I was only six years old when I met Salliji in the late 70’s, my parents’ yoga and meditation guru. It was through Tita Sally (which is how I called her) that I learned the beauty of yoga and meditation and at that tender age before the age of reason, my love for solitude, peace and quiet was awakened and blossomed. I realize now as I write this, that this is probably why every so often, I crave some time alone, to slow down and listen to nothing and think about nothing. When this longing nudges me, I find myself turning to my bamboo wand.
It was six years ago when Tita Sally came back to Manila. She had been teaching all over the world for more than 30 years (clients include Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Caine just to name a couple) and came back to the Philippines for a much-anticipated visit. Although Chinese, she was born here and made an impact on so many lives, including mine and my family’s. It was during this visit in 2009 that she taught us the bamboo wand exercise. What an honor to learn this ancient Chinese daily health maintenance routine. It dates back to thousands of years and was only meant for the emperor and his family. In fact, it was a long-kept royal family secret. It’s been said that the exercises prevent illness, delay the aging process and ultimately prolong life. I fell in love instantly with the bamboo wand workout. A series of 17 movements, they exercise every muscle in the body and promote efficient circulation as well. Salliji was 82 when she visited and she was still as energetic and charismatic as how I remember her from more than 30 years back.
Admittedly, in the last many many months, I had allowed life to completely engulf me. Family and career have taken center stage and left me gasping for air. Meanwhile my bamboo wand had been left in one corner of the bedroom, collecting dust. Every time I walk passed it, I make a mental note to set aside time to practice. That never happened. Mornings are difficult as I’m always rushing to work. Evenings seemed impossible because I would be mentally and physically drained by the time I get home. But the longing to pick up my wand and feel the calm peaceful energy it brings still kept nudging at me-very much the same feeling of anticipation for that long overdue lunch and conversation with a childhood friend you’ve been missing.
Then it was as if the universe had conspired. I couldn’t have received the invitation from a friend to teach the bamboo wand exercise at a worst possible time. I was still reeling from a loved one’s medical emergency and we were in the process of moving in to another house. I was literally covered in dust, moving out/moving in and my mind was just all over the place. I should have politely declined the invitation, given the circumstances. There was no way I would have been able to practice and perfect the movements let alone teach a class in such a short period of time. I asked my friend in a slight panic, “Who will I be teaching the exercise to? How many students will be attending? Is the venue big enough considering each bamboo wand is four feet long? And WHEN is this happening?” I didn’t even have any bamboo wands available for my students–I felt there just wasn’t enough time.
But then the universe decided I would have my bamboo wands in time–and my own wand at long last was finally back in my hands, because I had no choice but to practice and practice. My evening routine became incomplete without practicing. I remembered again how quiet my mind becomes when I’m doing the series of very slow movements while maneuvering the four-foot long stick. How I missed the feeling of slow movement, mindful breathing and the glorious pain from stretching my muscles–muscles that had been sedentary for some time.
I realize this was how the universe conspired once again to force me to slow down and empty my mind from the clutter. It dawned on me how my bamboo wand is a physical representation of the balance I often long for as I juggle all my roles as wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and career woman. As I practice, I feel the equilibrium returning slowly and quietly while I progress from one movement to another, with the ultimate goal of completing all 17 exercises.
So what a wonderful gift it was to be invited by Philippine Wacoal to teach the bamboo wand workout to their guests as they launched their sports bra collection through the event, Unlimited Movement. What an incredible and diverse group of women I met–working moms, entrepreneurs, athletes, coaches, writers and even a beautiful ballerina. It was an honor to have interacted with them and share the wonder, beauty and benefits of the bamboo wand workout. I am grateful having had the opportunity to further my life and work balance advocacy in this way and for that, I am grateful. I salute Philippine Wacoal’s dedication to empower the Filipina.
I absolutely loved wearing Wacoal’s sports bra during my bamboo wand class at the Unlimited Movement event. Being that the bamboo wand is a gentle, low-impact routine which gradually intensifies, the medium-impact sports bra was just perfect for me. A non-wired bra with thick straps, it offered adequate support and yet was so comfortable I forgot I was wearing it. It didn’t constrict my movements at all as I moved from one bamboo wand form to the next. There is something to be said about Japanese technology. I’m now a firm believer of Wacoal’s Unlimited Movement. Interested to check out their new sports bra collection? Visit wacoal.ph for convenient online shopping. The collection offers specific sports bras ranging from high to medium and light impact sports and activities.
*I was invited to try out and use the Wacoal products mentioned, after which I have provided an honest review of my experience. This is not a paid advertising feature.
For inquiries about bamboo wand classes, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: (1) All set to teach the bamboo wand workout, an Ancient Chinese exercise said to delay the aging process and prolong life (2) What an honor to have this diverse group of women in my very first class (3) Cirque du Soleil’s Kris-Belle Paclibar-Mamangun in top form after delivering a beautiful and dramatic performance (4) After the low-impact bamboo wand workout the ladies were ready for some high-impact activities like boxing
(Photos courtesy of Philippine Wacoal)