Wellness Stories + Insights

Never miss a blog.


Mudras (hand gestures) have been in existence for thousands of years. It is an ancient to facilitate the flow of energy in our body. I was quite skeptical when I was hearing about it for the first time. How can the mere positioning of our fingers control the different elements of our body — namely fire, air, space, earth, and water?

When I went to India for my Yoga Teachers Training, I challenged myself to just bring the bare essentials — a carry-on duffle bag for my clothes and a big purse for my valuables. And so I simply forgot to bring my meds for my acid reflux. As expected, due to the drastic change in my diet and routine, it didn't last a week before it started to manifest. There was no pharmacy in the area, and it was too difficult to move around without a Hindi-speaking companion. So I had no choice — I turned to my newfound handy dandy remedy. I placed the tip of my pointer at the base of the thumb to decrease air and waited.

After a few minutes, I had to stand up and move away from people as the air was coming out of my body from above and below. Well, to put it bluntly, they're called burps and farts. Ever since my mudra experience, I've been managing my gastric and digestive tract disorders and even my chronic migraine without any oral medication. I haven't swallowed a single mefenamic acid or antacid pill for six years — and counting.

Recently, my appreciation of Mudras was renewed at a whole new level. I hosted a group of campers over the weekend and the weather was quite unpredictable. I was exposed to sudden changes in weather conditions, sweating from the heat to getting rain showered on and off until past midnight — without being cognizant of changing my top. When I woke up the following day, I knew that there was something wrong with my system. I felt feverish without the temp. I needed a quick fix as I needed to wrap up the campers' experience for a few more hours. I sat for 15 minutes, did some breathwork, and meditated while doing Apana Vayu mudra.

I felt a flux of energy swirling in and around the interior space of my body, which ended with a jolt-like surge of energy — similar to the kind of jerk that we experience when we doze off into a power nap.

When I opened my eyes, I felt refreshed and energized.

I was good as new!

I know that Mudras have no solid scientific backing. But as long as it works, why not use it. In this case, the end does justify the means.

I've been a pescatarian since 2016. People would ask me, "What do you mean pescatarian?" I would jokingly answer, "I don't eat animals with legs." Until someone raised a valid point that squids and octopuses have legs — and I do eat them. So I changed my statement. "I don't eat creatures with toes."

I was lucky that becoming a pescatarian wasn't forced upon me. It wasn't because of any health issues, nor dictated by religion. It was a decision made by my gut after coming back from my Yoga Teachers Training in Mysore, India.

India has the largest vegetarian population. And Mysore or Mysuru is the yoga capital of the world. Even yogis who visit this place are mostly vegetarians or vegans. And we all know that cows are sacred in India. So I was deprived of meat during my whole stay.

I thought that coming home to two grown men who are carnivorous would easily make me flip to my default meal — which was all-day breakfast. Yup! Spam, sausages, corned beef, sunny side-ups, and garlic fried rice. But to my surprise, when I eagerly tasted a tocino (cured pork) lying on our breakfast table for the first time after a month of no meat, I almost puked. Now, aside from being pescatarian, I would hardly eat rice.

Changing our eating habits is really difficult. Especially for Filipinos whose pastime is eating, snacking, munching, dining, and anything that would keep our mouths busy and stomachs happy.

Here are three A's to help you practice mindful eating.

  1. Aim: Ask yourself what's your intention — based on the timing and amount of the food. Your answer should be because it's time to eat and your body is telling you that it's hungry. Which means you need to nourish it.

  2. Attention: When you're eating, make sure that you put yourself in the present moment. Know that it takes our mind 20 minutes to process that our stomach is full. As much as possible, pace your eating, chew your food well before swallowing, and savor your meal.

  3. Access: Don't make it convenient for you to grab sweets, chips, or any bad food that you have decided not to eat. Make sure you don't buy them and ask your housemates or colleagues not to leave bars of chocolates for example lying around the house or office tables.

Food is meant to help us live a happy and healthy life. And it's also meant to be enjoyed in the company of the people close to our hearts. Anything that's excessive will do us no good.

Let's be in control, and eat mindfully.

Join my wellness tribe!

Let's keep it real! Not all people can afford to be a fur mama or dada — especially if you or someone in the family have respiratory issues such as asthma or allergic rhinitis. Well, you can always opt to adopt a goldfish or turtle instead. But what are pets really for? With all the added chores and responsibilities it requires, is it still worth the effort?

Studies say that having pets, especially dogs and cats, improves our mental, emotional, and physical wellness. Here are my favorite reasons amongst others:

  1. It's pretty obvious that dogs require us to do more physical activity. Going outdoors to take them for a walk regularly will push us to exercise and breathe some fresh air.

  2. Having pets help us cope with stress and anxiety. From cuddles to licking our faces, we're getting so much attention and unconditional love without asking.

  3. Having pets by our side in public places would more likely increase our social interaction, spreading positivity and joy to others.

  4. Petting cats and dogs help lower blood pressure allowing our body to release the feel-good hormone - oxytocin.

  5. From infancy, kids with pets are less likely to develop allergies and have stronger immune systems.

I'm no fur mama — just a fur aunt. I try to reap the benefits of having a pet by spending time with our farm animals as often as I can. After a long and stressful work week, nothing beats petting a bunny rabbit or hanging around cows and sheep.

Photo by Perchek Industrie from Pexels.j

Joana Alberto

is to breathe love and compassion in every passing moment— into our thoughts, words and in the works of our hands."