Life

Healing in Hong Kong: Karina Curlewis

Writer Riva Hiranand connects with five individuals to discover their chosen healing modalities, why they chose them, and how you can try them for yourself.
23 Mar 2022
Words by: Riva Hiranand

Whether you’re trying to heal trauma or simply trying to cope, it’s important to connect and check in with yourself – especially in the midst of a rapidly changing pandemic-management situation.

Now, more than ever, we have a wide range of tools to which we can turn; but finding what works for you takes courage, time, and often, trial and error. We hope that you can take inspiration and advice from these five individuals, who share details of their inner work with the hopes that it can help you find your own path to healing.

Karina Curlewis, yoga instructor in Hong Kong, in lizard pose
Photograph by Shu Lam, courtesy of Karina Curlewis

Karina Curlewis –Yoga teacher at Ikigai Studio & Performing Artist

How has your experience in performing arts impacted your view on mindfulness and healing?

I’m a certified yoga instructor in hatha, vinyasa and yin yoga, as well as a performing artist with a background in musical theatre and live art shows. I find inspiration in arts and wellness as powerful forms of storytelling, healing, self-acceptance and emotional release, whether as an observer or performer. I’m passionate about supporting the well-being of others, helping them stay motivated in overcoming stress and anxiety.

What are some of the takeaways you’ve had on your journey to healing?

The process of healing is ongoing. When we become accustomed to bearing discomfort, a toxic narrative, or chronic pain for years prior to accepting a journey into healing, the first breakthrough can feel like we’ve found a solution and all is sorted. The reality is that it’s the very beginning – we need to work on maintaining healing methods in a routine, and identifying healthy boundaries so we don’t push ourselves into habits or patterns of anxiety or suffering.

What are your chosen forms of healing and how do they help you?

The Yuen Method (which is a non-touch technique that gives you immediate relief from physical ailments, emotional issues, and helps to shift old behaviour patterns), past lives regression therapy and hypnotherapy. All have helped me work through several issues throughout the past couple of years, including but not limited to pain and discomfort, anxiety, forgiveness, coping with grief and loss of a loved one, and inner child release. Seeing trained specialists helps us understand the science and release mental blocks that feel hard to release on our own. Even if you’re fully aware, emotional triggers and patterns have a deep hold on our subconscious which is exhausting, so working with trained professionals can help identify the tools we need to heal and improve.

Karina Curlewis performing lunge with prayer twist pose in sandy beach by the ocean
Photograph courtesy of Karina Curlewis
Karina Curlewis performing lunge with prayer twist pose in sandy beach by the ocean
Photograph courtesy of Karina Curlewis
“A self-soothing method and form of emotional release for me is movement and dance. Something about connecting to a beat, melody, or lyrics and responding through rhythmic movement helps create balance and ease the mind.”

As a performing artist, what are the ways you heal your body?

Yoga was incorporated into my routine five years ago while I was working through insomnia and chronic stress. Practising and teaching yoga has helped enormously with learning about the source of chronic aches in joints and muscles as a result of being in flight or fight mode. Listening to the body and responding with targeted stretches and breathwork can alleviate stored stress. A self-soothing method and form of emotional release for me is movement and dance. Something about connecting to a beat, melody, or lyrics and responding through rhythmic movement helps create balance and ease the mind. It feels the rawest and most authentic as body language, the way we would express ourselves in words or writing but with movement.

Any tips for first-timers?

Be kind and patient with yourself. It’s a process, and healing can be non-linear. There will be good days and bad days, but it’s part of the process. As you build confidence, your toolbox to self-soothe, and ride through the challenges, know that the inner workings of your mind will expand as you take steps forward into healthily releasing old narratives, emotions and patterns that no longer serve you.

Where do you recommend we can try it out?

Karina Curlewis performing extended side angle pose on a rock of hiking trail
Photograph by Shu Lam, courtesy of Karina Curlewis