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Date > 2014 > Feb
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Demystefying Ashtanga Yoga Feb 13, 2014

Demystefying Ashtanga Yoga

Location Google Map: Cebu City, Philippines

I had my start in yoga with the Ashtanga system back in 2002 when I was still living in Toronto. My teacher then, Kiran Sohan, was a lovely Indian yogini who comes from a long line of yogis. I continued my practice on my own through the years, doing variations of the asanas and dipping into other forms of yoga, but I held Ashtanga firmly as my default yoga.

Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga is difficult. It's widely regarded as the athletic yoga - you build up heat and sweat profusely. You go into a set series of flows, riding with the breath, as you develop balance, strength, stamina and concentration. There are progressive levels to Ashtanga, but very few practitioners even fully complete the first or the Primary Series. It is said that Sharath Jois, the grandson of Ashtanga guru K. Pattabhi Jois, is the only person in the world to have reached the 6th level.

Demystefying Ashtanga Yoga
Ashtanga Yoga lineage

Is Ashtanga for everyone?
I used to think so. I used to think you can even confine your practice to Ashtanga Yoga to the exclusion of everything else. But as I try to read more about Ashtanga, I begin to appreciate it for what it was designed for. Veer, my current yoga teacher, once said, "yoga has to adjust to the student...the student should not adjust to the practice". I did not fully understand what he meant then. Shouldn't the student simply keep practicing until he achieves whatever level he aims to attain? But as I continued my reading, I learned that Krishnamacharya (1888-1989), the iconic yoga figure of India, taught different yogas to his students, who are now big names in the yoga world. To Pattabhi Jois, he taught Ashtanga. To BKS Iyengar, he taught what is now known as Iyengar Yoga. To his son Desikachar and Indra Devi, he taught therapeutic yoga. So, if Ashtanga is the be-all and end-all of yoga, why didn't Krishnamacharya just teach Ashtanga to all his students? Why Ashtanga to Pattabhi Jois and not to Iyengar, Indra Devi and Desikachar? It turns out, every one of them has their unique qualities and limitations. It was no less than Krishnamacharya himself who emphasized that the practice of yoga must be adapted to the individual, and not the individual to yoga.

Ashtanga for Jois
Pattabhi Jois was 12 years old when he started and proved to be the strongest of the lot. He was also poor and uneducated (other accounts say he is born a Brahmin upper class whose father is a landholder). Krishnamacharya on the other hand, was well read, very knowledgeable and learned. I speculate that that is the reason why Krishnamacharya taught Jois an althletic form of yoga that was focused on a set series of challenging asanas - it was physically difficult to do, but it was simple to understand. Jois continued to practice this yoga (Ashtanga) for 25 years under Krishnamacharya. So, is Ashtanga Yoga for everyone? Well, maybe if they were all young and strong (like Pattabhi Jois), and if they want to maximize what Ashtanga has to offer (instead of being limited to modified asanas). There are other gentler forms of yoga that would be better suited to people who don't have the requisites of Ashtanga's physical demands.

Pattabhi Jois is now venerated as a demi-god with his sayings regarded as gospel by many Ashtangis. Even what he said, "99% practice, 1% theory", is internalized by the hardliners as sacred mantra from a great sage. But if you apply critical thinking, what does 1% really say? It says it's not important (imagine your girlfriend telling you she'll give you 1% of her time). Given the wealth of information out there to complement your yoga practice, I would be the last person to say theory is not important. I think P. Jois only meant that as a figure of speech, which the hardliners are taking too literally. Besides, with the growing sexual controversy about P. Jois, I begin to more clearly see him as a man...just a plain man who was taught great yoga by a great teacher.

Continuing Evolution
Ashtanga Yoga is now riding the crest of a global yoga wave. It has immeasurably grown from its humble obscurity in India, back in the day when seekers like Andre Van Lysebeth, David Swenson and Richard Freeman ventured in search of something esoteric in a far off land and were introduced to the then-unknown Pattabhi Jois. They were the annointed apostles - who spread the early word of Ashtanga to the corners of the planet. With Ashtanga's increasing global popularity, thanks in large part to celebrities like Madonna, Sting...and the cash infusion of Sonia Tudor Jones, wife of billionaire hedge fund guru, Paul Tudor Jones, who with Sharath and his mother Saraswathi, are establishing Jois Yoga, a national chain of 'Pattabhi-stamped' Ashtanga yoga studios, are now mushrooming within the US. Now, we have the new generation of Ashtangis like Kino McGregor who bear the flag with the touch of the current times.

Ending Thoughts
At the end of the day, I'm still an Ashtangi - my body and my resolve can still comply to its rigid structure and discipline. Ashtanga definitely occupies a place in the yoga world, but I've also come to appreciate that Ashtanga is not for everyone. I guess I can now safely say I understand what Veer said when he said, "yoga has to adjust to the student...the student should not adjust to the practice".

--- Gigit (TheLoneRider)
YOGA by Gigit Yoga by Gigit | Learn English Learn English | Travel like a Nomad Nomad Travel Buddy | Donation Bank Donation Bank for TheLoneRider

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About Cebu City
  • Cebu City is the 2nd biggest city in the Philippine (next to Manila) - and it continues to build and expand. Traffic is getting bad. Decentralization is being developed with the SM Super Mall in the SRP south and the suburban towns in the north.
  • Boat from the airport to the city center - even without traffic, it takes about 4 rides to reach the city. But with Cebu's increasing traffic congestion, it has become a nightmare. Instead of taking the land route, take the water route - no traffic, fresher air and cheaper. From the airport, take the yellow multi-cab straight to the river port and take the ferry (there's only one destination) to the city. Take the 02B jeep and get off at UC near Jones - you're now on the city's main artery.
  • given its size and increasing congestion, Cebu really needs a mass railway system - something that is conspicuously lacking, but no one seems to complain about
  • Cebu is bursting at the seams on the yoga scene. There are about 20 yoga centers in the city - from yoga studios to gyms offering yoga and hotels jumping on the bandwagon
  • a trendy and safe place in Cebu where you can chillout for coffee and enjoy good eats would be at the Ayala Mall
  • there are other pocket-areas for trendy hangouts - Banila Town Center, Crossroads, Escario Plaza, La Vie, etc.
  • the tourist area where most of the budget hotels and restaurants are, are located within the Mango area, although it has a seedy belly feel. Kids may swarm on you pretending to be begging, but they could be picking your pocket or your backpack pockets - be careful
  • many pick-pockets in the Colon area - be careful
Cebu City Google Map

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
Cebu City to Camotes Island

Cebu City to Camotes Islands

  1. via Poro - from Pier One in Cebu City, take the Ocean Jet for Poro, 2 hours, daily trip - 6am and 3pm (0936.823.8762 |0956.270.6610 | 0999.889.9999).
  2. 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

  1. 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
  2. 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

Cebu City to Dumaguete by Boat

  1. George and Peter Lines - Mon/Thur/Sat/Sun 10pm, (035)225.4337, 0922.557.1023
  2. Oceanjet - via Tagbilaran, daily 6am,, 0918.898.2188
  3. Cokaliong - Mon/Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sat 7pm, Sun 12pm, 6 hours, (035)225.3599

Cebu City to Dumaguete via Liloan (bus, boat, jeep, tricycle)

  1. Cebu City South Terminal - take the southbound Ceres bus to Liloan, P200, 5 hours
  2. Liloan - the bus drops you off at the Liloan Port where you board the Fastcraft to Sibulan, Negros Oriental, P62, 30 mins
  3. Sibulan - at the Sibulan Port, the jeeps wait for Fastcraft passengers to take them to the public market in Dumaguete, P12, 30 mins.
  4. Public Market - at the market, you can take any tricycle to your hotel, P8 for short trips
Cebu City to Tagbilaran, Bohol

Cebu City to Tagbilaran, Bohol

  1. Weesam Express - Pier 4, departs 9:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 6:30 PM, 2 hours
    one way: Economy (aircon) P500.00, Economy (non-aircon) P400.00, First Class P600.00
    round trip promo (at least 2 days advance booking): Economy (aircon) P600, Economy(non-aircon) P500, First Class P1200
    round trip promo (1 day or on the day booking): Economy (aircon) P800, Economy (non-aircon) P700, First Class P1200
  2. Ocean Jet - Pier 1, departs 6-7-8-9:20-10:40-11:40AM, 1-2-4:20-6:35PM, 2 hours
    Open Air / Tourist Class P800, Business Class P1000
    +63 932 8734 885 / +63 922 8572 300
  3. SuperCat (2GO) - Pier 1, departs 08:15-13:30-15:10-18:00-19:40
    P 500.00
    +63 32 233 7000
  4. Lite Ferries - Pier 1, departs daily 12:30pm, 10:00pm and 1:00pm (Mon, Wed, Sat)
    Standard (Lying) Php 150, Tourist (Lying Aircon) Php 340
    +63 977.822.5483 / +63 998.999.5483 / +63 925.347.5483 / (032)255-1721 to 26 / (032)414-9001 to 03 /
Cebu City to Siquijor by Boat, via Tagbilaran

Cebu City to Siquijor, via Tagbilaran

  1. Lite Ferries - Pier 1, departs M/W/SAT at 1:00pm, 10 hours, economy Php 649 (through, layover in Tagbilaran 5:45pm-8:00pm, arrives Larena Port, Siquijor at 11:00pm
    +63 977.822.5483 / +63 998.999.5483 / +63 925.347.5483 / (032)255-1721 to 26 / (032)414-9001 to 03 /
  2. Ocean Jet - Pier 1, departs daily at 1pm, 5 hours
    Open Air P1600
    +63 932 8734 885 / +63 922 8572 300

Cebu City to Siquijor by Bus, via Liloan (Santander) (as of Jan 2023)

Sugbo Urban
There is only one bus plying this route - Sugbo Urban. Tourist class coach, a/c, comfortable, Sun-Fri (these dates keep changing). P420 for bus, P275 for ferry to Liloan. Leaves Cebu City (South Bus Terminal) at 8 pm (Sundays 1 am), heads south to Liloan (Santander), takes the ferry to Larena Port, Siquijor, docks around 5 am, makes a clockwise roundtrip around Siquijor Island - Larena, Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi (stops at Lazi market for breakfast and leaves 6:50 am), San Juan, Siquijor (arrives 8am, P50 from Lazi to Siquijor Poblacion) and catches the 1pm ferry at Larena Port for Liloan, Cebu and resumes its land route. Arrives Cebu City 10 pm.

Sugbo Urban is the cheapest and most convenient way because when it reaches Larena Port (Siquijor), it continues its trip around the island (clockwise) along the circumferential road, passing through - Enrique Villanueva, Maria, Lazi, San Juan, Siquijor...and back to Larena. It spares you the cost of hiring a tricycle or habal-habal which charges exhorbitant fares. Besides, it's a long trip to the other side of the island to be taking by tricycle.

Sugbo Urban

Sugbo Urban

More on Cebu Province:

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
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