May 5, 2017
Ashtanga Primary Series Yoga in Cebu
Location: Cebu City, Cebu (province), Philippines
Ashtanga Primary Series
From Dumaguete, Jeanne invited me to come to Cebu to participate in a full Ashtanga Primary Series Yoga class by a celebrated Ashtangi from the US. I had a few more invites after Dumaguete, but this one excited me the most. Checking-out of my hotel at 12 noon, I arrived Cebu City at 6pm and met up with Jeanne at Persian Palate for vegetarian dinner. This was followed by a round of Margarita cocktails at Circa 1900. This characterizes Cebu for me - open air talk, coffee (or cocktails), Jeanne and any-topic conversation. I would be Jeanne's house guest at her spacious residence in Lahug.
The Yoga Teacher
He has been teaching for 20 years now and come from the direct lineage of K. Pattabhi Jois from whom he received formal authorization to teach Ashtanga Yoga in 2003. He continues his practice with the grandson, Sharath Jois, who now heads the Krishna Pattabhi Jois Ashtanga Yoga Institute of Mysore. He travels Asia, Europe and the Americas to conduct yoga workshops and retreats. How come I'm not mentioning his name? I can't.
Cebu enjoys a group of Ashtanga practitioners. The number contracts and expands as people come and go, but the core remains intact. They go to India to attend Mysore classes with Sharath and spread the teaching when they come back to Cebu. The presence of this senior Ashtanga teacher in Cebu heralds a gathering amongst the local Ashtangis from near and far. They are my friends too so it's good to see familiar faces gracing the mats.
Even though I got my grounding in Ashtanga, I can't say I'm an Ashtangi. I do Ashtanga from time to time but I cannot devote my practice purely to Ashtanga. I see it as a grounding practice, a therapy (Ashtanga Primary is actually a therapeutic practice vs Intermediate which more addresses the central nervous system) and as a kind of reboot. I maintain that the sequence is still one of the most elegant and articulated set of woven asanas into a meditative vinyasa.
Yoga in Cebu is alluring, but without my good friend Jeanne here, I probably would end up somewhere else. It's always good being with Jeanne - I don't feel rushed to move-on to another destination. I can simply enjoy the moment and share morning coffee with her talking about compelling issues under the sun. We span serious moments with light ones - and it's all good. We've gone through our phase of fighting over issues like "1% theory, 99% practice".
After yoga, I spent time talking to Jan, a musical prodigy and a good music teacher, according to our mutual friend, Regina. Jan can play most musical instruments at virtuoso level, including the flute. This gives me hope. I have a new flute that hasn't come out of the box for 2 years now. It's in some home in Manila. Perhaps I can have it shipped here and learn from Jan. I can trade some of my skills in exchange. She seems open to the idea. Cebu's horizon just loomed broader.
Ron is a devoted Ashtangi (actually, Ashtanga hardliner comes to mind but I think he prefers the word devotee...ha-ha) and he offered an answer to my Ashtanga question in our little talk. I asked him, "where do you cross the line from therapeutic to purification of the nadis as you transition from Primary Series to Intermediate Series?" I asked because while the poses at the Intermediate level are more challenging than the Primary, they are still yoga poses with focus on the breath. Why should the end result differ widely? He explained that Intermediate Series focus on the backbends which release stuck energies and consequently purify the nadis. But the backbends need to be done in its sequential order which could take years to achieve.
I'd been doing my regular workout but nothing like a full Ashtanga Primary. My joints and muscles are sore as I write this. But this is just the resumption of my yoga practice. In Cebu, I see myself practicing with many teachers as well as pursuing my freediving. The days ahead look bright. Thank you Jeanne for making me a part of this event.
Reader Comments:Gabbie Sanchez
(May 7, 2017) Wish I was there!
Meggy Badelles Sison
(May 7, 2017) Thanks Gigit for sharing about Friday night's Ashtanga practice. Good to be re-united with old timers and meet newbies as well. Grateful to Jeanne and Ron for making it possible for us to be led by Clayton. Namaste.
Cebu City, Philippines
More Information about Cebu City
Cebu City to Camotes Island
- via Consuelo - from Cebu City, take the northbound bus passing through Danao and get off at the Danao Port. At the Port, take a Jomalia Shipping boat for Consuelo (San Francisco, Camotes), P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only).
Camotes Islands to Cebu City
- Poro - Cebu City (fastest and most direct) - go to Poro and take the 8am or 5pm Ocean Jet to Pier One in Cebu City, P380/pax/aircon, 2 hours
- Consuelo - Danao - Cebu City - go to Consuelo (San Francisco) and take the Jomalia Shipping boat to Danao, P220/pax, a/c, 2 hours, daily trip - 5:30am, 7:00am (special trip), 8:30am, 12:00 noon (express), 2:30pm, 5:30pm and 9:00pm (express, Fri/Sat/Sun only). From Danao, take the Ceres Bus to Cebu City
Cebu City to Dumaguete, Negros Oriental by Boat
- George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
- Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0918.898.2188
- Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599
Cebu City to Dumaguete via Liloan
- Cebu City South Terminal - take the southbound Ceres bus to Liloan, P200, 5 hours
- Liloan - the bus drops you off at the Liloan Port where you board the Fastcraft to Sibulan, Negros Oriental, P62, 30 mins
- Sibulan - at the Sibulan Port, the jeeps wait for Fastcraft passengers to take them to the public market in Dumaguete, P12, 30 mins.
- Public Market - at the market, you can take any tricycle to your hotel, P8 for short trips
Suggested Destinations in Cebu
- 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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