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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Live Urban, Go Ashram

Having survived the treacherous effects of the monsoon rains this past week, I decided to make a great day out of a sunny weekend and attended a Vinyasa Yoga class at Urban Ashram Manila, located at Bonifacio Global City. I have been meaning to attend a class there since the yoga studio I used to go to was now a "self-practice" center - no one to instruct or guide you - and this seemed the closest as far as distance was concerned.

I read up on what the word ashram meant: a place of solitude, where one (typically) gets advice, often from a sage, on various topics. So the juxtaposition of the two words (Urban Ashram) may seem like an oxymoron - how does one "get away from it all" right smack in the middle of one of the "hip" places where restaurants and entertainment centers are sprouting up quite fast?

To begin with, the building where the studio is located is still facing empty lots, which signalled a great start for me. I know development may take over, and buildings tall - and taller - may soon surround it, but anyone who's been to the area will attest that BGC does have an "open space" feel, as opposed to, say, Makati.

Entering the center was pleasant for my olfactory nerves, as the scent of eucalyptus and one other smell gently wafted through. There was a spacious waiting area, and I was attended to and able to get more information about the class from a personable "welcoming committee".

I waited for a few more minutes and then I was told that the class would be starting. I was delighted to see that equipment was provided: mats, a block and a strap - per person. It was definitely quite a change of "face" from what I usually see in other studios, where they ask you to bring everything with you.

The class proceeded and I must say, I was glad with what I observed: the instructor practiced a multi-level format. That simply means that a person with barely any experience in yoga could do a pose, while an everyday practitioner would be challenged by another option given. As someone who has been teaching group exercise for 14 years, I can say this is a skill that is not very prevalent in this country's fitness professionals, so I really appreciated that.

We grunted, we sweat - I more profusely than everyone else, and the other teacher provided me with a towel to prevent further slippage on my part - and we finally finished the 90 minute class. Nothing can be as rewarding as feeling cleansed, refreshed and renewed after a class where you put in "the work". The combination of the instruction, the facilities, the amenities and the general feel of the place is enough to welcome you back here, over and over again.

With two branches to serve you, you can find your inner calm in the midst of the hustle and bustle.



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