This year’s intention has been to focus on nourishing, balancing, and strengthening my endocrine system, hormones, and nervous system. So any chance I get to incorporate a new tool that will successfully deepen my path of grounding and healing, I jump at the bit. Ayurveda has been such an intrinsic part of my life for years now. From tongue scraping, warm lemon water, body brushing, Abhyangas, herbs, living by the seasons, bedtime of 10p-6a, and kitchari cleanses (a relationship that continues to grow and deepen). But I had never been too privy about the spiritual and healing component of Vedic meditation. And as everything does, I discovered this at the perfect time and had the opportunity to learn from the perfect person.
Last week I had the pleasure of soaking up this practice and wisdom from Jacqui Lewis, co-founder with husband Arran, of The Broad Place - a school for creativity, consciousness and clarity, out of Australia. And I’m completely blown away by how approachable, accessible and beneficial this practice is. I’m basically screaming off the rooftops telling any person that I come in contact with that this will totally transform their relationship with stress, consciousness, sleep, and most importantly, it nourishes and calms their nervous system like no other practice I’ve ever approached has. My slogan has become, “this is literally your spiritual and physical adaptagen.” AND it was created for modern hectic society. Not only do you get to prop your back against something and sit in the coziest position, but you aren’t forced to clear your thoughts or reach an objective. It's beautifully abstract.
So far, it’s been the missing component to calming my parasympathetic nervous system deeper than magnesium oil, Abhyangas, and nervines. To paint a picture, this 20-minute meditation twice daily has made me feel like I’m walking around all day as if I’ve just gotten a massage. I’m less reactive to things that would normally activate me, anger me or stress me out, my sleep was instantly deep (without the 3a adrenal wake-up), and I’m already mentally able to decipher tasks with more clarity. I noticed these benefits instantly. I can’t wait to see where this practice takes me.
If you’re lucky enough to be in LA, I highly suggest you catch one of Jac’s lectures or trainings while she's here. Mind blown.
VIRGO!!!! And I am such a typical Virgo…
Vedic Meditation is a simple but highly effective, independent technique that’s scientifically proven to provide enormous, longterm benefits to a person’s wellbeing. Although it originated in India a long time ago, it’s perfect for modern living. Ideally we practice twice a day for 20mins. Despite its simplicity (sitting, with your eyes closed and your back supported repeating a mantra, or sound, in your mind) its impact is profound. This technique is proven to deeply cleanse the nervous system of stress, whilst increasing clarity and heightening our creativity by strengthening the connection between the two hemispheres of our brain and sustaining (and increasing) the amount of grey matter we have at the front of brain, which is responsible for our concentration, memory and ability to learn new tasks.
Vedic Meditation can only be taught in person by a trained initiator, traditionally over 4 x 90min sessions, so the student by the end of the course is able to fully and confidently use this technique with success for the rest of the their life. We provide ongoing support for life for all our students.
As mentioned above, there are enormous benefits of a consistent Vedic Meditation practice on a multitude of levels.
Initially, most students learn for the physical and mental advantages. A 20min Vedic Meditation session is the rest equivalent to 2 hours of sleep, so many people come to learn in order to help aid their sleeping problems, or in general fatigue. We have students that learn for various heart problems, as it helps manage hypertension and decreases a person’s risk of heart disease and stroke. On top of the above mentioned benefits, student’s come to love their practice for their spiritual gains. It’s not a religious practice, and when I mention spirituality to most people (especially in front of my husband), they tend to break out in a sweat but it’s often due to a misconception to what it means to be spiritual. Spirituality for me is an exploration of who we are, in the world. Vedic Meditation really solidifies your connection to your true self, and students really appreciate this, especially in the digital age of too much connection, and so much disconnection!
The most beautiful part of a Vedic Meditation practice is the deepening connection we get with ourselves, and this is what I call a sense of spirituality. It’s that sense of tuning into what we know as our real truth. When we question the decision and choices we have made and are making to ensure that they align with our values and that we’re contributing to the world to our fullest potential. All this juiciness of the inner-exploration is what I just love, and what our students come to relish on their meditation journey.
I practiced many different types of meditation for 8 years before learning Vedic Meditation. I initially learnt Vedic under duress. I was so stressed out, had a little baby, owned my own business, and I was desperate for something to help. Vedic Meditation had a profound impact right away for me, on my mind, quality of life and physical health. So I stuck with it unlike the other practices I had tried and dipped in and out of.
YOUR INSPIRATION FOR STARTING THIS SCHOOL
After practicing for years, I really wished there was someone teaching ancient knowledge with a really modern approach - with an understanding and appreciation of under the pump modern living. With Arran, my husband and business partner, we had a creative and marketing agency, a restaurant, fashion brand, and vodka company. We have a really intimate understanding of being engaged, creative, and highly stressed, and a meditation practice that fit into our lives was really important. Something we could either dive into really deeply with practice and knowledge or at times, just sit in the chair and do a quick meditation. We figured there were others just like us who desired the same thing, so I undertook my year-long teacher training with Vedic Meditation, as well as many other courses, and we launched The Broad Place as a school for creativity, consciousness and clarity. Arran takes care of all the creative and product, and I manage all the education.
The timing couldn’t have been better, and we seem to have tapped into something very meaningful for people. We know firsthand you can meditate with success, still be creative, dynamic and flexible, travel the world, have a family, and be globally connected. Our students are interested in similar things, and I teach meditation to people aged 5 to 75 at the moment - each with a different set of needs and desires, and living different lives. There’s no one-fits-all prescription, and I relish teaching and sharing knowledge to such a variety of people. We also offer education programs for Clarity and another for Creativity, workshops, Retreats, and have a capsule collection of Ayurvedic products.
DAILY VEDIC LIFESTYLE FOR YOU
It really moves around so much as we travel constantly! A regular day in our beautiful home in Palm Beach, Sydney always starts with tongue scraping with our Copper Tongue Scrapers to remove toxins. Then I’ll stretch if time permits, meditate on our balcony surrounded by trees and lush rainforest while the birds sing and the sun rises. We try to swim in the ocean daily which is a short walk from our house. To align mind and body with the flows of nature, spending time in it is very important to me! I usually have a home cooked porridge with tamari and umemboshi plum and sometimes grilled tempe, covered in gomasio. I love drinking coffee, and I add a pinch of some herbs my Ayurvedic doctor gave me to settle my nervous system from the effects (a cheats trick!). I then write, teach, have some students for private mentoring and squeeze in a little lunch. I pick our daughter up from school and chat to her in the car, she’s a little chatter box like me.
Depending on the afternoon we go to our dojo and practice karate (separate classes) and I’ll fit in my afternoon meditation while she’s in her class. An early evening swim with Arran and our dog, and a home cooked dinner (I cook kitchari, a tridoshic dish way too often), or we’ll BBQ prawns on an open fire and have salad and baguette with a ton of salted butter in our garden. Every night I use our Organic Rooibos Chai Tea to make a decaffeinated chai with organic milk before bed. I’m trying to not get hooked on too many TV series at the moment to fit in my ferocious reading habit! Only until the next season of Game Of Thrones comes on that is!!!
AYURVEDIC TIPS THAT COMPLIMENT VEDIC MEDIATION
A small understanding of the three doshas is really beneficial and Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra is a brilliant starting point. I drink a lot of hot water and herbal tea, for drinking cold water, especially iced, agitates the nervous system so I try avoid it. We eat a lot of home cooked Japanese and Indian (Ayurvedic friendly) foods. I am very conscious of cooking in a good mood, our state of mind is vital to Ayurveda. I also am bordering on fanatical about getting to bed by 10pm. 10pm - 2am is the deepest most nourishing hours to sleep, then from 2am - 6am, it’s essentially just rest. So I always aim to be asleep by 10pm, and Arran finds this habit pretty boring to be honest!! Kindness, compassion, and limiting negativity have a huge impact on our mental and physical health, and these are qualities that seem to come about naturally the more you practice Vedic Meditation, but a little effort on top of that is beneficial of course!
YOUR HOLISTIC TOOLS
Vedic meditation, of course! I can’t imagine not tongue scraping. Coming back to my senses, and being aware of the present moment is something I am always doing as a practice. I use our Vata Dosha Balancing Oil liberally everyday to balance the freneticness of digital life and traffic and in general living! I love scents on the air, and the concept of cleansing space, so I burn a sage stick daily and also burn Sandalwood Incense almost all day as I find them very grounding.
MUST VISITS IN AUSTRALIA
Australia is so huge, so it’s not quick to get around. With that in mind, we’ll keep it limited to our two favorite places. In Sydney a swim and sauna at Bondi icebergs is a must, and our favourite Eastern suburbs beach is Gordon’s Bay. Up the road from Gordon’s is Iggy’s Sourdough, Orchard St with the best juices and treats in Sydney as well as Three Blue Ducks where we love to eat, all in Bronte. Palm Beach where we live is incredible, an hours drivefrom the city, and brunch at The Boathouse is a MUST!
Byron Bay is one of our favourite places to visit, staying at the lush wonderland that is Atlantic in Byron. Surfing at The Pass is amazing, easy even if you’ve never surfed before. You have to have a car to explore, as Domo, the Japanese café in Federal, Milk and Honey Pizza and Mullumbimby and Fleet Restaurant in Brunswick are absolute favourites of ours. Swimming at Brunswick, dipping in the ocean at Clarkes and walking up to the Lighthouse are all a must. Breakfast at Bayleaf in the heart of Byron Bay and burgers at Top Shop are always fun. We wouldn’t recommend rushing; a few days in Sydney, and a few in Byron and you’ll be the happiest person alive!
WHILE YOU'RE IN LA, WHERE CAN WE CATCH YOUR TALKS AND TRAINING
I’m hosting a free Philosophy Gathering on Sunday, April 10th from 9:30-11am at Den Meditation in La Brea, where I’ll be discussing one of my favourite topics; High Grade Living. This is the practice of carefully curating what we let into our lives in order to further our evolution and enjoy only the best of everything. It’s not about striving and pushing for perfection, but rather auditing and editing out what doesn’t serve us. A wonderful, practical talk, which I’d love to have your readers join me for!
I’m also teaching two group courses in Vedic Meditation, for those wanting to learn this profound technique. One course begins this weekend, April 9th – 12th in Venice and I’m teaching another course from April 21st-24th, before I leave.
You can find all the details of my trip, here.