Micheal James Wong/ Just Breathe London

Slowing down and getting quiet

As someone who is forever being told that I am ‘burning the candle at both ends’ and generally struggles with the concept of doing nothing; when my friend asked me come with her to her mate’s event and sit still for two hours, I had mixed feelings, but said yes.

Set amongst the lofty exposed brick walls of The Boiler House in Shoreditch, we took to the floor and listened to the vibrations of Arli’s guitar, as we switched off in an attempt to ‘just breathe’.

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Michael James Wong, founder of BOYS OF YOGA, a global movement celebrated worldwide helping to bring more guys to the mat, is continuing to make waves within the wellness community with his latest venture Just Breathe. A movement that looks to unite people in meditation and find stillness in an otherwise chaotic city.

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 “I wanted to inspire modern mindfulness, create a space where people could come together with a purpose to connect to themselves and a community of likeminded individuals. 

We live in a world where busy is the norm, people are always moving, never stopping and continuously over thinking. I wanted to help dial down the chaos and start a new conversation that is all about slowing down and getting quiet”

Never stopping and always overthinking is something I think most of us can relate to. We are a generation who are ‘always on’, with longer working hours, an expectation to be perpetually available, more connected than ever. Along with increased scrutiny and pressure on how our lives should look, we are being sold the dream.

We want the £24k wedding, at the same time as finding the £33k deposit for your box flat, all on a £25k salary (and that’s just the averages). Whilst agreeing to be billed out at 130%, because it will be good on your CV, spending time with family and friends,  squeezing in spinning, with yoga, then headspace, making the perfect quinoa something balanced lunch,  and still finding time to hide from your Uber receipts, nurse your hangover and binging on Narcos . We are trying to do it all, but the reality is that we’re setting unrealistic goals and facing a barrel of unknowns. It’s no surprise that DSM report that 1 in 5 millennials suffer with anxiety or depression.

Michael talked to me about the importance of a shift in societal expectation and perception of success.

“Our society is built on the desire for excellence and success, not happiness and wellbeing, and the time is now for all this to change. I believe we’re on the cusp of change and everyone’s priority should be on creating a calmer state of being. The biggest shift that needs to happen is that people need to let happiness be the only metric of success in our modern society.”

Being truer to ourselves in the decisions we make can only be a good thing. Not always an easy one, but I totally agree with Michael that we should empower ourselves to define our own success, let’s stop asking ‘what do you do’ and understand ‘who are you’.

Just Breathe gave me an opportunity to meet some lovely like minded people, who too share this belief. My favourite part of the session was in fact to sit back to back with a stranger, breathing harmoniously together. By the end of the session we had ditched our plans for a girly goss over drinks and went home to embrace the feeling of calm. On a more serious note, as someone who is one of those 1 in 5 with anxiety, Just Breathe was a brilliant step into mindfulness and a reminder of the importance to stop, be present and find perspective. So for anyone else wanting to give it a try and join the slow movement, the next event is Dec 6th at the Truman Brewery, free tickets at: Just Breathe London

To leave you with Michael “We’ve started something, and it’s only getting quieter.”

http://www.justbreathelondon.com

Click to find out more about Michael and his work

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