After years of non-committal dilly-dallying, I found myself finally ready to bend over backwards for love. Love of self, that is. Much has been said about today’s fast-paced, frenetic way of life, and how much we need to be able to get away from it all and take care of ourselves once in a while. I have found my happy place, my haven for when things get too stressful. LiFE Yoga is a vibrant community of folks with a shared passion for mindfulness, art, music, and good food.
My first ever yoga class was over a decade ago, when I chose it as one of my P.E. classes in Ateneo. (The other one was tap, but very few signed up so the class was merged with ballroom!) Yoga wasn’t as prominent in the Philippines back then, and admittedly, I couldn’t feel what it was supposed to be doing for me. I never did forget the poses even years later, so it was easy for me to attend classes at the gym that I started going to. Still, I felt that the practice didn’t really suit my personality or my schedule. There’s also that problem of not being able to touch my toes.
Actually, that‘s not a problem compared to the other things—lower back pain from sitting too much, headaches from smog and secondhand smoke, bloating from food intolerance, irregular menstruation, anxiety, and other symptoms usually aggravated by stress. Anton had been suggesting I take up yoga again, but I wasn’t having it. I’ve tried it before so I could knock it, I reasoned. You just breathe in and out, stretch your body a certain way—pretty mechanical, I thought. I’d feel pressured to see to it that I do the breathing and all the poses perfectly, thus defeating the purpose of letting go and being chill. Maybe yoga is just not for me, I wondered.
In 2013, I went back to school to study Psycho-spiritual Counseling. Our professors taught the importance of self-care and self-love, for after all, you can’t give what you don’t have. How could we help out people who feel discomfort or hurt or stress, if we could not help ourselves? We were strongly encouraged to pursue an outlet or two—art, music, cooking, sports, bonding time with loved ones, alone-time rituals—and mindfulness activities like yoga.
My sister got into it around the same time. She’s a lawyer—her schedule and work load undoubtedly crazier—yet she made time for it by waking up at 5AM and attending classes before going to work. Eventually, I began to notice how much more chill she seemed. A huge junk foodie, she stopped craving for the fatty, salty, sugary stuff and started eating better. Her body also became more toned and flexible. My sister would practice even when we would go out of town, just her and her mat, out in the gardens while the morning sun is young and cool on the skin. That’s how I decided last year that I would give yoga another try. Come January, I resolved, I would take trial classes at her yoga studio.
LiFE Yoga Ambassador
Perhaps it was the Universe and the Law of Attraction; perhaps it was coincidence. Whatever it was, December had not even started when Lyka of LiFE Yoga invited me to become an ambassador! I fell in love as soon as I stepped foot in the place. Artful interiors. Crisp white brick walls beautifully hand-painted in a splash of happy colors. The view of the skyline out the window, a glow of golden orange turning into cyan with flecks of magenta as the sun sets. The generous teachers who guide with a gentle voice and assist with a respectful touch. The homey, cozy atmosphere.
From that first class, I knew I was going to come back. The more I did, the more I realized I had found a perfect fit. Whatever it was that I couldn’t seem to receive from yoga before, now I was finally open to. LiFE Yoga’s Noelle Rodriguez, a holistic health coach and yoga instructor, started the studio last year with the goal of bringing the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of yoga off the mat and into facets of every day life, and I can attest to its success. I’ve been sleeping better, eating better, and working better. I still can’t reach my toes, but it’s a journey I’m happy to take slow.