Seeking for More Things in Life – Get to know Océanne

Oceanne, or Océ, is a 28 years old Shanghainese that splits her time between this city and the blue shaded waters of the Philippines. She is a doodler, tattooer, yogi and freediving instructor. Five years ago, her life took a different turn when she left her stable and prestigious job for a more fulfilling life.

This week we had a conversation with Océ, to find more about her story of change and also learning some tips and tricks on how to stay mindful and healthy in the city.

When did mindfulness and yoga become part of your life?

I think 2014 was a breakthrough. After I left my job at L’Oréal, I became much more curious about everything and started to always look for different stuff. For example, I always loved doodling and that made me more curious about looking for different textures. That led me to became a  tattooer, and I really enjoyed that moment that you have to focus 100% on someone’s skin. That was when I realized I could train my mind. I also started Yoga as a way to train my body at the same time as I was connecting it to my mind.  I also searched and found out about  Vipassana Meditation. Since then, mindfulness became a way for me to lead my life.

But you did not stop there, did you?

No! I also always liked swimming and diving. So I discovered freediving. This was a real-life transition. I never expected that to happen, but now I am a professional freediving instructor and I even have my own club. Freediving is a sport that only a few people know, but it is an extreme sport. You do have the possibility of death. When you free dive, you only have one breath, and you dive down to 50m. Your body experiences 6 times the atmospheric pressure. You can’t have too many doubts in your mind, you have to be calm and true to your body. Shut off your inner talk and believe in your self.

All that you have described are also processes of becoming more mindful. What effects or changes have you noticed in your life once you became more mindful?

I feel like I understand my emotions better. I am no longer controlled by these emotions, I have developed the ability to name these emotions and to observe them, as from a distance. I also have a better concentration now, I can focus on one task for more than 1 hour and that used to be a real challenge for me. My body condition has also improved a great deal, I feel like I gained a lot more strength.

Did mindfulness ever help you to overcome any obstacles?

Yes, above all my fears. I know now when fear occurs. It is a strong emotion mixed with different body sensations. But now I know that I still can make something happen in order to overcome the fear. Regardless of how I feel or what I think about myself at that moment, I still do it.

What is your routine habit that you do when you are in shanghai?

Well, I sleep early, around 10:20 PM, and wake up early, 5:30 AM. I wake up, I drink a lot of water and take 2 minutes cold shower, it still keeps my body warm but it refreshes my mind and it is good for the immune system. Then, I do basic stretching for 5 minutes; Vipassana meditation for 60 minutes; breathing exercise for 10 minutes. But sometimes I skip the last one. I also always make sure that I have my offline moment once a day.

Yes, that is nice. Because this city is very busy. We are always in a rush, thinking about work and many times we forget to take care of ourselves. What would be your tips to stay mindful and healthy in shanghai?

You can practice mindfulness anywhere, but sometimes it helps to find a park or a riverside, and then I would say: when you are under stress, just come back to yourself and focus on your breath for a couple of minutes; if you can go into nature, seek for the sunshine; whenever you get the chance, try to walk on the ground bear foot.

How can very busy people start to fit mindfulness into their lives?

Just start easy. 10 or 15 minutes of meditation is a good start. Be patient, but practice on a regular basis. If you are able to, set your own meditation corner in your apartment, keep it clean and decorate it. The main important thing is to know what you want to change and why you want to change.

Are there any meditation apps that you think can also help?

Yes, apps can help. I use the Headspace. It’s very user-friendly but a little pricey though. I prefer doing meditation without instructions right now, but I would start my meditation journey with HeadSpace. it’s quite good for beginners.

What would you say for people that are afraid or resistant to try yoga for the first time?

Yoga is not about what your posture looks like. It is not about how you can put your feet over your head, not about if you can do a headstand. It is about how you feel your body. How your body is very close to its limits but you still stay calm and your breathing and you have the confidence. Yoga is about connection and unity. And, although it lost a lot of its tradition amidst modern society, it is still a very good approach to a better mental and physical state.

What is next for you océ? What are your plans?

I guess I just want to seek more things in my life. This is just a small point, and it will become bigger. I really want to spend more time in the water, learn how can we communicate with dolphins, spend time as Alma and learn spearfishing. I want to let people travel with me and know that there is a life out there that can be totally different.

Océ is currently in Shanghai running her freediving club, but it is only a short period until she returns to her underwater adventures.

To know more, add Océ on WeChat: Oceanne-GQ


Tomas Pinheiro

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