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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Best Yoga Experience in Cebu

In this fast-paced society, almost everyone wants to find some time to relax, achieve peace of mind and a calm state of being. They say, it's hard to balance  between work and extra curricular activities, but I say it IS possible. But of course, one won't be able to sustain and progress without determination and passion. 
In my case, all my life I've been wanting myself to be engaged on an activity of discipline, patience, and mysticism. Fate granted me the opportunity to stumble upon the ancient practice and philosophy of Yoga two months ago here in Cebu. Yoga comes from the ancient Sanskrit language which means 'yoke', union of mind, body and spirit. The real essence of Yoga practice, contrary to what we usually see in the mainstream media, is not limited in harnessing and providing good benefits to ones physical nature but also to its mental and spiritual aspects as well. It's a wholistic approach. Well, we are not talking about 'religion' here, and we need to set it aside. Yoga is a philosophy. Not a set of dogmatic propaganda set by few individuals. It teaches us approaches to life that work best for us. One has to balance wholistically the aspect of his life to become a fully realized individual. Yes, its self-realization. Although it may be hard for us to be 100% self-realized but what our goal is to strive for it and stay on that path for the rest of our lives. Self-realization means discovering our true purpose in this world, and answering the questions of who and what we are in relation to the Universe or to the Supreme Consciousness.

Promoting Yoga during Earth Dance 2010

Now, one might ask me, 'How long have you been doing Yoga'? Well, not too long, approximately too months now. Not quite long enough huh? Well, yeah and I didn't say either that Im the expert with topic in-depth but all of this are coming from my deep understanding of the Yoga philosophy even before I started applying and practicing it. It is better to ask guidance from a highly qualified yogi, guru or teacher for better personal development and answers to most complicated questions. There are a lot of organizations, groups, gyms, or clubs that offer Yoga lessons. But the biggest organization, that is not only teaching Yoga exercises or postures but as well as providing one with a wholisitc approach for personal development, is the Ananda Marga group. They are present in over 150 countries around the globe. Practicing Yoga and its philosophy is one of its goal, plus teaching individuals to offer themselves in giving service to others like actively participating in humanitarian works or projects for a cause. If you join Ananda Marga, you'll be initiated and be given a Sanskrit name. In my case, Dada Dharmadevananda, head of Ananda Marga Cebu initiated me with the name of Danaviir, which means one who is extremely charitable by disposition, and which every moment of his life is a service to God and His Creation. Sounds overwhelming right? ^_^ This name makes me feel more responsible not only for myself but to the welfare of the people around me and those part of the society I lived in. In this way, getting your Sanskrit name would remind you every single moment that you are not just living for yourself but for others. We must learn to co-exist.
Yoga students doing the asanas (postures)

What can I expect from Ananda Marga's Yoga classes? Let's proceed first on to the levels of Yoga trainings Ananda Marga offers? There are three levels actually: the Beginner; Intermediate and the Advance classes. These are all conducted by experienced Yoga and Meditation teachers of Ananda Marga, who have integrated those spiritual practices into their own lives. The main teachers were trained in India at least 10 years ago. The following are the details of the fees, but for more information you can check out their website at

 Beginner Yoga class (left) and vegetarian snacks (right)

Beginner course: Php1200, 8 sessions with snacks and a cooking class, ocassionally discounted to Php1000 if a promo is going on. Beginners course consists of 8 sessions, each lasting 2 hours. Though each session is different, one may join at any point during each course, and simply proceed through all 8 sessions. The course presently has two schedules.

1) Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30PM. This is a 4-week course.
2) Saturday morning 8:00AM. This is an 8-week course.

Intermediate-level training (both photos)

Intermediate course: Php1200, 8 sessions with snacks and a vegetarian dinner. This program extends into the On-Going course which students are no longer required to pay for the succeeding sessions and are welcoe to donate finances, food or service as they prefer. Intermediate Course is initially 8 once-a-week sessions, each lasting 2 hours. It automatically extends into the On-Going Course. It is held Wednesday evenings at 6:30PM.

Yoga Retreat

Advanced meditation on Sunday evenings has no fee yet all are requested to donate for the vegetarian dinner served after. Advanced meditation course is held on Sundays at 6:30PM.

Private classes are available upon request.

What they offer:
    * Beginners yoga & meditation
    * Intermediate yoga & meditation
    * On-going yoga & meditation
    * Advanced meditation
    * Health consultations
    * Health treatment (see

What you will learn:
    * Warm ups and stretching exercises
    * Breathing exercises
    * Yoga postures (asanas)
    * Yoga dances
    * Guided deep relaxation with visualisation
    * Basic technique of tantra meditation
    * Theory about natural health techniques and yogic concepts
    * How to make healthy food. One cooking class is included in the course for only 50 pesos extra including dinner. You will also learn by joining our free healthy snacks at the end of each session.
Note: After attending all 8 sessions of the Beginners’ Course, you will receive a diploma. If you miss any session, you may come for make-up sessions free of charge.

The benefits you can expect:
    * Relieves stress and tiredness through deep relaxation
    * Improves flexibility and energy
    * Relieves and prevents disease
    * Increase concentration and problem solving skills
    * Develop self confidence
    * Tap your potential
    * Enjoy peace of mind and a happier life
    * Learn a little bit about food preparation


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