APPROACHING 60 means getting closer to understanding what life is all about. For Lucia “Ciay” Misa, it’s also realizing that “[life] is still unfolding and leading [her] to unchartered territories.”
Misa recounts the journey in her recently-launched book, “Yoga in the Wild.”
The book is a collection of mostly published stories here and in the United States, where she now resides for half the year since she first moved to Boston in 1979. The stories trace her brave move to an unknown world, where she set up an import company that she managed for 24 years while raising two children, Cristina and Eric.
What has motivated and centered her all these years, says Misa, is the discipline of her daily yoga practice and meditation that she began when she was 20. In Boston, she sought out the best teachers, among them Angela Farmer, her yoga mentor for almost three decades.
Since 2004, Misa has been enjoying her retirement into a life of simple abundance close to nature. Says Farmer: “Ciay is a spark of light! Her inexhaustible enthusiasm pervades her yoga, her writing and all aspects of her life and no doubt has seen her through the difficult times of loss, illness and divorce. She always finds a way to bounce back with a passion and child-like delight… Her stories are vibrant and alive revealing her deep love for nature and fascination for what she finds in life.”
“Yoga in the Wild” evolved on its own momentum without much planning and the pages enlived by photos taken in El Nido by her photographer friend Shuji Koto. As Mariel Francisco describes in her foreword: “Seeing these nude photos of her lying on boulders or entwined in trees, I said to myself: ’what could be more natural? Like a beautiful lizard sunning itself, she seems to be just part of the landscape.’”
Of “Yoga in the Wild” and its author, Alfred A. Yuson notes: “My childhood friend Ciay Misa is one marvelous person – besides being a splendid writer and still the proud bearer of an alluring figure, at age 60. The nakedness of her fetching prose and graceful poses parallels her spirit in climbing back to the earliest years of play, up tall trees, and presently while still soaking up the ‘texture of her homeland’ – perched on limestone rocks and tropical boughs, touching ‘the ocean’s belly’ – fittingly sun-dappled in all her centered glory. Indeed, she continues to scale the yogic heights and plumb the wild depths of ‘the most secret regions of our being’ – since she shares her infinite eurekas of the heart and mind to make of this world an amazing homeland for all of us. This is a remarkable book by a remarkable lady.”
Paulynn Paredes Sicam says: “Ciay Misa writes about her life and adventures as a woman and a yoga teacher with passion, pain, humor and truth. She allows the reader into aspects of her life – the painful break-up of her marriage, bonding with her mother who died of cancer, her loving relationship with her children, and a near death experience that has made her more open to death, as well as to life. She also brings us to the mysterious caves, trees, loons, mountains, rivers, lakes and oceans she has encountered in over 30 years of yoga practice, culminating in her acquisition of Mastalikwas, where she envisions a retirement community where people can live and die close to nature and in peace. ‘Yoga in the Wild’ is an autobiography, a travelogue, a yoga instruction manual and a celebration of a life lived fully. It is a delightful read, whether or not you’re into yoga.”
Talikwas is Misa’s yoga home in Palawan – the home of “Yoga in the Wild.” Says Susan Evangelista: “You have to go there, be there, to really get it. You have to take the long, dusty trip from Puerto Princesa to El Nido, get down from the van on the shore, jump in the little banca Ciay sends to pick people up, and cross the water to the beautiful cliff-side retreat… You have to see Ciay bounding down the 75 steps to greet you – and bounding back up again, with incredible energy – energy and movement unfolding from within… You watch Ciay doing yoga on the wooden platform suspended over the rocks, the place where she sleeps underneath the stars. You see her arched in a graceful wheel on a craggy rock. You see her spirit unfolding from within. And you know this place, this energy, is the source of ‘Yoga in the Wild.’” •