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.
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.
Anusarayoga.com‘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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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!) 🙂
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!
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.
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)