Gift of Yoga: SIFCare’s Yoga Event
Gift of Yoga
The practice of “doing yoga” has become undeniably mainstream in recent years. Yoga has captured the attention of the world because of its promise of enlightenment coupled with the benefit of physical fitness. I have several yoga enthusiast friends and they all extol the sense of fulfillment they get from their yoga practice. As it’s often been quoted, yoga is indeed India’s gift to the world.
This gift was recently and personally shared with me and others during the afternoon session of SIFCare’s International Yoga Day event at Makati Shangri-La, which started shortly past 1 p.m. After the preliminary introductions, we proceeded straight to the talks. The first was a recorded video message from Mr. Jadapas Bismark, the founder of Singapore School of Meditation and Yoga. He said that yoga was from the Sanskrit word which means “union with The Supreme Person.” When you “yoke” two beings together, you are uniting them. Similarly, yoga is about the practitioner’s union with The Supreme Person. It’s a lifestyle and way more than just about fitness and workout gear.
Ms. Cyd Potian, a full-fledged wellness coach and yoga practitioner, talked to us more about incorporating wellness in our lifestyles. Usui Reiki master energy healer and Kismet Cafe owner Ms. Tina Feibel next expounded on the benefits of ayurvedic medicine. I appreciate that she talked about it because I believe in dealing with illnesses and afflictions the natural way first. Dr. Farzaneh Jimenez Shamsi of Aramesh Spa and Wellness, on the other hand, emphasized the need for us to manage stress. A lot of illnesses nowadays can be attributed to the stresses of modern life. Her short and entertaining speech also reminded me that hugging wards off stress and protects the immune system. Hug someone now!
After the talks came the asanas (the aspect of yoga that involves bending the body into forms) session, a.k.a. the part that most of us were looking forward to! I heard that the morning session was primarily made up of seasoned enthusiasts and that the afternoon session was mostly made up of beginners. Our instructor, Mr. Mark, thus just focused on proper breathing and basic poses after the talks. He mentioned that a majority of the world’s population don’t know how to breathe properly and that it was important for us to understand how to do so first before moving on to the basic poses. Some of the poses we learned that afternoon included the Mountain Pose, the Swaying Palms Pose, and the Tree Pose.
This – for me – is probably the part that I was happiest about. Towards the end of our asanas session, we were also taught the Gauranga Breathing method. According to Meditation Toronto, Guaranga Breathing is a simple meditation technique that “allows you to rest your mind in spiritual sound and draws it away from material stresses and worries that cause us anxiety.” You’re supposed to begin the meditation by saying “Gauranga” in your mind as you inhale. When you exhale, say “Gauranga” out loud. You should ideally practice this for 5-10 minutes regularly. Frankly, I found it so relaxing that I almost fell asleep towards the end of the session, haha! I have friends who have trouble sleeping and I plan to share this knowledge with them soon.
Participants were also treated to food from Greenery Kitchen and Gandiva Cafe and Archery Range afterwards. I got to try Gandiva Cafe’s Oatmeal Coconut and White Choco Chip cookies. Both are vegetarian-friendly and do not contain any eggs. Though I liked both, my palate definitely prefers the former. I asked Greenery Kitchen about their sandwich, meanwhile, and they said that “the sandwich is vegan ham and egg. The ham is made in soy protein. The egg is made of tofu (white part); the yolk is made of soya milk and soya oil.” They also didn’t use any meat nor any real egg.
There were also refreshing drinks by Bayani Brew. Unfortunately, by the time I was finished changing my clothes, Kismet Cafe had already ran out of their goodies, so I wasn’t able to try their products.
Sponsors and partners
The sponsors for the said event were Makati Shangri-La Hotel, the Singapore School of Meditation and Yoga, Yoga Wholistics Inq, Aramesh Spa and Wellness, Greenery Kitchen, Bayani Brew, Gandiva Cafe and Archery Range, and Kismet Cafe. Some of the media partners were Pretty Darn Fit, When In Manila, and this blog.
Hey, how did you spend this year’s International Yoga Day? See you in two weeks!
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Information about Guaranga Breathing from Meditation Toronto.