An sneak peek excerpt from Johnson Chong’s untitled book
This past Christmas, I spent two weeks in Pune, India, attending meditation classes at the International Osho Meditation Resort, and writing, a lot. It was such a great way to reconnect with myself, my inspirations, and re-defining all the holistic knowledge that I have been sharing with my clients for the past decade.
Every morning, I would wake up and go to the gym downstairs, roll out my yoga mat, and start practicing. Every day, different hotel guests would start coming up to me and start having conversations with me about my yoga. First, they would give me a congratulations and call me an inspiration, something that I found rather odd. It wasn’t meant to be a performance, it just so happened that the gym was a public space with spectators at any given moment. Then the list would come: “I have not started yoga, but I am very interested in yoga; I know yoga is supposed to be very good for you, but I’m just not flexible; I’m more interested in the meditative part of yoga, when I’m less busy, I’ll look into getting started; I wish I were your age again.”
I recognized this as a list of excuses, and as a teacher. It comes up when I’m progressing myself in my own practice, and it happens most obviously when my students complain about not wanting to do something that frustrates them. This list of excuses to not begin something is fabricated by the Ego Self. That part of you that wants to keep the status quo, and not challenge yourself to grow. It happens in every aspect of our lives. We make excuses. “I’ll do it as my New Year’s resolution; I’ll give it up for Lent; It’s too hard; It’s too expensive; I have no time.” The Ego creates a list of reasons why it is better to stay in its comfort zone and not push the envelope. But it is also the same Ego that stresses us out with its’ insatiable appetite for absolute control. If something does not go exactly right, isn’t it the same Ego who throws a tantrum and freaks out.
After a few moments of chatting with these curious strangers, I give them a few pointers on how to get started, and wonder if indeed they will actually take that leap. I realized that anyone who gravitates towards holistic wellness has to innately be a rebel at heart. Because everything we do, goes against the grain. Holistic wellness is a complete change in lifestyle perspective. It is about cultivating a world-view that looks at everything as being interconnected – the mind, body and spirit; the interpersonal and the global; the micro and the macro. Instead of depending on drugs and listening to the doubtful critics, a holistically minded person would rather self-medicate and self-empower. It is a radical evolution of consciousness from a Dependent Narcissist to a Free Spirit.
India is a nation founded on thousands of years of ancient spiritual teachings that has survived well into the twenty first century. At the height of colonialization in the 1800s and 1900s, was the beginning of an East and West exchange of cultural values. India wanted their economy to emulate western industrialization, while Westerners were inviting yogis like Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda to speak at global summits about spirituality and yogic living. Since the late 1800s, yoga has slowly made its mark on the West, and in the past thirty years, the phenomenon of yoga has exploded and continues to grow.
Yoga for me has been a journey from my body to the mind and then the spirit. Fourteen years of practice at this point has led me to discover how certain physical strains and pains were directly related to mental and emotional programs embedded from my childhood. Eventually, through the expansion of my awareness in mind body connection, I became more sensitive to energy around me, and started to study the metaphysical realms more extensively through Reiki and shamanic journeying.
Pilates taught me precision and form. Sometimes yogic movements were so expansive and larger than life, that if I didn’t zero back in on the details of the foundational framework, I could hurt myself. Pilates expanded my awareness and consciousness in developing my focus and concentration on the physical. It played a huge part in my rehabilitation of performance and wear and tear injuries. I sprained my right ankle twice in performance, sprained my lower back and right hip in aerial dance, tore my ACL and meniscus in my left knee trampolining and tore the labrum in my right shoulder from structural wear-tear. Throughout all of these struggles, Pilates has re-framed my muscular asymmetries, and brought back into physical and mental balance.
Meditation has been so vital for my mental sanity. It grounded me and brought a lot of comfort created from all of my emotional trauma from an abusive childhood. Meditation taught be how to become the third party witness, an observer of my thoughts. Through this very mental practice of meditation, I became more detached and indifferent. It became a way to escape and avoid instead of being more connected. With more guidance from my teachers, I discovered that meditation was a state of being carried out into life. Very much how a tennis player volleys against the wall to develop their skills, but eventually takes those skills and applies it to the actual tennis match. When I realized this, I became more stress-free without becoming distant about life.
As I am continually learning, growing and evolving, this is my journey in a nut-shell. In the following chapters, you will find the basics of what has worked for me, and remain to this day as the pillars of my wellbeing. It is part of my life’s mission to propagate this ancient knowledge to a modern stressed out audience. I look forward to sharing with you in these next few chapters of this book, why my modern SAGE formula for stress free living has been so effective for my life, so that it can in turn help you on your journey.
I dedicate this e-book to all my clients. To all the bankers, doctors, business professionals and everyone who lives in an urban environment surrounded by the pressures of ambition. I dedicate this to all working professionals who are searching for practical ways to eliminate the frenzy of modern stress.