ENDS IN

Michael James Wong

By Michael James Wong

Get to know Michael James Wong

Practicing Mindfulness

Photographer: Jake Paul White. Michael wears Alo Yoga by The Sports Edit.

LET'S START FROM THE BEGINNING...

When I was young I never sat still, I was always doing something. I was a restless kid, always chasing the next task, accomplishment or activity. I was born in New Zealand, moved to Los Angeles at a young age and then spent my 20’s living in Australia and now London.

Doing lots of things served me well as a kid, I had many diverse experiences in sports, arts, music, community and picked up a lot of life skills along the way. Now that I’m a older, I’ve slowed things down and tried to spend my time doing less. I am a yogi, a teacher, a meditation guide, a speaker and now an author. These days my work, on and off the mat, is about helping to make positive change and bring a mindful way to living to the real world.

For the past 10 years I’ve focused my time teaching, sharing and traveling around the world connecting and growing communities in this conversation. From BOYS OF YOGA to JUST BREATHE, our growing communities are about bringing a new conversation to the masses and showing that living mindfully, healthy and happy is a great way to live for all. I’m excited to share my newest book. SIT DOWN BE QUIET, which will launch in March 2018. The book that aims to inspire more men to the yoga mat and bring about a mindful way of living. Pre-Order here

Photographer: Jake Paul White. Michael wears Alo Yoga by The Sports Edit.

WHO INSPIRES YOU MOST?

I’m inspired by people making positive change. The ones doing it within themselves, the ones proactively doing it in their communities and ones brave enough to make big changes in the world. I believe that doing the work to change ourselves is always the most daunting, to peel back the layers and be aware of what’s working and not working in our lives. To lean in, acknowledge and then grow from there is something remarkably inspiring to see in people.

DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR PEOPLE STRUGGLING TO BALANCE MINDFUL PRACTICE WITH THE FAST PACE OF THEIR LIVES?

Finding balance is a tricky thing. These days, we see it as finding that perfect stillness between the chaos and the calm. For me, balance isn’t about finding stillness (meditation is good for that though), balance is best achieved when we acknowledge that it’s about adjusting to life as it comes at you. Sometimes we have busy periods in our lives from work, workouts, family and other things like this, so it’s important that when the chaos ramps up, we also intentionally ramp up the calm.

We live in a fast paced society, and these days everything is on full, it’s loud, noisy and messy, so for me, I find the best practice is just to simplify and focus on what really is important. Don’t waste time doing extra things, don’t go to parties, events or dinners out of obligation. Focus on the things that simply make you happy, and do just that.

Photographer: Jake Paul White. Michael wears Good hYOUman by The Sports Edit.

WHAT ABOUT FOR THOSE GUYS INTRIUGED BY YOGA BUT YET TO TRY IT?

These days yoga is everywhere, it’s hit the mainstream and more and more guys are interested or ready to start. Often the biggest obstacle for guys is that they believe they need to be flexible to start with, or know a lot before they come, or they just don’t want to look stupid trying something new. The truth of the matter is, yoga is great for everyone, and the best way to understand this is to just try. Thinking that you’re not flexible enough to start yoga is the same as saying ‘you’re too hungry to have dinner’. The logic doesn’t line up.

Starting yoga is as simple as stopping the excuses, judgements, worries or precautions and just trying. Once on the mat you’ll see the benefits physically, mentally and emotionally.

THE FITNESS INDUSTRY CONTINUES TO BOOM - WHERE DO YOU SEE IT IN A YEAR'S TIME?

The fitness industry is just part of the growing wellness community. As we continue to see more people step into a healthy and mindful way of living, we’re seeing a big uplift in communities. In a year I hope to see more people living mindfully, more men on the mat, and more and people choosing their health over their wealth.

DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL WEEKEND.

My weekends are never the same and that’s the most exciting part. I travel a lot to teach, gives talks and lead workshops, events & festivals, so for me, weekends are usually on the road. For like start of 2018, my weekends look like this; Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Dubai, Munich, Stockholm, Frankfurt & a few in London!

WOW, YOU CERTAINLY TRAVEL A LOT! WHERE IN THE WORLD INFLUENCES YOUR PRACTICE THE MOST?

My life is continually inspired by the places I’ve travelled. I’m lucky enough to have seen the sunrise in many places, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. My work and perspective are most influenced by 1) New Zealand, the country I was born in 2) Los Angeles, the city I grew up in, and 3) London, the place I now call home. Add in little influences from everywhere I’ve been, and I'm happy to have had perspective from big cities, to small towns, and everything in between. It’s often said we’re a sum of all our experience, and for that I’m grateful.

Photographer: Jake Paul White. Michael wears adidas and Alo Yoga by The Sports Edit.

QUICK FIRE

FAVOURITE MEAL: Anything my mother cooks.

WHAT'S ON YOUR BUCKET LIST: Visit the village in China where my family is from.

SUPERPOWER OF CHOICE: Breathing underwater so I can go explore the Blue Planet

WHERE SHALL I EAT IN LONDON TONIGHT: Home cookin’ is the way to go!

SOMETHING THAT MIGHT SURPRISE US ABOUT YOU: When I graduated university, Arnold Schwarzenegger was Governor of California, and it’s tradition that the Governor signs your diploma. It doesn’t get more Hollywood than that I suppose.

SUM UP YOUR LIFE MANTRA IN ONE SENTENCE: Just Breathe - these are my words to live by. Simple, straight up, and the best advice for life.

Follow Michael on instagram @michaeljameswong

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