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YES! (Philippines) - - Contents - Bianca: be­yond YOGA

Bianca King, lithe and grace­ful, walks out of the yoga stu­dio, her toned mus­cles ev­i­dent in her work­out clothes. Her cheeks are flushed from the yoga class she has just fin­ished tak­ing—specif­i­cally, Vinyasa Yoga, de­fined by the on­line Yo­ga­pe­dia as “a type of yoga that links move­ment and breath to at­tain bal­ance in the mind and body.”

One look at Bianca and the word peace comes to mind. She cred­its yoga with be­ing one

Although she may have a lot of projects in mind, Bianca King is try­ing to sim­ply re­lax.

“I’m cur­rently go­ing with the flow, plant­ing the right seeds and, you know, not pres­sur­ing my­self to make them grow. I just came from, like, tap­ing a show for 13 months, so I’m still kind of on va­ca­tion…

“I’m just kind of stay­ing present right now, like I have to fin­ish the travel show I’m do­ing now first, and then we’ll see. I used to be the type to say, ‘Oh, I will do this, it’s all mapped out, blah­blah.’ But once you hit your early thir­ties, hmmm, let’s see what hap­pens. Just be open.”

of the rea­sons for her peace­ful, happy aura—and she wants to spread her love for yoga. With this love was born her coown­er­ship of the Rock­well fran­chise of Be­yond, a full-ser­vice yoga stu­dio chain in the Philip­pines.

“I can’t be a teacher just yet be­cause it takes a lot of hard work and time to do the teacher train­ing,” Bianca tells YES! Mag­a­zine. “At least in this way, I can give back and help spread the won­ders of mind­ful­ness and what that has done for me, in my life. It com­pletely changed my en­tire out­look on life.”

Bianca fell in love with yoga at first sight, when she was 18 years old.

The ath­letic ac­tress had taken up bal­let and jazz as a child, and was a com­pet­i­tive cheer­leader in high school. “I like to move with my body,” she re­calls.

One day, in a gym where she was a mem­ber, she found her­self drawn to a Hatha yoga class. Ac­cord­ing to the web­site of the Be­yond yoga stu­dio chain, www. igob­e­yondyoga.com, a Hatha Yoga class “con­sists of sim­ple re­lax­ation, pranayama ( breath con­trol), vinyasa (sun salu­ta­tion) and asana ( phys­i­cal pos­tures) to pu­rify, en­er­gize, re­ju­ve­nate, calm the body and mind.”

From Hatha yoga, Bianca then ex­plored Bikram Yoga—a style of hot yoga per­formed in a heated room— which she prac­ticed for four years.

“At the tail end of Bikram,” Bianca re­counts, “I started prac­tic­ing more Vinyasa, and it was when I started prac­tic­ing Vinyasa reg­u­larly that my en­tire yoga prac­tice deep­ened. It wasn’t about just the body any­more, it was more about yoga of the mind and the body as one.

“That’s when I felt yoga start­ing to af­fect my life in pos­i­tive ways. I was able to fo­cus more, I be­came more calm, and most im­por­tant—and the most re­cent de­vel­op­ment, I would say, in the last three or four years—I be­came more mind­ful. From prac­tic­ing yoga and then get­ting into med­i­ta­tion years ago, that’s when I re­ally re­al­ized that I wanted to share my love for yoga with other peo­ple.”

SHAR­ING THE LOVE

As fate would have it, four non-show­biz yoga prac­ti­tion­ers of­fered Bianca a coown­er­ship deal with a fran­chised branch of the Be­yond yoga stu­dio—the one in Rock­well Cen­ter, Makati City. The first two branches were in Que­zon City and at the Boni­fa­cio Global City com­plex in Taguig City—the two yoga stu­dios where Bianca used to prac­tice.

“I was ap­proached and was asked if I was in­ter­ested in own­ing a stu­dio,” Bianca re­veals. “So they of­fered, ac­tu­ally, for me to be a part of the Rock­well branch. And I thought this will be a good lo­ca­tion be­cause we’re such a small com­mu­nity here, like it’s so easy to walk here, and there was no yoga stu­dio of this size yet, at that time.”

The Rock­well branch of Be­yond opened its doors to the yoga com­mu­nity in Oc­to­ber of 2014.

“My role is to spread the love of yoga. I am the poster child of this stu­dio. I’m

The branch of Be­yond that Bianca is con­nected with is on the third floor of #38 Rock­well Drive, Rock­well Cen­ter, Makati City.

Be­yond’s re­cep­tion area features a statue of Bud­dha (above). The stu­dio sells prod­ucts such as th­ese multi-pur­pose scarves (left photo). It is also equipped with fully func­tional locker rooms for male and fe­male prac­ti­tion­ers, with toi­let and shower (left bot­tom photo).

Yoga, Bianca says, is for ev­ery­one: “No mat­ter what your pre­ferred work­out is or di­etary choice, or spir­i­tual prac­tice, I think yoga is the one con­stant thing that is the per­fect thing to cross-train with. Whether you’re into run­ning or you’re into surf­ing, or you’re into div­ing, or you’re even a se­ri­ous ath­lete, like you’re a bas­ket­ball player or a soc­cer player, or you are a mother, you’re a mil­len­nial, you are a se­nior cit­i­zen, you’re a child, it’s some­thing that ev­ery­one can do.”

Bianca her­self is into surf­ing, wake­board­ing, and scuba div­ing, among other things. In fact, dur­ing the YES! in­ter­view, she’s still mend­ing a bro­ken wrist that she got from snow­board­ing.

the stu­dio muse, if you will. Haha! No, I’m more on the mar­ket­ing side.”

As happy as she and her team are that they can share their life­style with other peo­ple, Bianca ad­mits that there are times when chal­lenges test their pa­tience.

“Busi­ness is very hard. There are good months, and there are bad months. And I learned a lot also about start­ing up a busi­ness. It’s be­ing very clear with your num­bers from the very start and con­ser­va­tively pro­ject­ing how much you could make.

“It’s al­ways a glam­orous idea to say, ‘Oh, I own a restau­rant. Oh, I own a yoga stu­dio. I own this, I own that.’ But the truth of the mat­ter is that, with a lot of celebri­ties who in­vest in other peo­ple’s ideas, more of­ten than not, it’s very easy to lose your money. I’m very grate­ful that that hasn’t hap­pened yet here, but in­vest­ing in this re­ally made me re­al­ize that there’s a lot more to it.

“It’s not just ‘You have the cash and it sounds like a good idea, put it there.’ There’s so much due dili­gence that needs to be done. But again, it comes hand in hand with my be­ing mind­ful. Like, at the start, I just took a leap of faith and there were learn­ings that hap­pened in the process. But, you know, that’s all part of my jour­ney, so I have no re­grets.”

The rise of the fit­ness in­dus­try in the Philip­pines, although a great revo­lu­tion for the health sec­tor, has given the Be­yond Rock­well team a chance to re-eval­u­ate its strate­gies and make the place bet­ter.

“It’s only now that we’re re­ally feel­ing the resur­gence,” Bianca ad­mits. “Be­cause the stu­dio was, I think, a bit af­fected by the surge in new types of work­out, I think. Let’s just say that— how could we prop­erly word that?— that the in­ter­est in fit­ness was boom­ing, so a lot of en­trepreneurs were bring­ing in new ideas, so cus­tomers were try­ing all th­ese other things. It’s re­ally only now, af­ter three years of be­ing open, that we’re feel­ing the peo­ple come back.”

The key, the Be­yond Rock­well team said, was to learn their strengths and weak­nesses.

“I think the most im­por­tant thing to note,” Bianca points out, “is that as in­vestors—not just my­self, as in­vestor and a busi­ness owner along with my part­ners—we quickly re­al­ized that we are not the type to be in the stu­dio all the time. So it was when we hired our man­ager, Ben Bern­abe, that things started to re­ally im­prove, be­cause he was al­ways on top of the mar­ket­ing, al­ways on top of the sales.

“Ben is ac­tu­ally our an­gel. But he’s been teach­ing yoga with the Be­yond group for years na. And we all liked him and we of­fered him the job. And we’re very grate­ful that he took it.”

When she is not prac­tic­ing yoga, which she does at least five times a week, Bianca ex­plores ways to fur­ther ex­pand the busi­ness and share the prac­tice of yoga with more peo­ple. Th­ese past few months, she has been fid­dling with the thought of bring­ing the stu­dio out­side of Metro Manila.

Bianca says her fa­vorite yoga pose is the head­stand.

“Head­stand was easy for me, I learned it in two weeks. But I’ve been try­ing to do arm bal­ances for the past—I don’t know, my God— six years, and I can’t do them, so I don’t know. And I also like for­ward-fold­ing, any type of for­ward-fold, be­cause length­en­ing your spine is very im­por­tant in yoga.

“I al­ways talk about the eas­i­est way to un­lock a lot of yoga poses. It’s to in­hale, stretch up, be­fore you bend for­ward. And when you bend for­ward, you suck in every­thing, and then next thing you know, chest will hit your chins.”

Here’s Bianca do­ing some yoga poses:

“Even­tu­ally, I would like to work in part­ner­ship with the stu­dio to do yoga re­treats out of town. Filipinos need to get out of Manila more of­ten. The city is too con­gested and it’s chaotic, and it leads us to be­lieve that cer­tain things are valu­able in life when ac­tu­ally they’re re­ally not.

“So in­stead of spend­ing your week­end in the city, be­ing stuck in traf­fic, go­ing mall to mall, drink­ing, you know, I wanna en­cour­age peo­ple to al­low them­selves a reg­u­lar breather, not just the oc­ca­sional va­ca­tion. You know, there are so many beau­ti­ful places out­side of Manila that you can drive to on a week­end.

“So I think it would be not just a unique fea­ture of the stu­dio, but again I think it would be my way of, like, ex­tend­ing how to give back even more by cre­at­ing th­ese events and cre­at­ing a com­mu­nity for the Be­yond Rock­well peo­ple out­side of the city as well. I mean, that would be, I think, like a dream of how to ex­pand the busi­ness on my side, like my con­tri­bu­tion to the busi­ness.”

CHANG­ING PER­SPEC­TIVES

There is a slow yet per­ti­nent life­style change that Bianca has been try­ing to pre­serve in the past few months.

The tele­serye Pu­song Li­gaw, which she head­lined with Beauty Gon­za­lez, ended its nine-month run last Jan­uary 2018. Tak­ing its place, ca­reer-wise, is a travel and life­style show Life’s a Beach, which will be shown on the Colours TV chan­nel.

In the first episode of Life’s a Beach, Bianca goes back to the mu­nic­i­pal­ity of Na­sugbu, in the prov­ince of Batan­gas. Un­known to most peo­ple, Na­sugbu was her child­hood play­ground, a place she vis­ited with her fam­ily ev­ery week­end.

“My par­ents just love the beach,” she re­calls. “And I grew up on a boat ev­ery week­end, and I grew up in a very, very beau­ti­ful part of Na­sugbu, where there are a lot of ex­pat home­own­ers. So that was my life­style as a child, and I re­vis­ited the ex­act house where I grew up. And I was just in awe of the place, and I re­al­ize, like, I need to throw re­treats here so peo­ple will come back to this side of Batan­gas, which is only two and a half hours away from the city. It’s so close.”

Her cur­rent stint in Life’s a Beach has made Bianca re­al­ize that it may be time to find her place in worlds out­side of act­ing. “If I were to con­tinue to do TV work, this is the type of work that I would re­ally like to do,” she ad­mits. “Like, not to play a char­ac­ter on TV any­more. I’d just play my­self and be that com­mu­ni­ca­tor for the au­di­ence and open their eyes to the beauty in the world that they need to see through the food, and travel, and be­ing out­doors and na­ture.”

It is also through this self- dis­cov­ery that she has learned to em­brace her dream of shar­ing the im­por­tance of tak­ing care of the en­vi­ron­ment: “One of my cen­tral fo­cuses in the show is talk­ing about sus­tain­abil­ity. So it’s not just food and travel and the fun stuff, but it ac­tu­ally tack­les the ques­tions: How do you keep th­ese beaches clean? Where does your garbage go? How is it af­fect­ing the com­mu­ni­ties that live in the beaches where you’re va­ca­tion­ing?”

Her yoga prac­tice has also shifted Bianca’s per­spec­tive on her eat­ing habits. Since late last year, she has stopped eat­ing pork and beef. “In­dus­trial an­i­mal farm­ing in gen­eral is the big cause of pol­lu­tion and cli­mate change,” she says. “Through prac­tic­ing yoga and the mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion, you be­come more self-aware, not just with your­self, but also the en­vi­ron­ment, the things you con­sume, and the garbage that you cre­ate, im­prov­ing your re­la­tion­ship with every­thing else.”

Now the new TV host, who just celebrated her 32nd birth­day last March 18, is on her way to dis­cov­er­ing a part of her true self that may have al­ways been there, but which was in hid­ing while she was ful­fill­ing her role as an ac­tress.

“I’ve al­ways strug­gled with leav­ing the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try,” she tells YES! “Be­cause ev­ery time there was an op­por­tu­nity, I would al­ways pri­or­i­tize that. But af­ter 14 years of be­ing in the busi­ness, I’ve come to re­al­ize that I need to put my en­ergy into other things, ’cause I have only so much to give. And you know, work­ing on TV and in films can re­ally drain the life out of you, men­tally, emo­tion­ally, spir­i­tu­ally, and phys­i­cally.

“And though I’m very grate­ful for the ca­reer that I’ve had, for me to be able to pur­sue the other things that I love, like yoga, and well­ness, and sus­tain­abil­ity, pro­tect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment, I’m gonna have to, like, take a step back first. Be­cause if I don’t do it now, when else am I gonna do it, right? I don’t have a hus­band, I don’t have a child yet, so now is the time for me to re­ally chan­nel my en­ergy into other things that will give back to peo­ple in a new way, and not just by en­ter­tain­ing them on TV.”

Be­yond’s spa­cious stu­dio is equipped with yoga ham­mocks, mats, and props. The ham­mocks are used for the Anti­Grav­ity Fit­ness classes.

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