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Buddhist monks bless the opening of VIPASSA. Vannak sen

A centre for the stressed to unwind

As the capital’s “wellness” scene continues to grow, VIPASSA targets a unique clientele – professionals needing to take a breath.

A former monk and his business partner have created a hub for meditation and mindfulness that they hope will de-stress Phnom Penh’s growing professional class. The monk, Chhunny Noem, led retreats for the Buddhist meditation practice of Vipassana in Chiang Mai for years. His partner, Sophiep Chat, has worked as a “leadership trainer” for various organisations and companies.

Their meditation and leadership training, which launched last Sunday, offers different trainings such as stress management, life balance, project management, conflict management and team building.

For Sophiep, one of the goals of the centre is to connect intellectual ability with mental and physical health.

“It is time to create a program to see a change in people in communication, leadership, solving problems and direction,” he said.

Although meditation is a part of the Buddhist religion, it has not made its way into Cambodia’s corporate culture. Chhunny hopes that VIPASSA may help to change this.

“In the West, meditation is very famous. Some companies incorporate meditation into their office environment,” Chhunny says.

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Chhunny Noem practises meditation at VIPASSA. Eliah Lillis

“I do believe in the power of visualisation and meditation, and we hope to promote this skill to find peaceful solutions to open our minds, manage anger and learn from each other.”

Beginning next month, VIPASSA is offering a free Monday meditation session in the evenings that is open to the public, as well as a free monthly self-compassion session. Also beginning next month will be a weekly leadership training session. Other courses, such as communication training, will be provided depending on interest.

According to Sophiep, the duo set up the centre in the capital to promote a different way of thinking about personal development one that is not taught in Cambodia’s education system. The goal is to build “empathetic leaders . . . with good listening and understanding skills”.

VIPASSA is located in Ratanakiri restaurant at Preah Suramarit Blvd (268), and is open from 6am to 9pm. Contact: 078 785 044

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