When it comes to mindfulness, inked sleeves, athletic bodies, and Wall Street suits don’t exactly spring to mind. But after hearing from these five men – who are athletes and entrepreneurs, and surprisingly mindful beings – you may reconsider. After all, staying grounded is everyone’s prerogative, right? As football players and businessmen, they each face pressure in their own way. But through mindful practices, they remain calm, centred and constantly progressing.
Here are five lads who are making grounding practices their Northern Star
1. Thomas Burgess, 24, Sydney
“It just keeps me present and in the now to make both my life and others around me better.”
Thomas Burgess was first introduced to yoga and mindfulness practices at the South Sydney Rabbitohs when he moved to Sydney from West Yorkshire, England. He attributes mindfulness to his capacity for gratitude and empathy as well as being a well-rounded person. He believes it was a big part of why the team won the NRL Premiership in 2014.
Yoga twice a week plus daily usage of the ‘3 Minute Mindfulness’ app, which he says is “a great reminder.”
“I believe that the mind is the strongest tool we have so why not train it like any other muscle.”
2. Nick Youngquest, 33, New York City
“Mindfulness for me is a connection to something bigger than ourselves. Whether that be the way in which we interact with others or treat the environment around us on various levels.”
Now calling NYC home, this 33-year-old Aussie is the rugged face of both THE UPSIDE Man and ‘INVICTUS’ by Paco Rabbane. Not a fan of “stereotypes’”or being “pigeon-holed”, let us paint a picture – he’s a model, former NRL player, yogi and life student. Just jump onto Instagram to get across his training adventures.
Mindfulness for Nick begins on the mat. Yoga is that ‘thing’ for him as well as his new puppy, Lexi who keeps him playful and grounded.
“I believe we can’t have a mindful connection with the world around us if we aren’t able to have the same connection with ourselves.”
3. Jamie Gonzalez, 35, Bondi Beach
“Mindfulness is to be aware of the consciousness that I am so that I am the space in which I observe thoughts, rather than allowing my thoughts to be having me.”
Jamie lives and breathes his philosophy of ‘Limitless Living’ – a way of living for ‘now’ and participating in anything that excites the soul. Within this he finds himself being an honest writer, truthful mentor and wholehearted speaker.
“I find [mindfulness] expressed through mentoring, writing, speaking, surfing, yoga, traveling somewhere new, or just sitting in a beautiful place with nature and pondering.”
Jamie does what he feels ‘moved’ to do. He does this not because it will take him somewhere, gain him something or because it works for someone else, but simply because he loves to.
4. Jace Brown, 28, Wollongong
“Mindfulness is about being aware and present, living freely and in the moment. That’s where our true happiness exists.”
Having recently returned home to Australia after playing rugby league in France for the past four years, Jace is now keenly creating his own clothing label. Watch this space.
Eating well, exercising regularly (including stretching), surfing and playing guitar, are key for this Wollongong local.
“I really love playing guitar. I think having a creative outlet is really important, and I love that feeling of being completely immersed in something.”
“I find that in those moments, the actions I make have more purpose and meaning.”
5. Dominick Quartuccio, 37, NYC
“To me, mindfulness means bringing awareness and intentionality to these precious moments of our lives.”
After leaving a 15-year career in finance, Dominick packed a bag and went on a nine-month hiatus to see the world – call it a gap trip – before starting his dream of running his own executive coaching business. He is a keynote speaker, author, and trainer and now lives a life that truly lights him up.
A daily morning ritual of 20 minutes of meditation. “Not only do these mindfulness practices keep me sane but my best ideas – and boldest ones – come in these moments.”
“I found that as I took on more in my life, achieved bigger things, played bigger games…my life became increasingly complex. I left very little space for introspection. I’d become a series of unconscious patterns – stimulus and responses.”