First Filpino astronaut prepares for space travel

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‘Sometimes during class, I imagine myself in space already,’ says Chino Roque who will soon become the first Filipino astronaut

‘Sometimes during class, I imagine myself in space already,’ says Chino Roque who will soon become the first Filipino astronaut

When you are set to travel in space, energized calmness can come in handy.

This and more are what Chino Roque gain from practicing Bikram yoga. Roque, an athlete and crossfit coach, will soon become the first Filipino astronaut to join the 22 other AXE Apollo Space Academy winners who will go onboard XCOR Aerospace’s Lynx spaceplane.

Roque prepares for his space travel by alternating between Crossfit and Bikram yoga. His mother and sister, who both regularly attend yoga classes on weekends, introduced him to yoga. He came to know Bikram yoga, a form of yoga done inside a heated studio, when his team in Crossfit Manila South tried the Hot Start promo of Bikram Yoga Alabang (BYA).

As a Crossfit coach, Chino believes in constantly mixing up his training regimen and trying new things to surprise his body.


“Recently, I felt very stiff. With our space travel coming up, I wanted to make sure that I have the edge in moving better.

Thinking of a good stretch with a little mix of training under pressure, I had Bikram yoga in mind,” says Chino.

Taking his commitment to Bikram yoga a notch higher, Chino joined the biannual BYA 4×4 Challenge where students are required to complete four classes in a week for four weeks. The challenge encouraged yogis to step out of their comfort zone and unleash their competitive side.

“Competition brings out the best in any individual. I believe that putting my foot in the door in this competition will keep me motivated and give me a sense of commitment to practice,” adds Chino. “I find practicing four times a week ideal for any discipline.”

Bikram yoga involves a series of 26 postures (asanas) and two breathing exercises (pranayamas). Bikram yoga practitioners often mention physical toughness and focus as the key to surviving every session. According to Chino, being in a hot room for an hour and a half is not easy. He finds himself drenched in sweat and almost at the verge of passing out. But Chino acknowledges that he has experienced some obvious benefits from the practice.

For one, he is able to maintain his tip-top shape. He no longer feels guilty for having several cheat days because Bikram yoga allows him to detoxify and burn calories. The poses also serve him well. “The more I stretch, the better I move through my workouts. This reduces the risks of injury and gives me that edge when doing high-intensity workouts,” he explains.

Just like other Bikram yoga practitioners, Chino testifies to the tranquility that Bikram yoga brings. “Sometimes during class, I imagine myself in space already. That’s the moment when you don’t hear anything other than your own breathing. Breathing is the foundation of one’s yoga practice,” he says. “After class, I always feel the absence of stress and of course, the sense of peace.”

Chino is one of the 57 challengers who finished the BYA Challenge. Aside from the BYA 4×4 Challenge, BYA also held the 30-day Challenge that encouraged students to practice Bikram Yoga for 30 straight days.

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