Jan 12, 2014
Deepening the Yoga Practice in Cebu
Location: Cebu City, Cebu (province), Philippines
Life at Dragonfly Yoga Studio
When my hotel deal with M Citi Suites expired, I moved into Dragonfly Yoga Studio upon the invite of my yoga teacher friend, Jeanne Torrefranca. That's when my yoga shifted into high gear. True enough, Jeanne's text-invite for me to visit Cebu when I was still wandering around Mindanao, "Come to Cebu anytime, yoga tayo everyday" served as template for the nearly daily back-to-back yoga practice, training, workshops, pranayama, handstand training, abs conditioning, meditation, etc. that shaped my resident-cyber-monk life as I cocooned myself within Dragonfly's monastic confines in deepening my yoga practice.
Here in Cebu, I am fortunate to have 3 teachers who are very good in what they do and willing to share what they know.
- Jeanne Torrefranca
My dear friend Jeanne Torrefranca is my Yin teacher, imparting compassion and patience. She is a good example of what being a yogi is (practising yoga outside the mat). She is also teaching me to teach Ashtanga Yoga through books, illustration cut-outs, cueing, alignments, video, etc. With its regimented sequencing and set pacing, teaching Ashtanga is a formidable task.
- Vaibhav Rana (Veer)
Veer is my Yang teacher - strong, assertive, knowledgeable, impassioned and extremely competent. Like a master craftsman sculpting a magnificent objet d'art from a raw tree trunk, Veer will forge-out the magnificence lurking underneath your veneer.
- Jason Robles
For handstand training, Jason Robles is the man. He satiates his hunger for knowledge by researching, reading and practising. He shares what he knows. In time, with his stewardship, I'm confident to hold my handstand.
Through their guidance and tutelage, I become a malleable object, bending and twisting in full compliance to whatever shape and form they mold me into. In my mind's eye, I tell them, "I give you full liberties to treat me like a rag doll". I can't wait to see the finished product.
The adage is true, "when the student is ready, the teacher will come". After leaving Cebu last year and backpacked nearly a full year into the caves, the islands, waterfalls, coral reefs, springs, rivers and mountains of Mindanao, I come full circle back to Cebu to pick up where I left off - this time, more tempered, more resilient and more prepared to the task at hand. Lo and behold, the teachers emanate.
From July 10 to April 10, I will be up against hardcore parkour guys half my age, committed to shredding and ripping their abs in the coming 3 months. I welcome the challenge, fully aware that I will be leveraging on my ego to get me through this (contrary to the tenets of the Yamas and Niyamas, I maintain that ego, in measured doses, is a tool I can use to get to where I want to go). This is not a deviation from yoga. Leg raises and crunches with Ujjayi Breathing while engaging the Bandhas is yoga.
YogaHub's 21-Day Yoga Challenge
When Jen invited me to participate, it was another proverbial path that blazed its way for me. This means doing yoga everyday, without fail, in the studio for a full 21 days - no rest day. Given what's already on my plate, this seems daunting. But I remain committed to the program.
Veer's Workshops and Classes
With Veer's numbered days in Cebu, I take his classes at a heightened state. His are the only classes I approach with a mixed sense of humility and trepidation. When I teach a class, I am the authoritative teacher. In his class, I am the struggling student challenged by advanced poses and balances. When I leave his class, I am a tattered rag doll coming out of a washing machine with a surgical smile. With my yoga practice 4 days a week with him, I still can't get enough of Veer.
Given my Superman-Effect while doing Pranayama, I'm convinced breath is the umbilical cord bridging the default world into the mystic realm of the Prana. To discover its secrets is to discover a hidden world. I'd been reading the e-books given to me on Pranayama. I am amazed that such power is just there for the taking. One day....
Pushing the Limits
Life is short and time is expensive. Lately, I feel that on every yoga pose. With mindful diligence, I push my limits to perfect my alignment, engage the bandas while riding on the Ujjayi Breath with a focused gaze, pressing opposing forces together while pulling away to lengthen and create space. In my parlance, "killing me softly with every pose". The end of the session sees me inundated in my own sweat...almost coming out of a baptismal rite...a phoenix rising out of its watery grave - renewed, cleansed and exhausted.
Sense of Urgency
My motivation is high and my sense of urgency is on Condition Red. Like Veer, I am also on borrowed time. I don't know until when I can continue my stay here in Cebu before my universe pulls me out to venture into another destination...perhaps a completely different scene with new challenges. When the call of the open road beckons, I know I have to pack up. But until then, I have my precious here-and-now to double-time and make things happen. My golden moments in Cebu, while they last, are indeed priceless.
I'm completely immersed in yoga now. I live it, eat with it and wake up with it. Even my music is now a looping of Gayatri Mantra by Tina Malia and Deva Premal. My topic of conversation revolves around Kundalini and Prana. I push myself perfecting the next asana. I discuss the meaning of "99% practice, 1% theory" to yogis with an opinion on it. I even question the tenets of some yogic doctrines in pursuit of my truth (blasphemy to some). I do not subscribe to big yoga organizations (whose interest is questionable) to validate my yoga - this is MY practice. I could almost feel my evolution with the passing days.
As a general rule, I don't say "No". By saying "Yes", I allow life to unravel its plans for me (vs. pursuing the life I thought I wanted to have - home, cars, fat bank account, properties, etc). But by saying "Yes", I've taken-on all of the following at the same time. I hope I'm not spreading myself thin:
- 21 consecutive days of yoga at YogaHub
- 4 days/week intense training with Veer
- daily abs conditioning for the next 3 months
- sub-teaching yoga whenever called upon
- my private Ashtanga teacher-training with Jeanne
- handstand training with Jason
- my own readings about Pranayama, Chakras, Mudra and Kundalini
If I could only add another 12 hours in a 24-hour day.
I am in disbelief at the good fortune my benevolent universe has privileged me with:
- immersed in a yogic community whose collective energy is infectious
- a participant in programs designed to break through my current ceiling
- experiencing a connection with magnificent lives whose karmic process plays dynamically into mine, etc.
...to have all these wonderful opportunities littered along my path! And all I have to do is take the Red Pill and brace myself for whatever change happens. Very few individuals are given this gift. I am always profoundly grateful.
"I give you full liberties to treat me like a rag doll" -- TheLoneRider
(Jan 13, 2014) lol. We are Spartans! hehe.. nice article Git!
Cebu City, Philippines
Tops - hilltop offering panoramic view of the city
Taoist Temple - temple on a hillslope in Lahug with panoramic view of the city
- Hostel Seven Cebu - newly opened, resto/bar, central location, solo/group travellers
Juana Osmeña Street, Cebu City
- S Hotel & Residences - new hotel, luxury rooms, central location
827 M. Velez corner Andres Abellana St.
resto / cafe / bar
- Fujinoya - new and refreshing twists to Western style desserts using Japanese techniques
Wilson St., Lahug, Cebu City - tel. 888.6075
- Bad Boys Wingz - Buffalo Wings, unique versions of sauces! Great service, accommodating staff, bad boys vibe
Kasambagan, Cebu City | (032) 415 4811
- Love Yoga World - yoga studio
11/fl, Skyrise 2 Tower, IT Park, Lahug, Cebu City
- Yoga Now - first Yoga and Wellness studio in Mactan offering daily Yoga Classes
at The Yacht Club Mactan
- Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure - MTB tours, bike sales and repairs. Bed and Breakfast + Resto Cafe + wifi
1298-b V.Rama Ave, Guadalupe, Cebu City | 0942.959.7451
- Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
- Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
- Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
- Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
- Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
- Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
- Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
- Barile Waterfalls - Barile
- Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
- Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market
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