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Embracing yin & yang

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is believed that there are yin and yang elements in our bodies. These two elements are in constant opposition, but they also need each other to create balance. The yin elements represent the feminine aspects of our bodies, while the yang elements represent the masculine aspects.

It is believed that when these two elements are in balance, our bodies are healthy, and we feel harmonized and in tune with ourselves. However, when there is an imbalance, it can lead to spiritual, physical, and mental health issues.

In our previous Lumina Stories post about finding light, we shared the stories of 2 inspiring women on the first Halong Wellness Cruise. In this story, let’s explore the journeys of 2 male guests, how they discovered balance through their yoga practice, and how they opened up to the world

First impressions

Quang* and Binh* shared some common traits. They were both athletic with similar body build. Both were busy professionals in their 30s. Quang currently runs 2 startups in tech and real estate investment, while Binh is an experienced marketer. They were amongst the last guests to arrive for transfer to Halong on the first day, wearing minimal outfits - a staple amongst the millennial tech professionals - black or dark grey t-shirts, black backpacks, sporty trousers, and black trainers. They appeared hurried and somewhat stressed when they showed up at reception.

Quang told us that he had been to Halong Bay before, but that trip was fleeting and did not leave any lasting impression on him. Without having sufficient time and meaningful activities to really connect to the land and sea, Halong Bay to him was just another beautiful destination packed with tourists. He was invited to join Halong Wellness Cruise by a friend and business partner.

“I haven't done anything like sports or exercise regularly in a long time. I've been busy with all-day meetings, and this is just what I need right now.”

This is how he explained his reason for joining - without any prior knowledge about what the wellness retreat could offer.

Healing yoga

As beginners, the yoga classes on the first day were challenging for them. The daytime Hatha yoga sessions, which were designed to strengthen the cores and create more Yang energy, required strength, stability and a level of flexibility that they did not yet have so they found it difficult to completely relax. The Yin yoga session on the first evening, however, invited a new sense of peacefulness into their worlds. Binh shared with us that the practice on the candle-lit open deck under the night sky sparked a childhood memory that he had long forgotten. As he laid down flat on his back, completely relaxed after the yoga flow, he looked up at the stars and felt a softness within. He was reminded that he used to do that a lot as a child, and the years of growing into an adult have made him bury that sensitivity deep down.

As a busy entrepreneur, Quang found it hard to make time for self-care practices. Even though he's heard his business circles praise the benefits of meditation and yoga, and he has tried to practise using wellness apps, like so many others, he couldn't progress much on his own. On Halong Wellness Cruise, he found a new joy in yoga as he gained stability and flexibility, and noticed positive changes within. “I've never spent the middle of the night on the ocean, staring up at a sky full of stars, surrounded by soft candles, music, and people. It feels extraordinary to have a meaningful connection with nature and the surrounding universe”, he shared with us.

Binh also shared with us, “When you practice yoga, be open-minded and open-hearted; it might help you become more tolerant. The Yin yoga under the stars helped me return to myself and find a sense of softness within that I had long forgotten.”

As the days progressed, the yoga sessions became less challenging and more in flow for them. “This journey showed me that yoga is not as hard as I had thought and how helpful it is to your physical and mental health”, Binh said with enthusiasm.

Meaningful Connections

A wellness journey is as much about making new and meaningful connections as it is about self-discovery - a balance of internal and external interactions. In the process of tuning in, one will find oneself more at peace and discover new ways of creating impactful connections within the body-mind-spirit, thus creating better connections with the external world as well.

The Halong Wellness Cruise provided a sanctuary at sea, a common ground where people felt safe to express themselves and be open to new connections.

Binh said he has made friends with like-minded people who share similar interests in wellness on this trip. “I enjoyed how everyone seemed to share similar interests and had similar viewpoints and well-being practices - the same ‘vibe'. It isn't very common to find that on tours or holidays,” he said.

Meanwhile, the nature excursions also helped create beautiful bonds between people. For Quang, the beauty of nature was enhanced even more when it served to deepen the connection between travellers. On the second day, he was amazed by the bicycle ride across Cat Ba Island where he realised that riding alongside other amazing friends was even more enjoyable than arriving at a destination. “I met a lot of great people. I've learned a lot. I realised that riding on that road with others was a more enjoyable journey than the destination itself.”, he said with a bright smile.

A different world

Not just another cruise, the Halong Wellness Cruise aims to help you reclaim a sense of liberated self that you may have lost, to feel completely at home in your body and in the world. The Yin and Yang elements are weaved into each day's activities to both energize and soften: day-time activities, such as Hatha yoga, swimming, kayaking, or cycling envigorate the senses while you soak in the benefits of sunlight and nature; while meditative activities, bonding with others in group activities or dinnertime, and the candle-lit Yin yoga sessions invite you to completely relax, let go of rigid barriers, and open your heart to give more and receive more.

When we asked Quang how he felt after the 3-day journey and if he found any ritual to inspire his daily practice, he said, “I do feel differently after this vacation. I'll strive to keep my body feeling this way. [I'd like to] create a space where I can disconnect from the daily busy schedule, to be more mindful and present.” To him, the meditation and chanting in Trinh Nu cave on the last morning was something he'd never experienced before.

“I felt like I was in a different world", he said as he remembered the moment - sitting inside the softly-lit cave, looking out at the bright light from the secluded beach, and listening to the purifying sounds of the singing bowl.

Find your balance

Drawing inspiration and principles from Yin-Yang elements, The Halong Wellness Cruise invites guests to release all accumulated tensions from a hectic modern lifestyle, relax and create a flow within themselves, thus allowing their bodies and minds to move more freely. This is achieved through an array of mindful activities: Hatha yoga and Yin yoga, sitting and walking meditations, breathwork, as well as nature excursions to pristine beaches, caves, and islands. The programme is designed to restore balance and a deep sense of peace from within.

The Halong Wellness Cruise retreat offers a chance to discover your own meaning of inner freedom, develop a peaceful state of mind, and allow your own light to shine. The experience can be transformational, and the skills learned can last a lifetime. To learn more about the retreat schedule and how to sign up, please visit here.

*The guests' names and some personal details have been changed for their privacy.

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