Cheska Farrarons values living in the here and now
By Deneb Batucan
PRACTICING yoga has made an immense, if not sublime, change in Cheska Farrarons’ life. Not only has it made her physically fit, but it has made her grounded and taught her all about humility.
Growing up, Cheska was an anxious, short-tempered person. But everything changed for the better when she was 19: she discovered yoga.
When Cheska was just 10 years old, she sustained a lower back injury. While playing with her friend at the cellar of their old house, the thin wooden floor caved in and they fell along with it, giving her the lower back issues she has suffered from in almost all her teen years. “It was so painful, the type that you’d lose your breath,” she said.
Being an active person even in her younger years, Cheska played team sports like softball and soccer baseball. Every time she would play sports, she’d suffer from back pains. So a coach recommended that she try yoga. “It really calmed me down and helped with my lower back injury. I was hooked straightaway,” she said.
She moved to London to work as a nurse when she was 21, and now after almost 12 years after her first yoga session, Cheska is now teaching her own yoga classes. She decided to train as a yoga teacher because she wanted to share with other people the benefits of yoga and how it has benefited her life. “I thought I’d learn how to teach yoga and how yoga can benefit not just fit and active people but everyone else, like the older generation and kids,” she said. “Yoga is for everyone.”
So, Cheska trained for yoga teaching in Kranti Yoga School in Goa, India in 2014. She stayed for a month there and tried to live like a yogi. “At first it was really hard because we had a strict schedule. We had to wake up at 5 a.m., practice for two hours and then do meditation for an hour, and then we’d have breakfast. The rest of the day we’d have scheduled classes and learn all the postures and philosophy and other stuff,” she said. “Plus, we weren’t allowed to eat meat. So I had to be vegan for a month. And I’m Filipino — I love my meat, you know!”
But even if it was hard at first, Cheska learned so much about herself through that experience alone compared to any other situation she has had in her life.
“That school really grounded me. One thing I’ve really learned was that I could be independent. I know I’ve moved to London, but when I moved there, my older sister was there, too, so I wasn’t really on my own. And then I met my husband, so I really never lived independently. Moving to Goa, I learned how to look after myself while mingling with other people,” she said.
Her eye-opening experience in Goa made her a certified yoga teacher and paved the way to her own brand of yoga teaching, Pukka Yoga. “Pukka in Hindi means ‘substantial’ and in British English means ‘genuine and authentic.’ I teach a combination of Astanga and Vinyasa yoga, a lot of moving with your breath. I want people, and my students especially, to know that yoga is accessible to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re flexible or strong. It’s about exploring your own body and accepting where it takes you and discovering how your body works and what else it can do apart from the normal things,” she said.
Cheska taught her first class at a park with only four students, including her husband. Little by little, people started to contact her for private and corporate classes, and now she moved her classes in a studio in Clapham, London. She even taught a class for Lululemon, a yoga-inspired athletic apparel company, where she taught 60 people in one class. While in Cebu, she taught yoga classes in Asana Yoga + Movement in Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.
For Cheska, yoga has made her appreciate life as it is. “Doing yoga brings you to the present moment. And the present moment is an important thing because it is where life actually exists. So I’ve learned not to think forward but live in the now. And I’m learning to slow down, and when you’ve slowed down, you appreciate life more and what you have,” she said.
Cheska hopes to teach yoga more. “I feel like I switch to a different person when I do yoga. I feel like I’m actually helping people,” she said. “I’m really passionate with yoga and the lifestyle that comes with it.”
Photos: Alfred Gregory E. Bartolome
Make-up Artist: Carlo Damolo
Hair Stylist: Jerwin Bastatas
Locale: Asana Yoga + Movement, Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino