This month is all about Mental Health Awareness and sharing how vital it is to take care of our overall well-being. It’s a topic that we’re always interested in learning more about. Life since the pandemic last year has changed for everyone around the world. A great way to learn more is by talking about it with experts in the field. We’re excited to share more from our Q&A with Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher Wendy Du about her practice and the importance of body and mind for mental health.
Tell us a little about yourself!
My name is Wendy, and I am the founder of Shan Studios. I am a teacher and practitioner of yoga and meditation. I started practicing yoga and dabbled in mindfulness in high school, and my appreciation for and dedication to the practices have deepened since then. My non-work hobbies include powerlifting, writing, and trying different bubble tea joints around the city.
What motivated you to become a yoga and mindfulness teacher?
Yoga and mindfulness have helped me immensely through life events I don’t think I would’ve made through otherwise. I started these practices when I was a teenager, and I wish I knew about them even earlier. Yoga and mindfulness practice are like reviewing a user’s manual for my body and mind that I wish I had as a child. I was really motivated to help others get access to these practices
“De-stressing isn’t about running away from stress, but deeply re-connecting to a flow and a presence in the body that feels calming.”
How has yoga and meditation changed your life?
I used to be a very fearful and reactive person. I felt like I was fighting my own mind – thoughts and emotions – every day and it was super exhausting. I have a much more balanced relationship with myself now, and feel like I have more agency in my life.
What benefits do you see in your students through regular practice?
I see better body awareness and a higher endurance to stick to working through difficult yoga postures and transitions. Something that most people might not care too much about, but I find very significant, is that students are able to find more stillness in savasana as well as in the sitting posture at the end of class. There is a lot less frantic energy in the room with my regular students.
“Mindfulness helps to cultivate a clear sense of awareness. From awareness there is knowing, and from knowing there can be action. This can definitely align with sustainable living.”
Do you think sustainable living and mindfulness share some common themes?
Definitely, on top of accessibility, I think a lot of unsustainable habits and purchases can come from a lack of mindfulness. There are a few mindfulness practices that support sustainability. One of them is a mindful eating practice that contemplates the origins of food. Where it came from, how many hands it passed through in the farming, harvesting, processing, transporting process etc. Mindfulness helps to cultivate a clear sense of awareness. From awareness there is knowing, and from knowing there can be action. This can definitely align with sustainable living.
Top tips to de-stress?
My top tip is to find something you can do consistently! Having a de-stress routine can be much more helpful than doing something sporadically or occasionally. I would say to find one thing that moves you and one thing that inspires you. I am biased to yoga and meditation, but my lifting practice also de-stresses me. It could be running and reading, or dancing and drawing. Things to watch out for when finding de-stressing activities are things that distract you or disconnect you from yourself. De-stressing isn’t about running away from stress, but deeply re-connecting to a flow and a presence in the body that feels calming.
Everyday outfit when you’re not in the studio?
Even if I’m not in the studio, I still wear half activewear. A crop top or bowling shirt and some black leggings. Or a sports bra with some high-waisted jeans or trousers. I also like a good sundress.
Any daily or morning rituals you can share with us to improve mental wellness?
If you like meditating in the morning, then meditate. Choose a duration that feels a little challenging but not miserable. For these practices, listening to a guided meditation with a teacher you like can be helpful. Do as many of your regular morning routines as you can before you check your phone or laptop. Do one of your routines – eating, brushing your teeth, drinking your coffee – mindfully, with your full attention.
We hope you learned as much as we did through what Wendy shared with us and the KIN community. There’s so much more to explore with mindfulness and our mental wellbeing. Meet Wendy herself and join us for our very special one day Pop-Up at Shan Studios on Wednesday, May 19th! Shan Studios will be hosting a relaxing self-care day with different workshops available. Register via the link here. If you simply want to visit and come say hello, you do not need to pre-register. We will be there with our latest clothing for you to shop at the studio alongside Hong Kong jewelry brand Young By Dilys’. Looking forward to meeting you!