Why yoga can be perfect for you

Instructor Nikki Serrano-Honasan in eka pata rajakapotasana.

NIKKI Serrano-Honasan has been instrumental in turning me into a yogi, the Universe must have wanted this to happen. Not that I can give justice to the title, but like what they say, baby steps can turn into giant steps. Mother, may I?
From the True Yoga Shala in Boracay to South Studio in Davao, I have stayed under her wings and she has been patiently mentoring me to find my inner strength and open to grace one day at a time. My results may be trickling but I know there is something good happening.
When she flew in to town to give her first yoga workshop, I was one of the first to enlist. Two days and twelve hours after, I was exhausted, an understatement, but the sense of fulfillment proved to be a more powerful and moving force. If I did it, I know I can do it again.
And I am doing it again. Nikki Serrano-Honasan is coming back for another two-day Anusara Yoga workshop. Anusara means "to flow with grace", an intelligent approach to the body using the Universal Principles of Alignment combined with a life-affirming Tantric philosophy. The workshop will be on February 18th, Friday, and the 20th, Sunday, at the Holiday Gym and Spa.
I got to chat with Nikki, who started teaching in 2006 and became a certified yoga instructor after completing her 200 hour teacher training course in the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, India. She finally found a style of yoga that enriches her physically and spiritually in 2009 - Anusara Yoga.
Jinggoy (J): What made you hold another workshop in Davao?
Nikki (N): Over the last two years, I've received so much learning from my Anusara teachers and classmates, and I've given a lot as well to my students in Boracay. This practice has transformed me in so many ways and I'm inspired to share that.
Last year, I decided it's time to share the love with as many people as I can, starting with my own hometown. And it's something I want to keep doing it for as long as I can and hopefully in the process, inspire a few souls to take on the path of teaching.
J: Davao is pretty much into cardio and weight training. Is it ready for Yoga?
N: Davao is ready for Yoga. I believe people are constantly looking for a better way to live and to create that deeper connection with themselves. Yoga does that. It reminds us to pause and bring more awareness to the body, it teaches us to move with the breath and beauty of Anusara is that it teaches us to do so with grace.
J: What are you expecting on this second workshop?
N: I would love to see all the familiar faces from my first yoga workshop last September 2010 and it would be great to see new faces as well. One of my students is traveling with me to assist in the workshops, so that will be a special treat.
All levels are welcome. For those who attended the first workshop, they can look forward to getting deeper into the practice and trying out new poses. Beginners will have an understanding of the practice and learn that Yoga is a balance between strength and flexibility. If you catch yourself saying "but I'm not flexible!" then I say, Yoga is perfect for you.
J: And what should the students be expecting this time?
N: Each workshop is two and a half hours each and is focused on a theme - first workshop will be a Mixed Asana class; 2nd is focused on Hip Openers; 3rd is a Backbends class; last is an Inversion class.
When we say it's a backbends class, it means we still do all the other poses or asanas (standing poses, inversions etc) with particular focus on the theme. The workshop will be a modified yoga asana class with instructions, demonstrations & adjustments in between.
Participants can take notes. We start each workshop with Pranayama (breathing exercises and breath meditation) and Savasana (lying down meditation).
Day one, February 18th, morning workshop is "Flowing with Grace." Exploring Yoga through the heart-oriented and therapeutic practice of Anusara.
Through Anusara Yoga's Universal Principles of Alignment we focus working with bio-mechanics and moving gracefully with the breath. Afternoon workshop is "Recognition", to awaken the body through gentle and powerful Hip Openers. In this workshop we identify the places of resistance in our bodies and learn the art of surrendering into the poses.
February 20th morning workshop of day two is "Transformation" -- strengthening the mind and body to create change. Awaken the back and open the heart through the fun & adventurous practice of Backbends. And ending the workshop on the afternoon of day two is "Perfection."
It is about finding your center and moving from this place of strength with grace. Practicing fun & rejuvenating Inversions fearlessly as we learn to hug in to our own perfection.
Workshops will bring students deeper into the practice. It'll provide them a space where they can freely ask questions, learn about important adjustments not usually available in a regular one and a half hour class.
J: Would you like to invite the practicing and soon-to-practice yogi and yoginis please.
N: Come and experience a weekend of mixed-level yoga classes. These workshops will uplift, inspire, challenge and open every part of your mind and body. Learn the art of effort and surrender as we explore a variety of asanas (yoga poses) that will build both strength and flexibility in you. Yoga isn't about performing well or looking good - it's about feeling good.
(For more information about the workshop, call Holiday Gym & Spa at telephone number 222-3041)
Nikki in ardha matsyendrasana or the half spinal twist pose
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 15, 2011.
Photos by Denise Nicole