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Exclusive Interview With Marissa Azucena – Certified Life Coach, Mindfulness And Meditation Teacher

Marissa Azucena is a Life Coach and Mindfulness and Meditation Teacher. She obtained her Bachelors in Psychology from the University of San Francisco in 2019. By 2020, she was simultaneously pursuing her life coaching certification and mindfulness and meditation teacher training. By 2021, she launched her own business – Younique Coaching. Within her business she works with individuals on a one-on-one basis, holds group classes, and has also started a Mindfulness & Meditation Program for a school in the California Bay Area for kids. Her goal is to show people that mindfulness and meditation is not a “one size fits all” and she shows her clients a multitude of different practices including mindfulness and meditation through movement, art, eating, music, singing and more.

Marissa Azucena, Certified Life Coach, Mindfulness And Meditation Teacher

So how did you get into the world of wellness and what is it that you do for your clients?

I’ve always wanted to do something that would help others. So that definitely has played a huge part in the direction my life has gone. When I was getting my undergrad in psychology, I knew I loved everything about it – especially positive psychology. I thought it was so revolutionary how we could take what we’d learned about the human mind and use it to our benefit and to improve the quality of our lives. I was also doing all my research projects on the benefits of mindfulness and meditation around that time. As I began to wrap up my degree, the most common thing to do for a Psychology major was to go for a Masters in social work or to become a therapist. I just didn’t feel that any of these jobs really aligned with the parts of psychology that resonated with me the most. So when the idea of life coaching serendipitously came into my life through a friend, it felt like I had found what I was meant to do. Life coaching is literally all about using positive psychology. From breaking cyclical bad habits and thought patterns, to creating shifts in one’s mindset, to creating action plans and accountability that are effectively based on each individual’s psychological makeup. It felt like the perfect fit for me. And the other really cool thing is that with life coaching, you can seriously play around with it however you like. So suddenly I saw the opportunity to not only use my psychology background but also work mindfulness and meditation into how I work with people.

So I work with my clients in a couple of different ways. First of all, I offer life coaching. This is when a coach and client partner up to inspire the client to prioritize and achieve their personal and professional goals. Basically, I help people figure out how to create their ideal life but maybe have been putting it off or have been unsure of how to achieve it. Next, I offer Mindfulness and Meditation Coaching. I teach people the foundational basics of mindfulness and meditation like breathwork, the science behind why meditation is so beneficial for our minds and bodies, and simple practices that one can do throughout the day. From there, we “try on” all different types of meditation and mindfulness exercises since it’s not a “one size fits all” type of thing. I relate finding the right type of mindfulness and meditation to finding the right type of exercise – there are lots of options out there, and what one person enjoys and sees great results with is going to be different from what works for the next person. We’ve all seen the more traditional examples of an individual sitting with their legs crossed, sitting still, maybe listening to a guided meditation. For some people, this is an awesome option for stress and anxiety relief. For others, this doesn’t work for them or isn’t appealing – and that is totally okay! My job is to show my clients and students all the different forms of mindfulness and meditation that they have never heard of or tried. So for example, I teach my clients mindfulness and meditation through movement, art, eating, music, singing and more! There are so many different forms of mindfulness and meditation that one can practice. I firmly believe that if each person can find the right fit for them, this leads to long term sustainability. I also include aspects of life coaching and have my clients pinpoint sources of anxiety and stress and then set up action steps and accountability to work through them. So not only are they learning new tools for stress reduction, but are also actively making changes in their life which leads to bigger results. I’m currently working with clients on a one to one basis for both life coaching and mindfulness and meditation coaching. I’m also offering group mindfulness and meditation classes where I bring people through a 5 or 10 week program to teach them the basics and then also show them a multitude of different styles so they can find the right fit for them, like I described above.

How are Life Coaching and Mindfulness and Meditation similar?

Both ultimately help you to let go of what’s no longer serving you, while also increasing contentment in life. For example, in life coaching you’re looking at what you want to change about your life and how to achieve that. Whether you’re making decisions about your relationships, finances, or personal growth you’re making the conscious decision to outgrow an old situation or mindset, and to let go of whatever was not serving you anymore. Once you put in the work and make these changes, the natural response is to feel more fulfilled and content with your life. On the other hand, with Mindfulness and Meditation, this is the practice of learning to live in the present moment by learning how to train our focus and awareness. So often, we’re either busy worrying about the future or ruminating on the past. By learning how to live in the here and now, we are able to better let go of those worries or the obsession of past situations that replay over and over in our mind – neither of which serve us in beneficial ways. So this is also a way of letting go of things that don’t serve us and increase the contentment we feel in our day to day lives. I feel that they’re really a powerhouse duo both when they stand alone or when they’re combined.

What made you decide to start your own business and how did you come up with the name?

Both my mom and dad have owned their own businesses. My dad came to the United States from El Salvador in the early 1980s and despite not knowing the language and going through hardships like all immigrants do, he overcame them and started his own company that’s thriving today. I really feel like he’s a living example of the American dream. My mom started her own business when my brother and I were little and she would take care of us during the day and work on her business at night. So they both showed me that anything is possible, no matter who you are or where you come from as long as you work hard and believe in yourself. Also, I honestly felt that I wasn’t fitting into any job descriptions. Specializing in both life coaching and mindfulness and meditation and wanting to combine them was pretty specific and I wasn’t finding too many opportunities that fit my vision of how I wanted to help and work with others. So I figured, “Well if I start my own business, then I get the create my own job description and there aren’t really any boxes that I need to fit into.”

For the name of my business, Younique Coaching I wanted something that was a play on words but also captured the essence of my business. Obviously, we typically spell it “Unique” – but I wanted to change the spelling to “Younique” to show that you, me and every individual is special, different and deserves to be treated as such. This is such a big part of my practice. In both life coaching and mindfulness and meditation coaching, it’s all about the unique individual and my goal is to find what works for each person and elevates the quality of their life without putting them in a box of conventional approaches.

What are three things you would want people to know specifically about mindfulness and meditation?

  1. It’s not a one size fits all! If you’ve tried the apps like Calm or Headspace, and feel like it’s not working for you, don’t worry. You’re not doing anything wrong, maybe you just haven’t found the right style for you yet – and trust me when I say there are so many different options out there!

  2. There’s no wrong way to meditate or be mindful. A lot of people think they need to completely clear their minds and have zero thoughts, and they get frustrated when they can’t do that. The reality is, there’s no way for the human mind to be able to completely shut off. Even the experts have thoughts that come into their mind. As long as you’re making the effort to take some time out of your day for you, to sit with the present moment and do something as simple as focus on your breath – this is such an amazing start.

  3. It’s never too early or too late to start practicing mindfulness and meditation. With the program I started for a school in the Bay Area, I’ve taught three-year-olds how to meditate! And they’re awesome! On the other hand, it’s truly never too late to start to cultivate your own practice. I think thats one of the really beautiful things about mindfulness and meditation – it’s really a tool that can be used at any age.

What are your goals or dreams you want to accomplish within the next 5 years?

I would love to be able to spread mindfulness and meditation and life coaching to as many people as possible. A big goal of mine is to start to hold mindfulness and meditation workshops for our first responders, teachers, and the healthcare community like doctors and nurses. I also want to expand mindfulness and meditation in schools. I founded and am currently running a program for a school in the Bay Area for kids aged three to 10, and I’d really like to bring this to additional schools. If we can give an entire generation the tools to understand their emotions, reduce and control their stress levels, and learn the art of living in the present moment and taking a deep breath before they respond to certain situations – how different would our world look? Down the road, I also see myself holding in-person retreats in really beautiful, scenic locations all throughout the world!

Follow me on Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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