Posts Tagged ‘Urban Ashram Manila’

Healthy habits for a (less) stressful holiday season

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2013 at 1:50 am

In a blink of an eye, we find ourselves approaching what is possibly the most anticipated (and dreaded) month of the entire year. “Winter is coming” may have served as an appropriate reminder of the chaos that would ensue on Game of Thrones, while back here in the non-fiction world, the same amount of shivers may be elicited when the words “Christmas is coming” are uttered. So how to keep the stress to a manageable level, before, during and even after the holidaze? Getting into a routine of healthy body, mind and spirit habits, which can carry you past the resolution-energized start of 2014. Here are a few tips to live by:

Drink your vitamins

Pill popping may not be your thing, and if you’re rushing from here to there, you may find yourself forgetting to take your supplements with a meal. So take out the proverbial middleman by getting your daily dose of antioxidants in a potent potion made out of fresh vegetables and fruits. You can even choose to supplement one, two or all three of your meals and go on a full-on juice detox just to give your digestive system a rest. The benefits of a juice cleanse are not only a cleaner overall system and a sharper mind, but also a lot more energy. Juju Cleanse has great-tasting juices that can ease you into it (Level 1) or take you all the way with their mostly green Level 3 concoctions. Their website is also highly informative, which may tempt you into doing a full-day or even five-day juice detox. Should you decide to go liquid before the onslaught of parties and party food, make sure you take time to ease yourself into it and out of it. Want a taste before you commit? You can pop by their restaurant Juju Eats in Makati ( where you can grab a juice drink and combine it with a freshly made salad or wrap and take them with you. You can also call 0917-5763012 for more information.


Eat lighter or Eat for a cause

Since we are on the subject of nourishment, if liquefying your life may be too extreme (or seemingly impossible for you) as Christmas draws near, then you may want to look at supplementing your meals with vegan food. In other words, fare that is animal-product free. Edgy Veggy ( has a full menu that can be delivered to your doorstep, or you can grab a bite at their commissary in Pasig. Their newest offering, vegan longganiza (P180) is made with mushrooms, non-GMO tofu and spices, plus every order of this particular meal gives 10-percent of its proceeds to the I Can Serve Foundation. None of their dishes are made with preservatives or animal fat and they serve generous proportions so even the hefty eater can feel satisfied without feeling the usual heaviness and sluggishness associated with eating commercially produced fast food. Meals that contain fewer preservatives and fewer chemicals also lessen the risk of adrenal fatigue syndrome, which is both an energy and mood killer. Spread the joy of the season by starting from the inside with healthier food choices when possible. For more information or to order, call 0917-8474831.


Passive action


Free your mind

A monkey mind is what a majority of us possess. This means simply that we process what seems like 10,000 thoughts in a day. The total is actually much higher than that: it has been documented that we have about 60,000 thoughts a day! Imagine the stress you carry cerebrally daily; no wonder the term “brain fog” has become more the norm, and it’s hitting us at any age, when it used to be reserved for those who were well into their 60s. So how to free yourself from a mind that can’t seem to shut up? Meditation and breathing exercises are the tools to find your center and be the master of your mind, rather than be the slave to it. The Third Eye Wellness Center ( located in Bonifacio Global City is a new all-in-one wellness center that offers therapeutic practices that are beneficial for one’s outer and inner being. Its Transcend Spa offers massages, facials and care for your nails,  a vegetarian café (Chakra Café) where you can order light fare as well as freshly made smoothies and energy healing modalities such as Theta DNA Healing, Access Bars, Crystal Layout, Tarot Card Readings, Past Life Regression and the like. The energy healing modalities allow one to clear or remove limiting beliefs or blocks that may have been taken on from childhood. If you’re feeling like it’s you against the world, then check out what’s happening in your internal world first. You can also call 808-2984 or 0917-6362800 for more information.


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Come Fly With Me-A Workshop with Alexandria Crow

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2013 at 11:55 am

It looks like I have fully embraced my inner yogini. Finally having gotten my Teacher’s Training diploma, I find myself happily immersed in one yoga workshop after the other. First in June, a rather intense four days of back-to-back seminars (both physically intensive or philosophy rich) of yoga at the Asia Yoga Conference in Hong Kong. Coming back to Manila I discovered I had gotten way stronger, and way braver in doing my asanas (poses). I could get into an inversion with less nerves, it was just a matter of learning how to keep upside down for longer than a couple of seconds. That is now my current challenge, finding my center even when my perspective has been flipped around. Enter August with the coming of the almost ethereal beauty and grace of Alexandria (Alex) Crow.


Although coming from a gymnast background, Crow battled with injuries that kept her inactive for some time. Her workshop in August will focus on “floating”. Working the upper body, opening the hips and strengthening one’s core (and probably reserve) to get up, and up into arm balances and inversions.


There will be whole day classes, community classes and short, intense workshops for anyone who is wanting to deepen their yoga practice. I look forward to finding out the best way to get my legs up over my head, fully focused on my breath and feeling light as a feather. August will be my month to float and fly, and I hope to see more of my friends lifting off beside me on their mats! Check out Alex Crow’s schedule (August 9-14) on: or call one of Urban Ashram Manila’s two branches:

Brixton Branch (02) 661 YOGA / 0917 881 YOGA

High Street Branch (02) 869YOGA / 0917 718 YOGA


Go-anywhere yoga apparel at All Things Yoga Boutique

In Philippine Star Column on November 16, 2012 at 5:29 am

Good news for the active stylista: workout wear has gotten so pretty and popular nowadays that über-comfy clothing is no longer limited to the gym or ashram. Yoga wear in particular, known for its stretch-ability as well as flattering fit, has become a fast favorite of many, especially for travel or for more casual events. These separates are easy to pack, don’t need ironing and are great for layering on for different looks. Also, if you normally have to rush from one place to another, you can pretty much throw them on and let them hold their silhouette or shape without too much fuss. Recently, All Things Yoga boutique opened its doors, providing a whole range of tops, bottoms and accessories of both imported and local labels for the modern urban dweller.

Tie dye for. tanya b hot yoga separates

Yoga teacher Tanya Boulton and textile expert Karen Ulmander wanted to develop a product that people could live in, resulting in clothing line Tanya-b. “Tanya-b reaches to those that are taking care of themselves, work, family, and friends all at the same time. We live such fast-paced lives that we wanted to create apparel that would keep up with the demands of versatility on a fashionable and functional level. People should feel good in the clothes they wear,” explains the design pair. Their newest collection consists of strong colors in their tie-dye halter tops (P3,450) that can be paired with either bright or neutral colored capris or full-length leggings (prices range from P2,250-3,450). With lives set to manic and multi-tasking mode nowadays, comfort is definitely key and even though these may be a little too casual for the office they could work for those last-minute errand run situations.

Olive Essentials. Tops and dresses for anyday wear.

Local brand Olive Essentials, which first launched through a series of trunk shows, has consistently produced easy-to-wear (and literally throw-on) separates, including the Gigi dress (P1,100) which is great for maximum movement. This brand keeps comfort in mind but has designed pieces that can easily make you shift from fitness freak to fit and chic. The Emy top (available in black or gray, P650) can be used as a cool cover-up or worn alone. There is also a Twist Wrap top (P850) that makes for an interesting detail when layered over a favorite T, tank or even dressier outfit. If you’re not ready to go full-on sporty you can pick and choose a few pieces from this collection and add them to what’s already in your closet. Their dresses all have different, interesting details such as an asymmetrical silhouette although they can be quite loose so you may want to use a belt if you prefer having a more defined waist.

Exhale forever. Infinity scarf for easy layering.

Another line made with yogis in mind by a yoga practitioner, Exhale, is a brand that has created multiwear dresses (that can be shortened and twisted) as well as rompers and playsuits that allow you to cinch them at the waist. They have also come up with beautiful face- and shoulder-framing scarves (Infinity P850) designed to look like the infinity symbol when worn. Coming in bright colors, it is a refreshing option from the more earthy (and often dull) colors that these types of clothes are normally found in. In this day and age, gone is the matching tracksuit made popular by rap superstars or Desperate Housewife Eva Longoria (although they still seem to slip through the fashion sensors every now and then) that defined sporty style, replaced with more wearable, breathable fabrics and styles. In this day and age, being fit and active is “in,” so subtly showing off that you just came from a workout or a yoga/Pilates session amps your attraction meter. The urban lifestyler, the weekend warrior or the city athlete now has many more options to keep on moving, with clothes that move the way you live.

Yoga outside the ashram. Get clothes that move with you.

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All Things Yoga Boutique will be on sale starting Nov. 15 for a limited time at its two locations in Urban Ashram Manila High Street, Fort Bonifacio and Brixton, Kapitolyo. For more details log on to:

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.


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

Restorative yoga. A gentle way to end a week and welcome the weekend

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 21, 2012 at 5:28 am

Tried my first ever class of restorative yoga at Urban Ashram Manila’s Fort Bonifacio branch last night. I’m quite happy to have reconnected (once again) with an old love, which is yoga. Aside from dedicating myself to the mat three times a week with thier FNR (Flexibility Not Required) classes I decided to try another new form which was there once a week Restorative Yoga class in the evening.

Total (sweet) surrender in Restorative Yoga

Walking into class with my friends was a bit confusing ass we saw a room full of mats, pillows (called bolsters), straps, blocks, and nice, thick blankets. I was told earlier on that this was a class of passive stretching, but it looked more like some draconian slumber party themed class. As the class began we were told about what to expect, which was simply, surrendering to gravity and giving our bodies (and minds) complete and utter rest.

The benefits of this practice (to which I am now a happy convert) are many. If you are regularly active, or even a competing athlete, this kind of yoga allows you (after all the trauma from let’s say, running on pavement) to find alignment again since you’re holding a fully stretch out pose for five to ten minutes at a time.  This allows for an opening of the muscles, where there is tightness and tension from having been compressed-it also allows for a deeper breath, think of more oxygenation as well.

Health is dramatically improved with passive poses.

What else can one expect after regular classes of Restorative Yoga? An improved metabolic rate, reduced stress and deeper sleep. Everything from the blankets (rolled up), straps etc are tools that will help deepen your stretch and bring you to total relaxation. All this is achievable by committing oneself to total surrender once a week. We spend the majority of our waking hours running around and getting drowned in everyday drama, forgetting to let them “go” and detach at the end of the day. This ninety minute class should be compulsory in my humble opinion, for everyone-whether you’re working in an office or working from home. Give yourself the opportunity to detach and rejuvenate. Seriously, some people just sleep in class, and that’s probably what they need most at that point in time.

Twists are great for internal organs, this one in particular helps heal the kidneys and digestive system.

Grab a little downtime with restorative yoga 🙂 Maybe with more participants there will be more classes, more days of the week. Trust me, we all really need this 🙂

For more information on Restorative Yoga classes at Urban Ashram Manila (Kapitolyo and Fort Bonifacio branches) contact:

(02) 661 YOGA / 0917 881 YOGA or

*photos gathered from several sites on the Internet

Yoga is for everyone! Get an Urban Ashram’s Yoga pass :-)

In Living a Life Off-Center on September 6, 2012 at 4:52 am

If there is an activity that you could do just for yourself and even gift to others, yoga would be it. Yoga’s countless health and wellness benefits are already well-known by the world so if you’ve been living under a rock for the last five years, then you may want to see what all this mat-based hype is about this weekend. Urban Ashram Manila offers a variety of yoga classes from the super-beginner (Flexibility Not Required-FNR) to the super-dedicated like Hatha and Vinyasa Flow.

Yoga yourself out (with friends) with a yoga pass

Set some goals for yourself yoga wise. Since the ‘ber months are upon us, which means the holidays are here, you give yourself a chance to be fit and healthy before Christmas gluttony takes over. Personally, I start this Saturday with my three month pass ( a steal at 15k) for Urban Ashram’s High Street branch. I have the freedom and flexibility to attend whatever class I want, fitting my yoga in my work and play schedule while getting flexible myself. Not to mention the fat burn and cardio I’m going to get when I make this a regular part of my life.

Whether you’re a mat first timer, old-timer or returnee, yoga is for everyone. If 90 days is too much of a commitment you can check out their 15 day pass as well. Namaste everyone and may you find peace as we enter the first weekend of the ‘ber months of 2012.

For more information on Urban Ashram Manila (Kapitolyo and High Street branches) visit:

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 ( 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 ( 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 Made for movement travel mats are available on 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 or call 0928-505-1683.