Yoga at Urban Ashram Manila: Flexibility Not Required

Yoga: a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline, originating in ancient India. The goal of yoga, or of the person practicing yoga, is the attainment of a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility while meditating... (Wikipedia).  To quote Urban Ashram instructor, yogi Marc Macadaeg, "yoga is basically a way to quiet the many voices in your mind."  I believe.
Urban Ashram's registered yoga instructors: Marc, JP, Martin, and Maricar (seated)

First, I just have to say:  I am a yoga virgin.
I have never been to a yoga class (unless Wii Fit Yoga counts), and I'm certainly uneducated on the names, poses, and terminologies of yoga.  I am clueless, so I won't pretend to know what this is all about, and what we actually did at the trial class. Still, I want to share this because I was very impressed with the center and the passion of their instructors with yoga.

All I know is, yoga is good for everyone, that it's all about inner peace, clearing the mind and body, and uplifting the soul. It's a way of life.

I've always been curious to try yoga and pilates since the late 90s but never had the opportunity to actually do it. My recent private session at Urban Ashram Manila proved to be refreshing, invigorating, and enlightening at the same time.

The reception and lounge;  and hallway leading to the studios

I've heard about the center last year but never looked it up until I made a post on women's Christmas wish-list, and Urban Ashram was on one of friend's list! I was already impressed from their website.  It was a welcome surprise when I got invited last month to try a yoga class there, and eventually went with my fellow blogger, Mrs. Martinez.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Yoga Alliance-registered instructor, Marc, at their swanky lounge and reception. Located near Ortigas center in Pasig City, this fast growing yoga center is still undergoing additional improvements at the time of our visit, so you can look forward to better features and amenities this summer.

Since both of us were not practicing yoga, and I have never attended a class before, we will be doing their their signature FNR, Flexibility Not Required class -- a basic course developed by Marc himself.  It's not surprising that majority of their students take this beginners class as many are now discovering the benefits of yoga.
We used the fully-equipped Studio 1 for our FNR session
“There is a misperception that only flexible people can do yoga when in fact, they can build their flexibility through the regular practice of yoga,” says instructor Dr. Martin Ngo. “The flipside to that is, of course, strength. A well-balanced practice should make you both more flexible and stronger than ever before.”
Marc introduces some basic poses for the FNR class
What I like about Urban Ashram yoga center:
  • Over 200 sqm. space with 4 spacious studios - each can accommodate 20 students; may be combined for larger groups of up to 60
  • Environment-friendly and intelligently-designed "green" studios - with hardwood sprung floors, high ceilings, skylights and windows (soundproofing still in the works as of my date of visit)
  • Quality Manduka-brand yoga mats, complete accessories/props available to all - towels, blocks, straps, blankets
  • Fully-air-conditioned locker room / changing rooms with showers
  • Comfortable community lounge, with unique furnishings and lighting fixtures by Kenneth Cobonpue
  • Certified teachers and variety of classes on offer -- their signature FNR (Flexibility Not Required) class which we tried; Vinyasa Flow; Ashtanga; and Hatha
  • Offers classes day and night with a convenient and flexible schedule for students

Oh, and one more thing...NO MIRRORS in the studio.  I personally appreciate this. As Marc explained, this is intentional as many students get too conscious and distracted during class. They want  students to focus on themselves, learn to concentrate and find their center, while teachers will spot and help correct their form.  If you think about it, this makes complete sense since yoga was originally practiced in India in open spaces under the sun -- without mirrors of course.

“Yoga is such a great gift that we wanted a facility that would allow city dwellers to find sanctuary, peace of mind, and a place to study yoga without having to trek too far,” says Urban Ashram Manila Director Maricar Holopainen.
Can anyone name this pose? Found out this is called Parsvakonasana
And how about this one?
Our FNR class lasted 70 minutes from warm up to cool down. As each student progresses and gains confidence, Marc advised that one can attend a longer class of 90 minutes. They can also recommend a move up to the next level in another type of class.

Marc assists Mrs. M to a perfect form
Faculty Director and Instructor at Urban Ashram Manila Marc Macadaeg says, “We monitor our members’ progress and encourage them to explore the different types of yoga that is available before developing their own practices. What is important is that students find what is best for them.” 
My turn to do the pretzel twist 

Overall, I was impressed with Urban Ashram Manila's modern facility, the dedication and passion of the instructors who partnered together with a common vision and to have this dream center and 'share their yoga'.

If you're new to yoga, call them for a 15-day unlimited pass for only P1,000!
I posted more photos from our visit at Urban Ashram here on my Facebook album
Thank you team Urban Ashram :) and also to Bheng and Berry (far right) for the invite!
The Urban Ashram is the first and only yoga studio in the Philippines that is a member of the Green Yoga Association, an international community of yoga studios and teachers who are committed to earth-friendly and responsible practices. 

I'd love to know your thoughts on this post.  
If you enjoyed this, feel free to share it!
Get instant updates:
My Mom-Friday on Facebook
Follow me on Twitter
Also on Google Friend Connect, or Subscribe Via Email.
I try my best to reply and answer any questions you may have on each entry so check back if you've left one. Thank you and do visit again!
(Comments with links will automatically be flagged by Disqus.)