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PARTYING. REBELLION. YOGA.

Hi! I am Cora. 

YOGA TEACHER.  FITNESS ENTHUSIAST.  HEALTH GEEK.  PASSIONATE WRITER.

I am a yoga teacher, fitness enthusiast, certified nutrition coach, biohacker, passionate writer and an all-around explorer of mind, body and personal growth. 

I help busy, self-driven people to train smart, work less and accomplish more through the juxtaposition of ancient practices and philosophy with modern science and technology.  Together, we can build individualized strategies,  routines and hacks for you to take control and live your best self.

MY STORY

Childhood 

Born and raised in Hong Kong, I grew up in a large, traditional Chinese family.  A multi-generation household centered around big family dinners.  Convent Girl School with copy books and piano lessons.  Obedience and filial piety. 

Despite all the rules and discipline, it was a loving environment.  My family valued traditions and rituals, with food representing love, connection and our Chinese roots – nourishing home cooked meals of the freshest ingredients, herbal soups to balance chi, “cooling” and “warming” foods, with table settings reinforcing the patriarchy.

Since childhood, I was seeped in ancient Chinese wisdom around natural nourishment, healing and balanced living.  However, I was not particularly fit or active growing up.  I was the “good girl” in academics rather than the sporty or adventurous one.  This is when Western junk food hit popularity in Asia with pizzas, burgers and packaged foods becoming “fancy and trendy.” as well as convenient, cheap and heavily marketed.  Instead of my Grandmother’s dumplings, a burger from McDonalds became my idea of a “special treat”.

Taught to be a good girl and follow rules without questioning authority, there was always a part of me that wanted to “break free” and see the world outside.  When I was 10, I went on a tour with my choir to Australia for 3 weeks, my first time I was away from family. Staying with a host family, I cooked food and washed clothes myself for the first time. Having experienced a small taste of independence, when I went home I told my parents I wanted to study abroad when I grew up.  They didn’t take it well.

Rebellion

I performed well at school academically.  But I think I did well because I was already making plans and the only way to “break free” was to make my parents happy.  At 18 my wish was granted and my parents agreed to send me to college in Vancouver.  Growing up I always wanted to be a teacher. But like many Chinese families my parents did not consider teaching an “ambitious” job and they wanted me to choose something more “useful.” I ended up studying Business Management. 

After years of being the perfect student and daughter, I finally had my freedom, uncaged and rebellious.  I started drinking, partying, boys, and started to care more about how I looked. This is when I started all the yo-yo dieting. I have tried every single diet out there. While I was not fat, I was not healthy. 

Fast forward to 2001. I returned to Hong Kong and started my career in Finance Equity Sales.  Early 20s. Young and ambitious. Beautiful office. Suits and high heels. Business class travel and 5-Star hotels. Fancy meals and wine.  It was my dream come true.  At least that was what I thought.  But all these also come at a cost. Late nights. Business entertainment. Eating out. Alcohol. Parties. I was very far  from being healthy. 

My Man and Children

Despite my unhealthy lifestyle (which I didn’t understand or care about back then) or perhaps because of all the partying, this was also when I met the man of my life. Unlike my conversative upbring, he grew up in a very liberal, Western environment. His mother was an ivy league literature professor, his father an international lawyer.  Although my man came from a strong academic environment, he didn’t grow up with rules and has never played by them. 

Eric and I got married in 2008, and very soon after we had two children, Xavier and Zoe Anne. Becoming a mother changed my life (and a father, his).  With Eric’s support, I quit  my banking job and embraced full-time motherhood.  I stopped drinking, smoking, eating junk and started to read about everything about nutrition and health. All my childhood memories flooded back, and awakened my knowledge on traditional Chinese medicine, healing foods and holistic living.  At the same time, I also became curious about the new cutting-edge science and information from Western medicine. 

Yoga

As a very hands-on mother, I enjoyed spending every moment with my kids, but as every mother knows: taking care of my two energetic young children is a 24/7 job.  I barely had time for myself, or my man.  In 2011, after the birth of my second, I developed lower back pain and decided to try yoga as a therapeutic and restorative exercise.  And also to carve out some time and self-care just for me. 

I remember my first class vividly.  Walking into a serene studio.  Settling myself into my own space. The supportive, nurturing voice from the teacher walking through the instructions about ME – my body, my breath, my mind.  From high achiever at school to banking to full time mom, I have never let myself stop. I am always going, doing, pushing.  Always doing things to accomplish something. For the first time in my life, on the yoga mat, I felt calm and peaceful, and for the first time in life, I found a safe, calm place for personal reflection and wellness.

I got hooked immediately, and since then I return to the yoga mat every day. From Hatha to Vinyasa to Hot Yoga, I deeply immersed myself in the practice and thus physically I progressed very quickly. Yoga also spurred a more general interest into fitness and I started going to the gym, with cardio, Muay Thai, strength training, all in ways that supported and supplemented my yoga practice.  While other sports are purely exercise for me, yoga gives me something deeper – the connection to my mind, spirit and relationships, enabling me to show up as a happier mom, wife and friend, better able to handle challenges in day-to-day life.

Although initially more interested in personal development, meeting my wonderful primary teachers Patrick Creelman and Rinat Perlman in 2013 re-awoke my long-standing desire to teach and in 2014 I took their 200 hours Foundation Teacher Training.  The first time I stood up in front of the class, I was nervous but as soon as I started I felt alive, teaching something I truly love.  Teaching yoga is a natural extension of my practice, my true calling.  Starting almost immediately after I completed my Foundation Teacher training, I am grateful I have had a lot of opportunities to teach – from smaller studios to fitness gyms, from group classes to private students. Perhaps due to my old sales and marketing background, I was given a lot of collaboration opportunities with brands, teaching corporate classes, big yoga events, even being an early teacher of real time online yoga in 201?

I continue to explore other areas of yoga, including aerial yoga, wheel yoga, with certification in both. I added knowledge and training in strength, functional body exercises and calisthenics to accompany my yoga practice and teachings.  While my fundamental teachings are still based on classical forms of yoga, I enjoy experimenting with more unconventional techniques in both my practice and teachings, which I find drives new insight and enjoyment.

For me, the ultimate goal of yoga is mind / body connection and holistic wellness.  Fitness, nutrition, mindset and self-development to me are all an extension of yoga study.  I continued to experiment with evolving methods in yoga and fitness, different diets and everything related to health and wellness. Throughout this journey, I have made a lot of mistakes, but I have also learned a lot. 

Ironically, my conclusion is simply that there is no conclusion. Everyone is different. There is no one solution for all. Whatever works for me may not work for someone else, and even for my body, things can change, and I need to continue to learn and adapt. Whether exercise, diet, routines, habits, lifestyle, the only plan that works is the one that we can stick to.  That is the magic formula to long term health and true wellness. Today I no longer chase for a certain physique or follow any particular diet. Instead, through instinct and exploration, I can truly find balance in my body, in my mind and my life.  

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