Attaining eternal youth has captivated minds from antiquity to modern times. For one Greek TV host in Australia, her youthful appearance is thanks to her regular exercise routine.
Tina Sofos, who hosts a Greek TV food channel on GRTV Australia in Melbourne, Victoria attributes her enduring youthful appearance to Falun Dafa meditation. Also called Falun Gong, the Chinese meditation practice of mind and body incorporates gentle and slow-moving exercises.
Practicing Falun Dafa added both a moral and spiritual component to her life while, at the same time, helping her manage the day-to-day stresses of her work and relationships.
“As a guiding tool I measure myself by these three universal principles of Falun Dafa—Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance,” Sofos said.
“Whenever challenges or conflicts arise, it also gives me an opportunity to look inside my heart and mind to see any faults on my part, which may have led to it and [I] do not react as I would have in the past, becoming more understanding and compassionate of others.”
Major Transformation Occurred
After taking up the practice almost 15 years ago, her then psychologist noted a remarkable transformation.
“[My psychologist] was flicking the papers of my history file perplexed and questioning how could I become so well adjusted after the episode I had recently experienced in hospital,” Sofos said. “I replied it’s because I started practicing Falun Dafa and she said ‘whatever you are doing keep doing it because it’s working.’”
Sofos said within weeks, her psychologist decided there was no need for further visits and she was weaned off her medication. She has not been back since.
Sofos had suffered an emotional breakdown almost 20 years ago, when her 14-year marriage ended.
“The overwhelming pressure took a toll and I experienced a psychotic episode that hospitalised me for about a week. I was medicated with anti-depressants and other drugs,” she said.
After her new partner asked for her hand in marriage, she struggled to answer him due to her previous marriage breakdown; she was also estranged from her family.
“My family didn’t approve of me entering a new relationship and hence we became estranged,” Sofos said. “I became desperate for answers to why my life had fallen apart.”
Then in April 2, 2004, she met the son of a distant relative, Gabriel, at a funeral.
“[He] had now flown back to Melbourne for his mother’s funeral. I noticed in particular that he was not depressed, bitter or sad.” She also noticed a positive air about him.
After introducing herself to him, Gabriel told Sofos that he had found peace through Falun Dafa.
“When he spoke the words ‘Falun Dafa’ it was like a gong struck for me and he went to his bag and handed me a flyer with more information and contact details for the exercise sites.”
The next morning, Sofos and her new partner went to a local practice site to learn the exercises.
“The fact there was no fees and it was free to learn truly touched me when a volunteer said, ‘Falun Dafa is passed on by the heart,’” she said.
Finding Answers To Her Past
Through the practice of Falun Dafa, Sofos began to understand why her first marriage had ended.
“In the past I looked externally for acceptance and wanting to be liked and suffered from a low self esteem, becoming weaker by this my marriage fell apart and greatly hurt my family,” she said. “When I recognised all this … I forgave my past with compassion.”
Through “cultivation,” a term used to denote moral and spiritual improvement in Falun Dafa practice, Sofos began to experience positive changes to her heart and mind.
“I started looking inward and was able to find the solutions to the problems inside me,” she said. “I was able start applying these principles (Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance) and gradually through this process of looking within, cultivating, I’ve able to develop clarity, wisdom and also integrity. I have become more peaceful and happy.”
The benefits of an improved heart and mind have also improved her physical wellbeing.
Youthful Looks Stops Traffic
When talking about her real age, Sofos has often been met with shocked reactions.
“I was in the car of a journalist in Greece when I mentioned my age. [The guy] suddenly stopped the car in the middle of the road and stepped out saying he could not believe or accept the age I was saying,” she said. “I’m over 50 years old.”
“Another person asked to pinch my skin, I put my hand out and they were shocked at the elasticity,” she added.
One time Sofos was stopped by two security officers at an airport in Switzerland; they kept looking at her and her passport.
“They seemed concerned and were speaking to each other in their language,” she said. “After a few minutes I asked what the issue was, and they pointed out that I look younger then the birth date specified on my passport.
“I said that’s easy to explain—it’s because I practice Falun Dafa, and gave them both a flyer,” Sofos said.
Sofos is grateful to Mr. Li Hongzhi, the founder and teacher of Falun Dafa, for bringing the practice to the world. She believes Falun Dafa and its principles are the keys to maintaining a peaceful heart and mind, and can lead to a more youthful appearance.
“[Falun Dafa] has helped me become clearer, assertive, gentle yet strong, and choosing the path of virtue is I believe the key to true beauty,” she said.