Posts Tagged ‘Frances Ren Huang’

I’ve Moved

In Uncategorized on April 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm

The Lost Asian

Today is my last post at Thank you guys. Without my readers, I wouldn’t be inspired to expand and do better.

My journey of eating is moving to

See you guys there!



In Yogi Writing on December 1, 2010 at 7:44 pm

2005 World Aids Day, Buenos Aires

Since young, I have a bad habit of being oblivious to issues that do not directly relate to me; this does not reflect well on me as a Chinese Medicine Practitioner- an ancient medicine that believes everything is interrelated to one another.

Since I was young, there were plenty of stories each year, year after year, about AIDS, yet it is not until 2 years ago that one story hit me straight to the gut. I blamed my clouded perceptions and my indifferences in the world; these stories I hear everyday are directly affecting millions of livelihoods, and come what may, will affect me directly one day. It was a good revelation. It was one of those that one will forever remember, especially when it reminds me of it each year, every year, on this World AIDS Day.

Happy and Satisfied?

In Yogi Writing on November 17, 2010 at 11:24 pm

Faces of Happiness

Interesting read from Time Article- The Science of Happiness the other day; an article cited from various people: Martin Seligman: Authentic Happiness, Ray Fowler Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi- Ted talkDaniel Kahneman- The Riddle of Experience vs. Memory, David Lykken: Journal of Happiness Studies, and Sonja Lubomirsky: The How of Happiness.

Surprising Notes

  • surplus of income, education and youth doesn’t raise happiness. High IQ, youthful and rich, with an addition to my own private jet doesn’t make me fly through the roof?
  • a survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people ages 20~24 are sad for an average of 3.4 days a month, as opposed to just 2.3 days for people ages 65 to 74. Great news. I can only get happier 🙂
  • 50% of one’s satisfaction with life comes from genetic programming, genes influence such traits as dealing well with stress, easy-going personality, and anxiety and depression. I wonder which short end of the straw I inherited.
  • we all have a happiness set point, just like our set body weight; anything good, bad, spectacular, horrific etc, all bounces and return to our set range.
  • In a Time poll asked, ‘What one thing in life has brought you the greatest happiness?”, 35% said it was their children or grandchildren or both. Though in a day-reconstruction method survey evaluating happiness throughout the day, ‘taking care of children’ was ranked below everything else, including cooking and housework. This shows, the overall happiness is not merely the sum of the happy moments minus the sum of the angry or sad ones.  Another survey shows, an average person tends to remember their peak moments and the endings. Conclusion: be optimistic and focus on powerful endings. Think twice before having kids? 🙂

Interesting Notes

  • happiness= engagement, giving meaning to life, and having pleasure
  • optimism leads to happiness, which associates with good physical health, less depression and mental illness
  • strong ties of community (religion), family, and friends generates happiness
  • loss of a spouse and loss of a job knock people lastingly below their happiness set point

Steps Toward A More Satisfying Life

  • gratitude exercises: taking time to conscientiously count their blessings once a week significantly increased the over-all satisfaction with life
  • acts of kindness: giving, provides a feel-good feeling. It distracts from one’s existence and puts meaning into life. It also gives a sense of purpose because you matter to someone else- connections.
  • recommit everyday to happiness, just as savoring that one cup of coffee every morning: this especially works for pessimist who thinks through in detail what might go wrong.

Other Ways Towards Happiness

  • savor life’s joys
  • thank a mentor
  • learn to forgive
  • invest time and energy in friends and family
  • take care of your body
  • develop strategies for coping with stress and hardships

What is perceived as important?

In Yogi Writing on October 19, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Taking showers is something we do everyday. For most of us, we either rush in and out, or relax and turn our minds off, or sit deep into a train of thoughts. Most likely we don’t view showers as something important enough for our mind to stay alert; to re-learn, feel and connect to how it feels to clean our body second by second. Well, I certainly don’t, though it is now tempting to try my new lesson, to perceive everything to be as important as maybe winning an Oscar? Or having lots of zero in my bank account?

This was what happened this week. I lost my ring. (As I am sharing this story, I can already hear my sister saying, “I told you so”.) Yup, that was me, during some time at the end of the night I realized something doesn’t feel right on my hand and all the negative thoughts start pouring in: with millions of possibilities running through my head, the hours of looking and a restless night filled with nightmares. The next morning before I called the plumber, I miraculously discovered the ring…in my mouth. I was finishing up the scrambled egg dish from last night, served as breakfast again to my husband, and something rock hard came up in my mouth. Yes, someone cooked her ring. Who does that? It was a miracle because I usually don’t keep leftovers around, and don’t finish up my husbands leftovers…and who would keep an egg dish overnight?

The point I’m trying to make here is, I’ve re-learned an important lesson. I’ve been reminded that staying focused and aware is not per se just in a yoga practice or in a work environment. Instead, it is treating everything else as important as sitting there meditating; it is the action of being respectful to life, connecting the mind and senses as we conduct and move through our daily routine. Habitually, it is too easy for a mind to drift when actions are repetitive, robotic, and fast; frustrating as it is, those few seconds of mindlessness opens up opportunities for harm: harming the self, others, or environment. And for me, since a young age, my weaknesses are my big useless ego, being too quick and my forgetful mind. All those together forms a bad combination. And that day, I know my mind was drifting to my very sick hungry other half on the couch as I vigorously cooked away, not knowing that moment that my ring was beaten right along with the eggs. Oopsy 🙂

Can Men do Yoga?

In Yogi Writing on October 1, 2010 at 10:03 am

Inspired by my macho friends and Max Strom’s post Why Men Need Yoga, Too.

For centuries, society has long ingrained the machismo in men. In the ancient days, the responsibilities of men were simple- hunt and procreate. On the other hand, women were trained to multitask and take care of the community when their men are away hunting. Nowadays, man’s tasks are far from being simple, being thrown into the pot of various responsibilities. This simplicity, protectiveness, and good old men advices back then are now battled with a schizophrenic conflict: being macho and can’t-show-vulnerability, with no men figures to relate to.  And in this society, where working-women, now tough and independent still demands their men to be traditional, (fierce in the boardroom and bedroom) and also sensitive ‘just enough’ to be emotionally available. Of course these men of ours are having a tough time figuring out what it is to be a man!  They are not willing to touch upon activities that might condemn their already-confused manhood, especially when they are face with, “I suck at what I’m doing…infront of all these women.” So then, how does men cope being a man? Since a young age they have observed and mimic their lost-older generation. These are the ways of ‘modern days bonding’: playing video games, drinking, joining macho sports, watching macho sports, talking tough, not talking, avoidance-is-the-answer to everything, tech consuming, food consuming etc. Their manhood are obviously hidden beneath it all and we, as women are not making it better as we nag and pressure, driving them deeper into their hiding.

So as a fellow yoga teacher, when I see a man walk into his first class, it is a sensitive matter; I usually ease down the ‘looking-into-your-deep-inner-self-talk’, instead giving clear commanding instructions for them to focus and sweat. Once one feels good at the end of a session, they usually are willing to come back; and once they come back, they’re great dedicated students. After awhile, even if some refuse to admit it, their layers of confusion and machismo starts to peel away. And more than once- a truly attractive personality reveals. Not surprisingly, some of them has become the prominent figures of the yoga world. So…. yes, men can do yoga. Just let go of this habitual men-goism and come try it out. 🙂

1. The usual comments about not doing yoga, from my fellow men friends:

  • it is too ‘up in the air’, too ‘spiritual’ for me..ooOlala
  • the class is too slow for me
  • it is too easy
  • I am not flexible
  • I hurt myself doing yoga a few times

My advice: Cut the excuses for a better healthy-self. Give yoga more than one try; do research, ask around and find the style of yoga that doesn’t scare you away, ‘the spiritual kind’. Most importantly, find a teacher that is knowledgeable, safe and has been recommended by friends that seems to have similar thinking as you. 

2. Reasons why men joke about starting yoga or maybe they were…actually serious:

  • for the girls
  • to be cool and hip, because everyone seems to do it
  • when the ‘cool’ poses can be accomplished, and we all know men love competition
  • sports injuries that forces them to try out other movements
  • when men realize they are the minorities of the yoga world and they love the attention 🙂

My advice: continue to encourage their normal practice, though starting to introduce great teachers to ease them deeper into their practice.

3. And why men continue to practice yoga:

  • the healthy long time effect on the self
  • they feel good, physically: loosen up, toning, strengthening and better flexibility
  • (mentally refined, though some men choose not to broadcast that part)
  • revelation through a great yoga teacher, inspiring them to look upon their practice from the inside-out.


How is my practice similar to life?

In Yogi Writing on August 30, 2010 at 5:31 pm

Finding Zen in this chaotic World.

What I like about a yoga practice is the rawness and the transparency of one-self. It is likewise to a life lesson shortened into 90 minutes, a great roller coaster ride..over and over again. As the poses gets hard and the mind turns chaotic, the repetitive teachings of steadiness and breath, purifies the body and mind for compassionate actions and clear decision making.

Like life, the practice resembles the chaotic people and lessons along the way-good and bad. They bring blunt awareness to what may be unclear in terms of behavior, morals, virtues and spiritual growth. These life lessons/mistakes tend to repeat themselves until one decides to shift perspective and make permanent changes for the better.

With the practice of yoga, it has helped me with discipline, slowing down my actions, building constructive communication and embracing what may come my way. Similar to yoga, these changes are very hard; the body and mind is naturally stubborn. It takes a whole lot of time, courage, humbleness, forgiveness and empowerment. Don’t give up what nurtures, even if the subject may get painfully sensitive that masking it with avoidance and superficial pleasure feels like the best way to go.

In all, quality of life is better with the practice of yoga. I have both yoga and life to thank. Without both, I will probably not be writing this. 🙂

What does it mean to Declutter?

In Yogi Writing on August 14, 2010 at 12:18 am


Inspired by Max Strom’s Recent Post,  What Do You Value Most? Take the Ten-Item -Test

In a Yoga Practice, as the mind complicates, judges and frustrates; the reassuring continuance of the breathe (Pranayamas) and the movements (Asanas) cleanse, purify and calms. On the mat, our practice is meant to inspire. It switches on our awareness, revives our soul and activates our inner energy. This is our body decluttering, taking out the trash and enabling space for discovery. This cleanse feels great after every yoga practice, but how does one relate it to the reality of life?

Declutter is the act of simplifying. Unfortunately it is not that simple. And only until to a point our everyday trash accumulates and the stink becomes unbearable that we surrender, which forces ourselves to the brink of giving in to clean, and clean some more.

I did it today. It is the courage of letting go of the habitual ways, which today for me surprisingly opened the space for possibilities- renovation and growth. It definitely took me courage with no more excuses.

This is an example of bringing a daily practice off my mat and into my life. I decluttered and re-organized my emails. It felt liberating and inspiring; a decade of emails 5000+, all finally categorized- my inbox now finally down to 26 emails. It feels good. Real good.

Through this scary step of decluttering, I remembered lost-friends, recalled memories and re-cherished experiences. Now, there are a list of friends I am inspired to write, as well as articles friends send that I am going to put aside to read soon.

Why Yoga?

In Yogi Writing on August 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm

I have a quick fiery temper, impatience is my virtue, meaningless tasks and conversations bore me, and multitasking is a delightful concept. With all those traits combined, how did I fall in love with yoga– a hobby that is the complete opposite of me? It is not because I can do inversions and able to show off my flexibility. Well, maybe i do have a small smile when I can fly in the air for a few seconds.

A yoga class is all about the yoga teacher; the ability for the teacher to catch me for a hour and a half in complete presence, the entertaining structure of the class and the great instructions of the teaching.

A good class is the bringing of one’s body, the monkey-mind, and the lost awareness all into ‘One’. Only then, my mind is alert, breathe is clear, the sheer mind focusing on every move–each strand of muscle are contracting and releasing, and suddenly the layers peeling away as the practice gets challenging. The favorite moments are the ones when self-realization arrives: negative thoughts, impatience, joy of accomplishing, the judging critical eye, and so on. Finally, once lying down in Savasana, my monkey-mind has progressed into guru-mind, my body is lighter, and I realize patience is a virtue.

How yoga is different than other ‘sports’ is, with a great mentor/teacher, the journey on the mat is the beginning of a new perception on life and such pertaining to it. At least, for me that is. Off the mat, I have become much more calmer, less impatient, and am still learning to listen to others.

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