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Exploring - the Authentic Tea podcast with Deniah

Join me to hear how Deniah discovered Lu Jong yoga and how yoga has become part of her commitment to her health and wellbeing.

Deniah has adopted an approach to continually learning and exploring ways to improve her health and the health of her clients.

We talk about the five elements of Lu Jong and how practising can bring us closer to nature and improve our physical and emotional wellbeing.

Deniah also shares how she combines Eastern and Western approaches to holistic health as a yoga teacher, medical acupuncturist and clinician.

Episode 16 of the Authentic Tea podcast features Deniah:

Rach (00:01):

I am grateful to be sharing this space today with Deniah. Deniah is passionate about combining Eastern and Western medical knowledge and practices to achieve good health, happiness and wellbeing. Deniah is the founder of Lu Jong Living and teaches other teachers this ancient Buddhist practice. Deniah is currently offering virtual workshops and classes to share with her community and adding aspects of living yoga to her clinical practice. Welcome Deniah.

Deniah (00:29):

Thank you, Rachel. Really lovely to be chatting to you today.

Rach (00:34):

Thank you so much for being here. It's wonderful to connect with you. Many of our listeners may not really heard much about Lu Jong yoga. So maybe you could describe a little bit about what the critical elements of Lu Jong are and how you came to discover that this was something that you wanted to follow.

Deniah (00:54):

Yes, Lu Jong, not many. I had not heard of it when I first found out about the five elements practice of Lu Jong. So Lu Jong is a Tibetan word or two Tibetan words, and it literally translates as body transformation. So it comes from Tibetan Buddhism and the tantra Yana tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and bon, which is the shamanic practice that was prevalent in Tibet, before Buddhism came to Tibet. I, I came across Lu Jong a friend introduced me to Lu Jong. So she knew that I wanted to become a yoga teacher and I was looking for a yoga to train in. And she went to a class in Barcelona. So she's Buddhist. she's actually, she's a GP as well. And, she, she's Buddhist. And so that's what drew her to the class. And so she went, and when she came back to London after her Christmas break, and she said, I found the perfect yoga for you to teach. And she showed me a few of the movements. and I said, yes, you know, I like this. And then she gave me some information and I went off to find a teacher training course. So yeah, that's how I came to find it.

Rach (02:15):

And had you been practicing yoga before that?

Deniah (02:17):

Yes. So I was practicing Bikram yoga and Ashtanga yoga. In fact, the first time I practiced yoga or I was ever introduced to yoga was when I was six years old. And this was when I was in South Africa. I used to go to Hindi school, you know, after normal school. And a lady came in for a six month period. She taught us yoga and I did very little yoga throughout my teen years. And then also my early twenties, I did very little yoga. And then when I came to the UK, I started to, you know, if I was working in a particular place, I would look yoga classes and it was quite sporadic, but since 2000, and I would say 2005, 2006, I've been doing more regular yoga practice.

Rach (03:11):

And how has your yoga teacher training changed the way that you view yoga, particularly because you've followed the Lu Jong approach. How has that sort of changed your own approach to your physical and emotional wellbeing?

Deniah (03:26):

I think it just, just increased my commitment, you know, to my own practice. And also because, you know, I want, because I want other people to, to practice then I know that I have to, I have to practice what I preach. So, you know so I, I make a concerted effort. In fact, I do some practice every day and the five elements movements it makes it really easy to do that, you know, so I'm so much more committed at it, you know, it has, I wake up every morning cause I, I started to teach a 7:00 AM class. And so, you know, I need to show up for my students, you know? And so it has, I think it has given me more discipline and, you know, just sharing. I'm sharing so much more with people because I know it is a benefit to them as well as to me.

Rach (04:24):

That's beautiful. That's really nice. Isn't it to get to the point where you can share your own experience and your own love of something that you have taken into your daily life. And now you are starting to offer yoga teacher training as well. So when did you start to feel like it was something you wanted to train other teachers?

Deniah (04:44):

So I think it was, well, I was, I was invited to, to become a teacher trainer because they weren't. They aren't any, at that time, there were no other Lu Jong teachers in the UK. Lu Jong, there were lots of teachers in in Europe and that's because so Tulku Lopsang, he is the Tibetan Buddhist master who actually put the practice together. So, and he based it on teachings that he had received throughout his monastic education. And when he met people in India and, you know, in the early two thousands, and he realized that what he had learned could be a benefit to people. So he then put to the Lu Jong practice together, adapted it for the West so that it was not too difficult, but still a benefit to people. And he created the teaching system and then he moved to Europe. So he was he's based in Vienna. And so you'll find that there are lots of Lu Jong teachers in, in Germany, in Spain and Portugal. So in around Europe, there are lots of teachers, but when I started, there was just one other teacher in Edinburgh. And so, you know, I had to think like, okay, where do I go to train you know? And and I actually, so I found a teacher in from the US and she did her teacher training in Mexico.

Deniah (06:19):

And so I just thought like, Oh my, you know, and it was this very beautiful place in Mexico. And I thought, well, you know, I don't know anything about this yoga, but I think I'm just going to go. And, you know, I didn't do like loads of research. I thought I liked what I saw and I just, I'm just going to go. And it was just going to be like at worst, a great holiday. And yeah, but it was a really great experience, you know? So being there and learning everything about Lu Jong, and I thought, yes, you know, I want to pass this on to people. And when I was given permission to teach and that's just, you know, how it works is you ask for permission to teach and, you know, then, then I was given permission to teach and to train teachers. And because I thought I wanted to make it available more available to people in the UK. And so being a teacher, a trainer training teachers allows me to do that.

Rach (07:22):

Thank you for sharing that. It's amazing because I'm learning so much about the Lu Jong approach, listening to you and being able to see what you've, you're sharing on your website. I can really understand the heritage of it. And it's amazing that it's got so much history and you can tell us you're talking about it, that that's been such an important part of your learning. So you mentioned the five elements, the movements practice. Could you just explain a little bit about that? What does it involve and how do people incorporate that into their yoga practice?

Deniah (07:55):

So the five Elements movements is a sequence of so it's, it's five movements and each one is linked to one of the five elements of nature. So space, earth, wind fire, and water. And when you do the practice, you always do it in that sequence. And it I suppose it, it brings our awareness to the nature that's around us. Okay. And then it uses the elements as a metaphor to help us to understand our bodies and our mind and how we work. You know, how our system works. So for instance, you know, the space around us, but we also have spaces, in our, bodies. And if you think about, if you think about like a perfect summer's day, okay, so the sky is clear, you have beautiful sunshine. There's a slight breeze. You know, the earth is not too dry, it's not too moist.

Deniah (08:59):

And, you know, so it's just like thinking of like beautiful grass and, and, you know, there isn't, it's there's just enough humidity in the air. And so the feeling that you get on a perfect summer's day now in our bodies, you know, and our physical bodies and our mental state, it's all linked to the elements. We kind of connected to the elements. So, you know, about is if we have our muscles and bones, our breath, our enzymes and hormones, and and our our blood, you know, our lymph, our saliva, if everything is in balance in our bodies, then we are in balance. You know, so that's when we feel healthy, we feel happy. We feel joyful. And then also our mind. So each of the elements is linked to a negative emotion. So for instance, the fire element is linked to anger.

Deniah (09:57):

So with the Lu Jong practice, the kind of the, the the negative emotions or the mental state of people is interwoven into the practice. So it provides little hooks so that you can remember it, you know, so they'll get like five negative emotions that often plague us, and they can really ruin our peace of mind and our relationships, if we are being miserly, if our ego is out of balance, if we are feeling jealous, if we are feeling angry, or if we have too much of attachment to anything, you know, we are too too obsessed with things. You know. And whether that's addictions or whether that's, you know, certain goals that we have, then it becomes a source of unhappiness. And so it's about identifying those negative emotions and then using mindfulness, you know, being aware of it and then transforming that emotion, you know, so when you're feeling angry, what we need to do is practice patience, and what we will find becomes available to us is compassion.

Deniah (11:10):

You know. So, and, and it, it, it goes along with the whole, you know, when you are angry, count to 10, it's just saying, take a moment to step back and don't overreact, you know, so respond rather than react. And in that way it will be less destructive. You know. So I think that going into Lu Jong, it was just the physical practice of the five elements, because it was, you know, it's very good for the spine. It allows for you lengthen your spine, it allows for rotation. And so you know, you, you don't ever, you don't have a feel like you need a massage know, sometimes your muscles are so tired. So with Lu Jong you're strengthening the body, you you're becoming flexible and you're doing it in a gentle way.

Deniah (12:04):

And then there's the breathing as well. And so what the breathing does, the breathing method that is attached to Lu Jong is it actually helps us to slow down our breathing and, you know, taking deep breaths in. And I don't think you came across the book breath by James Nestor.

Deniah (12:28):

So he talks a lot, you know, about alternate nostril breathing and about breathe and, you know free divers and how, you know, they hope they keep the breath in the body for like long periods of time. And he mentions Tumo in there as well, which is a very advanced Tibetan Tantra Yana, Buddhist practice. Well, Lu Jong is like the, the, the very small brother of Tumo with, with Lou Jong, you start out just training your body in a very gentle way so that when you want to do these advanced practices, then you won't injure yourself. And so I think for like us everyday people, you know, we re I mean, you know, I don't want to have, you know, massive amounts of insights and things. And I think especially like seeing patients, you know, as they get older and not being able to do things, you know, when you, when you're 90, you just want to be able to lean forward and put your socks and shoes on, you know, so you want to maintain your physical independence for as long as possible, and you want to live your life free of pain, free of discomfort, you know, and, and that, I think is what Lu Jong makes available to people.

Deniah (13:50):

You know, it's that sort of thing, because it's simple. Well, the five elements I think makes available to people and you can do it in 10 minutes and you don't need a yoga mat. You don't need special clothes, you can do it outdoors, you know, and that connection with nature, and actually being able to do a yoga practice outdoors and have it ready at hand. So that is, I think what inspired me about the five elements movements. And one more thing was the fact that I can actually teach it to somebody and they can do it as a self-practice, You Know? So, so often you meet people who say, well, you know, I was doing a really good yoga class and then the teacher moved away or I moved house and then so, and then, you know, People stop. I mean, I stopped doing Bikram yoga Because I moved house and it was no longer practical for me to drive 20 minutes to go for a yoga class, you know, so I stopped doing it, you know, so, yeah. So that's it. I think, I think in a very long way, that is the five elements and that's what inspired me about it.

Rach (15:13):

Thank you. Thank you for explaining all of that. And I love the way that it's linked in with that self-care and that ability to take on a practice, which is quite simple in its elements and the way you've described it, but people can actually incorporate it into their daily life to be able to continue it. Like you say to you are 90 and that it can improve your wellbeing, both your physical and emotional wellbeing. With the self-care and the self-healing is that something that you've been able to use the Lu Jong with? Have you, have you actually been able to share it with some of your clinical practice or with your patients? I'd love to know how you've sort of crossed across from those two worlds.

Deniah (16:02):

I've I shared Lu Jong with my colleagues at work, you know, so especially like the breathing exercise, you know, so we do a breathing exercise called exhaling, the waste wind, and you know, so when you're feeling like an anger and frustration, or, you know, you're just having a difficult day, you know, just doing that practice can really take the edge off and, you know, makes you feel better. And I think with the teaching patients, it's been mainly my acupuncture patients that I've, I've taught Lu Jong to. So, you know because people come for a treatment let's say for back pain or for neck pain and they we've done as much as we can, you know, they've come to the end of their treatment course. And then it's about how to maintain the, you know, the, the, the effects. And so then, you know, I can then just say, teach them, okay, this do this movement.

Deniah (17:00):

You know. Or sometimes, or what I have done is taught one movement a week when they come in for the acupuncture practice so that they are learning it gradually, and then they can carry on doing the practice even after their treatment has, has ended. So it gives them that it empowers people. I think, I think that's what I like about it is that, you know, it's, it's something people can learn in a one hour or two hour workshop or session, and then, you know, give them a handout to take away with them, to remind them, and then they can go away and just, you know, do it wherever they are in the world. And then that reduces attachment, you know, it kind of reduces your attachment of people's attachment to their teacher, you know, and it also reduces the teacher's attachment to the the student. Yeah. And so people can be free. Yeah.

Rach (17:58):

I think that's so important. Isn't it? That empowerment of being able to actually change ourselves and to incorporate things into our own self-care and our own self-compassion. And it's interesting, you were saying about simple practices. So for me, when I looked back through my yoga journey, one of the things that has stuck with me is that I was involved in a program that was teaching mindfulness techniques to nurses in a big tertiary teaching hospital. And it was just a simple square breath that they were teaching, and then they were evaluating it. But as part of that program, I started to adopt that breathing pattern. And even before I really realized that I was also exploring yoga and then my own journey with yoga began. But I think at that point, I started to realize how important the breath was and how we can use very simple breath techniques and breath work to give ourselves that moment in the day and, and give us that space.

Rach (19:01):

And like you say, people can do them on their own and they don't need to be guided once they've had some instruction, whether that's reading a book or being there with a teacher, it's an amazing way to become more mindful and more present and more present with the breath. And just that moment in time. And I know now so much of mindfulness that is in a sort of modern approach comes from the traditional Buddhism and Buddhist practices. How do you like to use your sort of approach to mindfulness, whether that's Lu Jong or broader than that, to make your own choices for your own health and the way you've decided to choose steps in your life?

Deniah (19:42):

It's, it's interesting because when I went for the the teacher training I was, I was living in an upstairs flat and I had I was, I was working in you know doing 10 minute appointments with patients and really feeling the dissatisfaction, both from the patients as well as myself, because I think in 10 minutes you can treat a problem, but you can't really treat a patient with a problem. So it was, it was just not working. And I think that having that space to reflect on how I wanted to live my life, you know, what I wanted. So that's made a big difference. I, I moved into I moved house. I moved into another flat where I had a garden so that I could do my Lu Jong practice outside. And so I just brought a lot more nature into my world and made a lot more of an effort go to the park, you know, experience the kind of ease that we have when we are near water for instance.

Deniah (20:57):

And then, and I think personally in my relationships as well, I think Lu Jong has really helped because I've, I've reduced my attachment to certain things at, you know, in the past I was in a relationship and, you know, my, my partner didn't want to have children and I thought, okay, well, that's something that I need to do. And, you know, and, and then I started to think a little bit more about the attachment of that is involved, you know, with with being a parent, with having children. And is that something I really wanted for my life? You know, and sometimes we develop these attachments because they are kind of cultural norms, you know, and we don't really question them. So it kind of gave me an opportunity to take a step back, you know, and to really think about things. And then, you know, also in everyday kind of relationship stuff, and, you know, you kind of have an argument or you have a, you know, and, and I think, yes, you know, arguments are not there's a bit of fire.

Deniah (22:04):

There it's about passion, you know? And so, you know, having that, and I thought, Oh, my parents used to do this kind of like a little bit of bickering. And I thought, Oh, okay. You know, it's not a bad thing. It's just like, you know, bringing that a little bit of edge and passion into the relationship, you know? And, and then of course, if you have more like real arguments or real kind of I suppose discussions, and then you think, okay, I need to give this some space. You know, I need to have patience here. I need to reflect on this. You know, is it my ego? What is it that I want? What is the dissatisfaction for me? What could be the dissatisfaction for my partner? So, you know, I, I think, I don't feel like I need a psychologist anymore, and I don't feel like I need counseling because I think just applying the wisdom of the five elements, you know, has really helped me to reflect on problems and dissatisfactions and, you know, anything that I'm not happy with. Yeah. And, and then find a better way of looking at it. And it just, it goes even beyond like just the basic practice, because I think that what Lu Jong does is it helps you to, I mean, Buddhism is vast, you know, the knowledge and the wisdom in Buddhism is, you know, you can spend like decades learning it.

Deniah (23:36):

But what Lu Jong, what the five elements movements and the physical. So the physical, the energetic, and the mental aspects of it really simplify things. So it creates a nice strong foundation. And from there, you know, it's amazing how possible it is to understand more complex Buddhist ideas, because it also talks about like what's outside you, what's inside you. And then what is secret? You know, so secret is like your intuition outside is what's outside, inner is, you know, your mind and your body. You know what I mean? Secret is intuition. So I never thought of my subtle body. And that's the other way that Lu Jong and the five elements movements has changed my understanding or my view of looking at the body. You know, cause as, as as doctors, as healthcare professionals, we look at the physical body and we look at the mental health, you know, side of things, but we don't really look at intuition and we all know that we have that feeling of something not being right.

Deniah (24:53):

We don't trust it because we've never been taught to trust it. You know? So so knowing that we have this energy body, that there's, there's the subtle body. And when we are feeling a little bit tired, a little bit unhappy, a little bit less joyful, then it's we need to address it. We shouldn't just ignore it, you know, because our subtle body is our energy body. And that is where disease, illness and unhappiness first start. And now there's no proof. I can't, there's no evidence for this, you know, like putting my medical hat on, you know, this is not evidence-based stuff, but then we've been just sort of dipping into the realm of quantum physics, you know, then we are, then that recognizes energy, you know, energy between people, energy between beings, I think. Yeah. Okay. You know this, this makes sense to me.

Deniah (25:53):

And then if I can do a simple practice because you know what Lu Jong does, what the five elements movements do is with the practice we are we are putting pressure on certain parts of the body removing pressure, and then that allows energy to flow. And then you release the blocks with Lu Jong or with Tibetan Tantra Yana practices. We are accessing the mind through movement of the body because ultimately what we want is to achieve a enlightenment. You know, I think all beings are on a journey towards being happier and healthier and you know, more aware sometimes we don't even realize it, but, you know, be kind of on a journey then it kind of makes sense. Okay. That's what's happening. I see.

Rach (26:50):

Yeah. We're always, we're all on a journey. Aren't we? And I think when you are able to realize that that it's continuous, then actually it gives you the ability to take away the expectation. Like you say, you remove an attachment to a goal in a way, because there isn't a goal. The actual essence of it is just to keep moving forward and to be comfortable with what's going on around you and within you. You brought up a really fascinating point there about evidence, which I find is so interesting because obviously from my public health world, my whole world is driven by evidence and during my own yoga journey. And then through my yoga teacher training, it really gave me the opportunity to open my eyes to other things and interventions, practices, whatever we want to call them that aren't like you say, evidence-based but allow you to question.

Rach (27:51):

So what does, how to, how can this work, should it work? Why do people believe this and how long some of these approaches have been part of people's lives for, or when you look at the philosophies behind so many of these different yoga limbs and all of the different types of yoga that there are out there, you realize these are ancient practices that people found ways to describe what was going on in people's bodies, without what we now do in this very strict hierarchy of evidence and intervention. Have you come across in your own experience of any challenges, either within yourself of combining those approaches, like what we would say, the traditional Eastern approach and the Western approach to medicine, particularly, but also to those other lifestyle practices. Have you found any particular challenges in your work life or maybe in your home life or interactions with friends, families, colleagues?

Deniah (28:54):

Great question. So yes, yes. And, you know so with it's about trying to keep them separately where they supposed to be kept separate, you know, and then there is that gray area where they do overlap. Okay. So I think that, you know the, the ethos of, of medicine, you know, Western medicine is first do no harm, you know? And so I think that and of course we are, we are guided by certain rules in, in Western medicine as to what you are allowed to to recommend and what you're not. So it's really, it's great to have, you know, those guidelines and things, because I think it does it's about maintaining standards. It's about protecting people, but it's also about protecting healthcare professionals. So I think that I'm, I have to be quite mindful, you know, that when I am recommending yoga, you know, that it is something that, you know, in the UK, we have the NICE guidelines.

Deniah (29:59):

And if in the nice guidelines yoga is recommended, then I can say, yes, it's good to do some yoga and pilates because those are officially recognized and recommended, but then I need to be mindful not to recommend specifically Lu Jong, because there's a conflict of interest there. And then sometimes I do say to patients, okay, you know, I, I teach yoga. And so that kind of reinforces the message in a way, because I'm not just telling people to do something I'm saying I practice what I'm preaching as well. So there's that. Okay. And then when it comes to the evidence-base, now I know there's a lot more evidence these days, you know, for yoga. But I can't I'm not an evidence buff, you know, I, I don't, I don't, you know, go through Pubmed and look at all the evidence and all of that.

Deniah (30:56):

They are some people who do, and I think, wow, that's amazing. You know, I'm, I'm, I'm not yet their statistics was never my strong suit, you know, but that comes in with acupuncture as well. You know, so there's the evidence-based for acupuncture, especially with medical acupuncture, because and what I really, what I really liked is finding medical acupuncture, because that is speaking the language of Western medicine. So explaining why it is that acupuncture works from a Western medical perspective. And, and then I also have to be so Lu Jong there's a lot of Tibetan medical sort of terminology or knowledge that is intertwined into, you know, some of the messages. And so I do say to people it's a completely different system of medicine, and I don't bring that into the practice, you know, because I think that I'm quite happy with the Western medical approach.

Deniah (31:55):

And what I go to for Lu Jong is the mindfulness, the yoga and the breathing. And then it's interesting, you mentioned the square breath earlier on, you know, because that is something that I teach to patients in the urgent care center. You know, we have a lot of people who come in with stress and anxiety and, you know, and just drawing a square because I understand the principles of taking a breath, keeping the breath in, you know, it stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system, and this is what these ancient practices were doing. You know, there's like lots of different yogas. They all come from the same roots, you know, it's just that they've moved branched off in different areas. And, you know, some focus more on some things and some focus more on others. But,uI think it's, you know, it's quite interesting bringing the two together, but I think yes, being mindful and knowing when and how to keep it separate, you know, is, is a constant thing

Rach (33:03):

It's fascinating, isn't it? I think it's, it's also wonderful though, to hear other people who have both of those sides to their life and to their work life too, because it doesn't like you say it doesn't have to be just one or the other and we can explore different avenues and find ways to cross over and to bridge them, which is why it can be so enriching in a way. Or I think that for me, it's so enriching to open your eyes to other approaches actually, rather than being so stuck in one approach. And that, that also feeds into what you were saying about the societal perspectives and what we think we should be doing because of what society has kind of told us without stepping back and questioning, or being conscious about the decisions we're making and the actions we're taking. So I think it's, it's definitely been for me, it's been a huge opening of my eyes, really, to a different world out there and to listen to people's points of view. And I think that's such a lovely thing about yoga teacher training is that people come from different backgrounds and you get that sort of richness don't you, that you might not find it in different places. You mentioned about the acupuncture, I'm just intrigued as to how you started to explore acupuncture and the, and the medical acupuncture. And what were your decisions in terms of starting to be able to train, to deliver that as well for your patients?

Deniah (34:31):

Yeah, the acupuncture was interesting because you know, I never came across acupuncture during my undergraduate training in South Africa or in my GP training in the UK, or, you know, any of the hospital jobs that I did in the UK. And and a friend of mine I know the one day he said, Oh, I'm going to go for acupuncture. I was like, why do you want to do that? You know, so what is that, why do you want to do that? And he said, well, I've got back pain and this was so the in 2004, and I thought, okay, well, I'll go and give it a try, you know, and see what it's all about. And I didn't have any symptoms or anything. And so I went to one session and, you know, there was no need to go back and I thought, Oh, okay, that's fine.

Deniah (35:15):

And then fast forward a few years, and I was doing my GP training and it was like very intense year. Where you're doing, you're working full time and you studying for you know, practical, theory, exams, and practical exams. And, you know, and I was working, it was quite a stressful kind of environment. And and then I was just, yeah, I was stressed. You know, it was the stress was palpable. Then there was, I went to my GP the one day because, you know, I took a day off work and, you know, my trainer said, you need to go to your GP and, you know, so I listened and I went and he said, yeah, yeah. You know that, that's, that's terrible. I'm really sorry for your situation. And, you know, he was lovely. He emphasized, you know, but the usual things that I was doing to cope with stress that I knew of, you know, like getting enough, sleep, eating healthy that wasn't working.

Deniah (36:15):

And so, you know, my partner at the time gave me a voucher to go for acupuncture, you know, and he said, go for acupuncture. And I didn't think about it. I didn't consider, I just went to the local high street, a traditional Chinese acupuncturist. I didn't think about who the doctor was. I didn't think about their credentials. I didn't think about the expertise. I didn't think about anything. I just, I, I just listened. And I went, you know, and I was amazed that when I came out of that session, I just felt so much better. And I, it made the world of difference. I slept really well. And I just, I was in a different space compared to when I first went in and I did a few more sessions which helped me through that stress of the exams. And after I got my GP qualification, I thought, okay, you know, so acupuncture is something I want to make available to other people.

Deniah (37:15):

And I knew nothing about it. So you do what you usually do is you go to Google. And I came across some training programs that were like five, six years long and teaching, you know, the Chinese system of medicine and that didn't appeal to me. And then I found the Western, the British Medical Acupuncture Society. And I saw that they were doing a four day course, you know, and that was only, and that was, you know, it was not a super expensive. And so I thought, okay, you know, I can do this. And it was in London. And I remember feeling a little bit anxious going to the course because you do self-needling and people needle you. And but no, it was, it was an amazing course. And it really taught me more musculoskeletal medicine. You know, I really improved my knowledge of musculoskeletal medicine and the nervous system and how pain works.

Deniah (38:12):

And I think that it definitely has a place in health care, you know, because I think that there is a gap, you know, I mean, Western medicine I think is fabulous for what it is for what it makes available to people. You know, there's a lot less suffering in the world as a result of our medicine as a result of Western medicine, but there is a gap. And especially when it comes to mild disorders, you know, where things haven't fully developed to the point where they need treatment, you know, where they need drugs, that's where we can explore using, you know, Eastern approaches and and so acupuncture, you know, is perfect. So it's like that in between stage between stress, but you're not quite depressed yet, or you're not quite so anxious. And so you can help with that. And then also for pain, you know, so I've had like situations where I've had a little bit of shoulder impingement, you know, or a little back ache, and it's just not going away and it's there and it shouldn't be there, but it's not quite so bad that I need to go and see my doctor, but it's distracting.

Deniah (39:26):

And I was amazed that I could get rid of the pain, you know, without needing any painkillers, you know, so without needing medication. So, so yeah, so in that way, I think the acupuncture it's of course it's never pleasant to have needles stuck into you, you know, so I would say, for prevention, you know, doing things like exercise, do yoga, breathing exercises and eat healthy, sleep well do all of that lifestyle stuff, you know, but when you start to get disorders, you know, and your GP can't help, then I would say, yeah, you know, consider Eastern approaches, but acupuncture is not without its cautions, you know, so if you, if you do go to somebody who, you know, you, you, they are red flags and they are things side effects that people need to be aware of, you know? So, yeah. So it's good to go with be trained by a reputable body.

Rach (40:34):

Thank you for sharing that. It's really great to see how you were mindful around the way that you wanted to approach your learning, but also at the same time. And I think this happens so many times when we embark on learning something is that you actually tend to learn so much more than you started off thinking that you might do. And you've clearly continually invested in learning so many different aspects of medicine, both within the Western medicine and, you know, branching out into that Eastern side and thinking about these different aspects. And I know you're now starting to do some training for face yoga and learning more about tantra as well. Can you share a little bit about why you think it's important for you to adopt that continual learning and exploring and how you have identified that investing in yourself is an important thing to do?

Deniah (41:31):

Oh, yes. Good question. So I think it's kind of, it's, I've always liked learning. You know. And just exploring different things. And sometimes, you know, and I can't say, well, I've always just when I've done it. You know. It's been fulfilling, you know, so it's been so taking chances, you know, moving across the world to, you know to work in the UK and then staying here and then just taking opportunities, you know, that, that present themselves and, and just asking, being open-minded and asking, what is that question? You know, what is that all about? You know, so for instance, with Lu Jong, you know, I started off with Lu Jong and then there are other practices that you can do. And one of them is called Tog Chod, which is a, a Tibetan sword practice. And what that did was so Lu Jong is more, is considered more of a feminine practice. And then Tog Chod is the masculinity. You know, so Lu Jong is quite it's gentle, it's more Yin. And then Tog Chod is a lot more dynamic.

Deniah (42:52):

And that kind of really reinforced the idea of our masculine and feminine science. You know, so often we see each other as men and women, you know, and we all have masculine and feminine traits, you know, which is, and that almost removes that glass ceiling kind of mentality, you know, because it suddenly gives you permission as a woman to be both, you know, to be strong, to be focused, to be stable, to be, you know, to be out there. But then at the same time to still be a woman, you know, to, to be, you know, going with the flow and, you know changing and doing all sorts of, you know, exploring creative sides and things, but then also allowing men to do the same, you know, allowing men to be strong. Okay. And to appreciate the strength that, you know, naturally comes to them and then, but also allowing them to be emotional, you know?

Deniah (43:59):

And it's just that. So it's finding that, you know, so that balance, and I think that, you know, the more I, I learn if I, and so I'm always reading and just exploring different different teachers, you know, so even within, so within yoga and then, you know, within medicine as well, you know, so keeping that learning process going all the time, I think it's enriching. And then I'm also able then to share it with my community and I can see the difference that it makes to them. You know. And so and, and I've been, you know, I've been quite humbled by, you know, how, how much of a difference, just little things have made, you know, like just sending good morning messages or, you know having that 10 minute chat before classes, you know, and it's so, so I think, yeah, that I think inspires me to continue learning.

Rach (45:05):

And we're very grateful that you are sharing all of these wonderful, wonderful offerings with the world, because as we are talking, we're in the middle of the pandemic, and I think this is a time where people are looking for something to find sense and find meaning, and find their way through what is a bumpy path. And we are all looking for something so that the more of us that can offer different things and to be there, like you say, show up and offer and connect, I think is just enriches all of our lives. So where can people find out more about you and what you're offering at the moment?

Deniah (45:46):

So I suppose the best place to go to is my website. It's www dot Lu Jong. It's L U J O N And so there you'll find information about the Lu Jong. And then I also have a website more for my medical side. So that's Dr. Deniahpachai.Com So www dot Dr. Deniah And yeah, so you'll find a little bit of information there as well.

Rach (46:18):

Thank you. And we'll put the links underneath the podcast. So people can reach out and have a look and connect with you, and thank you so much for sharing your story. Because part of the reason I wanted to do this podcast is to share stories from other women who have found their own way through made their own path through their medical life and career. And it's been wonderful to hear how you've combined both of your passions and continually being open to new ideas and new passions. The final question, final question. The final question is this podcast is called Authentic Tea. So where, and with, who would you like to have your most authentic cup of tea?

Deniah (47:00):

So I think that that would be Nelson Mandela, and I think it is, you know, he was an amazing man and, you know, to be able to come out of what he had experienced or what people, you know, his people had experienced and, you know yes, to a certain extent as we were all in it, but, you know, I think it was just, I think racism and, you know, just inequality is, is I think awful and but for him to have come out of it with love, you know? And my life would have been completely different and the impact on my life, on the life of my family and my friends, you know, all the people that I knew and grew up with and the country that I knew growing up the impact would have been completely different if he had taken a different approach. You know. So I would say, you know, where did he learn this, this love and how did he learn it? And where did it come from? And, you know, some of it, he shares some insights in his book Long Walk to Freedom, which is, which is amazing, which is interesting. But yeah, I think that would be, you know, the person I would most want to share a cup of tea with.

Rach (48:33):

Thank you. Thank you. That is a really beautiful and moving way to end this wonderful conversation with you. I could keep talking to you for a long time, but I just want to say thank you for sharing this time and your space and your thoughts with us.

Deniah (48:51):

I want you to say thank you to you, Rachel, for providing this opportunity for creating this podcast and for, you know your, just your calm and natural way of being I think, and talking and you know, and your patience.

Rach (49:15):

I think everyone will have loved it. It's just wonderful to hear. So thanks very much

Deniah (49:20):

Only a pleasure, only a pleasure.

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