Mother, yogi, private studio owner and Lululemon ambassador Siena Tsang reminds us that the path of yoga is not always an easy one. Perfection reflected in beautiful pictures and poses don’t reveal how we must constantly overcome fears and weakness in the movement towards better balance. This has meant that Tsang, having specialised in hatha, pre-natal and Pilates, still sees herself as a student just as much as a teacher.
Tell us about your yoga journey and how it changed your life?
I started my yoga journey shortly after my second born in search of a remedy and distraction from the challenges of motherhood. Oblivious to what yoga was about to offer to me, I thought it would be a fun and easy form of exercise to get me moving again. Little did I know what I was getting myself into, my entire life was about to change. Yoga enlightened me in the way I handle my emotions. I was at a stage in life where motherhood required me to give endlessly, to give all the love and patience I could possibly offer and though it was extremely rewarding and precious, I was emotionally drained, to the last drop. Through yoga, I discovered new found appreciation for myself. Rather than constantly searching for approval and gratitude from others, I found a love for myself that grew from self compassion and abundance, something I feel like I lacked for the most of my life. Physically I became stronger, emotionally I was empowered, mentally I found purpose.
Tell us more about your favourite pose (this should be the one in their pic) and what does it do for you?
There are so many poses in yoga and every single pose entails its own story. A story of where, when and how I learned it. There is never a perfected pose; Asanas are the tools that are offered by yoga to practice everything on the inside. But if I were to really choose, I’d say my journey into splits was quite a memorable one. And now splits have become my go-to pose.
Where are your favourite places to practice ?
You’ll often find me stealing time to sneak out and adventure off into nature. Though I’m away from the studio and mat, you’ll still catch me doing yoga outdoors. One of the biggest things I love about being a freelance teacher and studio owner is that flexibility of scheduling. Though coming back from time off means a lot of catching up, it is a balance that I need to keep myself from burning out. Nature heals.
Yoga is both mental and physical, how does mindful movement benefit us?
Meditation is often mistaken as sitting still, closing the eyes and learning to “let go”. That is one of many ways to meditate and there are many forms of meditation that dont require the practitioner to stay still with eyes closed. Mindful movement or any form of preferred activity where the practitioner is conscious of their present state of mind and emotions, along with their physical movement, is already a form of meditation. Mindful focus, most of the time, has a therapeutic effect. But sometimes, it has a confrontational effect where we begin to acknowledge neglected feelings. That, is when healing begins.
How has the HK yoga scene changed in the last three years and what developments have you seen?
The Hong Kong yoga scene has changed quite drastically through the past few years mostly because of the pandemic. Zoom or live streamed classes were not common a few years back unless perhaps a corporate event or conference where there were attendees from abroad.
Also because large group classes have been restricted and also avoided by many for safety precautions, larger studios can no longer run on full capacity. Smaller private studios that can host private class or group privates have become a trend as clients are finding that the learning experience along with the social distancing is a win win situation.
Tell us about the style you practice and teach.
My first 500 hours of advanced yoga training stemmed from Hatha Yoga. I then completed a full mat pilates training to focus on rehabilitation techniques and core mindfulness. But I have since completed many trainings and will continue to explore and evolve my knowledge so that I can better teach myself and students to be stronger practitioners in all facets of yoga.
What is the most important thing when you are teaching?
It is important to me that students are conscious of their learning. They say its not about perfection but rather the journey of progress that matters. Sometimes we need to take baby steps, sometimes we’re jumping from mountain to mountain. The important part is when you know exactly how to go about handling every situation and to be in control of the emotions that fluctuate on the way. Yoga on the mat teaches us the mindfulness and self awareness that we need to honor ourselves. Self compassion and patience is all part of the learning experience. When the practice becomes stagnant or injuries hold us back, we learn to be forgiving and accepting.