Real Yogis, Real Stories
July 29, 2015

Love In The Time of Asanas by Bianca Bagos

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“Who we are and who we become depends, in part, on whom we love. (144)”

Thomas Lewis, A General Theory of Love

There’s a line from C.S. Lewis’ book called The Four Loves that says a lot about how I recognize the practice of yoga. It goes, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” And though the idea of getting your heart broken may be daunting, one of the most honest things about the practice is its ability to mirror a person’s vulnerability. The way I see it, the more you commit to your practice, the more you peel off layers that expose you to what you’ve always been comfortable with, what you don’t know about yourself, and what you’re running away from. Either you stop, or keep going.

With a practice so inclined towards approaching the challenges that come with it introspectively, perhaps, yoga paints a different picture when you add another variable into the equation – sharing the experience with your partner. I’ve always been curious, do they become more self – conscious of their alignment? Do they hold hands in savasana? And more importantly, do they serve as each other’s mirrors the more they practice together?

I had the privilege to hear some of the stories of these yogis who have discovered the love for the practice and was able to share it with the love of their life.

 

 

CHRIS AND MICO

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Quick Bio: Chris and Mico have been in a relationship for 6 years. They met each other back in high school, and both went to the same college together. Chris is currently a certified vinyasa and hatha yoga teacher, while Mico is a law school student.

 

  1. When did you start practicing yoga and what were the reasons behind it?

 

Chris: I discovered yoga through my best friend. It’s one of those things that I instantly enjoyed. During my first few classes, I thought that this is one of the things that I thought Mico would enjoy.

 

Mico: I took it based on Chris’ recommendation. I was experiencing lower back pain and she said that the practice would help a lot, and she was right.

 

  1. How did practicing together affect your relationship?

 

Chris: I think that we both have different interests that we want the other to appreciate. For example, Mico likes to run, and that’s how I got hooked with running! So when I introduced yoga to Mico and he liked it, and I subsequently got deeper into the practice, every practice then was an understanding of what the other held special.

 

Mico: When we started practicing yoga, it was at a time that we were both kind of busy; I was starting out with law school so I didn’t have as much time as before. Things that came easier before, like running together, was not accessible because of our schedule. So us making time together to practice yoga (especially that Chris wanted this as a career) added another layer into the relationship – one where I could be supportive and at the same time do something that we enjoy together.

 

  1. What’s it like to have Chris as your teacher?

 

Mico: I was her first student. She would often try out different sequences, especially when she was going through her teacher training, and teach me. I remember taking her first public class. Of course the nerves kicked in the beginning, but after a while she was more in her element and got more comfortable ‘til the class ended.

 

  1. What do you think would be the benefit of practicing yoga to couples who haven’t tried it yet? What do you think would be their biggest takeaway for doing this together?

 

Chris: Yoga teaches you how to reach your authentic self. Once you’re more attuned from you are, that’s how you can love someone better. In every situation, you are able to understand yourself better as well as your partner.

 

Mico: Yoga teaches you to be present, and it goes as simple as noticing where and how you’re breathing. It teaches you to be present in that moment, taking everything in. That’s what couples tend to forget, either they’re living in the past or they build up anxiety over the future. There’s value in just being in the moment and appreciating where you are right now.

 

RAISSA AND JEROME

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Quick Bio: Raissa is a pediatrician, breastfeeding counsellor, kids yoga, post natal and prenatal teacher. Jerome on the other hand, is a web designer and developer, yoga instructor and suspension training teacher. They were both part of the soccer varsity back in high school but weren’t together yet. They found a way to reconnect through a common friend here in Manila, and now, have been together since. They’ve been married for about a year and seven months now.

 

  1. When did you start practicing yoga and what were the reasons behind it?

Raissa: I believe my first yoga class was around 8 years ago as part of a gym membership. I remember liking it and I did it for a few months, then med school and training happened and I was working in the hospital almost all the time. I came back to the mat around 3 years ago and has been practicing regularly since then. I love yoga because it challenges me both mentally and physically. I like the way it gets me so focused, so tired, so energized, and so relaxed—all at the same time! Yoga is one of the ways I make sure that I am taking good care of myself.

Jerome: My practice started when I got serious with my running a few years back, I wanted to do something that would help me with my flexibility and yoga was the thing that came to mind. I started doing yoga with Raissa once a week where we had our gym membership and now we practice it a few times a week.

 

  1. How did practicing together affect your relationship?

Jerome: We used to go and have night outs several times a week when we started dating way back in 09. I think in a way, practicing yoga as a couple helped change the way we spend our evenings because we started sleeping in early to catch the morning classes. So it helped shape the healthy and active lifestyle that we have today.

Raissa: I agree. I love practicing with Jerome! Now we have yoga-dates! As well as boxing dates or swimming dates. Sometimes he runs, I dance. Also, Jerome and I were both obese because of unhealthy habits many years back before we saw each other again. We both don’t want to go back to that, and we promised each other not to let the other go back to an unhealthy lifestyle.

 

  1. What’s it like to have your significant other teach a yoga class? Can you share the experience of being their student the first time they taught a full length yoga class?

 

Raissa: Being in Jerome’s class makes me a bit giddy, until now! I think I was blushing all the time when I first attended his yoga class! I am very lucky actually, because Jerome is my private yoga instructor. I really appreciate how he teaches me patiently so that I can have the confidence to lift up in an inversion, or how he guides me through a restorative practice at home when I am too stressed to sleep. I am just so proud of him and his dedication to his practice.

Jerome: I’ve only been her student once or twice and it was during her practicum. I haven’t tried any of her full classes yet since she teaches mostly private classes. But I’ve assisted in several of her pre-natal and kids yoga classes and in a sense I became a student myself because unlike regular yoga classes, teaching both these classes takes a whole lot of patience especially in dealing with kids. And seeing her handle the classes with ease and confidence gives me the assurance that I will be in good hands whether I’m a student in her class or being my partner in life.

 

  1. How does practicing affect how well you relate to your partner?

Raissa: Honestly, I’m not really sure how to answer this. But what comes to mind is the phrase we use to end my kids yoga class: “Happy thoughts, happy words, happy hearts”. Beyond the physical aspect of a yoga practice, I believe yoga cultivates positivity. Such that Jerome and I try to have positive thoughts and use kind words to each other despite challenges and disagreements.

Jerome: I agree with Raissa on this! Hard question to answer but I agree to yoga cultivating positivity which translates to how we stay positive with everything.

 

  1. What do you think would be the benefit of practicing yoga to couples who haven’t tried it yet? What do you think would be their biggest takeaway for doing this together?

Raissa: Yoga by itself is a beautiful practice that has truly changed me and my game plan in life. Practicing it with Jerome is a big big bonus! We get to learn together; talk about asanas, anatomic body parts, muscular effort and function; and we get to help each other in challenging poses.

When in class, we both give our best effort then at the end we both savor a much-deserved savasana while holding hands. As cheesy as it may sound, I believe this translates to how we live our life as a couple off the mat—we work hard, sometimes separately, sometimes together, but we also take time to rest and relax. We make sure that we take care of ourselves as we also take care of each other.

Jerome: Practicing or doing things together is already a benefit in itself because you get to spend time together with your significant other. But the long term effect of it is that you learn new things together as a couple, and you form new habits together as a couple. I think habit formation is one of the important aspects of our lives and if you build habits together as a couple, it will strengthen your bond as a couple even more.

 

 

CHINKY AND MIKE

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Quick Bio: Chinky is a pre school owner, and Michael is the CEO of his family business. They’ve been married for 14 years, and have a son, who also enjoys practicing yoga every now and then.

 

  1. When did you start practicing yoga and what were the reasons behind it?

Chinky: I started practicing yoga 2 years ago for health reasons. My cousin asked me to try it out and I instantly felt better the more I practiced.

Mike: I started practicing last year because of Chinky. It was through her influence that I found myself coming back to the mat every time. It made me feel light afterwards.

 

  1. How does practicing affect how well you relate to your partner?

Mike: We both are very competitive in nature. All the activities that we get ourselves into, we often fight or argue a lot. However, yoga is the only thing that we do and both enjoy, that doesn’t trigger our competitive side.

 

  1.    As yogis, how does the practice influence your family?

Chinky: I was the first one in the family who started practicing yoga. I’d sometimes practice at home and my son usually sees the different poses that I get myself into, especially inversions. Eventually, he took interest, and started practicing also. He would show his dad the different poses he’d pick up from class. Now that all of us in the family are now into yoga, there’s a certain language that the family would bring up into conversation, wherein we can all relate to.

 

  1. What do you think would be the benefit of practicing yoga to couples who haven’t tried it yet? What do you think would be their biggest takeaway for doing this together?

Chinky: You take the journey together, no matter how physical or challenging it may get, and you both learn how to appreciate what it’s like to be in the moment. The biggest takeaway would probably be the respect for each other, you don’t force each other to do poses that they can’t – which is similar to how you handle the challenges that you experience when you’re off the mat.

 

 

AILEEN AND ALDEN

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Quick Bio: Aileen and Alden have been married for 10 years now, and both share the same passion for music. The two are in a band called, ‘Acoustic Indulgence’ Aileen runs a golf and country club, while Alden runs professional career  as percussionist in the music industry.

 

  1. When did you start practicing yoga and what were the reasons behind it?

 

Aileen: Our doctor recommended a lifestyle change for fertility reasons. He said that yoga can greatly help as a way to de-stress and build strength.

 

  1. What are the biggest takeaways that you both get from the practice?

 

Aileen: I feel more energized afterwards. There are those exercises that usually suck the energy out of you, but yoga is a great way to reenergize the body.

 

Alden:  Flexibility, definitely. More than being able to reach my toes, it’s one of the activities that we both like.

 

  1. What do you think would be the benefit of practicing yoga to couples who haven’t tried it yet? What do you think would be their biggest takeaway for doing this together?

 

Aileen: It teaches you to appreciate each other’s strengths and limitations.

 

Alden: The moment you step on the mat, it automatically becomes your “me time.” And often times, “me time” requires time and space from each other, for other couples. What’s good with the practice is that, you get to spend your “me time” together.

 

 

 

 

Bianca_profilepicBianca Bagos is a yogini, currently a yoga studio manager, kids yoga teacher and dragon boat paddler. She loves to watch movies and local gigs in her spare time and busies herself with trying new things.

 



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