Finding quiet in your life, so we decided to get some expert advice from Michael James Wong. He seems calm now, but was his life always so peaceful?
“I originally from Los Angeles and I spent much of my early youth being a bit rowdy, a bit noisy,” he says. “I was lucky that I had the opportunity in my early 20s to just be thrown into a yoga and meditation class. Growing up in Los Angeles in the early 2000s, it was a bit more available than it might have been here in the UK.
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“It caught me off-guard. It gave me the chance to both experience the breadths of yoga and be challenged by the fact that I couldn’t talk and had to sit still in meditation.
“It was a really eye-opening to experience those practices early on, because it was everything I was not familiar with.”
At first, he found it challenging: “It was something I knew I needed, but I couldn’t be good at it – because you can’t be good at it,” he adds.
Many people who try meditation and yoga struggle to calm their busy minds at the beginning. Michael has some great tips to help you settle down.
“We always have a tendency to think that we’re going to be better at something when we do it more,” he says. “And oftentimes the best way to start with these sorts of practices is to actually just stop.
“Stop trying to do more. Stop trying to be good at things. Stop even trying to practice in a perfect way. When we stop and we slow down we realise we have a bit of space. We get a chance to experience things more rather than trying to intellectualise how we can accomplish things.
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“And that’s where a lot of people get tripped up a bit. When they come from this very busy mindset of being really good at things and being really busy with things to then go: ‘I’m going to be really good at meditation. I’m going to be really good at sitting down and finding quiet.’ Where it actually makes it more challenging.
“So by taking time to just simply stop, have an experience of it, and then from there create an opportunity to really enjoy that experience you’ll get the value from it.”
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About Michael James Wong
Just Breathe‘s founder is Michael James Wong, a teacher, meditation guide, speaker and the author of Sit Down, Be Quiet. Recognised around the world as a leading voice in the global wellness movement, he’s on a mission to break down barriers, smash stereotypes and bring the community together for a calmer and quieter conversation about the benefits of a mindful way of living.
Michael has been a keynote speaker at recent London TEDx events, Parliamentary APPG for mindfulness, the NHS and The Royal College of General Practitioners. He has featured regularly in within The Evening Standard, The Guardian, Balance Magazine, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Culture Trip, mindbodygreen, BBC Radio, Sunday Times Style, Timeout, The Telegraph and the Huffington Post.