On Body Thoughts & Being a Banana by Anita Cheung

About a month ago, I was invited to be a part of my friend Alexa's latest Body Thoughts project- a video and photoshoot in collaboration with Death To Stock. Initially, I was hesitant to share this video as I believed I sound like a world class ditz (ending sentences in a question drives me NUTS and I can’t believe I do it so much), however, I’ve reconsidered as there is one statement I feel needs to be heard.

 

“Sometimes I wonder if the world takes me seriously.”

 

Being the trifecta combination of female, short, and a person of colour (also young-er although youth is relative so I’m leaving that one out), I often feel that I not only get passed over on a professional level, but I also stick out like a sore thumb in certain settings.

 

Growing up, I always wanted to be something I wasn’t. Not unusual for the typical angsty teenager; however, it was mildly concerning that not only did I wish I was skinnier, prettier, and taller (typical), but I also wanted to change things about me that simply couldn’t be changed. I wished my eyes were rounder and bluer, my hair blonder, and the bridge of my nose higher. I was explaining to Rob the other night how all the YA fiction books I read in my formative years would have a vast array of descriptions for girls with “flaxen hair”, “golden hair”, “eyes the colour of the ocean”. Heck, I’d take “mousey brown” over what I got- which was no representation at all. I think 12 year old Anita was over the moon when she read that Harry Potter had a crush on an ASIAN CHICK.

image via pinterest. 

image via pinterest. 

They say you can’t be what you can’t see. And what the adolescent version of myself was seeing was a message, loud and clear, that “Asian” was not beautiful. At most, it was fetishized. And being a teen girl, all you want is to be beautiful.

And so I rejected my culture in any way that I could. I dated white guys, did “white girl” things like join sororities, and started to forget my first language. I worked multiple jobs in university so that I could afford to do the things that my peers were doing because my parents surely couldn’t pay for it. I was ashamed of the percentage of ethnic friends I had over non-ethnic, and was always self conscious whenever we went out for fear of being labeled “that group of Asian girls”. I proudly wore the title of being a banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) and I made it very clear and apparent that I “wasn’t that kind of Asian”- whatever that meant. I didn’t want to be lumped in with “hongers” (people from Hong Kong) or “fobs” (people from Mainland China). I’m a CBC- which makes me above all that. (Side note: navigating the generational and cultural divide as a CBC is a whole other story for another day.)

Fresh off the Boat- aka my life growing up. (image via pinterest) 

Fresh off the Boat- aka my life growing up. (image via pinterest) 

I distinctly recall a particular conversation with one of my good friends in university- also Chinese. I was explaining to her that a parent always wants to be able to provide the best for their children and in our case and in this world that we live in, with the messaging that we receive, what is “best” is “white”. I suspected that in some weird subconscious part of our CBC brain, dating and marrying Caucasian, is to “breed the Asian out” because it simply doesn’t fit into Darwinian’s evolutionary theory to do otherwise. (Also, there are no portrayals of sexy Asian men in the media so that’s a thing too.) I still can’t believe those words came out of my mouth and it chills me to think that at one time I passionately stood behind that belief.

The #starringjohncho movement= so great. (image via http://sbs.com.au) 

The #starringjohncho movement= so great. (image via http://sbs.com.au) 

 

I wish I could say that those feelings all ended when I grew into adulthood. Despite the fact that Vancouver is a relatively multicultural city (and some will argue it’s WAY TOO FULL OF CHINESE PEOPLE), there are still times where I feel like I don’t belong. I didn’t grow up with family cabins or friends with family cabins- my parents were immigrants who barely spoke English, my dad worked two jobs to give my sister and I a relatively normal childhood. I didn’t grow up listening to Journey or watching movies like Dazed and Confused- I watched Asian soap operas instead (along with The Simpsons and Friends because, you know, #CBClife.) I’ve met people who were shocked to know that I had never heard such and such song or seen such and such movie because it’s a “cult classic” and something they grew up with. How does one explain that it simply wasn’t even on my radar?  I personally don’t think it should be my responsibility to “get caught up”- as if my upbringing wasn’t good enough so I have to make up for lost time. 

 

Back to this video. When I talked to Alexa prior to the shoot, she mentioned how she wanted stock photography to appropriately reflect the rising shift in demographics and culture. I shared with her that I know some photographers who refuse to take photos of Asian people (or ethnic people in general) because they aren’t conventionally beautiful enough for their portfolio (or their instagram likes). Pair this with the recent conversations about whitewashing in Hollywood and it looks like, and sounds like, 11 year old Anita’s fears are still true- that there is one, and only one, “look” for beauty.

 

My hope with sharing this video and Alexa’s movement is that this will begin to change. I know the wheels are already turning (exciting!) and I would love for generations to come to grow up in a world where this discussion is no longer needed.

 

Feel The Feels by Anita Cheung

The other day, I woke up feeling pretty much on top of the world. 8 Hours of sleep, sunshine pouring into my bedroom, and it was a Sunday. Recipe for a good day, am'right? 

I reached over to pick up my phone to check messages and social media and the first message I saw was this, from one of my best friends the night before: 
 

"OMMMMMMMMGGGGGG.
OMG.
JOSH*
KRISTIN.*
CONFIRMED.
HAND HOLDING.
JUST SAW.
YOU WERE RIGHT." 


*Names changed. Also, backstory: Josh is my ex from uni whom at one point in my naive, young 20 year old mind, I thought I was going to marry one day. Kristin is a girl who dated Josh for a bit until I came into the picture. For most of university, he didn't have very nice things to say about her to me and I always felt like she didn't like me very much despite having mutual friends. Juicy goss stage is set. 

Oh, and the "You were Right" bit- just the day before, I had speculated with my friend that I had a feeling they were dating. Women's intuition.. what what. 

Upon reading this, I felt like my heart dropped into my stomach. And immediately, my brain started to fire: 
 


"Wow. _(insert snide comment here)___" 
"Why are you even upset? The relationship crashed and burned at the end and you dated someone else."
"You're above all that anyway. You're in such a better place now."
"Don't think too much about it. Focus on all the cool shit you're doing!" 

And I get it.
Thank you Brain for trying to be my voice of reason. However, all these rational thoughts were starting to suffocate me and I felt fuzzy, disoriented, and wanted to get to the bottom of how I truly felt about this. 

6e5da2cc2df363f3d1d1731425e01143.jpg

One thing I've picked up recently, and have been teaching in many of my classes, is to let the dust settle. All the thoughts I had, albeit great at attempting to comfort me, were simply stirring up more dust. An alternative way to look at it is the thoughts were quick to smother me in blankets and hurry me along to the next thing so I couldn't even really feel or process what I felt. Great survival mechanism, but not serving me in this case.

So I started writing. I pulled out a notebook and just wrote down whatever came to mind. Why I thought this bothered me (even when I don't have any romantic feelings for him.) How I feel about the situation. What questions I had. The question that kept coming up was this:

"I wonder if he regrets our relationship?" 

And I was stuck. I couldn't get past that thought or the story that he "chose" me all those years ago and here he was backtracking. That perhaps deep in his mind he regrets the years we had together because they were years he could've had with her. I know. Crazy. I didn't know why this thought persisted or why it bothered me so much so I decided to stop focusing on what's going on in someone else's mind and focus on my own.
 

So I meditated, quelle surprise.

I knew the more I focused on thoughts, the more they would just swirl around and shapeshift in my head. I was re-introduced to a meditation recently in which the focus is less on breath or thoughts and more so on how the heart feels. Now before your eyes glaze over, I, too, was skeptical at first. When I was first told to bring my attention to "the sensations around my heart", my scientific brain took over and I thought: "The heart doesn't FEEL things, and besides, this idea we have of our heart is totally romanticized".In that first instance, I simply said-

I don't feel anything.

I was told by the person guiding me through this exercise-

exactly. It's because you've been building up all these walls, you can't access that part of you right now. 
 

So what does one do when we're shut out? Well, just like we would if we were locked out in real life. We knock. Gently. We approach, treading softly, with gifts of patience and compassion and layer by layer, feelings and stories unfold. 

In this case, it came back to this almost child-like feeling of

being afraid that I am, in the end, unloveable.

Not good enough to be loved.

Whoa.

Just like you would cradle and soothe a child who was feeling that way, I gave my little icebox heart a warm hug. Instead of brushing off the things I was feeling, I gave myself space to feel this way while gently reassuring myself that I am loveable.

And little by little, the more i did this, the better I felt with the situation. Was I thrilled about it? No- but when is anyone ever stoked to see their ex find someone else first? However, the whimpering inner child was acknowledged and I was definitely starting to feel at peace with it all. When the dust settled, I found clarity and this clarity reminded me that my path is the only one I need to worry about.

I know, this sounds pretty absurd and a bit of a roundabout way to a resolution. After all, my brain told me from the start to "focus on my own cool shit". However, had I gone that route, I would not have had the chance to process or acknowledging my feelings, and just like a child who feels neglected, I knew the feelings would continue to bubble up at inopportune times and take the shape of a bitter bitch. 

IMG_0477.JPG

So after I had this moment with myself, I went for brunch with friends and told them about what happened. Friends are great at making you feel better- at least in the short term. They remind us that we're "sooo much better off without him anyway". While I love my friends to bits and these  words definitely work to cheer us up; by believing these bandaid statements, we are doing ourselves a disservice. We layer on these blankets, suffocating our poor little hearts from feeling the things it wants to feel. Eventually we forget what it feels like to emote from the heart and not the head. In the end, our feelings just want to be acknowledged. Rather than seeking someone else to fill the gap and do the job (hello rebound!), who better to acknowledge these feelings than ourselves.

It is a little bit scary to dig away and a whole lot frightening to open the Pandora's box of feels but trust me on this one, it is incredibly liberating. 



Side note: It's funny how the Universe presents these situations to you when you're ready. It has been over a year and a half with absolutely no word, sight, nor contact with Josh despite living in such a "small world" Vancouver. However, I had recently started to consider calling off my "Man Detox" that i launched last May and sought out some guidance/ personal development around relationships to dig through the emotional muck and baggage I (along with everyone else) carry around. One week later, boom- this. 

Okay, I'll take my woo-woo beliefs and go now. 

The Why by Anita Cheung

This is the “Why” post that I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I’ve shared bits of this story with people during MOMENT, however I’ve never really been open to My “Why” until now. I guess I wanted to be “sure” that I was ready to share; however, let’s be honest- when are we ever really sure of anything? If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that nothing is for certain.   

During MOMENT, when asked about my interest in meditation, I often said “it saved my life”. And here’s how.

 

I’m sure I could peel apart the onion layers to this story and it’ll take me back to some traumatic child hood event; however, I’ll stick to what I know and remember.

Have you ever had a moment or a time in your life that was so impactful, things would forever be known as pre- "____" and post -"____"?

 About three years ago, I started to find myself sad for seemingly no reason.  I say no reason because on the very superficial level, things weren’t too bad. I was in my last year of university and acing my classes, actively involved on campus with my sorority & other organizations, held multiple fun and engaging part time jobs and had a good group of friends as well as a significant other. Pretty damned good. 

See, totally normal university student. 

See, totally normal university student. 

However, I began to be overwhelmed by a sensation of a “heavy heart”. There really is no other way to describe it and no way to explain what triggered it. It was almost as if I suddenly saw the world and life, not just my life but life as a whole, as this miserable, melancholic place to be and couldn't unsee it.   

So the stage is set. Let me just mention that a lot of this unhappiness was definitely NOT visible from the outside looking in. Additionally, the negative thoughts didn’t live with me every minute of every day. They would pop up every so often and stick around for a day or two before leaving again. 

I don’t actually remember too much about how I felt prior to leaving for Australia in July 2012. It sort of felt like I was on autopilot. I do remember a few things:

  • I remember HUGE fights with my family
  • I remember HUGE fights with my significant other. Screaming matches, he said she saids, unrealistic expectations, and a bit of physical violence to keep things interesting.
  • I remember entertaining the thought of wanting to escape. That this just wasn't worth it & I wanted it to end. I called the suicide hotline one time hoping in the back of my head that they could persuade me to not think these thoughts . They didn't "say what I wanted/ needed to hear" and so I hung up.
  • I remember one night, while my significant other was out with his friends, I was feeling so absolutely alone. I started to google all the different over the counter pills and concoctions one could take to end their lives. I called my significant other asking him about different pills (he has a few pharmacist friends) and I knew a part of me wanted him to come see me and tell me not to have these thoughts. He told me to stop thinking crazy thoughts and to go to bed.
  • I remember telling two of my closest friends- one girl and one guy about how I had really dark thoughts that would leave me crying for no reason. I don’t remember what they said but I remember wanting to hear a certain something- I just didn’t know what that something was.
  • I remember at some point I switched gears- I got excited about the possibility of leaving this cruddy city behind and starting new in Australia.

 

Now, in all the time in Melbourne, not once did I feel or think any of these thoughts. I still don’t know why but I can guess it’s probably because I was living in this care free, idealistic world with no consequences (at least in my head). In the year after returning from Melbourne, all I wanted was to go back. So much so that the night before leaving to fly home to Vancouver almost two years ago, I was so ridden with worry about those “dark thoughts” finding me again that I started to bawl.

Image not mine- found on pinterest

Image not mine- found on pinterest

 

Upon returning home, the first thing my ex-significant other (& at the time- friend) said was- “it’s clear to everyone you don’t want to be here.” He couldn’t have been more correct. I was just waiting for the dark thoughts to spring up on me again. I found work, started to find a new life back in Vancouver and it didn’t feel too bad. I felt like I had things under control with my personal life- it was just my romantic life that was an absolute shit show. It wasn’t until the whole love life blew up in my face when those thoughts crawled back and burrowed themselves into my mind.

 

Around the Fall of 2013, I was on the edge every night. As in THE edge- between wanting to tough it out and wanting to give up. The straw had finally broken the camel's back. I had just ended things with my long distance boyfriend and had completely cut communication with the ex before him. I was basically ping-ponging between the two. (Which sounds way more sexual and way more fun than it actually was.) I told my Vancouver ex how low I was feeling and he was terrified & wanted nothing to do with me. So I bounced back to the Australian ex in hopes that we could rekindle something. I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to matter to someone because I didn’t matter to myself. 

 

At one point, I remember feeling so alone and so hopeless and thinking

"I hope to god no one else ever feels this way. "

And then I thought

"maybe everyone else feels this way, they’re just better at dealing with it."

At which point I then thought-

"Well, I’m just a shitty human being then. Why bother?"

The best way to describe how I was feeling is with this metaphor I came up with one day in the midst of it all:
 

“It’s like being in a cold, dark, terrifying circular funhouse room with many doors. I’m rushing, frenzied, from one door to another hoping for a way out. Looking for happiness but not finding anything.”

via @frenchwords on instagram 

via @frenchwords on instagram 

 

I didn’t feel comfortable describing myself as “suicidal”. Heck, I still don’t like that word. I mean, thoughts of suicide don’t happen to me! I was trained in suicide prevention at my workplace with the Student Health Center on campus for pete’s sake.

Yet these thoughts persisted. I found a website that rated the different ways to end your life in terms of efficacy, pain, etc.

I ruled out hanging because I didn’t want anyone to find a swollen, blue body. I ruled out OD’ing because there was a high chance of surviving with terrible side effects. I wanted something that was quick, guaranteed, and relatively painless. There was absolutely no emotion behind any of this process- it was methodical.

At one point, I was heading to the states alone and was talked out of irrational thoughts by the Aussie.  Whether he actually loved me at that point or not, he said he did and the fact that someone cared for me (because I sure didn’t care for myself at that point) stopped me. To that, I owe him.

And so I continued on. Highly volatile. Fighting with the Aussie, feeling alone yet not wanting to bother any of my friends because at this point, I was so cynical about other people. I remember telling some of my closest friends and my sister at one point. Once again, what they said wasn’t the “right” thing nor the thing I felt like I needed/ wanted to hear.  Granted, who can blame them? Even I didn’t know what I needed to hear. I know what I DIDN’T want to hear and that was the following:

- “It’s okay. Be positive. Everyone gets these thoughts sometimes.”
What I hear: You’re weak! Everyone feels these feelings, just suck it up and deal with it like the rest of us. Now stop wasting my time, I have __(insert tasks)___ to do.

-“Please don’t hurt yourself. Think of all the people who care about you”
What I think: All the people who care about me?? Like WHO. I’ve told five people I wanted to off myself and it's all talk. When I'm actually down in the trenches, these people are no where to be found. People don’t care about me, and I don’t care about them. I’m past that point and I just want to be selfish now because it really really hurts and it's too much for me to handle.

via @brodieandamanda on instagram 

via @brodieandamanda on instagram 

 

Now, I know it’s hard to know what to say in these situations and I really hope this doesn’t stop people from talking to those in their lives who are feeling low. Eventually, you will say the right thing. I think what happened with the people I told is that 1.) I was good at making it seem like no big deal and 2.) They didn’t know what to say so they didn’t say anything. The Aussie insisted that I get help and it felt right to do so, I just didn’t want to go alone and I didn’t want the only answer to be “take these pills”.  

 

It was around November/ December that I finally sought help. I think I only did it because the Aussie said we would get back together or something like that. (On his part, well played.) So I went to a clinic and let me tell you, answering the question “what are you here for?” with “I want to see a doctor because I have had thoughts of suicide” is PROBABLY the most awkward thing to say. Probably. Who knows, I might be wrong. Anyway, I chatted with a doctor/ nurse about my feelings and they told me that because I wasn’t feeling like I had a cloud over my head all day every day, they thought it was this thing where instead of getting grumpy & craving chocolate before my “Moon cycle”, I got depressed and suicidal. It was just something I’d have to deal with and they had the perfect pill(s) to fix it. These pills ranged from vitamin B pills (to boost mood), to birth control pills (to regulate hormones) to anti depressants. They also recommended I keep track of my moods just to see if they were correct. I wanted nothing to do with medication so I left feeling dejected. I opted for vitamin B supplements and thought my problems were solved.

 

And they did help, at least a little bit. Between December (when I started taking the supplements) to January, I didn’t experience any thoughts of suicide. Sure, there were some pretty low points in which I felt shrouded in hopelessness, but no suicide. So… I’m all better, right?

Well, I sure thought I was. I attended Landmark in January and during a break on the last day of the weekend, I went up to chat with the forum facilitator about a conversation he had with a girl just before the break. She was suffering from an eating disorder and they just finished a really intense “coaching” session which ended in half of the forum hating the facilitator’s guts because they felt like what he said was inappropriate. I wanted to go up and explain to him how, as someone with an eating disorder, the girl probably twisted his words in her head. Amidst  talking about my experience with an eating disorder in high school, I casually mentioned how “I’m still no stranger to poor mental health. Heck, up until a month ago, I couldn’t shake off thoughts of suicide.”

 

You know how in TV shows, the music just cuts out and it’s suddenly dead silent? Well, if my life had a soundtrack, that would have been that moment. It was as if the air changed. The forum leader told me I had to go get help. I told him I had tried and they just want me on meds. He told me to keep trying until I got to speak to someone who offered up an alternative. He personally took responsibility for following up with me the next day to make sure I went to see someone.

 

So I did. I went to see a psychologist who also happened to be a yoga teacher. I could almost hear her judgemental thoughts when I told her I am also a yoga teacher (at least, I thought those were her judgemental thoughts. It’s more likely they were a story I created in my head).  I only went to see her a handful of times and it always felt awkward and contrived because I was never suicidal or sad when I was around her. I had gotten so good at being smiley and performing that I didn’t even know how to be real around her. What I will credit her with is introducing me to a very simple meditation. And it is this meditation that saved my life. It’s gotten to a point where my body and mind crave meditation and mindfulness to help me push the “reset” button when things get hectic or when I start to get wrapped up in negative self talk.  I didn’t want a bandaid solution in the form of pills, I wanted a tool I could use and this is what meditation is to me.

 

I guess I’ve been afraid to open up about this because a part of me still feels like it’s  something that everyone feels and I was just incapable of dealing with it. I have read my fair share of internet comments and I know I risk being picked apart for my experience and my story. At this point, I’m just going to close my eyes and take the plunge. I wanted to share this as I wanted to demystify the whole process of low mood/ depression/ suicide and how there really is no “stereotypical case”. As my friend or coworker, you would never have been able to guess this was lying beneath my smiley facade. The whole experience has taught, and continues to teach, me many lessons in authenticity and self reflection.

 Note: Clinical Depression & Suicide is a very real thing. While meditation can certainly help with managing low mood and thoughts of suicide, I am not a doctor and I know that there are definitely situations where medication is needed. If anyone reading this feels like they're down, out, and ready to give up, I urge you to continue to reach out. It's exhausting- I know, but eventually you will find the person who can help you through this dark cloud. 

ABUNDANCE by Anita Cheung

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now (nay, weeks) and have always found another reason to avoid sitting down and putting pen to paper/ fingers to keys.  I’m going to guess that it reveals a pretty ugly side of me that I would prefer not to explore. Nevertheless, here goes nothing.


I’m afraid.


Despite all my posts about learning to let things go, it’s all a matter of thought, etc… I can’t deny that I’m afraid. And since I’m perfectly aware that everything is a matter of thought and I need to learn to let things go, I struggle with the sensation of fear and how/ when it shows up for me. 


I’m afraid of failure.


And, since we’re being perfectly honest, who isn’t? For me, failure right now would look like Social Yoga fizzling out. (Note: I know there’s some serious ego behind fear of failure but I won’t delve into it today.) Dreaming and ideation is easy, dealing with the ups and downs and bank account is the hard part. And because I feel like I’ve put so much into it, I hug it close, and I find myself always protectively looking over my shoulder.

Image via @stephynow on Instagram. Totally talented chick that I madly respect, AND, this is just an example of what most people think of when they think of Yoga. 

Image via @stephynow on Instagram. Totally talented chick that I madly respect, AND, this is just an example of what most people think of when they think of Yoga. 


I’m no stranger to the fitness industry. As much as I hate to classify yoga as just another form of exercise, it is how most people see it. With that said, the fitness industry is rife with competition (as I’m sure any other industry is). I remember my first experience working behind the scenes at a barre studio in which the studio owner was very protective of her method and clients were vetted to ensure they weren’t pilates/ barre/ yoga instructors. At the time, I couldn’t believe that people would actually take ideas from a class and use it as their own.


A year later, I was teaching at another studio and the owner suggested I take other people’s classes to “get ideas”. After going through both pilates and yoga teacher training, during which I was suggested to “get ideas” from other teachers, I couldn’t help but feel that this was stealing. Even today, I still have to get over this story in my head. Everytime I use someone else’s sequences or terminology in a class, I feel like an imposter- as if I don’t own the words.


And perhaps it’s this background, and this story, that leads me to be extra protective with my “baby”. I know other teachers attend classes to “get ideas” and for a very long time (even up until recently), I felt a tinge of annoyance. It would take me hours of reading, journaling and playing around on my mat to get a particular sequence or a particular concept and for someone to come along and swipe it up felt like they were stealing from me. The yoga industry feels like the only one where you’re seen as an asshole if you don’t share your trade secrets with your competitors.


And that’s the problem. My use of that language. “Competitors”.
It implies that there is only so much _______ available. What fits into that underline can be anything from “potential students/ clients”, to “ideas”, to “yoga appropriate songs”.  It’s scarcity thinking.


What is scarcity thinking?

"It’s scarcity thinking that causes us to horde, guard, and develop a “me first” mentality.  It’s scarcity thinking that is the foundation of many conflicts between people and nations.While scarcity thinking may serve one well when lost in the woods with limited rations, in most other cases it is a destructive force”

 Scarcity Thinking- Great for situations like these, not so great for everyday life. 

 Scarcity Thinking- Great for situations like these, not so great for everyday life. 

It’s thinking that there isn’t enough to go around. Which is where the title of this post comes into play:


Abundance.

There is enough.

It may not look like it, and perhaps it requires a bit of work and looking at things differently, but there will be enough. With an abundant mindset, the mind can be creative.


Which brings me to my next point- creativity.
Perhaps all my creative type friends already know this, but I realized I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time. Whenever I feel a bolt of inspiration, I hold on to it, just in case something that good doesn’t come around again. Recently, I stumbled across some old bookmarked links and this one came up. Now I haven't watched it in a while but from what I recall, it’s a video about how nothing is truly unique and everything creative is a remix. It reminded me that creativity is plentiful. Like a muscle, creativity only gets stronger with use.


So where am I now? Well, up until recently, I was hoarding thoughts and ideas, and feeling that I had to pump these ideas out soon, before other people got on it and I “missed my boat”. I was afraid of failing and I was making decisions out of fear.


There is a ted talks about how monkeys (like humans) make poor decisions when looking at things from a perspective of loss. You can watch the video here, but I’d like to think that perhaps this applies to more than just economical situations. When we are in a headspace of fear and we fear losing what we have, we simply aren’t rational.


I’ve done lots of thinking and journaling about this and after speaking with a friend/ mentor, finally decided to blog about this. While the post is pretty biz-specific, I’d like to think that there’s a nugget somewhere in there for everyone. If anything, it’s this-

I’ve realized that creating this whole drama around “stealing ideas” is the ego’s way to distract. Just like any drama we create,  instead of focusing on the work we need to do on ourselves, we become more interested in feeding the story.


Does this mean I’ve figured it out? Nope.
Does this mean I’m going to continue to try and catch myself? Yup.

These days, whenever I find myself veering off course- whether it’s being distracted by what someone else is doing or not doing, I simply remind myself to come back to my intention. 

Taking the “e-g-o” out of goodbye. by Anita Cheung

Goodbyes are funny. They’re easy to pump out when we know we’ll see the person again, yet when they truly are “goodbyes” rather than “see ya laters”, they’re achingly difficult.


This year, I’ve said my fair share of goodbyes. Some that may or may not be permanent, and some that are truly permanent. I know repetition and practice doesn’t make perfect but come on, you’d think things would at least get a little easier. 

 

What I’ve come to recognize with each goodbye is my reluctance to acknowledge goodbyes for what they are- an ending. In a world of perpetual connectivity (oh hey there, social media), we console ourselves with the idea that nothing is forever.  After all, there are years ahead, life is unpredictable, and surely we’ll cross paths eventually. Yet, what if we don’t?

 

Recently, a cousin of mine passed away from cancer. He was in his mid 30s and lived in Europe for most of his life except for a year or two that he spent living with my family when I was 10. When he was in Vancouver, we grew close. And when he left, 10 year old me said goodbye as 10 year olds would- not really realizing that the last time would be the last time. For weeks before he passed away, my parents were pushing me to text him to say goodbye. I mentally made excuses- we weren’t close, I didn’t even really know him anymore, he’ll make a full recovery, etc. Eventually I messaged him and although I wish I could say I said something profound, it was more of an awkward “take care, feel better”.  A few days later, he was gone.

“Feel better?!” My sister and I joke about how we can never find the right words in situations of grief or loss but, c’mon, Anita.  Anyway, I digress. The point is, after some reflection on this goodbye and a few others from this last year, I have a hunch that this reluctance to say goodbye is tied inextricably to a fear of letting go.

For most of us, we would be ashamed to admit it but we probably wouldn’t mind if things stayed exactly as they are. We (or at least our ego) build these kingdoms we call our lives. We populate them with people we love and we decorate the walls of our castles with badges of accomplishments. Sure, venturing out on an adventure is great- when WE make the conscious decision to embark on one.  When situations are thrust upon us, there is an inherent resistance to letting go of what we’ve created. We wrap our arms tight around these kingdoms and protect them as if our lives depended on it. And here’s the thing- our lives don’t (depend on it). Our egos sure do though. Our ego wants control over this body and this life. It wants to have things. It wants to “have” people. It wants to have experiences, status, and security.  It wants to put these experiences, things and people in their respective neatly labeled Container Store boxes. Because without these boxes, it’s lost and consequently, we think we’re lost without it.

 

So when someone slips away from this kingdom and it isn’t part of the ego’s “plan”, it’s lost. We’re lost. Whether its’ a death or a breakup, saying goodbye is acknowledging that this is happening. 10 Year old Anita- and consequently 24 year old Anita didn’t plan for this. It’s like going into your cupboard and having a box go missing, knowing you’ll never find it again. It’s a figurative hole that starts to feel very real.

 

Eventually, we get over it. We find something else to fill the hole in our cupboards, another person to put in our kingdom- that is, until that person or thing disappears. And then we’re back at square one. So what’s a gal to do?

Well, the only thing left to do. Let go. Let go, time and time again.  To be honest, I don’t know if it ever gets easier. Even yogis struggle with their egos. But there really is nothing else to do. And perhaps, eventually, we can even start to let go before we’re “forced” to.  

It’s not even about “letting go to make space for something better” or “letting go because you didn’t need it”. It’s just simply learning to let go. To respect and acknowledge that nothing is truly “ours” to keep, not even this life. Eventually, we give everything back. 

Why following your bliss is overrated by Anita Cheung

If I hear someone say “follow your bliss” one more time, I’m going to….$#%@*%.

Sorry, was that too negative?

 

Coming from someone who is a self-admitted happiness chaser, this is a pretty big thing to say. Don’t get me wrong, I fully believe in persuing your passion and making conscious decisions that add to your happiness- after all, if you don’t, who will? I guess what I’m saying is-

you can follow your bliss, but when you finally catch it, you’re still you.

So let’s all chill out, take a step back and re-evaluate. Before you pin that photo of Corsica on your “Travel” pinterest board  (just kidding, who uses pinterest anymore anyway*), ask yourself this: is that serving you? Is that REALLY going to make you happy?

Of course, I’m not saying that everything we do needs to “serve” us. (Heck, the half bottle of wine I drank a few weekends ago did NOT serve me very well the next morning.) I’d just like to suggest entertaining the idea that for many of us, our idea of “bliss” is misconstrued. We keep chasing dreams and people thinking we'll finally "have" it one day. I’ve touched upon how happiness isn’t a quick-fix. It’s not a goal to achieve or a handbag to buy. We all know that “money can’t buy happiness” yet our online shopping carts are never empty. I’d also like to add that happiness doesn’t lie at the end of the earth after you’ve travelled to twenty countries nor does it lie at the foot of your honeymoon bed.

It seems these days you aren’t “cool” or “interesting” unless you have a couple of travel stories under your belt. In fact, some may argue you haven’t been initiated into your 20s until you’ve gone abroad. I was once told by my high school teacher that-

“No matter where you go, there you are.”

I thought he was an old fogie who couldn’t remember his quotes correctly, but now I see clearly that he was actually a pretty wise old fogie. Whether we’re riding a tuk tuk in Thailand or the elevator up the Eiffel Tower, we are still us. We may experience a few changes in perspective but no experiences can change us as powerfully as when we look inward. (Teaser for another blog post to come)


A fun little aside (feel free to skip on) 

Recently I had a discussion with some girlfriends about what it means to be “basic”. (Yeah, I did.) What came out of the conversation is that if someone isn’t well travelled or have interesting hobbies/ experiences, they are in turn a basic bitch (not exclusive to females). Ironically, the term “basic bitch” according to urbandictionary.com is: A person, particularlly a female, who believe they are the shit because they own a certain type of clothing/material that differentiates them from other people. They may also believe they hold a higher standard then regular people.

Since we’ve now discussed how neither buying clothing nor experiences will add to “bliss”,  we can pretty much say they’re interchangeable. Which means, if you replaced the words “clothing/ material” in that last paragraph with experiences, anyone who calls someone else out for being a basic bitch, is actually a basic bitch themselves. Bam. As Marshall from HIMYM would say- Lawyered. I mean, I’ve been told everything in our world is a reflection of who we are inside- I didn’t realize the mirror was that literal. 


So if bliss doesn’t lie at the end of your year long trip abroad, nor does it live in the corner office… then where?

You know it by now,- it lives within you. You could collect enough handbags to fill an apartment or take enough photos to use up your iCoud storage- but following this idealized version of “bliss” won’t do you any good. You can follow it all you want but until you find it within yourself, it doesn’t matter where you go, there you are.

 

 

*Note: unless you’re in the wedding, teaching, or personal chef/ nutrition industry 

The truth about truth by Anita Cheung

The only true currency in this bankrupt world is the truth that we share with one another when we are being uncool. - from the movie Almost Famous. 

I always wanted to be the cool girl.
The first time I found myself crushing hard, I was just entering university. With this guy, I wanted to be "different" from other girls. Women are often painted to be uptight and no-fun and I vehemently rejected any association. Instead, I aimed to be cool. You know, lighthearted and easy-going. I was nonchalant about sex, didn't obsess over makeup or fashion, and joined in on rants about "bitches be cray". 

He told me he wasn't ready for a relationship, and I said that's fine, I just want to be single friends together and live the #YOLO life too. Except I wasn't really single. I was thinking about him every spare moment. I would listen, without judgement, to his tales of "conquest". Girls he was seeing or the latest girl he met at a party, and then we would hook up. I told myself it was "right" because we were so compatible & totally meant to be together- it would just take some time. I continued to spend my 9PM-3AM time slot with him while he introduced other girls to his friends. I told myself that sneaking around was romantic. I told him that I was cool with it and I always had his back. Then I would go home, listen to sad songs and write journal entries that rivals T-Swift's lyrics.  

And you know what? It took two years of waiting around and sneaking around but eventually I was his girlfriend, proper. Winner! Girl that was overlooked finally gets the guy. He came around and realized what he was looking for was right in front of him the whole time- you know, those cheesy pop song lyrics. However, despite being together for a few years, this story doesn't have the conventional happy ending. Since I "had" the guy, I dropped that cool facade faster than a hot potato and out came an exaggerated version of the uptight, no-fun jealous woman character we all love to hate. Those "crazy bitches" i laughed at before? I was suddenly one of them. 

In hindsight, what I've taken away from this is that when you aren't speaking your truth, and living your truth from the beginning- it doesn't matter what the end result is, it won't be sustainable. In this case, I "got" the relationship by being false.  I tried to hide my insecurities, pretended I was "ok" not being his official girlfriend, because I thought it would be worth it in the end. And yes we dated and had lots of fun times but there was also lots, and lots of fighting. Who can blame the guy? He was pretty much tricked into it. 

This thought came to surface through a few recent conversations with girlfriends. I think that as women in a time of our life where we aren't all too certain exactly who we are or what we bring to the table, it's very easy to shapeshift into something that becomes inauthentic.

"You're a snowboarder? I LOVE snowboarding!" 
"You like electronic music? ME too!"
You get the gist. 
 

The most dangerous shapeshifting occurs when we try to tell ourselves that we are okay with being treated as anything less than how we want to be treated.

This goes for relationships, new jobs, and pretty much life in general. They say the truth is hard to swallow but in my experience, sometimes it's even more difficult to spit it out. (There's an inappropriate joke in there somewhere, I'm sure.) 

We are so afraid of "looking bad". We defiantly protect our ego until the bitter end. I won't harp on how lies are malicious (yes, even little white ones) because I'm not perfect and I struggle with the truth at times too. What I will share is that the truth feels  d a m n   g o o d. Even if it means you lose the boy, the friend, or the job, it is liberating. When you live in the alternative- weaving lie after lie, you end up tripping over lies and figuratively gagged & bound like a cartoon pork dinner. We are resistant to change and sometimes we lie so we don't rock the boat. Practice using the paradigm that perhaps the boat needed to be rocked. Either we learn to align our actions with our words, or we really didn't need that relationship/ gig in our lives. 

 

Like what you read? Feel free to share with the links below. 

What happened when I went to Wanderlust and didn't take a gazillion yoga classes by Anita Cheung

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Wanderlust as Ally Maz's assistant- who absolutely rocked the festival. This meant I was lucky to have the weekend's festivities paid for which also meant I didn't binge on yoga classes in an attempt to "get the most out of my dollar". 

As such, I spent a lot of time doing this:

image[3].jpeg

What can I say? I love floaty inflatables and my love for them is exemplified by throwing my arms up in the air. Anyway, I digress. 

Despite taking it easy on the yoga class front, the clarity with which I saw my ego and my stories was astounding this weekend. I don't know if it was something about that mountain air or all the walking I did to and from the condo/ village, but I found myself calling myself out on all my shitty negative boo-hoo pity party thoughts. Stories like:

-I "missed" the yoga boat aka- I will be forever poor and doomed to live at my parent's home until I can claim pension. 
-All the stories that come with being someone of colour/ first generation canadian 
-I'm not "extroverted", thus not sociable and not cool. 
-I'm fat.
-I don't belong.
-I have to prove myself.

I know I talked about stories before in a previous post so I won't go into too much detail about each and every one of the listed stories. What I will talk about is how I managed to titrate these stories into one concentrated, umbrella story that's followed me (and probably most of you) around for your life-

I am not enough. 

"If you never believe you are enough, you'll never think you have enough."

This goes for everything from consumer goods to doing a ridiculous amount of low lunges in the presence of celebrity teachers in hopes of eking out a few droplets of gold. And so, instead of attending workshop after workshop in the hopes of learning new things to teach, I tried out the idea of feeling like I was enough. 

And not "enough" in the sense that I don't need to be inspired or need further professional development, but I simply let go of the expectations, the guilt of "missing this opportunity" and trusted that what I was doing was enough. 

It was enough when I sat and people watched instead of participating. It was enough when my friends and I spent one night eating instant noodles and watching Amazing Race Canada 2. It was enough for me to go for a run instead of a yoga class, breathing in fresh mountain air while trying not to step on baby toads. 

One speakeasy I did go to was from one of the gentlemen at The Counsciousness Explorers and one takeaway I will share is this- "We think of pain as something of ours to hold. Like hot coal, and we think we deserve to be punished so we keep holding on." Such is the same of holding on to these stories. We can wallow in our Damsel in Distress tale for as long as we want (and create the subsequent Damsel in Distress reality) but at the end of the day, we don't have to hold on. 

And interestingly enough, I found that some of the best inspiration came at the least expected of times. 

For example- 
After a few "beverages", I was spinning and doing my beginner contemporary dance moves whilst walking to the village one night. I looked up and couldn't find the stars I had seen just earlier. The bright lights from the lamppost nearby and the dizzy movement left me temporary blinded to something I knew was present. Of course, after some time and readjusting of my eyes, I took away these messages:

1. Sometimes when we get ourselves into crazy, busy, bustling situations that leave us breathless with joy or breathless with anxiety, we just need to find stillness and allow things to come back into focus. Allow that which is true to be found again as it was always present- simply unseen.

2. I need more Vitamin A- hello night vision??

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Boom. Deep. Now for other learnings and inspiration,  come catch a class. 

Rollercoaster by Anita Cheung

It’s incredible how quickly your mind can turn against you. The most important thing I’ve learned is not to ride the rollercoaster of emotions. Tonight, I suddenly found myself spiraling down into the biggest pity party for myself, ever. I remember talking with a hairdresser once and she said “Facebook is so fucked. One minute you’re checking out your friend’s vacation photos while on your laptop in your living room, and the next thing you know, you’re scrolling through photos of your ex’s new girlfriend. WHAT IS SHE DOING IN MY LIVING ROOM??”  That was over four years ago and it seems nothing’s changed.

 

Social media isn’t real life. If you haven’t seen this video before, check it out below-

 

For me, tonight I went from:


 “Man she’s really pretty (random instagram chick)”    to..
“she lives a SICK life!”     to…
“she isn’t the only one living a sick, beautiful life. (looks at other random instagram chicks)”     to...
“Man, life would be so much easier if I was beautiful”    to...

“I’m not beautiful.”    To…
“I’m not beautiful. I lose at life.”

 

Okay so that's a bit dramatic and it sure escalated quickly. And maybe it's partially influenced by my "moon cycle" (sorry, TMI). Still, I HATE that it affects me.  Somewhere in my mind, I KNOW that we all put our best face forwards on social media. I KNOW that.  I know that like I know my name, my address, and my birthday. Yet somehow the negative thoughts still creep in.

Before I dive into anything- let me just throw this out there that I hate all this hype about Beauty. What isn’t fed, will wither. So let’s all stop feeding the talk about beauty, shall we? “Real Beauty”, or fake beauty, whatever.  It doesn’t matter. Why is a woman’s worth dependent on whether or not someone thinks she’s beautiful (conventionally or otherwise). I’m digging movements that are pushing women to strive to be something else… like… innovative, ambitious, and intelligent. Alas, another conversation for another time. Anyway, I digress- 


misscongenality.jpg

My entire life I’ve been told from my mother- “Life is fair. Just because you aren’t beautiful, you’re smart and you have other things going on for you.”
It’s always felt like a consolation prize. The “Miss Congeniality” to the “Miss Universe”. And here’s the kicker- As I’m sure we’ve all realized, life ISN'T fair. The conventionally beautiful girl can also be absolutely brilliant and the sweetest person you’ve ever met. And you know what? We live with the cards we are dealt. Sure there is some upward (or downward) mobility; however, the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” holds true. What’re you going to do with a bunch of lemons? Can’t eat them. Nope. So you make lemonade. It’s for YOU. No one cares about your lemons or your lemonade. But because you’ve now turned your inedible lemons into something tasty and delicious, you can feel good about yourself and feel good in general. And isn’t that what we all want at the root of it all? To feel good and to feel happy?

So it is a consolation prize. But only if you see it that way. 
Just as your mind can turn against you, you can turn things right back in your favour. Maybe your goal the entire time was to win Miss Congeniality. It’s about making a conscious shift. And yes, it’s work- No one said it’s easy. Lasting happiness isn’t a quick-fix. It’s not something you buy or some goal you achieve. It’s making the decision to be your own number one fan, all the time. For better or for worse. It’s a commitment to choose happiness. Once you trust in yourself to be your own number one fan, you’ll be amazed at the leaps and bounds you can make. One of the learnings from an interview I listened to during Mindful May  talked about how when we are self-compassionate, we automatically feel safer. And when we feel safer, we are more likely to be creative and productive. So if anyone calls you out for being deluded (or any other namecalling) for doing this conscious shift business- fuck them. Just kidding, that’s not very “yogic” of me. They can mind their own lives and mind their own thoughts.

Image from a rad Aussie-based initiative determined to fight the stigma of Depression & other "funks". They're called-  One Wave is All it Takes. 

Image from a rad Aussie-based initiative determined to fight the stigma of Depression & other "funks". They're called-  One Wave is All it Takes. 

So how do we make lemonade? Well, I can only tell you what’s worked for me. As I mentioned earlier, I still get negative thoughts. I am FAR from perfect and I am still victim to caring about what other people think sometimes. At least, until I catch myself for having silly thoughts. Just earlier today, before posting about MOMENT on instagram, I thought- wait.. will people think I’m less dedicated to C(OM)MUNITY if I do this? Will people judge me and say I’m spreading myself too thin and thus I can’t be good at anything?

 

These stories we tell ourselves, this inner monologue is non-stop.  It chatters away, day in and day out. The only reprieve we get is when we’re asleep and then we’re just simply unconscious. No fun. During waking hours, the best way to stop this monologue is to consciously silence it.  That is, to “catch yourself having silly thoughts”. Through meditation, we learn to notice it for what it is- Some voice in our head that ISN’T US! We are not our thoughts. Let me say that again.-We.  Are. Not.  Our.  Thoughts. They will come and they will go. Don’t let them take you for a ride. 

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Side Note: Of course, after finishing this post, I received my Daily Truthbomb from Danielle Laporte which said the following: 

How fitting. 

 

Like what you read? Feel free to share with the links below. 

Trust the Process by Anita Cheung

As a Libra, I’ve always found my indecisiveness a self fulfilling prophecy. Growing up, I would go to great lengths to make sure my decision was the “perfect” one. Everything from pros & cons lists to asking everyone and their dog for advice; I worried immensely about making the “wrong” decision. It wasn’t so much that I worried about what people would think of my decision (although I can completely understand how that can be a concern), it was more so I didn’t want to fail.

 

                                                                                                                          ...to read more, click title 

 
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Rest & Receive by Anita Cheung

"There is more to life than increasing its speed." 

Lovely calligraphy by the Jess-of-all-trades: Jess Robson. 

Lovely calligraphy by the Jess-of-all-trades: Jess Robson. 

As a self described type-A go getter, I'm always biting off more than I can chew and chewing it anyway. Recently, I decided to take the leap, put myself out there, and start a progressive yoga series titled C(OM)MUNITY: Social Yoga. In a city where there are as many yoga studios as Starbucks, I felt this inherent pressure and "fire under my butt" to make it happen. 

As a type-A go getter who grew up in a world of instant messaging, instant noodles,  and instant gratification; patience was a virtue I never really learned. After one month of going full steam ahead with C(OM)MUNITY, I began to lose my drive when I wasn't seeing the raging success I had imagined. I was used to seeing my hard work pay off. Here is where I'm sure many people can relate- whether it's a weight loss goal, skills based goal, or a passion project; when we pour our hearts into it, we expect to get back what we give. After all, isn't that what we were told? 

The thing is- good things take time. I know it's said time and time again and although I thought I understood it, I never fully grasped the concept until now. And it's like a switch has been flicked. When my sister asked me- "What's the rush?", I thought about it and realized I didn't want to fall behind. And then I thought about my thoughts, and realized- fall behind of what? There is more to life than increasing its speed. We're not racing one another down a highway, people. Instead, it's more like we're each exploring a different path in the forest. 

So here I am, choosing rest. (Well, after this blog post.) I don't know about the rest of you, but when I'm given the choice to rest, or keep plugging away, I often choose to keep on keeping on towards my goal. Whether this is in daily life or in my yoga asana practice, I don't often voluntarily take child's pose. And what happens when I don't? Injuries, sickness, and general grumpiness. When we allow ourselves to rest, we also allow ourselves to receive. To see what is showing up now. It's these moments of rest that give us the clarity to move forward. 

And here I am, choosing to enjoy today. Today for all of its struggles, its frustrations and its setbacks. And not because I think "the end will be worth it", but because I truly am trying to see the beauty in the chaos. It's about time I learned to dance in the rain- heck, I live in Vancouver. 

Drop the day planner. Open palms to receive. C'mon universe- show me what you've got. 

Drop the day planner. Open palms to receive. C'mon universe- show me what you've got. 

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(If you found this interesting, inspiring, or helpful. Feel free to share this with your people.) 

Mindful in May by Anita Cheung

"Technology is developing exponentially, and at the click of a button we can access an infinite amount of information. With this privilege, comes the potential cost of information overload and low grade background anxiety as we try to keep on top of things."  -- Dr. Elise Bialylew, founder of Mindful in May. 

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"...Low Grade Background Anxiety as we try to keep on top of things." 

Forget endless to-do lists, the first thing that came to mind when I read that sentence was the ridiculous game we all play when we "catch up" on Social Media. The phrase "catching up" is used quite literally here as we often peruse our instagram and twitter feeds with a fierce determination. We don't just casually flick through tweets and photos- no. We keep going until we've seen  e v e r y   p h o t o   presented to us up until the last point we were on the app.

"In the developed world, most of us have our survival needs met, but it is our minds that can cause so much of our suffering." 

Credit: Tiny Time Machine

Credit: Tiny Time Machine

Call it FOMO, but between our various news feeds, we are so hell bent on ensuring we stay in the loop. So, not only do we do it to ourselves. Some of us are also totally aware of it!

In the past, I've found a sense of solace and comfort in meditation whenever, excuse my french, the shit hit the fan. However, a goal I have for the rest of this year is to build a regular meditation practice as a preventative mental health measure. So far, I've been pretty good with devoting time weekly for a 10-15 minute meditation. When I saw the Mindful in May campaign, I figured now is as good a time as any to dive into a daily meditation practice. 

For more information, and to join me (meditation mates!), click here: http://www.mindfulinmay.org

(Note: The registration fee for the campaign goes towards providing clean drinking water in Ethiopia. I'm always a bit skeptical about charities and their administrative fees which is why that aspect of the campaign wasn't highlighted in my post. If that extra little bit of information can act as a catalyst for you to sign up, then great!) 

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(If you found this interesting, inspiring, or helpful. Feel free to share this with your people.) 

The M word by Anita Cheung

Don't feel daunted by the word, Meditation takes many forms and is simply the act of being mindful and quieting the chatty mind. You've probably heard the benefits (ranging from decreased anxiety & stress, improved focus & moods, feelings of relaxation and happiness, etc.) and maybe you're still a little wary to try taking on a practice. Maybe your reasons to avoid meditation sound like any of the following:

...to read more, click title 

 
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The Eighth Wonder by Anita Cheung

"The past is history, the future is a mystery, but today is a gift- that's why they call it the present." Be honest- How many times have you heard that before. And how often are you still stressing out about the future or nostalgic for the past? Yup. It's hard. It's that old human nature/ prehistoric brain of ours again- always looking out for number one. You know, survival of the fittest and what not, we always have to be one step ahead.

While quotes are great for inspiration,  they don't really spur us into actionWhat I've found does work is.. you guessed it- yoga. When you're working on wrapping your foot around your head and bending into positions that should be reserved for the bedroom, you don't really have time to worry about anything else except how your body is moving.

...to read more, click title 

 
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Yoga outside the postures: True Story by Anita Cheung

So I know I talk a lot about "Yoga outside the postures" on this blog and it can sound like one of those things that fits in with all of the other motivational quotes we see all over Facebook and Instagram. You know, nice to think about, but much too hard to put into practice. Recently, I've had the opportunity to practice what I preach and I just wanted to share that experience here.

...to read more, click title 

 
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Yoga vs. Pilates (101) by Anita Cheung

For the majority of people, yoga and pilates are pretty much synonymous. Both are offered as group fitness classes in gyms and both involve stretching on a mat. So what's the difference anyway?

To save you from googling or walking into the wrong class, I've compiled a quick list to help you differentiate

...to read more, click title 

 
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What do Yoga, Church, & Drinking songs have in common? by Anita Cheung

The answer is: Not much, really.

Except for this- there is something that happens in all three situations that can have therapeutic benefits. No, I'm not suggesting you tuck a flask into your Sunday best, nor do I recommend showing up to yoga class drunk (I've taught an inebriated person once- it wasn't fun for him).

...to read more, click title. 

 
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Mindgames & Meditation by Anita Cheung

As a self-diagnosed bonafide over-thinker, I admit that I often analyze and over-analyze everything around me. While helpful in academic settings; in the real world, the chattering of this monkey mind doesn't always serve me. The mind is a meaning-making machine and often, the stories I weave in my head about situations are far from the truth. Below are some examples that I'm sure some of you can relate to:

...to read more, click title

 
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