Thanks to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, I now no longer think of yoga merely as another form of physical exercise (although right now I practice it mainly for that).
Last June, Breathe finally opened here in the area. It’s the ONLY yoga place here (actually, I think it’s the only FITNESS place around; THERE ARE NO GYMS OH THE HORROR!), and since finishing Gilbert’s book I’ve been itching to start yoga seriously and leave the lame ass home yoga exercises I tried before.
I started with two months of unlimited classes, but my work got in the way, so I ended up cutting yoga class time to just once or twice a week (as opposed to the regular twice to three times a week in those first two months) when my unlimited pass expired.
The sad thing was that a month and a half later I found myself drowning in work and therefore I had zero time for any form of fitness. I stopped doing yoga even at home, and I found that I had become slightly more irritable than when I was doing it.
Last week, though, I was able to go back to yoga when my aunt invited me to join her in a yoga class. Granted, it was in the city, but I was eager to get back to the practice, which I couldn’t do at Breathe because they were closed for the holidays. The instructor at my aunt’s class was a guy (my first time under a male instructor), and he was more intense than all the instructors I’ve had. I appreciated the fact that he corrected my alignment and poses, not that those at Breathe didn’t, but he was the only one who put his entire body weight on the students to correct their downward dog poses or would step on your heel to keep it from lifting when it’s supposed to be grounded. Goodness he was heavy, but I think the weight helped. And then earlier today I went back to Breathe and I was so happy to see an old classmate and that she remembered me and welcomed me back to class.
Aside from the physical benefits of yoga, the other thing I love about it is that I am given the opportunity to meditate, which I don’t get to do often. I reflect occasionally, but my reflections have more to do with student drama or love life wistfulness than with the universe or its truths or just being in the present. I am reminded of God, that I am always in His presence, and I find comfort that during the practice I can listen to God without the intimidating stares of the religious statues (I have been wary of those since I was a kid) or the monotonous drone of old people uttering their prayers.
I haven’t been practicing yoga long enough to get into the spiritual benefits, but that doesn’t mean I’m looking to give up my religion. As Gilbert said in her book–and I’m paraphrasing here–, we all have our ways of getting closer to God. All I’ve done is include yoga in it.
Solenad 1, Building 4, Lakeside Evozone Nuvali
Brgy. Sto. Domingo, Sta. Rosa, Laguna 4026