The art of slowing down: rebalancing my life

I have been told by my teacher, Baron Baptiste, that “how you do anything is how you do everything,” wise words to guide how I consciously and carefully tune into my own thoughts, actions and behaviors. The idea that how I approach my work, my relationships, my priorities, hobbies, could all be governed by a conditioned set of rules, most of which reside in my subconsciousness, did not feel particularly liberating at first and I felt the urge to rebel against these words of wisdom by breaking the rules, just so I can say, “See? I don’t always do things the same way!”

Over the years, I have learned that what Baron meant by his saying wasn’t to put me into a box of labels, rather, ultimately, he meant that I can choose how I want to show up in life (open and passionate) and that once I make this conscious decision, my intentions, words and actions would align with this higher choice. This realization, contrary to my previous, superficial interpretation, was the start of the new blank canvas that represented my life.

I began to fill my canvas with beautiful thoughts, ideas for creation. In real life, I took on many new challenges: teaching yoga retreats, teacher trainings, private events as well as regular group classes; created and led many community workshops, charity events, and free outdoor service activities; signed up to collaborate with friends and fellow teachers. All the while, I worked a full-time job five days a week and found time to maintain a steady relationship with my boyfriend. I gave all my commitments 100%, because that was my expression for how I wanted to live my life – passionately and fully open to new experiences, challenges, and discoveries.

As I sit here writing this, I am embarrassed to admit that piece has been long overdue (sorry Minling!). Although I had put this as a priority on my to-do list for weeks, I never quite got around to it…because everything on the list was a priority and the list never seemed to get shorter, no matter how many items I ticked off. Over the last two weeks, I made another decision – to slow down and seek balance – because I wanted to find that place of passion and openness again.

Having a blank canvas is exhilarating and empowering, but if I were to stay inspired, I knew that I needed to slow down and recognize the vastness and infinite abundance of life, appreciate the beauty in the spaces between each brush stroke, each life event, and step back from constantly painting, stop doing, to really see the bigger picture. So I cut back on my commitments, reduced the number of activities I agreed to take on, and prioritized – really.

What I am capable of creating, when living a life of openness and passion is limitless. But if I never slow down or stop to enjoy the journey of creation, I would be missing out on the magic in the process. Sometimes the most beautiful moment of all is that of the space between thoughts and actions. It is that gentle sense of balance that encourages the momentum of chaos and creation. And it is during these times of rebalance where I find new words of inner wisdom that guide my life’s continuous journey.

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About the JOY Coach

Tingting Peng

Tingting is a yoga teacher, outdoor enthusiast, community leader, and overall life adventurist. She discovered her joie de vivre in 2009 when she left the corporate finance world and began to explore her passion in movement arts. Yoga opened her eyes to the diverse (and endless) opportunities in life if she was willing to live fearlessly and authentically. Since 2009, she has studied with Baron Baptiste, Seane Corn, Rusty Wells, Deborah Williamson and Jai Uttal. Tingting has been a guest instructor at yoga studios in San Francisco, New York City, Singapore, Thailand, Bali, Philippines, Nepal, and Guam, and leads group retreats which combine outdoor activity and yoga. When she is not travelling, Tingting teaches both group and private classes in Hong Kong and through the Karma Collective, which she founded in summer 2010, often organizes community events such as beach clean-ups, free outdoor community yoga classes, and other gatherings that celebrate the amazing experience that is life. A featured teacher on YogaVibes.com, Tingting also frequently contributes to both print and online publications, having written guest blogs for Mind Body Green, Sassy Hong Kong, Sai Kung Magazine, Namaskar Yoga Journal, and Asana Magazine. Featured in the Asia Wall Street Journal in February 2009, Tingting hopes to inspire others to pursue a life of passion and discovery. To learn more about Tingting, visit her website, Iron Lotus Fitness.

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