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Yoga

Teaching Yoga May 9, 2014

Teaching Yoga

Location: Cebu City, Cebu (province), Philippines

Back to Teaching
With all the new things I'd been learning from my yoga teacher, Veer, from the readings and pick-your-brains with friends, from candid yoga talks with Jeanne, I deepen my practice. Although I stopped teaching yoga to further my practice, it makes sense to teach yoga again if only to translate into a teaching format, everything I'm learning. By going back into teaching, I feel like a messenger with a new message to convey.

New Weekly Sequence
I prepare a new sequence every week, incorporating whatever I've learned, continuously refining what I want to get across. Without putting effort into a new yoga sequence, it's easy to fall into a yoga teaching rut. Invariably, my yoga evolves into something different from the usual studio offerings. Somehow, I ended up teaching 2 classes a week - Holiday Gym and a private class. The gym setting is more of a Russian Roulette - you don't know who's going to show up. In the private class, I see the same faces, so I can more or less establish a relationship and monitor their practice.

Lesson for the Day
A new addition to my sequence is to add a Lesson for the Day which they can use outside the mat, in their day to day lives. I make the effort to explain. It adds time to the practice so it's hard in a studio setting with only an hour to spare. Example: Why do we keep a calm awareness as we ride the breath while sustaining a difficult pose? Is it just aesthetics? I then have to explain the body's flight or fight response (sympathetic nervous system) and the body's ability to re-engage in relax mode to resume the involuntary processes - recovery, healing, digestion (parasympathetic nervous system). Outside the mat, they should be able to catch themselves in a stressful situation (a pressing deadline, stop-and-go traffic when you're in a rush, etc.), take refuge in their breath and regain control - not to be eaten up by the situation. In today's society where people are immersed in stress 24/7, the body is always on the 'fight or flight' mode - constantly wound with no reprieve. Regaining control is paramount.

Pranayama and Kumbhaka
Pranayama is the practice of regulating the breath to maximize the energetic nutrition (prana) we get from the air we breathe. Kumbhaka is an advanced form of pranayama where you do breath retention. These two things are deceptively simple, but very potent and powerful. I am not an advanced practitioner of these, so I make sure I administer them in small doses. This is a area I read more about and try to practice almost on a daily basis. Why are these important? Just from my own experience, I find them powerful - almost tapping into an unseen reservoir of unfathomable energy. Where is this power coming from? from the food I eat? from the air I breathe? from the goodness of my benevolent universe? I don't know. But it's there for the taking and it works.

Element-Based Sequences
Of course one complete sequence has to have everything - stretches, warm-up, seated poses, standing poses, inversions, arm balances, etc. But realistically, not all poses can fit into 60 minutes. I choose a particular focus. It could be 'backbends'. In an Element-Based sequence consisting of Air, Water, Fire, Earth and Ether, backbends would be my Fire. All the other elements will now be in compliance to it - warming sequence to activate all muscle groups affecting the backbend such as the full anterior front (quads, hips, abdominals, chest, shoulders). The Elements is a new introduction to my learning. I still don't have a clear demarcation line where one element ends and the next one begins. But I continue to read up.

Rite of Passage
I usually push the boundaries, enabling my students to reach their edge - only then can they decide if they want to stay on status quo or level up. But I make sure I give the exercisable option. If I ask them to slowly go down into their chaturanga while keeping their core engaged, it's not for sadistic purpose. I explain to them that they are activating the same exact muscles needed to allow them to do a full push up. And with strong shoulders, they can level up to arm balances and inversions. That way, they don't see chaturanga as a difficult pose, but a rite of passage to a portal of infinite possibilities.

Ending Thoughts
Perhaps I'm getting carried away. Perhaps I'm injecting too much in my students what I expect from my own practice. But I'm wired with yoga.

The more I read up, the more I practice with Veer, the more I realize there is more to know. If I just consider Ashtanga Yoga, it would be a lot easier - the 8 limbs are already defined, the sequence is already set and the progression from Primary to advanced already has a blueprint. There is no scarcity in the documentation on Ashtanga.

But if I want to learn more about different types of yoga from different castes (Ashtanga is a Brahmin yoga...warriors have their own type, etc.), different yoga from different regions (Tibetan yoga is far different from Indian yoga), different yoga philosophies (Patanjali has 8 limbs, Sadhang Yoga has 6 limbs, etc.), then I'm just beginning to see a glimpse of the bigger yoga. And I still cannot see how the smaller pieces fit into the bigger picture. It's a journey with no end. But then again, it's all about the journey...not the destination.

--- TheLoneRider


Ashram International Initiative, Cebu Vaibhav Rana Jeanne Torrefranca, Private Yoga Classes Dragonfly Yoga Studio

Reader Comments:

Jade LazagaJade Lazaga
(May 13, 2014) Just dropping by! Had a blast tonight. Thank you Gigit. You are very inspiring. See you around!

Veer (Vaibhav Rana) Blogs

Blogs about Jeanne Torrefranca

Google Map Cebu City, Philippines

tourist attractions in Cebu City tourist attractions
  • Tops in Cebu City Tops - hilltop offering panoramic view of the city
  • Taoist Temple in Cebu City Taoist Temple - temple on a hillslope in Lahug with panoramic view of the city
hotels in Cebu City hotel
  • Hostel Seven Cebu - newly opened, resto/bar, central location, solo/group travellers
    Juana Osmeña Street, Cebu City
  • S Hotel Cebu S Hotel & Residences - new hotel, luxury rooms, central location
    827 M. Velez corner Andres Abellana St.
cafes in Cebu City resto / cafe / bar
  • Fujinoya Fujinoya - new and refreshing twists to Western style desserts using Japanese techniques
    Wilson St., Lahug, Cebu City - tel. 888.6075
  • Bad Boys Wingz Bad Boys Wingz - Buffalo Wings, unique versions of sauces! Great service, accommodating staff, bad boys vibe
    Kasambagan, Cebu City | (032) 415 4811
yoga in Cebu City yoga
  • Love Yoga World Love Yoga World - yoga studio
    11/fl, Skyrise 2 Tower, IT Park, Lahug, Cebu City
  • Yoga Now Yoga Now - first Yoga and Wellness studio in Mactan offering daily Yoga Classes
    at The Yacht Club Mactan
mountain biking in Cebu City mountain biking
  • Cebu Mountain Bike Adventure 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

More Information about Cebu City

Suggested Destinations in Cebu

  1. Camotes Islands - caves, beaches
  2. Cebu City - rich in culture and history, 2nd largest city in the Philippines
  3. Moalboal - amazing coral reef system, sardine bowl, deep drop-off for freediving
  4. Oslob - Butanding (whale shark) watching
  5. Bantayan Island - long stretch of fine white sand beach, Virgin Island for snorkeling
  6. Malapascua Island - divers' paradise for seeing the rare Thresher Shark
  7. Cantabaco Cave - Toledo
  8. Barile Waterfalls - Barile
  9. Whale Shark Tour - Oslob
  10. Carcar - chicharon and lechon in public market



Facebook Users
May 9, 2014

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