AFTER this Kundalini Yoga class by Madonna English at SouLove Center, students are radiating with the pure joy of their practice. The class was relaxing, rejuvenating and exhilarating, waking up my cells and making me feel just wonderful and grateful to be alive.
I was writing a script for a client, and during my research, came across a United States study with some very disturbing information. Most young girls believe they do not measure up in some way through their looks, school performance and relationships with both family and friends. They also feel insecure—not pretty, thin, stylish or trendy enough.
The study further revealed that girls with low self-esteem were significantly more likely to suffer from eating disorders and start smoking, drinkingand cutting (or injuring) themselves, among others.
As a mother of two teenage girls myself, I became concerned. Recently, on two separate occasions, I found myself having to reassure my daughters that there was nothing wrong with them. This got me thinking about my own experience as a teen, remembering how insecure I was about being too thin compared to the more voluptuous girls.
Is there a self-esteem crisis that needs to be addressed? Where does low self-esteem stem from? What causes such insecurities related to body image?
I turned to my friend Lia Bernardo to get some answers. Lia is a psychoneurologist who has spent the last 12 years counseling adults. She is also the founder of SouLove Center, a venue for people to discover, develop and empower themselves through movement, creativity and meditation.
Lia says, “Here, all the activities and workshops are based on the concept of ‘SouLove’— that state of being in which you fully embrace your true identity, living in your full, infinite potential. SouLove is your path to yourself… the source and creator of your own reality.”
Did she actually say that I can create my own reality? Call it a coincidence (or not), but at thetime I was going through a huge life crisis. The company I had worked in for 10 years just dissolved my department; I found myself out of a job in 30 days. I felt helpless and lost. I was definitely looking for a new reality.
Lia’s words resonated so deep within me that I slowly immersed myself in this SouLove state of being.
I started the process by taking various classes offered in the Center. I tried gentle flow yoga with Ryan Camarillo. I warned him that the last time I did yoga was 37 years ago. Ryan smiled and told me not to worry. The class turned out to be a wonderful rediscovery of myself, and I actually did better than I expected.
I was grateful to Ryan for gently easing me back into the practice; it spurred me to try another class, Gentle Nia, a practice combining dance, martial arts and yoga. I was at first intimidated because of my two left feet, but our instructor Cecilia Shriver reassured us that there would be no judgment and that we could go at our own pace. Halfway through the class, I was in a state of exhilaration, dancing and loving it. It was completely liberating!
As I made more time to focus and allow myself to indulge in the classes that I enjoyed, I began to discover this new place within myself slowly blooming, where there was nothing but complete joy. A first I couldn’t figure out where this inexplicable joy was coming from.
But during a first, fateful and life-changing Kundalini Yoga class taught by Madonna English, I finally figured it out. As I let myself get lost in the beauty and high of the meditative movement, I felt my chest open up, and from it I imagined beautiful white light radiating brightly outwards.
I realized that my newfound joy was coming from within me, from my heart. The realization that I created this joy myself was so pure, beautiful and mind-blowing, I couldn’t contain the tears as they streamed down my face.
But only during my most recent SouLove yoga class, taught by Jenn Rivera, as I pushed myself to my boundaries during a camel pose (which I didn’t even know I could do yet) did I finally, truly begin to understand the concept of SouLove.
It is growing and thriving in mind, body and soul well-being. It is unconditional self-acceptance—understanding my own faults and accepting my imperfections while still striving to be the best version of myself.
I have since started working as a communications consultant, while simultaneously launching training camps by MothersAtWorkHub, an offshoot of my blog www.mothersatworkhub.org, and an advocacy aiming to empower the busy working mothers.
I’ve also been actively teaching and sharing the gift of Yu Hezu, the Art of the Bamboo Wand—all in a span of two months.
Through SouLove, I learned the joy of basking in my life’s true purpose. It took a crisis to fortify my faith and trust in God.
I asked Lia what inspired her toadvocate the SouLove state of being by opening the SouLove Center. “In the last 12 years that I have been counseling adults, I have learned that 100 percent of the problems that my patients encounter start with self-love issues,” Lia says. “A hundred percent of relationships fail because of self-love; angst stems from lack of self-love. Traditions teach us that it’s wrong to love ourselves and that we must give until it hurts. I don’t agree. We must teach our childrento love, appreciate and accept themselves unconditionally. Only then can one truly be happy.”
As the teacher of the Yu Hezu Bamboo Wand class in SouLove Center, I also began incorporating the SouLove concept in my classes and found that not only did my students respondin a positive way, but I also found myself growing and learning new insights as a teacher.
I wanted to share this SouLove state of being with young girls and my own daughters, who feel they aren’t good enough, or that they don’t measure up. How wonderful it would be to empower them by saying that they are perfect in their imperfections, that they, too, can create their own happiness and reality. As Lia declares, “Self-love is the foundation for happiness. Period.”
To supplement the classes already ongoing at SouLove Center, workshops will be offered to continuously advocate the values of self-love and self-acceptance. SouLove Center is also offering a Creativity Workshop Series. SouLove Center is at Unit 1 Don Jesus Blvd., Alabang Hills, Muntinlupa City. Call 0995-4741401.