From Corporate Lawyer to Meditation Teacher
Kimberley Chan devoted over a decade to a career as a senior lawyer in international corporate organisations – which meant long, hard hours, high pressure and no room for failure. Whilst she had a solid, well-paying job, lived in a beautiful house in a gorgeous part of Sydney and was surrounded by a loving family and friends, she felt drained of life and by life. She was spent.
After completing a major corporate restructure that took almost a year to complete, Kimberley felt absolutely depleted, leading her GP to send her off for the usual myriad of blood tests. When the results showed everything to be fine, it was then suggested Kimberley try meditation.
Kimberley spent a year of dipping her toes into various meditation styles – from mindfulness breathing to Buddhist, with varying degrees of success - before coming across Vedic Meditation. This technique was, by far, the most natural and effortless practice she had experienced.
'As I continued my twice daily meditation practice, I discovered a way to live and maintain the healthy, engaged and vibrant life I wanted, without feeling drained and withdrawing from the people and things I love. My physical and mental health improved dramatically. And, perhaps most importantly, I established clarity, purpose and a foundation upon which to view my life and my role in life," says Kimberley Chan.
Unlike other styles of meditation, there is no rigidity in the Vedic technique – there is no need to sit in a particular pose for long periods of time, and it does not require any force, concentration or effort.
'The use of the mantra made it easy for me to move from the usual active thought filled states towards the quieter, subtler layers of the mind and eventually to the quietest, most peaceful state."
Vedic Meditation is designed specifically for people like you and I. Students are encouraged to practice twice a day for 20 minutes. Once you have been properly instructed, you can meditate anywhere – in a park, on the bus, in the office or at home, making it easy to incorporate meditation into your daily life.
Since completing her year-long integrated initiator training in 2015, Kimberley has graduated as a meditation teacher and established her own Sydney practice, Kimberley Chan Meditation. Today, she works with a broad spectrum of clients, from corporate professionals to mothers, students and kids as young as 7 years old.
Whilst apps and online meditation courses can serve as a useful tool to introduce meditation, nothing beats having a teacher in front of you teaching you the technique step by step and being available to answer your questions on the spot, as well as providing you with follow up and support as you develop your meditation practice.
Kimberley is passionate about making Vedic Meditation accessible, practical and easy to incorporate into our modern lives. She loves teaching people meditation as the foundation to become more grounded, creative, healthier and happier.
Meditate with Kimberley
Kimberley runs both private and group courses comprising of 3 sessions from her Balmain-based studio, as well as a guided meditation class at The YogaBar in Sydney CBD. Further information about pricing, what to expect and course dates can be found at kimberleychanmeditation.com.au.
Interview with Kimberley Chan
Question: Why did you originally try meditation?
Kimberley Chan: I came to meditation at the advice of my GP. After working very long hours over a protracted period of time as part of a corporate transaction, I was feeling flat. I went to my GP who did the usual blood tests, all of which came by normal, thankfully. Instead of turning to medication, my GP suggested I try meditation instead. So, I did. I spent almost a year experimenting with different meditation techniques before discovering Vedic Meditation. Like exercise or when you first join a gym, you need to try various techniques before finding one that suits you. From the very first session I learned Vedic Meditation, it felt comfortable and effortless, and was unlike any other meditation technique I had tried before. I was hooked!
Question: What is Vedic Meditation?
Kimberley Chan: The Vedic Meditation technique is practiced for 20 minutes, twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It is so subtle, it can be done anywhere, on a bus, train, in the office or on the beach.
During the meditation, the mind and body silently experience a particular sound, called a mantra, and settle down automatically and spontaneously without requiring any effort, focus, or concentration. It takes the mind beyond thought to its most settled peaceful state. The body gains an extraordinarily deep state of rest - several times deeper than sleep, while maintaining full alertness"a state of supreme inner contentedness. This deep dive within effectively rejuvenates your entire system and enables your brain to function in a completely different way, bringing a myriad of benefits to both mind and body.
Question: How is Vedic Meditation different to mindfulness breathing and other forms of meditation?
Kimberley Chan: Vedic Meditation uses a particular sound called a mantra as the vehicle for transporting us beyond our usual active thought filled states into the quieter, subtler, more refined peaceful depths of our minds. Many who have tried to quieten their minds with other meditation techniques have found they've been able to do that and experience inner silence or quietness with Vedic Meditation without requiring any effort, focus or concentration on their part. It doesn't require you to sit cross legged or in any particular position or to clear your mind or banish thoughts (which is simply impossible to do).
Question: How often do you practice Vedic Meditation?
Kimberley Chan: 20 minutes, twice a day, once in the morning and one more in the late afternoon or early evening. Meditation in the morning sets you up for the day ahead. The session in the afternoon or early evening releases the stresses accumulated during the day and sets you up for the evening/night.
Question: Can you talk us through your settle/outfit for meditation? The beauty of Vedic Meditation is that it can be done anywhere - I've meditated on a bus on the way into town, or in a cab on the way to an event. I actually love meditating outdoors under a big old tree or near the water, whether it be by a beach or the harbour. In terms of an outfit, with Vedic Meditation, you can pretty much meditate wearing anything you want provided you're comfortable. Because there is no set posture or position - all you need is to have your back supported and be in a spot where you won't be disturbed for 20 minutes or so.
Question: How did meditation change the rest of your life?
Kimberley Chan: It has enabled me to gain a true understanding of myself. I was no longer reactive to the people and things in my life. I felt a deep sense of calm, connected to my sense of purpose and become much more attune to the finer energies of life. My physical and mental health improved greatly. And, perhaps most importantly through Vedic Meditation, I established clarity, purpose and a foundation upon which to view my life and my role in life.
Question: Can you tell us about your Meditation practice?
Kimberley Chan: I am an early riser so I am usually up around 5am and I might go for a walk or do yoga and then I meditate around the time the sun rises. This may be at home or more often than not at a park facing the harbour. Then in the afternoon, I tend to meditate around the 3pm- 4pm mark - the time when people tend to get an attack of the munchies - instead of going out to grab another coffee or get some chocolate, I meditate and I find that this does the trick. A 20 minute meditation session is the equivalent of 3 to 4 hours of rest so it keeps me going for the rest of the day.
Question: Why should we make time for meditation?
Kimberley Chan: We can all relate to not having enough time in life, but the crazy thing is this - you will find that you will have more time when you meditate because you will have more clarity, be more decisive and more productive if you meditate. We live in a culture where we are constantly 'running out of time," and plagued with the busy syndrome. Being too busy is almost a badge of honor. Meditation is one answer to this problem. It slows down the mind and heart rate, relieves those feelings of urgency, and increases your capacity to resist distractions. In this digital age, we all face thousands of distractions every day, impeding our ability to focus on our top priorities. Meditation helps to combat this and make us more productive.
Question: What advice do you have for someone contemplating implementing a meditation practice?
Kimberley Chan: Start small. When you're first starting out, sitting in meditation for 20 minutes can seem like a very long time. So, I always suggest that people start with 5 minutes of meditation and then gradually build up to 10 minutes next week, 15 minutes the following week and eventually in a month's time, you will be meditating for 20 minutes. I also tell people to start immediately. There are so many resources on meditation available today, including apps that can help introduce meditation to you gently. Be open to trying them all. Once you've had an intro to meditation, and you feel ready to go deeper and develop your practice, look for a meditation teacher who can give you personalised instruction on the meditation technique and be there to answer your questions and give you follow up support. Meet the teacher and find someone you can develop a rapport with as they will give you ongoing support and motivation as you develop your meditation practice.
Interview by Brooke Hunter