Questions to Yoga Teachers from Non-Yoga People…and My Response

1. Can you teach me yoga…for free?

Yes, we can actually do that. Reaching out and sharing the gift of yoga to as many people as possible gives tremendous joy in our hearts. We would love to teach for free. It is our social responsibility to promote yoga and help others in whatever way we can. Which is why we have KARMA YOGA (usually for free) sessions. You know what we can’t do? Teach you IN PRIVATE for free AT YOUR OWN TERMS just because you feel like learning yoga isn’t worth paying for.

While we do love conducting free classes for groups who really need it, or for promoting wellness, teaching is also our means of earning a living. So we try to structure our free classes on timeslots that are available to a wider audience and for a demographic who would most likely respond positively.

Please keep in mind that if we have to give a free session, we would have to sacrifice time that we could have otherwise used to place food on our table (so ask us nicely). You wouldn’t want your teacher to go hungry, would you? Unless it’s for Karva Chauth 🙂 (Maybe if you ask a little more nicely…)

Also, as teachers, we need to constantly update our knowledge and improve our skills. This requires rigorous training programs that are usually not available in our own city. These programs do not come cheap. They most certainly don’t come for free. We have to pay for workshops, teacher training, books, and all other living expenses incidental to joining these programs just so we could provide quality service and keep our students safe.

New Doc 3_1

It ain’t easy ~

Please consider all these things the next time you ask us to teach you for free. And again, ask us nicely. 🙂

2. I don’t need yoga because I’m already flexible / I am not flexible enough for yoga

Improved flexibility is one of the many benefits of yoga. But what a lot of non-yoga people don’t realize is that there is so much more to yoga than just being flexible. Asanas (postures) alone can improve your balance, stability and coordination. Asanas will challenge your strength and activate muscles you never knew you had. Apart from asanas, you will also learn how to control your breath, which will subsequently lead you to control your thoughts and your responses to those thoughts. Yoga is more than just improving the physical body. Yoga is a union of the body with breath, of mind with soul.

3. Yoga is for girls / Yoga is gay

HAHAHA! I can’t help but laugh every time I hear that because it usually comes from a blatantly chauvinistic ignorant person who probably couldn’t even hold a chaturanga for 5 full breaths if his life depended on it. I wouldn’t even try to convince that person to try yoga because 1. he doesn’t have the heart and strength for it and 2. he’s a blatantly chauvinistic ignorant person and frankly, at the risk of sounding egotistical, who wants to associate with that? Hahahaha.

Do you even lift, bro?

Do you even lift, bro?

4. I can’t do what you do in your photos!

Don’t worry, neither could I before I started my practice. Everyone has to start somewhere. What you see in my photos isn’t the starting point. Not even close.

5. Yoga is against my religious beliefs

WHAT?! What religion is against non-violence, truthfulness, non-covetousness, purity, and non-greed?!?! Those are the 5 universal principles every yogi tries to follow.

6. Do you actually sweat in yoga?

I live in the Philippines. I sweat even when I don’t move. If you live in tropical regions where the climate is generally hot and humid, I would say “Yes, you actually sweat all your fluids out in yoga”. But if you lived somewhere cold, I guess you would need an intense Power Vinyasa sesh or a hot room for gentler classes, to break a sweat. So, this one depends on where you are and what season it is.

7. Yoga is just stretching…

I have read a fair amount of literature about yoga. I try to study yoga from its roots. And I can tell you with almost a full certainty that yoga is not JUST stretching. But yeah, stretching is a good place to start.

8. Does yoga make you lose weight?

No. Diet, exercise and discipline make you lose weight. Yoga just happens to be a discipline that somewhat requires moderate eating and light exercise. Also, I just happened to lose 20 pounds since I started practicing yoga. It could have been just a happy coincidence.

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Life After Rishikesh

 

Taking all the energy I can so I can share the vibes at home

Taking all the energy I can so I can share the vibes at home

It’s easy to tell yourself (and others) that you have found inner peace when you live in a world where people literally seek the same thing as you. When you find yourself in the company of people who radiate certain positive energies, the vibrations tend to rub on you too. When the strangers you meet on the street smile at you for no other reason than to greet you “Namaste!”, those smiles become infectious. You hold those smiles in your heart for as long as you can, knowing you won’t meet strangers as jolly and friendly as they are anywhere else in the world.

Vinyasa Yoga School batch October 2014

Vinyasa Yoga School batch October 2014

When you meet authentic yogis – not those who merely practice asanas, post yoga selfies on social media and proclaim themselves “yogis” (yep, I’m guilty), but those who actually seek to become higher versions of themselves – you know you are in their presence almost immediately when you notice their lack of ego. You recognize their compassionate hearts. When you try to learn an art or a science from people who really embody what they teach, you know the knowledge they are trying to impart something authentic. They are sharing a piece of themselves to you, and you take in every piece and try to protect each one by practicing and teaching others to the best of your ability.

[I would like to thank my teachers in Vinyasa Yoga School. You’ve all been such a wonderful inspiration.]

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(L-R) Harsh – Mantra Teacher, Helen, Joan, Leona, Mahesh – Yoga Philosophy + Therapy Teacher, Kusshal – Yoga Anatomy and Physiology + Yoga Business Administration Teacher , Vikas – Vinyasa Teacher

It’s easy to drastically change your lifestyle when you have no other option. When you’re stuck in a city where your normal diet is no longer the norm, when the food you wouldn’t even consider eating back in your own home is the only thing that’s available to you, then you not only reconsider, but you actually partake. Not only that, you begin to enjoy what you have and wish it would always be your norm.

Celebrating my 25th birthday by being sung to in 7 different languages. Thank you, classmates and teachers for making my birthday memorable!

Celebrating my 25th birthday by being sung to in 7 different languages. Thank you, classmates and teachers for making my birthday memorable!

It is so easy to tell yourself and others that you are genuinely happy with your new life. You feel at peace and you love what you have when the world around you is very much conducive to peace and love. The only moments you dread in this new life of yours are the few short hours in the early morning when the temperature drops below what you’re accustomed to. But even with that, nothing can cool the new flame of joy in your heart. Of course you know deep within, this couldn’t be your new life. It’s a temporary retreat from the world you’ve been so familiar with, the world in which you were brought up, the world which happens to be your home, the world you need to come back to in a few short weeks.

Ready for river rafting at the Ganges. Not exactly waterproof. But I had an amazing experience.

Ready for river rafting at the Ganges. Not exactly waterproof. But I had an amazing experience.

What’s difficult is returning to your separate reality and see that the world you were used to, the one where you come from, the one where you’re supposed to thrive, hasn’t changed. You come back thinking you were supposedly a new person, only to find the same hustle and bustle when you come home. That’s the real challenge – to maintain calm and composure, and to keep a positive perspective in life in the midst of all surrounding tension and turmoil. That’s when you know if your retreat really made an impact on your life – if you still have that joy in your heart despite the external situation. And that’s when you become thankful that of all the new asanas and mantras and philosophies you have learned, letting go of attachment was one (and mostly emphasized) of them.

Thank you, Rishikesh!

Thank you, Rishikesh!

Coming to Rishikesh, as with most decisions I make in life, was deemed unnecessary by a lot of people in my life. But I’ve learned that sometimes you need to go seemingly insane and make unconventional and irrational choices so you can regain your focus again. Sometimes all you need is to completely overhaul your surroundings to realize that it doesn’t matter what’s going on outside. What you need, and what you hope to become, has always been inside you. Thank you, Rishikesh, for showing me exactly that. I will forever be grateful.