Getting to know Kate...
Kate Cliff is a Vedic Meditation teacher, and an all-round beautiful, shiny soul. If you’re not familiar with this style of meditation, it’s an effortless, self-sufficient, take anywhere meditation technique. This is what makes the technique able to be integrated into daily life. Meaning busy people with busy lives can enjoy the benefits.
Kate’s personal journey to meditation is an incredible one. She hasn’t always been a meditator, and nor did she think she ever would be - or more to the point that she’d ever be capable of meditating!
Kate learnt to meditate when her life was completely overwhelming. She was working as a lawyer in Sydney when she was hit by a car as a pedestrian. The prognosis for her quality of life after that was not good. Severely injured, in chronic pain, and struggling mentally, 13 months later, she finally took the advice of many, realised she had nothing to lose and everything to gain, and learnt to meditate.
‘My body started to come out of pain and heal, I started to be able to sleep and eat, and I got space back from the negative, self-destructive voices in my head. And I felt very self-empowered, that I had a tool that I could use anywhere, anytime, that enabled me to change my experience of life’.
For Kate, meditation is the most important thing she does in my day (every day) to get the most out of herself and her life. It’s the recharge cord for the mind and body. Just like we connect our devices, she takes the time to do that for herself, so that she can launch out into life at full capacity.
Where do you call home?
Currently Bondi! In the physical sense. I’ve always really loved having a beautiful home, gorgeously furnished, and would often describe myself as a home body. But what I’ve come to learn is that ‘home’ is within. There’s a Maya Angelou quote that I love: “You are only free when you realise you belong no place - you belong every place - no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great”. I travel a lot with work, primarily between Byron Bay, Bondi and Berry (on the South Coast) and I’ve spent three of the last six months overseas. None of which was a pre-planned model, but it has unfolded that way, and feels like the world is constantly placing me where I’m most needed at that point in time, for both myself and for others. I wouldn’t be able to be adaptable like that if I didn’t have a real sense of inner stability and security, which we often associate with the physical bricks and mortar. I’ve just recently relocated to base myself back in Bondi, which I’m loving, but Byron, the South Coast and India are all home too.
What do you love about living there?
I grew up on the South Coast and that’s where my family and lots of long term friends are still based. I’m from a small town and there’s a real sense of community there which I love, and my teaching space is absolutely phenomenal! A purpose built glass meditation shala set on nine acres, surrounded by dams and cows! It’s very special. The South Coast is unique in that there’s rolling farmland that meets the ocean. I feel really fortunate to have grown up there.
My grandparents had a property in Byron when I was growing up so we spent a lot of time there as kids. Byron holds lots of my happiest childhood memories so it’s a really cherished place for me. I also love the warm weather and water, fun waves, incredible food and relaxed lifestyle.
Bondi I love for all the buzz!
Tell us about your ideal day situation!
Morning medi, sun, great waves, great food, family and friends and an arvo medi!
I spend a lot of time.....
Doing what I love, which is teaching people how to meditate.
One thing that might surprise people about me is:
That I’ve overcome really serious health problems and injuries. I often get told by people that to look at me they wouldn’t have had a clue of what I’ve been through. It’s nice for me to hear, because it’s such a reflection of how far I’ve come. At the point at which I learnt to meditate my life was feeling completely overwhelming. I was working as a lawyer in Sydney when I was hit by a car as a pedestrian. The prognosis for my life was not good. Severely injured, in chronic pain, and struggling mentally, 13 months after that accident I learnt Vedic meditation. It completely changed my life. After the accident I had been told that I needed to let go of of the old Kate and all of the things I loved doing. And that was the case for a really long time, but I was determined to not let that be my life. So now you’ll see me surfing, dancing at festivals, hitting the gym or getting my hike on!!
What is your go-to breakfast?
Breakfast for me changes with the season. At the moment I’m making a quinoa porridge with poached pears, nuts, chia, cinnamon and almond milk.
Current favourite podcast / book?
I’m loving listening to the Mothers of Invention podcast. It highlights the game-changing women doing incredible things to take action against climate change. I’m finding it really inspiring.
What does self-care mean to you?
It’s the foundation to my life. I really want to be someone who is out in the world and making a big difference. I can’t do that if I’m not taking really good care of myself first, which for me starts with my 20 minute, twice daily meditation practice.
How do your breasts form part of your self-care routine, if at all?
There’s an asana sequence that’s been passed down with the technique of meditation that I teach that can be practiced daily. That sequence begins with deeply connecting into the body through what we call “toning up” a sort of self-massage process, that includes the breasts. Prior to learning this sequence I had never given my breasts that sort of loving touch and attention. I find it a really beautiful way to connect into my whole physical body, but especially my breasts in a way that I had never do so before, especially on such a regular basis.
Two words to describe your boobs.
Perky and beautiful
What do you think of when you hear the term breast wellness?
Regularly physically checking in on the health of my breasts through my own physical checks and also being checkout out by a professional.
How often do you conduct a self-breast check? (Is this something you dedicate time to doing, or is it more a case of a sporadic feel in the shower every now and then)?
I’m very regular with my Vedic asana practice that I mentioned above, so my breasts do get my attention often. Although checking for lumps had not been at the forefront of my mind, if I was going to find something myself, I feel this process is really thorough. I also sometimes deliberately check in the shower now as well.
If you do check your boobs, do you feel confident that you're doing it right, and know what changes to be aware of?
I feel confident that I'm pretty attuned and connected with my body and attentive, but not confident that I have any particular technique for checking on my breast wellness down pat or what changes exactly to look for.
Do you recall being educated about breast wellness / awareness when you were younger? By whom?
No, not at all.
Sadly, current statistics show that 1 in 7 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Have you ever been indirectly or directly affected by breast cancer, or know someone who has?
When I was about 6 a friend at school’s Mum died of breast cancer. We were all devastated. And then my Mum found a lump. I was terrified. It turned out to be nothing for my mum, thankfully. But all of that is really etched into my mind still. I also see a lot of clients with breast cancer and more recently a close friend of mine has been diagnosed as well, which has brought the issue right to the forefront of my mind again.
The name Nuni is a direct reference to the slang name 'noonies' that our founder, Dayle's family referred to breasts as when she was a little girl. Do you recall using a slang name, or has it always been the anatomically correct term?
I don’t recall there being any openness around discussing body parts at all!
From our research, young women tend to avoid regularly showing their lady lumps any love, and instead plan to start having breast checks when they're closer to screening age. What do you think can be done to encourage young women to get to know their boobs better?
Education! Until you informed me I had no idea of the rate at which breast cancer affects young women. I think it really is viewed as a disease to worry about later in life. I absolutely love the fact that you’re on a mission to use your life experience to educate others, but you’re also offering up a practical approach as to how to be vigilant which I love. I love that you’re bringing awareness to this issue, and also encouraging young women to add in a daily self-care, breast wellness routine into their lives, and have created a beautiful product in order for people to do so. You being you and bringing your story and your product to the world has definitely put this issue on my radar!
Thank you so much Kate! You're super fabulous, and one of those people who's sunshine-y company makes you want to go and suck the marrow out of life! Find more on Kate and her incredible work over at Kate Cliff Meditation, and if you've ever contemplated learning meditation, I urge you to follow her Instagram page here. The testimonials she receives will have you signing up to one of her courses or retreats in no time!
Hope you've enjoyed this Q&A as much as I have.
With love & happy boobs,
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