Jacqui Lewis is unlike any meditation teacher we’ve ever met and The Broad Place, which she owns with her husband Arran, is a perfect representation of modern sensibility mixed with ancient science and wisdom. Jacqui is loud, outspoken, fast paced, and keeps things very, very real. As the powerhouse behind The Broad Place, which she runs with her lovely husband Arran, Jacqui specializes in taking a regular, stressed, under the pump person and shifting them through accessible tools and practices so that they become more creative, grounded, healthier and happier. She takes ancient knowledge and makes it easy to understand and easy to employ in modern day lives. Departing from an acclaimed Australian creative communications agency she co-founded with her husband, Jacqui brings into The Broad Place an energy and personal understanding of the demands of business, family and being engaged in a high energy world.
Jacqui is an educator, facilitator and speaker on clarity and high grade living. She teaches Vedic Meditation worldwide, executes corporate workshops and speaking, hosts retreats throughout Australia and in India and runs a host of workshops and talks globally that are centered around tools and practices for modern living. We were lucky enough to experience Jacqui’s teaching in a three day meditation course she taught in LA. We absolutely loved the course, and really appreciated the approachable nature of the process and her sense of humor and storytelling abilities kept us consistently entertained and stimulated. We now know how to effectively incorporate a daily meditation practice, which was something we really looking for.
Jacqui states, ‘I’m a big believer in High Grade Living. I don’t live a life meditating in a cave or forgoing lots of things, and I am not a monk. I am highly-engaged, energized and ambitious. I live in the middle of a busy city, I am a wife, mother, owner of a nutty Jack Russell, employer, business owner and more. I work passionately on things I love and that is teaching people unique and accessible ways in which to live better’.
Completing extensive Knowledge courses with one of the world’s leading Vedic experts and meditation teachers Thom Knoles, Jacqui has gone on to teach as a Master Meditation Teacher through The Broad Place, a multi-faceted brand formed around wellbeing and better living. Believing in education on every level, Jacqui continues to study and extend her teaching skills year on year.
HOW THEY GLOW QUESTIONNAIRE
Teacher, Writer, Talker.
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP?
Whale Beach in Sydney, Australia
WHERE DO YOU LIVE?
Currently in Palm Beach in Sydney, Australia, and out of a suitcase as we travel so much!
WHEN YOU’RE EATING HEALTHY, WHAT IS A TYPICAL…
Home cooked food, I absolutely love cooking and sharing food. I really love macrobiotic and Ayurvedic principles – of aligning ourselves with nature, eating seasonally, and nourishing ourselves and our moods through what we eat and how we eat it. Thoughtful, intuitive eating.
For breakfast I love oats soaked overnight, cooked with a little salt, topped with gomasio (sesame seeds heated with sea salt and ground a little), some umemboshi paste and tamari drizzled on top. It packs a punch, and is incredibly good for you and my Japanese yoga teacher taught me this combination. I drink a lot of coffee and herbal tea throughout the day, and have after a recent trip to Japan started making matcha, although caffeine halts by about 2pm or I’ll never sleep!
Lunch is completely dependent on where I am that day, and I usually eat out.
Dinner I love cooking at home, either home style Japanese food, or Ayurvedic dishes. I cook a lot of Kitchari, a tri-doshic dish that we eat breakfast, lunch and dinner a lot! My recipe is here :: https://thebroadplace.com.au/ayurvedic-cleansing-kitchari-recipe/.
I really try to not snack as our digestion needs time to process meals, and in Ayurveda snacking creates all kinds of digestive chaos. But, in the afternoon, a crème brulee tart or a slice of chocolate cake seems to catch my attention and my taste buds at our local café frequently!! Oh and I love indulging in scones, jam and cream, with a pot of tea.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS/RESTAURANTS TO EAT HEALTHY?
In my hometown of Sydney I really like Boathouse at Palm Beach, you eat out overlooking the water, and the joy this brings is very healthy for the mind! In the day, Bondi Markets on a Saturday has so many great stalls, and Orchard St in Bondi and Bronte I like to drop in for a juice and a healthy salad. The Apollo in Potts Point is fabulous, with modern Greek food and it’s easy to eat healthy here, and of an evening Gigi Pizzeria in Newtown is vegan and incredible.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INDULGENCE?
Sweet things. I am mildly obsessed with donuts, canele, and gelato. I keep telling myself I should cut back, but I don’t have a lot of vices these days, and a few vices are healthy – right??
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS/RESTAURANTS TO INDULGE?
In Sydney, Acne in Kings Cross for dinner is a lot of fun, and they make a few ingredients per dish go really far in the flavour department. We frequent Fratelli Paradiso a lot, it’s home cooked Italian, and family run, and they make the best bread around. We drop into Gelato Messina for gelato a lot, it’s all made in house with 100% natural ingredients. I also frequent this fabulous bakery in Bondi Junction called The Cook and Baker, they do the best salted caramel slice and plum tart in town.
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR LAST MEAL ON EARTH?
Something made by my Dad. He’s retired now, but was a very famous chef and he whips together the best meals ever. Everything is simple, yet incredibly tasty. He used to make a crab meat Asian omelette that was so delicious (and I’ll have to remind him to make me again!) and also perhaps a fish with creamed potatoes dish. I’m on not so into rich and decadent food these days, but hey, it’s my last meal on Earth right! My Dad makes a Blue Eye (white flesh fish, slighty sweet and juicy) with crispy potato scales on a bed of creamed potatoes with a burnt butter sauce that can bring an adult to tears. Then we would have some triple French cheeses, and perhaps some comte gruyere. Dessert would be incredibly important. By now though I think we are all so full after all the richness that we are in a food coma, and maybe a plate of the freshest sweetest raspberries would do nicely! If not that, than anything made by Hisanori Takeuchi, our friend and extraordinary baker in Osaka, Japan.
WHAT IS THE BEST DISH YOU COOK/ YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE?
I make a salad that Arran and Marley adore, and aside from Kitchari it’s the thing we eat a version of the most. It has roast pumpkin wedges with sumac and salt, that are layered up with baby salad greens, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, a dressing of hummus and yoghurt and lemon juice, and slabs of grilled haloumi with lots of lemon juice. Then whatever is seasonal gets layered in too. It’s my go to people-are-coming-for-lunch dish. I serve it with lots of sourdough bread and creamy salted butter. I made it for friends when they were visiting from Japan, and they loved it so much they put it on their menu as Jac Salad at their café Bird, their brand Truck’s café. It was such an honour!
WHERE DO YOU GROCERY SHOP?
Farmers Markets mostly, and little grocery stores. I dislike the experience of shopping in big supermarkets so intensely that I’ll pay anything just to shop at a little corner store. There’s a great store in Sydney called Chefs Armoury, and I buy a lot of our Japanese ingredients there too.
TOP 3 ITEMS YOU ALWAYS HAVE IN YOUR KITCHEN?
Brown Basmati Rice, Ghee and Coffee. And when I travel there is always miso soup sachets, gomasio and Vata Dosha Balancing Tea in my suitcase!
WHAT IS YOUR FITNESS REGIMEN? (how often & what you do)
I definitely wouldn’t call it a regimen!! I’m thankfully naturally lean and reasonably fit, and so my motivation to keep fit is usually low sadly! I love unification of the mind and body, so I stretch and do yoga at home, sometimes attend a class. I practice karate a few times a week at the dojo. We walk a lot and swim at the beach, and my daughter is 9 and very active so I keep up with her. I’ve actually just started working on a program I can do while traveling with an incredible guy called Nic from Balanced Studio in Sydney, who works holistically on your entire frame and posture. It’s stretching and postures that can be executed in hotel rooms, I spend a fair amount of time in those.
WHAT IS YOUR SKINCARE ROUTINE? (products, facials, etc)
I use an Australian brand called Sodashi skincare created by Megan Larsen mostly as they’re incredible products and the philosophy behind the brand is so beautiful. I love a facial oil, moisturizer and tinted sunscreen is completely necessary in Australia where skin damage is some of the worst in the world. I cannot live with out Pangea Organics Lip Balm’s, I am literally obsessed with them and have every kind. I slather my body daily with our The Broad Place Dosha Balancing Body Oils, choosing Vata, Pitta or Kapha depending on my mood. I love Aveda Chakra Balancing Spray No 2 as my go to fragrance, and that’s kind of it! I keep it ultra simple.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE MAKEUP/NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCTS?
I barely wear make up anymore, I used to layer it on I tell you, but I’m feeling more confident with a healthy glow and happy smile these days. It took my some time to get to this place though! If I wear make up of an evening it’s mostly Nars, and Chanel lipsticks if I am in the mood I find the most moisturizing. I don’t wear enough make up to have adventured into natural make up products as yet, and I just stick with what I know.
IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND, WHAT 3 PRODUCTS WOULD YOU TAKE WITH YOU?
If we’re talking beauty products; Pangea Organics Lip Balm, The Broad Place Pitta Dosha Balancing Body Oil and a Copper Tongue Scraper. If we’re talking in general products; I would be pretty screwed as my iPhone, Kindle and Macbook I use more than any other and without power I would be lost! My yoga mat, my hand woven Himalayan cashmere wrap, and book The Mahabharata otherwise.
WHAT PROFESSIONAL BEAUTY/HEALTH/FITNESS/SPIRITUAL GURUS DO YOU SWEAR BY?
Thom Knoles is a Vedic master and my teacher in the Vedic tradition. I really respect and admire the teachings and writing of Jeff Kober, another Vedic scholar and a friend of mine. I also adore Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun who is very dry and funny and makes the teachings of Buddhism approachable. Alan Watts is a wonderful spiritual writer as well as Alain De Botton for modern philosophy and coping with the modern world.
TOP 3 FAVORITE SONGS?
Oh these change frequently! My daughter and I always have song of the week. We’re not very on top of what’s new though. Right now on rotation is Goddess by Banks, Under The Pressure by The War on Drugs and You Started It All (Ron Basejam Rework) by Ragz Nordset.
Dirty Dancing, I’m an 80’s child!! Probably second in line is A Single Man, I Am Love and Amelie.
MOST LIFE-CHANGING BOOK?
There’s no way I can list just one! I read so many books. So in categories
Vedic – The Mahabharata by Ramesh Menon
Inspiring – Making The Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland
Spiritual – The Untethered Soul by Michael A Singer and Be Here Now by Ram Dass
Poetic – The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
Then anything by Brene Brown, Pema Chodron, Seth Godin, Jon Kabat Zinn, Marcus Aurelius, Ramesh Menon and Alan Watts….sorry, had to squeeze them in!
Truck in Osaka. Okura in Tokyo, all the Kapital stores in Tokyo, Yaeca Home in Tokyo. I think some of the most thoughtful, authentic shopping can be done in Japan. Arran and I have become very cautious of consuming for consuming sake. I want to know where it came from, why it’s been created and who made it.
COOLEST PLACE YOU’VE EVER VISITED?
Hands down it’s Tokyo.
Hotel Andaz in Tokyo, Japan is an incredible experience. Alila in Ubud, Indonesia is wonderful. In Sydney I absolutely love the Old Clare Hotel and in Melbourne Art Series Hotels are always fun.
WHAT IS THE BEST GIFT YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?
The gift of Vedic meditation I have to say is the best thing I have ever received. I resisted learning for so long, then a friend coaxed me into it and paid for half my course. It was the best thing I have ever learnt.
MOST PROFOUND HEALING EXPERIENCE YOU’VE EVER HAD?
I work with a few incredible healers in Australia and America and of course in India where I undertake pancha karma annually, a deep Ayurvedic cleansing process for the mind, body spirit. If I had to narrow it down to a singular experience though, it would be work with a woman called Trine, who is nomadic and I work with remotely unless our paths cross around the world. I’ve had some experiences working with Trine that defy belief and have shown me insights that I never knew possible. These have really crafted my views on the world, on consciousness and what is possible.
WHO ARE YOUR MOST TRUSTED HEALERS?
Corrie Okkerse in Sydney Australia, Trine (nomadic but currently in America), acupuncturist Jo Yeldham in Sydney, Australia. I see David Moore in Sydney for osteopathy, and Matt Bourke is a gifted and talented multi modality practitioner in Sydney.
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LEARNING EXPERIENCE YOU’VE HAD TO FACE AND WHAT DID YOU TAKE AWAY FROM IT?
Being a divorced, bankrupt, single mother of a little one at 29 was by far the hardest and harshest experience I have had to date. I had created a very neat, narrow and convenient view of life, and when all that got pulled out from underneath me, it forced me to re-craft myself, my world and who I was as a mother, a partner, a friend and it was the most valuable experience ever. It was truly awful at the time, I had horrific anxiety and crippling fear daily. But when you build a house of cards, you have to expect it to get blown down at some stage. I made a vow to the universe to never again, not be true to myself again, no matter what the perceived cost. Once that commitment was made, everything in my life became graceful, joyful and incredibly fun. Not all at once, but gradually and with integrity. I came to live the truth that fulfilment comes from within us, not outside of us. It would have been lovely if I hadn’t had to learn this through hardship, but I doubt it would have stuck otherwise! It also removed a lot of my fear of failing. Once you’ve fallen flat on your face in life, and publicly, then gotten back up and dusted yourself off, you’re not terrified of falling again.
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
It would be a long Summer day with an early sunrise and very late sunset so I can fit it all in with ease. Our current house is an old pale pink 1960’s cottage set on a reserve on the crest of the hill, surrounded by bush, and near the ocean, so we like to spend as much time there as possible. Waking in the dark, I do some gentle yoga on my balcony, the birds start firing up and I can hear the waves crashing. I do my Vedic meditation session as the sun rises, with Honey our little dog lying next to me, snoring gently. I hop back into bed, so Marley (who is 9) can wake up and join Arran and I for a morning snuggle and chat. We go to the beach, swim, maybe surf if there are waves and then grab a coffee, usually all before 8am has rolled around. I cook breakfast at home and we eat in our backyard under the gum trees. Running around with Marley and the dog would definitely be on. A lunch cooked on our outdoor rock barbeque with friends, a lot of laughs and music all enjoyed in the afternoon sun with a quick walk from our house to the beach for a swim in the ocean. In the late afternoon I would meditate, read and potter making tea, and go to karate with Marley. We’re both obsessed with our sensei and the dojo we attend is incredible. We undertake separate classes, but like to hang around for the others class. I read through hers and she practices in mine. Seeing her in her tiny karate uniform is the cutest thing I have ever seen. We might grab a bite to eat of Japanese from our local place. Then returning home to sit on the balcony, drink Rooibos chai and chat before an early night. Thankfully, my perfect day like this one described happens quite a lot.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST VALUABLE GLOW TIP/SECRET?
Find and practice a meditation technique that releases stress and tension and increases clarity and creativity and expands consciousness. Everything in life is wonderful when you’re in flow. My personal practice for this is Vedic meditation, and after studying so many types, I realized this type is the easiest route to feeling brilliant, so I committed to teaching it too.
“How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives” by Annie Dillard. I love it because it’s the reminder that happiness isn’t ‘over there’ but right before us. Living with honesty, and thoughtfulness and in the present moment we can each begin right away, and it must be done daily.
WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?
My truly remarkable husband Arran and my daughter Marley, who inspire me to be a better person every day with their gentle, caring and knowing way, full acceptance of who I am, and support on my journey to learn more.
WHAT MAKES YOU GLOW?
It sounds daggy, but it’s love. Being in love with Arran makes me glow more than anything.
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