Highlighting Our Students & Graduates – Max Cook
This month we want you to meet ACMM Graduate and International Meditation Teacher Max! Max is an official Wim Hof Method instructor and breathwork practitioner who’s mission is about enriching lives with mindful practices which are playful, powerful and practical! In this blog Max shares how his personal suffering led him to meditation and how it has impacted his life and outlook.
Continue reading to learn more about Max’s journey:
Hi Max! Tell us a little bit about yourself
Hi I am Max, 33 and I currently live in Maroubra Beach in Sydney.
As a ‘day job’ I am a master brewer for one of Australia’s largest brewers, but my passion is in my own business; Lionheart Meditation, which has been in start-up for a year and a half.
Late last year I graduated from ACMM with the Advanced Cert in Guiding & Teaching Meditation & Mindfulness, including the Spiritual Meditation, Meditation and the Chakras and Bringing Mindfulness Home electives. I am also an official Wim Hof Method certified instructor teaching breathwork and cold therapy (ice bath), and also Oxygen Advantage (Buteyko) breathwork and breath re-education coach.
I am currently studying a Holistic Counselling Diploma, which I intend will support all of the above.
Aside from my passions in work, I love any kind of adventure based on sport out in nature. My morning surf is part of my meditation routine, being out in the water element, no phones, Wi-Fi, emails to worry about. I also love mountain biking and skiing – I spent a lot of my formative years living in Jindabyne NSW, so I was surrounded by beautiful nature and the sports that I love.
Back inside the house, I love cooking, yoga and reading anything esoteric that grabs my attention!
What attracted you to become a meditation teacher and study with ACMM?
I used to think that my life was amazing. I had everything going according to ‘plan’; amazing job, amazing partner, searching for a first house together, running a successful start-up business. Things were sweet. Then everything changed, sitting next to my beautiful fiancé as she was told she has an extremely aggressive cancer and had about 5 months to live.
I was shocked and confused, my world had been turned upside down, everything lost meaning and I couldn’t see the point of life anymore. I was also terrified.
I started a journey to help me cope with the pain, confusion and to (re)-discover my meaning of life. I immersed myself in various traditional mindfulness practices from around the world, from Buddhist and Vipassana philosophy and meditation, Shamanic healing and plant medicines, to yoga and pranayama, and Wim Hof (breathwork and cold therapy).
I got so much out of this journey, and re-discovered a totally renewed version of myself and how I saw the world. I was excited and motivated to share what I had found – its so sad to see so many people struggling to live well, when many of the answers and solutions are really within reach.
I wanted to become a teacher of meditation and mindfulness, but was quite clear that I didn’t want to be tied to a tradition, dogma or religion. Nor to a particular style of meditation. ACMM was the obvious choice to satisfy this and after a quick chat with Lisa I saw how professional, experienced and integral ACMM was – the choice was easy.
How has meditation impacted you on a personal level – what are the benefits you have seen?
Meditation has literally changed my life. Unfortunately, it often takes some quite intense suffering or trauma to push people towards ‘alternate’ therapy, and I was no different. I can see that meditation/mindfulness has become my best friend on my journey through life, being able to drag me from dome pretty deep depths of depression, anxiety and total loss of interest/trust in life, to where I see myself today – I love my life, I love my connection with life and the confidence and trust in its adventure. Meditation really has become a friend, in that it is a beautiful tool which can accompany me and through all the highs and lows. I think this quote from the Buddha really sums it up:
Buddha was asked: “What have you gained from meditation?” He replied: “Nothing.” “However”, Buddha said, “let me tell you what I lost: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Old Age and Death.”
What does your personal meditation practice look like? What styles or types of meditation do you enjoy?
Daily, morning and evening I will use a breath based concentrative meditation as soon as I wake and right before bed for about 20 minutes each. This helps me start the day clean and clear, and then empties my mind and remove all the turbulence from the day before sleeping.
Later in the morning, I will do a 20-30 minute breathwork session, normally a Wim Hof (tummo) style, followed by a ice bath.
I love moving meditations, and any time I am moving or out in nature, I will try to bring mindfulness into everything I do and make my life a moving meditation.
Do you have your own meditation/mindfulness/holistic business, plans to start one?
Yes, Lionheart Meditation. My mission is about enriching lives with mindful practices which are playful, powerful and practical. The philosophy draws upon ancient wisdom and practices of meditation, but delivers them in a contemporary, modern manner – fostering an appreciation and integration of them into an everyday, busy Western style life.
This is especially important for men, who have unique societal challenges which often prevent them from reaching out for help. Removing some of the ‘image’, ‘fashion’ or ‘fluff’ often associated with spirituality and delivering mindfulness in a more approachable manner helps to remove some of the barriers in men approaching these practices.
Based in Australia, but also operating in the UK, Spain & the Netherlands, Lionheart offers:
- Meditation & Mindfulness coaching,
- Breathwork meditation,
- Adventure Therapy – surf+meditation, mountain bike+meditation, hike+meditation etc
- Wim Hof Method
- Buteyko breath re-education
What would you say to someone thinking of becoming a meditation teacher?
Do it! The world desperately needs more beautiful people to assist them, and as we collectively arise and awaken out of the recent darkness there is more need than ever for teachers and coaches to guide people to reconnect and heal.
Whatever inhibition you may have about becoming one, it has been thought over millions of times before by others! You will never be ‘ready’, or arrive at a particular time or place of preparedness, so just jump in and start somewhere. We all continue learning and gaining experience. The jewel is to share with others what you have learnt and continue to apply to yourself. What a beautiful journey! The ACMM study process of self-application and then pedagogy of the method is beautiful way to do this.
What have you enjoyed about studying with ACMM?
I have most enjoyed being exposed to so many different techniques and practices, which I may otherwise not have encountered. It is a real process of opening up and surrendering to the experience. I have found some new practices which I will continue to use in my own practice for a long time, some which I will be happy to not use again! and other which are beautiful tools to have in my toolkit for teaching.
You can find out more about Max’s offerings at:
We provide Teaching Certification right up to Diploma and Masters level training that includes supervision. A range of post graduate training options and support, are also available, including our Community Work Placement Program and Business Lounge Program which supports new meditation teachers to begin or expand their teaching practice. Download a prospectus for all the details.