Saturday, October 22, 2011

Want to Hula?

Last Thursday, I joined a Music Vinyasa class by Anna Carbonell, one of the teachers in the newest studio in the metro...Beyond Yoga.

blissful yoginis after Anna's class

If you do not know her (yet), she is a senior Jivamukti teacher based in New York. Another interesting thing I found out is that Anna has been dancing the hula for over 18 years and has learned under the tutelage of Michelle Akina and Janu Cassidy of the Hawaiian Cultural Foundation (HCF). She now studies with a Kumu Vicky Holt Takamine, a master teacher living in O'ahu, and belongs to a halau (hula school) called Pua Ali'i 'Ilima o Nuioka. Anna has performed across the U.S. at various venues and events with HCF and Aloha Hula NYC. In addition she has featured as a Polynesian dancer in television commercials and has worked as a model for many years, appearing in Cosmopolitan, Self, All You Magazines and various print ads and billboards throughout mainland US, Hawaii and Asia. Anna has also appeared as "Liat" in South Pacific, a Tahitian dancer on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien", numerous roles as a Pacific Islander in daytime soap operas and even a cameo opposite Blair Underwood in "Sex in the City". Anna now focuses exclusively on Polynesian dancing and teaching yoga.

FYI, Yoga & Dancing are two of my passions! So this upcoming Dance workshop is a definitely a MUST for moi!

Beyond Yoga presents a Hula Tahitian Dance workshop on Thursday, Oct 27 at 6:30pm

Learn to move your hips gracefully to the melodic sounds of Hawaiian music and “shake” rhythmically to the drumbeats of Tahiti. Learn to move your hands to tell the story behind the Hawaiian lyrics and to express your own sensuality as you dance the ote'a (traditional dance from Tahiti). Let your breath move the spirit within to embrace the beauty of your whole being.  Anna will teach you the basic footwork, hips and hand motions, and “eha” (breath) in order to tell the story and the essence of a song. 
You will learn a hapa haole hula song and will end the class with a review of the basic Tahitian steps.  Be prepared to sweat. 

No previous dance experience required. Please bring a sarong and wear comfortable clothing.

P600 drop in rate for non-members and P300 for members. Please call to 0917-5BEYOND (0917-5239663) to reserve.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

An Omen from the Gods

Something magical happened on my last day in my farm. As soon as I woke up, I laid my yoga mat on the garden to get ready for yoga then I heard my friend Denise squeal with delight. I looked towards her and saw this....

A glowing rainbow! 

The last time we saw one incarnate was in Port Barton. I truly felt that the land was speaking to me...whispering to me some secrets I have yet to decipher.

"Though rainbows are often explained as the bridge from the realm of the gods to the earth, more often, they are seen as a kind of omen.  As a sign from heaven, they are interpreted in a variety of ways: a portent of impending war or conversely, a seal of the Creator's promise not to destroy the land in another global Flood. " (Taken from this website)

Daniw gave this the day I went away...
What is this telling me? It surely was a sign to hold on to this sacred space. Because our dreams are never over :)

Denise and I with our little ones

with Bo and Toni of Escola de Samba de Manila

Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high,
And the dreams that you dreamed of, Once in a lullaby.
Oh, somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly,
And the dreams that you dreamed of, Dreams really do come true.Someday, I'll wish upon a star,
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where trouble melts like lemon drops,
High above the chimney top,
That's where you'll find me.
Oh, somewhere, over the rainbow, bluebirds fly,
And the dreams that you dare to. Oh why, oh why can't I..?
Well, I see trees of green and red roses too,
I'll watch them bloom for me and you.
And I think to myself: What a wonderful world..!
Well, I see skies of blue and I see clouds of white,
And the brightness of day.
I like the dark and I think to myself:
What a wonderful world..!
The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky,
Are also on the faces of people passing by.
I see friends shaking hands, saying, "How do you do?"
They're really saying, " I...I love you!"
I hear babies cry, and I watch them grow,
They'll learn much more than we'll know.
And I think to myself: What a wonderful world..!
Someday, I'll wish upon a star,
Wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where trouble melts like lemon drops,
High above the chimney top,
That's where you'll find me.
Oh, somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high.
And the dreams that you dare to, Oh why, oh why can't I..?

Photo credits to Bogey Bernardo

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wellness Events This Weekend

All of a sudden, there is an upsurge of health & wellness events in the Philippines which delights the Virgo in me. Thank you to the warriors of light who continue to inspire us and bring awareness to all! Let's pass it forward and spread the love. Here are some upcoming events this weekend you shouldn't miss.

WHEN: October 15 - 16 (Saturday & Sunday)
WHERE: The Grove, Rockwell

Beyond Yoga and Urban Ashram, the two newest yoga studios in the Manila are collaborating with The Grove by Rockwell Land & catalogue 63 to bring you two full days of FREE yoga classes this Saturday & Sunday! Just check the schedules at for more details.

You've probably heard about the hip vegan cooking school called Kitchen Revolution. If not, then you must have been living under a rock the past year. I got to meet Marie Gonzalez here in Puerto Princesa a few weeks back. She made a smashing bean salad mix for our picnic brunch at Nagtabon which was devoured by all that was there.

She normally conducts weekly vegan workshops from her home-kitchen in Alabang. Lucky you, she will be conducting a FREE green juice and smoothie workshop this Saturday morning at St Luke's Medical Center in Quezon City. Learn a thing or two about why fruit and vegetables in liquid form is liquid gold for your body. 

WHEN: October 15, Saturday
WHERE: St. Luke's, Quezon City


Marie states in her facebook profile that researching for the class has convinced her more than ever that the solution to life’s problems, tears, sicknesses, and hangovers is green juice and smoothies.

Via Kitchen Revolution in collaboration with Corridor of Hope, the cancer support group of St Luke's Cancer Institute.
WHEN: October 15, Saturday
WHERE: Bahay Kalipay, Puerto Princesa

And last but not the least is another FLOW event this Saturday...but this time, it's FLOW YogaSamba sans the Surf (unless we surf cosmic waves) in Bahay Kalipay, Puerto Princesa, Palawan! Yes, the FLOW team will be coming over to conduct an afternoon on Yoga, Drumming & Samba plus a Raw Thai Vegan lunch and a Raw Mediterranean Dinner from the new graduates of Pure Joy Academy, Daniw Arazola & Asha Peri! For more inquires please contact 0917-8386261. Limited slots.

The Cosmos Within Me

 Taken from this craniosacral blog

“On the average, a human being breathes 18 times a minute. This may, of course, vary, for our breathing is different in our youth, and in old age, but if we take an average, we obtain as a normal figure for the respiration, 18 breaths a minute. We thus renew our life rhythmically 18 times a minute.

Let us now see how often we do this in one day. In one hour this would be equal to 18 x 60 = 1080. In 24 hours: 1080 x 24 = 25,920, that is to say, 25,920 times.” (From a lecture by Rudolf Steiner of 28 January 1917, “Man’s Position in the Cosmic Whole; the Platonic World Year”)

Wow! Pretty amazing to know that we are living on earth, sharing the most basic rhythm of life (the breath) with the entire cosmos.

Discover the Link between Art & Humanity

If I were in Manila by tomorrow, I'd attend this interesting 3-hour lecture by Van James on The Pictures of the Transformation of Humanity. If you're going, please take notes and share it with me! I'd love to read it from your blog :)

*Discounted rate for students and teachers with valid I.D.: P300

To reserve your seat, please text 0947 448 5119, call (02) 899 4675, or email Limited seats! Kindly pre-register, walk-ins discouraged.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Finding Sustainability

 I've been delaying writing this piece because I'm still digesting the series of events that led us to this point. So, here I am facing the music...even if it pains me still. I won't go into details but will just state what I need to in order for my blog to have some linear truth.

In exactly 7 days, Santi and I will be flying back home to join my husband in the urban jungle I've known my whole life...Manila. (GASP)

Hello again, Metro Manila.
 Yes, we've come to realize that our dreams of living in this paradise should be put on hold for the moment. WHY? Because we found ourselves not being sustainable in a sustainable place. Does that make sense?
I'm going to miss these looking out to these trees
 More than a year ago, in February of 2010, my family and I had the guts to move to Palawan to live our dream.

I wrote about the big leap here. We had concrete PLANS, of course. Well, at least we thought they were fool-proof enough. Until _____ hits the fan. And we felt like poor pawns in a chessboard, running out of moves.

Endless thoughts sound like this... Was it an immature and impulsive move? Did we play our cards wrong? My husband and I can go on and on and on...and we'd still be at the same point right now.

But I do believe that things happen for a reason. And slowly, I am trying to trust the greater scheme of things the universe has planned for my family. Maybe one day, we'll be back to fulfill the dream...a sustainable one :)

Family photo taken at the time of our farm land acquisition circa Dec 2010
An Open Letter to My Son
Santi plays with a next door neighbor under a Mango Tree
 My dear little Santiago,
A few days ago it broke my heart to hear you say that you didn't want to go back to Manila, that you wanted to live in the farm and spend Christmas here with Mommy and Daddy. At the moment, there are things that we cannot explain to you but one day you will understand why we left your favorite place, this farm which you have learned to love and call home. Remember that home is not just a place, but a feeling in your heart when you are complete. I promise that we will be back someday.

Love Always,
Mommy (& Daddy!)

I still believe in paradise. But now at least I know it's not some place you can look for, 'cause it's not where you go. It's how you feel for a moment in your life when you're a part of something, and if you find that moment... it lasts forever...

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Can't Get Enough of... Yoga

During my month long trip to Manila last September, I joined 2 yoga workshops and attended a yoga exhibit because I can't get enough yoga in my life! It's true, I practice, breathe & teach yoga and will forever be a student of its teachings, no matter what style.

First among the series of events was the Wake Up & Shake Up (WUSU) brought by the Art of Living Organization. This was a 2-hour course given by Swami Sadyojathah, an Advanced Course Art of Living Teacher and Director of Art of Living International Affairs. He travels to different parts of the world conducting advanced meditation courses, talks and satsangs, spreading joy to all people.

We did not have a clue on what to expect and it surely was a unique experience. I have a friend who stepped out because she couldn't understand what was going on and thought the very simple but extraordinary yoga moves we were doing made her look silly. We're all used to Ashtanga/Vinyasa/Bikram/Yin Yoga asanas so, to be asked to walk across the room on the insides or outer edges of your feet may have felt awkward for some. Most burst out in laughter! But maybe that was needed, to be childish again, not to care about 'what yoga should look like' and care more about 'how you feel after' which is what matters - energy flowing again to parts you need it most. And it did. AOL yoga worked, just as much as the other styles. Lesson: Many paths, one destination.


Two days after was the exhibit on the Life and Works of B.K.S Iyengar at the Powerplant Mall on my birthday, Sept 16. What divine timing! :)

My Backlog Iyengar story

I have been attending the introductory course of Iyengar Yoga Manila in Joya, Rockwell mainly because of convenience. It's a skip and a hop away from where my parents live. But I didn't know it would broaden my yogi perspective and help my practice tremendously because Rina Ortiz is an amazing guru (sanskrit for remover of all obstacles)! She knows how to push the right buttons so that you can do more, better or even your best ever Setu Bandhasana (Bridge Pose). Plus, I always have those golden AHA moments whenever she throws philosophical nuggets of wisdom in class..which I love!

I must admit that I didn't always feel this way towards her. The very first time I attended the class, I was terrified of her (authoritative? military?) style of teaching. I remember clearly that dreadful scenario when she raised her voice during class, "Whoever is breathing that way, please stop it! Do not use the breathe to desensitize the pain". Yes, she was referring to me.. the Ashtangi/Vinyasa teacher.

Oh gee, I've been conditioned to use the Ujjayi breath in all the Ashtanga Vinyasa classes that I just couldn't comprehend what she was asking of me. It felt like suffocating, not to breathe this noisy, raspy, Darth Vader-ish breath I'm so used to with every yoga pose I make. It was indeed so much effort to attempt not to do it and yes, I did feel the pain of the poses! God, I did. Which was again, the feel yourself, your muscles, your body through it all. Only then, I was able to make adjustments on myself by being truly sensitive to where my body was at. And yes, I realized you are able to concentrate more because your mind has no time to think about other trivial stuff (like what to eat for dinner) because of the pain! Great tactic, Guruji BKS.

Now, back to the exhibit.

One of the opening acts was a special guest from Kuala Lumpur who presented the Dance of Shiva. It was spectacular!

This guy has OPEN hips, I could tell!
"Yoga is for all. I designed props so that all can benefit from it"-BKS Iyengar
I pose beside the great Guru with other Iyengar fanatic friends

 And lastly was the much-awaited Jivamukti classes & workshop weekend hosted by the fab people of Yoga+. I've chosen this birthday treat to myself for my final year in the rockin' 20's!

According to the official Jivamukti website: Jules Febre the nephew of Sharon Gannon and David Life, has been practicing Jivamukti Yoga since the age of 6 and is an advanced certified Jivamukti Teacher, mentoring at the Jivamukti Teacher Training course & the Apprentice course at the NYC Jivamukti School as well as teaching workshops around the world. Having grown up in NYC Jules has an eclectic style of teaching that has brought him into the public school system, homeless shelters & youth development centers teaching young people as well as seasoned practitioners. 


Honestly, I went clubbing the night before (sorry, birthday girl wanted to dance!), got home at 4am and missed the 1st mornings session because of a hang over.  I skipped it thinking that it would be best to miss the inversion class.. only to find out that they interchanged modules for the day. Oh bummer. It was a miracle I didn't barf when I attempted my jumping into inversions- headstands, handstands and Pincha Mayurasanas (Peacock Pose). But I was smart to drop by the Rawlicious booth at the Legaspi Market for a liter of green smoothie to alkalinize my system (after 4 very acidic alcoholic drinks from the previous night).

Now we're clean.

So, this Jules did something right in his past life to be initiated into the yoga path at such as early age. His facebook profile photo shows him as a child posing with Ashtanga Guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. He was born in 1982 (my birth year, too) which makes his yoga experience over 20 years! That's astounding stuff. A very young enlightened being he was and is. (Which makes me wonder if all this yoga will rub of Santi like it did on Jules?)

If you've ever been on a Jivamukti class, you'll notice that they play pretty cool music during class. The ones on the top charts, maybe some rock or hip hop (Jules made us do some hip hopping moves in challenging balancing poses!) You'll also notice that they're hardcore activists. Sharon Ganon wrote a book on Yoga & Vegetarianism and I remember seeing a book too about pets at the conference a few months back. So they really took this mantra below and lived it as an example to all.

Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my own life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.

Lifted from the Jivamukti website---We assure our own future suffering by what we do to animals now. When we choose to eat meat, eggs or dairy, we are denying living beings the happiness and freedom we so want for ourselves, but so often find hard to attain. These warnings date back thousands of years to the Yoga Sutras, whose dictates are as relevant today as they were then. We each weave our own tangled web of karma and will most certainly become entangled in it, as our reality is being created from our own actions. When we chant, speak or even just think the words lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu, if we include all the other animals with whom we share this planet in our concept of "all beings," including the animals we use for food, we can start to create the kind of world we want to live in-a kind world. 

Jules talked on the importance of embracing an ahimsa (non-harming) diet & attitude towards all beings. He also reiterated those words (that I will never forget David Life mentioning during the Asia Yoga Conference,) "Do you want to be RIGHT or do you want to be FREE?" Think about it and how it relates to various aspects in your life.

In his blog, Jules wrote about how beautiful Boracay is but trash was everywhere so he started picking up trash even if people were staring at him.

Their sustainable teachings also remind me of Clayton Horton's lectures on 'greening your life'. He continues to lead the Greenpath Yoga teacher trainings yearly in Boracay, Philippines. I'm proud to be a graduate of batch #1 back in 2009! :)

Some more snapshots from Jules & Jivamukti classes-

Jules teaching us how to safely land from a handstand with me and Jojo Santos (Pulse Yoga) assisting

Look at all the sweaty soldiers after 2 full days of Jiva!

For more stories from Jules Febre, read his blog 
Like he says, Peace, Love & Vegetables! Goodnight :)

Monday, October 03, 2011

The 6th FLOW Surf Yoga Samba Weekend Retreat

Treat yourself to an early Christmas present this year! Come join the 6th Flow:SurfYogaSamba Weekend Retreat on November 18-20, 2011 at the San Juan Surf Resort, La Union.

The FLOW SurfYogaSamba weekend retreat is a boutique three-day experience that will spark your spirit and leave your body and mind relaxed and revitalized! Learn Vinyasa Yoga and Yin Yoga with Monica Manzano, surf the waves with Luke Landrigan, dance to the samba beats of Escola de Samba de Manila, nourish your body with delicious gourmet meals and raw food snacks
and witness the spectacle of thai lantern lighting.

Package rate is PHP 8,750 which includes the ff:
  • 1 Vinyasa Yoga lesson & 1 Yin Yoga lesson, 
  • 2 Surfing lessons, 
  • 2 Brazilian batuccada samba drumming lessons,
  • Roundtrip private transfers from Manila-La Union-Manila, 
  • 3D/2N aircon accomodation at San Juan Surf Resort, 
  • Healthy gourmet meals and snacks, 
  • Flow shirt and a tote bag with freebies.

Early bird rate: P7,750, extended til October 15. (You still have time to get the worm, early birds!)

The 6th Flow:SurfYogaSamba Weekend Retreat is sponsored by Para'Kito, Rudy Project, Belo Essentials SunExpert, Headware, Yoga+, Beyond Yoga, Strip, Browhaus, Made for Movement, Moringana, Brownbelly, San Juan Surf Shop, Total Fitness Magazine, Onesport Magazine, Expat Magazine and When In Manila.

Energize your mind, body and soul! Be part of an experience of a lifetime.

To register, visit

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