Richard Brook is the Director of Creative Wellness and author of Understanding Human Nature: A User's Guide To Life! Richard talks to The Industry Leaders about how he helps people thrive and the challenge of continuously dancing for 3 days without food and water!
How did you end up sitting where you are today?
A grounded upbringing in Dudley, England's industrial heart, ruptured by a family breakdown and depression, gave way to clawing back happiness by exploring what you need to thrive! Years of intense wellness pursuits naturally overspilled into starting my own acupuncture and yoga practice in London, creating unique classes like Singles and Couples yoga and Yoga Raves! This led to my present position facilitating juice detox and yoga retreats at Moinhos Velhos in the Algarve, rated Top 10 in the World by The Times, and providing abundant material for my book 'Understanding Human Nature: A User's Guide To Life'.
What kind of work does your role involve?
I've several equally important threads to my bow! I help manage the retreat centre alongside the juice detox and yoga programmes which involves making sure we have everything in place for our guests to have an experience that touches every aspect of their body, mind and spirit. This means everything from making sure our advertising and promotions relay our unique holistic qualities to teaching yoga and meditation workshops and giving treatments.
Alongside this, I manage a team delivering corporate wellness classes and workshops across the UK and am currently working on promoting my book via interviews and podcasts!
What gets you excited about your industry?
I'm in an industry that is essentially an extension of my own heart and soul and passions; it couldn't be any better! What excites me is helping people thrive, to throw away the baggage of misconception and cultural and societal misalignments that hinder their wellness and bring them back to their own instincts and passions about what they need to live an exhilarating life. It reminds me that nature is designed to balance every day – it's just built into creation – and when people follow their natural impulses, life is so much better! I get to share in that growth.
What's the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Travelling around Canada many years ago, I stayed with a particularly wise lady who told me, "You don't have to justify something that fulfils you".
I've remembered this many times over the years, not just when I might be confronting the opinions of others about my choices, but more so when I'm trying to justify something in my own mind. When I get into that pattern of needing that intellect voice in my head to tell me something is right, it usually means I'm denying my heart - because when you live by the Heart, the mind is always quieter!
What, or who inspires you?
People who are living authentic lives – living a life doing something they are simply passionate about! There is a wonderful simplicity to people strong enough to yield to their own natural impulses and desires; it creates a really impressive congruent quality to a person's demeanour that I can sense a mile off. It takes away so much of the discordant mental and emotional traffic and complications when people live from the Heart! I'm inspired by practices that facilitate this, like yoga, wellness, dance and movement, therapies, nature.
How do you keep up to speed with what's happening in your industry?
Running a corporate wellness business and retreat, which was a thriving market pre-Covid and will bounce back strongly. We are constantly checking out what our competitors are developing, made much easier nowadays with social media. We are also in the very fortunate position that many people who visit the retreat, in particular, are already wellness professionals or have a huge enthusiasm for wellness. These people are our greatest resource as we get to spend quality time with them. I share my own cutting-edge approach to wellness via my book and social media channels.
What was the most challenging project or situation you've overcome?
I've had a fair few challenges over the years – some acute and from my own choice. For instance, completing 12 Sun Moon Dances, where you dance for 3 days without food and water (from the Native American traditions) and various meditation intensives (in some ways nothing more challenging than the contents of your own mind). However, to be honest, looking back, I'd say my biggest challenge is re-finding my happiness after periods of depression in the past. You can't buy or fake happiness; it is the most precious thing, bar none.
You finish work today and step outside the office to find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?
I would immediately complete the purchase of the retreat centre that my colleagues and I are currently raising finance for. We'd then create the most exquisitely wonderful centre of life and spirit. We would move away from the notion of 'retreating' from life and instead create a centre to remind people what the abundant potential of life can be and then create it in their own lives! This first centre would be followed by many other branches globally!
Some funds would also be put aside for fresh, unexpected opportunities; after all, you need to stay open to adventure and the mystery of life too!
How do you switch off after a day at work?
After work, I love to go to a yoga class and have someone else lead me into relaxation and peace and quiet! More recently, I've discovered the joys of dog walking and working on my own creative projects, such as my book, in my own time at my own pace - what an antidote to the ebbs and flows (and sometimes torrents!) of work that can come from others!
If you had one wish for the future of your industry, what would it be?
That the people who work in the wellness industry truly embody healthy principles themselves! That they take the time to look after themselves and learn to value what they offer - and that other industries also start to apportion greater value to wellness practices. In addition, they live lives with good integrity and values, live from the Heart, trust the spirit and look after the body - and don't get pulled into making decisions from fear, scarcity, greed or survival mode that so many other people are living in nowadays.
What book or podcast should everyone know about?
Understanding Human Nature: A User's Guide To Life! by Richard Brook
• Understand The Nature of Your Soul
• Understand Interconnectedness of Nature and All Beings
• Understand How Natural Forces Act on You
• Understand The Mind
• Understand Relationship Dynamics
• Understand Healing Practices
"This book successfully brings together key elements from a variety of different healing systems and traditions. For anyone seeking to deepen their relationship with the inner-self, navigate the hectic modern world, and find their true calling in life... This is possibly the most important user's guide you will ever read."
Natalie Chandra Saunders, author of The Qi of Tea.
How should people connect with you?
Find me at the following!
www.creativewellness.co.uk (Personal and therapies website)
www.corporateyogalondon.co.uk (corporate wellness site)
You can also find me in person at Moinhos Velhos Retreat in the Algarve, facilitating juice detox, yoga and wellness retreats! (more info via the Creative Wellness website).
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