Finding My Passion For Yoga In China

Note from Editors: In view of the current situation, please avoid all unnecessary travel and try to stay home. Don’t worry, like all things, it will end at some point and you’ll be able to travel again. In the meantime, check out what you can do while staying at home.

”Yoga is the perfect opportunity to be curious about who you are.”

Jason Crandell
Morning yoga stretch at Songshan Lake, Dalang, Dongguan.
Morning yoga stretch at Songshan Lake, Dalang, Dongguan.

Sometimes it’s too much too handle…

Today’s post is very personal. I sometimes feel an urge to share my feelings and mood swings when in China with a larger group of people (one of the perks of being a blogger). I came back from Europe to China 3 months ago with certain ideas and goals in my head to implement:

  • Travel more frequently around China on my days off.
  • Plan South America Journey for 2015 (6 months on the road).
  • Start learning a new language and improve my oral Chinese.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle and inspire others to do so.
  • Make eTramping more informative.
  • Publish our first e-Book.
  • Improve my teaching skills at work.
  • Get myself ready for moving to Europe for a year to do my Master’s Degree in Social Media and Blogging.

I love challenges and I’m ambitious but this time it was definitely too much to handle. I worked long hours in the kindergarten to become more efficient teacher. I spent hours in front of my laptop blogging, e-mailing and working on our social media channels. I worked out a lot. I studied a new foreign language for hours (Dutch). I traveled like crazy during the weekends. I didn’t sleep much. I put too much pressure on myself. One morning I just broke down in tears…

I was sleep-deprived. I had a bad cold. I felt miserable. I hated my blog. I hated my travels. I hated China. I fell out with Cez. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. Total slough and emptiness.

Time for meditation
Time for meditation.

Then my mom came along saying Sit down for a minute, quiet down, meditate and pray. Make your mental and physical health priority. Find serenity and fight your stress!”

So I did.

I packed my yoga mat and put on some sport clothes. I cycled to one of  the most relaxing and charming places in Dalang – Songshan LakeI sat down on the grass. I totally chilled out. I closed my eyes. I started controlling my breathing. I calmed down. It was just me and my thoughts. Nobody around. The time stopped…

Yoga at Songshan Lake
Meditation.

After a couple of minutes I started loving this feeling of not being stressed anymore. I smiled. I was getting back to my old me – full of energy and positive attitude towards life…

That day made me realize that I lack balance in my everyday life. It’s been always black or white, one extreme or another, my way or no way, 100% in or out. I wanted to change this. I don’t need to be perfect all the time – nobody is. I can’t put so much pressure on myself. I need to find this balance between working hard and chilling out. It’s ok to be lazy for a day or two, go for a trip without making notes every 5 minutes while thinking of the next blog post and taking photos like crazy. I need more fun and more time for myself.

Finding the balance through yoga and meditation

I started reading about yoga and meditation a lot. As Catholic, I don’t believe in Buddhist approach to life and after-life (although I fully respect it), but I found yoga (as a form of exercise) and meditation (as a form of relaxation) so beneficial.

A girl is doing yoga poses for beginners
My favourite yoga poses

Yoga:

  • It increases my strength and flexibility.
  • It lowers my blood sugar.
  • I feel much healthier and fitter.
  • I sleep much better.
  • I’m definitely more relaxed throughout my day.
  • I have my energy.
  • My migraine and tiredness is gone.
  • I started to appreciate little things happening in my life I never paid attention to before.
  • I focus more on fixing things, not destroying them.
A girl is stretching her body on the grass
Stretching my body before yoga routine.

Meditation:

  • It helps me quieten down and release my stress and get myself ready for a busy day in China.
  • I started listening to my body and follow my heart.
  • I became more organised when it comes to work and travel.
  • I’m on a good way to change my lifestyle and find my balance between work, travels and sport.

What I love the most about yoga is the fact everyone can do it and I can do it anytime I want and anywhere I want. All I need is a piece of ground, a yoga mat and some water.

A girl is trying new yoga poses
Trying new yoga poses

I’ve been practicing yoga and meditation for more than a month now. I’m totally new to it so I discover new things every day which is so exciting. I do some meditation right after I wake up to get myself mentally ready for a busy day at work. As for yoga, I try to practice it every two days for about 15 minutes at home or go for a longer 45 minute sessions at the lake.

I try to be creative and innovative so I often come up with some “weird-looking” poses nobody else could follow (Cez can’t stop laughing when observing me), but I don’t really care as long as the poses make me feel good and more flexible.

A girl is exercising
Up and down

Everyone has their own way of dealing with pressure and stress nowadays. I’m glad I found mine. So far it’s been working well and I hope it will stay this way.

‎”The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind & the harmony of the soul create the symphony of life.”

B.K.S. Iyengar
apple, coconut and water
My 3 yoga companions – apple, coconut and water

Have you ever practiced yoga? How do you cope with the stress when working, traveling and/or blogging?

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Agness Walewinder
Agness Walewinder
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule "Pack lite, travel far and live long!"
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75 thoughts on “Finding My Passion For Yoga In China”

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope all works out. I’ve done bikram yoga which was hot! One relaxation technique I do is sip on water. Only think about the act of drinking water as it touches your lips and goes down. Water has relaxing properties that reduce stress. Listening to waves of the ocean also helps. If all else fails, I’ll just go clubbing and drink vodka. Works like a charm. ;) Look… you probably could teach the masters class in social media and blogging. I’m not sure how it works in Europe, but technology changes so fast that I don’t think professors can keep up. You’re already doing this and can leverage your experience. I’m not sure of your purpose behind pursuing a masters, but this blog and your book can be used examples of work on your resume. My point is, why spend money on a masters degree (if it costs anything in Europe) for something you’re already awesome at? Can the same investment for school be used to develop more information products/websites/etc. to make you more money instead of working for a company? Just a few thoughts if its worth anything. Cheers to your success!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Bikram yoga sounds so interesting and exciting, seriously. I gotta check it out soon. Thanks for that.
      As for my master’s degree, I love to study and social media has been my passion for the past 12 months. I was thinking of combining these two things and getting back to uni to get some more knowledge, but you’re right about paying for something I’m already good at. I’ll think it over. Maybe I can get a job in a good company and they can pay for my uni :). I’m so excited about having a student’s life and living an expat life somewhere in Europe, perhaps Paris or Prague. As for the uni, it costs between 1.800 and 3.000 euros per year.

  2. Great post! Makes me want to go practice yoga right now! I’ve been pretty slack with my practice and mediation this past year to be honest but the peace and focus you describe has reminded me of what I’m missing and inspired me to make it more of a priority. Yoga and mediation is certainly a good way to handle stress in your life. Also, I agree with Mig above on your degree. Your amazing blog and social media profiles are more than enough to get you a job in social media. I work in social media and I’ve a BA in Creative Writing, everything I learnt was on the job, which, as Mig says, as technologies change so fast, is the better way to move in to a career in online marketing/social media. Just my thoughts, perhaps your reasons behind it are different :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hey Charlie. Thank you so much for your sharing! I agree, yoga and mediation is certainly a good way to handle stress in your life. It helped me a lot.
      As for the social media job, I still have a lot to learn so that’s why I want to continue my studies. I don’t feel ready now to work for someone else and I hope it will change soon. I need to gain more confidence in this field and getting my university degree can certainly help. Besides, I want to develop myself further. Congratulations on your degree and you’ve been doing a great job with your blog! I’ll follow your steps x

  3. Rachel of Hippie in Heels

    looks like fun! i’m surrounded by yoga here and have attempted to try it for a few months and i LOVE it so much!! it’s just too pricey here, i did to download some videos and do it on my own.

  4. Jessica of HolaYessica

    I joined a gym about six weeks ago and have been going to regular yoga classes, and it does amazing things for getting more “centered”, in yoga-speak. The balancing poses are such a good way to test if you’re really relaxed and focused or not – some days the focus is there, and other days I can’t stop from falling over (like today!).

    The lake looks like a much nicer place to practice than in the gym though. :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Great! I know, I try to stay focused and relaxed all the time. I even started to learn some breathing tactics to calm myself down when I’m about to get stressed and guess what…it helps a lot!

  5. I know what you mean, it can be so stressful trying to accomplish so much every week. I also recently realized I needed to fit in some exercise in between all the time at my computer! The yoga classes here are too expensive (and I really need a class, I’m not motivated on my own). In between some short runs I am going to attend a cheap zumba class I’ve recently found. I’s such a silly class but really fun and a good workout. Life is all about balance, and no…no one is perfect!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thanks for that. I know how expansive yoga classes can be, especially in Madrid. You can download some yoga videos from the Internet or watch YouTube videos. It feels great not to sit in front of the laptop 24/7 and yes, life is all about the balance! :)

  6. Sad to read you had a meltdown moment but inspiring to read on and find that you turned it around and are adding yourself to your To-do list. :-D

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thank you Maria. You’re a star. I guess everyone has bad moments when living an expat life for a longer period of time :).

  7. Hi Agness,
    I just came across your site today. I’m glad to here that things are turning around for you. Yoga is something I want to get into myself in the near future. I’m currently travelling in Nepal and have met so many people that like you, speak very highly of it.

    It certainly does seem to have a balancing effect. Thanks for sharing your experience, it’s stories like these that make me relly wwant to try it.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hey Francis. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing. I used to laugh at people doing silly and funny yoga poses, but now I’m one of them and I totally love it! You should definitely have a go! Nepal must be a wonderful place to practice some yoga. I’m so jealous! <3.

  8. Not good to hear that you’ve been down but great to hear that you’ve found a stress outlet! I tend to cycle or go for walks which clears my head – I used to blog as an outlet but that stresses me out now too :( I used to do hot yoga back in Australia, maybe I should take it up again…

  9. What a wonderful post, Agness, and thank you for sharing with us! I have not done Yoga but I have meditated all of my adult life. And I’m a 100% believer in it and the ability to quiet one’s own mind. We can all be too hard on ourselves sometimes and our worse critics. I’ve told you before you are amazing success story and sometimes you need an outside party to remind of that. Also, I feel, our biggest life journey is full self-awareness. Once we’ve accomplished that we can wag the dog by the tail in this lifetime. And you have achieved just that; self-awareness. We are always so very proud of you, our friend! But, please remember to pat yourself on the back daily! Wszystkie nasze najcieplejsze myśli i miłości modlitwy do Ciebie! :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hey Mike. Thank you ever so much. That’s true. I need an outside party from time to time and I’m too hard on myself sometimes, that’s also so true. It’s great you believe in meditation as well – that’s an awesome thing to do. Your Polish is so impressive. I’m also sending my love to you and hope you’re doing well xx Miss you and Phoenix!

  10. Excellent post, Agness! Thanks for the reminder to (and the how to) get centered. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when everything and everyone around us seems to be out of control. It sounds like when you re-found your center that your life came back into control. Your message is inspiring!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Thank you so much Steve! Yes, I have finally re-found my center and I feel like I’m happier than before. FINALLY xxx

  11. I loved this post Agness, it’s ok to get personal on your blog from time to time, and it’s even more important to put yourself first especially when you feel too much pressure on you.

    I’m actually going trough a similar path right now, but for more personal reasons and sometimes it’s very hard to focus on all the things i want to do with my life, as a travel blogger and just as an individual.

    I always wanted to try and meditate, and i think i definitely need to try Yoga (i did once but i stopped)..

    After reading your post and your good results i am tempted to start again, at least to meditate and find some peace inside that messy head of mine :)

    You are a great girl, full of energy and you’re doing great with everything you do, but you are right, nobody’s perfect and we should just accept it and embrace it. We would live so much better!
    Go girl!!xxx

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Is everything ok sweetie? If you need to talk, you know where to find me (e-mail and Facebook). I hope it’s gonna be ok. Try to be more patient and always put yourself on top of everything what’s happening in your life. Slow down if you feel like rushing yourself too much and try some meditation. It really helps, believe me xx

  12. Hi Angnes

    I have been doing Yoga twice a week for the last 2 years, it is amazing. Many men think it is a girly activity, but it is also very hard and challenging sometimes. I am sure you fell over a few times after the photos were taken :) those postures take time to perfect.

    I am finding it hard to write a book and keep a full time job, so you must be stressed teaching full time and keeping the blog going. Take your time…

    I saw someone mentioned about the Master’s. Do we really need one? although for me it is personal ambition. I now how much my degree gave me skills and life experience, could an MA give you even more?

    Keep up the good work
    Anthony

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Hi Anthony,

      Yoga is not for girls only, c’mon! I’ve seen many YouTube videos where men practiced yoga and they are sometimes more flexible than women. It’s for everyone!

      Yes, I definitely need to be more patient and stop pushing pressure on myself. Everything comes with time.

      Yes, I feel like doing a master’s degree and PhD afterwards. I love studying and keeping myself busy with various researches and projects. I wanted to do it a year ago, but I decided to travel the world and then get back to uni.

      Sending my love.

      Your words mean a lot to me!

      Love x

  13. Great post, Agness! I appreciated your openness with sharing about your struggles. I can definitely relate to feeling down. It’s amazing how meditation and yoga can make such a difference! While I don’t have a lot of experience with yoga, it’s something I want to take more time to do in the future. Thanks for an inspiring post!

  14. It’s important to find something that makes you happy, because most of the time, regular life won’t do it. Everyone has something or other, whether it’s books, friends, or whatever, although it’s nice to explore new things and see how they go. I did Tai Chi at home for a bit, which is…SORT of like yoga…and it was nice. Very relaxing, and it can be something of a workout, though not as much as yoga.

    1. Agness Walewinder

      That is so true! I’ve read a lot about Tai Chi, but never practiced it, but I do some workouts at home on top of my yoga routine :).

  15. Nice post. Im glad yoga is helping you. Im pretty stressed at the moment, there are so many things I want to achieve and I feel in rush to achieve those things. I should really just priotise one thing at a time! You’ll love south america im sure and i’ll look forward to reading about it!

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I feel the same way, but don’t forget about staying healthy and being relaxed. At the end of the day, it’s not worth worrying :).

  16. Great Post Agness! I can totally relate to this as I’m sometimes struggling with reconciling my office job, my blog and all the things you want to work on and get done (improve my Spanish, blogging skills, answering mails etc). Sometimes you just need a few hours to find your balance again and yoga seems to be a good thing for that. I always wanted to try that to but until now I haven’t. How did you start? (How do you know what to do? ;)) Can you recommend a book or a webpage?

    1. Agness Walewinder

      I’ve never read any books on yoga, but follow a few people on Instagram and Pinterest and read the links they post weekly. I am also a very creative person so I listen to my body and heart and try to come up with poses which are comfortable for me :). Good luck sweetie. Take it slow, start it from a 5 minute stretch in the morning, then extend it to 10 and 15 minutes, be patient and don’t be hard on yourself :). If you need more tips or info, let me know!! <3

  17. What a nice and honest post Agness. Not everybody talks about the stress and the down side of traveling and blogging. Sometimes as you said it gets a bit too much and I tend to get stressed too and not enjoying myself. I’m glad Dale is with me and he’s very good at calming me down and putting me back on the right track, I’m wondering what I’d do if I was on my own. I’ve never seriously tried yoga and meditation, maybe I should give it a go. :)

    1. Agness Walewinder

      You are a lucky girl to have Dave by your side Franca! We, girls, stress ourselves way too much and it’s good to have a man who can get you back on the track and make you feel relaxed. You guys are amazing :). My travel couple role models I would say <3.

  18. Thanks for a great post and for being so open Agness! I’ve always wanted to try yoga, but it’s hard to find time for that sort of stuff when you work long hours.

    Also, you’re getting your masters in social media and blogging?! That’s cool! What university will you be going to? That’s a pretty rare concentration in the US still. Maybe I’ll just have to go to school in Europe! ;P

    1. Agness Walewinder

      Sweetie, I am also super busy, but I always find an extra 15 minutes in the morning which will benefit my whole day :). You really gotta try it, you won’t regret it. Wake up 15 minutes earlier and do some meditation!

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