THE SEEDS WE WATER ARE THE SEEDS THAT GROW. 种瓜得瓜，种豆得豆.
Theresa is one of those very charismatic people who can just enchant others with their words. And I guess this is because I’ve never attended one of her yoga classes. People who did told me that with her it’s just different: more comfortable, accessible, easy. Even fun – and they meant it as a compliment.
Theresa是那种充满魅力、仅凭话语就能把人迷得神魂颠倒的人。大概是因为我从没上过她的瑜伽课吧。那些上过她的课的人告诉我，她的课带来的体验真是不同：更舒服，轻松，容易，甚至很有趣 – 这可是不吝的称赞。
But she is not only a yoga teacher: proud mum and affectionate wife, entrepreneur and passionate traveller.
I asked her to meet – the yoga word is so unknown to me that I had a long series of questions for her. But we ended up talking about much more than yoga: family, travels, lifestyle.
我邀她出来见面 – 瑜伽对我来说如此陌生，我有数不清的问题想要请教她。但我们的交谈内容却远远地超过了瑜伽：我们还谈论了家庭，旅行，和生活方式。
And it all happened in such a natural way – her words and friendly smiles put me at my ease and I enjoyed every single second of the interview.
这一切都发生的如此自然 – 她的话语和微笑让我如此放松，我享受着采访她的每一秒钟。
How did you go from being a yogi to being a yoga teacher?
I’ve been practicing yoga for about ten years, maybe more. I was a pretty big party girl and this was causing big health problems. Getting sober was a big turning point in my life and when I did get clean I really got into yoga. I think I did my first yoga training a couple of years later and kept practising. Then I moved to China – Tianjin first and then Beijing and here I was offered a teaching job at a local yoga studio. I was teaching there a few times a week and then I just started doing more trainings and more teachings and now it’s just what I do. I think I’m like a born teacher, I love to share my knowledge from my heart. Teaching yoga is such a beautiful thing because it combines my physical practice with my spiritual one.
Who are the most inspiring people that you’ve met through your travels?
I think what I have learned from the trip is that we’re all the same, you know we’re all people. I think Uganda is a good example because when I first went there the people scared me – it’s such a loud and colorful place – and it took some time and a couple more trips to realize that they were all just people, and actually very inspiring ones. There is also another person that comes to my mind: there was this one time I was in Vietnam, my flight was cancelled and I had to spend my night in this really awful hotel outside the airport. I went to this tiny hole in the wall restaurant and there was this woman behind the counter with five kids and she was probably really young and she was so happy and I was at a point in my life where I didn’t know what I was supposed to be doing or where I was supposed to go and I realized that she probably didn’t have that many choices. I just realized how fortunate I was to have all of the options that I had. I mean we are all teachers, I mean Swami Sivananda is just as much of teacher as you are or my baby or the guy that cuts us off in traffic, and what he teaches me depends on how I respond to it.
我认为我从旅行中所学到的就是，我们都是一样的，你知道的，我们都是有血有肉的普通人。我觉得乌干达是个很好的例子。当我第一次去那儿时，我被当地人吓到了 – 那是个如此嘈杂喧嚣炫目的地方 – 我花了很久又去了好几次才逐渐意识到，他们也是和我们一样的正常人，事实上他们能带来更多的启迪和灵感。我同时还想到了另外一个人：有次在越南，我的航班取消了，我不得不在机场外一个糟糕的酒店里过夜。旁边有家小得可怜的餐馆，一位特别年轻的女人在柜台后面忙得不可开交，她的身边还围绕着五个孩子，但她看上去开心极了，突然间我不知该做什么或者该去哪儿，而对她来讲，也许并没有什么选择。我突然意识到拥有这么多选择是件多么幸运的事情。我们每个人都是老师，Swami Sivananda是老师，你、我的孩子、或者街上跟我们抢路的行人都是老师，你能从他们身上学到什么取决于你对个体的反应。
How do you incorporate the yoga lifestyle into your daily life?
I totally believe in moderation. Yoga is such a broad thing: there are a lot of different types and there are a few different texts that are sort of bibles for yogic living. But at the end of the day we are supposed to be living our life to create balance. I rarely eat meat, but I still do; I love to sleep in but often I wake early in the morning. I’m getting better at it. It’s my challenge.
How do you want to incorporate yoga into your son’s life?
I’m not sure how this is going to work out. Maybe we can discuss about this in a couple of years? I just know for sure that my husband and I are going to be hands-off parents. Our baby (now three months old) has no bed time, when he’s tired he sleeps, when he’s hungry he eats. We just want his spirit to develop and come out naturally, without any costraints. because they all have different spirits but I’m not sure what his is yet. Like I step back right now and let him grow. Of course, he’s just a baby now so it’s not like he stays out late or smokes cigarettes which makes it extremely easy for me to say ‘Oh well – whatever he wants’. Maybe things will change once he becomes a teenager.
What’s your favorite day of the week?
Each day is so different. I love them all – this question is so hard to answer! Well I have to say that my favourite day is the day that I get a little bit of everything. The day that I feel productive & healthy, the day I spend time with friends and my family. To feel productive, I have to work on projects and be creative and maybe teach a class. I think we all have outstanding things to do and right now for me there are so many that being productive is just about crossing things off that list. I have a beautiful desk at home and I like to work there or at friends houses or wherever I can find my space.
每天都是不同的。我热爱每一天 – 这个问题真是太难回答了！如果必须要回答的话，那我最爱的一天一定是有收获的一天，一定是我觉得做了很多事情健康积极向上的一天，一定是我和朋友家人度过的一天。想要有收获，我在不同的项目上工作，激发创造力，或者去教瑜伽课。每个人都有重要的事情去做，现在我有那么多的计划和安排，我需要把它们一件件的从列表中划去。在家里我有张特别美的桌子，我喜欢在那里工作，我也喜欢在朋友家工作，或者任何一个我能找到自我的空间。
Could you tell us about your Uganda bags project?
It all started as a way to empower widows in Uganda: teach them how to sew fabric bags, give them the tools they need and make sure they have a space, a laboratory. Uganda has the second highest birthrate in the world – each of these women has on average 8 kids, and they need to provide for all of them. They learn how to make Uganda bags, we help them to sell them, and they get almost all the profit. But it has become so much to me: it’s a fantastic journey and it made me realise how lucky I am and how much power I have to improve other people’s lives.
最初的想法是为了帮助乌干达的遗孀：教会她们如何缝制布袋，赠予她们工具并确保她们有自己的空间 — 工作室。乌干达的出生率高达世界第二 – 每名妇女平均有8个孩子，而且她们要抚养全部这些孩子。她们学习怎么缝制乌干达手袋，我们帮助她们销售这些手袋，她们可以得到几乎全部的利润。这对我来说有很大的意义：这是段美妙无比的旅行，它让我意识到自己是多么的幸运，也同时意识到我拥有可以改进别人生活的能力。
Where do you see this project going?
Right now it feels really intense because there is a lot of attention from outside. Even CCTV wants to do a piece on it, there are media trying to help me and I have to stall because we don’t have enough bags. In my dream world the right person at the right time is going to come up to me and ask me how they can help, and then I will be able to employ a lot more women. I would be so happy if we lived in a world where everyone was carrying a Uganda bag instead of a Nike bag or a Lululemon one – supporting women is so important because it’s also supporting their children so they can get an education and have good food and clean water. This project is 100% self-sustaining: so when people buy the bags the money goes back into more training, it’s not like we give them the money to buy food. I hope big good things will come out of this.
现在压力很大，因为受到了很多外界的关注：甚至连CCTV都想做报道，有很多媒体都想帮助我们，但我一直在推延因为我们没有足够的手袋。在我的梦想世界里，在正确的时间有位正确的人会走来问我需要什么帮助，然后我就可以雇佣更多的妇女。我真希望我们生活的世界里，每个人都拿着一只乌干达手袋，而不是从NIKE或者Lululemon买来的 – 支持女人真的太重要了，因为这还意味着间接支持她们的孩子，所以孩子们可以接受教育，有新鲜的食物和干净的水喝。这个项目完全是自给自足的：人们买包的钱会直接支持更多的培训，而不是花在买食物上。我希望授之于鱼，不如授之予渔。
Oh. The bags are beautiful and on sale on theyogandabag.com. Theresa is strong and motivated – she is out to shake consciences and to share her knowledge. I’m seriously planning to go to her yoga classes. Feel like coming with me?
Theresa Rae e’ diversa da tutte le insegnanti di yoga che ho incontrato fino a questo momento: e’ aperta, solare, spiritosa e scanzonata. Abbiamo preso un caffe insieme e chiacchierato amabilmente di lifestyle, alimentazione, educazione dei figli e viaggi in Africa. E le ho promesso che andrò alle sue lezioni. Sinceramente, già non vedo l’ora.
For all the pictures, special thanks to Theresa Rae.
Translation by Vivian Zhou.