Matina was born and raised in Hong Kong. She is a certified 200 RYT.
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Her yoga journey started at the age of 17, and she feels life has been better than ever since. Not only a healthy body, but also a positive mind, and a happy soul.
Interview by Dominique Musorrafiti
C-U: How and when did you start to get interested in yoga?
Matina Cheung: That was the time that yoga starts getting popular in HK. I think it looks cool at the beginning but when I started my practice, it actually feels different then other exercises I have tried before. Most of the other exercise, I feel exhausting after the training, but yoga makes me feel more awake and energizes after practicing. No more making me sweat but also restore my body and mind.
C-U: How long have you been practicing yoga and when you become an instructor?
M C: I have been practicing for almost 14 years now and I started teaching since early 2014
C-U: What types of yoga do you have the most experience instructing?
M C: I used to practice a lot of hot yoga, but now mostly I teach vinyasa and yin yang yoga.
C-U: Do you have a yoga philosophy?
M C: I would say I believe that everything is about “balance”. Finding balance leads to health. Effort and rest, day and night, yang and yin. We are taught to work hard, but also we encourage you to listen to your body. We are all unique, comes with a different type of body, background, condition… but it’s our own practice that balance our unique body and our own life.
C-U: How important is meditation in yoga practice?
M C: It’s so important that it not just calm my mind but it helps me to check and feel my body and the condition of the day. I usually do a short meditation before my practice or teaching, commit to myself and see how I feel in the present. To be honestly, even I have been practicing for years, meditation is still something that I couldn’t handle well, but it teaches me to accept more of myself, and I know I still have a long way to go.
C-U: What are the main benefits of following a yoga course?
M C: Since everyone is very different, following a course will help the teacher to get to know more about the student and easier to give suggestions and adjustment individually. Like one has spine issues and one has shoulder injuries then they might need some simple advise or to do another variation of the pose.
“Matina’s intention is to create a calm and relaxed environment in her classes and to offer her students tools to access better health and happiness.”
C-U: Can yoga change your life?
M C: To me, mentally yoga brings me a more peaceful mindset, physically it gives me a better health for sure, and somehow also a more discipline in life – eating healthier, practice regularly.
C-U: Who practices yoga must follow a particular diet?
M C: I think its optional. Since I practice, I naturally more concern about health. That’s why I try to eat healthily and choose to pick food or products that are more eco-friendly. I m not very straight to it yet but trying. I eat everything, as I said it about a balance, but I choose to eat less meat as I think, I don’t need that much of it and it harms animals and the environment.
C-U: Do you believe there are age limits to practice yoga or start attending a course?
M C: Of course not, yoga is really for everyone, just pick one that suitable for your own condition.
Photos courtesy of Matina Cheung