Featuring Brenda Chow from Hong Kong

Sunday, 16 August 2020

by Justine of Just Yoga

Brenda Chow, referred to fondly as Brenda Ching Ching by her friends, is a forty-two year old Hong Kong resident whose passion in life is to spread the message that yoga is for ANY BODY and EVERY BODY. Her eyes light up and she exudes enthusiasm, joy and gratitude whenever she is asked about yoga. Her journey with yoga started eleven years ago when she attended a yoga and meditation program in Hong Kong. A brief visit to the Yoga Centre in Hong Kong, after the program, led to a decade long journey for Brenda.     
"I am grateful to my yoga masters who shared their knowledge and continue to inspire me, on and off the mat."
Brenda has learned to master control of her body through steadiness, focus and awareness. She feels her mind, body and soul connecting through this practice. Brenda is body proud. She is comfortable in her skin as a full figured woman. She often comments on how surprised people are that she is able to perform certain asanas. She does not take offense at this and proudly shows off her body's ability to perform those asanas. It is an achievement that she is proud of because it is evidence of her hard work and determination. In the video below, Brenda is performing a round of Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) with a slimmer framed friend, to demonstrate that ANY BODY and EVERY BODY can do yoga. Your body size and shape should not stop you from trying yoga asanas.

Always seeking to gain more in-depth knowledge of yoga, Brenda tries to attend as many different types of yoga events like workshops, competitions and festivals, not only as a participant but sometimes as a volunteer. One of the most impressive volunteer type work she was involved in was the 2019 Guinness World Records for the most people doing Virabhadrasana 2 pose simultaneously. Over a thousand yoga enthusiasts attempted to do the pose for the same three minutes in one location in Hong Kong. Being both a participant and volunteer, it was a proud historical feat to witness and also good chance for her to connect with other yogis.

“Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realise” were the famous words uttered by the great Yogi Swami Sivananda Saraswati. His powerful words and insights have inspired me so much and serve as a daily reminder to awake the higher consciousness with and around us.
In 2013, Brenda acquired her first diploma in International Teachers' Training (ITT) course from Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Dhanwantari Ashram, in Kerala, India. During that one month stay at the ashram, she was invited by Mathrubhumi TV, a local tv news channel in Kerala, to perform a yoga demonstration that was broadcasted in India. Brenda felt honoured to be invited to do the demonstration because it showed the inclusivity that is present in the yoga community. 

Again reinforcing her motto that 'yoga is for any body and every body', Brenda has taught yoga to adults and children and has found each teaching experience unique in its own right. Earlier this year she joined a teaching team that was asked to teach a “Bilingual Kids Yoga” class for university students at Silpakorn University in Thailand. There, she had the opportunity to teach and share the importance of movement and imagery; breathing related to emotional and postural awareness; and  leadership to the students. It was a good opportunity for her to communicate in English and she learnt a lot, not only from what they taught, but also how to deliver yoga to a different culture.

Following the university teaching, Brenda then flew to the northern part of Thailand, to teach yoga to 200 children at Ban Lao Lee Primary School. Teaching yoga to such a big group that had no perception of yoga, was a challenge and big learning curve for Brenda. She courageously completed the class, and in her view the success is owed to her teacher, Phramaha Pakorn Kittipanyo, and the many volunteers who helped her to translate and demonstrate the postures to the children.
"Yoga has become a part of my life. I cannot stand to live without yoga. I cherish every moment while being a student as well as a teacher in my yoga journey. My awareness has become stronger in my mind, my thoughts, actions, speech, and understanding in my daily life."

Brenda believes that everyone she encounters teaches her something; and every experience she has, is an opportunity to learn. In the learning process, yoga has opened the way to improve her overall strength, focus and concentration. There have also been physical health benefits for Brenda, in that she lost over 30 pounds (~ 14 kg) along her yoga path. Practicing yoga makes her feel more happier, peaceful, mindful, humble and positive. She feels that it has helped cultivate her inner peace and calm. To Brenda, yoga is not just about asanas or breathing exercise, meditation also plays an important role. Yoga means union between the individual self and universal consciousness. The meditative effects of a consistent yoga practice helps her to develop compassion, mindfulness and inner strength.

Brenda has two favourite asanas, namely Purna Natarajasana (full dancer pose) and Salamba Sirsasana (headstand). The full dancer pose strengthens the back, shoulders, arms, hips and legs. It helps develop a sense of balance and coordination and improve concentration. Every time she performs this pose, she feels happy, energetic and satisfied. The headstand pose is a very powerful inversion pose that has an anti-gravity effect. Its benefits include improving blood circulation, powering up digestive functions and strengthening the heart muscles. By practicing this pose, Brenda feels she can view and solve things in a different angle, because of the calming and comforting effect it has on her body and mind.
"Do everything with a good heart without expecting in return."

Pincha Mayurasana (elbow stand) is an inverted pose that focuses on strength, power, mobility and balance. It requires one's body to be coordinated between one's core, shoulders, chest and arms. Brenda has always found this asana challenging, and advises anyone attempting this asana to be aware, patient and happy to learn this pose.
"Practicing is the key to make your body stable and overcome fear. Everything comes to you in the right moment. Practice makes perfect!"
Yogi Brenda Chow's final message to anyone who is keen on trying yoga, is that no matter your age, race, nationality, religion, gender orientation or ability, yoga is for ANY BODY and EVERY BODY. Opportunities are yours to create, not gifts from anyone. It is never too late to start your yoga practice. Everything we experience in our lives depends on our perceptions. Yoga is science, art, meditation, prayer and a skill to be learnt. It is also a bridge to connect you with your soul, mind and heart. This bond is stronger and important than any relationship existing out there. Yoga is your best friend to share moments when you are happy, sad, joyful or fearful. Yoga is that dance which will always make your worries turn into smiles. Yoga is that music to your mind that calms down all tensions and stress. Yoga is that food to your senses which enhances strength of each sense. Yoga is You, You are Yoga. Yoga is Life, Life is Yoga!

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