Ananda.(AH-nan-duh).noun- Pure bliss. [From Sanskrit ananda (joy)]
I first heard of this word back when I was in high school and was quite fascinated with it for some time. I guess because most of the time, we use the words excitement, happiness, joy, pleasure to describe a positive experience but rarely do I hear anyone use ‘bliss.” To describe a state of well-being one has as “pure bliss” or ananda simply blew me away.
I have to confess: I’m a recent health and fitness convert. Yes, I have joined the whole fitness revolution bandwagon, as cliché as it sounds, I am a health buff. While I always maintained a normal weight range, I was probably the ultimate anti-exercise person in the world. I believed and lived on diets and self deprivation (of yummy treats) to shed some unwanted pounds but it was only recently that I was enlightened and found that exercise is actually a great experience and this is probably because I found the right one for me.
I am the ultimate health and fitness newbie- seriously. I only owned rubbershoes 2 weeks ago!
I once enrolled to a gym which might have traumatized me from all physical activity, since I have difficulty doing cardio (due to my irregularly high heart rate). I did fad diets and as most of you would know, yo-yo diets are called that, exactly, because they keep your weight down while you’re at it and bring it back up when you’re off it. It was quite frustrating really and while I was able to maintain a generally slim physique since I made my diet my lifestyle, I felt that I wasn’t really in the level of well-being I wanted to be in…thus the beginning of my journey and love affair with yoga (and ballet).
Soothing Stones at Bliss Yoga's Reception Area to Calm your Mind and Body
I am generally an anxious person. Ask anyone to describe me in one word and majority would say ‘neurotic’ given that I am quite the perfectionist. I stress about minor details and until recently, the main advice I got from people I knew was that I needed to learn to relax. Taking this advice to heart, I asked around and it seemed that almost all my friends were doing some form of yoga practice to keep themselves fit, sane and grounded. I realized it was the perfect opportunity to try it out when I was asked to attend and review a Bliss Yoga Manila class.
I somewhat had a clue of what I was getting into although this was my first ever pure yoga session. I tried out one of their most popular classes, which was the Heated Flow class facilitated by yoga instructor Cara de Ocampo. Newly relocated, the new studio of Bliss Yoga is tucked in safely in the ground floor of Dona Consolacion Building in Jupiter Street Makati. Before heading to the studio and main office, you get to pass by hippie bohemian chic store, Nullah, where I admit I did a little bit of summer retail therapy pre-yoga session.
Pre-Yoga Retail Therapy at Nullah
Upon entering the place, I noticed how absolutely calming and soothing the atmosphere (even of just the reception) was. Decked out with a fusion of modern and antique Asian themed furniture and décor, the place instantly put you in a calm mood the instant you enter. Yoga mats, motivational scripture and paintings surround you. Lockers were provided, along with a changing area where you can strip down to your yoga wear especially when coming from work. Also, energy and hydrating drinks were for sale and available upon request.
I entered the practice studio, silently as requested and was quite amazed at how spacious and beautiful it looked amidst its simplicity and minimalism. The class was quite full but the studio was very spacious to accommodate all twenty plus of us. While mats were available for loan, most of the practitioners had their own on hand as they entered the class. It was very quiet and everyone was very peaceful and calm, a refreshing sight to see especially since I am quite used to the noise of daily life. While waiting for the session to start, the students simply sat peacefully, some were stretching or laid out on the floor to prepare for the practice. The class began on time, which is a discipline that comes with yoga- I guess, and Cara, our instructor for the day welcomed us and explained that yoga was all about listening to your own body and adapting the practice, the poses and stretches to suit your own capacity, but as always, we are welcome to challenge ourselves with the poses.
The studio for heatd flow class was spacious and very soothing.
My brother who I forced to join my session is a gym buff and he found yoga intense!
Finding our inner peace.
Feeling that deep stretch.
It was a 75-minute session and all I have to say is that it was intense. I don’t think I had ever sweated out so much in my entire life before (even in the sauna). It was not difficult or grueling as an experience but very challenging, especially for beginners as it required balance and a familiarity with your body’s strength to master and hold the poses. It was a struggle (considering it was my first time ever to do a yoga class) but all in all, the experience was quite phenomenal. It was important to keep myself hydrated the entire class as the room was heated but I think the heat was very helpful especially in detoxifying and in concentrating your energy. The 75-minute experience I had at Bliss Yoga was truly one of a kind and I had never felt such calmness and oneness with my body ever. After the class, I felt good, not fatigued, tired or drained like in most workouts but rather, refreshed and peaceful. Perhaps if I were asked to describe an experience of pure bliss or ananda, as it is called, it would be my session at Bliss Yoga Manila.
The more advanced students (they can do headstands-I was so amazed) on Warrior Pose
After the session, Bliss Yoga Main Man Roland Dela Cruz was more than willing to pose for me and share some of this favorite poses...
Tips for Beginners:
Your experience and practice begins once you step into our doors. Below is a simple guide to enhance your yoga experience.
- Please arrive at least 10-15 minutes before class begins. This will allow you ample time to sign-in and prepare for class.
- Wear comfortable clothing. Dry fit and sweat resistant gear is highly recommended. Keep in mind that as class progresses the practice room becomes warmer and warmer.
- Mat rentals are available for a nominal fee. We do encourage you though to purchase a yoga mat. Your mat is an important tool and a symbol of commitment to your practice. We do provide props which will aid in your practice.
- Yoga is best done on an empty stomach. We recommend you refrain from eating at least 2-3 hours before your practice. If necessary eat something light such as a fruit.
- Please inform your instructor of any injuries. This will assist your instructor with proper adjustments or offer you modifications if necessary.
- Please observe silence when in the practice room. Use this quiet time to clear your mind and prepare for your practice. At the end of class we ask you also exit quietly.
- Please minimize your voice while in the common area.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day especially before class.
- Please refrain from eating in the practice room.
- Please turn off all cell phones or place them on silent mode once you enter our front door.
- Kindly remove your shoes before entering the practice room.
- Class bookings can be made in advance online. You must be a member or possess active series. If you need to cancel a class booking, as a courtesy please call the studio at least 1 hour in advance so that others can take your place.
- We limit our class sizes so that they are not overcrowded. If a class you wish to take is full, we will place you on the wait list and notify you of an opening as soon as possible.
- You must check in at the front desk before entering the practice room for class even if you have reserved a space in advance. All students are required to sign the class roster before each class.
- On your first visit you will be required to fill out a new student registration form. You can save time by registering online.
- Lockers in the changing area are not for overnight use.
- Bliss Yoga is not responsible for any loss or damage of your personal belongings.
Classes to choose from:
Sanskrit for “flowing with grace” and “following your heart”, Anusara is a school of hatha yoga that unifies a life-affirming Tantric philosophy of intrinsic goodness with the Universal Principles of Alignment. Be open to sharing with an open heart in class.
ASHTANGA VINYASA YOGA (LED ASHTANGA):
A teacher-lead practice where students are instructed in the order of the poses from the primary series of Ashtanga Yoga. This class is not recommended for beginners. Beginners are advised to attend a few Mysore classes first.
ASHTANGA VINYASA YOGA (MYSORE STYLE SELF PRACTICE):
This practice guides students through a series of poses which are to be done at their own pace and level of ability while the teacher goes around and make adjustments. As this class runs for four consecutive hours, practioners are welcome to enter and exit at any time.
BHAKTI URBAN FLOW:
Bhakti Urban Flow is an amazing practice of chanting and vinyasa. We begin the class with a chant and end with a chant. Not to worry…chanting is of no religious origin. It’s a way to prepare the mind and body for a vigorous practice and calm the mind at the end before moving back into our daily lives.
Fluid Power is a playful approach to connecting the tide of your breath to flowing postures (asanas). This vinyasa based practice is designed to build strength and flexibility from rhythmic exploration of movement to energetic sun salutations that move in a 360 degree circle. The practice is powerful, yet invigorating.
Gentle flow is a deeply relaxing way of practicing yoga. The body is supported with props and the poses held for extended period of time. Without using much muscular strength, gentle flow helps facilitate a deep release especially around the hips, hamstring, back, and shoulder area. This class is ideal for people with injuries, elderly, and/or new practioners.
Heated Flow is a challenging 75 minute vinyasa flow class practiced in a heated room. The heat warms the body’s muscles and joints, which allows for maximum stretching and strengthening with a reduced rate of injury. A great way to detoxify the body through sweating!
Created almost a century ago, by Joseph Pilates, this class helps to strengthen the band around the entire trunk (abdominal and lower back). Done entirely on a mat, each movement is carefully choreographed to ensure safety and results.
This Ashtanga based practice is most commonly enjoyed by Westerners throughout the US and was made popular by Yoga Guru Bryan Kest. Linking the postures to the breath, Power Yoga consists of sequences that challenge you both on a physical and mental level. A complete balance of backbends, forward folds, core strength, hip openers, and inversions, Power Yoga is sure to have you leaving this class feeling relieved and drenched.
Vinyasa Flow is a dymanic system of linking the breath (prana) to the postures (asanas). This is accomplished through building heat in the body, which promotes flexibility, strength, and balance. Sequencing is often built around sun salutations.
Yoga Fundamentals is the most time-tested, powerful method of self-improvement known to man. It utilizes mental focus and deep breathing while performing a series of specific postures. This practice focuses deeply on alignment, form, and strength; building a firm foundation in the feet, knees, hip, and core.
Visit their webisite: http://www.blissyogamanila.com
For questions or inquiries please call:
Direct Line: (63 2) 720 8696
Mobile: 0926 711 7462
Fax Line: (63 2) 501 9455
or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unit 101 Dona Consolacion Building
122 Jupiter Street, Bel Air
Makati City, Manila
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