Erin Tseng interviewed by Joy Lu
After ten years of yoga practice in Taiwan, Erin Tseng still felt stuck. For some reason, she could not breathe as deeply as some of the postures required. She was struggling. It was only when she learned how to “let go” in practice that she was able to relax and come closer to her own spontaneity. Now she is training to become an Acem instructor in meditative yoga.
Erin learned Acem Meditation in 2007. A friend had told her about the method. When the company she was working for, Chunghwa Telecom, arranged a course for employees, she immediately signed up. Her workload was heavy, and this was a chance to reduce her high level of stress. Later her husband also learned the technique. They both appreciate the neutral and non-religious context of Acem Meditation, as well as its scientific and psychological foundation. Meditation gave her mind important breaks in her busy workdays, and she found it easy to practice regularly after the beginner’s course.
Meditative Yoga in Chinese
“I also like to use my body,” she says. “Yoga makes me more sensitive to what goes on inside me. And the good silence that follows a yoga session helps my meditation. When I visited Scandinavia last summer, it was partly to join a meditation retreat and partly to receive training as a yoga instructor.” Altogether she spent three intensive weeks of meditation and yoga practice, first two weeks at Halvorsbøle in Norway, then one week at Lundsholm in Sweden. “I am really happy I was able to do so much during my visit, and the yoga instructors I met were the best I’ve ever had.”
Erin had long been impressed by the dedication of the many volunteers working selflessly for Acem. When she was asked to participate in the translation into Chinese of Acem’s book Meditative Yoga, she immediately agreed. Her strong self-discipline proved to be a good asset for the translation team, and the book was recently launched in Taiwan. Working on the translation of the book increased her understanding of yoga, and that was part of the reason she decided to apply for yoga instructor training.
Freedom and hard work
Hard work wasn’t a new thing to her. Even in school, she had had the necessary self-discipline to obtain good results, especially in mathematics, and she later earned a master’s degree in statistics. On the other hand, her childhood was more than just hard work. “There was a lot of freedom. I was allowed to play outside for the entire day. My father was a policeman, and our family moved a lot. When I was in the fifth grade, we moved to the countryside, where I learned to appreciate nature and silence.”
At the age of only 52, Erin recently retired, and with two grown-up daughters, she is now free to spend her time as she chooses. She looks forward to completing her yoga instructor training, in order to help Acem meditators by teaching them yoga. At a recent weeklong meditation retreat in Taiwan, she was in charge of the yoga program every day, and her instruction was well received. Next summer she is planning to visit the World Retreat in the Spanish Pyrenees, where she will give yoga instruction in Chinese.
About Acem Meditation and Acem Yoga, Erin says: “They are the best gift I have ever given myself. I am happy that I am now able to pass part of that gift on to others.” Her instructor training includes practice at yoga sessions for Acem meditators in Taipei, and these sessions are proving so popular that there is a waiting list.
Copy editor: Ann Kunish