I have always been fascinated by ancient Indian philosophy, as well as Buddhist teachings and spiritual practices. Luckily I had the chance to travel to India and Nepal after graduating from university, and to live there for seven years. That is where I had my first taste of Hatha Yoga and meditation, which I have been practicing ever since, for years now, with a varied degree of persistence.
Meanwhile my professional interests led me to a range of experiences. I first went into political science, then journalism and eventually communications. I was researching, reporting and communicating on EU affairs and its relations with the neighbouring countries. It was great, but as time went by I felt an increasing urge to make more room in my life for spiritual practices.
This did not happen until one day I discovered a postcard-size flier on my office desk, which started with the words: “Action for happiness. Join the movement. Be the change”. That was it! I followed the link mentioned in the flier, and it took me to the Oxford Mindfulness Centre website.
This is how I came across mindfulness. I then learned that while being based on the Buddhist meditation techniques, mindfulness is entirely secular and goes far beyond traditional meditation.
It’s a philosophy and a way of living that teaches us to “dance” with life’s uncertainties and challenges. It holds a key to lasting happiness by making us feel more grounded, focused and capable of enjoying life even in difficult times.
I plunged into books and talks by contemporary meditation masters and eventually went back to university in 2016 to study evolutionary psychology, the history of Buddhism, Laban movement analysis, and mindfulness as a separate discipline. At the same time I used every opportunity to meditate with and learn from the Buddhist masters at Vipassana retreats in Thailand.
Since completing a two-year Teacher Training programme at Brussels Mindfulness in early 2020, I have been teaching skills that we all need to cope with stress, especially in these times of unprecedented uncertainty and change.
You may wonder where the name comes from. In Sanskrit it means 'ether', pure energy, the essence of everything that exists in the material world. Aristotle called it ‘the fifth element (alongside earth, fire, air and water). Akasha is life itself in all its manifestations. We can spend time struggling against it, or alternatively blending, dancing with it. The choice is ours.