By RONALYN V. OLEA
Stress comes every day.
My partner would often complain that I am workaholic. I cannot blame him. I always find myself having a long To Do list. After finishing some tasks, more come.
In addition to writing assignments and legwork, there’s domestic work, too and motherhood duties. Although I do these things out of love, I still feel tired but I tell myself that I could not afford to rest.
Sometime this year, I realized I need to undergo stress management, to attempt to strike a balance in my chaotic, fast-paced everyday life.
I initially planned to resume jogging. Running around the UP Academic Oval used to calm me down. But I did not have the determination to do it. Is it because I do not have a jogging buddy? I know that’s a lame excuse.
Then, a friend invited me to try yoga. Honestly, I was not interested at first. I thought that yoga was for the rich, for the sosyal. Then my friend said the yoga teacher is an advocate of indigenous people’s rights and that she believes that yoga is for all. I was intrigued but did not join instantly.
After a few weeks, another friend who has joined the yoga sessions several times testified how amazing yoga is. Like me, she is also a mother, and an activist who had stress for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She told me, “Len, we need it.”
And so I went to my first yoga session sometime in August. It was nourishing and invigorating.
I appreciate the benefits of quieting the mind for an hour or so. Most of us do not have that opportunity to pause and think about our causes, our intentions. Yoga begins by setting your intentions, by dedicating your practice to a cause or to persons or a group of persons close to your heart. And for me, it makes sense that we try to create space for ourselves in order to serve others better.
Yoga has helped me become mindful of my body, where tensions lie, where pain resides. It has helped me become mindful of my thoughts and feelings. It teaches me to acknowledge things that worry or anger me and to let go.
One Saturday, a day after covering an anti-pork demonstration in Luneta, my whole body was aching. I was set to attend the yoga session and I decided to go. We had our session at Handuraw, a pizza parlor in Anonas. Guess what I felt after? I felt stronger. Yoga soothed my pains.
In another instance, my friend and I tried the 20-minute Twist and Detox sequence. Not for sharing too much information but I released all that had to go after that.
My yogi friends also shared the benefits of yoga for them. Mai, who has a mild scoliosis on her lower back, said yoga lessened the tightness in her muscles. Jaz said it makes her sleep better. Tey and Edwin said it makes them more flexible. Poty said it takes her stress away.
I still have a long To Do list but I do not feel so drained these days.
Panatag. (Calm) I got a card with this word during one of our yoga classes. People who know me could tell it is a trait I do not possess. Teacher Chaya told me I should believe that the word describes me. I choose to believe. With the help of yoga, I will work my way to being really calm amid all difficulties and worries.
Thanks to our teachers — Chaya and Louie — for patiently guiding us. We only gave them donations, based on our own capacity. Thanks to my fellow yogi, for spending time and sharing yourselves.