The Wake Up UK Team

The volunteer team in the UK helps the Wake Up movement to grow and flourish in various ways – from organizing Wake Up retreats, making videos, facilitating local practice sessions to updating our social media pages. If you feel inspired to get involved and volunteer, please click here.

If you would like to get in touch with any of the team, please contact us here.

Elina Pen

Born and grew up in Kent, England and of Cambodian origin. Having visited Theravada Buddhist monasteries as a young girl with my parents, I felt naturally drawn to the spiritual path. I discovered mindfulness in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh at 24, when I came across the Heart of London sangha, a friendly community that comes together to practise every week. Several months later, I went on my first retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh in Nottingham and became greatly inspired by the peace and warmth I felt from everyone I met. Soon afterwards, I helped to set up the Wake Up London community with new friends I made from the retreat. Because I’ve benefited so much from this practice and feel enriched by the connections I’ve made with others, I feel inspired to become more involved with the Wake Up community and raise awareness of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings in the UK. In 2013, I decided to leave my job (which felt a bit scary to do) and dedicate more time to Wake Up and other mindfulness related projects. I feel following my heart and doing what makes me truly happy is the best thing I can do for myself.

What I like to do in Wake Up:
Support existing and emmerging communities in the UK, facilitate afternoons of mindfulness in London, manage and update London and UK websites and social media pages, create newsletters, respond to enquiries, organize flash mobs in the city, organize nourishing Wake Up retreats and workshops and connect with other like-minded groups and collaborate.

Felipe Viveros

I was born on the shores of the River Bio-Bio in Chile, a region home to indigenous cultures and is rich in both wildlife and spirit. Growing up in this region has definitely shaped my worldview. I left Chile in search of a deeper connection and understanding of nature and spirit. Hence I trained with a traditional healer in the Peruvian Amazonian jungle.  Since this time I have worked for a number of environmental projects globally; including conservation and education projects, as well as utilising herbal medicines and practising traditional spiritual ceremonies and rituals.

I have lived in the UK since 2006 and I am currently based around Glastonbury, Somerset. Here I have been involved with mindfulness practice, engaged Buddhism, counselling and other disciplines. I came to the UK to bring the spirit of what I had learnt throughout my years in South America to the heart of the western world, and I hope also to bring the innovations and ideas that I have studied here in the UK back to my homeland. In this sense I feel I am a bridge between worlds, fortunate enough to bring the gifts of two cultures together with the intention of transformation and healing of both myself and the planet.

What I like to do in Wake Up:
Organize nourishing Wake Up retreats, volunteer for other Wake Up projects involving permaculture, deep ecology and new economics. Facilitate sessions of mindfulness in Glastonbury and on retreats abroad.

Jasmine Shaw

Born and living not far from Binley Farm in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Currently working as a part time care worker and helping out on Wake Up projects.

I love to be not far from nature in all weather. I feel that my mindfulness practice is similar to being outside in all weathers, whether sun, rain or biting cold, through mindful and gentle living I am learning to take care of my inner landscape. It’s definitely not always easy, but I receive great deal of joy from seeing a little more deeply myself and the world, and slowly untying the knots of suffering inside of me. I enjoy photography, which I use as my ‘appreciation tool’ for the world, helping me look at things with more detail, creativity and  curiosity.
I started meditating when I was 18, and remember enjoying every minute of my first sitting meditation, not knowing how such a simple but often challenging thing could end up being a life project that has taken me on a huge inner journey that still continues. I met the community practising in Thich Nhat Hanh’s tradition when I was 20, and felt a deep connection to helping to build Wake Up and be part of a community of young people practising mindfulness. My favourite practices are sharing and listening to others, being able to hear others very human experiences really inspires me, and I also love deep relaxation, being able to release tension and getting in touch with my body.

What I like to do in Wake Up:
Dream about and organize nourishing Wake Up retreats, organize Skype calls for Wake Up friends, help with Wake Up tours, manages social media pages, take photographs, facilitate sessions of mindfulness in Stroud and create a loving, warm and nurturing place for Wake Up friends to stay at my home. 

Joe Holtaway

Joe spent his childhood growing up by the coast in cornwall, coming to london for university in his early twenties. He now lives between the two, working as a teacher and a musician. Joe has a fondness for songwriting, poetry, drawing and gardening.

What I like to do in Wake Up:
Write songs and poems, make tea, hosts music and poetry evenings, design posters, produces music albums and videos, post interesting quotes and pictures on Facebook, steward at meditation flash mobs, facilitate sessions of mindfulness for Wake Up London and currently a 6 week course to HIV charity, Positively UK.


 Kareem Ghandour
kareem wake up tshirt summer retreat 2013

I moved from Jordan to the UK to start university in 2008 and I first discovered the practice of mindful living in 2009 when a spontaneous curiosity lead me to Plum Village. Since then my connection to mindfulness practice has continued to grow deeper and has now become a huge part of my everyday life. Practising with Wake Up London for around 3 years has transformed my life in many different ways, and I have drawn great strength and inspiration from strong friendships and connections within the community. I get lots of creative energy from practicing with friends and I enjoy throwing it into music, writing and creating visual multimedia. My biggest passions currently are : Walking meditation in nature and exploring the crazy relationship of technology to mindfulness practice.

What I like to do in Wake Up:
Creates visual media content, organizes nourishing Wake Up retreats, posts on social media pages, facilitates sessions of mindfulness in Stroud and in London.

London events 5-13 Sept.
Local Wake Up communities in UK