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Interview with Jillian and Michael – Founders of London Meditation Centre
INTERVIEWS

Interview with Jillian and Michael – Founders of London Meditation Centre

This week we caught up with Jillian and Michael – Founders of London Meditation Centre to talk about Vedic meditation, the benefits and why Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney would be fascinating guests on Michael’s podcast – Speaking of Meditation.

How did your journey in meditation start?

Jillian: I came to Vedic Meditation in 1997, back when meditation was still quite “weird”. I had no idea what it could do for me, although I had witnessed the impact it had on a dear friend who went from full-blown insomniac to sleeping every night very quickly. I was tired and rapidly approaching burn out. And I just had a feeling I needed to do something about it sooner rather than later. I went to a talk with my soon-to-be teacher and could see very quickly that it wasn’t all brown rice and sandals, and it was going to help. One week later, I was meditating every day, and noticing big changes.

Michael: I first dabbled in meditation all the way back in 1988 when a University professor told me how good it was. I didn’t learn properly but I experimented with different styles for about 10 years. Later, a friend learned Vedic Meditation, and I saw so much change in her, I got really interested. I was at a point in my life when I was working too hard and playing too hard, and I knew something needed to change. I learned, and right away I was sleeping better, feeling calmer, and thinking more clearly. There was no looking back.

When did you decide to start up London Meditation Centre?

Jillian: I’d been teaching Vedic Meditation in London for a few years. When Michael became a Vedic Meditation teacher in 2007, we started operating as London Meditation Centre, and New York Meditation Center also.

What type of meditation do you teach at the London Meditation Centre?

Michael: We teach Vedic Meditation, the oldest technique of meditation in the world, also the most scientifically studied. It’s known as an automatic self-transcending technique. That means you’re not focussing or concentrating. You’re also not trying to be mindful of anything. By silently repeating a mantra, chosen for you by the teacher, you automatically quiet the mind, and rest the body very deeply.

What benefits do people get from meditation? 

Michael: A 20-minute sitting of Vedic Meditation delivers a level of rest that’s many times deeper than sleep. And it’s that deep rest that allows for the mind and body to release stress and come back into balance. Sleep gets better, energy levels rise, stress and anxiety reduces, you gain clarity and focus, and health improves. For the full story of the benefits of meditation, you should check out Jillian’s book, Why Meditate? Because it Works, where she explains the science behind what’s happening when the body gets such an unprecedented level of rest. Vedic Meditation is changing the brain and the biochemistry of the body, and this has a huge impact on emotional balance and physical health.

Jillian: One of the most inspiring ways to understand the impact of this is to hear people’s stories — how meditation has changed their lives. Michael’s podcast, Speaking of Meditation, really showcases the impact that meditators experience.

You have recently come back from a retreat in India, which sounded amazing, do you have any more retreats you are organising?

Jillian: Oh yes! We offer 3-4 meditation retreats each year for our students. These are a great way to take a deep dive and accelerate your progress. India, Devon, Portugal and Upstate New York are some of the areas we like to go.

Michael, who would be your ideal guest on your podcast?

Michael: I can think of two people who have learned to meditate who would be fascinating to interview: Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney.

Oprah’s so tapped into wellness and self-development, it would be really interesting to talk with her about how she sees meditation affecting aspects of her own life and the people she knows.

With Paul, I’d want to talk about the burst of creativity he and The Beatles experienced when they first learned to meditate, as well as the longevity of his career and creative energy, and how he thinks meditation has affected that.

Jillian, we loved reading your book Why Meditate? Because it works. For those who haven’t read it yet, what nugget of information can you reveal that will make a difference to someone seeking calm and peace?

Jillian: If you have tried to meditate, and it didn’t “work”, or you didn’t feel like you were doing it right, my message to you is that you can meditate. It’s all about getting the right technique — working with the mind, rather than fighting the mind. If you can think, you can meditate.

What would your ideal day in London be like?

Both: We love going out for a nice brunch. One of our favourite spots is Grangers & Co. Jillian used to go to Bill Granger’s original restaurant in Sydney when she lived there. Then we’d take a walk and head over to a gallery, perhaps the Royal Academy or the Tate Modern, we like it down there on the Southbank. On a Sunday we enjoy going to a farmer’s market as a family (we have a 9 year old daughter) – the one at Herne Hill is a recent find. There’s a great spot for lunch called Llewelyn’s right by the station, and a charming bookshop to browse.

For more information on London Meditation Centre visit: https://www.londonmeditationcentre.com/learn-to-meditate

Jillian’s book: www.londonmeditationcentre.com/why-meditate-because-it-works Michael’s podcast: www.londonmeditationcentre.com/speaking-of-meditation-podcast

Photography by Nyla Sammons

#londonmeditationcentre #meditation #nottinghill #wellness

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