Depending on where you are the world and what society you are part of, you may experience a wide variety of attitudes and culture towards work, how much you should work and to what degree work defines your life.
On one extreme, some cultures emphasise that work is everything, anything other than work is a distraction. This can be very rewarding when it comes to productivity, but often it is to the detriment of ones mental or physical well being. Other cultures prioritise other aspects life to be as important or more important than work. Things like family, friends, food, music, art, culture. Developing ones physical, mental and emotional sides.
Of course this is enjoyable, but what about being productive? Is there a balance? Are there ways where we can work hard but not let work take over? Are there ways we can enjoy life and capture moments, and yet still pursue ambitious dreams?
Join us as we meet some Third Culture people around the world who strive to find a balance between working hard for their dreams, and yet still taking the time to take care of their physical and mental well being and live in the moment.
Agnes and Faris Chan | Yogi TWINSters
by RECKLESSRED-OM, Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
Tell us about your background and where you’re from.
We were born and raised in Hong Kong. We have a big family… and as twin sisters, we are the closest to each other in the family.
How and when did yoga come into your lives?
Faris: The reason why I started practicing yoga was because I felt really depressed and empty. I was tired of myself and feeling really frustrated with everything in life. I started doing yoga 4 years ago. My first yoga class wasn’t fun; it was painful! Everybody made everything look easy and I felt weak. In the beginning of my yoga practice, I wanted so badly to prove myself wrong, to prove that I can be very flexible and be able to do all the arm balances and inversions. But as I continued to practice, that changed. It was like a magic started to seep into my practice. I started seeing the space for possibility and see my worth as something far beyond my body. Yoga continues to change my life on many levels on a daily basis. It is my physical and mental therapy.
Agnes: I started practicing yoga 2 years ago. Faris was the one who inspired me and brought me to the mat.
I didn’t enjoy my first year much because I wasn’t flexible for yoga at all and it made me so frustrated. I practiced yoga on and off for the first year. Up until a few months ago I felt lost and upset with my breakup with my ex, I decided to pick it back up and practice. I continued to practice constantly. I’m glad how yoga brings flexibility to my body, mind and emotions. Through yoga, I also learnt to be present – to sit there and be happy with who I am.
Tell us about your career path from graduation. Has the Wellness industry always been a passion? We’d love to know how/why you both became yoga teachers.
Faris: We both studied in Fashion and graduated from Design school in Hong Kong. I always wanted to be a vet when I was younger HAHA! And when I was studying in Fashion, of course I wanted to be a Fashionista. But none of my dreams came true. My first part-time job was a pet keeper in a local pet shop and my first full-time job was working in the F&B industry. All the jobs opportunities I have encountered were great experiences. I believe experience is more important than education. Without experience there will never be true knowledge. You may think you know everything, but only experience will enlighten you to achieve more than grasping at an idea.
Wellness industry hasn’t always been my passion. I started going to the gym 5 years ago, and I totally fell in love with how exercise affected my body magically. As the years went by, I got stronger and stronger – physically stronger. I started to become aware of the tightness in my mind and body. So through a friend’s recommendation, I took a yoga teacher training course at one of the best yoga studios in Hong Kong, Anahata. I am truly amazed how yoga has changed me. After years of practice, I am calmer, more focussed and open to people. Most importantly, I love more. The gym transformed my body but yoga changed my life. In the search of knowledge and love in yoga, I started renting a studio and giving private classes with friends. First and foremost, one of the most positive outcomes of becoming a yoga teacher is that through actual training through teaching you naturally improve each time. Also you can learn a lot from your students.
Agnes: I graduated from a Design school in Hong Kong. I always had a passion for Fashion. I worked in a fashion design and manufacturing company for four years. I think it is important to surround yourself with positive people and I am glad I’ve met a lot of them at my first job. The managers pumped me up to be not just ordinary but to be extraordinary; they inspired me, pushed me to do my best. With such supportive people around me at work and daily life, the wisdom I get is inspiring. The wellness industry hasn’t been my passion but I do enjoy playing sports – spinning, gym, pilates and yoga. And obviously I enjoy practicing yoga the most 🙂 I love to exercise. It allows me to try that much harder and there is nothing better than seeing the transformation your body can make. I am amazed with how yoga is changing me (to be better). Everything about practicing yoga involves intention, and when you are mindful and deliberate in your yoga practice, you create the opportunity to become more mindful and deliberate in your life. Your yoga practice shows you a glimpse of the joyful and free person you can be. I would like to spread such positive energy and to influence other lives. That is why I decided to take the yoga teacher training course.
Do you both currently work as full time yoga teachers? How do you balance work life and following your passions as a yoga teacher?
Faris: I am now teaching yoga part-time. I teach 4 days a week. I am totally ok with my schedule because I only teach classes after work and during weekends and still manage to practice 2-3 hours daily. Yoga is my biggest passion in life; I devote myself to it. It’s like love, it starts as an interest, but it takes hard work to make it work.
Agnes: I am currently still taking the YTT course and will be finished in June. However, I am quite sure teaching in the future won’t be a pressure for me as I develop and improve myself from day to day through my practice. I look forward to influencing my students in a healthy, good way, so it’s gonna be good! 🙂
How have you seen the Hong Kong yoga scene evolve over the years?
Faris: I definitely think Yoga is becoming a trend in Hong Kong. More people are doing yoga these days with countless yoga studios around town but sometimes I think many of them still don’t see the true beauty of Yoga to receive its benefits. It’s very easy to practice yoga, but it’s not easy to find a true Guru that can inspire you and make you see through it. I am glad I am practicing at Anahata under all the great masters’ guidance. I am blessed!
Agnes: I see that yoga has become a hot trend in Hong Kong and I am glad that I’ve met quite a lot of amazing people through my yoga practice. I hope all yogis could influence more so that more people practice yoga, love themselves a bit more and understand that yoga is more than doing poses, stretching and taking pictures.
How do you describe you personal fashion style? Do you tend to follow the same styles and evolve together?
Faris: Few words to conclude my fashion style; cap, yoga pants and crop tops! I still dress up. My favourite occasion wear is a pencil skirt with a crop top and maxi / midi-dresses. I also love wearing jeans with a plain tee for causal days. In the last two years, I have been feeling more comfortable and happier when I am in my yoga gear with ZERO makeup on my face.
Agnes: I don’t have a certain personal fashion style, most of the time I am in a yoga outfit.. HAHA. I kind of consider myself as a fashionista though. I have a personal blog that allows me to keep my eyes on the latest fashion trends. I am a fan of those street fashion shoots; I save those photos on my phone and use them as references whenever I feel like dressing up haha. However, I do agree you can wear your yoga outfit in a trendy way.
We are so glad to see you each have a RR-OM yoga mat. Tell us about the colours you both have and what you think of them?
Faris: I have the Tropic Hues mat and I really love it! The micro-fibre top layer is very smooth and absorbent. My hands can get really sweaty during practice and I practice ashtanga, power yoga a lot. This mat reduces slipping & injuries and I no longer need to bring a mat and towel to class with me anymore!
I have tried different mats and towels, but nothing seemed to work! Now when I am in downward dog, I no longer need to hold onto the sides of the mat, because the RR-OM yoga mats have a very sticky base which means they don’t slip around on the floor, plus they grip my hands and feet as I go through poses. I LOVEEEE IT!
Agnes: I love the yoga mat! It’s amazing that it’s an eco-friendly yoga mat and the material helps reduce slipping & injuries. I’m happy to have such an amazing mat to bring to the class, as I no longer need to adjust my mat from time to time during classes! I’m not usually a big fan of the colour of green, but the turquoise/green coloured mat is just beautiful. It’s the very first time i fell in love with something in Green!
Go through a typical day in the life of the Chan sisters! We would love to know how you balance sisterhood / your career / working out.
Faris: I love my sister; she’s my other half and backbone! And yes, we work together too HAHA! But as I moved in with my boyfriend, I don’t really have time to spend with her every night, as I also have classes to go to and teach. But we still manage to see and talk to each other everyday, nothing can change the bond and love between us. With my very busy schedule, I also manage to go for a workout and do my yoga practice before work 3 times a week in the morning. Sometimes I practice twice a day (before work and after work) so it won’t affect my full-time job.
Agnes: Faris is everything to me. I can’t describe how much I love her. We have the strongest bond. We deal with several matters throughout life that only the two of us will comprehend 🙂 We do almost everything together since we were kids. We studied at the same school, same class; we have almost the same group of friends. We are now working together, doing yoga together. She is my other half. I don’t know what I would ever do without her! Sometimes I wish she could be single forever! hahaha
Do you tend to meal prep. or eat out?
Faris: When it comes to healthy diet, i love to cook. I love making protein cookies and cooking low carb meals for myself and my boyfriend. I am not really a juice girl.
Agnes: I normally cook myself healthy meals.
Tell us a bit more about the creative shoots you have done with the legendary local HK Photographer @alexyblog. We are in love with the images you have done together. How did this come about?
Faris: I love working with Alex and the team. They are really professional and very talented. I’m glad that he contacted us through one of our friends, so we got to work with them with their creative ideas. My friends love the photos!
Agnes: I enjoy working with Alex and the team, they are funny and talented! Im glad the first shooting came out mind blowing, it brought a lot of noise and we have just done the 2nd one with them now. I hope that we will have more to come!
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