Adrienne Shum


What is it that empowers you most?
What empowers me most is believing in myself; I try to have faith that I will have the awareness and strength to meet every situation with an open mind.

What is it that you love most about yourself?
I'm not sure if I can point out one bit that I love more than the rest. I really try to love it all, and to accept it all equally, even the stuff that stereotypically might be considered "ugly" or "bad." I think all the parts of us serve a purpose, and so it is all worth loving.

What makes you feel most beautiful?
When I've just taken a shower and I'm clean! On a physical level, I feel most beautiful when I'm well rested and have something to smile about. Most importantly, I feel beautiful when I feel clear in my mind and open in my heart.

Who is your biggest role model and why?
I don't really have one. I think it can become troublesome when we put other people on pedestals, because they are bound to fall. I think everyone is just trying to figure it out, and that is completely fine and human. There are people who demonstrate qualities that I admire, but I focus on embodying the quality, not the person. For instance, one of my friends who is in her 50s and has three daughters, a husband, two cats and a dog: I am so inspired by how she takes care of those around her and is willing to give her time and energy to support those she loves.

Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
When I was little, I really admired Athena, the Greek Goddess - I was inspired by her strength and fearlessness, which I felt I needed more of in myself.

Don’t let people tell you that you are too young

If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
It's tempting to live in fantasy, but I think I'd rather be myself.

What is your biggest life goal?
To cultivate a state of being that is pure awareness, free of judgement or analysis. And eat lots of good food.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I'm pretty pleased with myself when I am able to get out of bed every morning! I don't know if I can choose that...I'd like to think that my biggest accomplishment is the next thing I do.

What is your favourite quote?
"Maitri karuna muditopeksanam sukha duhkha punyapunya visayanam bhavanatas citta prasadanam" - which is line 1.33 from the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. It translates to, "By cultivating an attitude of friendship towards those who are happy, compassion towards those in distress, joy toward those who are virtuous, and equanimity toward those who are non-virtuous, lucidity arises in the mind." It clarifies for me that the yoga practice isn't just about the physical, but about relationships and life.

If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
Trust your intuition. Don't let people tell you that you are too young, too this or too that. Trust yourself.

What does feminism mean to you?
Equality for all.

Adrienne is a Yoga Instructor, Ayurvedic Lifestyle Counsellor, Kirtan Wallah in Winnipeg, Manitoba