In conversation with Natalie Ryneveld
Living in a fast-paced society gives us little opportunity to tune into the Self and recalibrate our minds. With just 90 minutes of Gong Meditation, we can find the balance and mental clarity we need to overcome challenges and pursue our goals. The practice reminds us that by mastering our mind, we master our destiny. In this week’s feature, we speak to Natalie Ryneveld of ClassPass about how Gong Meditation has helped her through the most stressful time of her career, as well as its transformative effect on her life.
Hi Natalie! Thank you for speaking to us today. Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do? What are your hobbies?
I work for the fitness membership app called ClassPass and I'm Singapore's Country Manager, which means I do a little bit of everything. I account manage some of our top studios in Singapore, analyse our financials, work on brand partnerships and other marketing initiatives to help grow the market. I value my me-time so I have strict morning and evening routines - I workout in the mornings between 7am and 8am Monday through Friday, alternating between HIIT and Meditation/Yoga (my two favourite ways to sweat!)! At night I wind down at 9 by reading a book, playing with my 2 kittens, or hanging out with my roommates. I like to watch movies and chill out and while I used to go out for drinks, this past year or so has been deeply transformational for me, so now I prefer to stay at home, recharge and connect with friends and family.
A lot of first timers discover Gong Meditation through the ClassPass platform. You must be stoked to share this practice with them! What sparked your own initial interest in Gong Meditation?
I first decided to try Gong Meditation honestly because I had loved the classes Sue taught at Stråla yoga, and when she started to introduce Gong Meditation I said why not? I love trying new methods to improve health and wellness - not only is it a part of my job, but it's something I'm truly passionate about. Binaural beats were something I was already familiar with and enjoyed listening to in order to relax, and so I was excited to see how the effects of Gong Meditation would compare. In addition, I always thought meditation was equally as challenging as a physical workout because you're strengthening your mind and not your physical body. I view Gong Meditation as a way for me to deeply challenge my mind through meditating and also give it the relaxation it needs.
What are your experiences like during Gong Meditation? Have you had any memorable experiences to share?
My experiences are different every single time, which is why I love going. The first part of meditating is always the most difficult for me. Sitting in a cross-legged position for 30 minutes is not easy! Although Sue allows us to re-adjust our position, I always try to stay in the same pose, detach myself from the discomfort I feel and bring myself back to the breath. I view the breath as the connection from my physical body to my mental body, as the link to something greater than me. When I focus on my breath - the texture, the pace, the movement - I feel more at peace, calm and serene. Almost every time, a feeling of frustration and impatience will arise, but when I tell myself "This too shall pass" or "The savasana is inevitable, just stick with it!" I can quickly pass to the moments of quiet comfort.
When Sue really gets into the Gong during savasana, that's when I've had memorable experiences. Sound healing allows your brain to release theta waves, which put you in the same state that you would be in if you were in REM sleep. I've always had very vivid dreams, so when I get to this part of the Gong Meditation, most of the time it's no different. Sometimes I see animals, sometimes I'm in a jungle, sometimes I feel like I'm traveling through time and space and moments of inspiration come to me. There was a time when I got a very clear message to move on in a relationship. Other times, I pass out and don't remember anything. Every time I leave I always am grateful that I brought myself to a space to encourage my mind to recharge.
You are a regular at our Gong Meditation and Lunar Practices. How do you think these sessions have helped you?
Gong Meditation has supported me through an extremely stressful time of my career. I was working for GuavaPass and ClassPass had just launched, so we were in overdrive. I was barely sleeping more than 4 hours some nights and 6 hours others, not eating enough because I was so stressed! Since I didn't have energy to workout, I thought I would book my time to chill out. Gong Meditation gave me the time and space to heal my mind and body. To take a nap between my work and just relax. It gave me clarity on situations that were troubling me at the time, allowed me to get in touch with the feminine and softer side of me. I've always been super career focused as both of my parents are workaholics, so my career always came first before my health. I didn't know how to balance it and was in the camp of "Mind over Matter". My thought process was, if I could keep pushing myself, I could overcome everything. Gong Meditation made me realise I was wrong by simply showing how tired I was and reminding me that there was something bigger than my job. At the end of the day, your job can disappear and things will end, but you only have one body for the rest of your life so you have to take care of it.
I absolutely love the lunar practices because it's a chance to set new intentions and shed old layers of yourself. It's an opportunity for growth and connection. These lunar practices have given me the opportunity to observe my own journey, reflect, and look at the next few weeks with a lens of faith and confidence.
How do you think someone could benefit from HOA Gong Yoga/Meditation sessions?
Anyone can benefit from Gong Meditation, no matter where you are on your meditation or spiritual journey. It's not only just the sessions itself that are healing, but it's also the conversations afterwards. The space that Sue has created is open and welcoming for people to share their experiences and I've learned so much through talking to other participants and Sue.
If you know someone who is stressed, always on the move, never makes time to relax, I highly recommend the Gong Yoga/Meditation sessions for them. If you're a workout junkie who doesn't like to sit still and has never done Gong Meditation before, I'd recommend trying Gong Yoga at first as it's a good mix between the physical asana practices that you may be used to, and there's a soft introduction to the more spiritual side of yoga. Recalibrate and rebalance with Gong Meditation with us at HOA today!
Written by Izzy Liyana, content creator & writer for HOA