Last May, I went to Boracay for an Ashtanga Yoga intensive workshop lead by authorized level 2 teacher, Mozart Reina, or Teacher Mo as his students call him. I was there for ten days and although I wasn't completely all by myself, it was my first time to travel on my own. *half checks off item on bucket list :p* It was actually a trip of firsts since it was also my first time to attend an Ashtanga workshop of any kind and also my first time to practice under an authorized teacher.
I stayed at a small Airbnb room in Station 3 and would walk to Mandala Spa every morning to practice. Walking into Mandala Spa is basically like walking through the Garden of Eden (or at least how I imagine the Garden of Eden would look like). Calling it beautiful is an understatement.
Kind of hard to start your day on the wrong foot if this was your view every morning, huh?
After practice and lecture, we pretty much had the rest of the day to ourselves. It was nice to get to meet new people and make new friends, as well as get to know some of my teachers more outside of the studio. We would swim, eat, and lay out by the beach. Some days, there was a lot of walking involved (i.e. walking from Station 3 to Station 1 which killed my legs more than Ashtanga ever will). I found time to explore my neighborhood (photos below!) and checked out the restaurants that, to me, weren't the usual tourist spots. Save for Real Coffee and their calamansi muffin because those are a must every time you go to Boracay. A must!
Two of my favorite restaurants were Viveri's (shown below with 'favorite!' scribbled across the photo) and Nagisa. Both were walking distance from where I stayed and they both serve great coffee (Nagisa serves UCC coffee, FTW!) and affordable but yummy meals.
As for the practice, it was pretty intense as expected. I'd never practiced in a room so full! I learned how to meditate and, at first, hated the sitting practice (who knew counting to 21 and back could be so DIFFICULT!) but loved doing my japa. The most challenging part was having to learn how to drop back and stand up on my own after spending months depending on my teachers—begging for them—to assist me. It was scary and it still is a lot of the time. Sometimes I can still hear Teacher Mo's strict but encouraging voice guiding me through it. Haha. I'm nowhere near to perfecting the pose but I'll get there one day.
I'm so glad I signed up for this workshop. I will always be grateful for this trip and everything it has taught me.
Practice photos ©Rea Anchores Group photo ©Anna Manalastas