because she told me she was 60 years old, did daily 2-hour exercises including lifting 12 lb. weights on EACH hand!!!! She personally cooks healthy food for her husband and boys. She drinks 20 8-oz glasses of water daily. And my, my, my she still had ABS! What a lady!!! Proves that there is no such thing as being too late to strike up an exercise or fitness program!

Ms. Emma Dee with me

My only regret is not having had the chance to speak personally with Cle Souren. I had to leave before his second PM class ended; I had a medical appointment to keep. But I did come away with 3 SIGG water bottles (for my girls and me), all in the same design.

My own SIGG water bottle

Lastly, here are some videos I took during the launch:

1. My interview with Tesa Celdran, Managing Instructor of Pulse Yoga

2. Cle Souren conducting Iyengar classes

3. My interview with Marjorie David of SIGG

4. Tesa, explaining the different vegetarian dishes from New Bombay (including a short clip with Francesca, Anusara Yoga instructor)

(Some thumbnail pics are from Hillary’s Yoga Practice)

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  1. Greetings from India,
    I am a qualified naturopath and a qualified Yoga instructor. I visit Manila on other assignments ( not connected with yoga) frequently. May I have your comments on your interest ( if any) for a tie up to introduce naturopathy based yoga training sewssions-?


  2. hi jane (and elsie, too!) —

    i haven’t been following your blog — or anyone else’s, for that matter — because i’ve been so busy at work and with my crazy yoga practice! i can’t even find the time to blog much, which is driving me nuts 🙁

    anyway, i just want to add here that anusara yoga rocks! and the anusara scene here in LA hasn’t been the same since she moved to pittsburgh; our loss, their gain…

    i now own two sigg bottles, the one that says I AM NOT PLASTIC and another one called “wisdom awakens” which my daughter just gave me. cool stuff 🙂

    Jane: JONI!!! I also missed you! Elsie seems very happy these days with her pregnancy and her pics show it. Yes I miss Anusara since Francesca went back to SF. Wondering when she will come back again so I can take a class.

    SIGG is great! Oh, take pics of your 2 bottles and email them to me! They don’t have those designs here yet.

  3. I’m sooooo glad you got a chance to take an Anusara class!!! Yep, I remember my first class, I actually had to acknowledge and talk to my fellow students 🙁 yikes! I got used to that sort of stuff as time went on 😉

    I personally adore SIGG water bottles. I just recently bought y first (beautifully purple, with a purple butterfly) and I love it. I wanna get a bigger one as this one is one of the smaller sizes. I need THE BIG ONE!

    Great post mighty Jane, giving the scoop of your experience and the vids!!! you’re like a regular yoga news woman 😉 Oh and thanks for plugging Mudra Moments!!! xoxoxoxo

    Jane: Hi my dear Elsie. It is always a delight to hear from you. Thanks for taking time out of enjoying your new mommy-hood state to write me. Oooh take a pic of your SIGG bottle and post it on Flickr. I want to see!!! 🙂

    I bumped into Francesca, my Anusara teacher, at the grocery a week or two back and told her just how much I love Anusara. It shows in the warmth and love you and Hillary show to friends and students alike. You are just glowing with it!

    My vids are super amateurish. Am waiting to get my own laptop and learn how to edit vids. Maybe I can learn from you and Hillary……

  4. Haha, where can we buy SIGG water bottles locally again?

  5. Yoga, veggie food and SIGG water bottles – sounds like a perfect day to me. 🙂 I’ll have to try out Pulse Yoga when I visit Manila!

  6. Jane, you are really the mother of coolness yoga blogger!


    Jane: Haha, Crissy. You have a knack for giving titles to people. Cool huh? Tell my kids that!

  7. Sure! Pwede ba mag edit ng previous comment? I can’t believe I mispelled “Iyengar” twice! Ack!

    Jane: Ben, did it for you na! 🙂

  8. Hello! We met at the Anusara class. Nice blog…I’m going to steal your photo of me doing the 1/2 headstand hehehe 🙂 I’ll add you up to my list and I guess I’ll be seeing you in class! Ciao!

    Jane: I remember you, Monica, and your utter devotion to your son. I remember being amazed at how long you kept at breastfeeding. I’m all for it! But yes, loving yourself first does not mean loving your son less. In fact, you can give him MORE of yourself. See you around. I am not always at Pulse but hope to do classes there every so often. Namaste.

  9. Wow, your post is so comprehensive. 🙂

    1.) They had an Anusara workshop here a month or two ago. I wasn’t able to attend but the overview that they gave really got me curious about it.

    2.) SIGG bottles! Ang mahal… Hehe.

    3.) I attend some Iyengar classes here too. We’re lucky to have an instructor who studied directly under BKS Iyengar. How cool is that! As in we’d use chairs and bolsters and all that talaga. It’s fun and different. 🙂

    4.) Pulse Yoga looks so nice. I’ll definitely drop by for a visit when I go home.


    Jane: Hi again, Ben. Hayan! Am looking forward na talaga to meet you! I will send you my contact info privately so you can call when you’re in town.

  10. Hi sweetie! Wow! What a great post. Thank you so much for spending the day with us. We were so happy to have you.

    Btw, did you receive my email in partial answers to our blog interview?

    More to come!

    Much love!

    Jane: It is always my pleasure, Tesa dear. I did receive your email and responded earlier.

  11. Reinforcing our hype on twitter, I see Sigg as a great brand. Mine’s been with me for some time and the all-day-cold still holds. Yay!

    Jane: Fritz! The design was what caught me first but after reading their media kit and hearing your own experience, I now so look forward to years of using SIGG.

Thanks for reading! I'd love to know what you think.

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