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Posts Tagged ‘Flexibility Not Required’

Flexibility Not Required (FNR)-a new approach to life-balancing yoga

In Living a Life Off-Center on October 18, 2012 at 1:47 am

Flexibility is not required for an FNR class but you will get it nevertheless with practice!

The benefits of a regular yoga practice are often repeated in my posts, and if you will indulge me I will repeat them again now. Yoga is one of the easiest (yes, easiest) ways to get yourself balanced both inside and out. It is still physical, meaning it incorporates movement so your heart and lungs get to work and at the same time it requires gentle focus, letting you work on one “asana” (pose) at a time. Well, ideally that is how it’s supposed to be. Nowadays, there are many forms of yoga, the most commercial of which promise you a fat burning, cardio increasing workout. Those are great for those who are at that level, and yes, you can have that “yoga butt” if you really want to and feel the burn. I’ve found though that many who have practiced with speed and almost acrobatic like moves end up (through time) getting injured because they haven’t built their pose foundations properly. Instead of correctly using their muscles and their breath (or at times even using the correct muscles and the breath) they just switch on to auto pilot and use strength and momentum to go from one pose to another. Improperly done this leads to muscle wear and tear, and even worse, pain that may turn them off yoga forever. Which for me, is a royal shame. Yoga can be a firm, yet gentle practice, one that allows adjustment; you are not trying to look exactly like your instructor or your mat-mate during your asanas, you are trying to feel the best you can whenever you are in a sitting, standing, lying or inverted position. And, on top of that you are trying to get maximum benefit for YOU.

Everybody and every body is different. And yoga should be a celebration of that.

This is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Urban Ashram Manila’s FNR (Flexibility Not Required) classes. I have been a rather inconsistent yoga practitioner for about 6 years now, getting into it, then getting out of it. I’m relatively flexible but my upper body strength is something that has always been a challenge for me. Oh, and of course, my core, which I never use (or at least it doesn’t feel like I use it). When I was younger, doing astanga yoga, jumping through poses was like an exercise for me, it was “easy” because I was strong enough and fit enough to just go from one to another with an athlete’s ability. Thing was, I wasn’t really building strength I was just just finishing the class as best as I could. So, when I was invited to what was considered a beginners class for vinyasa about three months ago I felt so let down when I was losing my breath and falling all over the place when I couldn’t hold my poses. Or, I was literally collapsing into them. Suffice to say I never went back to that particular class.

Yoga allows you to be expressive of you. Through every pose.

Anusara, a heart opening practice became my next choice and I enjoyed its gentleness and meditative benefits, it certainly gave me a lot more openness in my postures and made me more conscious of the way I stood and sat. I did feel that I wanted more though after a year of practicing it, so I decided to try out a class of FNR in Urban Ashram’s newly opened quarters in the Fort (their first one is in Brixton St., Kapitolyo). Our teacher for that day, Marc, was the one who thought of and put into action this particular practice. It really felt like I was re-learning all my basics, in a good way. I had not really been taught what was the right way to go from pose to pose and what to “feel” . That was the most important aspect as you need to feel your muscles work (this is partly muscle memory anyway right?) and if you weren’t using the right ones, or knowing how to use them you could end up straining your knees, your ankles your neck and shoulders. He also showed me that for my body type that I had to make minute adjustments to get into and keep a pose with more strength and less effort. It was pretty amazing. Tiring at first, but I could feel the change right away. Within a month of regular practice in this 75 min class (it’s great to begin your mornings with it) I was doing poses that I had long struggled with, and I’m talking years of not being able to do them with confidence.

Know your limits and strengths and learn how to improve!

What can I say? Get on that mat, and do it the right way with FNR. You can be any level in your practice, from zero to yoga hero and still benefit from loving corrections to your body and soul.

Namaste!

For more information go to: www.urbanashrammanila.com Or call (02) 661 YOGA / 0917 881 YOGA

info@urbanashrammanila.com

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Taking yoga everywhere-yoga-on-the-go

In Philippine Star Column on May 25, 2012 at 1:45 am

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.

Petit poses. Urban Ashram Manila’s Pocket Practice Yoga Guide

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.

Made for Movement. Portable and lightweight yoga mat.

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.

Full of sole: Sanuk sandals made from yoga mat

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.

Sling it along. OM bags for your mat

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 luntianbags@yahoo.com or call 0928-505-1683.