JENNIFER MARTINEZ: Balance and Harmony

Posted on March 11, 2012

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Here is one woman who has been reaping the many benefits of yoga: Jenifer Martinez.

Initially driven by her desire to find a more relaxed way to shape up after giving birth, the former accessories designer turned to yoga and  is now taking pride in being able to sustain balance and harmony in her day-to-day living as she assumes the role of mother, wife and yoga instructor—a gift she has  obtained from constantly practicing yoga for more than five years now.

“Life demands that we stay fit and healthy,” declares Jennifer, wife of former Bogo mayor and Cebu fourth district representative Celestino “Tining” Martinez III.

While admitting that she never thought she’d end up teaching yoga, she is determined to impart what she learned over her years of practice. She teaches yoga at Shanti Shala Studio and private classes at the Holiday

 

Gym and Spa and Gold’s Gym.

 

She firmly believes that it takes strong willpower to successfully incorporate yoga in one’s lifestyle.

The Play! pool spent an afternoon with Jenifer at the lovely gardens of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa and got up close and personal with the lovely yogini. (DPS)

 

When did you start doing yoga?

I started five years ago but I wasn’t serious about it so I’d only consider myself as a yoga practitioner since last year when I did yoga for straight days jud.

 

What motivated you to get into yoga?

I was into running then I thought yoga would help my running skills. I can’t focus because of my breathing problem. Then I joined a certain workshop for runners called the 400-hour yoga teacher’s training where they study for two months straight. I was so amazed by that workshop. I tried the things I’ve learned at home and I was able to do most of the postures because I’m double-jointed. When I was in high school, I thought abnormal akong body so ig-hands forward mauwaw ko kay mu-bend man jud sya (referring to her arm). As in freaky jud kaayo akong body. But then I realized nga it was for something, which I thank the Lord for kay duna jud diay purpose for it.

 

What inspired you to teach yoga?

My passion. I was so into it and my teacher saw this. She said, “Uy, kapoy na ko nimo ha! Why don’t you teach?” Since I perfected all the poses naman, she said: “I think you’re ready.” Honestly, I think I’m not ready (to teach) because I’m very shy. Like, when I was campaigning for my husband, mauwaw jud ko. Since I had to speak Bisaya, I had to memorize a script, which I did, but if naa na ko there. “Bang!” Wa na koy masulti. Makuyawan jud ko, mag-panic ko. Then, I tried teaching Shanti in Holiday (Gym and Spa) and eventually nawala na akong pagka-shy. I became very calm.

 

Do you have any teaching technique?

I teach from my heart. So everything I teach my students comes out naturally.

 

Who are your prominent students?

I have beauty queens like (Binibining Pilipinas-World) Anna Maris Igpit and (Bb. Pilipinas 2012

candidate) Mia Arcenas. And si Jude Bacalso!

 

How many students does your class normally hold?

For my 10-day yoga challenge, 20 to 25 students.

 

What’s a 10-day yoga challenge?

You practice yoga every day to stay strong and healthy. Doing this every day, you develop the willpower that will lead you towards a healthy lifestyle.  Also, I am  very conscious about my health and lifestyle. I am pesco-vegetarian, but right now I am trying to be pure vegetarian, which is kind of

hard for me because I’m anemic and daghan kaayo ko og restrictions.

 

When did you start being pesco-vegetarian?

I’ve been pesco vegetarian for 11 years now. It was because of my asthma. For the long years of eating chicken, I developed an allergy for it, which is not good for my asthma.

 

How many kids do you have?

I have two, a four- and a three-year-old.

 

How do you manage your time?

I have agreed with my husband to work three to four times a week lang so I have time with him and the kids.

 

Do you also teach your kids Yyga?

Yeah. They love yoga. They only started three weeks ago and now they can touch their toes.

 

What do you do apart from yoga?

Nothing. I was an accessory designer before. I had my own import and export factory then I got pregnant twice so nabiyaan. Then my husband ran and I was part of this whole election thing so I

decided to close it. From then on I was just in the house taking care of the kids. Then I went into

running and later found my passion, which is yoga.

 

Are you from Cebu?

Yes, I’m from Bogo. The first mayor of Bogo is my great-grandfather, who was also one the first senators in the Philippines and founded Bogo. When I got

married to Tining, sya to ang mayor at that time. So funny kaayo, when I link everything, I can say we’re soulmates.

 

Where do you usually hold your classes?

I have one in Shanti Shala and also in Holiday and recently in Gold’s Gym. I might also hold classes in Citigym. They made an offer, but I said maybe after I come back from my teacher’s training in Manila for the whole month of March so I can get my license, which is applicable both here and the United States.

 

What is the most difficult yoga pose you’ve done?

The Scorpion pose.

 

Can someone who’s not flexible still do yoga?

I don’t know why people are so scared of yoga. They say, “I don’t wanna try yoga because I’m not flexible” when that’s precisely the reason why we do yoga—so you get flexible.

 

How did yoga change your life?

A lot. Actually I gained a lot of weight after my two pregnancies. Conscious kaayo ko that’s why I tried running, which I was also passionate about but the effect niya kay I looked so haggard. I got toned and all, but murag stressed kaayo ko at the same time.

 

Unlike yoga, which won’t only benefit your body but your inner self as well.

 

Like at first, I was so conscious about my body then later on I no longer mind because I got calm. Then in every posture there’s a particular benefit like mo-lengthen or mo-strengthen imong thigh, or cure asthma—mga ingon ana gani. A lot of health benefits.

 

What degree did you earn in college?

I graduated BS Biology sa Velez College then nag post-graduate ko og Special Education sa USP.

 

How do you spend your weekend?

With the family lang jud because that’s the only time I can spend time with them.

 

How would you describe the yoga scene in Cebu?

It’s picking up, in fairness,

although it’s not like in Manila nga everybody is passionate about it. Like in one class, they have 70 students. Diri man gud in Cebu, moana sila nga, “para babaye ra man na uy.” Iin Manila from models to the big guys —they are into yoga.

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