Yoga Teachers of Manila: Joana Medina

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, let’s talk about teacher Joana Medina 🙂

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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

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Yoga teachers of Manila: Andi Bañez

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 someone I went to high school with and was pleasantly surprised to know also became a teacher:  Andi Bañez

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Yoga teachers of Manila: Anna Manalastas

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 and incredibly strong yogi Anna Cristina Manalastas.

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On teaching: The winding road back to White Space

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts and wrap my head around the fact that… it’s all happening. Despite my fears and the constant anxiety that’s been my companion this June, my life is moving forward.

The plan was to get a teaching job in a studio by the time I got back from Myanmar and when I landed late May, this whole idea was still ridiculous to me. Yes I learned a lot at Bahay Kalipay and my teaching changed enormously but still… Wah.

I suppose to an outsider looking in, once you get your teacher training the natural process is that you immediately start teaching in a studio and live happily ever after in yoga bliss. The reality is, it requires a little more hustle than that.

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On Bahay Kalipay: What you can expect

Not gonna lie, adjusting to life here at Bahay Kalipay was kind of a struggle.

I’m generally a calm, relaxed person who’s always found it manageable to find ease in any situation. Otherwise I fake it ’til I make it – which is exactly what I ended up doing for the first few days. Outwardly I was calm but inside I was restless, rushing to get used to my new environment as if I was on deadline. If you’re from the city and you’re used to living life from one task to the next, you can fully count on feeling the same.

Yeah, it took me a few days but I feel like I’m settling in and finding my place 🙂 

If you’re coming, here’s what you can expect.

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On Bahay Kalipay: Following where energy leads you

I’m a huge believer in energy.

Whatever energy you give out affects how people respond to you and ultimately what happens in your life. However conscious or unconscious you may be of what energy you have, it’s what attracts the kinds of friends you have and it’s what decides how well you do at your job. It’s the language we speak when we want to talk to the world.

I’m aware that sounds completely hippie-like but, I believe it because I see it at work in my life 🙂 The simple formula I’ve observed is this – 1) you just think long and hard about what you want. Think about it everyday: why do you want it, how do you get it. 2) Be intentional about your actions, even with simple things like hanging out. Who do you hang out with? What do you do together? What do you eat everyday? What small things do you do for that thing you’re dreaming about?

Then comes the hardest part. 3) Just let it go. You’ve done the work so now, patience. Honestly, I’m an impatient person – even more so when I was younger. The letting-go part for me always happened just cause it was either that or I worry myself to the point where I just want to give up. There are days/weeks/months where you feel like nothing’s happening and you just put one foot in front of the other because that’s what your long-term plan says. And you think, “uh, why did I want this again?” You trudge, trudge and trudge until one day you find that hey, things are going right somehow 🙂 Life gives you breaks and you meet good people. You may not be there yet but you’re headed in the right direction.

I used to call it luck but now I think it’s bigger than that. Just in the past month, I feel like the wind has really been blowing in my direction. It’s hard to imagine now that in January, I was at a job completely different from what I’m doing now and I’m actually surviving! What?!

I see energy as intentions that have brought me too…

Teaching beginners. Last year when I did my practicum classes for my teacher training, I thought to myself, I really want to be a teacher for beginners. Months later I start teaching and I completely forget I ever said anything like that cause I have a lot of other things on my mind. But then I start noticing that I attract people who are completely new to yoga. Most of the people I teach have never tried it and are trying it with me for the first time. I was wondering about this until on separate occasions, both my teachers reminded me, that’s the statement you made. It means I teach less fancy poses and we’re not flying our legs up in the air just yet but, seeing people start to understand how to put their bodies in downward dog, or plank, or a warrior pose is amazing and I’m glad for it.

“Meeting” fellow yogis before I actually meet them. I really feel that how you relate to a person all goes back to their energy – if you like their energy, if you complement each other, if they energize you or tire you out. And it’s far-reaching. I got to talk to two of the current graduates of White Space’s second batch of teacher trainees and in wildly different ways, it’s like we had met before we met in real life. One of them, Sarah Salcedo-Rubin, is a Reiki master in White Space who was looking for a sign whether she should take the training or not and just when she had been thinking about it, we encountered each other twice. Crazy. It feels sooooooooo great to know that in a tiny way, just by being there, I helped her out. It’s crazy when you realize your an instrument of the universe. Mind-blowing

Bahay Kalipay. And now this 🙂 A Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal of mine is to put up my own wellness center outside of a Manila that’s a social enterprise at the same time. Bahay Kalipay is exactly that – a wellness, yoga and detox retreat center in Puerto Princesa, Palawan where people come to heal. Just when I was asking about them, they were also looking for a teacher. And so, it’s going to be my home for a month. I will be there in April to teach, learn, learn and learn 🙂

Honestly, I’m afraid. For the past week or so, my fear of the unknown that so rarely shows itself has been bothering me non-stop. Just because I do yoga doesn’t mean I’m immune to normal anxiety like being alone in a new place, having to impress in a new work environment, realizing I might arrive in Manila having to go back to square one. All these are compounded by the fact that this whole teaching this is still so new to me that I ask myself everyday, am I really doing the right thing?

One thing Obama reminded me of though – Keep it about the work. The work is to help people and I believe this will make me better at it, reach more people and eventually, show me if this is really what I’m supposed to be doing or not.

So here we go 🙂