Keeping Warm with Chair Yoga | Wesley Mission

“If I’m still going to yoga classes at 81 years of age, know that it was you Heroes who inspired me.”

Our most dedicated students are not those who can do the headstands and splits. In fact, they’re the ones who show up with a smile every week, even if their arthritis is flaring up, even if it means catching the bus in in 5degrees cold and nursing a frozen shoulder, a bunked knee, a toe injury, a sore back… you name it, we’ve heard it from this community of elderly. 

Teaching yoga and bringing the Gospel to this community of seniors is not about how “good” you can be. It’s learning about grace and courage. To others and to yourself.

To us, this is the richest reward. This warms our heart, mind, soul and body.

Oh how much we love you brave souls and learn from you. 

And of course, thank you always, Wesley Mission for providing us this safe space to serve, to share our stories and to grow. 
Serving in His name ✝️


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National Volunteer Week 2017 | Wesley Mission

The best contribution to $4M I’ve ever made – the joys of my life. Some would have heard my story for the very first time of how I got the privilege to volunteer, at Wesley Mission’s School for Seniors as a Yoga teacher, at this celebration at #nationalvolunteerweek. 

Jeannie Mathews, I’m forever thankful to you for bringing me in. 
***

Today is the last day of National Volunteer week, a celebration to recognise those who contribute to the community in volunteer services.

Today, I am so proud and honoured to be celebrating this with other volunteers in Wesley Mission, as they host their last afternoon tea for this week. Some of you will have heard my story of why I volunteer at Wesley for the first time. And I will share this personal story again and again of my calling into volunteering in this loving place. All you need is to ask me 😊

Today, I met those who had volunteered for 30 years and those who were still volunteering and serving the community in their 90’s. To think my Friday morning yoga classes offered to the School for Seniors in the past 16 months is a big commitment is naïve, compared to the work that some of these other volunteers have done. Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to undermine the hours and effort that I have spent and the benefits that the community receive. But it was certainly very grounding to see the joy of those who have served in community, especially the elderly community (94 year olds!!!) 

Wesley Mission highlighted that the contribution is equivalent to a saving of $4M AUD in wages. The impact of the lives that volunteers is invaluable. 

96% of volunteers say that they feel happier and sleep better.

I certainly feel and own this privilege. ❤️ Curious to know if it’s true? Give it a go. Try and see for yourself!

My Last Yoga Class of 2016 | Wesley Mission

A year ago, I was praying a lot for an opportunity to show my church that Holy Yoga can be introduced to Christians. Why? Because, a lot of Christians believe that Yoga is incompatible with their faith. I disagreed and felt that God called me into this ministry and gave me permission to incorporate this into ministry life.

From not knowing where to go to teaching my final class at Wesley Mission today, it has been a blessed and anointed journey. 

These students come from all walks of life and have a breath and depth of life experience. They come from different cultural and religious backgrounds and gather here in this Community Centre to be in relationship with people and to learn and grow.

I am so thankful for their love. That they have embraced me for who I am, what I preach, how I teach without judgement. This is a place where I truly feel “no judgement”. 

Today’s class was led by a fellow Christian Yogi. It was an opportunity for her to grow at the same time a Divine plan for me, as I had broken my toe a week before and was extremely late to class for the first time. The unpredictable circumstances and how it was neatly catered for was no coincidence and definitely Divine intervention. For that, there is no shortage of praise and glory to our Big Man Above who also knows best. 


I love gifting. It’s my passion because I know that it’s a way I can share my love with others. Today, I had the honour to gift my students with Kris Kringle stockings I had been making for a couple of weeks. I was also blessed with a gift and lunch treat from them in return.

During lunch, my student said this to me:

“I have more respect for Wesley Mission since seeing yoga classes being offered as part of the curriculum. It says to me that they are diverse and accepting of different cultures. You are an anointed teacher in a blessed place. I truly believe in your spiritual journey and teachings. Thank you.”

Now, THIS, is the heart of what I do. Not to segregate but to unite. 


The thought of not teaching next year did cross my mind because Friday mornings could mean some down time for me. But I would dishonour myself, Wesley Mission, my students and my faith if I didn’t continue to serve in this joyous place. So, with that said, Happy Christmas and see you all in 2017!

FAITH, COURAGE & PERSISTENCE | Must Haves in Serving & Business

I’m so honoured to be invited by Fideliz Cruz to be featured on her lifestyle channel recently. 

FAITH, COURAGE & PERSISTENCE.
THE MUST HAVES IN SERVING & BUILDING A BUSINESS

Have you seen my interview with Fideliz Cruz? Watch the full episode here:

Here are my tips when serving and building your business:

1) Grace – allowing grace and remembering that we are all made uniquely different – when working with someone that works differently from you, and when you’re faced with a difficult or challenging situation, allow grace and trust in God’s plan.

2) Faith – trust that He [God] has a plan for you. you might not understand when you come across obstacles but keep going with courage.

3) Persistence – “You can not know whether it’s God’s plan or whether you’ve not done enough if you don’t persist. If you’ve persisted and its still not working you know that you can still trust in the plan. But if you didn’t persist and you didn’t give it your 100% you wonder whether it was me or what it was…”

Will You Volunteer? | Wesley Mission Volunteer Annual Awards

I am so honoured to be a part of this loving community of volunteers at Wesley Mission’s School for Seniors. Here, fellow Yoga teacher, Crystal (Founder of Smileyoway) and I get together for the thanksgiving event and volunteer awards. We had such a blessed time. It was so rewarding to hear of the work of amazing volunteers and how their effort changes others.

For me, volunteering is not just about “giving back”. I am grateful for the opportunity I have to serve and get much fulfilment from it. People often ask me why I do it. Well, it is for the love of people and for the love of self-fulfilment. 

This year, every Friday, it has been the most rewarding to come out of teaching my yoga class to the senior school students there. There have been challenging moments and painful times. Even times that make me wonder whether I am built for volunteer work. But walking alongside the church, I am reminded of Jesus’ steadfastness in serving His people. I am reminded of loving people who are hard to love. I have learnt what it means to hold appropriate boundaries and gate out danger. I have learnt a fine balance between opening the gate to serve willingly and joyfully and closing the gate to avoid resentment and bitterness.  Most weeks, Friday is my favourite day. Not just because it’s the end of the week (because, frankly for me, it isn’t anyways as I minister and teach on Sundays). But Friday brings a breath of fresh air from my volunteer experience. Every Friday is different. But every Friday is rewarding in some way. 

Jesus gave us the command to “love your neighbour as you love yourself. (Mark 12:31) ” No better place, means, ways, time and people to do so than to serve as volunteer at Wesley Mission.

First Year of a Holy Yogi


A year ago, I taught my first Holy Yoga Class. From not knowing how to get started, to growing the student database and teaching hours to 3 digits, to media coverage, to workshops… This is a blessed journey.

I still remember my first class of 4 friends in the community room in my estate. God opened doors for me. Then I struggled to find a place to teach and God opened a door again and I held my second public class with 30 people at the Mowbray School hall where I had little teaching experience. I remember having to write down every pose and cue on a sheet of paper together with my sharing and intention for every single class. Class prep consumed my waking hours for the first few months. Now, over 100 classes later, I am far more natural and comfortable teaching without notes. I allow for laughs and tongue-ties when I’m stuck, knowing that students will have grace for me.

I remember making bracelets and praying over those who would receive them, asking God to pour His blessings over them.  Now, these bracelets are part of my memories and although I don’t give them out anymore, they have made a mark in my journey.

I remember the excitement I got when someone who finds my classes online emails me about my classes. Now, I need to set aside time to reply emails about classes and instructor training every second day.

I remember when I wouldn’t have a venue to teach after Christmas because the school hall was going under renovations. God opened doors again and found me a proper yoga studio locally. I didn’t even need to flinch. He just gave me what I asked for. All I needed was patience.

I remember when my donation-based pricing caused tension for students and for me. God again, poured His grace, and gave me a way to introduce fixed pricing. Now, everyone is happy with the pricing. (I hope 😜)

I remember wanting to be able to teach at my church. I prayed hard enough that He gave me a volunteer role at the church’s senior school. Now, this time is one of my favourite times of the week; to spend it with the elderly and bring a smile to their face.

I remember when I prayed for more exposure for the ministry here in Australia. I didn’t understand why God sent me down the path of mainstream media, 3rd page of Sydney Morning Herald plus video all over the Internet when I wasn’t prepared for the opposition. I prayed to God for help, only to find more media outlets picking up this controversial topic and my voice, face and words being misconstrued in certain instances. I cried to God for help and realised this was His great plan when a Salvation Army journalist picked it up and covered my story in Truth, finally. And since then, has brought on some more Christians into my class and allowed for my students to come and stand in faith together with me. God graces me. Media coverage with more students? Can’t be right? He is a good good Father.

I remember when my sudden passion and devotion for serving threw my family off balance. Then God sent me a sister to remind me of my priorities as mother and wife. “Family is number one ministry.” She said. And was she right!

I remember when I was called into Holy Yoga Therapy training during this first year and how that added a wealth of knowledge and spiritual depth to my life. Growing up, I’d always wanted a career in health care and wellness. Anything is possible with Him. Even switching careers. God fulfilled that childhood dream. And on the topic of dreams, I really needed one from childhood to be fulfilled

I remember when this Holy Yoga thing consumed me so much that my husband sat me down and said, “Babe, I support you and how our family is serving in Holy Yoga.  But you are one person and can’t do this alone. Either you dial down what you do…” (I nearly stopped him right there)”or you find someone to help you.” We prayed on this together and God sent me a partner to work through this together.

I remember getting upset with my husband on the several occasions he was home late or forgot to inform me that he was going to be travelling. (Not unusual in this household. But really something that gets to me). Yet God’s grace shines upon me and I learned to share that grace on others. So, I addressed it with my husband with patience and compassion.  My husband learned grace too. He received and gave it back. Often.

I remember the occasions when I had to deal with conflict. Some of which were interpersonal. Some of which were intrapersonal. I experienced, first hand, the power and impact of prayer on my life. I learned about letting go and leaning in.

I remember at points when I felt lonely on this journey in the past 12 months. I remember about the enemy trying to get through the cracks and his dumb illusions. God rescues me by reminding me of this community I am part of. Church, friends, family… My hubby has been so pivotal in this. Together, we stand strong for what we believe and lift each other up when the other falls.

All of this is part of only a beginning.

My biggest joy in serving is being able to touch the lives of those who love yoga and being able to share Scripture with them along the way.
Thank you to my dearest friends and family who have supported my calling and entrusted in me to lead your yoga classes.

God has taught me a thing or two about leaning in to Him, faithfulness and opposition. This Holy Yoga thing has really given me a taste of what the fruit of the Spirit is – love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness & self-control ❤️
For as long as God allows, I’ll serve in this way. Thank You, Heavenly Father!

Here’s to striking a few poses and having fun!

Holy Land Tour | The Chinese Christian

What started off as a throw-away comment six months ago became a reality – A father-daughter pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  I’m back from my 12 day tour and yet it still feels so surreal.  Thinking about my experience is still like flicking through postcards of key landmarks.  Between all the social media updates, I have been describing this experience to friends as ‘full of flavours and emotions’.  I can’t say I feel any ‘holier’ or a heightened sense of spiritual growth but I’ve certainly learned a lot more about the history and how it all fits in with the theology of the different Christian denominations.
Dad & IAs part of this dream of touring with Dad is literally just that.  Touring with Dad.  We signed up for a Chinese-speaking tour to make it easy for my dad to understand the biblical references.  In all honesty, this posed a language barrier for me.  I’m a fluent colloquial Cantonese speaker and have limited capacity to digest Biblical references in Chinese.  If there is anything to complain about my tour, it would literally be just that!
Originally, I was going to put up a post every single day to capture my learnings of each of the Holy Land landmarks and my feelings on each.   Well, clearly that went according to plan… NOT!  Our itinerary was very tight. We had 44 spots to visits within 10 days across Jordan, Palestine and Israel.  Most days started at 6am and ended at 7pm, after which we would have dinner and back up for the following day.
To honour the best experience for myself and my dad, I decided to cut out the ‘daily blogging’ from the itinerary. I mean, it’s not like I don’t have 1000 photos to remind myself of the places I’d been to.  Facebook will have a backup as well. So there, I didn’t need much convincing to drop that part of the schedule.   If you’re a blogger, you might appreciate this…sometimes, you just NEED A BREAK from your blog.

So, I’m wrapping the whole experience up in ONE post.  Here are the highlights of my trip:


1. 12 DAYS, 5 COUNTRIES, CROSSING BORDERS X 6
  • To get myself there, I travelled from Australia to Hong Kong.
  • From Hong Kong to Jordan, laying over in Thailand.
  • After arriving in Amman, it was mainly road travel on the tour bus.  We crossed over to Palestine and then to Israel, repeated that again.
  • With our final destination at Tel Aviv, I made it all the way back home through the same route.


2. MIGRAINES, MEDICS & A DRIP

Medics

I’m a migraine sufferer.  I hate exaggerating but I probably didn’t say that with enough might.  I AM A MIGRAINE SUFFERER.

This poses huge problems for me when travelling as things such as jet-lag, sleep deprivation and general stress are the main triggers for my migraines.

The packed itinerary also made it very hard to fit in any yoga, which has been the most effective treatment for my migraines.

5 days of migraines, vomit bags and think highlight 1 above, landed me in the hands of Israeli medics and a drip in the hotel room.

A little dent in the trip but hey, who can claim to have had medics administer a drip on you while travelling in Israel?

Praise God, everything worked out just the way He plans and I didn’t miss out on much on those bed-ridden days.

3. FAVOURITES

PetraPetra, for the smarts and history of the Nabateans.   Cultural appropriation at its best!

BethlehemBethlehem, city where Jesus was born.  I remember wanting to go there and imagining what it was like during Christmas Carols when i was 7.  To stand there by the manger just brought tears to my eyes.  There was a lot of dealing with my emotions of being there and acknowledging the birth of my Saviour.

Dead SeaThe Dead Sea, where they found the Bible scrolls in the Qumran caves and also seeing my dad float around like a child again in the Dead Sea.   I’m a really logical person and so I often find myself battling between the LORD and facts.  I love the fact that the Qumran caves stored the whole book of Isaiah, disproving skeptics that it was written after the coming of the Messiah.  BOOM!  As for my dad swimming like a fearless child?  That was the apex of the trip.

Heart shape rockThe Sea of Tiberius, where Jesus challenged Peter’s love for Jesus and told Peter he was going to be a martyr.  Here, one of our tasks (as per what we did with each stop) was to meditate on how much we love Jesus and to find a heart-shaped pebble by the sea.  I closed my eyes and picked up a pebble….low and behold, it couldn’t be more of a perfect heart.  Talk about red, hot tears! Jesus spoke one line to me, “I am your LIFELINE.”

  • Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem and Via Dolorosa – Walking Christ last footsteps before His crucifixion and stopping by the 12 stations mentioned in the Bible.  The walk was about 45 minutes in total from where Jesus was sentenced to Calvary.  Walking through paved streets with shelter from the sun, with a completely healthy body and no wooden slump on my back made me feel so undeserving of what Jesus did for us.  As walked through the journey,  I couldn’t bear to think about the circumstance the Lord Jesus had to go through. It pained my heart to think about it.  That’s when I also knew that our thought life, our emotions and physical being is one.  This verse spoke so loudly to me, “To love the Lord, your God, with heart, soul, mind and strength” (Mark 12:30).

4. RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE

  • The first question I got asked when I told or was telling people about travelling to Jordan was “Is it dangerous?”  We joined a credible tour which knew what they were doing.  In fact, I was blessed to have such an awesome Pastor leading our tour and a tour guide who is only one of maybe 20 Israeli Chinese. No amount of research I can do or planning will be more powerful than just trusting God’s protection.  The short answer is “yes, it can be” but “no, it wasn’t”.
  • What I did not expect was the mutual respect and tolerance of the religious differences.  Sure the Muslims, Jews and Christians were not living together in the same community but they are devout followers of their faith.  There is no ‘hiding’.  Yet contrary to the my imagination of ‘distinct segregation’, I saw communities, individuals, walk past one another with mutual respect.  In fact, this was very evident in Jordan between the Christians and Muslims.
  • Coming back to Sydney Australia and seeing what’s on play in the media and news, I do really question whether we can call ourselves a liberal, democratic country or really, are we religiously intolerant?
  • I’m not oblivious to extremists who terrorise in the name of religion in the neighbouring region.  What I am referring to, though, are the average Joe’s walking on the streets who really just want respect for what they believe in.  I suppose this morphs into a ‘culture and ‘sociology’ conversation, which frankly I’m no expert in.  So, I’ll leave it as that – my personal experience and observation.

5. THE CHINESE CHRISTIAN. IS THERE SUCH THING?

  • When I was in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a Christian local (who revealed himself as well-travelled) asked me whether I was Christian. “I’ve been to China before and didn’t meet anyone who has heard of Jesus. In fact, I don’t know any Chinese who is Christian.”
  • Whilst some may view the above scenario as obscure or even ignorant, the truth is that touring with a group of local Hong Kong Christians gave me a perspective of such thing as “Chinese Christians”.  It’s ‘division’ of Christianity and please don’t assume I’m suggesting that.  What I truly believe is that we are all members of the body of Christ and have different functions living in God’s creation.
  • So what are “Chinese Christians”?  Without implying ‘cultural appropriation’ in the purest form of the Christian faith, I do however quote this from Dr Sharmeen Black (School of culture, history and language, Australian National University in her interview with the ABC regarding Christian Yoga and Cultural Appropriation):
  • “If we look into history, there is little evidence of cultural traditions and religious traditions that are completely separate from each other”

  • How does this apply to the Chinese Christian?  The traditional Chinese culture has been rooted in ‘hard work paying off’ and ‘reaping the benefits of your own labour’ and being completely self-reliant. Against this cultural backdrop, it’s perhaps hard to explain, let alone accept, the notion of ‘salvation by grace’.  I found that our leading pastor of this tour made several references to how a Christ-loving Christian should behave.  And there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that except that one’s behaviour was ALWAYS the pivoting point.  If I compare this to American preachers, more often than not, there’s the emphasis of veering away from the ‘doing’ and pivoting off of a ground of ‘loving’ Jesus first.   Now, you may think I’m generalising from my experience with one particular pastor but allow me to say that the tour members comprised of members from different local congregations and they all found the messages very palatable.  This suggests to me that in a wider sense, the notion of ‘Christ-loving’ behaviour being the driving force behind one’s relationship with Jesus is likely a theological approach adopted locally.
  • I guess this is the observation I made based on the many preachings from the two Chinese pastors in the 12 days: the approach for spreading the Gospel is still in many ways rooted in the “WORKS of a true Christian”. This approach works well for the Chinese but is dangerous territory when one starts to question how much they need to do…….very interesting subject and not one I want to dwell on for too long in this post.
  • Lastly, let me repeat that this is by no way, shape or form, a theological debate.  As a Chinese and Christian, I probably wouldn’t identify as the Chinese Christian observed but 100% proud to be a different functioning part of the body of Christ. (Romans 12:4)
I do thank you, if you made it to the end of this post.  Thank you for reading. Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you and I hope that in one way or another, it has given you some food for thought on travelling to the Holy Land amongst many thoughts today.  God bless!