Seattle Yoga News is on a mission to find and highlight all of the hidden, and maybe not so hidden, gems in our yoga community and beyond. We want you to learn about their experiences and perspectives, but also a bit more about their personalities, so we have a few fun questions for them. This week’s spotlight is turned towards Hien Hong.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED WITH YOGA?

Hien Hong

Hien Hong:

I got started with yoga when I was 15. I went to a school that didn’t have a gym or typical PE curriculum, so I took an after-school class for PE credit. The class was taught by Grace Karissa Bryant, whose mother was a teacher at the school.

WHAT KIND OF TRAININGS HAVE YOU PURSUED?

Hien Hong

Hien Hong:

I’m finishing up my 300-hour training with Susanna Barkataki of Ignite Yoga & Wellness Institute. I connected with Susanna after reading her article on decolonizing yoga. It’s important for me to have both a trauma-informed and social justice lens when engaging in yoga. I have also completed the Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga 20-hour training, LoveYourBrain Yoga for Traumatic Brain Injury training, and Yoga Behind Bars training on top of my 200-hour.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TEACHING METHOD?

Hien Hong

Hien Hong:

I would describe my teaching method as concise and mindful. I use simple cueing and I focus on holding space and invite my students to examine what they’re noticing in their bodies, breath, and minds.

WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU ALWAYS GIVE YOUR STUDENTS?

Hien Hong

Hien Hong:

I like to advise my students to do their own thing and advocate for themselves. I’m happy whenever I teach a class and I see a lot of variety in how my students choose to practice.

WHAT’S YOUR MISSION AS A YOGA INSTRUCTOR? WHO ARE YOU TRYING TO REACH AND WHY?

Hien Hong

Hien Hong:

My mission as a yoga instructor is to secretly teach people how to meditate. I try to teach yoga with Patanjali’s 8 limbs in mind, using asana to find steadiness and ease before diving into dhyana (meditation).
Right now in my journey, I am trying to reach out to womxn of color. I know as a woman of color myself, just how beneficial and empowering yoga and meditation can be. However, there are unique barriers that keep them from yoga spaces. So I go out of my way to invite them in with my Yoga for Womxn classes in Tacoma.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST INSPIRATIONAL MOMENT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED AS A YOGA STUDENT? AND HOW ABOUT AS A TEACHER?

Hien Hong

Hien Hong:

The most inspirational moment I had as a student was when I realized I wanted to become a teacher one day! I was 15 and I had no clue how or when it would happen, I had a realization I wanted to be a teacher one day in the middle of class.
As a teacher, I feel inspired by students who are honest enough to tell me when something doesn’t feel right or they dislike something we do. I am reminded of the ways I could also advocate for myself.

WHAT HELPS YOU GET BACK ON YOUR YOGA MAT WHEN YOU ARE FEELING DEMOTIVATED?

Hien Hong

Hien Hong:

Self-compassion is always the answer. If I’m feeling demotivated about getting on my mat, it sometimes means yoga is not the answer. So, I practice svadhyaya (self-study) and nourish myself in other ways, until I happen to get on the mat again.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE YOGA RELATED BOOK?

OTHER THAN PRACTICING YOGA, CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME OF YOUR WELLNESS & SELF-CARE HABITS?

Hien Hong

Hien Hong:

I see a great therapist, I journal, I read tarot cards during new moons and full moons, I unfollow people/companies who make me question my worth on social media, I practice lovingkindness meditation, and I listen to uplifting music such as Lizzo. But most of all, I try to embrace my imperfections in the name of radical self-compassion. That alone takes 80% of the stress off.

WHO IS THE YOGI WE SHOULD FEATURE NEXT AND WHY?

Hien Hong

Hien Hong:

Emily O’Dea because she is both a skilled yoga and pilates teacher. With her anatomical knowledge from both the yoga and pilates perspectives, Emily specializes in prenatal and postnatal yoga and is empowering new moms in her community. Her unique style is influenced by biomechanics, fascia research, Ayurveda and yoga therapy.

Hien Hong’s Bio: Hien is a yoga and meditation teacher based in the Tacoma area. Hien teaches from a trauma-informed and social justice lens. Her teaching styles are mainly gentle and restorative yoga. Hien proudly teaches yoga at a high school in Tacoma and offers a monthly Yoga for Womxn of color class. You can find out more about her private and group classes, retreats, and more by visiting her website, or by following her on Instagram. 


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