PATRONS & BOARD
Formed in 2008, MA is a nationally registered not-for-profit association managed by a voluntary Board of meditation teachers from diverse backgrounds, and an Executive Officer.
MA promotes meditation as an integral part of life.
Associate Professor Dr Craig Hassed, MBBS, FRACGP
General Practitioner and Associate Professor, Monash University Department of General Practice
Former President Craig Hassed has generously accepted the invitation of the members to become the first Patron of Meditation Australia, a role suited to his many skills and talents. He will continue to be a major support for teachers and the public in spreading the benefits of meditation.
He also teaches in the cancer support programs at the Gawler Cancer Foundation. Craig is a media commentator, writes regularly for medical journals, particularly in Philosophy of Medicine and has published two volumes entitled New Frontiers in Medicine (1 & 2). He has published eleven books to date, including four on mindfulness – Know Thyself, Mindfulness for Life, Mindful Learning and The Mindful Home.
Director, The Stillness Meditation Therapy Centre
In 1983 Pauline published In Stillness Conquer Fear, pioneering public awareness of anxiety disorders and the value of Stillness Meditation as a successful intervention. At the invitation of Dr Ainslie Meares, (the ‘father’ of therapeutic meditation) she commenced meditation teaching with an emphasis on anxiety relief.
A growing community need led her to formal training in psychotherapy/family therapy while continuing to maintain Meares’ theories and principles throughout her work. In 1990 Pauline’s books for children prompted meditation in schools and the publication of the teaching manual, Let’s Be Still. She conducts a Stillness Meditation teacher training program and regularly gives presentations at all educational levels and to health and service organizations.
More recently Pauline has assisted in the development of a meditation course at the Australian Catholic University. With public interest at heart she was moved to initiate the formation of ATMA. Her lifelong interests, beyond an expanding family, include a range of creative and philosophical inclinations.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Founder, The Fifth Direction
Asher Packman has been practicing meditation for well over a decade and, after transitioning from a successful corporate career in 2011, he is now a qualified mindset coach (Diploma of Leadership, Coaching and Mentoring), meditation teacher and founder of The Fifth Direction.
In 2004, Asher founded PR agency, The Sauce, servicing clients in Australia before the opening of a London branch in 2006 led to expansion across Europe, South-East Asia, China, India, Africa and the Middle East.
Prior to that, he spent over five years with AOL (formerly part of AOL Time Warner) as a regional Vice President, heading up consumer and corporate communications in Australia, Asia and Europe.
A former member of the European PR Director’s Roundtable, he has also been engaged in senior roles at Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR and Sony Electronics.
Following his own life experiences, and the benefits he has seen arise in others, Asher is a passionate believer in making meditation an integral part of all our lives.
Paul Majewski, BA, Grad Dip Journalism
Director of Meditation Solutions, Partner in Meditation Events
Paul Majewski started his exploration of meditation practice in 1991. His main teacher at this time was Eric Harrison, director of the Perth Meditation Centre.
After a period of intensive practice in meditation centres in Thailand and Malaysia in 1993/1994, Paul continued to train at the Perth Meditation Centre, where he completed the Diploma of Meditation Teaching in 1997.
Paul worked as a freelance meditation teacher, mostly in adult community education, moving to Canberra in 1998 and Melbourne in 2002. In Melbourne he established his teaching business, Meditation Solutions, which now specialises in workplace training in meditation. This work has included the implementation of meditation programs for companies such as CSL, GM Holden and NAB, and local government organisations.
In 2008, Paul partnered with Garth Stone and Matthew Young, the director of the Melbourne Meditation Centre, to establish Meditation Events, a niche events management business. Meditation Events programmed and organised the Meditate08 and Meditate09 conferences and the Australian Meditation Conferences of 2010 and 2011, as well as two Music for Meditation concerts in 2008 and 2009 at the Edge Theatre in Federation Square. Meditation Events also organised the inaugural Yoga Teachers’ Association conference in 2011. Meditation Events continues to organise meditation-related events, including workshops with visiting international and interstate meditation teachers and the Meditation Salon, a meditation-related intellectual and cultural hub.
Paul continues to be inspired by the work of Eric Harrison and has also been influenced by the work of Lorin Roche and Jason Siff. He is very interested in the new ways in which meditation is being presented in our largely secular, health-conscious culture and enjoys mentoring and consulting with early-career meditation teachers.
Janet Etty-Leal, B Ed
Mindful Meditation Consultant at Meditation Capsules
Author, speaker and mindfulness educator Janet Etty-Leal has taught creative, holistic mindfulness practices for more than 15 years. Her consultancy, Meditation Capsules, has provided mindful life-skill programs for corporate, health, sport and community organisations and more than 80 schools and educational organisations.
Janet did her initial meditation teacher training with Dr Ian Gawler and is mentored by Bob Sharples.
A passion to support children and the people who care for them has fuelled the development of ‘Meditation Capsules’ programs for children from 3-18 years of age. She has facilitated training programs for teachers, therapists and youth workers.
Janet is a registered teacher with a background in Creative Arts. Decades of experience and study in the fields of meditation and life skills have culminated in informative and engaging Seminars, Workshops and classes.
The ‘Meditation Capsules’ program is evaluated by Masters and PhD candidates in the Universities of W.A. and S.A., and Monash and RMIT in Victoria.
Lisa Forde BA (Psych), Dip Hol Counselling, Cert IV Assessment & Workplace Training
Principal of the Australian Centre for Holistic Studies
Lisa founded the Australian Centre for Holistic Studies in 2006. She has authored a range of meditation teacher training and personal development courses. She has used her holistic living counselling background to provide a deep personal development focus in her training and workshops, having been mentored in holistic living and counselling by Alannah Dore.
In her 15 years of meditation teaching, Lisa has gained experience teaching small groups, primary and secondary school children, teachers, parent support groups and private organisations. In addition, she has run a private counselling practice.
From 2006-2013 Lisa taught the Certificate in Holistic Communications and Diploma in Holistic Living Counselling program. This involved the coordination and delivery of training programs and retreats in Melbourne and NSW.
Her focus now is on continued development and delivery of innovative material in the area of holistic meditation teaching for her body of students nationwide. She believes in meditation as a holistic lifestyle practice involving all aspects of self and affecting all aspects of life. Her passion lies in helping students offer teaching that presents meditation in an authentic and personalized way.
She is currently mentored by Ken Mellor.
Stephen Penman, MAppSc(Res), GC(Tert Teach Learn)
Executive Director, Lifestyle Medicine Foundation
Stephen is Executive Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Foundation, a health promotion charity, and a PhD Candidate at University of Western Sydney (UWS), developing an online comprehensive lifestyle change intervention. Previously, Stephen was CEO of the Australasian College of Nutritional and Environmental Medicine (ACNEM) from 2008 to 2013, a not-for-profit peak body providing representation, advocacy and postgraduate education for doctors in NEM.
Between 2004 and 2008 Stephen conducted the Yoga in Australia project at RMIT University for his Masters degree, while also working as a research assistant (investigating attitudes of General Practitioners and Nurses to complementary therapies) and a part-time member of the teaching staff (as Course Co-ordinator of ‘Wellness, Health Enhancement and Lifestyle Management’). During this time he also tutored medical students at Monash University in the ‘Health Enhancement Program’, focusing on stress management and mindfulness meditation.
From 2005-2008, Stephen served as Vice President and then President of Yoga Australia. He was also a member of the steering committee for the formation of the Australian Teachers of Meditation Association (ATMA). The turning point leading to his current career in health and wellbeing came in 2003 when he trained as a yoga teacher in the tradition of Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (sVYASA), following which he taught yoga classes in 2004 and 2005. His approach to yoga can best be described as ‘Contemporary Classical’ with an emphasis on developing greater awareness through yoga and meditation.
Dr. Graham Williams, PhD, B Mus, Grad Dip Ed, Dip Concert (Paris).
Founder and Director Lifeflow Meditation Centre
Dr. Graham Williams is both a concert pianist and a meditation teacher. The Lifeflow Meditation Centre offers a curriculum based on modern psychology and neuroscience, along with a rich practice derived from the meditation tradition. It provides a jargon-free, integrated practice for physical and mental health, personal development and spiritual growth.
Graham trained for more than 10 years in both the Burmese mindfulness and Tibetan Buddhist meditation traditions, and has more than 35 years of teaching experience with local, interstate and overseas students. He trained in Paris as a concert pianist and has taught piano students at Adelaide University for more than 20 years. Dr. Williams is also an adjunct lecturer at Flinders University, in the School of Medicine.
His first meeting with the meditation tradition occurred when a friend took him to meet the 16th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, in Paris. He realized that music itself was one of the few living traditions of meditation in our culture, and that he had been introduced to a tradition of training the mind and emotions that our culture did not have.
On completing his music studies in Paris, he spent a full year in retreat in Assisi, Italy, received ordination as a Lama from the Karmapa, and returned to Adelaide to take up his position at the University of Adelaide. He founded the Lifeflow Meditation Centre in 1981. It has a faculty of nine teachers and provides courses from basic to advanced levels, retreats and teacher training programs.
Graham was a consultant for a national corporate psychology company for eight years, has published many articles and two books on meditation, Life in Balance and Insight and Love, and released two music CDs. He is a passionate advocate for the preservation of Australia’s natural heritage.
Founder and Director of Melbourne Meditation Centre
Matt Young has been teaching meditation and mindfulness for more than 15 years. He set up the Melbourne Meditation Centre in 2005 with the aim of teaching meditation in a very accessible, contemporary manner, having recognised that many people were being put off by a perception that meditation had to be tied to religious and spiritual beliefs, or required one to ’empty’ the mind, adopt special postures or subscribe to weird and esoteric ideas about the world.
He has continued down this path by incorporating lessons and strategies from a diverse range of fields, by keeping abreast of developments in both brain science and psychology, and by paying close attention to the needs of students who come to class with their stress, anxiety and smartphones.
Matt has a particular interest in presenting meditation as a tool that can be used to create healthy mental and emotional habits and he has a reputation in Melbourne as the meditation teacher’s teacher. He particularly enjoys teaching yoga teachers how to present meditation in a simple, down-to-earth manner.
Matt, along with fellow Board Member, Paul Majewski, has been involved in the organisation of a wide range of local events, hosting teachers visiting from interstate and overseas and facilitating the Melbourne chapter of the recently inaugurated Meditation Pod.
Zoe Kanat is a qualified Meditation teacher, mindfulness educator and coach and trained Psychotherapist and Counsellor.
She first started working in the health and wellbeing industry in 1996 in Human Services as a support person with young offenders. After having her first child and spending time at home Zoe began working with other mothers as a Counsellor at PANDA (Post and Ante Natal Depression Association), as well as in private practice. In 2017 she assumed a position on the tutoring team at Monash University (Department of General Practice) as part of the health Enhancement Program led by Associate Professor Dr Craig Hassed.
“She has volunteered with The Sacred Heart Mission in St. Kilda, The Lighthouse Foundation for homeless young people and with Caring Mums, a service that provides emotional support to mums of newborn babies and women during pregnancy.
She has been a practitioner of yoga since the 1990s and her interest in meditation and mindfulness (Vipassana – Insight meditation) sprouted while studying Psychotherapy in 2006.
With a background in alternative health practice, most notably as a Doctor of Tibetan Medicine; and as a teacher and long standing meditation practitioner, Karen brings a passion for meditation to the role of Executive Officer for Meditation Australia.