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Thursday, May 25, 2017

How to Change - Be Empowered

 
Yoga Changed My Life

Being aware is the first step to making changes. I was not aware of how I treated my body and myself until I learned to tune in to my body and my thoughts. Yoga allowed me to do so in a safe space. It empowered me to dig deep and find the truth. It is not a religion, but a philosophy, a way of being present. Yoga teaches self-love and we cannot love others when we do not accept or love ourselves. Contrary to popular beliefs, self-love doesn't mean being selfish. I think the best way to describe yoga philosophy is the word "Namaste": a greeting that means "the divine in me sees and respects the divine in you." In yoga, all are equal.

It doesn't preach that one faith or religion is better than another. Everyone is a spiritual being having a human experience. We are not our bodies or our thoughts. Often, our culture, the media and the society wants us to buy in to the lies that are perpetuated by the old Domination Model. In fact, that model is detrimental to our health and well-being. Women are conditioned to believe that their self-worth is tied to how they look. We celebrate and value "beautiful" women as seen in ads on all types of media. Those women are thin, often too thin. Most of them are still Caucasians, most of them die their hair, have lots of makeup and wear body revealing clothes, tiny bikinis or no clothes at all. Be aware of all the ways media try to control your thinking. They want you to buy in to the lies that you are lacking in some way, that you need to buy this or that to feel and look better. Be aware of the ways media uses to desensitize, dupe and mind-wash you.

I stopped eating and shopping mindlessly when I grew aware of the Big Lies. I wanted to change and help others do so too. When I started Yoga in the Park, I wanted to share it with people out of love, but it wasn't sustaining me. I grew discouraged and stopped. When I began to write my book, I wanted to share what I learned from yoga and make a bigger difference. I wrote many chapters and worked hard on getting it published. I enrolled in a "Get Your Book Published" program, but got no support. I felt like I was wasting my time and money. I got angry at the person who ran the program, but didn't say anything. My mom taught me that if I don't have anything good to say, then say nothing. "Bite your tongue". Only, I internalized it and my anger led to a long hiatus from writing. 

I've always been artistic and creative. I loved to draw as a kid and often doodles in class. I wanted to be an artist or cartoonist but I was discouraged by my parents and my high school art teacher. They told me I wasn't good enough to make money as an artist. "Starving artist and writer" are terms thrown at me from an impressionable young age that I bought into the lie. Another lie is that unless you make a lot of money, you are not successful. All the famous artists and authors make plenty of money. That is how they are valued. You're a failure if your work doesn't sell. B.S! That's why I love to blog. I don't have to rely on traditional publishers to share my love of writing and the lessons that I've learned from yoga. There are many lies that we buy into. The Beauty and Weight Loss industries make billions of dollars from people like us who bought into their messages. Declare a Buy Nothing Day. Buy only what is essential for survival like food.

Here's a song that I created based on a children's song:

Head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes
Face, body, heart and soul, heart and soul
I love every part of me.

Sing it a few times and give yourself this gift of love.




Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What Turns You On?


Yoga turns me on. It's all inclusive: it welcomes all ages, all beliefs, all cultures, all faiths, all religions, all shapes and sizes. Yoga teaches acceptance, compassion and non-judgement. Most organized religions are exclusive. "If you don't believe what we believe, then you are bad, damned or evil." They teach a divisive mindset of "us against them". They forget the true meaning of love. I used to go to church and was an active part of the ministry, but I didn't agree with some of their teachings and left. All my "friends" at church stopped being my friends and I realized that they don't practice what they preach. I know this post may offend some people, but I offered to teach a yoga class at a Christian retreat and was told that it was not allowed. What happened to freedom of expression? What happened to all the people who follow certain faiths that they stopped loving others and start alienating, excluding them or demonizing them? I think we need to take an honest look at our culture and faiths or religious beliefs. Yoga unites - if more people practice yoga and learn its lessons of acceptance, compassion and non-judgement then we'd have a better, more peaceful world.
Let's meet and talk. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1922289331381752/

Yoga Faith
Global Wellness Day
Disclosure Fest

Ingrid
Dreamer, Storyteller and Teacher 
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ingridcheng2/

Monday, May 22, 2017

Food for Thought


Eating well is not enough, you need to eat right for your body and take care of yourself. 1 in 3 Americans suffer from hypothyroidism, 85% of women suffer from hormonal imbalance at least once in their lifetimes, 75% of women have PMS, 40% of adults have insomnia, 74% are sleep deprived. The World Health Organization predicts that depression will be the # 2 cause of disability and premature death by 2020. Studies show that 80-90% of diseases are stress-related. Our society places a premium on multi-tasking, productivity and speed. We are overworked and underpaid. As women and care-takers, we have 2 jobs and one of them is unpaid (taking care of our family or loved ones). It's time to pause, slow down and put ourselves first. We can't care for others when we are sick or stressed. Make a list of things you love to do: put them in 2 categories.  Healthy vs Unhealthy, my co-worker who practices yoga 2-3 times a week likes to drink wine to relax. When she gave up her class of wine and drank herbal tea instead, she lost 20 pounds in just 3 months! Just one simple change can make a difference. What will you change to be healthier?

I am reading Born to Blog by Mark W. Schaefer and Stanford A. Smith. It made me realize that I was born to blog, I am a dreamer, a storyteller and I used to teach 2n-3rd grades. In Chapter 18 of the book - "Getting Personal", it talked about showing your personal side and taking a risk. I became a teacher because I love kids and wanted to make a real difference. I had a Business degree and a good job, but I wasn't satisfied. I started volunteering for a great non-profit Free Arts for Abused Children. I went to their events almost every weekend and enjoyed doing arts or crafts with the kids who just blossomed when they got the attention and a creative way to express themselves. I'd ask them what they like about themselves. Often, they'd look at me like I was speaking a foreign language. I'd share one thing that I appreciate myself for and wait. Most of the time, I'd give them a nudge. They'd say "I like my eyes or something physical." I then prompt them to find an inner quality that they admired. It'd take a while, but when they came up with it, their eyes and faces lit up. I felt such joy in sharing this simple step of self-love with them. I got burnt out as a teacher and quit. I felt like a failure. I stopped volunteering and working with kids regularly. I'm ashamed that I've forgotten how much I love kids.

Recently, I joined Girl Friends Circles because I wanted to be a better friend. I realized that like Mark who shared in Born to Blog, I've lost sight of what it means to be a friend. "It's a word that has been
cheapened by social-media. I was not getting to know the people behind their avatars" or social profiles. "I want to have real conversations and make real friends. I want to talk on the phone and even meet the people" in my social circles. I am also promoting Global Wellness Day.

Join my Being Well Group and come to a Healthy Cooking event - learn to take control of your health. Cost of eating healthy $ vs cost of dieting or diseases $$$. Choose one. Join now! https://www.facebook.com/groups/1922289331381752/

Friday, May 19, 2017

How to Break Bad Habits

One tool you can use to break free of bad habits and be attuned to your body is to observe the tension you carry in your body. Are you holding your breath or is your breathing quick and shallow? Are your shoulders stiff and tense? Just be aware without being critical. Take 3 deep, slow breathes - inhale to draw air (oxygen) into your lungs, feel your rib cage and belly expand and exhale to release stress or tension. A mantra you can use internally while you do this simple breathing exercise is "let go". Set an intention. What do you wish for? Inhale, "I let go of my pain". Exhale, "let go"

I am reading The Power of Partnerships: Seven relationships that will change your life by Riane Eisler. It is an eye-opening book about the old Domination Model based on authority/ control (win-lose) and the new Partnership Model based on respect (win-win). http://ow.ly/gi0L30bRUtM


Join The Partnership Revolution - Connect, Collaborate and find Common Ground to create win-win.
Yoga teaches us to be in partnership with our bodies, to treat them with care and respect. By practicing yoga, we become attuned to and connected to our bodies and our spiritual beings. Yoga made me aware of how I was harming myself with the bad habits of mindless eating and dieting. It connects me to the truth that I was seeking comfort from food. Now, when I feel the urge to indulge, I ask myself if doing that will satisfy me or if I'd feel better with a healthier choice.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

How to Stop the Blame Game


I used to love McDonald's. I'd eat their Chicken Mcnuggets, their grilled chicken burgers and their soft serve ice cream. I didn't have time to cook and was on a budget. I also loved their Happy Meals since they have smaller portions and comes with a toy. Depending on what toy they have, I'd sometimes buy the Meal just for the toy. I also ate Healthy Choice T.V. dinners. I'd pop them in the microwave & presto -dinner! Then, I'd watch my favorite shows on T.V while I ate. Little did I know that eating processed foods regularly was so bad for my health and weight.

I blamed myself for "being fat", I felt ashamed of my body and hated my tummy. Beautiful women have "flat abs" and I didn't. So, I went on a diet and joined a running group. When I first started to run, I hated it. I was slow and got winded easily. I wanted to give up so many times, but I kept pushing myself. I stuck to it, I ate less and I lost weight! I was so proud of myself. I ran more, ate less and got the natural high from being "healthy". I went lost over 45 pounds in less than a year. At one point, I weighed around 100 pounds and I felt "great". At 5 foot 9, I felt like a "big fat pig" before my transformation and didn't like to wear a swimsuit. After my weight lost, I wore my new swim suit with pride. I got rid of my tummy. Little did I know that I was anorexic and harming my health.

Luckily, my mom got concerned enough to intervene and dragged me to see a doctor. I was so mad at her then. I blamed her for telling me that I needed to lose weight in the first place. In fact, I was a chubby kid and growing up in Hong Kong where almost everyone is smaller and skinnier than I was got me the nickname "Fat Girl". My family was the first to call me "Fat" and made me think there was something wrong with me. I had low self-esteem and felt bad about my body. When I finally took control of my body and my weight, I felt good about myself. Yet my mom was trying to take it away. We argued and fought, but I finally gave in because she made me feel guilty. The doctor warned me about the harm that I was doing to myself. She pointed out that I was too thin - my body did not have enough nutrients to menstruate, my teeth and my bones will go bad if I continue. She persuaded me to add healthy, plant-based and whole food to my diet and to stop running. She asked me why I like to run, I told her that I felt free and happy when I ran. She suggested other low-impact exercises that I could try to see which ones I liked. She literally saved my life. I wish more doctors are like her.

I found that I like yoga and walking. I've been doing both since then. Yoga teaches compassion and non-judgement. It's a mind-body exercise that helps me tune in to my breathe and listen to my body. It helps quiet my inner critic as I focus on the present moment. I grew aware of the Blame Game that most of us are playing. I started to be more accountable for my own thoughts and actions. I still feel "fat" and "unattractive", but I catch myself and remind myself that I am a spiritual being having a human experience. As women, we are bombarded by the media on how we should look. We compare ourselves to other "beautiful" women and feel lacking. We get sucked in to the lie that if we buy this or that, we'd look and feel better. It's a vicious cycle that is bad for our health and well-being. So, stop the Blame Game and join me on The Kindness Revolution. Be kind to yourself and others in thoughts, words and deeds. Set the intention to be kind each day. Let's take back control of our health and our lives.

#SweatPink ambassador at https://fitapproach.com/

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

7-Day Health and Wellness




Kindness – We all need to be kind to ourselves and others. Do you get critical with yourself (say things like I’m not good enough)? Chances are you get stressed out by being so hard on yourself. Yoga teaches compassion and non-judgement. Accept that what is and where you are at this moment. What are you grateful for?


Intention – What is your intention? Why do you want to change?


Deeds – Do your actions move you towards your goals?


Support – Get support from Being Well. For the next 7 days, focus on being kind and do more things that you love to do.  Fall in love with life. See things with new “eyes” and practice positive affirmations.Need some inspiration? Create a Vision Board.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Happy Mother's Day





Celebrate by listing the women in your life who you're grateful for. Think of ways they inspire you & what you appreciate them for. Then call or email them to share your gratitude.


5 Benefits of Gratitude

1.       Improve health

2.       Better sleep

3.       Increase self-esteem

4.       Improve empathy

5.       Increase resilience



5 Love Languages

Dr. Gary Chapman’s book list 5 ways to express love

1.       Verbal  affirmation

2.       Quality time

3.        Gifts

4.       Acts of service

5.       Physical touch

This Mothers’s Day, determine the main way you express love and do more of it. Then try to show your love in other ways. 

I took an Acro-yoga class where the teachers emphasized good communication and trusting the partner to accomplish each pose. It was a great way to practice the verbal love language by saying “good job”, “you’ve got it”, etc. The whole class was based on physical touch.  It was challenging and fun. If you haven’t tried acro-yoga, do so.