What would a yogi and a yogini, both enjoying their freedom from work, do when they get together? No-brainer, huh? I am privileged to have done yoga with Jon Cagas or Jogas (see its etymology here =D) this week at the comfort of the house of his cousin and my good friend for two decades (yeah, we met when we were two years old, =p). A one-on-one, teacher-student session is a rare opportunity, more so with Jon who has been out of the country for more than two years and is now back in Manila for a brief break. Lucky me!
Jon Cagas in Action
Whatever mental barriers I had regarding yoga and yoga teaching, Jon broke them all. First, my statement in the previous blog was proven wrong: that there are some things that a female teacher can do freely that her male counterpart cannot. Second, I realized that female teachers do not have the monopoly of skills of giving instructions in a gentle yet authoritative manner (and voice). Third, ujjayi breathing is not about creating Darth Vader’s signature sound. Finally, ashtanga is not only for the strong…and the young. Let me elaborate on the first statement, as for the rest you can easily figure out what I mean.
Jon did to me what female teachers would have normally done, and even more, without any qualms yet within the bounds of professionalism and politesse. I have never been pulled and pushed and twisted here and there as I was during my session with him. His adjustment techniques were totally new to me…well, they “felt” new to me because most of the time I could not see what he was doing—just concentrate on your breathing, he would instruct me—and voila! I was able to bind, or reach my toes, or simply move into the pose (or into something that at least resembles the pose, which is often the case). I wished someone were there to take our pictures, as I want to see how Jon did his trick. In fact, I would have entitled this piece “my magic, yogic moments” but, hey, this is not about me.
Being a teacher at heart, Jon was also able to spot my potential and help me realize it (hmmm, sounds like a line in an infant formula commercial). At times he’d say “I think you can do this…” and true enough, even without his assistance, I’d be able to do so—something I would not have discovered on my own. As well, he was able to spot my weaknesses, such as pulling my shoulders up when I raise my arms, hyper extending my knees and elbows, among others (I guess unless your eyes are trained in anatomy, you won’t be able to see these flaws). And at the end of the session, teacher that he is, Jon gave me an assessment of what I can do and what to further develop. This is one good thing about one-on-one’s—you get all the teacher’s attention, which would not have been possible in a group setting.
But the trouble with one-on-one’s is that you get all the teacher’s attention! Jon often checked my breathing, putting his ear close to my nose. Chona’s thought bubble: ngayon ko lang nalaman nakaka-tense palang huminga! At one point he asked me to “use my hands to move my flesh up in my abdominal area to deepen my twist.” Chona’s thought bubble: Galing mo naman, Jon, napaka ma-diplomasya mo. Chona, itaas mo daw yung bilbil mo para maka-twist ka ng tama!
And to top the session off, Jon prepared a vegetarian dish for dinner—squash, tofu, and string beans sautéed in garlic and onions. Healthy and certainly yummy!
Thank you, Jon! Looking forward to my next yogic moment with you! (Hmmm, I just remember, wala pala tayong savasana at closing…so kelangan talaga maulit ito! =D)