(Belated) Happy new year!

Yes, I know it’s the 2nd month of 2017 but it still feels like we’re still trying to recover from losing our rhythm over the holiday season months ago. January was a busy month! It felt like it was more tiring than all the partying in December but it was a ton of fun, too.

Now that we’re finally finding our way back to our groove, more challenges are starting to come up and it feels like an uphill battle to regain our momentum to establish the routine our family needs to become productive or sane, at least!

What’s keeping me positive are quick moments like this when I’m still able to find time to write. It doesn’t matter if I write about what feels like nothing – as long as I don’t lose my mojo on this blog again – that’s a tiny victory for me.

Bem and I have started on our lists again to help us keep our focus and support us in meeting our goals this year. There are still some old lists left from last year that we haven’t been able to complete but I know as long as we continue to work together, we’ll be able to keep on keeping on.

So even if it’s just a new month or a new week for most, to those like me who are also struggling, I hope you have a wonderful but conquerable new year ahead! Cheers! :p

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Back again

When I first posted on this blog in May 2015, I didn’t realize it would only take me 3 posts in 2 months to leave it and be back the next year to write again. The second time I tried writing again was more short-lived which just lasted a month but with a few more posts compared to the first year.

Now, I’m back again after 8 months and while being away meant that I haven’t been able to follow through on some writing commitments, I can’t say I’m disappointed because I had a meaningful offline experience.

The reason I was away for so long was because my husband and I received a lot of work and non-work opportunities that were both enriching individually but also contributed a lot to our family’s goals.

Haile and I started regularly attending Salingkit – an in-home day care with like-minded parents where we’re able to share what we know about parenting, music, Steiner education and get to learn from other families, too.

Bem was also able to start playing more regularly again with 3 bands. This opportunity not only helped my husband rekindle his drumming but also helped us expose Haile to performing and traveling.

While all this was happening, we also were lucky enough to adopt 2 stray cats, Mikan and Cochi. You’ll see a lot of them on my IG feed (scroll down to the bottom of this page). That opened a new world to the whole family. We even discovered that Haile’s allergic to cats but we were able to tough it out and prove that a dash stubbornness and some homeopathic remedies will let us keep our new fur babies and Haile in one room, hahah!

So this is why I can’t be too sad about being away from writing. I guess I just have too much to write about now and I’m too excited to share what’s been going on to be disappointed. Now I just need to challenge myself and incorporate writing into my rhythm so I won’t have to miss months-long of updates here.

Wish me luck! Again.

Twelfth day of Yoga

Go back to ‘Eleventh day of Yoga’
Read the first post about my Yoga practice, ‘Fourth day of Yoga’

I can’t believe I made it to the studio. It wasn’t on my calendar and I wasn’t thinking about going all day but the universe opened up a few hours for me so I can go to class.

I went back to Yogaphoria today for a Gentle class with Teacher Shiela. It was my first time to try out a class with her. It was also my first time to join a full class. My leg and hand was bumping into the shelves because I placed my mat at the end of the room and when we were asked to adjust to accommodate more students, I wasn’t able to check if I was too near the wall and shelves. Now I have to remember adjusting before starting the class.

Gentle yoga is something I always look forward to. I don’t always break a sweat but each session just allows me to focus on the poses and my breath more since the transitions are slower than a regular Flow class.

Teacher Shiela had us focus on hip-opening poses and I was happy because it was aligned to the start of my week where Teacher Chris also focused on that area with her Flow class. Makes me wonder if they talk about a central theme that they plan to stick to for the week.

During practice, I liked how Teacher Shiela would always remind us to let gravity help us go deeper in some poses. These tiny pieces of information are so helpful to me in a lot of ways. This helped me release tension in my body. This allowed me to let things happen naturally. I just let myself fall and feel some pain. Pain that helped me discover and explore what else I am capable of.

My mat was a little less slippery today and it helped me a lot with down dog poses. I hope the constant breaking in I’ve been doing is helping it get to a state that I will no longer need a towel to stop myself from slipping.

Gentle yoga is fun. But I feel like I need to exert a little more effort and join another Flow class next time. We’ll see. I’ll just let the next class happen again.

Namaste.

Eleventh day of Yoga

Go back to ‘Tenth day of Yoga’
Read the first post about my Yoga practice, ‘Fourth day of Yoga’

Because of some schedule changes, I wasn’t able to go to the studio today for Yin practice as planned. Instead of sulking, I decided to make the most out of the extra time I had at home and practice in our bedroom instead.

I tried looking for a free 90-minute practice on YouTube because I wanted it to be as close to what I’m used to while in the studio. I came across several videos and even started one that I didn’t like before I discovered Free Yoga. I don’t know what made me choose a video tackling depression but I saw 90+ minutes in the duration, Hatha Yoga and Intermediate, so I went for it.

My husband was in the room with me while I was practicing. I also locked the door to make sure that I minimize distractions as much as I can. Of course there were several interruptions throughout my practice. I think it took me an extra 20 minutes to finish the video because I had to answer the door a couple of times, adjust my mat, and attend to Haile a few times as well.
I thought the poses were going to be easy. I thought when it indicated ‘Intermediate’ that a few sessions of practice could have qualified me to go through the entire sequence with ease. I wasn’t prepared to do more than one inversion during this practice but I tried my best to hold the pose that was suggested for people who cannot do the full inversions yet. The entire session was challenging but energizing. What I also liked about this session was how the instructor, Stephen Beitler, was able to lead us to transform the pain we felt in some of the positions we tried into energy that helped us go deeper in these poses.
I will probably look up Stephen’s classes again next time I practice at home.
For today’s practice, I appreciated how my tiny family has supported and encouraged me so far in everything I do, on and off the mat. I hope to open my heart a little more each day to supporting and encouraging them in their passions as well.
Namaste.

Tenth day of Yoga

Go back to ‘Ninth day of Yoga’
Read the first post about my Yoga practice, ‘Fourth day of Yoga’

I was only able to practice once last week because I was being a brat and was back to feeling insecure.

While preparing to go, Bem asked me when was the last time I went to the studio. I felt judged right away. Shortly after, Haile wailed and begged me not to go. Something inside me gave in and just engulfed me in anger. I changed back into my day clothes and plopped my body on the bed. I did not say a word to my family. I just told them I didn’t feel like going anymore.

Guilt crept in.

But that was it. It was too late. I didn’t attend practice. I told Bem exactly how I felt about his question and the way he asked. We apologized to each other. And then we slept the entire afternoon and woke up when we were feeling hungry.

Almost a week after, I went back to the studio feeling like a total noob again.

I attended Teacher Chris’ Flow class again. She told us it was going to be different because she wanted us to focus on our hips this time. She started the class with breathing exercises again and helped us focus on our practice. When she asked us to set our intentions, I immediately thought about what happened last time I tried going to the studio and decided that my intention was to feel complete. I want to go back to feeling content about where I am and with what I am doing at the present moment. I need to work harder to tune out feelings and thoughts that harm me. In that moment, I felt satisfied. And I felt like I was a step closer again to what I aimed to do when I started practicing.

This practice was a lot harder than the first class I tried with Teacher Chris. It was still gentler and calmer than most Flow classes I’ve attended and I like it a lot that way. It felt like a healthy balance that sits right in between a Hatha and a more dynamic Flow class.

I was just really disappointed that my mat wasn’t being helpful again. It still felt slippery after drying under the sun and scrubbing. I need to try doing a salt scrub next to see if that helps. I really hope it works after I do a salt scrub because I’m not interested in buying another mat.

After the class, I felt a whole let better. Kind of like how I find fulfillment after going back to school / work and being able to catch up quickly after being sick or unwell.

After the session, I found appreciation for being given second chances. I hope I won’t need a third!

I’ll find out soon, I guess. Namaste.

Go to ‘Eleventh day of Yoga’

Kids Yoga at Yogaphoria

A few weeks ago, I inquired about attending classes in Yogaphoria in nearby Teacher’s Village, Quezon City.

I was interested to try out their classes because (a) it’s a lot cheaper than most studios in the city and (b) it’s nearer, too.

While researching about this studio, I discovered that they were also offering Kids Yoga. I remembered how a few days before I learned about Yogaphoria that Haile was becoming more interested in showing people yoga poses that he learned from his book, TODAY Tala’s Adventure Begins by Happy Heart Kids. This book was written by my breastfriend, Doc Raissa Paje-Bayawa. She’s a CDO-based pedia, yoga instructor, and super cool, awesome person. Since we got our book, Haile has been copying and practicing a lot of the poses he learned from the book.

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I mustered up the courage to ask if Haile can attend Kids Yoga at Yogaphoria and they responded by asking if he can already follow instructions. Well… it’s a hit or miss with my sanguine boy so I replied with a “No”. In spite of my honesty, they offered me two options – I could wait until he turns 4 (or 5 because that’s their minimum age requirement) years old or we can go to a class and just try it out. I reflected (for a few minutes) and said that we’ll drop by to try it out. 🙂

We waited for a week or so before the program started. When the day finally came to go to class, Haile and I went with Bem to make sure the entire family is on the same page about the experience and on board with the decisions after the trial class. To prepare for class, we brought our own mat so Haile has something familiar that he can use and we also went extra early so he can get comfortable with the environment as well.

It helped a lot that Yogaphoria was in a neighborhood we were always in and that the studio looked and felt like a home more than a commercial establishment. It also helped a whole lot that we were greeted by Haile’s Ninang Cha who just started her part-time gig there as a Yoga Studio Assistant. When his teacher came out to greet him, he was very shy at first and didn’t want to say hi. My tiger mommy self activated right then and there and set expectations with the teacher that he can be extremely timid at times. I was happy that she didn’t seem concerned about it at all. She introduced herself (Teacher Daphne) and asked for Haile’s name. Again, my attached little boy did not budge. Teacher Daphne invited him to explore inside the studio and check out the mats and I was surprised that he was willing to go right away. He took off his sandals and went in by himself. He became chatty and more comfortable thereafter.

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My tiny Yogi Bear

When it was time to start the class, Haile had a difficult time settling down. Teacher Daphne helped him by teaching him a ‘Yes Clap’ to get Haile’s attention and lead him to listen and follow instructions. It was also a good thing that Teacher Bren, another instructor and owner of the studio, joined the class with her little boy. That got Haile a bit more interested to show his baby classmate how to behave in class properly. Although the rest of the class was a blurry struggle to get Haile’s full attention, he was able to complete most of the poses that Teacher Daphne asked him to copy. He also got to dance and wiggle around the studio during class. Teacher Daphne also led the class to an undersea exploration and Haile got to bring home pictures of a starfish and a clownfish!

The highlight of that session for me was when Teacher Daphne led us into a shavasana and was nice enough to ask me and Bem to join in because Haile was having a difficult time settling down again. We were all asked to become a starfish on our mats and closed our eyes. Of course I had to take a peek and check if wiggly Haile was able to calm himself down and close his eyes – HE DID! So impressed. So happy. So amazed.

After our final starfish pose, we thanked Teacher Daphne and asked her and Teacher Bren if Haile did well enough to join another class. Teacher Daphne said that what Haile did in class was expected and that it really takes a few more sessions for them to adjust and be able to focus more during class. Teacher Bren also reported that there will be more kids joining in the next session so it would be interesting to see how Haile behaves in a bigger class.

I’m really looking forward to spending another Friday with Haile at the studio. With more practice, I hope we help him with listening and following instructions in and off the mat.

If you’re interested in becoming Haile’s classmate, please contact Yogaphoria Studio through their Facebook page. Kids Yoga classes are held every Friday at 11 AM.

Ninth day of Yoga

Go back to ‘Eighth day of Yoga’
Read the first post about my Yoga practice, ‘Fourth day of Yoga’

I was able to practice Yin or Restorative Yoga for my first session this week. The studio’s website described it as a relaxing practice but I didn’t really know what to expect when I went that day. I was just excited to see pillows (aka bolsters) near the mat so I was looking forward to a lot of sitting or lying down with it.

Sticking to my objective of trying out classes with new instructors, this class was with Patty this time. She seems like a calm, gentle but cheerful person. She took time to describe what we were going to do in detail. So, yes, she confirmed we’ll be sitting and lying down a lot. YAY.

This practice felt more like doing a self-massage than actual yoga. That’s fine with me! This is a great way to just take time and open up your body to deeper poses. I got to sink lower in poses that require bending forward while my legs were in front. I also hope to be more flexible while practicing so this could be a gentle but focused way of achieving this goal.

During the final pose, I almost fell asleep. I got up and ended the class feeling refreshed. I just wanted to plop on the bed and call it a night. But it was also a good way to recharge and start the week with more clarity and focus.

I’m definitely going to practice Yin regularly.

For now, I will reap the rewards of this refreshing session and work. 🙂 Namaste.

Go to ‘Tenth day of Yoga’

Eighth day of Yoga

Go back to ‘Seventh day of Yoga’
Read the first post about my Yoga practice, ‘Fourth day of Yoga’

This is my last trial day with Yogaphoria. I thought I was going to a Gentle class but must have been looking at the wrong day before I left for the studio. Instead, I was in another Flow class but with a different instructor. I was a little anxious about doing another Flow class while my body hasn’t fully recovered from the last practice, a day before.

This class was with Bren and it was my first time to attend her class. I appreciate how I was able to try out classes with different teachers at Yogaphoria during my trial week. This is an experience I plan to continue in future practices so I also expose myself not just to different styles but also to different moods and awareness during practice.

On my 8th yoga practice in 3 weeks, I think I feel more confident with how I move from one pose to another. Of course, I still get small nudges from the teacher every now and then. But I’m beginning to feel my body open up more and be able to challenge myself further in deepening a pose or being ready to taking it to the next level of difficulty.

I still stumble every time I try but failing is important to me. It reminds me how much more I need to learn and how else I can improve.

During this practice I also got to try the mermaid pose for this first time. The pose felt nice on my hips. When I did it first on the right side, I wasn’t able to reach for my foot behind me when we were asked to. I don’t know why I didn’t try harder. Maybe the novelty of the experience hindered me from being present in the moment and explore what else I can do with the pose. When I tried it on my left with the rest of the class, it didn’t take a lot of mental work for me to be ready to reach back for my foot but I just raised my arm, reached back and it was there and I held on. It felt great.

It was my last practice for the week and an awesome way to have ended my trial with this studio. It culminated my ‘newness’ in Yogaphoria and helped cement my decision to keep practicing there.

For now, I will let the weekend give me calm and rest. Namaste.

Go to ‘Ninth day of Yoga’

Instrument Making Workshop by Kontra-GaPi

After playing indigenous instruments with Kuya Leo at Sanghabi, we also learned from a new friend from Kontra-GaPi that there will be an instrument making workshop in UP Diliman during this year’s Tambulan sa Diliman.

Bem and I immediately freed up our calendar for this because we’ve been wanting to learn how these instruments are made and wanted to try making these ourselves. We really want Haile to have an enriching cultural and musical experience. We would like to make sure that he has a deep awareness about our own culture which is something I’ve never experienced as a child. I can say that I missed out on a lot because of this but I’m still happy that there are more opportunities for me to re-visit my roots and also help Haile learn more about it at an early age.

The workshop was helpful in a lot of ways. Kontra-GaPi invited Kuya Jason and Ate Prinkle to talk about instruments, rituals and beliefs in their communities.

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Here is Ate Prinkle helping out Kuya Jason while he plays his kubing for us. Napatingin ako agad kay Bem kasi malayo yung tunog na nagagawa niya sa mga kaya naming gawin.

After giving a brief overview of the instruments he was able to bring from Baguio, he immediately went on to show us how to make a kolitong. It was my second time to see this instrument but maybe I wasn’t paying attention the first time I saw it so I didn’t appreciate the astonishing sounds it makes. I also saw that Haile stopped what he was doing and also looked amazed. Plus points for capturing the little boy’s attention!

Above, you’ll see how Kuya Jason went through the demo. After making a kolitong, he also showed us how to make a diwdiwas. I remember seeing or even owning a diwdiwas as a kid but never really appreciated the beauty out of something so simple. Like the kolitong, I was again amazed at how Kuya Jason just nonchalantly adjusts the length of each bamboo piece so it produces the sound he likes. I also appreciated the fact that he used pentatonic tuning for both the instruments which is something I’ve only started to learn about and grow fond of recently while studying music education.

The workshop ended with more stories, some questions and a few sharing of information for those who are interested in deepening their knowledge about indigenous instruments and music. I was also happy that Bem got to talk to Kuya Jason and Ate Prinkle so we’ll have a chance to meet them again in the future and hopefully get to discover more things from them.

If you would like to join workshops like this in the future, like Kontra-GaPi’s Facebook page.

Intentions, Breastfeeding, and Empowered Women

I have been a Breastfeeding Pinay since Haile was just months old. Haile and Breastfeeding Pinays (or BFP) share the same birth year. My advocacy started even before joining the group. But it was with this group that I was able to spread my wings and realize how much more I can help and how a lot of Filipino families are in need of help.

Through BFP, I was able to equip myself with skills to help other families. Now that I am a self-confessed breastfeeding mafia member, I have learned more ways to reach out and support the advocacy. One of my favorite BFP activities is the Breastfeeding Meet-up.

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I have been to 4 or 5 sessions since last year and I still find time to attend meet-ups until now. Each session is facilitated by Pinay Doula Velvet and other certified breastfeeding counselors and BFP admins. She is our mentor, our mafia boss, and my personal hero. I always learn something new when she’s around.

In the last meet-up, the biggest takeaway I had was when she said that each mom should always have a goal to breastfeed. It doesn’t matter how simple your goal is. What matters is that it’s yours and it’s what you want to do. Every time a problem comes your way during your breastfeeding journey, it is that one thing that will keep you motivated again. I know she said this before but this time, it felt like something inside of me woke up from a deep sleep.

You see, I re-entered my yoga practice just a few weeks ago.While doing yoga, I was reminded about the importance of setting an intention before each practice. I held on to this intention as something that motivated me through each pose. And I thank this intention for rewarding me with restful peace towards the end of each session.

My breastfeeding ‘intention’ and Velvet’s thoughts about setting breastfeeding goals collided yesterday morning in that meet-up. I immediately felt complete and renewed. I forgot how my personal breastfeeding goals and my goal to become a certified counselor someday are intentions that I continually seek. I can see my progress more clearly. I have a greater appreciation for being able to do what I know I am supposed to do.

The moms who attended the meet-up were there to learn but I’m not sure they realize that we also learn a lot from being with them. I hope to see some of them pursue the advocacy someday, too. The world needs more help. We’re doing a lot but each day there are more challenges to overcome. But instead of hopelessness, I am fortunate to have a stronger intention with me to help me get through these obstacles.

If you would like to know more about Breastfeeding Pinays, feel free to join our Facebook group, leave a comment or send me a Facebook message. The breastfeeding meet-ups are scheduled ones that are exclusive to Breastfeeding Pinay members only.