Inspiration: Andy Puddicombe, Co-Founder of Headspace
I’m sure lots of you have come across Headspace before, but incase you haven’t – it’s an incredible app that helps you get to grips with meditation. For me it made meditation feel accessible and possible – you start with just ten minutes a day and it does wonders! I’ve been so inspired by the app and the idea that it makes meditation an easy part of modern life, so I asked the co-founder Andy to answer my inspiration section so that you can learn more about him and the company – because they’re pretty amazing and anyone who says that their mission is to improve the health and happiness of the world is my kind of person! To celebrate this I’m giving away three subscriptions to Headspace, if you want to win one then have a look at my social media channels.
Name: Andy Puddicombe, Co-Founder of Headspace
Where do you live? Venice, California
What sparked your interest in health and wellness?
I’ve always been passionate about health and wellbeing. Mum was really progressive about that stuff. As kids, we’d go for acupuncture instead of going to the doctor, we’d eat home-grown shoots and sprouts for dinner; and even went along to meditation evenings. Growing up I did every sport imaginable and was still competing in gymnastics at the age of 22 (whilst doing a Sports Science degree) when I decided to quit university and travel to the Himalayas to become a Buddhist monk instead. It was at this stage that I realised that a healthy body, as important as it is, was only of any real use to myself and others when accompanied and supported by a healthy and happy mind.
How did you build your passion for healthy living into a career?
When I had completed my commitment as a monk and returned to the UK, it was very much with the intention of making meditation more accessible. I never really thought of it as a career, nor do I now, more just continuing what I had done as a monk which was teaching meditation. I somehow managed to squeeze in a degree in Circus Arts in London before launching Headspace with my very good friend and co-founder, Rich Pierson. We began with large events and a book deal and then the app grew out of that quite organically. We now have a few million people regularly using the Headspace platform and a fast-expanding team split between LA and London.
Who inspires you?
I’m inspired in so many areas of life. My main source of inspiration continues to be my teachers with whom I trained as a monk. But I am inspired every day by those who use Headspace and write in with the most incredible stories of how meditation has changed their lives.
One of my teachers used to say “Always keep death by your side”. At first glance that could be seen as rather gloomy, even comical. But it has real depth. Life races by, we miss so much, caught up in all the busyness of the mind. We go to bed and assume we will wake up. We wake up and assume we will go to bed at the end of the day. In doing so, we take our life for granted, we get so caught up in things that we miss the opportunity to connect with those around us in the way we would like to. But if we remember our mortality, we start to appreciate the preciousness of life, we become more calm, have more perspective, and are more able to affect positive change in the world.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
I’m not sure I can really claim credit for anything that has happened in this life. I feel extremely fortunate to have been part of some truly amazing things. Having our son would be one such thing! But I guess the other is being part of this global conversation about the importance of looking after the health of the mind. Whether that’s through the TED Talk, books, lectures, the Headspace App, it feels good to have made what I hope is a helpful and meaningful contribution in this space.
What’s your typical…
I’m so lucky to be married to an incredible vegan cook. The day begins with home-made sprouted buckwheat granola, coconut yogurt, and fresh berries. Hey, it’s LA!
Unless I had an extra hard surf that morning, then it’s usually just a smoothie. My favourite is Choco-Lovers. It’s fresh almond milk, raw cacao, almond butter, cocoa nibs, plant protein powder, banana and goji berries. If my wife is there, it will probably have either kale or spinach in it too!
I’m a big fan of Hail-Mary vegan treats. So, if there was nothing to raid from the fridge before leaving for work, then I would probably opt for something like that.
When I’m not on the road, I would usually have something like tofu curry and black rice or maybe some kind of lentil casserole type thing. I’m not very good with the names, but it’s always super tasty.
What’s your favourite dessert?
There are almost too many to choose from. But if I had to go for one it would be my wife’s chocolate ice cream, made from cashew nuts, coconut meat and that kind of thing, which is just off-the-charts.
What’s the best recipe you’ve ever made?
I used to cook a lot, but it’s rare these days. I used to cook a pretty good Thai or Sri Lankan curry though…I love the combination of coconut and chilli.
What are the ingredients you can’t live without?
Chilli and chocolate – but never together.
Where are your favourite places to eat?
I’m not really into fancy restaurants, so my favourite place would be either on our sunny porch at home, or a picnic up in the nearby mountains.
What do you do to stay active?
Living so close to the beach, I love to surf, whenever I get the chance. But since the arrival of our little one late last year, it tends to be looking after him that keeps me active.
What is your beauty routine?
Ha! Well, I shave my head. Does that count? I use Lab Series mostly.
Do you have any favourite natural skin care products or awesome beauty recipes?
I’m told by our resident neuroscientist at Headspace that meditation is one of the best things you can do for the skin. So maybe I’m halfway there. I also occasionally pinch my wife’s Elizabeth Arden 8 hour cream to polish my noggin. Needs must!
Where’s your favourite place in the world?
There are so many. But for sheer raw natural beauty, I would say either Kamchatka in far eastern Russia, or Yosemite National Park, just up the road from us in California.
What makes you happy?
Focusing on the happiness of others.
Describe your perfect day
My perfect day has less to do with what’s going on externally and more to do with what’s happening internally. But a good combo of family, work, surfing, sunshine and smoothies seems to work pretty well.
Do you have any favourite tips and tricks to stay healthy and happy everyday?
Yes, find the time to look after your mind each day and learn to meditate. Try downloading the Headspace App and doing Take10 – 10 minutes a day for 10 days – it’s free to download and it really does make the world of difference.
Find time to be playful too, whatever that means to you – with your exercise, with your food, with your lover, with your friends, with your family – it really doesn’t matter. Life can often become far too serious, so it’s important to stay in touch with that playful aspect of the mind.
Finally, as cliche as it sounds, be kind. Science has shown that when we are kind – be that to ourselves or others – we are healthier and happier. So always look for opportunities to benefit others.