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No, With Love.

IMG_6898If I were to list down some of the most breathtaking moments I’ve had in my life, walking down this strip of garden at the Crystal Castle in the Byron Shire will definitely be amongst the top ten in the list. I still remember how I felt on that cold, wet winter day. And no, I’m not just referring to the chill in the air that blew this tropical girl’s mind! While my friend had her cards read, I casually strolled through the garden and from beyond the trees, I stumbled across the huge Blessing Buddha. This came soon after getting lost in the little labyrinth (I suppose that happens very rarely but it did happen to me!), a crystal bowl/sound healing session, and walking trough (with tears, I might add) the Kalachakra Stupa, which is known as the World Peace Stupa. At that moment, I felt the vastness of the Universe, the power of God, and the sacredness of land.

Before leaving, we passed by the souvenir shop and I saw a wall flag which read “You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”.

So for Day 2 of this #7DaysofSelfLove exploration, I am reminded that indeed, I, just as much as anybody else, deserve my love and affection

Today’s practice is Saying No. Continue reading “No, With Love.”

On Silence and Solitude

Over the past few days I have been thinking about self-love practices, and how I care for myself. Not just in the sense of talking care of my body and mind, but truly caring for my Being. This was prompted by a lot of self-reflexive exercises and practices of Dadirri, as inspired by my studies with Yoga For Humankind. This was driven home by some questions asked by my dear mentor and friends, and the exploration we are doing through the YogaPlus Wellness Won’t Wait Community.

That’s a hefty introduction for this #7daysofSelfLove practice I want to share with here today. I hope you’re still reading on!

Practice No.1 is Time in Silence and Solitude.

It may sound funny how, in this time of physical distancing and isolation, I found that one of the best practices of self-love for me is taking time in silence and solitude.

BC (before covid), that often meant taking a trip to the beach and sitting by the water under the sun in deep listening. No need for the internet, or Spotify, or a podcast of a book…just me and the song of the sea in harmony with the rhythm of the wind. So much was said and heard in those pockets of silence and solitude. Continue reading “On Silence and Solitude”

Wellness for All Bodies

Accessible Yoga, Chair Yoga, Yoga for Bigger BodiesI’ve been thinking about diet culture and fat phobia continues to affect folks and their ability to access wellness spaces and even medical treatments, especially as I have just finished my Accessible Yoga Training. I remember when I was first diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), the first thing my doctor wanted me to do was lose weight. I will not discount the effects of that weight loss for me, but overtime, I regained all the weight that I had lost (and more) and found that it wasn’t really the weight loss, or perhaps changing what I ate that made the biggest difference, but it was my yoga practice. I was lucky, though, because I felt very supported by my doctor, and she has been a wonderful healthcare provider. I know others are not as lucky, and that a lot of folks in fat bodies are discriminated upon when they try to access wellness or medical support.

So it’s gotten me to thinking: how can I contribute to changing this dynamic?

Besides telling my story, I believe the creating spaces for other folks like me to feel safe to reach out for support is a first step. I might not have it all in place yet, but I am grateful for the opportunity to immerse more in this inquiry over the past two weeks, and to be in community with many like minded individuals who dream of the same thing . I am inspired to find new ways to move and practice, and to share that with others. It is my hope to continue being part of a shift in the way yoga and wellness is made accessible, and the way accessibility is understood —-that it’s not just an easy or simplified practice, but an empowering one that focuses on strength and personal agency.

As an Accessible Movement and Wellness (including but not limited to yoga and mindfulness) Facilitator, I commit to co-creating inclusive safe spaces for all folks, with the recognition of the wisdom, agency and power each one holds over their bodies and practices.

I will strive to participate in conversations that may sometimes be tender and messy, where all voices are heard and received with kindness, compassion and curiosity with the hope that together, we can foster a spirt of collective care and connection to our common humanity.

I commit to taking action by actively engaging in activities that create opportunities for all folks to have access to the practices of wellness I facilitate, and to stay connected to community to make this happen.

That being said: how can I help make yoga/movement/wellness more accessible to you? Please do feel free to reach out and let me know!

The Power of Sitting in the Circle

img_3160Today I am reminded of the power of the circle, whether real of metaphorically. That sacred space in which we sit together and share our stories. I am reminded of how “what’s your story” can more often be more powerful than “tell me what’s wrong”, or maybe even “how can I help?, how rituals and traditions matter, and how coming into your intention of embodied listening and understanding can trump theoretical know-how. And yes, that that’s where the magic of healing begins.

It that sacred space, there is a pause to come back to what matters – grounding in our Humanness, welcoming our Being in wholeness, rather than seeing bits and pieces of external existence, much like a tick mark on a checklist, or a number on a scale.

In the circle the hierarchy of power is stripped away, and we step into our common humanity while in community.

Here I come back to Me, and nourish my spirit.

This is where power grows and lives. And when I emerge, I take with me the spirit of creation, the heart of connection, and the wonder of rebirth and awe.

I am grateful today for the opportunity to connect to this space, and to know that it can exist even across the oceans and over the internet.

From Resolution to Intention

5Ten years ago today, I mustered up all the courage I had and stepped onto the mat for the very first time. Moving my body or engaging in sports, dance or other movement practices weren’t very natural for me in the beginning. I was more of a reader and a crafter, so curling up with a book or perhaps some cross-stitching or needlepoint was more up my ally. So I was surprised at that quiet whisper that led me down this path. And since it was just about the end of the year, it seemed to be a good New Years Resolution to make. That and learning French. The latter never happened, but I am oh so grateful the yoga worked out! Before my first class, I remember sending an email to a local teacher in my area and ending that note by saying that I was quite nervous about it because I had never done yoga before. She replied that it is normal to feel nervous, and that in all likelihood, by that time the next day, I would probably feel silly for having been nervous. 

Oh she was right 🙂 

Continue reading “From Resolution to Intention”

Rebirth

132827269_10158970886649154_3152013874627822913_oTypically, just around the end of the year my friend E and I would catch up. Every year since we became friends, she would ask me what my word and intention would be for the year to come would be.

Obviously due to our continued quarantine/lockdown situation in Manila, we didn’t get to see each other, but I still took pause to think about what my 2021 word would be. Continue reading “Rebirth”

Redefining My Practice

My Home Studio

March 15, 2020. The day the world I knew it stopped existing. It happened quite quickly, although I had an inkling it was coming. For the most part, the Philippines was quite nonchalant over the coronavirus pandemic (at least from my lenses), and there seemed to be no clearly defined plan of response to the situation. Then the orders were put in place: community quarantine.

I went to the studio that day to close prepare for a 30 day closure of our physical studio and readied myself to step into a virtual space to start teaching and practicing yoga.

It took about 20 days for me to create this little sacred spot that has served as my refuge in this tumultuous time. My practice has been redefined by covid-19 in many ways, but one thing remains true: as long as I show up for it, it is there to hold me.