Laura Poole is a Vedic meditation teacher and an influence to us here at Prodjuice HQ. Having trained intensively for the past 8 years in Australia, India and the United States, Laura is a wealth of knowledge and we have a lot to learn from her. We were lucky enough to chat with Laura about her journey on a path to inner peace as well as having her record a guided mediation for us which you can listen to here.
Based in Melbourne, Laura also teaches in Sydney and hosts meditation retreats in India. With the desire to share the wisdom of meditation, Ayurveda and the ancient Vedic culture, Laura endeavours to make the practices relevant for today’s modern world.
A program developer and board member of 1 Giant Mind, a free learn-to-meditate app, Laura intends to help inspire people to take care of their physical and mental health, while encouraging us to make a difference in the world. For her, it’s all about sharing simple ‘how-to’ techniques for creating balance and harmony, while guiding people to live a radical and fierce life in flow with nature.
What drew you to begin meditating?
I wasn’t actually looking to learn meditation, but was introduced to the idea through my kinesiologist/chiropractor, Matt Bourke, who I’d been working with for a couple years. I was experiencing what I now know to be ‘stress-related health issues’ and Matt suggested meditation as a way to help ease the physical symptoms by going to the root cause – the mind. I ended up at an introduction talk on Vedic meditation where everything the teacher spoke about resonated so deeply. I thought ‘this person knows the way to a much more fulfilling life and I want in’. It took me 6 months to finally get to a course (there’s a whole other story in that!) but once I learnt, I knew everything I felt in that first meditation experience was going to utterly change my life.
Has it changed your way of living?
In every way possible! I don’t actually believe I was ‘living’ before – more existing, searching for happiness in things/people/relationships that really weren’t sustainable, worrying, projecting and all those other things that make life a bit tiring. But I didn’t know any different back then – it’s just what I did. I’m not saying my life before was bad by any means! But I had no idea there was a whole world of deeper possibilities and an experience of bliss that could be lived in each moment. Now I feel like I’m actually living each day – engaging with life, people, and my deepest self and really enjoying the ride.
And teaching, why did you decide to go on and teach?
Funnily enough, I clearly remember saying to myself ‘I’m never becoming a Vedic meditation teacher’ after I left my first intensive meditation retreat in India. It was an incredible experience with lots of bliss, but it was also very challenging and it made me realise how much deep work there was to be done. But my resistance to going deeper didn’t last long as the universe had a definite plan for my existence. And, through a succession of coinciding events, I ended up packing up my home in NYC, leaving the fashion industry, returning to Australia and signing up to become a Vedic meditation teacher.
It felt like it wasn’t necessarily my ‘individuality’ making the decision, but a much deeper impulse that flowed through me and gave me no other choice but to commit to becoming a teacher of this powerful tradition. And I’m so glad I was an impulsive 23 year-old when the thought came – because it ended up being the best thing I’ve ever done.
Since then, I have come to realise how important this role is, as stress and stress-related mental-health issues wreak havoc on our society and culture. I feel honoured each day to be in service sharing the ancient Vedic wisdom, giving people a way to move away from stress and directly experience their natural state of bliss.
What is “Vedic” & why is this method so wonderful compared to other types of meditation?
‘Vedic’ is an English version of the Sanskrit word ‘Veda’ which means ‘to know’. This technique and its teachings draw from the cognitive sciences and the 5000+ year-old body of wisdom derived from India known as the Veda — knowledge governing the unity of the laws of nature and human consciousness from which meditation, yoga and Ayurveda are derived.
Vedic meditation falls into the category of a ‘ transcending technique’. The term ‘transcending’ refers to the experience of the mind naturally settling down into deeper states of awareness. Other systems of meditation typically involve concentration or control of the mind. Vedic meditation on the other hand is an easy and effortless style that absolutely anyone can learn. This technique is not about controlling the mind or body, emptying the mind of thoughts or creating a perfect state of stillness and silence. Instead it’s about creating the perfect conditions for the mind to expand, the body to rest and for our innate healing capability to kick into full gear.
And you feel the benefits of this deep rest and expansion after your very first session. The benefits then continue to exponentially increase as you make meditation a daily practice. Some people notice big changes immediately in the quality of their thinking and relaxation of the body. For others it’s a gradual experience of more self-awareness and increase of energy. You don’t need to give anything up to meditate. Instead we say to add meditation into your current daily routine and see the benefits positively influence every aspect of your life.
Tell us about the Heart Flow guided meditation you’ve recorded for us?
This Heart Flow guided meditation is a short 10-minute session that anyone can listen to and experience the benefits of calming the body and giving attention to our most important organ – the heart. It’s a great place to start learning how effortless and easy meditation can be, and how we really have the power to heal ourselves from the inside out.
If you like the Heart Flow guided meditation and are looking to take your practice deeper and learn Vedic meditation, then I highly suggest seeking out a teacher and learning this incredible technique face-to-face! The mind can be complex, layered and full of paradoxes. Having an experienced teacher who has been trained to understand its complexity and show you how to navigate the terrain will save you years of confusion and misunderstanding. A true teacher will teach you techniques to awaken the full potential of the mind without becoming dependent on them – they make you self-sufficient. Online courses, recordings and apps can be a great way to start your meditation journey, however learning face-to-face with a qualified teacher will always give you a deeper and richer experience! An easy Google search of ‘Vedic Meditation + (your city)’ will bring up a list of teachers – or if you want my recommendations for teachers in your area simply send me an email!
The greatest piece of Vedic wisdom you’d like to share?
The phrase I have tattooed on my arm so I don’t forget – AHAM BRAHMASMI. It’s expressive of the wisdom that says there is only one thing in the whole entire universe and I am that, you are that and all this is nothing but THAT. It reminds us of our wholeness, our oneness and connectedness to everything in life.
This ancient saying is basically telling us to ‘LET GO’ – to stop controlling life and seeking happiness outside of ourselves. Instead, we are to seek the stability of our SELF through a daily meditation practice and allow life to flow through us with grace and ease. This is the life-long practice that eventually leads to an experience of 24/7 bliss and fearlessness.
And finally, what’s your favourite daily ritual?
In case you couldn’t guess by now… my daily meditation practice. Oh and looking into the eyes of my lover – both bring so much bliss into my day and I wouldn’t live a moment without either.
Image source: Simon Shiff for Greenfields Albert Park
Laura wears Yoga 213 apparel