Yoga teachers of Manila: Rach Bonifacio

Back when I was on the student’s side of the yoga classroom, teachers always seemed so impenetrable in their calm happiness, and sometimes even, otherworldly. Now that I’m a yoga teacher myself, I can tell you all with full confidence and honesty: we can be just as crazy, unhinged, insecure, uncool, basic, and normal as everyone else on the planet.

And you can bet the teachers in Manila have a lot of the Filipino quirks you can think of too 😉

In an attempt to demystify yoga teachers and the seeming perfection of their practice as seen through social media, I’m starting a series on my blog not-so-creatively entitled “Yoga Teachers of Manila.”

With grace and honesty, yoga teachers share with us their struggles, their funny “un-yogi” moments, and what keeps them on their mat as a teacher and as a student.

For this post, we get to know more about studio owner, yoga teacher, mom, and friend:  Rach Bonifacio

So here’s one of the cases where I need to thank the Internet endlessly for the power of connection 🙂

Rach and I are from the same yoga school, White Space Mind and Body Wellness. As far as connecting threads go, that’s about it. Add to that, she’s from the Southern part of Metro Manila. Haha!

Despite the lack of obvious connection though, thanks to Facebook post comments and random but increasingly open conversations over the internet, I can say that Rach is a friend 🙂 And a great source of inspiration. Here’s a woman who opened up her own studio, Treehouse Yoga,  less than 6 months after her training, all for the love of yoga and moving forward. How could you not be inspired? 🙂

I was so excited to read her story and I’m excited to share it with you too.

A lot more about her below 🙂

♥ How long have you been teaching yoga?
I graduated from my 200H YTT in September 2015, and started teaching January this year, when I opened my own studio.

♥ What kind of yoga do you teach?
I teach Hatha, Vinyasa, and Restorative Yoga.

♥ What’s your personal practice like? 
I usually end up doing practicing from home via YouTube (Erin Motz and Lesley Fightmaster as my favorite YT teachers). I also attend classes taught by other teachers in my studio, but also go to I Go Beyond Yoga Alabang for some me-time.

Do you ever get unmotivated in your practice? How do you deal with it?

Definitely. I am married with two kids, and I don’t have a helper at home. I manage the studio and used to teach 6 to 9 times a week. I also do most of the back office work. My days are almost always packed, and while I zen it out and just let my days unfold one at a time, it’s also difficult for me to find time and motivation to practice yoga, especially on the first 6 months of studio operations.

Mostly, it’s either I practice or I rest. Rest usually wins. But having more teachers on board now has allowed me to focus on my own practice, at least 3 studio classes every week and 30 minutes of yoga at home on days I can’t.

Can you remember a funny / weird thing you said in a class that surprised even you?
“I’m going to ask you to pick a card tonight from this deck (points to Osho Zen Tarot deck) for your meditation tonight. Don’t worry, I am not a witch, and this has no black magic or voodoo involved. I am a child of God, too.”

If you’ve done it, what’s it like teaching your parents/family?

Weird at first, because it felt like it was a life/career audit. Haha. But I got used to it – what it took was letting go of the judgment I place on family members (i.e. an assumption of their intention/s for being in my class) and the pressure I put on myself to I guess prove to them that this is a great life path. Now, I just “om it out” and be present for them.

 Why do you continue to teach yoga?
Yoga changed my life. It has drastically helped me eradicate belief systems that didn’t help me grow as a person and put limits to my being. I never thought my heart can hold this much love, more so how it can be free from anger, hatred, envy, and jealousy. I teach yoga because I want to share the benefits of yoga, in all aspects. I know yoga can change other people’s lives, too, just like how it did mine.

From all of us, thank you Teacher Rach 🙂

Photo from Rach’s blog, The Treehouse Yogi

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