Saturday, August 1, 2009

Workshops and the power of community

I had the opportunity to attend an amazing weekend of Yoga in Jakarta. 20 hours and four enlivening classes later, the sweet soreness of my body being opened and deepened by a series of deep stretches and deeper breathing stayed with me for a days. One Series Bryan did called, "long, slow, and deep" was especially revealing. I felt more grounded after.

Check out his site poweryoga to find out if he is in a city or country near you.

I attended this weekend workshop at Jakartadoyoga, owned by Yusni. Her studio was well lit and tranquil despite it's location in the central city. I stayed in Central Jakarta with two new friends, Albert and William that I met through couchsurfing. The whole concept behind couchsurfing is to unite travelers with locals and give travellers insights into local life. It was a great experience and I've both hosted and surfed. Couchsurfing is a online community dedicated to connecting travellers and opening up your world through connecting with new people on there turf whether it be through a coffee and drink, a guided tour, or a day of seeing what life is like for them. It's something I enjoy doing when I have visitors in my home town, whether in California or the Philippines.

It was my first couchsurfing guest experience and a wonderful one at that. I've often heard people express safety concerns but the great thing about couchsurfing is that you can check their references and one always has the choice to accept or reject requests.

I was drawn to Indonesia not only because I've been interested in the country from it's variety of people and religion, eco-diversity, "Wallace" line (Wallace nearly discovered natural selection around the time that Darwin did), great food and that weekend in particular, it offered me a slice of home.

Bryan Kest, owner of Power Yoga and the yogi I practiced with in Santa Monica, made a round through Asia and held a training session and workshop that weekend. It was great reminiscing about being in Santa Monica taking his LA classes. This time there wasn't a line of 100 +people rounding the corner of the goodwill store adjacent to his studio. He can fill a dance studio that comfortable can fit around 100 with at least 200 or more. Sometimes there is literally an inch border between you and the yogi next to you. It was awesome getting to know him as a person as well. He's a splendid, down-to-earth and incredibly humble guy.

I flew into Jakarta the night of the bombing. After speaking to a few Jakartans, there was a sentiment of surprised they all shared. People were not as fearful as was my experience with 9/11 in states. They continued to live their daily lives. How we react to situations are as important if not more than the situation itself.

Also, a weekend spent with yogis reminded we of the power of community. It is powerful to surround oneself with like-minded people. It's a big challenge, not impossible, but difficult to remain as authentically yourself in the big world. Having a community of support, whether it be your family, friends or in this case a group of yogis for the weekend, is valuable. There are thousands of other things to do so it's vital to do what's important to us.

Life is a series of choices and at any moment we can choose what we need at that moment. A weekend of yoga in Jakarta is definitely what I needed. I've come back with new ideas for classes, inspired to continue my practice and share what I have experienced with others.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yoga for love making

Sex is on the brain, it's a natural instinct. It's unfortunate that some societies or religious groups have stigmatized or made taboo what is one of the most beautiful expression of love when done properly.

How is that achieved? Biologically, when compared to our closest primate relatives, humans don't seem naturally inclined for monogamy. The neurochemicals we produce when we experience new love are they same ones artifically produced when someone does cocaine, hits of dopamine.

So what qualities are present that make couples stay together. I've done my share of asking and like one very wise grandmother said, "sex gets better with time." This makes sense, biologically we are not wired to just be with one partner so why would people choose monagamous relationshps. Sex, as it should, gets better with time simply as a motivation.

What happens during these years? Most couples demonstrate that they open themselves up to their partner and they explore their bodies together. Couples allow themselves to receive pleasure and make a priority on giving pleasure to their partner that goes beyond reciprocity. Sex, like wine, can only get better when time is invested.

Another key element, is that once time is invested to get to know a partner that same effort needs to be invested in getting to know oneself to enjoy being a great lover and attain that level of self-awareness and satisfaction.

Men usually share that it's when a woman is most comfortable in her own skin that she is the sexiest. I can relate, confidence is sexy and body confidence paramount to great sex. It's not about wondering what position makes your body looks sexy or your boobs bigger. The best sex comes from being totally aware,open, and enjoy your body and all the marvelous sensations with your partner.

Women share sexual experience is heightened where they are in a state of mind fully capable of receiving and giving pleasure to their partner and not preoccupied with looking good.

The practice of yoga allows you to tap into and cultivate the body confidence. What a great addition to the perks that like flexibleness to trying new positions and maintain core strength and fitness. Health reports show that practice mula bandhas that strengthens the pelvic floor muslces intensifies orgasms for women.

Besides the physical results, one of the main practices of yoga is self-awareness and self-acceptance. It's the only way to truly care for our bodies by knowing and being connected to oneself. As a person begins to practice yoga, one learns to accept where they are with their physical body. One can learn to listen to their body and not push oneself too hard or too littie. Like the axiom goes, "know thyself" and most importantly, one can unite with their mind and physical body and get to know themselves better.

One yogi that I practiced with, Bryan Kest, talks about yoga like making love to our bodies. So often, he says, we practice as if we are masturbating and just trying to get off, instead of relishing in the whole experience of love making - breathing, giving, receiving, being totally open to your partner.

Tap into some sexual healing on your next downdog during your next yoga practice. Do yourself and your partner some good.

This blog has no intention to promote promiscuity, unprotected sex, etc. With knowledge comes responsibility, so please act responsibly.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yoga in Iloilo

Welcome to Yoga in Iloilo.

This blog will feature entries about yoga asanas, breathing techniques, meditation, raw food recipes and lifestyle, creating a sacred space and eco-friendly living. This will be a diary of sorts for me as well and a record of my experimentation in holistic living.

About me: Born and raised as an "angelena" (woman from Los Angeles), I made the move to live abroad in the Philippines to experience living here and attend school. I'm looking forward to island hopping and being close to the beauty of the Philippines and throughout Southeast Asia, as well as getting to know my extended family.

Practicing yoga and eating a pescetarian diet of mostly raw fruits and vegetables aka Raw food lifestyle has helped me to lose close to a hundred pounds over the course of a year and half. At present, I feel so full of elan vitae or simply a zest for life. I continue to eat healthy and exercise and am about 2/3 of the way towards a healthy weight.

Diet and health are very sacred topics. Personally, I don't think there is one diet or lifestyle for all the 6 billion plus people in the world but I do know that when we can include green vegetables or eat food high in fiber, that is minimally processed or unaltered by chemicals, preservatives, dyes, etc. we are doing our bodies a favor. Most of the reason behind this has to do with overtaxing our liver with a mirage of chemicals. We are what we eat, so why not eat the best available food possible!

Not only are the physical changes after weight loss a blessing, but the feeling of vitality and health have enormously transformed my life. Eating from the earth, surrounded by the natural beauty, can allow a person to really appreciate the resources the earth can provide and inspires a person to treat the holiest temple, the body, well.

Perhaps you may be thinking you don't like vegetables or greens and I appreciate that kind of candid honesty. I was never a picky eater but I do know that in my experience after a few days of little vegetables or fruit, my body craves the delicious and alkanizing effects of deep, leafy greens and "superfood" refueling.

While in Los Angeles, I first trained in yoga in high school, through a local yogi at our YMCA. I took a long hiatus while in College but began my practice again in 2006. Until my move to Iloilo, I practiced with Bryan Kest and his affiliated yogis at his Power Yoga Studios in Santa Monica. (It is a must-do for any Angeleno or any visitor in LA if you have any interests in yoga). His donation based model has inspired me to do the same here. I hope I can do a small part to awaken even just one person's inner teacher and yogi.

I would consider myself an infant in my yoga training at this point. Whether 18 or 81, yoga can be for every BODY with some adjustments. Know your body and do what you can. Breath is of paramount importance and should not be compromised for a pose. It's not worth any pose or contortion to lose your ability to detoxify, to destress and to breathe.

Please write or comment with any questions you have.

I will start a donation based yoga class and a series of wellness/raw food lectures and meals here in Pavia, Iloilo. My uncle has a fantastic garden here that I hope to use for yoga classes. I practice daily and am readily available until May. Once classes start here in June, I will mostly like lead at least a weekly class depending on the demand.

Every and Any One is welcomed to attend and times are flexible for larger groups. There is also an indoor space available and well as my personal space for one on one training. Because the garden is secured however, an RSVP would be appreciated and required for first time visitors.

Peace to you on your Journeys!