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 Teacher Enzo Montaño.
Teacher Enzo seems to be one of the crowd-favorites at BGC studio, Life Yoga 🙂 He teaches classes called Ash-Asana and Rock N’ Flow – definitely classes I’d like to try someday. In the meantime, I’ll share his words. Enzo also creates handmade mala to ground his hands into work, as he says it.
A lot more about him below 🙂
♥ How long have you been teaching yoga?
I’ve been teaching yoga full time for a little over a year now. Right now, I teach in LiFE Yoga, Bliss Yoga, and I do some privates as well.
♥ What kind of yoga do you teach?
Short answer: Ashtanga and Vinyasa Yoga.
Long answer: As a teacher I concern myself with the experience of yoga˗˗˗how
the student connects to the practice. I like to experiment with different concepts and styles that I personally feel drawn to. Bhakti, Body Movement, Vibrations, Language, Dance, Tantra, Emotions, Prana, Music. I try to synergize these things in order to provide a specific experience in class. Kinda like theater. Except it’s internal. Oh, we also have a lot of fun 😉
♥ What’s your personal practice like?
I think I do pretty well. I try my best to practice at least 5 times a week and I’ve been fortunate to be able to keep that up. I practice both in a class setting and at home. Nowadays I lean more towards the former (perks of being a studio teacher!) but I do honestly try to do my self-practice at least once a week. I favor set sequences when I self˗practice. So mostly Ashtanga primary or bits of Rocket yoga I picked up.
♥ Do you ever get unmotivated in your practice? How do you deal with it?
Y.E.S. very often. Especially self-practice.
The first thing I do is I listen to what my mind is saying. Usually it sounds something like “2 HOURS? NO !@#$! WAY” or “6am? What is wrong with you.” Then I continue to lay my mat out and prepare what I need, still listening to my mind. By now it’s sounding like “omg remember that embarrassing thing you did 4 years ago…?” or even “CALL MCDO NOW!! You’re starving!!” Still hearing that, I step on to my mat, start my chant, and practice my first sun salutations. My mind at this point: “…ok thanks”
Moral of the story is that sometimes your mind works against you. You calmly and deliberately do what you believe is good for you anyway.
♥ What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you in a yoga class?
A friend and I were chanting the Mahamrityunjaya Mantra and for some unknown reason we literally could not stop laughing. We tried about 10 times and we couldn’t get past the first line! I’m taking rolling on the floor laughing. Talk about enlightenment and purification˗˗˗we were in tears!
♥ Can you remember a funny / weird thing you said in a class that surprised even you?
I’m just weird all the time, so it doesn’t surprise me anymore. But this one time, the class was in Dhanurasana and I was feeling particularly funny that day (and I just rewatched Will&Grace for the billionth time) I shouted “point your heels to Jesus!” to the dismay of the conservatives in the room. Got at least 2 side˗eyes and few laughs here and there. Hey, at least it got them through 8 breaths of Dhanurasana! Looking back now, it was pretty hilarious.
♥ Can you share any roadblocks you had in your practice and how you got through them?
Pain in my left knee hindered my practice a lot. At this point in my yoga journey, everything was so yang. GO GO GO! That’s when the pain started happening. I got through it with a lot of patience, understanding, and by honoring where I was at physically. Sometimes it’s harder to slow down than to go faster. If you don’t slow down when you need to, your body will definitely let you know by manifesting all sorts of aches, pains, or injuries. It’s okay to step back.
♥ Why do you continue to teach yoga?
I long for a world (or at least a community) with kinder people. True kindness. If I can inspire even just one person to be kind, then I would’ve done my job.
From all of us, thank you Teacher Enzo 🙂
Enzo introduced me to Ashtanga when we were supposed to have a different class. I am hooked with the practice since then. 🙂