Over the past three years, many aspects of my life have been changed. I’ve moved to a new country speaking another language while getting married and walking down my yoga journey from a corporate world. In short, it is a good move but it is not easy. I think yoga gives me loads of strength to face uncertainties and challenges ahead. I am also healthier and happier.
I used to work on credit card usage and rewards in banking industry in Hong Kong. Many people admired my high-paying and high-status job even I worked 13 hours a day. I didn’t have time to think I enjoyed my work or not because I just had to get things done. I did have a sense of achievements at work when I rolled out marketing campaigns one by one. That’s rather a burst of excitement than a true happiness. I have had friendship and families, savings and intention to learn and explore, but I was very tired and I had no time for myself.
Before I had a chance to find a better work-life balance, which didn’t seem to exist in marketing field in financial sector in Hong Kong, I couldn’t hold a hairdryer long enough for drying my hair. My right elbow, upper arm and shoulder had so much pain when I lifted my arm up. I also couldn’t tilt my head back. I could no longer focus on my work and sit long hours to get things done. At the same time, I did a body check up and found out my calcium level was below average and the doctor said I could only make it not even worse but I could never regain the calcium level and enhance the bone density. I thought I was pretty healthy because I was not sick. That made me so worried about I had financial freedom but nothing else in future. What can I do if I make a simple move and then break my bone? My mum’s calcium level is higher than me while she was then 69 years old. The life expectancy of women in Hong Kong is 83 years old so I would have then 49 years to go. It’s terrible. This was a wake up call for me and I was committed to go back to yoga practice. Restoring my health is my first priority, not my work anymore.
Thanks to Pure Yoga in Hong Kong. I met many inspirational yoga teachers and tried all different styles of yoga there. I stepped out of my office and found out how weak my body was. I was the first student to release from the pose in class and my hands were shaking so much as I didn’t have arm strength and strong muscles to carry my own body weight. I was tiny. I practiced yoga three times a week and within three months, it’s magic. I built a lot of body strength and felt so much healthier. My pain on my neck and shoulder has gone. I also had more energy to enjoy friends’ gatherings. I realized how much I neglected my health and my work pattern didn’t allow me to live sustainable. When I gave myself some time to restore and recharge, I found inner strength and clarity of mind. I started focusing on my wellbeing and dropped my bad habits that harmed my health. I put a fruit on my desk so I remembered to eat. I drank a glass of warm lemon water regularly and I continued to practice yoga three times a week. I changed my habits for a better health and my mind wasn’t in my banking job anymore. I think promoting wellbeing and teaching yoga are important to me.
I quitted my job in Hong Kong and went to Byron Bay for a certificate IV yoga teacher training. It deepens my knowledge of asana, philosophy, meditation and breath at Byron Yoga Centre. I realise I don’t know how to breathe properly while I am breathing in and out for over 30 years. My classmates and teachers life experiences opened my eyes and I realise we always have choices to live and work decently even you don’t have a high-paying job for items associated with materialistic values. I have faith in sharing the joy of yoga and making a sustainable living. People said Byron Bay is very spiritual. It’s very likely to have a new relationship if you are single, or it’s very likely to break a relationship if you have a partner. So, I met my husband in the yoga teacher training and followed him to Fiji then Perth with my yoga journey.
Teaching yoga is very rewarding. All smiles and accomplishments from students are my fuel to keep moving forward. VAI YOGA was founded in Fiji and now re-established in Perth. I dream big and try my very best to bring yoga to everyone .
Rachel is the founder of VAI YOGA and an occupational therapist. Her yoga teaching focuses on blending two powerful healings, yoga and occupational therapy solutions, to help people face practical aspects of life.