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CHAGI ESTE: YOGACHILL

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By Patrick Lujan

A healthy lifestyle is always focused on the balance of exercise and nutrition. All too frequent do we neglect the mind and the soul in our efforts to obtain life’s proper symmetry.

Yoga instructor Jennifer McFerran leads a class in Ashtanga Yoga at YogaChill Studion. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Yoga instructor Jennifer McFerran leads a class in Vinyasa at YogaChill Studio in Upper Tumon. (photo by Andre Gadia)

The practice of yoga (and no, we aren’t talking about Allen Iverson practice) has been around since 3000 B.C. Only the sport of wrestling is dated further back to 7000 B.C. in Mongolia.

My first attempt at yoga was many years ago when UOG offered a class as a P.E. credit. As a young college student then, I remember stretching muscles I never knew I had. Many years later, and probably in better shape than that partying college kid, I gave yoga another shot and Jo Ichihara and Jen McFerran were gracious enough to welcome me and chagi (try) yoga once more.

Yoga classes are broken into levels: 1, 2, 3. My first re-initiation to the practice was with Jo at level 2…and she puts me at the front of the class right in the middle. Great!

As the owner of Yoga Chill Studio, I put my faith in Jo as far as my positioning in class. The yoga studio is at a fairly warm temperature so the body heat is not lost into  a cold room with soothing incense and a calming ambiance of India, the roots of yoga and in particular – Ashtanga Yoga.

A brief meditation in Indian with a unique breathing technique gets the class going. Mind you, my mental approach is in observation mode while the regular yoga practitioners are heading to that certain ‘place’ to get away from the world’s worries.

“The breathing and meditative practices have been the most surprising to me, and I think the most impactful aspect of the entire training,” McFerran said. “Teaching the mind to be okay with stillness is a completely foreign concept, but I have tried to apply it to my daily life. I feel substantially more calm and prepared to face what comes my way. If you cannot change the situation, change how you react.”

YogaChill provides the perfect atmosphere to practice yoga. (photo by Andre Gadia)

YogaChill provides the perfect atmosphere to practice yoga. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Said perfectly from someone who has made yoga a part of her life.

“I think that yoga is one of those things that you can’t really understand until you give it a try.”

So here I was, getting into a rhythm on the standard 72”x24” slip-resistant mat. The perspiration was starting to flow within this limited confine. I know the warmth of the room had something to do with it, but not everyone was perspiring like me. Come to think of it, I was the only one looking around. Focus Lujan!

I was hanging in there. Heck, I exercise daily and can pretty much hold my own in other types of strenuous workouts.

But then the degree of difficulty increased. It’s like the Olympic divers where they do the easy dives first and then show off at the end with their awesomeness. That’s how it was here.

As more and more difficult positions were called out by Jo, I couldn’t help but laugh inside at myself for my physical limitations. God knows I couldn’t laugh out loud in this solemn setting.

“There are more strenuous varieties for those that want a very physical challenge, but also ones that emphasize deeper holds and a focus on stretching,” – Jen

As the practice winds down, my favorite yoga pose is incorporated – lying straight on my back with eyes closed. OK, that’s the mental and spiritual side where you wash away the past, don’t think about the future and live in the then and now. I think that part was harder for me to do than most of the physical poses. My mind kept racing on what I was going to eat after or the meetings I had the next day.

“Yoga is really about focusing on the present moment and what’s going on internally. By focusing on your breath, you can tune in to your body and what’s really going on beneath the surface when you’re not being distracted by multitasking.” – Jen

I guess that’s why you need constant ‘practice’.

McFerran has made yoga a part of her daily life, sometimes practicing a couple of hours a day. (photo by Andre Gadia)

McFerran has made yoga a part of her daily life, sometimes practicing a couple of hours a day. (photo by Andre Gadia)

Jo was a wonderful hostess in her 2.0 class. Two days later, it was Jen’s 1.5 class. A little faster in pace but just as challenging – without some funky bodily maneuvering. Perspiration percentage was about the same.

Obviously, a novice like me feels immediate physical satisfaction. The heart beat probably didn’t peak beyond 100 bpm, but the body felt satisfactorily exhausted.

I would definitely need to work on my mental state in order to round out the true purpose of practicing yoga.

For Jen, she went through a 200-hour training program under Jo just to be a certified yoga instructor. That’s a lot of time – time of the present.

“Jo is utterly dedicated to yoga and she is constantly striving to learn more. It is not just a matter of answering what, but digging deeper to understand why. What really stuck with me during the weeks of training was how yoga is such a personal journey, one of self-exploration and discovery.”

A journey that requires ‘practice’.,,,and no, not the Allen Iverson practice.

Exercise. Diet. Relaxation. Breathing. Meditation. The complete you!

 

Chagi Este: Lb. 20/30

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