Slowing Down, Taking Deep Breaths

It has been a crazy couple of weeks in the yogic Life of Leona. For the first time in my teaching career as an E-RYT, I have managed to train and certify a student, with me as the Lead Trainer in a Yoga Alliance accredited course. Having that experience of creating a course curriculum, which for me contains the essential tools for a new yoga teacher, finally being able to train someone using that curriculum, watching them grow in their practice and their teaching methods…that experience is quite exhilarating. Not to mention the relationships that developed along the way. That will always be the best part of this journey, having wonderful people in my life who always encourage personal growth and happiness.

I only ever had a few weeks to breathe before I decided it was time for me to take it to the next level: to introduce the course – my course – to a wider audience. And next level it was… Within a span of 4 weeks, I was able to fill all the spots I offered for my upcoming Yoga Teacher Training Intensive in July 2018.

Having a business background does not usually enmesh with the yogic lifestyle. Most purists would say approaching yoga with a business-mind takes meaning out of yoga itself.

But I don’t completely agree with that. 

I believe that as yoga teachers, we have the moral obligation to teach as best as we can the essence of yoga – to live equanimously, with love and compassion for all. As yoga teachers, it is our secondary duty to reach and teach everyone who is willing to learn. And by everyone, I mean the entire world. But as human beings, our energy and resources are not infinite. We must make use of these resources in the most logical and wisest way possible. I believe that’s when business mathematics come into play. And it’s not always necessarily evil.

Having said that, I spent many nights unable to sleep because of the amount of work I need to put in this new venture – setting up a system, rounding up a team, the works. Not that I’m complaining, I am merely stating a fact. I am finally doing what I’ve always intended to do. I am finally walking down the path of my purpose. And I know walking with purpose comes with a price. Mine is a few acne breakouts every now and then, and an hour less to sleep at night. But when I think about the greater picture – how many lives will be touched by the souls that decide to teach yoga, and how many lives I can help because of the business that I am growing – I believe it’s a minuscule price to pay.


Right now, what I need is to slow down, recount my steps, and embrace a future that is filled with abundance and possibilities.


Modern Miseries

Why is our generation so miserable? We have everything, all the conveniences that technology has to offer. And yet, when we go through our Facebook feed, it’s all full of depression, hate, desperation. To add fuel to the fire is the comments section, which I feel should forever be avoided.

We have more modes of transportation now, making it so easy to get from point A to point B, you’d think people would go out more. But ironically, just when transportation has gotten easier, more delivery options have also become available. Instead of physically going to your favorite restaurant or shopping center, why not have my food and goods delivered with just a phone call or a click of a button?

We have cellphones, internet video calling. Flights are cheaper than ever. But instead we have reduced ourselves to become keyboard warriors. It’s your friend’s birthday? Write on her wall. Oh she’s sick? Here’s a “Get well soon” graphic on her inbox. Guys, when and why did we become so lazy? Having all this unused energy, I think, is making us miserable. There’s so much fire in us that we need to unleash, except going through our News Feed is actually easier so here, let me just do that for one quick minute…

There are those of us who were raised as a God-fearing individual and that’s mainly a good thing. It means that we have with us a set of moral values that we need in order to live a harmonious life with others. We have been attending worship services as young as we could possibly remember. Then we grew up and started making your own choices. We are then constantly reminded that our choices are not always as morally-upright as what your religious leaders expect of you. We are perpetually guilted into submission, in anticipation of a hypothetical eternally blissful afterlife. But what about this life though? Do we purposely forget that we are fighting to survive in this world, right here, right now, where it’s as real as it will ever be?

Yoga Teacher Training (RYT 200) in the Philippines

At Bodhi Yoga Center, we believe that yoga is a lifestyle and that our practice doesn’t end when we leave the mat or the studio. We practice our yogic values in the way we work and play. And we take fun very seriously.

Spend a month-long immersion in the heart of laid-back General Santos City in Southern Philippines. Spend weekends (and maybe some weekdays) learning theory or practicing vinyasa or acroyoga by the white sand beaches of Sarangani Bay. Do water activities in your spare time such as scuba diving or snorkeling.

Sure, fun is there. But when we work, we work hard. We train from sunrise to sunset, studying a comprehensive syllabus to ensure that our trainees become compassionate and competent yoga teachers after graduation.

Whether you have the calling to teach others, or you are simply exploring your own practice, anyone can benefit from learning safe and correct methods to practice yoga postures, breathing, cleansing techniques and meditation. Appreciate from an anatomical standpoint how these practices affect our physical and mental state. Learn how to modify postures to fit any type of body, and know that Yoga is indeed for everyone. Understand the correlation between the physical practice and the underlying philosophy and truly see that yoga is all-encompassing – it is life as we know it.

200hr Yoga Teacher Training with Vinay Jesta Yoga – Truestrengthvinyasa
Bodhi Yoga Center GenSan, General Santos City, Philippines
November 20 – December 15, 2017

Early bird rate = Php 100,000 (USD 2,000) incl. Course + Private Accommodation for 26 Nights + 3 Daily Meals
Flexible payment terms available.

Contact us!
Phone: +63-9328891103

My Journey to the Primary Series

Marichyasana D. Bhujapidasana. Supta Kurmasana. These are some of the poses I have yet to achieve in my 3-year on-again-off-again relationship with the Ashtanga Primary Series. These are postures with intense binds that not only require flexibility to attain, but strength to maintain the bind as well.

I practice yoga not because I have asana goals. I’ve learned long ago to let go of the postures that require me to force myself into a pretzel. But practicing Ashtanga has given me an entirely different perspective on #AsanaGoals. It’s less about the physical capability of the body than the mental resolution to finish what I’ve started, no matter how long it takes.

I am currently enjoying my Mysore practice with Laruga Glaser here in Manila. Every morning, we are given 3 hours to practice together as a group. Each person is on a different place in his/her practice, so each one is performing different asanas, different sets of postures at their own pace. If you look at the room as an outsider, it would look like an organized chaos. Some would be doing seemingly super human stretches in the Intermediate Series, while others are still being cued into their first few standing postures. But one thing we have in common is an intention to look deeper than what our bodies currently offer.

There are times when practicing Ashtanga feels like a punishment. But after the motions of going through it, I am resolved with the fact that it’s a great mind-and-body workout. It is indeed a good gauge on how the body has progressed through the years. And although my body no longer shivers in Parivritta Trikonasana the way it did three years back, I am still miles away from completing my journey in Primary Series. I have come to terms with the fact that it may take a while, maybe even a lifetime. And that’s okay.

Snorkeling in Samal Island

How could something so pretty be so underrated? If you find yourself wandering through Davao and its neighboring towns, the Taclobo Tours by ADECOR of Samal Island is something you shouldn’t miss. You will see clams as big as your torso. The aquatic life is so healthy and diverse, it’s such a gift to see.

I actually can’t remember the exact place to go to reach the giant clam sanctuary. Ooops. But the resident tricycle drivers are experts and you can just ask them to take you there. It’s a rough and long ride from Brgy. Peñaplata, and we’ve had issues with our boat, but the struggle was so well worth it.

Near the giant clam sanctuary is Uraya Beach, where we spent a few hours on the sand, playing with some asanas. My companions were Lydie and Mercedes, guest teachers of Bodhi Yoga Center Gensan in February 2016.

On our way back to the city, we made a quick stop to Hagimit Falls. It would have been a lovely sight if it weren’t for the overcrowding.


Never change, Samal.


Mindful Summers

If the universe conspires to make my work manageable, I shall be leading a yoga retreat in the island of Koh Samui in Thailand in June of next year. That is a LOOOOONG way to go, but I’m keeping my arms wide open to receive whatever the universe has in store for me.

This is a sneak preview of the retreat location I got my eyes on!!! Aggghhhhhh. Images grabbed from the venue’s official website. 🙂




India, so far

As of this writing, I have been in India for exactly ten days now. I must say the experience has been something so far beyond my expectations. In the weeks leading up to my trip here, I’ve been mentally preparing myself for the worst. I’m not usually pessimistic like that, but it’s my first month-long trip out of my country and I just had to prepare for whatever comes along my way. However, I did forget to prepare myself for positive things. Except for the Yoga Teacher Training, I didn’t expect much from India. And this place just SHOCKED me in the most beautiful way imaginable.


Laxman Jhula Bridge, a mere 2-minute walk from my hotel

Where I imagined people to be stuck up and rude, I have only met kind and pleasant people. From my teachers to my classmates to the shopkeepers along the streets of Rishikesh, everyone seems to be in a jolly disposition most of the time. The locals here are genuinely nice, and I’ve never had a bad experience with them at all. I hope it keeps being that way until the end of my course. Where I expected filth and disgusting things, the city where I am is actually quite pleasant. I mean sure cow dung is a normal occurence on the streets of India. But other than that, they keep this part of India really beautiful.

Just a short walk from my hotel is the magnificent Ganges River. This part of the Ganges is still pretty clean. The water is green most of the time, except when it rains upstream and the water becomes just a little murky. A few minutes drive uphill, and the view is even more stunning that I simply cannot describe it with words.


Maa Ganga by Vashistha Cave, 45 minutes from Vinyasa Yoga School

The course is physically and mentally demanding. We would wake up really early because the first class starts at 6:30 AM. It’s usually some form of cleansing (Kriya) the air passages (Jal Neti and Sutra Neti). Today though we tried another type of cleansing, the Kunjal Kriya which is basically cleaning your upper digestive tract. I’ll write more about that later. All the kriya techniques are weird at first, but they all have their merits as well. Lol.

After an intense day of learning all things yoga, we end the day with a meditation class, which I’m still not sure how I feel about. Maybe I need to search deeper. Lol.

I have other things I want to share but more on that later as I have a Vinyasa class starting in 5 minutes. After 6 months of teaching asanas in my city, it feels exhilirating to become a student again. So, there. Til later. 🙂


View of The Ganges from our hotel roof