Bloggers Do Yoga

It finally happened. An event unlike any other that bloggers have ever done.

Bloggers came together at the Vinyasa Yoga Center (where I practice) and did yoga for an hour and a half, followed by a vegetarian dinner cooked by my own yoga teacher, Pio Baquiran, who is not only a great yogi teacher but a fantastic chef as well.

PREPARATIONS IN FULL SWING

Chona and I were there early. Actually, Chona did yoga at noontime while I had to bring over to the center all the donated items from the sponsors. We ate a leisurely lunch at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, then went back to the center where we packed the media kits and the other donations together with 3 lovely ladies from the ad agency, Aspac/Law (Ria, Kathy and Mia).

(Mia, Kathy and Ria of Aspac/Law)

Some bloggers came in early so we had a chance to chat and get to know those whose names were familiar to me but who I had never met yet, like Francis, Melanie, Janine, and Carl. I was particularly interested in chatting with Francis, who, it turns out, already practises yoga at Fitness First (my thought bubble: this is the perfect endorser for yoga for men!!!). Melanie, too, it turns out, has been doing yoga for some time now and in fact, took yoga lessons that same morning with Chona’s and my good yogi friend fresh from Riyadh, Jon Cagas! What a small world indeed!

Later, a whole bunch of bloggers came in: Poyt, Fritz, Arpee, Noreen and my mommy bloggers Chats, Cookie and Dine.

Juned of Blog and Soul came by a little later from another “shoot” and became the event’s volunteer photographer.

Yogini mates Minna (also the VYC directress), her sister Therese and Trin Custodio dropped by to support the event and practice together with Chona and I. All in all, the shala was filled and energies were strong!

THE CLASS — ENERGY TO THE MAX

Pio informed us that he had designed a special sequence just for bloggers. Now that caught everyone’s interest. He began with a short meditation, taught the bloggers the proper way to breathe, then followed it up with eye exercises, rotation of the hands, fingers and shoulders, and shorter variations of the sun salutations.

Pio also made us go through simple forward bends, side bends and wide angle bends to stretch the spine (good for sedentary bloggers, right?). We also did leg raises for the abs as well as the Bridge and Fish poses.

Class ended with everyone sweaty but feeling good. We had a class picture and naturally with everyone being bloggers, we had a whole slew of cameras and smiling to get through before we could call it a night!

THE HEALTHY DINNER!

Pio’s dinner consisted of pasta, burgers (using vegetarian patties) and his eggless leche flan. Arpee had the time of his life trying to guess the ingredients of this one!

(vegetarian pasta)

(burger with vegepatties)

***realization*** – I just realized I forgot to take a pic of the eggless leche flan! Chona, help!

Each blogger came away from the event fully worked out, fed with healthy vegetarian food, armed with a bag of items from sponsors like Coke, RFM, Nestle and VYC. And also special thanks to a yogini mate, Lomen, for the iced tea donations (yes, we chilled them and drank them during dinner!!!).

NEXT: THE CONTEST!

Blog and Soul has also announced a contest where bloggers who did yoga could compose a blog, photo gallery, vlog or any other form of post about the event. Prizes up for grabs consist of a 1 liter aluminum bottle from Swiss company, SIGG. In addition, there are 3 yoga outfits (jacket and pants) for girls from Aura Athletica Rockwell. Judging will be done by Blog and Soul together with VYC and the winners will be announced soon. For mechanics of the contest, go to Blog and Soul’s website.

I did a random, ambush interview of some bloggers (including Francis who did a fantastic spiel on yoga for men — yey!).

And as I find blog entries on the event, I will post these below.

1. Juned (photos)

2. Chona: Bloggers @VYC: An Evening of Fitness, Food and Fun!

3. Janine: 10 Things I Know About Yoga

4. Poyt: Yoga at VYC (photos)

5. Melanie: Yoga for Bloggers at Vinyasa Yoga Center

6. Dine: Yoga for Fitness, Good Health and Relaxation

7. Arpee: Yoga goes the foodie

8. Cookie: Bloggers + Yoga = Blogginis?

9. Chats: My First Yoga Class

10. Poyt: Going Back to Yoga

11. Fritz: The Vinyasa Yoga Center Experience

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Yoga for Bloggers Event (June 28, 2008)

I had long been wanting to organize a yoga blogger event. Maybe it began with my love for yoga followed by a desire to get more people interested in their own healthy lifestyle. The idea had been brewing for over a year now but I did not even know where to begin.

Enter The Blog and Soul Movement with Jayvee and Juned, two buddy bloggers I first met at iblog summit two years ago. When I spoke with Juned about it recently, he immediately offered Blog and Soul as a venue for gathering the bloggers. This was followed by a lunch meeting with both Jayvee and Juned to seal the deal. We were off to organizing the first ever Fat Blog series of Blog and Soul (the first of several planned series to get bloggers who often lead sedentary lives off their butts and into a healthier lifestyle). And of course, my yogini mate-cum-blogger herself, Chona, is helping out with the logistics.

I am lucky to have my very own yoga teacher, Pio Baquiran, from Vinyasa Yoga Center (VYC) doing the FREE yoga class.

This is to be followed by a short Q&A on health and yoga and capped by a vegetarian dinner.

We also have some sponsors so as is usual in a blogger event, there will be items to give away.

Some details are as follows:

Date: June 28, 2008

Time: 5pm onwards

Place: Vinyasa Yoga Center, 17/F Strata 100 Bldg., Emerald Ave., Ortigas Complex, Pasig City

Space is limited at the shala so Blog and Soul is only taking in ten (10) bloggers. Several things though to keep in mind. One, you MUST BE A BLOGGER. Two, this is for non-VYC students as this is an event to make more people aware of yoga.

Head on over now to Blog and Soul. Those who make the cut-off will get confirmation emails from Blog and Soul. More details will be provided later. Visit this blog regularly for updates.

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My Life is a Balance Sheet!

It seems like this whole week, all I did was stare at financial statements, reading them word for word, checking the numbers, cross-checking all references, and all other accounting stuff (yes, I am a CPA by profession; a wife and mother by Divine grace; and a yogini at heart).

After reviewing balance sheets and profit and loss statements (to name a few), it got me thinking of how my life would equate to these financial statements.

By stroke of luck, I came across two sites. One is by Joy Fisher-Sykes, a professional speaker, author and success coach in the areas of leadership, motivation, stress management, customer service and team building: “Take Time to Create a Life Balance Sheet for Success”. The other is Marc Accetta who conducts workshops on living a balanced life.

They both speak of life in terms of debits (those choices we make and actions we take that detract in some way from our overall life balance) and credits (the ways you live your life that you truly value because they support and honor your chosen path and move you towards your desires). Marc breaks these down into 6 areas: financial, social, emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. Joy writes:

It’s important from time to time that we sit down and honestly assess our lives. Doing so allows us to make an honest determination about where we are now and where we want to be in the future. When we’re assessing our finances, we prepare a financial balance sheet. On it we list our debits and credits so that we can determine our bottom line. What if you wanted to determine the state of the life you lead? How is it, or is it not, serving you? The answer is simple – prepare a Life Balance Sheet.

First, list down some debits like:

  • Procrastinating on things you know you need to get done.
  • Sitting in front of the TV instead of being productive or doing something of value.
  • Not getting enough exercise.
  • Eating inappropriately and paying the consequences.
  • Being a coach potato when there is so much more you could be doing.
  • Staying involved in a toxic personal relationship.
  • Maintaining relationships that drain you emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually, physically or financially.
  • Being unwilling or refusing to listen effectively to others.
  • Getting into arguments you know you don’t need to be involved in.
  • Passing judgment on others when you know it is inappropriate to do so.
  • Taking family, friends, coworkers and others around you for granted.
  • Taking too little time to yourself, to just sit and contemplate, meditate and relax.
  • Not enough reading or other mental stimulation.
  • Constantly complaining and being negative.
  • Failing to say NO when NO is the right choice right Now.
  • Expecting the worst instead of expecting the best life has to offer.
  • Expecting the worst from others.
  • Being ungrateful when you have so much to be grateful for.
  • Letting things get you down, then using that as an excuse to eat, drink or smoke for immediate gratification.
  • Staying up too late at night and not getting enough rest.

Next, list your credits. Some of these are:

  1. Call someone you know just to say “hello” and to see how they are doing.
  2. Walking barefoot in the grass or on the beach.
  3. Expressing your Higher Self by telling someone “I love you”.
  4. Helping and giving of yourself to others with no expectation of receiving anything in return.
  5. Doing things that are outside of your comfort zone on a reasonably regular basis.
  6. Driving traffic friendly by allowing others to merge into traffic even if they didn’t wait their turn.
  7. Compliment others as you go about your day, whether they are nice to you or not.
  8. Take time out for exercise and play.
  9. Staying clean, sober and smoke free.
  10. Spending time with a child, even if you don’t have one of your own.
  11. Being honest about what you need in order to feel whole and happy
  12. Taking time to read a book to a child.
  13. Taking time to nourish your soul by reading a few lines from a good book.
  14. Playing your favorite music and dancing around the room and singing to it out loud.
  15. Picking up someone else’s litter instead of stepping over it or walking around.
  16. Learning at least one new skill or hobby each week.
  17. Keeping a morning gratitude journal and giving thanks for the things you value on a daily basis.
  18. Spending that little extra on something you really, really like, even if it isn’t on sale.
  19. Smiling to others, and yourself, as you go about your day, especially people you don’t know.
  20. Looking others straight in the eye and saying thank you.

They both suggest this be done at least once a month. Joy further says, “Take a look at your Life Balance Sheet at least once a day. This will empower you, at a glance, to realize how wonderful life can be and allow you to make lifestyle adjustments as necessary. Remember, a great life is yours to create. Go create a fabulous life!”

I glanced at the list above and can immediately add some of my own:

(-) Debits (what I need to minimize or totally eradicate):

1. Forgetting to take care of my health

2. Becoming a slave to my work

3. Being impatient with others, and more so with myself

4. Letting pet peeves get to me


(+) Credits (what I need to do more of):

1. Balance out my life through a regular yoga practice and a healthy lifestyle

2. Unwind with a book that has positive values, success stories, or humor

3. Have more frequent “dates” with my loved one (need not be expensive!)

4. Walk barefoot on sand (I prefer this to grass, actually), watch a full moon, or sit under a starry night sky

5. Pat someone’s back often. It makes people feel special and recognized

6. Hug my kids (and spouse) A LOT!

7. Laugh with family/friends often and have “let-your-hair-down” moments

8. Pray, pray, pray always!

So here I am taking stock of LIFE in general and trying to put them into some kind of equation. Am I balanced?

To be honest, many times I have to catch myself overextending or indulging in some debit aspect. At the moment, my life sometimes seems imbalanced, with work occupying a great part of my waking hours and my once regular yoga practice suffering. But work is also a blessing in itself if looked at from another perspective and while I cannot see the bigger scheme of things in my life, I know that Someone does, and He knows best. What’s important is that I trust in Him, take things as they come, do the best I can with what comes my way, live in the moment, and leave the rest to Him.

What does your life’s balance sheet look like?

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Travel Preparations Go High Tech

Tomorrow I leave for the province with the 2 girls. Hubby and boys follow the next day.

I am looking forward to these next 2 weeks in so many ways. First, it’s my in-laws’ 60th wedding anniversary. Big celebration. Lots of guests, Family coming home from abroad. Reunions galore. Food everywhere. Yup, I think I am gonna love this vacation. And maybe, just maybe, I will finally gain some decent weight…..

Of course, the flip side is all the work I need to bring with me since I am in the middle of a systems implementation project which requires decisions, consultations, teleconferences, and so on.

My kumpare Lito (who works for this company I consult for) gave me the 4-1-1 on how I can be up and running and in touch with the project team through my 3G handset (which I got because it looked nice but never went as far as using it to surf the internet).

This is what I went through:

1. Bought a Smart prepaid SIM (Smart only charges P10 for half an hour — like an internet cafe — while Globe charges by kilobyte downloaded, which will quickly empty your load).  Loaded P300 on it.

2. Configured my phone’s settings and installed Nokia PC Suite on hubby’s laptop

3. Set up via PC Suite the internet connection so the laptop could recognize my Smart wireless connecton

4. Tested everything by logging onto Smart via laptop and voila! I WAS CONNECTED!

Now, it means I can check email and chat with my project team members either via my 3G mobile or on the laptop, using the mobile as a modem.

Hey! I learned something new!

Also found out that my in-laws’ place is a wi-fi spot. Woohoo!

So maybe I need not say good-bye to all of you because it looks like I could actually get some blogging squeezed in during this vacation. Unless…..I get bogged down practicing (I heard we need to prepare for a program during the dinner celebration!!!).

Oh…and yeah! Guess what else I am lugging along….

MY YOGA MAT!

Hahaha. Hope to do my teacher Pio proud!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!

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Vinyasa Yoga Center

(UPDATE: This yoga center is now CLOSED)

I am taking hatha yoga at the Vinyasa Yoga Center under Pio Baquiran. Not only is Pio a great yoga teacher (he takes pains to check one’s posture and knows when to challenge you to do more advanced poses while also pulling back to easier poses when he senses you need to) but yoga itself has toned my body, given me a lot more stamina, and has made me healthier than I have been in years. Pio is a strict vegetarian, the sign of a real yogi. He is certified as a yoga instructor as well.

The Center, located at the 17th floor of Strata 100, Felix Ortigas Road (formerly Emerald Ave.)., Ortigas Complex, is managed by Minna Estrada (partnering with Pio). Classes are structured for different levels of students and even includes yoga for kids and monthly vegetarian cooking classes. The Center itself is well maintained, has a reception area, dressing area, restroom, large workout area with wooden floors and surrounded by mirrors and electric fans, and dimmer lights (great for meditation and the cooling down period at the end). About the only thing that the Center lacks right now is a shower area (for lack of space — but I hear that is in the expansion blueprint).

If you have been sedentary for a long time and not the fitness buff who spends hours in gyms and outdoor sports, consider yoga. It is a holistic, practical alternative way to health and stress detoxification..

I’ve been at it for about 10 months now and have no regrets whatsoever except that I should have started yoga years ago. It not only trains the body but more importantly, disciplines the mind.

The icing on the cake is that the regular group of yoginis like me who have committed to our yoga regimen are great companions, terrific motivators and just wonderful girl friends!

Vinyasa Yoga Center

17/F Strata 100 Bldg.

Felix Ortigas Road, Ortigas Complex

Pasig City

Tel. 637-9003; CP: (0920) 947-5915

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