A meditation retreat in India with The Broad Place

Jac from The Broad Place has taught her unique method of meditation all over the world. What makes it different is her unique ability to thoughtfully articulate how to integrate your flow into life both inside and outside of the meditation experience itself. She is a teacher we fully back and she’s offering a retreat coming up in October.

Tell us about your first ever meditation experience ? 

I started meditating spontaneously when I was very young, I think as a way to retreat inside and find calm when my little brother was born disabled. I had no training at all, but would sit quietly with my eyes closed and find this well of calm within. Then I stopped doing it somewhere along the way, and then when I was 18 I took a yoga class, and at the end we sat to meditate and I realised this was what I was doing when I was younger and it was quite a shock! I’ve spent the last two and a half decades studying meditation and Eastern philosophy and neuroscience to learn more and practice more deeply.

How did this evolve to you teaching meditation ?

I had no desire to teach whatsoever, until I couldn’t find the type of teacher I was looking for. I was getting tired of a lot of the dogma and patriarchy that the spiritual and self development communities are rife with, so decided to see if I could teach meditation in a different way.

How is the practice you teach different to other forms of meditation ?

I teach primarily a mantra based practice I called Integrated Meditation (https://thebroadplace.com.au/meditation/), that come from the lineage Transcendental Meditation comes from. And Mindfit Meditation (https://thebroadplace.com.au/meditation/) which is a beginners meditation practice with mantra. It’s very different to Guided Meditations (which I teach as experiences alongside Retreats or as a part of a Workshop) or Concentration Techniques (focussed practices) as Mantra Based practises are very cohesive for the modern mind. Most people don’t know that most meditation comes from monastic practices, where people were isolated mostly from the outside world and can’t figure out why it’s so hard for them to do jammed in amongst meetings and zoom calls! However Integrated Meditation and Mindfit Meditation are both easily practiced in the modern world as they were always designed for people like us, in the world, with responsibilities, and this is why people find it so much easier to practice. 

I’ve always wanted to know where The Broad Place name came from, what is the story / meaning behind it ? 

The Broad Place is a term our friend James created, to mean expansiveness and connection. Those moments in between all the chaos of life where you feel completely whole, and connected to everything. For me meditation is like the gaps in between all the activity, where we can find that expansiveness, the broadness in ourselves, so that we can work with our lives in a more creative, love filled way.

The connection you make to meditation to obtain clarity, focus, mindfulness, creativity and joy is shared in such a unique way and you’ve written several books about this now; what would you say to the person wanting to focus on achieving one of those things ?

For anyone wanting to achieve anything expansive, its a matter of diligence and discipline – actually committing every day. Patience – in our crazy faced paced tech filled world we usually want instaneous results, and true transformation takes time (frustrating I know!). And a brilliant teacher. Truly the whole process is better with a teacher you really connect with, that truly cares about your progress and process and is really dedicated to it. I’m so committed to our students, and The Broad Place supports them on so many levels, and I know it’s a much more graceful process than while knuckling it yourself! 

What was the first ever retreat you went on and what made it memorable ? 

The first Retreat I ever went on was a meditation Retreat and what made it memorable was it was my first weekend without my daughter who was tiny at the time! Honestly I can’t remember much aside from the luxury of not having someone small crawl all over me while I meditated! 

You have hosted several retreats over the years, what makes them unique?

About 25 Retreats over almost 10 years! I LOVE hosting Retreats so much. I have a background in hospitality, and the attention to detail on every level we make for our students is why people love coming to our Retreats. I’m a full time working mum, and I know for myself, if I am making the physical, financial and spiritual investment I want it to be amazing. Most of our students can only get away once a year or maybe once every two years on a beautiful immersive Retreat, so we pull out all the stops for them and make it luxurious, nourishing, special and give them a platform through detailed education on how they can integrate everything they learn when they re-enter their lives. Our students all make life long friends on these Retreats too! 

What makes taking people on a retreat in India so special for you ? 

India is the motherland of meditation, and the birthplace of most streams of spirituality. Heading to India brings up a lot for people, and we hold the space for them to process on very deep levels. We also take the stress and guess work out for people, with private transfers and a travel agent on the ground who is a dear friend of mine, to help them with anything they want to do on either side of the Retreat too. It means they can experience India in all it’s wonders with ease, and then spend 8 heavenly nights with us on Retreat with their every need taken care of. It’s a very rare experience indeed.

What can people expect from this upcoming retreat in October ? 

8 nurturing nights in a private cottage set on 26 acres, with our own beach, organic gardens, luscious forests, and swimming pool and hammocks. Our guests will have the options to practice yoga twice a day, meditate, do art classes or cooking classes, or simply lounge in the library and read or nap. Ayurvedic treatments are included almost daily and classes and workshops with me, as well as private mentoring where we work together on deepening your practice and connection to higher self. We will also have the option to visit the local temples and undertake ritual. It’s going to be a choose your own adventure process with every day things on offer that you can tune into, or tune out off so you can spend time solo, reading a book in a hammock under the palms. We even supply freshly pressed white kurta pants and tops to wear daily so you can pack very little! Every detail has been considered, with an educational program before you even arrive to engage with to get clear on your intention and outcomes for the Retreat. 

I know food holds a very special place for you, can you talk about this element during the retreat ? 

Most of the produce is grown organically on the property according to Ayurvedic principles and cooked in accordance with that. However, Southern India, especially Goa has incredible local cuisines and we will be savouring those as well. Think beautiful dosa filled with spicy potatoes, milky chais, locally caught fish in curries, fresh seasonal vegetables cooked with spices, pomegranate juice and young coconut water. A true indulgence for the senses in the most healthiest of ways! 

If someone is thinking about attending but has never done your practice, or been on a retreat before – what would you share with them ? 

Firstly don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly jacqui@thebroadplace.com.au as I am so happy to personally talk you through the Retreat and if it’s right for you. Most of our guests are single travellers or leaving families and have many questions and I’m here to make everyone feel comfortable. Secondly, know we have hosted so many Retreats and at this stage have seen and experienced it all, so you are in the best of hands. Thirdly, I know how much it will change your  life and so hope I can welcome you on this experience. 

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