Back when I was on the student’s side of the yoga classroom, teachers always seemed so impenetrable in their calm happiness, and sometimes even, otherworldly. Now that I’m a yoga teacher myself, I can tell you all with full confidence and honesty: we can be just as crazy, unhinged, insecure, uncool, basic, and normal as everyone else on the planet.
And you can bet the teachers in Manila have a lot of the Filipino quirks you can think of too ;)
In an attempt to demystify yoga teachers and the seeming perfection of their practice as seen through social media, I’m starting a series on my blog not-so-creatively entitled “Yoga Teachers of Manila.”
With grace and honesty, yoga teachers share with us their struggles, their funny “un-yogi” moments, and what keeps them on their mat as a teacher and as a student.
For this post, we get to know more about someone I went to high school with and was pleasantly surprised to know also became a teacher: Andi Bañez
In a blog post she wrote on Urban Yogi, her byline describes her as follows: Andi Bañez is a registered certified yoga teacher. She teaches FNR, vinyasa flow, vinyasa music nights at Urban Ashram Manila. Andi loves to dance, travel and eat Click here to know more about Andi.
One of the paragraphs that stood out to me in that post titled The Truth About Staying, was: “There’s so much to learn about yourself when you stay. There are things about you that you cannot and should not escape. Maybe certain issues (tightness, fear, insecurity or denial…) you’ve been avoiding will only go away once you’ve acknowledged it and accepted that it is there. We’re so used to running away from things that we can’t actually run away from. Maybe staying will take me into a much deeper understanding of myself. Maybe if I stay here long enough I’ll learn to be more accepting, more honest and a little more loving of myself and what I’m facing now. Maybe I’ll change and it will be a pretty good change. If I manage to find the courage to stay and deal with what’s uncomfortable then hopefully, maybe… that will teach me to stay present and enjoy moments that are actually pretty darn good too.”
A lot more about her below :)
♥ How long have you been teaching yoga?
A little over 3 years. (In) Urban Ashram Manila and privates.
♥ What kind of yoga do you teach?
FNR, vinyasa, vinyasa music classes
♥ What’s your personal practice like?
It takes a lot of work. I’d rather practice in a class and with teachers rather than on my own. It’s always a struggle to monitor yourself.
♥ Do you ever get unmotivated in your practice? How do you deal with it?
Yes, a lot of the time. I usually find something outside of the mat and in my life in other activities to inspire me. My teaching inspires my practice. Dancing, music and people usually inspire me. Other people who are so dedicated to their practice help motivate me to keep on trying to evolve in my practice.
♥ What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you in a yoga class?
As a student, when I was starting, there was a girl who was super flexible practicing beside me to my left. She was in janu sirsasana with a block the long way against her foot, while she was bent over. Then there was another girl to her left that stared at her. We both caught each other gawking and started laughing.
♥ Can you share any roadblocks you had in your practice and how you got through them?
I stick to what’s familiar and comfortable. I do what I know I can do, usually. Always avoiding what I know I’ll struggle with. I’m still struggling with it now to be honest. But now, im kind of thrown into a new environment that I have no choice but to grow by myself. So without others guiding me I know I won’t improve if I just stick to what’s comfortable. So whenever I can, specially when I can’t seem to bring myself to my mat I breathe and approach a practice I know will push me to another direction. I need something new. And although thoughts still come up that judge, I just let it go.
♥ If you’ve done it, what’s it like teaching your parents/family?
It;s surprisingly okay. They tease me a little bit but its refreshing to see new sides of people you thought you knew.
♥ Why do you continue to teach yoga?
Because its a part of me already. It evolves with me and forces me to evolve too. It encourages a good change in me and makes me feel like im helping people in a way that helps me too.
From all of us, thank you Teacher Andi :)