I’m Abhiyana – or Abhi for short (pronounced like Abbie). It’s a Sanskrit name, meaning ‘exploration’. For over 20 years, I’ve thoroughly explored two different but increasingly convergent paths in life.
My executive years…
First, I’ve built a substantial amount of experience in the business world. The high point of this path was spending five years as Senior Vice-President for a strategic insight consultancy in New York. I headed up the global subscriptions division, and my responsibilities included future-focused research and analysis, directing large project teams, commercial strategy and new business development.
As I progressed in my corporate career, I became curious about new approaches to personal wellbeing. Like many executives, I struggled for years to balance a stimulating, demanding career with a broader sense of purpose and workable boundaries. Although I loved my job, I was often on the edge of burnout (or sometimes falling over that edge). Too much of my energy and headspace were focused on work, to the exclusion of other areas of life that were also important to me.
Why I started coaching…
The stakes were raised when I had a horse-riding accident in 2001, injuring my back and neck quite badly. During the long recovery process, I was forced to confront my unhealthy working patterns, and was extra-motivated to find new, lasting solutions.
I immersed myself in different therapies and courses, and then started to use them to help other people too. The various approaches began to build upon each other: life & executive coaching, remedial bodywork, energy management and mindfulness techniques…
In 2008, I took a sabbatical and spent two years living in Thailand and India while working as a therapist. This was a time of huge personal growth and transformation. I lived in ashrams and meditation centres, Himalayan mountain retreats, a tantric yoga school, and a wild beachside community that became my second home for many years. I threw myself into many other workshops, courses, mind-opening conversations and heart-opening experiences.
I became an Osho ‘sannyasin’ (seeker of truth – see this blog post) and then found my way to an intensive month-long Satsang process with radical Zen Master, Dolano. After that, the long search was finally over. I continue to explore new experiences and learn new skills, but with a clear recognition that ‘who I am’ – my essential nature – is complete and unchanging.
…And how I put it all together
So I returned to corporate life in the ultimate big city, New York, and instantly noticed that I brought with me much greater clarity, presence and authenticity; the work was fun and, in a way, effortless. I had actually become more effective in my job, even though it took up a less dominant space in my life. I enjoyed a few more years of putting these learnings into practice, while also managing and mentoring others to be more effective in their life and work. Gradually, this part of my job became the more fulfilling aspect, and I moved back to the UK to set up my own coaching and consulting business.
My qualifications and experience
- 1995: BA (Starred First) in Politics & Philosophy from University of York
- 1997: MSc (Distinction) in Media & Communications/Social Psychology from London School of Economics
- 1997-2008: Consultant in consumer insight and strategic planning, rising from Analyst to Associate Director
- 1998, 2001, 2006: Reiki Level I, II, and Master/Teacher
- 2005, 2010: Bodywork certification from London School of Sports Massage and Kinesis School of Myofascial Integration (a.k.a. Rolfing)
- 2005-08: Practitioner Diploma in Life & Executive Coaching from Noble Manhattan Coaching Ltd – endorsed and fully accredited by the Institute of Leadership & Management and the International Authority for Professional Coaching & Mentoring (IAPC&M)
- 2008-10: Various courses and workshops in self-development, mind-body therapies, meditation and Intensive Satsang in Thailand and India
- 2011-16: Senior Vice-President and Head of Global Subscription Services at a strategic futures consultancy, New York City
- 2016-18: Full training and certification in Zen Coaching, Sweden
- 2018-19: Trained as Practitioner in Internal Family Systems model of psychotherapy
- 2020: Set up Lead with Presence, a mindfulness-based organisational consultancy