If you’re after a complementary healthcare practitioner to help you achieve a more balanced lifestyle, look no further than Cristina Rodenbeck!
This Sassy Mama grew up in Brazil, studying advertising in Sao Paulo before moving with the love of her life to Hong Kong. Cristina fell in love with the city, but became aware of the stressful impact of the go-go-go lifestyle on so many; this inspired her extensive studies in holistic wellness therapies. Today, she supports and guides individuals on their journey towards better health and wellbeing. We discuss how Hong Kong mama’s can benefit from wellness coaching, the theories behind her practices, and how to prioritise family time as well as your own health when you’re a working, or just a busy mama.
What made you make the switch from your 11-year career in advertising to a Wellness Coach and Holistic Wellness Practitioner?
My father, a scientist, has always said that we should be well informed about our health and know more about our body than our doctors do. “Our body, our responsibility” is his motto. Since my early twenties, I enjoyed learning about and trying alternative medicines and therapies. I found this area fascinating.
I met my husband during my tenure in advertising. Together, we moved to Asia and here my passion for wellness coaching was ignited. In this beautiful yet hectic city, I witnessed so many people feeling unwell, unsettled, stressed out or desperately unhappy. I felt an overwhelming desire to support individuals and empower them to take control of their emotional and physical wellbeing with holistic wellness therapies. I studied extensively (and, as a lifelong learner, continue to do) so that I could gain relevant accreditations to support people on their wellness journey.
What is the meaning behind the name of your business, Manipura, and why did it resonate with you?
Manipura is very special to me. One of my therapies and passions is energy work through crystals, which entails tapping into the chakra system. Manipura is our third primary chakra. In English, it translates as “jewel city”: our centre of power. When our Manipura is activated, we feel empowered, energised and engaged. We are mindful and feel content in our job, home-life and our relationships. Our emotions are free from suppression and our self-esteem is high. This means when we have and manifest our personal power we feel a deeper sense of joy, fulfilment and balance in our lives because we are in command. My goal is to support and empower my clients to live the lives they want and deserve, hence my brand name, Manipura.
What brought you from Sao Jose dos Campos in Brazil where you grew up to Hong Kong?
Peter, my husband! After college he went on a backpacking trip to Asia, where he fell in love with the diverse and beautiful culture. He wanted to come back and so he did but this time not alone. We started in India in 1996/7 and moved to HK early 1998. I was born in Sao Jose dos Campos then moved to Sao Paulo to pursue my studies and career in advertising. It was in Sao Paulo that I met and fell in love with Peter!
In your opinion, what kind of lifestyle and characteristics could benefit a mama from wellness coaching?
Well, we all know that mamas generally tend to sacrifice their personal wellbeing for their partners and their children. They often neglect themselves until something serious arises which calls for immediate action. Wellness coaching can help mums discover and address their underlying challenges and, in this way, regain their balance and wellbeing.
Having a wellness coach means prioritising and loving yourself. How can you care for others if your own health and wellbeing is constantly compromised? The wellness coaching relationship supports mums with tailored tools and techniques to manage their physical, mental, emotional or spiritual health – so they live rewarding and fulfilling lives. If mama is not well and thriving, it impacts the whole family. I can’t stress enough how important it is that mamas do right by themselves. I also work with children. It’s so rewarding to see the positive changes in their emotional and physical wellbeing once they have the tools in place to deal with daily challenges.
Can you explain the theory behind the Bach remedies and crystal healing that you use in your practise?
Bach Flower Remedies are a 100% natural method of healing. They were developed in England in the 1920’s by Dr. Edward Bach to address emotional imbalances that impact health and wellbeing. The system is composed of 38 flower-based remedies that gently restore the balance between mind and body by casting out negative emotions, such as fear, worry, frustration, and indecision, and addressing other emotions which can interfere with the equilibrium of the being as a whole. Bach flowers are different from essential oils as they are energy-based and not oil-extraction based.
Crystal healing is a gentle, soothing therapy that employs crystals and gemstones as conduits for natural healing energy. Various stones or crystals are placed on your chakras points (main body energy centres), or around your body, to construct an “energy grid”. The stones together channel positive energy into the body to remove negative energy, balance the energy flow (Chi energy) and protect against physical imbalance. It works holistically to harmonise the mind, body, and your emotions.
What are some things you do on a regular basis or as part of your daily routine to support your own health and wellness?
I have a few routines and habits in place to support my health and wellness and also to be able to perform my best in my work:
- Start and complete my day with meditation, crystals and affirmations…there’s always a green smoothie or juice in the morning
- Practice yoga and exercise daily, and in nature as much as possible (there is an outdoor sports field very close to my home)
- Use mindfulness throughout the day – listening to my body on when to stop, recharge and take deep breathes to regain balance
- Use Bach Flowers when I feel unbalanced and challenged emotionally
- Have a balanced and nutritious diet; I get the supplements I need from IMI, where I practice
- Have daily connections with people that I care for and also care for me
- Have an internal ‘switch-off’ system in place so I am mindful and present with my daughter and husband in the evenings
- Use a salt lamp in my room with aromatherapy, soft music and a good book so my room is cosy and restful for a good night sleep
- Oh, one of my wellness secrets: I hug tightly, kiss and converse with my 14-year old Lab Sam before retiring to bed!
Can you tell us a bit about your family? How do you balance work and motherhood since having your daughter?
I have a beautiful 9-year old daughter, who brings me endless joy. I try my best to be with her at her most important personal moments, be it at school or home. I aim to be home when she arrives from school so we can catch up on her day and she feels my presence and participation in her life. I’m also a ‘party’ mum, so I love to organise play dates and fun events at home for her.
Three favourite healthy eating spots in HK?
I tend to eat at home as often as possible as I am very particular about maintaining a healthy diet, as well as food quality, cleaning and cooking procedures. We love trying out new recipes (I must have at least 50 cook books!) and I am very lucky to have an excellent and experimental cook at home. Having said that, my go-to favourite healthy eating restaurants are all vegetarian and include:
- Grassroots Pantry for a more fancy and hip choice in Sheung Wan
- Mana! Fast Slow Food for my wraps and green salads in Central
- Green Veggie is my go-to in Wan Chai. My TCM doctor works close by so while she’s preparing my tea (it takes around 45 minutes to boil the herbs), I relax and enjoy a healthy meal.
What are your go-to family-friendly activities in the 852?
Since Peter travels a lot we treasure our family time together as much as we can. We have created our personal home sanctuary where we enjoy home-cooked meals with friends, video nights and parties. Peter is also a huge fan of the great outdoors so we love taking my daughter and Sam for walks and bike rides to Cyberport, Repulse Bay Promenade, and Mount Butler. A combination of indoor and outdoor activities helps us to reconnect and recharge.
Top 6 tips for a balanced lifestyle in HK?
- Create a routine where you take care of yourself throughout the day
- Learn to replenish and recharge your personal energy so you don’t reach exhaustion point and use your reserve battery
- Learn and practice mindfulness and incorporate in your daily life choices so you live your life with awareness, presence and greater peace
- Reach out for help when you feel you are imbalanced and cannot manage alone any more
- Connect with nature as much as you can to replenish personal energy. This is a great city with unlimited outdoor activities so make use of them!
- Be pro-active! Happiness is your birthright. Life is too short so we must create the lives we want!
A huge thanks goes to Sakshi Verma of Sakshi Verma Photography for the beautiful photos of Cristina and her family.