Between hosting events for women of colour, designing websites and running a meditation business, Anita Cheung packs a lot into a day
When Anita Cheung was a teenager growing up on Vancouver’s east side, she suffered from anorexia. As a result, much of what she’s done in her adult life has involved the pursuit of wellness for herself and others. In what Cheung calls a “weird and winding path,” a BSc specializing in international nutrition from UBC (“I thought I was going to save the world”) gave way to a career helping people on a more personal level.
6:00 a.m. Every weekday morning, Cheung guides her clients through three 15-minute meditation sessions that run an hour apart, starting at 6. Luckily for everyone involved, these don’t take place in a physical location. Cheung delivers her service, called In Bed With Betty, through an Instagram page; participants pay a US$9 monthly fee for unlimited access. It wasn’t always like this. A few years ago, Cheung was running a meditation pop-up shop at various spots in Vancouver when a couple of investors became interested. That was the birth of Moment Meditation, but though the three had a fair amount of success attracting people (mostly young women) to the trend of guided meditation, Cheung eventually decided that the company was going in a direction she didn’t love. She left this past June. “It’s like being in a relationship with anybody, right?” she says at a Gastown coffee shop, a stone’s throw from Moment’s old headquarters. One of her former partners “wanted to take it more into the corporate world,” Cheung explains. “It’s just not what I wanted. I realized I don’t want a studio, I don’t want corporate.”
10:00 a.m. Once she’s done with her 180 or so Betty subscribers, Cheung works with other clients in person. Through her time spent in yoga studios around the city and her earlier meditation efforts, she has a bevy of regular patrons. “It’s both yoga and meditation,” she says. “I’m a trained yoga therapist, so I do have a couple clients I keep on, because they’re just great.”
Lunch Cheung blends the line between personal and business to the point where she treats having lunch with friends (two of her go-to spots: DD Mau and Pokérrito) like a meeting. That way, she knows she won’t flake. There’s also the reality that the two often go hand-in-hand: “I’m a big believer that people should be paid. So if I rent a friend’s space, I will pay her. This sounds very yoga teacher–ish, but money is the currency of energy. You took the time to decorate this space, so I’m going to pay you for it.”
3:00 p.m. With no formal training as a designer or website developer, Cheung taught herself CSS and HTML as well as Adobe programs and now does branding for individuals and small businesses. The work came from people who had seen her advertising for Moment around town.“That was the first time my branding was really out there. People were like, Who did you hire? And I went, Me. So I started getting some clients from that.”
6:00 p.m. Usually Cheung tries to fit in a workout (Lagree West and All-City Athletics are her current haunts) before the day is out, but she has also has a “side-side project.” That would be WOC Talks, a bimonthly gathering for women of colour. Cheung started doing the nights (formerly held in Moment’s space but now at a friend’s apartment) with her friend Rachel Ricketts, who has since moved to Sweden. But she believes in the initiative, and so do the 70 or so attendees, it seems. “A lot of the women feel really isolated; oftentimes they say, ‘I’m the only person of colour at work,’” Cheung says. “So it’s a chance to come together and talk. We try to keep the discussion on track, but it doesn’t always work like that.”