This is the first in a series of interviews with people I know, love and find inspiring. I hope that their experiences and advice might be if some help to anyone who reads them.
Name and company: Elizabeth Ananda
Where do you live? London!
Q: Tell me a little bit about your business and what was the impetus to startup?
A: I offer life-coaching and two workshops: I LOVE ME, a guide to self-love and happiness. Another is STRESS SUCKS; a stress management workshop for companies. In which I combine Beyonce’s music, Emotional Freedom Technique, some yoga and meditation and various empowering and de-stress techniques. I usually start the workshop by saying ‘Let the party begin!’.
I have been on this beautiful and adventurous spiritual path of yoga for almost 10 years now. Some years ago, I became a Happiness program teacher at the Art of Living foundation and got properly trained in yoga and meditation. As my Guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar says, ‘God loves fun!’. So, although I have been to India, Jerusalem, and other spiritual places, it wasn’t until I came to the U.S that I had my major process of spiritual purification. I went very deep within and experienced bliss and higher states of consciousness that sparked enormous love, compassion, and belongingness in me. When I returned to Europe I got a very clear instruction from within that it was time to start sharing my insights and joy with others. That call to establish my own business was so strong that I couldn’t even question it, and although following your intuition and guidance is not always the easiest path as it often takes you out of the comfort zone and challenges one’s faith, I am really happy about having my own business.
Q: What is your biggest achievement so far?
A: When I see that my workshops and work make others happier, it's the most humbling experience. Let’s get real here - one who has achieved inner peace and love and shared it with others has achieved everything that there is to be achieved in this life.
Q: What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
My best friend fell in love and stopped getting in touch with me because her new boyfriend wanted to have her all for himself. I always thought that our friendship was beyond these things. It was very painful and totally unexpected.h However, I decided to move on. Sometimes life seems to be crazy and one feels deeply hurt, but I found out that it is particularly in these moments of pain and helplessness that we get closer to the Divine and become stronger.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you have been given?
A: I am a huge fan of Silence and also of the Buddhist stories where two great saints meet. Instead of having a passionate conversation about spirituality, they remain silent for the duration of their meeting. It is so cool to have a Guru and enjoy the company of the enlightened ones. In their loving presence, all the questions and the need for advice drop – this I can say from my experience with Sri Sri. He is someone to look up to and know that he has your back.
Q: Many people only contemplate setting up their own business, what advice would you give to spark the catalyst?
A: Listen to one of the greatest sages of the West, King Elvis, singing ‘A little less conversation, a little more action please’. Works miracles!
Q: What do you do to stay active and how has it changed your life?
A: I think that sport, especially dancing and Zumba, are slowly becoming part of my Sadhana. It has such enormous benefits on the mind and the body. I'm kind of addicted to the daily dose of pheromones I get after a good workout.
Q: Do you have any favourite tips and tricks to stay healthy and happy everyday?
A: I am a passionate ambassador of the healthy life style. Yet, I believe that forgiveness and surrendering to the Divine are stronger guarantees of health, happiness and sanity than daily wheatgrass shots and aerobics.
Q: Do you consider yourself a ‘healthy eater’ and are there habits you wish you could kick?
A: I am totally a healthy eater but I am not obsessed about that. Healthy food is just a natural outflow of inner wellbeing to me, and a way to support my energy levels and my spiritual practice.
Q: What is your typical…
Breakfast: Healthy Eastern European bread with houmous or almond butter, and fruit, fruit, fruit! I am a bit fruitoholic! I’m also a great fan of smoothies.
Lunch: I have grown very fond of buckwheat, beetroot and cashew nut salad.
Dinner: My flatmate loves to cook Indian, so I get to eat my favorite purely vegetarian and Sattvic Indian food in the evening.
Q: Lastly, how lucky are you, and why?
A: I consider myself super lucky, and here’s why: in India they say that the greatest luck to have is when :
- I have a human body (Check!)
- I have a thirst for spiritual knowledge that takes one from ignorance to wisdom, from darkness to light, from suffering to bliss (Check!)
- I have a spiritual guide or a teacher (for me it’s Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and the teachings of A Course in Miracles, although there are so many beautiful paths that lead to the same point of the blossoming of one’s life).