Michael Gunn – A Story of Beginnings and Epiphanies

  • Editor: Kelly Foong
  • Interviewer: Jamie Zhou
  • Photographer: Jamie Zhou

 

That’s what I did for 35 years but it was fun. If it is no fun, there is no point doing it.
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For 35 years, Michael worked as a curator of art traditions from the Pacific regions – mainly New Guinea, Melanesia and Polynesia – and worked in a range of museums and exhibitions. He often stayed with people from these regions for months at a time to gain an understanding of why they create certain images. In order to understand it from their point of view, he had to keep an open mind and set aside his own beliefs. It was only then that he could begin the intricate and elaborate process of relating it to their art objects. 

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An epiphany that came out of nowhere.

Michael’s yoga journey began just 5 months ago but he has been a committed and valuable addition to the Little Mandarin community. Driving in his car one day with his wife, Michael had a sudden realisation that yoga was what he needed. He did not know why but followed his intuition by Googling yoga studios once he arrived home and found his home base with Little Mandarin. 

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Q: What was your initial experience with yoga like?

I felt out of shape at first and was sweating a lot. I was always the worst in the class – I am a lot older than the rest of the class. It was a real hard work out but I came out of it and smiled. It must have been an endorphin high so I must have found the right place and right thing to do. 

Q: Did you notice any benefits or changes after committing to a regular yoga practice?

I did not realise how out of shape I was before yoga. Ever since I was a kid, I did not care about my body. However, after starting yoga, I slowly began to notice some changes. I am now able to crouch down to take photographs of flowers with my wife and can even walk faster than her now! It also fixes my posture. I now realise that my body needs work and yoga provides me with both the work itself and focus. Every day is a little different. Every day I come away with something that is changing me.
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Q: What made you commit to a regular yoga practice?

I started with a class pack and now try to practice at Little Mandarin about 4 times a week. Even though it takes out more than 3 hours of my day each time (when you include my walking journey to and from the studio), I just thought that I will not stop since it is improving me.
There is commitment and also an aspect of trust.
Trust in Jowing and the other teachers to take me where I need to go in my practice and support me through the discomfort. I was intrigued by the controlled breathing. I did not know what I was doing and it almost felt like I was being directed.
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Q: What do you enjoy about the Little Mandarin community?

The people. The mix of people is incredible. There is maybe 2/3rd Asians and 1/3rd Westerner in classes. It is a really interesting mix that works well together. Although my wife is Malaysian Chinese, I did not really have much interaction with Chinese people other than my wife’s family. Through Little Mandarin, I am able to learn more about other cultures. People I meet in yoga are different from everyone else. They have a commitment to their own bodies. We come together and have a common interest or focus, which is yoga.
The passion and dedication from Jowing and Jamie can also really be felt by everyone. I am amazed by Jowing’s strength. She is a great communicator, as she communicates from the heart – that is the part that people can really understand and connect with. 
I have not tried any other studio yet. Little Mandarin is like my nest and I do not want to stray from it just yet.

Interviewed On 08/09/2017 at Michael's Place

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