Meet our Teachers
ANNA LORAINE AUSTRIA
Anna’s first encounter with her mat in 2006 provided more than the expected twisting and stretching, leaving her exhausted but energized, breathless but calm, humbled but challenged. Throughout the years, her practice has continued to awe her with its amazing capacity to heal –Heal the body, heal the mind, heal the soul. Yoga for her is a continuous journey of discovery, strength, & compassion.
The countless life lessons have been and continue to be so enriching that she inevitably found herself wanting to share her practice. Her “teacher’s soul” unable to ignore the opportunity to help others find the joy & refuge she herself found on the mat, Anna finally completed Bliss Yoga’s 200 hour Vinyasa Flow Teacher Training program under Roland Dela Cruz in May 2012, following it up with a short intensive program with Desiree Rumbaugh in January 2013 and officially beginning her happy mission of sharing the yoga love.
BIANCA TORRES WONG
While I cannot recall the precise moment I first stepped onto a yoga mat, my fascination with yoga developed sometime in 2007, shortly after I had started working full time as a corporate lawyer. Yoga beckoned to me at this point as more of a health initiative, something that would be restorative at the end of a crazy day. It was only towards the end of 2009, when I began to deepen and regularize my practice. With the day-to-day stress I was encountering, I was desperate for something MORE that would center and bring balance to my life. I soon became dependent upon my practice to provide me with a sense of escape, an avenue for completely shutting out the world and focusing on myself. My practice allowed me to declutter my mind and just sit still. In 2010, though I considered my practice still young, I decided to take the plunge and enrolled in Bliss Yoga Manila’s 200 Hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) under the guidance of Roland Dela Cruz. My YTT experience has been one of the most amazing milestones in my life and everyday I feel truly honored and blessed to be able to expand my practice while also sharing the beauty and passion of yoga with others.
Now on my third year as a teacher, I am realizing that yoga is a life long journey on and off my mat. I continue to grow in my own personal practice and through the experiences and energy shared with wonderful yogis, the students, who I am privileged to guide through their own personal yoga journeys. I find the following words from a Yoga Journal article I once read most apt: “I practice to feed my teaching, I teach to feed my life”.
(Bianca teaches Hot Flow and Vinyasa Flow; and enjoys immersing herself in all types and kinds of yoga including Jivamukti Yoga, Power Yoga and Bhakti Urban Flow. Her style is both structured and playful, always with an emphasis on compassion for the exertions and limitations of the body, steadiness of the mind and nurturing of the spirit. To enrich her practice, she attends various yoga workshops, seminars and retreats locally and abroad.)
Duds completed his teacher training in the summer of 2011, with the intention of being a regular yoga instructor for Yoga for Life, a non-profit organization providing assistance to people affected by HIV/AIDS. What started out as a part-time activity became a full time profession for him when he quit his corporate IT work in 2013. Duds is a firm believer that nothing happens by accident and that the practice of yoga imparts a lot of life lessons aside from reaping physical benefits.
Apart from being a yoga instructor, Duds is also a pole fitness instructor at Polecats Manila.
Francois’ interest roots deeply in seeking higher truth and knowledge as an individual. It was when he learned Classical Hatha Yoga back as a teenager taught by a Margii named Dineshvara which provided him the method and goal to realised oneself.
Later in his twenties he was then given an opportunity to be certified to teach Vinyasa by Bliss Yoga Manila through senior teachers Roland Dela Cruz and Isabel Dulay-Naval.
Today he continues to study the path of Tantra Yoga (Meditation and Self-Realization) under the lotus feet of Baba, Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, through his disciple Acarya Shankar Sanananda Avadhuta of Ananda Marga Center Maharlika. As a follower of the path of Tantra he received his first initiation and was given the name Prashanta, “completely calm and quiet just like the supreme consciousness.”
Prashanta believes it is your birth right to experience the infinite unmanifest potential of the universe which is pure love, bliss and joy. Sat Chit Ananda!
ISABEL DULAY NAVAL
A fortunate twist of fate led me to a yoga studio one day. It was there where I took a deep breath and learned to be truly present in the moment.
Since my first class years ago, I knew that I would be a lifetime student and dreamed one day of teaching. In 2009, I completed the PURE Yoga Teacher Training Program in Hong Kong under the guidance of Certified Anusara Yoga teacher, Patrick Creelman. I continue to deepen my study of Yoga through regularly attending workshops, seminars, conferences and keeping up a regular practice with various teachers of differing styles both here in Manila and abroad.
I’m also part of the Bliss Yoga Teacher Training faculty as the Assistant Teacher and Asana Instructor. I currently Bliss Yoga’s Studio Manager and Director.
As a teacher, I aspire to give students the gift that I have received from my teachers, the guidance to turn inward and connect with one’s own inner light and joy. I will encourage you to work hard while focusing on the breath. My classes are a challenging and fun mix of Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga.
Jahzel’s introduction to yoga and her commitment to the practice began in 2011 when she decided to explore and open herself to new adventures, new learnings, and new moments. Fueled with passion and curiosity, she took Bliss Yoga’s 200 Hour Intensive Vinyasa Flow Teacher Training under the guidance of Roland Dela Cruz in November 2012. Jahz believes in the invigorating power that yoga offers the body, mind and spirit. She has been very grateful for the opportunity to create a sacred space for her students to help them find freedom in their body and in their lives as well; the intention to realize their own gifts and strengths while stepping completely into their most brilliant self.
A writer/editor and “trailing spouse” of an international civil servant, Jill has nurtured a deep interest in holistic health for many years. Upon her return to India in 2006, she was able to formally pursue some of those interests and first got certified in foot reflexology.
In May 2008, she completed her Yoga Teacher Trainig with Seema Sondhi at the Yoga Studio in New Delhi. Seema trained at the International Sivananda Vedanta and Yoga Center and studied at the Institute of Ashtanga, Mysore under the lineage of the renowned Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. Jill is deeply grateful to Seema for her guidance in understanding the techniques and philosophies of Yoga as well as the opportunity to teach regualrly in her studio until her departure from New Delhi. She is humbled and thankful also for the guidance of Suruchi Bazaz and all her other teachers.
Jill teaches an alignment-based vinyasa yoga with strong emphasis on the effects of breathing on the body and the mind, on and off the mat . She leads targeted breath and pranayama workshops and classes to spread awareness of how everything we do affects our breathing and how our breathing affects everything we do.
It was more for physical reasons that Kat first tried yoga at a fitness gym back in 2007. She took a few classes and stopped going when life got busy. Fast forward to 2011, she accepted a job offer and moved abroad. The first few months were fun until the fast-paced environment started to take a toll on her. She started to look for ways to find personal balance and decided to give yoga another try. All it took was one class and she was hooked. Her regular practice helped her become more centered, grounded and physically strong. It was then that she learned the importance of “breathing” and the true meaning of being “present”. It also inspired her to live a healthier lifestyle.
Wanting to deepen her practice and share her passion for yoga, she quit her job and signed up for All Yoga Thailand’s 200-Hour Ashtanga Vinyasa Teacher Training. She completed her training last October 2014 in Koh Samui, Thailand under the guidance of Annie Au, David Lertsin, Vari Morales and Edson Ramos. She still continues to learn from her everyday practice, through other teachers, students and inspirations.
In every class, she aspires to share the gift of yoga with others and hopes that it touches their lives the way it did hers.
Louie’s journey towards the path of yoga began in 2004, when she attended Elita Salgado’s class for the first time with her mother and her mother’s friends. It wasn’t love at first practice but she found herself coming back for more and eventually becoming a regular student. And whenever Elita was unavailable, she’d go to Sandy Carmona’s classes in Makati.
After two years of finding yoga, she moved to another country for a job, which disrupted the regularity of her practice. Still, she did what she could despite the lack of access to English classes. She practiced on her own and got together with like-minded yogis in that country, who organized their own classes by inviting teachers from Hong Kong. It was upon her return to the Philippines in 2009 that she seriously considered teaching yoga. Life and work got in the way, however, and that goal took a backseat. She continued her search for fantastic teachers to learn from and eventually found them. Her dream of becoming a yoga teacher was realized in 2012 when she trained under Bliss Yoga Manila’s Roland dela Cruz and Isabel Dulay. It was a decision that changed her life.
She continues to learn from her fellow teachers and her students, whose dedication to the practice never fails to inspire her. She found her bliss and wishes to share what she has learned with anyone who’s seeking a more peaceful existence, a stronger body and a calmer mind.
MATTY ROXAS-CHUA ROQUE
Like almost everyone else, I first found my way to a mat for physical reasons. I wanted to explore and add variety to my already active lifestyle. I enjoy Vinyasa and Power classes but through the influence of my best friend, fell in love with Ashtanga.
I was going through the most challenging and depressing time of my life a few years back that led me to discover the path of yoga. I realized then that there is more to yoga than the Asanas. I found refuge, peace, hope and inspiration through daily practice, gurus and yogis around me. With a reborn spirit, I was eager to learn more and took my journey further by enrolling to the Bliss Yoga Teacher Training Program with Roland Dela Cruz .
What started as a simple physical regimen, turned out to be a life changing source of energy for me. My journey doesn’t end here, everyday I am awakened to reap and apply the full benefits of yoga to my life. Equipped with my personal experience, a loving family, supportive friends and gurus I am excited to share the gift of yoga to others.
Through a very interesting chain of events, I found myself in Malate, it was December of 2010 during the LGBT Pride March. I was screaming in the middle of the crowd when I saw an acquaintance from work (who I didn’t know was gay). Who would’ve known that would be a turning point in my life!?!?
I did not have any intentions of getting into the Practice when he introduced me to Yoga For Life. That time, I was going through a dark period of my life – and between wallowing in all the feelings and thoughts of anger, self-doubt, aimlessness, being on the mat seemed a better option.
Less than a year into the Practice, I felt that I have found my place – on my mat in a room, sharing my time and energy with the Community. The amount of gratitude I have for having found the Practice is beyond words. And seeing how much it has changed (and continues to change) the lives of the people around me, I was inspired to share my (continuously growing) Practice.
I’ve always told myself: “If I can touch just one life through Yoga the way it has touched mine, I know I would have found my Purpose in life.” And so by May of 2012, still thanks to the Yoga For Life Community and Bliss Yoga Manila, I became a Yoga Teacher.
ROLAND DELA CRUZ
I took my first yoga class in 2001 and was instantly hooked. I stepped on my mat daily and practiced all various styles of yoga.
I stumbled upon Power Yoga and Vinyasa Flow in 2002 while in New York pursuing my Stott Pilates certification. I decided to take a Power Yoga Teacher Training with Baron Baptiste in Tulum, Mexico shortly thereafter.
My yearning to learn didn’t stop there. I met Bryan Kest in Santa Monica, California in 2004, and completed his 200 hour Teacher Training that following year. In 2007, I trained under Rusty Wells from San Francisco, California who introduced Bhakti Yoga and Kirtan to my teaching.
I completed my 300 hour Jivamukti Yoga Teacher Training at the Omega Institute (Rhinebeck, New York) in April 2014. I am so eternally grateful to co-founders Sharon Gannon and David Life as well as my mentor, Giselle Mari, for coming into my life. Through their guidance and teachings, I found my own personal liberation.
I traveled to the land down under and completed my 800 hour Apprenticeship Program in August 2015 with Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher, Keith Kempis in Sydney, Australia.
I am so humbly grateful to have successfully passed the Jivamukti Yoga Advanced Certification Board on January 10, 2016, in New York City, and now an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga Teacher.
I began my yogic journey in 2012–a time when I needed to find quietude amidst the chaos and excitement of daily life. Bliss Yoga Manila was near where I worked so, shy as I was, I gave it a try.
Every class was like an adventure. I learned to appreciate my breath and my body, with all its strengths and challenges. I also found joy in the compassion, support, playfulness, and quiet strength of the teachers. Bliss Yoga became my Om away from home.
To deepen my practice, I enrolled in Bliss Yoga’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program in 2014, under the tutelage of Roland Dela Cruz, Isabel Dulay-Naval, and Bliss Yoga’s amazing team of teachers. I will always be grateful for their support, their valuable instruction, and their generosity.
Now, as a guide, I also view my students as my teachers. Every class is an opportunity to find more ways to serve them. In this chapter of my journey, I commit myself to attend to the students’ changing needs, to help them build a safe and sustainable asana practice, and to encourage them to make Yoga a part of their lives off of the mat.
I started practicing yoga 3 years ago because I was starting to feel the signs of aging in my body. I used to go to the gym a lot or run on the treadmill at home but I felt I wanted something more. Something to help me change to a healthier lifestyle in both mind and body. Something that felt more organic to me. As I started my practice I became more aware of my body, the proper alignment and how to move and breathe more efficiently. As i continued on I became more aware of the thoughts that occcur in my mind and how to be more positive and concscious. Then, I decided I want to learn more about yoga and share what I have learned to others. So I joined Bliss Yoga Manila’s Teacher Training and graduated March this year. Since then I feel the spiritual aspect of my yoga practice as well. Finding a little bit of that inner peace and seeing God in every person, place and experience. I hope I can share this gift to everyone.
Tesa Celdran was rogue certified to teach the Ashtanga practice in 2007 by Alex Medin and has dedicated her life to the practice of yoga. Her journey has been with Sandy Carmona, HozeArando, BelaLipat, Clayton Horton, Paul Dallaghan, SaremAtef, Ryan Redman, Richard Freeman, David Swenson, and David Life. She has also spent time in A.Y.R.I., Mysore under SharathRangaswamy and Saraswathi.
Her passion is to teach in the tradition as handed down from teacher to teacher by Sri K. PattabhiJois. Today, Tesa considers Govinda Kai as her current and most special teacher.