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Dr. D.G. Simbulan, Jr. attended the 10th Asian Public Intellectuals Regional Forum in Chiang Mai from Nov. 19 - 24, 2011, where he delivered a paper on his research theme, "Theories and Practices of Mindfulness in Asian Traditions: Historical Context and Relevance to the Modern World", based on his fellowship activities last year when he was based at the Kyoto University's Kokoro Research Center as an API Visiting Senior Fellow.

Dr. Dante G. Simbulan, Jr. was in Japan from July 31 - Nov. 16, 2011 as a Visiting Research Fellow at Nagoya University Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, his alma mater, conducting studies on yogic pranayama, focusing on the effects of slow breathing exercises on autonomic functions using the heart rate variability (HRV) technique based on ECG recordings.

In addition to his research activities at the Nagoya University, he also conducted mindful yoga sharing sessions for therapists of the Multi-Disciplinary Pain Center of the Aichi Medical University in Nagoya City every Monday evening, helping them develop future mind-body training protocols for their patients. The mindful yoga sessions are based on the hatha yoga component of the Mindfulness-Bssed Stress Reduction Program started at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine in 1978.

While the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, formerly DLS-HSC, initiated earlier initiatives in Campus wellness for employees on a small scale since 2006, with a Yoga Workshop organized by the HRD and the Center for Indigenous Medicine of the Research Services, other campus of De La Salle Philippines are now spearheading their own similar wellness programs. Recently, the DLS-HSI has initiated aerobic classes at the ANIMO CENTER to encourage fitness awareness among its employees. The CIM of the Research Services still continues regurlar weekly classes at the Angelo King Medical Research Center since January 2007. (The Yoga Classes are on hold from August 1 - Nov. 30) while Dr. Simbulan, the CIM Yoga program teacher, is in Japan on a research fellowship focused on yoga and meditation).

Below is an article from Inguirer:

‘Animo’ for fitness–think chair yoga routines
By: Walter Ang
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:15 am | Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

As the school year opens, in addition to celebrating its centennial, De La Salle University will be charging ahead with a health and wellness program for its faculty, administrators and staff.

“Our ‘Animo Wellness’ campaign consists of a health and wellness information drive and a series of activities that promote a healthy lifestyle among our employees,” says Edwin Reyes, director of the university’s Office for Sports Development. “Employees observe a full trimestral schedule that can be very stressful.”

Employees are motivated through a Passport to Wellness, where they collect stamps for every in-campus Animo Wellness activity joined. Those who gain the correct number of stamps qualify for raffles, where treats such as iPod Nanos with Adidas miCoach kits and spa retreats are given away.

Starting this trimester, employees will be sent a packet containing information on risks associated with an unhealthy Body Mass Index, an indicator of body fat calculated from a person’s weight and height. “The kit contains a measuring tape with instructions on how to use it to compute for one’s BMI,” Reyes says.

On the campus, a series of posters posing the question “What are you going to do about it?” will challenge them about their BMI measurement results. “Other posters and stickers will announce that hypertension is the leading ailment of DLSU employees, while offering simple but useful fitness trivia called ‘Live Green Tips,’” he says.

Since weight and hypertension issues are linked not just to exercise but also diet, the campaign will also encourage proper nutrition through healthy eating. Electronic billboards, posters and stickers around the campus will carry nutrition information on cafeteria food.

The university will also hold two programs that “employees can easily incorporate in their daily lives.”

“Stairway to Wellness” encourages the use of the stairs instead of elevators in going less than three floors up or down. “We’ll have posters on elevator walls and along stairwells that note the number of calories that can be burned and the cardiovascular and other physical benefits that can be achieved in using the stairs,” he says.

“Later on, the ‘Stairway to Wellness’ will ‘level-up’ into the ‘Conquer Andrew Challenge,’” he says, Andrew being Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall, a 21-story campus building where a stair-climbing competition will be held.

A series of easy-to-follow chair yoga routines will be shown on electronic billboards around campus and uploaded on YouTube.


The Animo Wellness is meant to be a long-term campaign, and builds on efforts that were already in place to promote wellness in the community.

Last year, the university held a weight-loss challenge inspired by the television show “Biggest Loser” for faculty and students. “The challenge was a success with the turnout and the resulting weight loss of its participants,” Reyes says.

Health and wellness seminars are regularly held with experts as speakers. “Last year we had topics ranging from basic life support to stress relief to increasing one’s emotional quotient,” he says.

“The Animo Wellness campaign targets not just the physical well-being, but mental, emotional and spiritual health of participants as well,” he notes.

To this end, the university also maintains Shalom Center, a 100-sq m in-campus facility intended as a place for faculty and staff to rest, relax and engage in wellness activities such as meditation, massage and yoga.

It features several air-conditioned lounge areas, a silent room, coffee area and a media lounge where guests can relax to music and videos. Reflexology services and yoga classes are offered. “The center hosts activities year-round like videoke night, comedy night, book club. We average around 30 visits a day,” he says.

“Our founder, Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, dedicated his life to educating the less fortunate,” Reyes says. “He’s the patron saint of teachers. It’s only fitting that we also teach our teachers how to stay fit so they can teach well. Healthy people contribute to a productive society.”

Brother Camillus Chavez, FSC a Lasallian Brother who teaches as a social-clinical psychologist in Saint Mary’s College of California, is now in the Philippines to lead a series of workshops in Lasallian schools in Luzon and Visayas. From Jan. 28 - 30, 2011, he conducted a Lasallian meditation workshop for educators, counselors, campus ministers, and graduate students at the De La Salle University Dasmarinas campus. The event was orqanized by the Student Wellness Center of DLSU-Dasmarinas, the guidance and counseling unit of the university.

For more information, see Bro. Camillus Chavez' website at http://www.brothercamillus.com
Last Jan. 27, 2011, from 1 - 5 pm, a "Nutrition, Exercise and Yoga" Workshop for Seniors was conducted by the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM), in cooperation with the Federation of Senior Citizens of Dasmarinas City, Cavite and the Dasmarinas City Social Welfare and Development Office. (pictures to be posted soon)

Dr. Susan Balingit, CIM Chair, gave a lecture on "Nutrition" based on traditional plant-based diets, and how that helps to maintain good health even for seniors.

The importance of exercise and stress reduction was highlighted by the brief lecture and practicum on Chair Yoga facilitated by Dr. Dante G. Simbulan, Jr., the CIM Yoga teacher and head of the Mind-Body Studies Section.
The API Senior Fellowship report of Dr. Dante G. Simbulan, Jr., during his stay at Kyoto University, Japan (August 1 - Nov. 30, 2010) will soon be posted here. It covers a range of activities from academic database work, immersion in formal mindfulness practices, community outreach activities facilitating workshops, attending academic conferences and meetings. as well as giving a presentation at an international symposium on stress reduction based on Eastern traditions.

Dr. Dante G. Simbulan, Jr. has been awarded a research fellowship by the ASIAN PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM (TNF) for the year 2010 - 2011 for a research paper writing and database project on mindfulness practices. The API Awarding Ceremony was held on March 19, 2010 at the ATENEO DE MANILA UNIVERSITY. He will be based in Kyoto University, Japan for 4 months for his research writing, database and networking project. The Kokoro Mirai Kenkyuu Sentaa (Kokoro Research Center) of Kyoto University, through the kindness of Prof. Sakiko Yoshikawa (Chair of the Center) and Prof. Carl Becker (adviser on meditation research studies), will be serving as his host institution during his 4 month research stint in Kyoto, Japan (August 1 - Nov. 30, 2010). He expresses his heartfelt gratitude to the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute for the continuing support for his research initiatives on complementary and integrative medicine, and for the Asian Public Intellectuals Fellowship Program for the invaluable support they have extended. For the project abstract, see: http://www.api-fellowships.org/body/profile_detail.php?usr_id=362

The research paper writing and database project will be in preparation for an exploratory clinical study in the future with Japanese colleagues.

For a complete list of Fellows from the Philippines for year 2010 - 2011, see : http://www.admu.edu.ph/index.php?p=120&type=2&sec=26&aid=8150 . A complete list of all API Fellows from the Philippines from year 2000 is shown in the following link: http://www.api-fellowships.org/body/profile.php.

Picture above: The recently concluded ASIAN PUBLIC INTELLECTUALS Program 10th Anniversary Forum-Workshops held at the Ateneo University. Fellows from 5 Asian countries were there to celebrate the occasion.
As part of efforts to develop the alternative medicine program of the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, Dante Simbulan, Jr. took his early interest in meditation into the academic sphere, dating back from his Japan days as a researcher in the 1980s - late 1997. To look into the potential of meditation in the field of psychoneuroimmunology and stress management, he was motivated to look into the experiential challenges. From 2003 - 2006, he took up formal weekend meditation classes at the Ocean Sky Chan monastery in San Juan Metromanila, coupled with classes in Qigong and Tai Chi. In 2004, he assisted the former chair of DLSHSI's Center for Indigenous Medicine in starting the Mind-Body Studies Program. From 2006 - May 2009, appointed chair of the Center for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (formerly Indigenous Medicine) of DLSHSI), he started the yoga training program of DLSHSI, organizing workshops by inviting teachers from outside, till he himself got trained as a yoga teacher.

D.G. Simbulan, Jr. took up his first yoga teachers' training at the Yoga Vidya Gurukul in Nasik, Maharashtra, India (http://yogapoint.com)in March/ April 2007. Before that he took a year (2006) of basic yoga training with Ananda Marga Maharlika in the Philippines, with Ms. Malati as his teacher. He has also been trained by teachers from the International Yoga Institute (Phil.), as well as took up classes with teachers at the Iyengar Yoga Manila and Yoga Manila.

He now conducts yoga classes using a mindfulness yoga format, using mindfulness meditation and hatha yoga routines for training in general fitness and stress management inside and outside of the De La Salle Health Sciences community.

Below is a video of such training of a recent batch at the Yoga Vidya Gurukul in India .

The following year (2008), he stayed at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health (Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA) for his second Kripalu yoga teacher training course and similar programs (Kripalu Bodyworks) in June-July , 2008, and Insight Yoga with Sarah Powers in May 2009.

Below is a video of a similar program of Kripalu Yoga training (done in other sites in the U.S., using the Kripalu method).

Faculty members of the UP College of Social Work and Community Development organized Saturday mindful Kripalu yoga classes in the morning on an 8-week cycle as part of their wellness program. These classes started last February 6, 2010. The classes were facilitated by Dr. Dante G. Simbulan, Jr., a Professor of the Dept of Physiology of the College of Medicine of De La Salle Health Sciences Institute, a certified Kripalu Yoga teacher (Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, Massachusetts, USA) and also a Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher (Yoga pravesh) from Yoga Vidya Gurukul (Maharashtra, India).

(picture from Kripalu website)

Kripalu Yoga Fellowship is a yoga movement in North America which was inspired by the late Swami Kripalu in the late 1960s, an Indian monk from Northwest India. It is now based in Stockbridge, Massachussets where it runs the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, operating as the biggest training center in North America, focusing on yoga, ayurvedic medicine, mindfulness-based massage and other holistic healing modalities. Kripalu Yoga, a non-denominational practice of self-awareness, is an integration of yoga, western psychology and other scientific disciplines to promote mindfulness in daily life, which calls it as the "bigger yoga of life".(For more information on the Kripalu Yoga Fellowship, see http://kripalu.org)