If you would ask me to pick my three favorites from among all of the sports and exercise options in the world, I would choose Zumba, Lawn Tennis and Yoga. This is based on my experiences over two decades of summer classes and activities, plus the rare after office workout that I have engaged in over the years. So, when my good friend Janice invited me to join a group of mommy bloggers in a morning yoga session at the new ECHOyoga Shala, I said yes right away.
This was the first time that I ever attended a class at a real shala. My first yoga experience happened at some grimy old dance studio in Makati near my former office. My workmates and I attended classes there for a couple of months after work. After I had finished up the classes I signed up for though, I didn’t renew anymore because I found it difficult to go after work when I was already pretty tired, and then have to take the shuttle all the way back to Alabang after. I remember one time, I was already so tired by the time I got to yoga that I actually fell asleep during corpse pose. Dead to the world. And then, b y the time I got home, my energy level was usually way up from the workout so I found it really hard to sleep.
Every once in a while when I feel like it I put on a yoga video and practice at home. I’m never sure though if I’m doing it right, that’s why I was thankful for the instruction during our mommy session. Unfortunately, I arrived late and missed half of the class. It was a Saturday morning and we woke up late and, well, you know how I feel about crossing the highway, which I had to do that day. ECHOyoga Shala is located at the 3rd floor of Steps Dance Academy Building along Kalayaan Ave in Makati, behind Rockwell.
I learned from Marilen Elizalde, during our post-class lunch that parking can be a bit of a nightmare on weekends because of the volume of people coming in to the dance studio next door, but on weekdays this is not a problem. It’s a good thing I had the boys with me that day otherwise I would have missed the Gentle Flow session entirely just looking for a place to park.
On yoga and their new space, this is what the owners have to say
Marilen is one of the owners of ECHOyoga Shala, and the woman behind the amazing beautiful design of the place, together with Jeannie Javelosa , who was our instructor that morning. These two ladies launched ECHOyoga five years ago as the wellness side of ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle, a green retail store. ECHO is actually an acronym that stands for Empowerment Care Health and Oneness.
Launching ECHOyoga Shala in a new space is for me a natural extension and addition to support ECHOstore’s philosophy of a sustainable lifestyle. Yoga is my disciplined practice that wholistically connects the Body, Mind and Spirit. – Jeannie Javelosa
Yoga has always been my grounding that brings me to my center, especially with my life as a busy mother, homemaker and wife. Through teaching yoga, I expand my awareness and can share this beautiful practice with many. – Marilen Elizalde
This is ECHOyoga Shala
I really enjoyed the class. I think that the calming ambiance of the shala really made a huge difference and Jeannie’s voice is so soothing! I was surprised to discover that I can still touch my toes and that there are still parts of my rusty body that are quite flexible, although I really am not as limber as I remember. It also helped that I was comfortable with the group I was with, and so I didn’t mind when my chunky parts went all salbabida on me. Like in this photo below.
Jeannie told us after the class that they actually have a plus size teacher at the shala,
Vicky Ortega, who teaches Big Yoga. Now that’s a class I really want to try! It would be such a welcome change to have a teacher who understands how and why tummies and chests can get in the way of certain poses. I can just imagine how much more dynamic a class like that would be for me, although, I really don’t have any problems taking regular classes like this Gentle Flow one.
Yes, they do foot reflexology too, and acupuncture and counseling. There also is a shower room at the shala, which Janice and I got to try because we had to run to another event afterwards. The shower rooms were spacious and private, and hat hot and cold running water. Winner!
ECHOyoga’s teaching philosophy
I’m sorry, I don’t know how to explain this, but I really think it’s important to share. So, I will lift from the PR that was given to us. Hehe. Disclaimer!
The Shala by ECHOyoga’s teaching philosophy is grounded on the Eight Limbs of Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga that develop the inner change so outward action can manifest in a constructive and sustainable life lived with meaning.
We steady the foundation with
1) Ethical Disciplines (called YAMAS) non-violence, truth, non-stealing, continence, non-coveting
2) Individual disciplines (called NIYAMAS) (purity, contentment, austerity,study of Self, dedication to the Higher Forces.
We strengthen our physical body and mind through
3) Physical yoga practice (called ASANAS) These are beyond body gymnastics but are about postures that promote health and vitality
4) Breath control and manipulation (called PRANAYAMA) to bring “prana” or the life force to move freely through our central nervous system.
We train ourselves to live life deeper through
5) Awareness of senses and bringing them under control (called PRATYAHARA)
6.) Concentration (called DHARANA) and we can focus on a single task at hand
7) Meditation (called DYHANA), when the flow of concentration is uninterrupted
And we can see the direction of our lives with clarity
8) Enlightenment (called SAMADHI)
Thank you, ECHOyoga for this experience that reminded me of how much I enjoy yoga, and for inviting me to drag my lazy butt to your shala for a great sweat session. The ladies and I seriously have been talking about taking another class together at the shala. I really want to go back soon also, even on my own. I always feel amazing after a yoga class, and I welcome the sore muscles that come after because they remind me that these neglected body parts still exist and are still functioning. Who wants to come to a class with me?
Note: All images used in this post belong to the ECHOyoga team.