Yoga is Good for the Soul
posted by Vicki in Dot Dot Dot
I don’t just like doing yoga, I need it in my life.
It helps me relax after a week of working at my desk or battling traffic. I appreciate it after taking a long flight – yoga helps the blood flow and stretches out all the kinks and tightness associated with sitting in a cramped seated position for a long period of time. Yoga realigns your posture. Furthermore, yoga burns calories, tones muscles and offers many other amazing health benefits listed in the Huffington Post here.
My journey with yoga started in the early 2000s with Bela Lipat, whose ashtanga class I tried to attend once a week. In no time, I lost interest. Five years ago, Lasse and Maricar Holopainen wanted to build a home for people to get on a path to help them lead better lives. They were holding yoga classes in their living room in preparation for Urban Ashram Yoga and my sister Margie invited me to join her practice there. By the time they opened the studio in Kapitolyo a few weeks later, I was a believer and signed up for a year’s membership, practicing three times a week. This is where I truly understood what it meant to have a dedicated yoga practice and it explained why my interest waned before.
Today, I don’t own a membership because of my schedule, but Urban Ashram Yoga’s Flexipass class cards suit me just fine. Yes, I do love the many health benefits of yoga, but more than that, I believe that yoga is as good for the soul as it is for the body. Here are just a few of the soul lessons doing yoga has taught me:
When I started yoga, I couldn’t touch my toes in a forward bend or a seated forward bend. Our teachers would always remind us to breathe into the tight spaces and fold deeper, no matter how small the movement was. I don’t remember the first time I did it, but now touching my toes – and other wonderful yoga poses – are as easy as saying Om.
At the beginning of every class, our teacher would always tell us to leave our cares outside the room and just focus on ourselves. You need to be mindful to listen, to tell your body where to go, to inhale and exhale with each motion. This mindfulness can be applied to daily living. Outside the studio, yoga helps me tackle one insurmountable task at a time, making the impossible completely possible.
Yoga is about accepting where you are right now. Sometimes you’ll touch your toes, sometimes you won’t. Yoga teaches that it’s OK to try and fail and try again. Yoga teaches us that our minds need to be just as flexible as our bodies. Yoga helped me understand that failing doesn’t mean I’m a failure.
Last but not the least, yoga has taught me be to kind to myself. Our bodies are amazingly resilient! I fell in a terrible accident a few years ago and had stitches on my lower right leg. I couldn’t walk properly, much less do yoga. On my first day back on the mat, after three months of not doing yoga, I was nervous about how my leg would hold up. I listened to my body and guess what? My leg and I did just fine.
This year marks Urban Ashram Yoga’s’s fifth year anniversary. In five years, it has literally and figuratively expanded its reach from yoga into a holistic wellness center. It now has studios located in Bonifacio Global City, Makati City and a satellite studio in Rockwell, where you can find food counters and boutiques selling activewear and other yoga-inspired merchandise. Not only can you find an assortment of yoga classes to suit your style but also adult ballet, qigong and capoeira.
To futher celebrate its anniversary, Urban Ashram Yoga is offering special promotions on yoga classes valid until July 31, 2016 and those interested in a career in teaching yoga can see their upcoming schedule here.
“It’s great to see people from all walks of life come to the studio, local and foreign, young and old, men and women. It takes a lot of will to get on the mat. And, we’d like to strengthen that will for our new students, at the same time reward the efforts of our regulars,” says Nica Hechanova, yoga teacher and editor of UrbanYogi.PH. Both students and teachers can benefit from reading Urban Ashram Yoga’s online blog, UrbanYogi.PH, a guide for those who practice and are interested in yoga.
From just an idea to four locations found around the metro, Urban Ashram Yoga is a dream manifested. Where will yoga bring you on your journey?
May all your gypsetting and yoga dreams come true,
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We are two friends who were former magazine editors. Having moved onto other things, we both realized that the creative flow the publishing world used to offer us was missing from our lives. Armed with a common love of travel to the exotic and familiar, a penchant for the bohemian, an obsession with food and a lust for writing, we decided to collaborate our unique and fashionable journeys through life together in one passion project.
We are The Gypsetters.