Saigon Connections

After having lived in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon, for 5 years (7 years for Sarah), we packed up and uprooted our "saigon om" school in June 2015. We started our "Travel, Teach and Learn" path between South East Asia, Australia, and Canada.  After a year we can certainly say that we are loving this Dharma (path). Some days we put on our "beginner's mind" caps and become students and some days we put on our teaching caps.

Our current stopover is in bustling and lively Saigon as we make our way to coastal Mui Ne to offer our training programs this weekend. I have to say, we LOVE coming back to Saigon because everything is familiar to us.  Our plane lands, we pop in our SIM cards, hail a Mai Linh or Vinasun taxi and off we go, getting lost among the motorbikes to Quan Bui (my favourite Vietnamese cuisine) with your friends. It is a joyful thought for me.

Over the years we've met and worked with some amazing people and students that also offer holistic services. I'd like to acknowledge them here. Please feel free to contact them directly if they can be of assistance in your spiritual, health and fitness lifestyle.

Namaste,
Hang

Services in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam

 Silke

 1) Silke Dietrich in District 2.  Silke is a dear friend of ours. She has quite a few regular clients that are committed to her as much as she is to them.  Her training is creative and fun. You can hear Silke's motivating coaching as early as 5:30 in the morning.  Now, that's dedication.  She inspires everyone she works with or talks to. She speaks fluent English and German.

 Services: Personal Training, Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage, Aquafit.
Contact Details: balancebysilke@gmail.com

Quyen

 

 

 

 

 

2) Quyen Dang at Star Fitness at the Manor in District 1. Quyen is a yoginni and personal trainer extraordinaire. She puts 100% into her fitness and she also provides 100% of her heart and energy to her clients. Sometimes you can Quyen laugh all the way from District 2. She's helped a few of our yoga students over the years.

Services: Personal Training & Yoga.
Contact Details: quyendang100@gmail.com
or 0903172738

 

 

 Chiara

 

3) Chiara Squinzi in District 2 & 7. Chiara recently opened a vegan shop and cooking kitchen in District 2.  May I suggest her double chocolate vegan cheesecake.

Services: Chiara’s focus is on helping you to set and accomplish health and wellness goals.
Contact Details:  chiara@laholista.com  http://www.laholista.com

 

 

 

Moon

 

 

4) Moon Heewon in District 2. Moon is a multi- talented beautiful gentle soul with magical hands in flower arrangement, Reiki and Lomi Lomi Massage. She's fluent in English & Korean.

Services: Flower arrangement workshops, Shamballa Reiki & Hawaiian Lomi Lomi massage.
Contact Details: heewon.themoon@gmail.com 

 

Natalia

 

 

5) Natalia Lobo-Guerrero in District 2.  We've known Natalia for 3 years and was once her neighbour and coffee pal.  When not teaching people how to connect to their true self, she provides art therapy to people of all ages.

Services: Private or group yoga & Art Therapy
Contact: nloboguerrero@gmail.com

 

Rae

 

7) Rae Dohar in District 2: Rae is a new saigon om  friend. She's been here for over 2 years and is quite versed in yoga. She offers yoga courses on how to create your own home practice. 

Services: Group or private yoga. Singing bowl healing. 
Contact: Rae@HomeYogaSaigon.com

 

Johanna

Johanna

9) Johanna Anderson in District 2. Sarah has had treatments from Johanna and recommends her for acupuncture.  She also specializes pain management, fertility support, stress management, digestive health and women's health.

Services: Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine
Contact: johanna.day.anderson@gmail.com

We Love What We Do

You know the saying “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work in a day” ? Sarah and I feel like that sometimes, especially when we get to sit and share our practices with people we’ve met around the globe. Our most recent special encounter was sharing the Shamballa Reiki training with six wonderful women the weekend of April 23rd in the Melbourne area.  Sarah and I both gave 6 attunements in 2 days and we felt like we both also received 6 attunements.  We felt more fresh and clearer after the weekend. Yes, we really love what we do, be it mindfulness, yoga, Tai Chi/Qi Gong, massage or Reiki, it is the right livelihood for us. We couldn’t really do it with the support of our friends and students.

We all suffer to some extent. Waking up with a sore back is a form of suffering. Having that argument nagging in the back of your head is another form of suffering. It’s really wonderful for us to meet people who are willing to take care of their suffering and then help others like what these wonderful six women are doing through the Universal energy called “Reiki” and the practice of Mindfulness.  Life is just too short to not take care our pain and sorrow.

Please enjoy this short video I’ve put together to capture the weekend of healing and joy with our new 6 friends.

Love & Peace,
Hang

If you’re in the Melbourne area and would like to receive Shamballa Reiki treatments, please contact these friends.

Contact: Melanie Fisher
Human Angle: Counselling and Consulting in Human Resources, Career Coaching
Services provides in Healesville and the Centre at Kangaroo Ground
t: 0488198080  e: melanie@humanangle.com.au     w: www.humanangle.com.au

Contact: Carly Leviston  and Carol Holmes-Gack
Offering Shamball Reiki inDiamond Creek, Hurstbridge,  Wattle Glen,  Kangaroo Ground, Greensborough, Eltham, Montmorency and Plenty
t: 0429 360 723 or 0401 308 880   e: carlyleviston@hotmail.com 

A Weekend with Plum Village Monastics

    As most of our friends and family know, Sarah and I have been following the teachings of Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, for some time now. This past weekend we had the privilege of deepening our mindfulness practice with the inspiration and guidance from the sisters and Plum Village spiritual community in Beaufort, Victoria, Australia.  We feel refreshed and recharged to say the least.  

I had many wonderful moments at the retreat. Some of them include:

  • Meeting 5 new sisters who recently came over from Plum Village France. 
  • Meeting many new friends on the path.
  • 5am wake up call to the sound of a giant bell.
  • Many delicious Vietnamese vegan meals made with so much love and mindfulness.
  • Supporting our friends with their 5 Mindfulness Trainings transmission.
  • Guiding retreatants through a gentle morning yoga practice in the Meditation Hall.
  • Camping in our saigon om bus in the 3C temperature - good times. 

I strongly suggest visiting any Plum Village around the world for a week or two and you'll see what I mean. No mindfulness experience is necessary; just an open heart and an open mind. The monastics will welcome you with a smile and open arms. You'll also meet wonderful people and Sanghas on the same path that can help support your practice after you return home. 

Please enjoy the slideshow of photos I took over the weekend. 

I invite you to send me an email if you have questions about Plum Village or this auspicious mindful path. Hang: saigonom@gmail.com 

Smiling and Breathing,
Hang

The 5 Mindfulness Trainings for Retreatants

Our friends getting their 5 Mindfulness Trainings 

Creating a Sangha Wherever We Go

Hang and I met in 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Her loving words, immense knowledge about yoga and joyful outlook on life were magnetic.  Hang later told me that my calmness, openness and healing hands, as her massage therapist, drew her to me. We made an instant connection, which resulted in many delicious vegetarian meals and great conversations.

Hang was born in Vietnam and moved to Canada when she was eight years old. Her active lifestyle started with fitness and mixed martial arts, and later transitioned into yoga.   In 2006 Hang discovered the mindfulness path, which she began to incorporate into her life and into the classroom as a maths and science teacher.   

I grew up in Melbourne and have been living overseas for the past ten years. I am a massage trainer and a Reiki and  yoga  teacher.  When I learned to meditate at twelve years old,  I immediately loved the calmness and the clarity of thought that I experienced. 

Hang's way of introducing mindfulness to me was for us to do sitting and walking meditation together every Saturday morning, then read and discuss Thay's books. This  helped me to "wake up" and live with more awareness.  Getting in touch with the peacefulness and silence within was a transformative experience.  I developed more understanding and compassion for myself and others, found joy in my daily activities and connected to my family in a more loving way. 

In 2013, Hang and I formed "saigon om", a holistic wellness school in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). Two years later, we decided to travel between Australia, Vietnam and Canada together to spread our joy for life through yoga and mindfulness teacher training, mindfulness courses, retreats, massage and Reiki training ,and Tai Chi teacher training.  Our motto is "Travel, Teach & Learn."  We love the work that we do and seeing the transformation in our students as they begin to live with more awareness and joy, is  inspiring. We feel it is our duty to share the benefits of  mindfulness practice, because it has helped us so much.

When we are in Australia and Canada we spend time with our families and offer classes, retreats and workshops.  We love practising with Sanghas around the world, including Birrarung Sangha in Melbourne, True Peace Sangha in Toronto and a Sangha we started originally, in Ho Chi Minh City. We feel we create a Sangha wherever we go with our loved ones, students, and practice friends.  

To help us deepen our  practice we visit Thai Plum Village each year.  It is very special to connect with the monks and nuns and be inspired by their dedication to the practice path. We have heard that one week of practising at Plum Village is like one year of practising at home; and we always leave feeling lighter and fresher - walking more slowly, and smiling at everyone. 

Sarah Martin (Mindful Action of the Heart)

saigon om Yoga & Mindfulness Teacher Training

I'm constantly being reminded by students who come to us that showing people how to take care of their suffering and bring more joy into their lives is our (saigon om) Dharma/path given how the unconscious world has made us believe that the unimportant is important. Case in point: external beauty/looks, comparison, expectation, regretting about the past, worrying about the future that is not yet here. When in reality we have a plethora of tools that can help us overcome our suffering and see that living in the present moment and having a sense of gratitude can bring about love, wisdom and understanding for life. Namaste, Hang

March 2016 Newsletter

yoga mindfulness retreat vietnam

Our March newsletter is ready! Click here. to read it as you breathe and smile. 

We love sharing our mindful and joyful journey. And we'd be delighted for to join us at an event in Melbourne or Vietnam in 2016.

If you'd like to receive our quarterly newsletter to stay updated with our news and events, email us at saigonom@gmail.com

Weekend Yoga & Mindfulness Retreat

weekend yoga mindfulness retreat

Come to this wonderful weekend to deepen your yoga and mindfulness practice. The retreat includes oodles of fun, yoga, mindfulness and time for silence.

Beginners are welcome.

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, May 6-8
Location: North Warrandyte, suburb of Melbourne
Investment: $275, includes shared accommodation, meals and snacks

Friday
Arrive between 5pm and 6pm
6pm: Welcome Circle, Gentle Qi Gong & Yoga Practice
7pm: Mindful Dinner
8 - 8:30pm: Mindfulness Session
* 9pm to 8:30am next day: Noble Silence

Saturday 
7-8am Qi Gong & Walking Meditation in the Bush
8-8:30am Fruit, Tea, Coffee in Noble Silence
8:30-10:30 Short Lecture & Yoga
10:30-3pm Mindful Brunch & Free Time
3-4:30pm Restorative Yoga
6pm Mindful Dinner
7:30-8pm Mindfulness Session
* 8:30pm to 8:30am next day: Noble Silence

Sunday
7-8am Qi Gong & Walking Meditation in the Bush
8-8:30am Fruit, Tea, Coffee in Noble Silence
8:30-10:30am Short Lecture & Yoga
10:30am: Mindful Brunch
12pm: Check Out

For registrations or enquiries: saigonom@gmail.com 0484 090 073

Plum Village Australia Fundraiser

Hang and I were delighted to hold a One-Day Yoga & Mindfulness Retreat to raise money for Plum Village Australia. We enjoyed a beautiful day of Qi Gong, walking meditation among the olive grove, sitting meditation, gentle yoga, mindful eating, deep relaxation, Dharma sharing, singing, and hugging meditation.

Afterwards our students commented that they felt balanced, grounded and calm.

We are very thankful to Cara Britton who very kindly donated the use of her beautiful yoga studio in Kangaroo Ground for the event.

We raised $400 for the construction at Plum Village Australia. Thank you to everyone that attended and shared your mindfulness energy and loving smiles. 

A lotus to you,
Sarah & Hang

Connecting to Nature

nature smile saigon om

We moved into our beautiful little mudbrick cottage this week. We're surrounded by nature, the Australian bush, with gumtrees everywhere and lots of wildlife around. So far we've enjoyed the company of kangaroos, wallabies, kookaburras, galahs, wombats, echidnas, and this little possum who has made a home on our roof. Breathing in, I smile at nature. Breathing out, I feel calm and peaceful. 

Happy to be Home in Australia

Hang and I arrived in Melbourne, Australia last week. We'll be staying here for the next 6 months. We packed up our home in Saigon in June, with a new journey of spending more time in Australia and Canada each year. We'll still return to our beloved Vietnam twice a year to hold our courses and retreats by the ocean in Mui Ne. 

Yesterday we were walking along the ocean in Barwon Heads and I felt happy and peaceful just to be "at home". Having lived overseas for 10 years with only short visits home once a year, it feels amazing to know that we'll be here for the next 6 months and will spend more time in Australia each year. Lots of time to enjoy Australian life; the fresh air, nature, beaches and ocean, and most of all quality time with my family.

Breathing in, I smile at the ocean.
Breathing out, I feel fresh and peaceful.

Happy holiday season everyone :-)
With a huge smile,
Sarah

Our Motto: Travel, Teach & Learn

Hang practicing her handstand in an arm balancing class at Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio in Ubud, Bali. 

Hang practicing her handstand in an arm balancing class at Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio in Ubud, Bali. 

As Hang and I began our new journey of traveling around the world to offer our courses and retreats, we are happy to find ourselves on a new path of teaching and learning - enjoying our work of teaching and sharing and also "filling our cups" by taking time to immerse ourselves in training and retreats. Our new motto: "Travel, Teach & Learn". 

This year we have been to Thai Plum Village three times to cultivate our mindfulness practice, visited Pai in Northern Thailand to complete our Reiki 1,2 & Master levels with Mark Allison, and spent a week in Ubud, Bali, practicing yoga at Radiantly Alive

Here's to an amazing year ahead of teaching, sharing and always having a beginner's mind.

With a huge smile,
Sarah

A Week of Yoga in Ubud, Bali

ra.jpg

In case you didn't know, Hang and I LOVE yoga. Naturally, with 5 weeks off to travel in Asia, we chose to spend a week in Ubud, Bali. We booked a resort right near our favourite yoga studio and immersed ourselves in a week of amazing yoga classes. Radiantly Alive yoga studio has some wonderful and experienced teachers.

We bought a 7-day pass and joyfully attended 23 classes! The classes included various styles of yoga and mindful movement: Ashtanga inspired, Mysore, Vinyasa flow, Qi Gong, roll & release, Yin, and restorative.  A typical day for us was something like this: yoga, breakfast, yoga, lunch, rest, yoga, swim, yoga, dinner. We learned so much, strengthened our practice and felt inspired to continue on our path of teaching and sharing.

We are returning to Bali in March 2016 to offer massage training at The Balé. Of course, we'll fit in another 7 days of amazing yoga at Radiantly Alive!

Namaste & Love,
Sarah

Reiki Training in Pai, Thailand

Last month, Hang and I spent some time in Pai, in northern Thailand, learning Reiki with Mark Allison. I've been practicing Reiki for about 10 years so I really enjoyed refreshing my Reiki knowledge and learning a new style of Reiki called "Shamballa", a very intuitive style of energy healing. Hang and I will return to Pai in early December to complete our Reiki Master course to learn how to teach Reiki. We are excited to be offering Reiki training in Australia, Vietnam and Canada in the new year.

Yoga & Mindfulness Retreats in Mui Ne, Vietnam

The word "retreat" means to withdraw or step back. In our case, it is to withdraw inward so we can reconnect to our true self; full of love, joy, and peace. A retreat can be nourishing and healing because it is a time to take care of ourselves - our pain and our joy; especially if we have a busy lifestyle. "It is a wonderful time to meet like-minded people for the support", as one participant puts it. Another student says, "It was a wonderful venue and setting to process and let go of something that has been stuck inside for a long time."

With that said, it was a joy for Sarah and I to share the art of "slowing down" & looking deeply at both retreats in early October, 2015. We guided participants through everything that we ourselves practice ; Qi Gong, energy release work, Lomi Lomi massage, Reiki, mindful walking, eating and hugging! And, of course, various forms of yoga.

We have our students to thank for always inspiring us to stay on this Bodhisattva path.

May all beings everywhere be happy and free,
Hang  

saigon om yoga and mindfulness retreat vietnam

Lomi Lomi Massage Training in Saigon, Vietnam

What a beautiful two weeks of massage, learning, healing, and fun! Thank you to all the students for coming together and giving me the opportunity to pass along my passion of Lomi Lomi.

Some of my favourite moments from the training were watching the students build confidence, being in the moment, absorbed in the flow, creating new strokes, massaging from their heart towards the end of the training, and seeing them all work and flow together for the 'massage the teachers' session :-)

It was an inspiration to see people (students) become healers and I intend to keep sharing this love with more people around the world wherever Hang and I go.

With Aloha,
Sarah

A New Journey, A New Look

March 18, 2015. 5am. It was the morning after a week of recharging our Mindfulness energy with over 150 nuns and monks at Thai Plum Village monastery near Bangkok. Joyfully waiting for a taxi to the airport to return to Saigon, Sarah turned to me and out of the blue said, “It’s time to leave Vietnam, Hang.”

My first reaction was excitement and joy. Naturally, I said, “YES!”  That short thought by Sarah set off ripple of possibilities for us. We started to brain storm new possibilities like:

1)      More time with our respective families and home countries; Canada for me, Australia for Sarah.

2)      Sprinkling our love and joy for well-being everywhere we go and grow our spiritual family. Like, become a mobile holistic school, which rolls off the tongue nicely, doesn’t it? Seriously, who wouldn't want to travel the world, meet new people, engage in new cultures while sharing our love.

The question of how are we going to sustain ourselves as travelling yoginis naturally surfaced as a topic of conversation. That question, in itself, opened up a whole new can of exciting worms for us. The root answer was quite simple; continue to offer what we offer with a global vision.

So, the wheel of motion started to set in; move out of our current Saigon saigon om location early June, head back to Canada to start sprinkling the love with yoga and mindfulness workshops and classes in Kingston, my hometown.

In early July saigon om became a Yoga Alliance School. By late August we met a wonderful artist and internet guru named Amy Pierrson who laboured on our new saigon om logo, guided us to push our boundaries in the social media area to increase saigon om awareness, and encouraged us to go “professional” with a refreshed webpage to reflect our global vision. Thus, the birth of this wonderful new saigon om website, our new pride and joy. Thank you, Amy!

Our aim is to inspire visitors to our website with our blog and to let you know about the trainings that we offer in Australia, Vietnam and Canada, as a start. We look forward to the new journey and exploring other parts of the world as we connect with more people on the same path. Be it Mindfulness, Yoga, Massage, Reiki, Tai Chi or Qi Gong. We are ready.

Smiling at Life, 
Hang