UTS alumna Camille Woods is deeply interested in helping people like her friend UTS Master student Armando Azpe, reconcile their tech-heavy, frenetic outer lives with a touch of inner peace. Her new venture, Monday Mind, combines yoga with networking and sees her clients meditate on such modern themes as public transport, rap music and how not to hate your boss.
I did my Bachelor of Accounting at UTS then worked in accounting for 10 years at Ernst & Young and Kimberly-Clark. But most recently I decided to do finance on the side while I start up Monday Mind, my yoga and meditation business.
I met Armando about a year ago through a mutual friend and really enjoy talking with him, especially about engineering. I’m currently a member of, and run a yoga-for-entrepreneurs class at, Fishburners – a co-working space for tech start-ups in Ultimo. I’m there to develop my meditation app and although I don’t have an engineering background, I work with a lot of engineers in the space and Armando helps me decipher a lot of their tech talk!
Monday Mind is modern and friendly; we learn each other’s names – it’s ok to chat in the middle of yoga poses – and each class has a different theme. I first became interested in meditation through the theory. I used to think that my thoughts were really important and what I thought was reality, but meditation has made me realise that I don’t have to hang onto things; that I can let things go, and it gives me more space. I also run alcohol-free yoga dance parties in Central Park opposite UTS. They are a great networking opportunity as well as being a lot of fun.
I develop a lot of modern meditations and involve the class in deciding what element of the experience we’re going to mediate on. We’ve done chocolate meditation – so eating chocolate and thinking deeply about the taste and texture; aromatherapy meditation; hip hop meditation; public transport meditation; and meditations on how not to hate your boss! I try to think of common problems in modern life, and develop a meditation that will help.
Armando regularly comes to my classes – he is a great sounding board for ideas and helps me with business decisions too. Because he is my friend I know I’m getting honest feedback, which is really helpful! Sometimes I think people aren’t going to like what I’ve got planned, and then sometimes I think, ‘Armando’s going to love this one,’ and then actually he’s like, ‘No, last week was better’. Sometimes you can’t predict who’s going to like which meditation, but we are the only meditation school where you can try all styles.
I think people are turning to meditation because there are so many distractions in life. We’re so busy running through our lives and juggling our various tech devices that turning everything off to meditate is very, very extreme. In fact, I think meditation is the new extreme sport!
I’m from Mexico and came to UTS in 2014 to get my Master of Engineering Management and MBA. I met Camille about a year ago through a common friend and we started hanging out and have become really good friends. When she told me she was starting her yoga and meditation classes I was really interested because I had done some meditation before and found it really useful.
In Mexico, I used to work as an engineer in the automotive industries – it was a very fast-paced environment with lots of projects happening all the time and I found it very stressful. Sometimes I couldn’t even sleep. I remember having this terrible time where I spent almost two weeks only sleeping about three hours a night. I approached a yoga teacher and he recommended that I try meditation. I found it worked quite well and although I still find it very, very hard to do, it does help me feel clearer and more focused during my day.
To be honest, I’ve never experienced anything like Camille’s classes before. She likes to experiment and try new ways to meditate. Can you picture this: Would you meditate to an Eminem song? Well, she’s done it, and it works! After her classes I feel less stressed, more relaxed, and … well … happy. I just feel happy. I like the fact that I can just be there, sitting and smiling; that’s really something.
Camille is a very supportive person; she’s interesting and funny and we’re always laughing together. I really admire that she does both corporate work in accounting but also trains people in yoga and meditation. I find that really inspiring. I want to be able to do that one day. Once I graduate from UTS I want to work first in a consulting job, but eventually I’d like to open my own consulting firm.
I chose UTS because it had a very good international ranking and because it was located right in the heart of the city. Because I’m an international student, making new friends is really important and I’m so pleased to have met so many great people here, like Camille.
To find out more about Monday Mind, visit www.mondaymind.com