Shaper: Andy Puddicombe

Show aired on 9th August 2014


Transcript of the show
Elliot MossThat was the theme from Shaft from Isaac Hayes, a lovely way to start the programme this morning.  Good morning this is Jazz Shapers, I am Elliott Moss and you are listening to me on Jazz FM; and this is of course the place where you can find the very best of the people who are shaping the world of jazz, soul and blues alongside their equivalents in the world of business, a business shaper.  My business shaper guest today is Andy Puddicombe.  He is the co-founder of Headspace, a mindfulness project.  You can call it a company; we are going to talk about why it is a project.  Lots coming up from Andy all around what mindfulness is and what it can do for you and your business.  In addition to hearing from Andy, you will also be hearing from our programme partners at Mishcon de Reya some words of advice for your business and on top of all that of course some brilliant music from the shapers of jazz, soul and blues, including Monty Alexander, Gil Scott-Heron and this from Cécile McLorin Salvant.That was I Didn’t Know What Time It Was from Cécile McLorin Salvant.  You are listening to Jazz Shapers as I said and my business shaper today is Andy Puddicombe, which is a Cornish name he tells me and he will tell you more about that maybe if you are lucky.  Andy is the co-founder as I said earlier, of Headspace and Headspace is an unbelievably interesting business which focuses on the art of being mindful.  Andy hello.  Before I talk about your dim and distant past as a Buddhist monk and all sorts of interesting things, in a nutshell, what is mindfulness for those people that wouldn’t know that are listening? 
Andy PuddicombeMorning Elliot.  So mindfulness I think the easiest way to think about it is being present in the moment.  So most of the time we are kind of very distracted you know, even though we are kind of, we might be focused on a particular project the mind tends to kind of wander off. You know so we actually spend very little time in the present moment so there is an argument perhaps that we should kind of actually train our mind to be more present more of the time so we not only get to experience more of life but so we feel a little bit more kind of focused in our life.Elliot MossAnd this now is I mean a phonominum is a word that people use.

 

Andy Puddicombe
Yeah.Elliot MossBut its everywhere, you can’t read an article in a paper or a magazine or on-line or wherever where they don’t reference the power of mindfulness.Andy Puddicombe

It is extraordinary.  You know I came out of the monastery as you say, I was a Buddhist monk and I came out of the monastery probably about 8 or 9 years ago and I came back to the UK first and I remember kind of going in and talking to people about mindfulness and one, nobody was familiar with the word but also kind of there was a degree of I’d say scepticism, hidden with laughter and no one really kind of knew what to make of it and when I look at that journey over the last 8 years and how it’s changed in terms of media perception, you now have, you know, the Bank of England are training their people in mindfulness. It is incredible that journey.

Elliot Moss

Now how big is your company right now and where are you based?

Andy Puddicombe

So we are based here in London but also in LA as well so the office, the team is split.  We have currently got about 35 people; so we are about 4 years old as a company.  The digital, the on-line component is only about 2 years old, yeah.

Elliot Moss

And plans to go bigger as well which we will talk about a little later.

Andy Puddicombe

Sure.

Elliot Moss

If the world really takes to mindfulness and the way they seem to be.

Andy Puddicombe

Sure.

Elliot Moss

Let’s go back, you are a twenty or something year old guy, you are studying a sports science degree, my sources tell.

Andy Puddicombe

That’s right.

Elliot Moss

And then you go I don’t want to do this anymore.  I have spoken to lots of people who set up businesses, not many of them go via a monastery.

Andy Puddicombe

Really?

Elliot Moss

Not many, not that they, maybe they just didn’t tell me.  But you take yourself off to where?  You say, no, no more I am going.  Where do you go?

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah first stop was northern India.  So I was, I was looking to, I was actually looking to join a Thai Monastery but at the last minute I was going to fly to Thailand and the last minute I was chatting to a friend and they had just come back and they had just met the Dalai Lama in northern India and I thought, hey that sounds great.  So I took about three months between leaving University and flying out there just to save up a bit of, a bit of money and yeah and sort of set off on my way.

Elliot Moss

Stay with me to find out why Andy set off on his way and what happened next.  Time for some music though, this is Gil Scott-Heron and The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.

That was The Revolution Will Not Be Televised from of course Gil Scott-Heron.  Andy Puddicombe is my business shaper, he is the co-founder of Headspace, the mindfulness project that is either of its moment or has defined the moment or I don’t know, sometimes trends you don’t know where they come from.  You can take the credit for them in 50 years when everyone turns round and says, where did that start?  It started with Andy Puddicombe.  You said you obviously left University.  What prompted you to go this isn’t for me? I mean that is a pretty big shift from being you know a student in University in Bristol or wherever to then go off to the far side of the world to do something so different.

Andy Puddicombe

There were a few kind of things in there I guess.  So there was definitely a trend in the family so even kind of, you know, grandparents were kind of into that sort of thing, my grandma was doing yoga back in the 50s in London.  My mum trained as a kind of hypnotherapist, was doing stress management counselling.  So we had been kind of around, we started learning meditation about the age of 11, kind of 10, 11, 12 something like that.  So we had kind of been around and then in my late teens kind of, I think a few things happened. I was involved in an accident where a couple of people died.  My stepsister was killed soon after as well and I think all of these things kind of left just a lot of questions in my mind as kind of you know what’s it all about and I think it is a question that exists for all of us in life. I think it is stronger at certain times and we all deal with it in different times or in different ways rather.  And for me that, it is really hard to explain actually because it wasn’t like I sat down and wrote a pros and cons of being a Buddhist monk or anything like that, it just, it just felt like the right thing to do.  And it really was that kind of clear in my mind.

Elliot Moss

And do you think that you were on the one hand looking for the answers?

Andy Puddicombe

Yes.

Elliot Moss

Or on another hand, escaping?

Andy Puddicombe

Absolutely.  I think I wouldn’t have admitted the latter…

Elliot Moss

No until later on?

Andy Puddicombe

…until much later on…

Elliot Moss

Yeah.

Andy Puddicombe

…I think it took me.

Elliot Moss

But that journey you have been on because you know, if we were talking about a non-business thing here and one was having a conversation with someone who had been through trauma and they came through the other side that is all well and good.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

Something else has happened though and in that time when you were obviously a practising Buddhist monk, you know, there aren’t many Buddhist monks that I know and I don’t know many let’s be honest, I have probably only met a couple in my life very briefly.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

But there aren’t many that then think, hold on a minute there is a commercial opportunity to translate what I have done over here which had real meaning for me which answered lots of questions for me, and make a business of it.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

Where has that bridge come from?  Is that where Richard your partner fits in?

Andy Puddicombe

No it started a little bit earlier so I was actually asked by the monastery to go and teach meditation.  It was in Moscow in Russia and I was in Russia for probably about 4½ years and while I was there different people used to come along to the meditation centre, lay people, and increasingly they were sort of people from the ex-pat community and there was one in particular from an oil company.  He was very senior in an oil company and he said “I would love you to come in and work with our execs”; he said “but dressed like that, seriously?  Like I just couldn’t.”

Elliot Moss

You’ve got to drop the skirt?

Andy Puddicombe

Exactly.  A bald headed guy in a skirt.

Elliot Moss

It’s not going to happen is it?

Andy Puddicombe

Not in an oil company in Russia.

Elliot Moss

But why, what was the thing that he thought would be useful for all the other people in that big company?

Andy Puddicombe

The meditation.

Elliot Moss

Any why?

Andy Puddicombe

So you know we talked just now about mindfulness.  So the idea of being in the present moment is a really attractive idea for most people but it is really difficult to learn so you need a skill or an exercise in which to learn it and that is all meditation is.  You are just learning how to be more familiar with the present moment.  From a work point of view that means being more focussed, more productive, from a health point of view so if you think of it from an HR point of view or an occupational health, we are talking about reduced stress levels, we are talking about reduced absenteeism.  So it has a real kind of direct benefit for the business as well as it just being a nice idea.  So for him I think he was very much of the mind, look how can we improve the health and wellbeing of our team.  So that was why he invited me.  He invited me in and the more I thought about it, you know, was I passionate about teaching meditation or was I passionate about being a monk and I was passionate about teaching meditation so it was a really easy decision.

Elliot Moss

Find out more about how Andy has taken that very good decision and created a business with his partner and the rest of the people in the business or as he calls it the project.  Latest travel in a couple of minutes but before that, some words of wisdom, I hope, because we are in the presence of an ex-Buddhist monk so they had better be good from our programme partners at Mishcon De Reya for your business.

You are listening to Jazz Shapers with me, Elliot Moss every Saturday morning you can catch a brilliant and intriguing and hopefully inspirational business shaper.  If you have missed any along the way in the last few years, go in to iTunes, put in the words Jazz and Shapers and you will find them there.  Hopefully they will make you happy and also take you somewhere you didn’t think you would go.  My business shaper today is Andy Puddicombe and he is the co-founder of Headspace and as you have been hopefully hearing earlier, he is also or was rather, a Buddhist monk and made an important decision to go from the practice of Buddhism to becoming actually a teacher and I suppose you can still practice Buddhism because when you meditate you are still a Buddhist?Andy PuddicombeYeah well it’s…Elliot Moss

You don’t stop being a Buddhist do you, just because you are not a monk?

Andy Puddicombe

Absolutely not and I actually never kind of, it is a strange thing to say but even as a Buddhist monk I never really kind of associated with the idea of being Buddhist as such.  Like I practice meditation and I try to live by those teachings but personally I look around the world and I think that division that religion has had, it doesn’t matter what religion, I think is so divisive to put labels kind of on ourselves, I think if we can kind of just live a life which is kind of kind and thoughtful then I think we would probably get along a lot better.

Elliot Moss

Now when you set the business up right at the beginning, did your ability to be meditative, to be mindful?

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

We will talk about the stress involved in setting up your own business.  Were you applying those techniques all the time or were you human like the rest of us Andy, did you have bad days and good days?

Andy Puddicombe

I am very human Elliot you know.

Elliot Moss

He looks human by the way.  Just to reassure you.  Pretty human.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah pretty human and of course like anyone, you know, we had… we went through amazing kind of periods of kind of growth and difficulty and challenges and excitement and I think it is only natural to do that.  I think that the difference with mindfulness, you know it doesn’t stop difficult things happening in life but it does change our perspective of those things.  So in the past you know, if I had been going through some of those situations I would have lost it, you know.  Either that or I would have gone down the pub and kind of just…

Elliot Moss

Drunk.

Andy Puddicombe

…drunk myself kind of, you know, to some place.  And I think the difference is that kind of now those things happen and it is kind of like, okay, they are happening.  The experience intensity of emotion is not the same, I don’t tend to get kind of overwhelmed by the emotion and therefore in that kind of place the clarity it is possible to kind of deal with it in a more skilful way so I wasn’t kind of consciously applying it but I think if you train for that many kind of years then inevitably some of that kind of feeds in to everyday life.

Elliot Moss

So the business is about 4 years old.

Andy Puddicombe

It is yes, exactly.

Elliot Moss

And in the last two years again the Getsomeheadspace.com is the repository where you can basically subscribe, you can get a whole bunch of downloadable tools.

Andy Puddicombe

Exactly.

Elliot Moss

And apparently my sources tell me, some sort of number around a million, a million people or a million downloads in that time. I mean that is an exceptionally high number and you can access these if I am right as well, in there is a hotel group that does it, there is an airline that does it and there is all sorts of places that are going, this works for our customers.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.  So there is the way most people kind of enjoy Headspace, I hope they enjoy, is via the app and yeah there is well over a million users now.

Elliot Moss

Give me a flavour; just give me one small exercise. If I buy the thing…

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

…because people will go, what is mindfulness.  I am hearing you talk about… give me like just one thought.

Andy Puddicombe

Okay sure.  So I think the ability to let go of the busyness of the mind and to be present in the here and now.

Elliot Moss

And how does your exercise do that?  If you give me one…

Andy Puddicombe

Exactly so it works as a guided exercise.  I can give you the theory of it which is to kind of sit down comfortably and to focus on the breath and you will find that your mind wanders off and when you realise it has wandered off you want to bring your attention back again.  But honestly the theory does no justice to it.

Elliot Moss

You’ve got to do it?

Andy Puddicombe

Well it’s a bit like kind of talking about a fine wine or something you know.  You can tell somebody what it tastes like, what it smells like, the notes and everything else but actually unless you actually taste it for yourself, it is a very kind of poor substitute for the experience.

Elliot Moss

What those exercises are doing is essentially enabling you to hear your breath, to feel where your hands are on your legs to essentially really get centred…

Andy Puddicombe

Exactly.

Elliot Moss

…around where you brain is and not letting it, as you said, drift off.

Andy Puddicombe

I think as I say to step out of the busyness of the mind and into the body.  We actually spend very little time kind of present in the body.  If you think about walking down the street, how often are we actually kind of conscious of the breeze against the skin, of the warmth of the sun on our back, well not in London that often I know but you know, all the sensation of our kind of our feet on the grass or so often we are thinking about a conversation we had last week or what we are going to do kind of you know next year when we get that promotion and so much time is spent in the past and the future and very little time is spent in the present.

Elliot Moss

Stay with me for more from my business shaper, Andy Puddicombe.  Time for some music this is from another Buddhist monk, Leonard Cohen, he wrote this and it is performed by Barbian and it is called Who By Fire.

That was Who By Fire performed by Barbian and written by Leonard Cohen. Andy co-founder of Headspace as hopefully people will have picked up by now, your business has really grown, I mean I believe that people are valuing this business that was only 4 years old at around 35 million quid.
Andy PuddicombeYeah.Elliot MossNot bad for an ex-Buddhist monk.

Andy Puddicombe

It’s okay isn’t it?

Elliot Moss

Yeah you had better do something good with that.  There is a lot of pressure on you.  You talk about it being a project.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

And I want to just talk about that for a second.  Many people in business set their business up partly through passion, whatever that might be, and partly because they are driven by money though most of the people I think I have interviewed over the last almost 3 years now, have talked about the passion before the money.  Some are the other way.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

Tell me what the project in its longest iteration would be delivering?

Andy Puddicombe

Sure.

Elliot Moss

What is going to happen to the world of business and the world around you?

Andy Puddicombe

Well I think the vision for Headspace is really very simple.  It is to improve the health and happiness of the world and that is really kind of no different, that’s the interesting thing, people say on you know, life as a monk and life as kind of businessman as though they are kind of two separate things.  Like the mind is the same actually.  Like the clothes might be different but the mind is the same.  As a monk you kind of seek to improve the health and happiness of the world.  It is exactly the same as a business.  It is our mission, it feeds into everything we do in the entire team and it is really important to say as well, I am essentially just a performing monkey. You know there are an incredible team at Headspace who do all the real kind of hard work and who kind of make it possible for people to use it on an app, they make it possible for us to team up with you know Virgin Atlantic and have a Headspace channel on the planes, at Western Hotels and to have Headspace in every single Western Hotel room around the world.  I think you know that takes a lot of different people and I am just kind of a small part of that team.

Elliot Moss

Some of the other intelligent things I think you’ve done and I remember speaking to the founder of Unruly, it is a social media, a digital video distribution company, exceptional company. They have invested a lot in research and kind of the world of academia.  You’ve done something similar as well if I am not mistaken?

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

Where you have if I believe that, understand that sort of Universities like UCL and the British Heart Foundation have come around and said, what you are doing is intelligent and you have used that to your advantage of course?

Andy Puddicombe

Sure I mean I think it is a really compelling kind of, really compelling argument to see in black and white, to have kind of independent scientists come and research using the app.  Sometimes in a work place scenario, sometimes outside.  In sports as well and kind of actually to see that the benefit.  I mean for some people the idea of meditation and mindfulness is still very fluffy. You know it is a very kind of woolly thing you know, it belongs to the east, something mystical about it but when they actually see the science in black and white, that’s really compelling and it is hard to ignore I think.

Elliot Moss

And there are some very well know people that are practitioners if I am not mistaken, Gwyneth Paltrow apparently is a mindfulness…

Andy Puddicombe

Of Headspace.

Elliot Moss

… of Headspace specifically and who else have you got?  There is a few others. I know you are not a name dropper Andy but name drop for me just for a moment?

Andy Puddicombe

Can I?  There is yeah I mean we have never kind of gone after kind of that thing…

Elliot Moss

No.

Andy Puddicombe

…but there are people who have spoken about it in the press, like Emma Watson for example and Gwyneth Paltrow, Davina McColl.  There is Etienne Stott who won a gold medal in the Olympics; part of the GB team.  There is Jodi Foster.  There is all kinds of people who use Headspace.

Elliot Moss

Maybe I should be doing it more regularly as well.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

Actually once a year would be good. Final chat coming up with Andy plus we are going to play a track from Shaper of Jazz, Monty Alexander, that’s after the latest traffic and travel here on Jazz FM.

That was Sacramento from the latest album Harlem Kingston Express.  What a brilliant name from Monty Alexander.  Just for a few more precious minutes and be present for them I urge you, be present for them, Andy Puddicombe is my business shaper and co-founder of Headspace, they are the mindfulness project and an amazing one too. I like your small objective; we are just going to change the world.Andy PuddicombeWell yeah you know.Elliot Moss

Let’s just think very micro Elliot, what we are going to do is we are going to change the world.  You have obviously again unusually for the kind of people that I usually talk to, you’ve met some, I am not going to use the word religious but spiritual people, because as you have said for you, Buddhism was less of a religion and more of a way of thinking I suppose.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

Who in your life do you think has really left an indelible mark of that’s what is important?

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah I think my parents like on both sides.  I think they really have done. I think in terms of my my training, kind of as a monk, there are kind of three or four teachers but there is one in particular actually and he wasn’t a Tibetan himself, he was an Irishman who went away and spent 12 years in cloistered retreat and in the Tibetan lineage and I met him in Moscow in Russia.  I spent several years with him there and what he did, up until that point, I had spent years and years kind of in the monasteries and stuff and I had heard all this stuff and it had remained, it had gone in to a certain extent but it still didn’t feel like that full rich experience that people talked about.  So there was some clarity and there was some calm but it wasn’t necessarily experiencing that sense of kind of warmth and compassion and everything else you know.  And I think what he did he made that real for me.  He had an ability to take that kind of eastern teaching and to make it very accessible and relevant and that is really kind of what I am now trying to do I guess in another kind of step further with Headspace.  And he left really an indelible mark, he kind of, I would say he kind of changed my life.

Elliot Moss

And you talked very candidly earlier on about the accidents and your step sister dying and friends and so on.  Pretty, I mean, you know almost at that, at any age, one of the worst things that can ever happen, grief is probably one of the hardest things to deal with.  Have they been the darkest moments in your life or have you had, I mean, do you put… because of that do you have perspective when you are faced with a business issue?  Is it a very different level of depth of emotion because you also said I think, quite rightly, it is not that this stuff doesn’t happen to you, it is just that you are better equipped to deal with it?

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah.

Elliot Moss

Is it much more in perspective because of that because of that big stuff or do you still get really irritated you know, from time to time?

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah I tend not to get irritated, I tend to like I can feel a bit kind of down you know, if we have gone through like, if things aren’t moving you know and I see kind of, I see a solution you know where maybe it is kind of because, kind of opinions are very firm and there is not a willingness to kind of loosen up those opinions and things get stuck.  That I kind of, it makes me feel a bit kind of down and I just kind of think, come on like we can move this on.

Elliot Moss

And how do you get up again?  What is the way you kind of self-diagnose or self-meditate, self-prescribe whatever the… I am trying to think of the word.

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah, well…

Elliot Moss

But whatever that kind of just fixes you?

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah rather than self-medication.

Elliot Moss

That’s the word.

Andy Puddicombe

It’s self-meditation and…

Elliot Moss

We’ve just invented something that’s great.  I am pleased we got there.

Andy Puddicombe

…and I do, I still meditate every day and that makes an enormous difference.  I am very fortunate I live in LA as you know, just very close to the beach and I am a passionate surfer and so I try and get up every morning at about 5.00 o’clock so I can do my meditation, then go to the beach and have a surf.

Elliot Moss

I just want to say I want be reincarnated as you.  I don’t have that life. I want that life.

Andy Puddicombe

It really changes things, you start the day in the water and it is quite something you know.  So I am very fortunate in that respect.

Elliot Moss

So you manage basically through those various elements to kind of go, you know what I can manage these emotions, I can deal with it?

Andy Puddicombe

Yeah and just to accept that that is part of it.  Again I think the, the biggest obstacle I think and the biggest challenge that we have in life is to think that everything should run very smoothly, exactly as we would like it to be and because we want it to be like that there is an inevitable tension in our mind because life isn’t like that so if we can kind of come to a place of thinking of okay this stuff happens and life doesn’t always go as we would like it to but can we be okay with that, when it’s not going as we want it to, then all of a sudden everything is okay.  Even when its not.

Elliot Moss

It is very clever; this business is basically going to solve everyone’s problems in the world.  I mean it is absolutely, on a serious side though if you apply that to any issue in any business context then hopefully you are going to be able to work through it.

Andy Puddicombe

It creates a really interesting space and I think you know, space is a, is a huge benefit to everybody.

Elliot Moss

Fantastic, Andy it has been an absolute pleasure talking to you.  Just before I let you go, what is your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Andy Puddicombe

My song choice is Louis Armstrong and it is What a Wonderful World and it’s special to me for several reasons.  When I finished one of my retreats in the monastery, that particular one was about a year long so I had been away for a year and I hadn’t heard any music or anything like that, it was one of the first songs I heard.  It was very emotional you know and really kind of moved me and it was also a really important song at my wedding to my wife Lucinda.

Elliot Moss

Excellent well here it is.  This is Louis Armstrong and What a Wonderful World.

 

That was What a Wonderful World of course from Louis Armstrong, the song choice of my business shaper today, Andy Puddicombe.  What a wise man, humble and absolutely clear about the decisions that have made him who he is and a focus on mindfulness which is absolutely what he wants to do for himself and business in general. Do join me again, same time, same place, that’s next Saturday 9.00am for another edition of Jazz Shapers.  In the meantime though do stay with us here on Jazz FM, coming up next its Nigel Williams.

Mindfulness is being in the moment.  So much time is spent in the past and the future and very little time is spent in the present.

I came out of the monastery as a Buddhist monk nine years ago. People were sceptical about mindfulness, now the Bank of England is training their people in it.

My grandma was doing yoga back in the fifties, my mum trained as a hypnotherapist and was doing stress counselling, we started learning meditation around the age of 11.

In my teens I was involved in an accident where a couple of people died. My stepsister was killed soon after that. These things left a lot of questions in my mind – what’s it all about?

It wasn’t like I sat down and went through the pros and cons of being a Buddhist monk, it just felt like the right thing to do. It was clear in my mind.

From a work point of view, mindfulness means being more focused and productive, with reduced stress and absenteeism. It has a direct benefit for businesses.

It’s so divisive to put labels on ourselves. If we can live a life which is kind and thoughtful then we would probably get on a lot better.

The vision for Headspace is to improve the health and happiness of the world.

I still meditate every day and that makes an enormous difference. I try and get up every morning at five am so I can do my meditation, and then go to the beach and surf.

The biggest challenge we face is that we believe life should run smoothly. Because we want it to be that way, there is tension in our mind when it is not. If we can think, life doesn’t always go as we would like it to, but we can accept that, all of a sudden everything is okay. Even when it’s not.

Andy Puddicombe

Andy Puddicombe, a former monk with a degree in Circus Arts, is the co-founder of Headspace, an award-winning digital health platform providing guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training to the masses.

TED talker, BBC contributor and Huffington Post writer, Andy is on a mission to get as many people as possible to integrate a 10-minute meditation exercise into their lives, bringing them, through Headspace, a “gym membership for the mind.”

In his early twenties, midway through a Sports Science degree and a very typical student life, Andy made the radical decision to give it all up and set off to Asia to become a Buddhist monk. For more than ten years, his meditation training took him all over the world, to Nepal, India, Burma, Thailand, Australia and Russia. He became a fully ordained monk at a Tibetan Monastery in the Indian Himalayas.

In 2004, Andy returned to the UK with one simple aim in mind: to demystify meditation, to make it accessible, relevant and beneficial for as many people as possible. Following years of further training, registration and planning, Headspace officially launched in spring of 2010. With hundreds of hours of content, it is acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive secular programmes for meditation and mindfulness.

As well as writing and presenting, Andy and his team have partnered with companies such as Virgin Atlantic, Westin Hotels Worldwide, Selfridges and The Huffington Post. They have consulted for Innocent Drinks, Reuters, KPMG and Credit Suisse, teaching people how to be less stressed and more focused in an increasingly challenging work environment, and count Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Watson, Olympic Gold Medallist Etienne Stott and Twitter founder Evan Williams among their fans.

Based in Venice, California, Andy’s daily meditations are listened to by over 1 million active Headspace users who have subscribed to the app.

Follow Andy Puddicombe on Twitter @andy_headspace