Mind-Body Balance in Shanghai

Get mindful to fight the cloudy days

by Alex Sheffield | Mon, April 10, 2017

It can be hard to ride the emotional roller coaster known as life, especially for expats living in an unfamiliar place. Some days, you’re flying high and loving this city, and then the next is the worst “China day” in living history. That said, it’s important to know there are methods available in Shanghai that are proven to help you feel better.

When the going gets tough, get mindful. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. It’s not about banishing the bad days forever; the gray clouds will always return, but it’s learning what to do when they show up that’s important.


Dating back thousands of years, yoga isn’t just a trendy fad. Ganesh Singh, founder of Just Yoga studios in Shanghai, believes in the therapeutic power of yoga to keep the body, mind and soul healthy, but just how does it accomplish this? “Contrary to gym exercises like weight-lifting or even running, yoga lengthens and firms our muscle in a natural way rather than shortening and tightening,” says Singh.

“To function happily and healthily in our modern world, it is important to have the balanced energy of yin and yang,” he explains. “Too much of yin energy, and we are lethargic and inert; an imbalance of yang energy causes an onslaught of negative emotions like anger, stress and fanaticism. Practicing yoga encourages us to switch of our enteric alarm (fight or flight instinct) to live in the present moment, accepting ourselves and others as we are.”

Tai chi

Over several centuries, tai chi has evolved and been adapted by many different sources. Tai chi is great for physical and mental health, as we largely rely on the circulation of fluids in the body. “Gentle movement during practice combined with deep breathing stimulates the blood circulation and increases the oxygen supply to the cells. This rebalances the pH of the body towards the preferred lightly alkaline condition,” says Patrick Kelly, founder of 9 Clouds tai chi studio in Xuhui District. In addition, tai chi can help you strengthen and refine the inner mind. “The outer mind is limited, while the inner mind is virtually unlimited in its range and power,” says Kelly.

Meditation & spiritual awareness

Although it can take many forms, the fundamental aspect of meditation always remains the same: it’s a practice based on breathing that helps to focus and awaken the mind. Research headed by Dr Herbert Benson of Massachusetts General Hospital discovered that relaxation techniques such as meditation and yoga can switch certain sets of genes on and off in people who practice them regularly.

Je Yee, co-founder of YEJO Circle which organizes weekend retreats and activities outside of the city, believes that “with a level of relaxation, serenity and deep breathing, meditation will benefit all of our physical and mental being.” He feels that by doing meditative breathing exercises for as little as 10 or 20 minutes a day, you can train your mind to become more still, focused and aware.

Find it:

Just Yoga

Tianping Hotel 7/F, 185 Tianping Lu (near Hengshan Lu), Xujiahui.
Xingle Lu 360 (near Jinfeng Lu), Minghang.
Wechat ID: justyogashanghai
Tel: 6404 5229 (Xujiahui), 6406 0536 (Minghang)
Web: www.justyoga.com.cn

Nine Clouds Studio

17 Xiangyang Bei Lu, 4th Fl, Jing'an (near Changle Lu)
WeChat ID: ninecloudsstudio / sh9clouds
email: studio@9clouds.ch
Web: www.nineclouds.cn

YEJO Circle

Studio C, 18/F, 1381 Dongfang Lu (near Lancun Lu)
Tel: 182 2133 2139
Web: www.yejocircle.com