Sometimes to stay healthy and youthful you literally have to bend over backwards. I cannot espouse the benefits of having a regular yoga practice enough. There is nothing I have found that is more healing, and has shown time and time again that you are only as young as your spine is flexible. Not to mention that reversal poses or “inversions” are truly anti-aging, as these positions refresh the blood, and actually fight gravity, relaxing your organs, not to mention your facial muscles — so yes, this is better than Botox if you ask me. Another benefit? Because you do twists, you actually help your digestion — ergo, better metabolism, so if you do yoga regularly you will be doing both your inner body and your outer vanity a favor.
The other advantage of doing yoga often is that in time you will be able to do it anywhere you go. Even if you travel, all you need is a floor for the most basic of asanas (poses) and you can get a good workout with just 10-15 minutes not to mention a calmer mind and improved circulation. There are so many yoga studios and even fitness centers that offer yoga classes, it has gotten easier and easier for anyone to get fit and flexible. The feeling you get after a great practice is unparalleled, you feel longer and even cleaner for some reason. I was elated to find several products that would enable me to take my practice (or at least remind me to practice) wherever I go.
1) Urban Ashram Manila has come up with their Yoga Travel Edition: Practice in My Pocket. There are several ways one can get this convenient guide to doing basic poses, the first is to download it from their website for free (urbanashrammanila.com/pocketpractice) or get the actual hard copy if you avail of their FNR (Flexibility Not Required) Pass. Urban Ashram Manila (located in Barangay Kapitolyo) is considered the country’s biggest venue for yoga and is opening its doors this July at Bonifacio High Street. It is the pioneer in the Flexibility Not Required (FNR) movement, which is incentive enough to get any newbie started with their yoga practice. I was told that other versions of this guide, which they’ve nicknamed PMP, will also be launched at Fully Booked in June. Throw this guide into your hand-carry or keep saved in your iPad.
2) Travel-friendly yoga mat. Produced by Made For Movement (madeformovement.ph) these lightweight mats (weighing less than a pound) are fantastic to bring along, since they don’t make a dent in your weight allowance and suitcase space. Made up of a micro-fiber and non-toxic base, they come in green, pink, purple and rust, and priced at a budget friendly P1,300.
3) Yoga-mat sandals. Speaking of mats, Sanuk has just launched a series of slip-on footwear made out of yoga mat material. Priced between P1,200-P1,990, these super soft and cushy sandals seem to kiss the soles of your feet just like a mat does. They come in several styles, including a wedge heel and zippered up version for added adjustment (since feet tend to swell throughout the day). An added bonus is they come in men’s, women’s and even kids’ versions.
4) Sling bags that go to support a livelihood project. Luntian Bags which supports a community of women in San Teodoro, Mabini in Batangas has come up with these cheerful sling bags that are made from canvas and woven Igorot fabric (P500). They will fit most standard sized yoga mats, but can also be custom-made, so you can even choose the weave you want. Best of all, any purchase (whether it’s a standard bag or an OM yoga bag) gives back, so spread the love.
The true spirit of yoga, which goes beyond getting the highly coveted “yoga butt” of steel is in finding balance, being grounded and centered, in spite of all the chaos that is unavoidable in Manila. It is about getting a deeper sense of self and reconnecting to an inner peace, anytime, anywhere, regardless of what is going on around us. As they say once you come out of savasanah (corpse pose) the true practice of yoga begins, when the class ends. Namaste.
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For more information on Urban Ashram Manila and their Flexibility Not Required Program (FNR) call 377-9642 or 0917-8819642 or visit urbanashrammanila.com. Made for movement travel mats are available on madeformovement.ph or call 0922-8374685. Sanuk is exclusively distributed by the Primer Group of Companies and is available at Brat Pack, Greenbelt 5 and Sanuk, Glorietta. To order an OM sling bag send an email to email@example.com or call 0928-505-1683.