If your impression of a yogi mom is one who is able to balance raising her kids with practicing yoga daily and teaching yoga on the side, you’ll find that’s only half the picture with 35-year-old yogi Jenifer Martinez.
As the wife of Bogo City barangay captain Celestino “Tining” Martinez III and mother of Celestino, 10, Antoinette Beatrize, 9, and Natalie Grace, 3, she also has her hands full with running her yoga studio, YogaHub; designing a new jewelry line in collaboration Cebuano jewelry brand Oro China; and organizing the first-ever yoga festival in the city, Cebu YogaFest.
And yet she still manages to sneak in a trip to Bali for teacher training with South Korean-German yoga teacher Young-ho Kim, and is the first in the Philippines to be a certified Inside Flow teacher.
“I was looking for an exercise that would complement my running, since I was having a hard time breathing when I ran,” she recalls. “I ended up joining a Yoga for Runners workshop in 2010, and fell in love with yoga instantly. I was never really athletic, but yoga has changed my life, and because of it, I’ve recently gotten into other things like TRX to enhance my yoga practice.”
She adds: “My practice has evolved, and I practice Inside Flow, which is kind of an evolution of vinyasa yoga. Here, music drives the class and frames the whole sequence. You gently move from one pose to another carried by the music, which puts you into a trance-like, almost meditative state.”
Six years ago, Martinez opened YogaHub with the encouragement of her husband. Since then, the yoga industry in Cebu has grown by leaps and bounds. The city’s biggest yoga event to date, Cebu YogaFest, gathered some 1,000 people for a weekend that also included TRX, capoeira, tai chi, CrossFit, Pound, Reiki, wellness talks and self-care sessions using essential oils.
“We wanted to build the Cebu yoga community and connect it with other fitness practices. We also wanted it to be a distinctly Cebu event, not just a YogaHub event,” Martinez says.
“The beauty of yoga is how inclusive it is. Whether you are young or old, fit or overweight, yoga has the power to calm the mind and strengthen the body. Yoga is for everyone.”
The latest feather on Martinez’s yogi cap is a jewelry line with Oro China, one of Cebu’s pioneer jewelry brands, now one of the country’s biggest.
Dubbed #YogiJenCollection, the pieces boast clean, minimalist aesthetics in 21 asana pendants of her favorite yoga poses, tree of life pendants, geometric bangles, earrings and rings, and other wellness-related designs set in 14k gold, as well as healing stones such as amethyst, emerald and blue sapphire.
“Oro China wanted to do something for women,” says Jennifer Ty, Oro China CEO. “We’ve noticed that our current lifestyle is so focused on work that we tend to forget to take care of ourselves. Our research on gold taught us about its healing benefits, so we decided to use it to promote women’s health and wellness.”
She adds: “I’m a firm believer in yoga’s health benefits, since I myself practice yoga. We decided to partner with Jen because, aside from being one of the pioneers of the yoga movement in Cebu, she also embodies our definition of an Oro China woman—a successful entrepreneur, a doting mother and a style influencer.”
Ty says that the collaboration is just the first phase. “We plan to work with more women, like Jen, who promote a healthy lifestyle and empowerment for other women.”
The designs aren’t limited to yoga poses only, Ty points out. “We also came up with designs inspired by the elements—earth, wind, fire and water—because we wanted the collection to be more inclusive and to appeal to women who are interested in wellness in general.”