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Stressed out over work? Sweat it off with Bikram yoga

(Originally published on August 31, 2011; reprints previous original material published in this section)

As with many successful professionals in the country’s growing business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, Ria Cejero has learned to thrive in a very competitive environment.

The 41-year-old human resource officer has handled employee relations since 2002, and has experienced more than her fair share of late hours and work-related stress.

While she spends around 12 hours a day working in a major call center, Cejero makes time to practice Bikram yoga. She had read about the benefits of Bikram yoga before joining colleagues for a class at Bikram Yoga Alabang, the newest certified Bikram yoga studio in the country. “Losing weight was not a priority at that time,” says Cejero, “but I felt that I needed to relax.”

Developed by Bikram Choudhury, Bikram yoga is a form of yoga involving 26 postures or asanas and two breathing exercises practiced for 90 minutes inside a room heated to 40 degrees Celsius. Choudhury himself was able to benefit from the practice when he suffered from a knee injury at the age of 17.

“Bikram yoga is intended for all fitness levels,” explains Ginger Diaz, studio director of Bikram Yoga Alabang. “Regular practice may help improve flexibility, cardiovascular and muscular st rength, and endurance if the series of postures are executed properly. The room is heated to allow the muscles to become more responsive to deeper and sustained stretching.”

Since opening in October 2010, over 1,500 people have practiced at Bikram Yoga Alabang. “We are proud to have contributed in introducing more people to the wonderful benefits of Bikram yoga,” Diaz says.

Full-body Workout

As a busy career woman, Cejero still considers it a challenge to dedicate 90 minutes a day for exercise. But she says that the benefits of practicing Bikram yoga outweigh the challenges. She recalls that her first few classes made her dizzy and nauseous, something beginners are advised to anticipate. “Bikram yoga helped me relax,” Cejero shares, “I started sleeping well when I started the practice. Getting enough sleep was all I needed at that time to get the balance for the practice.” Gradually, the dizziness disappeared.

“Focus and discipline are skills that will greatly improve when you practice Bikram,” Cejero adds. “It helped me manage my schedule as well, because my goal is to be more efficient and to finish work earlier.”

In Bikram yoga, hydration is key. Practitioners are advised to double the normal water intake of eight glasses a day. Hours before practice, Cejero drinks plenty of water and only eats light meals.

Despite being used to working the night shift, Cejero says there are days when she finds it difficult to sleep. “Bikram helped me deal with that,” she reveals, “my breathing improved dramatically, which in turn allowed me to handle stress effectively.”

Cejero believes that Bikram yoga is a good fit for professionals in the BPO industry. “Bikram yoga is an excellent full-body workout that will leave you feeling incredible,” she shares. “Just be sure to drink lots of water before class. Anything is possible if you set your mind to it.”

To know more about Bikram Yoga Alabang, call (2) 846-5496 and (927) 916-9909 or send an e-mail to bikramyogaalabang@yahoo.com. Visit http://www.bikramyogaalabang.com for more information and resources on Bikram yoga.

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