This week we spend 10 minutes with Dinah Salonga, the President and Managing Director from one of our most popular (and most reserved!) KFit partners, yoga+.
Hello, Dinah! Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am a yogi, teacher, and forward-looking entrepreneur. I am the President and Managing Director of yoga+ and regularly teach Yin Yoga and Hot Yoga in three yoga+ studios. I also am the course director of the Hot Yoga Teacher Training conducted by yoga+ in partnership with Absolute Yoga Academy. Together with Neil Salang, I also conduct the yoga+ Change from Within training program that focuses on Developing Emotional Intelligence through Mindfulness.
I started my yoga practice with Bikram Yoga in 2005 and became certified as a Hot Yoga Teacher in October 2010. In December 2012, I obtained a 100-hour Yin Yoga teacher training certification with Victor Chng of Yin Yoga Asia in Singapore. Together with 4 other yoga enthusiasts, I founded Yogaplus, Inc in November 2010, which now owns and operates three yoga+ studios in BGC, Ortigas and Makati and one yoga+express studio in DLSU Taft.
How have consumer behaviours regarding fitness changed in Manila the last 3 years?
With the wide variety of options for people to make fitness part of their lifestyles, I’d say that people are now more discerning with regard to where they exercise, and yet still retain that open-mindedness and sense of adventure to try out new studios or workouts. This could be a challenge for a yoga studio but we see this as an opportunity to always come up with something new, may it be a new class offering or an inversion workshop showcasing new techniques for our students, on top of the regular classes that they expect to be on the schedule.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to transition to a healthier lifestyle + start working out?
One thing in common for new students who have successfully made yoga a regular habit is that they go back the next day right after their first class. Whatever you decide your workout would be – yoga or the gym, or both – stick to a regular schedule at least 3x a week. It doesn’t matter whether your schedule only allows you to exercise at a certain time of the day, just show up at the studio and give it your all. Once it has become part of your routine, there will come a point when it’s not a struggle to go to yoga class anymore. In fact, it will be something that you will look forward to doing, either to start or end your day.
Another thing would be to get back to the basics – drink enough water throughout the day, get enough sleep, and eat more vegetables! Lastly, one’s resolve to have a healthier lifestyle is strengthened when it is done with like-minded people. Go to class with a friend or group of friends. In fact, if you practice regularly, you’re bound to make new friends with people who go to class regularly as well.
What does your daily diet look like? Do you give yourself “cheat days”?
My diet consists mostly of vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts, healthy oils and occasionally eggs and seafood. I regularly take virgin coconut oil with Vitamin E and lycopene to give me energy, boost my immune system and prevent cancer. I love sweets though but since I am allergic to chocolate and lactose-intolerant, I indulge in native desserts like puto, suman, palitaw and similar treats. I avoid eating late at night and having dinner would be considered a “cheat day” for me.
What are three things you wish some of your customers knew?
1) Going to class early matters a lot. For beginners, we give an orientation before class and if you miss the orientation especially before a heated class, you might not be able to enjoy, or even finish the class. For regular practitioners, even if you are already familiar with the sequence or poses, starting the class flustered because you barely made it can have a domino effect where you find it difficult to focus or do poses that are normally easy. Five minutes of quiet time and settling in on the mat before the actual start of the class is highly recommended.
2) Chanting is optional. Due to its spiritual roots, some people think that they might have to do chanting or some rituals, making them hesitate to try yoga. This is why we aim to meet people where they are – yoga+ has eight different yoga styles for people of various interests and fitness levels. Whether you want a purely physical workout, a calming or meditative class, or a mixture of both, it’s on our regular schedule.
3) Practice with compassion and courtesy. Keep quiet in the yoga room. Avoid wearing heavy scents. There is no pose in any yoga class that requires having a cellphone – leave phones in the lockers. Staying for savasana is one way of loving yourself. Smiling is free and guarantees that post-yoga glow to last longer.
See you on the mat!