Celebrities do it. We’ve seen it in television, magazines and movies and now a lot of people are into it.
What’s with yoga that gets you hooked?
Yoga studios are starting to sprout in Cebu. Despite yoga’s popularity nowadays, I don’t think a lot of people fully understand what it’s all about. A curious mind like mine had to get the answers straight from an expert. Here’s what Kim Rojas, a young Cebuana yoga instructor shared to us.
Kim: I was introduced to yoga 3 years ago by a friend who is practicing and teaching the Ashtanga Yoga method. I later made my own journey to join classes and study with wonderful teachers in Singapore and Hong Kong.
032: There has been a lot of misconception or different views on yoga. Can you tell us what yoga is really about? What are its health benefits?
Kim: As a yoga practitioner, I see yoga more than just a physical practice. I first joined yoga with the intention of just having a good exercise– moving, sweating, stretching, bending, twisting and the usual losing weight and/or toning the body. Later on, I learned that all these tangible things are just wonderful side effects of yoga. Yoga for me is total liberation. Knowing oneself, finding oneself, creating oneself. Strengthening not just the body, but the mind as well. By being aware of the world around you and knowing how to quiet the mind, it enables one to think clearly on how to react to certain situations. We train ourselves to become strong, calm, peaceful and mindful beings.
032: Can just anyone practice yoga? Even people with disabilities or old age?
Kim: As Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, founder of Ashtanga yoga, would say, “Yoga is for everyone, except the lazy.” There are many different kinds of yoga and it is good to know which suits you best. One with injuries and illness should inform the teacher prior to the class because special attention and modifications will be given to them.
Age here is merely a number. I have seen students in their 50s and 60s do a better chaturanga or hold a longer headstand than those in their 20s. Everyone is different. There is no competition in yoga. Listening to your own body is as important as listening to the teacher. Know when to push yourself, and when to just stay/hold a pose and just breathe.
Kim: Yoga became a big part of my life. Whatever I get in my 1.5-2 hour practice on the mat, I apply it off the mat (in my daily life). Like if I can’t achieve a certain pose, either I work hard on it or give it another day. Quitting is not my option. I learned that by not quitting, you are a day closer to your goal. I strengthen myself every day in every practice, both physically and mentally, to think clearly and choose which path to take, to always strive to be a better person every day. I know that good always wins over the bad. My life became calmer and more peaceful. The thing I love about Ashtanga yoga is its repetition… the more you do it, the more you’ll know it (and yourself) inside and out.
032: Is there any specific diet that one should follow when doing yoga? What are the recommended foods and what foods should be avoided?
Kim: Just eat healthy food and know your food groups. I encourage being vegetarian, but I understand that it’s not for everyone. So just be mindful of what you eat and everything in moderation. The Japanese have a great expression concerning healthy eating habits, Hara hachi bu. This means, eat until you are 80% full. Aside from that, how the food is prepared and cooked is another important thing. Over cooking vegetables takes nutrients away. Once people are into yoga, they become more aware of their own body, and eating healthy will naturally follow.
032: Are there certain preparations before doing yoga?
Kim: Just be yourself, have presence of mind and put your heart in your practice. I also advice students not to eat heavy meals 2 hours prior to class. Instead, drink juice if you feel hungry in that 2 hour duration.
Kim: I am teaching Ashtanga Yoga in Yogahub. It is located at the 2nd floor of Banilad Town Center (BTC). I teach there every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8:30-10:00 AM, every Wednesday and Friday 6:30-8:00 PM, and every Sun 4:00-5:30 PM.
032: If someone wants to join a yoga class, what are the things to prepare and bring?
Kim: Bring a yoga mat and/or yoga towel. Although the studios have mats, I prefer students to have their own (for hygienic purposes). A small towel and changing clothes since you’ll be sweating a lot in class.
032: Convince me and all the readers to join yoga!
Kim: Don’t be scared or discouraged if you cannot bend, twist, or lift yourself up. As long as you can breathe, you can do yoga. No matter what size or shape you are, how old or young you are, whatever reasons you have– whether from losing weight, toning, strengthening, stretching, down to healing, meditating, finding oneself. Everyone is welcome to join yoga. Put in love, faith and consistency, and just take in and enjoy the journey. You will surely see and feel its wonderful benefits in your body, in your mind, and in your life. I am thankful that Ashtanga found its way into my life and the least I can do is share it to others.