A lot of things are still going on with my new blog but just a heads-up for those of you following me that I am preparing to continue this blog under a new domain name. It’s about time since I’ve spent many years on this free platform. There are many more things I can do on a self-hosted one; thus, the decision to move.
The new blog has all my old posts but I’m fixing a few things that did not carry over from this blog to the new one so please, bear with me while I fix them.
The Yogini from Manila can now be found at yoginifrommanila.com
PLEASE VISIT ME THERE. And if you’ve bookmarked this site’s URL, do change it to yoginifrommanila.com. See you!
Those who practice yoga know how important Pranayama (or breathing) is to our practice. And clinical studies do show that by breathing slower and deeper, it has a profound effect on reducing stress levels and ultimately, blood pressure.
For 24 hours today (the app was posted around 4AM Manila Time, May 16), Breathing Zone, a $2.99 app, is FREE!
Here’s what Harvard Medical School’s newsletter says about the app: “When you find yourself under stress, Breathing Zone can help unruffle your feathers. This app employs the phone’s microphone to assess your breathing, then establishes a realistically reduced “target rate.” You can choose an audio accompaniment and set the length of your relaxation session. You then breathe in and out in sync with an image that pulsates at a gradually slower pace.”
I wrote about the app on my other blog, Apps and Gadgets. Do check it out there and if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, download it now.
I love quotations, food for thought, nuggets of wisdom, and whatever else you may call those phrases and stories that make you sit up, reflect, ponder and internalize. Many, many times, these have influenced little and big changes in my life. Maybe without these, I would still have continued on a very stressful life path.
When I come across books or sayings that talk of the meaning of life, they pull me back from a stressful or very difficult situation or act as assurances that beyond the valley of darkness is a wide plain filled with colorful flowers and sunshine.
So, when the launch of The Gem Collection was announced, I did not hesitate to respond to say that I was attending. Little did I realize that that first step actually took me beyond just attending a book launch. I actually got to meet the man behind the book.
Kassy, who was in charge of the launch, was very accommodating and sent me advance materials on the book as well as a write-up on Joseph Bismark, the man behind The Gem Collection book (for my post on the book itself, click HERE). In an article published about him, I discovered that he spent years as a child in an ashram in the Philippines, practiced yoga, was a vegetarian, became a martial-arts teacher, and eventually moved into the corporate world, rising to be Group Managing Director of the QI Group of Companies even without the expected corporate education and training. For a man who spent most of his childhood away from the materialism of the big city, leading an almost ascetic life, facing challenges in different forms, and still making it as a top executive of not just one company but a group of companies with a global presence was, to my mind, short of amazing. I knew I had to try and meet the man.
Taking a deep breath, I emailed Kassy indicating my desire to interview Mr. Bismark. Then I held my breath. Wonder of wonders, Kassy not only replied to me. She sent my request to the PR man of Bismark and before I knew it, not only was I allowed to interview him. But it was to be an exclusive interview at his hotel suite.
Fast forward to the day of the interview.
There were just 2 of us allowed to do exclusive interviews, I found out. I was a bit shy to meet Mr. Bismark but he immediately put me at ease with his wide smile and was very open throughout the interview.
Something unique I noted about Joseph Bismark, his partner Vijay Eswaran and the QI Group, is that they’ve actually built a work culture among their thousands of employees, that is directly connected to their life philosophies. Not many conglomerates as big as the QI Group are able to integrate their life principles with the work culture. Many times, the office environment is very different from the actual lives of their employees. And many times, the employees see it as just that — a job.
But during the book launch, as I got to talk with some of Mr. Bismark’s officers while waiting for the program to begin, I saw how they all seemed to actually live out the life principles Bismark espouses in his Gems of Wisdom blog posts. I also found out that true to their work culture, the QI Group embraces their employees as “family” (a term they use a lot). The QI Group also does not sponsor any event whose goals are not aligned with theirs. For example, they do not provide sponsorship for events that do not adhere to the vegetarian life. Here’s a large conglomerate that walks its talk, with everyone down the line following because each one sees his leaders living out a simple, spiritual life that puts people ahead of profits and espouses values such as truth, simplicity, social responsibility, and more.
Know more about Joseph Bismark himself, his beginnings and his current work, as he answers some questions I posed:
On how he got into the ashram:
On his spiritual master and how he got his Sanskrit name:
On how he got into business with the QI Group of Companies:
On how The Gem Collection was conceived:
How does he balance his time with family?
The QI Group, of which Bismark is currently Group Managing Director, has diversified into different areas besides direct selling which is still around 30% of their business. They’re into lifestyle and wellness, telecommunications, investments and project management, training and conference management, logistics as well as luxury and collectibles. These responsibilities fall squarely on the shoulders of Joseph Bismark and his partner but when you read his ‘Gems of Wisdom’ as compiled into a book, The Gem Collection, you will see what sets this group of companies apart from the normal businesses that focus primarily on profits, shareholder value, and other key performance indicators you find in the corporate world. Here, in their group, you will see them put great importance on life balance, family, honesty, giving, loving and more.
I’d recommend the book The Gem Collection as one of your readings if you want to know more about the real meaning of life and how it should be lived. Pick up a copy at the nearest National Book Store or Bestsellers.
7 months of researching
25 amazing yoga teachers and visionaries
more than 25 hours of video footage
3 months of post-production
That’s what it took to produce this upcoming movie, The Titans of Yoga, which will air in September in the US, just in time for National Yoga Month.
This DVD runs for about 72 minutes in HD quality and features 25 modern yoga masters like Ana Forrest, Shiva Rea, Sharon Gannon, John Friend, Rajashree Choudhury, and others. It retails at US$24.95.
On the Yoga Month website, The Titans of Yoga is described as follows:
For the first time ever, Titans of Yoga brings together twenty-five of the most prominent figures in the worlds of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness, from Dr. Dean Ornish, a physician consultant to President Clinton, to Lilias Folan, the “First Lady of Yoga.”
As they share their own life experiences from the tragic to the ecstatic, the Titans embark on a journey of self-discovery that touches and inspires. Their tales of addiction and depression, an HIV positive diagnosis and a penchant for sex, drugs and rock-and-roll will move you as they share how they overcame these challenges and transformed them into their greatest life victories.
From the description above, I can surmise that many of these yoga masters led fairly ordinary and sometimes problematic lives before yoga transformed them into what they are today. This is truly an inspiration because many have this notion that in order to do yoga, you need to be already OK in terms of body shape, body flexibility, mind focus, well-being. What many of us forget is that we can start yoga from anywhere we are and in any state of mind and body that we are in today. Over time, with faithful practice, yoga can lead us to the transformation we need.
Watch a trailer of the DVD HERE.
To order, click HERE.
Recently, I was part of a photoshoot for Blognapinoy.com, an online directory of Filipino bloggers.
Renowned metro photographer, Michael Sy Yu, took care of the portrait shots while beauty blogger-cum-friend Bambi de la Cruz did everyone’s makeup and hair.
Blognapinoy is an online directory of Filipino bloggers according to their respective niches. By going to blognapinoy.com, anyone who wants to reach certain niche bloggers will just need to look at the categories listed here.
The photoshoot was fun because along with me were good friends Jayvee Fernandez and RJ Ledesma. Arpee and Juned also showed up to give us their support as they were part of the initial batch of bloggers featured.
In the coming weeks more and more bloggers and their niche blogs will be added to blognapinoy.com. Here are my 2 shots for my blogs featured in blognapinoy.com:
By the way, this photoshoot would not have been possible at all without Sassa, the sponsor of my yoga outfits. Even before this shoot, most of my yoga outfits were already from Sassa. I discovered that not only did they wear well on me but the styles were really attuned to my fashion taste. Both outfits shown in my final photos as well as our informal, behind-the-scenes ones are all courtesy of Sassa (thanks, Rosie!).
The first 2 years of life for an infant are the years when the brain grows the fastest. Even before the baby can speak, movement is the most important way for them to explore and learn about their social and physical environment as well as develop new skills.
From just lying on his back, the baby learns to flip over on his stomach, push himself up on both arms, pull himself up in his crib by holding on to the bars, learning to balance by letting go once he’s up on both legs, then eventually taking a step on his own, until he learns to walk unaided. Then as a toddler, he learns to run, jump, hop, climb, dance and do other movements.
As parents then, it’s important that our babies are taught how to do these movements safely so they do not injure themselves in the process.
As adults, yoga has been found to be a very good way to stretch the muscles and introduce flexibility which we have lost over the years. As young kids we were quite supple and flexible but long hours sitting on chairs in school and at work have taken this flexibility away. Yoga is able to recoup some of that lost inflexibility. In fact, many athletes take yoga as a complementary fitness routine to lessen the chances of sports injuries. Teaching our babies yoga moves at an early age could also help their developmental growth.
Pampers supports baby yoga through the Yoga Stretchycise program, a fun and hip new exercise routine. Developed through a partnership of baby experts – Pampers, the Mother and Child Nurses Association of the Philippines (MCNAP) and Gymboree Play and Music, Pampers Yoga Stretchycise is a fun playtime routine that combines yoga moves with stretching which will help encourage the development of baby’s mind and body.
“Baby Yoga is a great way to encourage active play which is important because at this stage, the pre-schoolers and below, their way of learning is to play. The Pampers Yoga Stretchycise helps encourage your baby’s development by maximizing body movement.” said baby yoga instructor, Maritoni Tordesillas.
At yesterday’s launch of Pampers Yoga Stretchycise, Maritoni led a group of toddlers with their mommies into different baby yoga exercises like stretches, side bends, frog hops, seated forward bends, and dancing around mommy.
It also does help to wear Pampers Active Baby diapers while baby is doing baby yoga. The Active Baby line helps encourage movement through its unique stretchy side tapes that follows a baby’s body shape, allowing for a more comfortable fit so babies can play all day. Baby won’t make a fuss during Yoga Stretchycise.
To learn more about Pampers Yoga Strechycise and Pampers Active Baby, parents can visit http://www.pampers.ph.
First off, this contest is ONLY for those in Singapore, HK and Taipei. And it’s open to both Pure Yoga cardholders as well as non-cardholders.
If you do yoga and if you have ever captured yourself practising yoga in a weird, wonderful, eccentric or special place, you could just win up to 12 bonus months on your Pure contract, 4-day Evolution Asia Yoga Conference All Conference Pass, and Canon Powershot SX1 digital cameras!
Each country will select the following winners:
GRAND PRIZE (1 winner) = 12-month Pure Yoga contract + 4-day Evolution Asia Yoga Conference All Conference Pass + Canon PowerShot SX1
CONSOLATION PRIZE (5 winners) = 1-month Pure Yoga contract + 1 Private Yoga session + 1-day Evolution Asia Yoga Conference All Conference Pass
The photo competition began last January 4 and will end April 12, 2010.
For more details and mechanics of the competition, visit the Pure Yoga website.
Now I wish I was living in any of these countries. This sounds like such a fun, fun photo contest.
In late 2009, I dared to venture in another direction.
An unexpected offer came — to write for Zen Health magazine as a freelance columnist. Writing via my blogs was becoming a creative outlet for me but trying my hand at writing for a column meant a different kind of challenge. It meant you had to write well enough for it to pass muster for a magazine that comes out in print.
This is a totally different ME from the left-brained accountant I was for many, many years in the corporate world. This move from left- to right-brained activities can be found in a post (2010: New Decade, New Self) on my other blog.
My first article, “Yoga: Beauty Inside and Out” in Zen Health appeared in the Nov-Dec 2009 issue which features Heart Evangelista on the cover.
Zen Health is published by Friendly Alliances and Media Expressions, Inc. (FAME). FAME is also the publisher of H&L, DiabetEASE, and Travel Plus.
My second article will come out in the Jan-Feb 2010 issue. It will be all about yoga etiquette. Watch for it!