Céline Gaza

Mindfulness trainer

Céline, a passionate and inspired mindfulness teacher, worked for several years as a social worker for disadvantaged youngsters after obtaining her master’s degree in Criminology, offering vocational workshops to young people between 6 and 25 years old with difficult socioeconomic backgrounds.

Later on, while traveling for some years around the world, she worked as a volunteer in Dame Phyllis Frost Center, a maximum-security women’s prison, organizing workshops with incarcerated women and their children. Finding a balanced life in social work is not always easy and she discovered meditation as a form of self-care. Since then she became fascinated by Eastern spirituality. On the basis of self-study, she started to learn more about it. Reading books and watching documentaries helped her to understand a few subjects theoretically. But following yoga and meditation classes helped her experience difficult bodily sensations and challenging emotions or thoughts and get to use new tools to deal with them.

The turnaround came after a 10 days silent retreat that she did a few years ago after a huge heartbreak. This retreat taught her a lot about her behavioural patterns and the negative spiral her mind could be caught in. The causes of her suffering were clearer, but she also realized quickly that it is a lifetime learning process.

After this experience her life changed and she decided to follow this path. It was so helpful that she wondered how she could share this knowledge to help others. That is when she decided to become a mindfulness trainer.

Céline started by giving meditation classes as a volunteer for women circles at Cinemaximiliaan vzw that builds bridges for encounters and co-creation through which newcomers can continue their path in a new homeland.  Working with a lot of activists at Toestand vzw for a couple of years, made her interest grow in the link between mindfulness and social change, but also embodied activism and how we can bring clarity regarding the importance of self-care in social movements. Often there is this idea that mindfulness is concentrating only on the self and wouldn’t go hand in hand with fighting social injustices. As best as she can she tries to share the idea of interpersonal mindfulness, by organizing workshops and being in a constant learning and exchanging process with colleagues from different sectors.

Sharing mindfulness with everybody is one of her main goals. Wherever you’re from, whatever your background, your religion, your sexual orientation, your age, she will be more than happy to guide you and be a part of your journey.

She always had a lot of interest in communities that are not so familiar with mindfulness, especially people of color and newcomers. Being raised by a Congolese father and a Polish mother, both political refugees, she finds it important to share mindfulness practices that help to recognize difficulties as well as practicing loving-kindness to accept ourselves as we are and forgive others. Growing up in a country where she was part of the minority was challenging in many ways. That is why heartfulness is as important as mindfulness to her. As a member of the Mindfulness Network for People of Colour in the UK she is facilitating group discussions for POC that are in need to talk about their difficult experiences. Because it is important to realize that mindfulness is not only an individual process and that we can also create community-engaged mindfulness.   

As a social worker and criminologist Céline is offering her services to social and justice workers/officers.

She also works around race and unconscious biases that can exist around it, helping people of color and people who work with them.