With her edgy-yogi image and mission to model being in the moment, Bianca Cheah is taking mindfulness and positive psychology to the social media masses.
Bianca Cheah epitomises wellness, so much so that she’s become the poster girl for the wellness movement. But when you dig deeper beneath the surface layers, you start to understand that her appearance is simply a reflection of her well-rounded, holistic approach to health that started early on.
Unlike many of her social media counterparts, the healthy principles that Cheah lives by weren’t inspired by a life-changing event or spiritual revelation. For Cheah, health was always a way of life. “I’ve always been into my health and fitness,” she says. “My parents have always been active, so the fitness and wellness side to life has always been ingrained in me. My father is a master in tae kwon do and holds one of the highest dans in Australia, so fitness has been embedded into me since the early days.”
While these childhood lessons set the foundation, it’s Cheah’s choices throughout adulthood that have shaped her into the wellness enthusiast she is today. With the desire to share her knowledge about wellbeing and inspire other people to live a conscious life, Cheah founded and launched her own digital publication, Sporteluxe.com, in 2012. Since then, she’s been passionately promoting the role that nutrition, exercise, mindfulness and positivity play in living a happy, fulfilling life.
Spreading the health message
“I’ve always loved fashion blogs, so it was one day – after scouring the Internet for a fitness and wellness website fused with fashion – that I couldn’t find one. That’s where I saw the gap in the market. When I created Sporteluxe, I imagined crafting a stylish online destination for smart, engaging, authoritative and well-researched conversations around health and wellbeing.”
Cheah’s vision for the site was realised and the messages quickly resonated with her growing audience, resulting in unprecedented success. “We’ve successfully just opened an LA office and are experiencing unexpected organic growth,” she says. “I look forward to
opening a NY office in the middle of this year, and we are exploring our options in the UK.”
As someone who’s actively engaged in the wellness industry, Cheah has noticed a growing level of awareness around health and wellbeing, and in particular, people’s increasing desire to learn, evolve and grow. “The realisation that our health is our greatest wealth, coupled with people’s access to instant information via online channels [is driving the wellness movement],” she says. “I guess everyone is realising what’s at stake and that the wellness movement is not just a trend, it’s a lifestyle.”
The yogic way
Despite establishing a healthy relationship with her body early on, when Cheah – who has been modelling for more than 10 years – entered the modelling industry, she soon recognised the external pressures that are placed on appearance. “It goes with the
territory [of modelling],” she says. “I’m sure every woman can relate.” With the passing of time, Cheah admits that she gets more comfortable in her own skin. “As I get older, those expectations fade because my priorities shift. As I’ve become older, I’ve become not only wiser, but happier with myself.”
“Yoga taught me to look inwards, as loving myself from the inside out taught me self love and body love.”
This healthy attitude continued to flourish when Cheah started practising yoga. While she first took to the mat as a means to overcome a challenging time in her life, it was the realisations that she made during her practice that kept her coming back for more. “I only
started practising yoga a couple of years ago,” she says. “I actually went through a very emotional, hard time in my life and that’s when I turned to yoga. It was my friend who begged me to come along to one of her classes, explaining to me that I would feel so much better after it. And guess what? Ever since that day, I was addicted to the feeling I got after class. Yoga changed my outlook on life and how I approach situations. It made me see the good in everything. And I’m so glad that period of my life happened because I wouldn’t be where I am now.”
As she extended her time on the mat and delved further into the yogic way of life, Cheah discovered how to overcome what was happening on the outside and focus on the Self. “I used to worry about what I looked like and how other people perceived me,” she says. “Being perfect was something that I guess I – and we all – want to be. But yoga taught me to look inwards, as loving myself from the inside out taught me self love and body love. Yoga is a lifestyle; it’s not just poses, but a way of being, living and thinking.”
And while daily practice was once a way of life, Cheah maintains that taking to the mat every few days helps her stay grounded and balanced. “I used to practise five times per week, sometimes twice a day,” she says.
“As I get older, those expectations fade because my priorities shift. As I’ve become older, I’ve become not only wiser, but happier with myself.”
“But now, with how busy I am, I’m managing three times per week with mini-meditation sessions in the shower every morning. You’ll often find me sitting at my desk in a pigeon pose [laughs].”
A balanced approach to eating
Along with a commitment to moving her body, Cheah recognises the importance of nourishing her body with wholesome foods, which is another lesson she learnt in her younger years. “I remember not really being allowed to drink soft drinks or eat fried foods,” she says. “Mum was super strict and always brought us up eating fresh fruit, vegetables and lots of fresh fruit juices. Mum’s famous words when I wanted a snack were always: ‘Eat a piece of fruit instead.’ Now, I’m thankful because it’s the only way I know how to eat.”
While maintaining a healthy and enjoyable relationship with food is the ultimate goal, Cheah says it’s all about moderation. “I’m all about balance, so I’ll never deprive myself of anything if I feel like it,” she says. “I always aim to eat fresh, clean and lean foods.” And despite maintaining a gruelling work schedule, Cheah says it’s possible to stay balanced as long as you maintain awareness. “I’m just like everyone else and it’s constantly a challenge for me,” she says. “I make sure I am aware of what I’m eating and always make sure I get more than enough sleep when crossing time zones. Without sleep, I can’t work or think properly. So plenty of sleep, fresh and clean foods and hydration [is key].”