Joyce Lah, speaker at the October 6th meeting of the Pattaya City Expat Club, used the catchy title of the book “Eat, Pray, Love” as a springboard for her talk on how to love your body and have the health you would pray for. The presentation arrangement was for Club member, Ren Alexander to guide her through her story, starting with her arrival in Hong Kong at the age of 21. She started working at a hospice, caring for the elderly, as her mother was doing at the time. While there, she learned to speak Cantonese.
Then along came a job opportunity as a concierge at a hotel. This put her in the middle of the Hong Kong nightlife. Many bars offered free drinks for ladies, four nights a week from Wednesday to Saturday. Soon she was leading a party life, not taking care of herself and felt the need for diet pills, which she became addicted to resulting in her not eating, drinking or sleeping. Ren asked what led her to the realization this was not good for her body. She recounted “coming to” after blacking out in the middle of a busy street. She realized it was time to seek help and friends suggested trying acupuncture which is calming for the body. She said Tui Na is a Chinese type which is especially helpful for mind and body balance. Muscle memory is part of this therapy and partly because of her ability to speak Cantonese, Joyce soon had the opportunity to work at it.
Joyce’s interest in massage and yoga led her to India, where she studied Ayurveda medicine (it is one of the world’s oldest holistic “whole-body” healing systems). She described a beautiful, relaxing oil massage which is intended to draw heat from the body (especially the joints) and aims at balancing heat, air, and space in the body. She incorporated this with Tui Na which works mainly with pressure points. Ren asked how she had supported herself during her time in India. She revealed she had primarily treated others who gave massages, disclosing how common injuries to the back, shoulders and knees can be.
The next move was to Bali where friends had real estate property, and she worked as concierge, taking care of much of the social aspect of the visit by prospective buyers. Ren reminded her that it sounded as if her party life had now increased from 4 days a week to 7 days. Joyce confirmed this, and that it was not good for her body. At this point, Joyce signed up for a 10-day Vipassana Silent Meditation program. Joyce confessed she was challenged by her friends who didn’t believe she could handle 10 days of silence. Although this was a challenge, she admitted she was more motivated by the hope of losing weight [vegetarian diet and only 2 meals a day]! The 10 days of silence led her to ponder what she was doing with her life. So, it was back to Hong Kong, where she started studying and working with yoga studios. In India she had studied Ashtanga and other types of yoga, different types of meditation, massages and breathing. Joyce even studied Muay Tai for its body conditioning value.
She has combined her knowledge to form a “Chinetic” Concierge Program which uses yoga and meditation to promote the flow of chi (energy) in mind, body and spirit. She adapts her program to help the individual with general fitness and movement, including encouraging healthy eating. She can help in your home, revitalizing one’s eating with guided shopping, some healthy recipes, and overseeing some fasting programs for those interested. She has been described as an amazing teacher by some of those she has helped.
Using Ren to illustrate, Joyce elaborated on a procedure she calls acu-massage to deal with areas of tension in the body. Then she led the audience in a deep breathing session, an important habit one can practice every day at home. The meditation exercise started with thinking of a body of water, walking towards it, feeling the texture of the sand under your feet, visualizing the water, the sky and birds; then visualizing one’s healthiest self, a lightness in body and spirit as one becomes part of the water and air.
Joyce’s “Chinetics” consists of practical techniques anyone can do to rejuvenate the flow of healing energies and vitality in body and mind. She noted that acu-massage, therapeutic yoga tailored for the person, strengthening, meditation, breathing and diet can lead to a new you. Joyce is on Facebook and her email contact is [email protected] .
Following Joyce’s talk, members were brought up to date on upcoming events and club activities. This was followed by the Open Forum where questions can be asked or comments made about expat living in Thailand, especially in Pattaya. For information on PCEC activities, visit their website at www.pattayacityexpatsclub.com. To view the video of an interview of Joyce about her presentation, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmIo3ytDOqM.