- Birth Place: Manila, Philippines
- First Yoga Class: 2011
- Favourite Pose: Back Bending
- Most Challenging Poses: Supta Kurmasana, Pasasana, Bakasana, Ardha Matsyendrasana
- Biggest challenge on the mat: getting there without my teacher
- Biggest challenge off the mat: mind fluctuation
Ashtanga Yoga Instructor
I was only 20 years old when I moved away from home. I wanted to become a chef so my brother took me to San Francisco, California where I finished an Associates Degree in Culinary Arts. After I graduated, I continued to work in the kitchen to pursue my dream in New York City. The Big Apple was known to be the culinary capital of the world. I was a single mother of my little boy. After my divorce, I stayed behind and found that being the only female on site seemed pretty challenging. I needed something more soothing so I enrolled in a fitness centre at Wall Street called Equinox. There, I started to take my very first yoga class. I started once a week and I gradually continued to practice everyday for a year. One time, a teacher helped me get into a headstand for the very first time. I was amazed with how the fear of the unknown was slowly being introduced to me. I had this crazy idea of becoming a yoga instructor. I searched for Teacher Training and found Atmananda Yoga Centre where I was able to finish 500 hours by Yoga Alliance. After having completed the training, I realized that I still needed something deeper.
I continued to search for my spirituality. I read books and watched documentaries on Netflix. I stumbled upon one that struck me, it was called Guruji 9/11. It was about how ashtanga yoga helped the victims of the terrorist attack heal. I told my sister’s friend Odin Nicholas about it, and he had mentioned to study with Eddie Stern. I walked in The Shala House on Broadway thinking that it was his studio only to find out that after the birth of my daily Mysore practice with Sherry Russel, it actually wasn’t.
In September 2013, I attended a workshop with Tim Miller. He was the first student of Sri. K. Pattabhi Jois in the West. I found him very inspiring. I loved his sense of humour and how he was able to help his students get into poses they never got to do before. I continued to build my practice under the influence of Barbara Verocchi and Kristin Leigh where I also was able to finish another 200 hours Teacher Training under Yoga Alliance. What I like about Ashtanga is how you’re able to challenge yourself in finding the discipline to do your practice at the break of dawn. And by going everyday, you somehow build a relationship of trust with your teacher. You’re able to find respect when he tells you what pose you need to stop in and which areas you need to work on. In a room full of beautiful students who were far more advanced than me, humbled me down. The only language you hear is the breath of one who’s next to you. For me, Timji is always going to be the perfect teacher. He welcomes everyone, and doesn’t turn anybody away. I practiced hard and waited for my first trip to Encinitas. Encinitas is the birthplace of yoga in the west.
After my first trip in 2014, I was so excited to go back I immediately signed up for the Primary Series Teacher Training. I also recently finished the Second Series Teacher Training. I continued to visit my teacher twice a year six weeks each time. He told me that when he used to visit Guruji in Mysore that some students would stay too long, sometimes you need to know when it’s time to let go. Whenever I’d go to Encinitas, I would spend time with my teacher learning that to find lightness in your practice, you always need laughter and good company. Yoga doesn’t always have to be too rigid. In a matter of time, your flexibility will increase. As your stiffness decreases, you allow your mind to become more open to change.