Jacqui Lewis first discovered Vedic mediation six years ago. “I tried a few types but they weren’t for me and the irony was I was getting stressed out about my meditation practice, which was the complete opposite of why I was doing it. Then I came across the Vedic method and it was everything I was looking for.”
Flash forward a few years and Lewis is running the ever-expanding creative agency Folke Army, alongside her husband and business partner Arran Russell (formerly of fashion label Vanishing Elephant). In addition, the two launched The Sailors Club in Rose Bay last year, a highly ambitious project that despite its success was to take its toll. “We were doing so much and it nearly killed me. The one thing that kept me going was my Vedic meditation and I felt so compelled to teach this technique to others,” says Lewis. And so, The Broad Place was born.
A multifaceted wellness destination, The Broad Place currently offers courses in Vedic meditation and will soon also introduce mini urban meditation retreats and a line of products such as ayurvedic teas and candles, homewares, furniture and design products. The space itself is very modern, which Lewis believes plays a big part in breaking down the common misconceptions about meditation. “There are so many stigmas around it. People are always so surprised at how nice the studio is. They mostly say wow, you’re not wearing hessian!"
From fashion designers and stylists to Olympic athletes and builders, The Broad Place demographic is incredibly varied, though they all have one thing in common; a lack of time and a desire to learn how to better manage stress.
So what is Vedic meditation? Well, according to Lewis it’s all about “minimal input, maximum output. It is natural and effortless; an independent practice which allows you to be yourself, just a better version.” The Vedic technique originated in India over 5,000 years ago and unlike other forms of meditation, it requires no listening or visualising, no objects or props and no straining to stop the busy mind of thoughts. In fact the course teaches you how thoughts are a by-product of stress-release. It allows you to access the more blissful, creative parts of the mind by gently introducing a mantra (in the form of a sound). This mantra is given to you based on your stage of life and is used to pull you down to into the quieter, deeper levels of the mind. This is done twice a day for 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon.
Vedic devotees claim that there are number of benefits to practicing this meditative technique. Alleviation of cardiovascular disease, depression and insomnia, greater mental efficiency, sleeping less and sleeping better, and an ability to think more creatively are just a few. Then there is of course the management of stress. As Lewis explains, “You can’t stop stress but you can change your perception around it. Success isn’t about doing less, just doing it better.”
The Broad Place offers a free introductory information session on Monday evenings. The course runs over four consecutive sessions; Tuesday – Friday evenings or 10am-3pm Saturdays and Sundays. Course fees start from $850.
The Broad Place
28 West Street, Paddington