Loving dance, writing, basketball, and theatre, Ciska Matthes (1964) grew up in Amsterdam during the hippie times. Her mother was a dancer who got involved in the Osho community and her father, as a philosopher, was fascinated by the East. Despite her parents’ interest, Ciska’s conscious search started later when she was trying to find some peace as a traveler and journalist in Africa.
Still in Amsterdam, Ciska completed Social Psychology to become a social skills trainer. However, the organizational world did not feel like her destination. So, she set out to South Africa and Nambia as a socially engaged journalist soon after apartheid was abolished in 1991. Upon her return in 1993, Ciska had a complete breakdown and started to look deeper into what life should really be about. Many sessions with her father and her spiritually inclined mother, brought clarity and insight. Ciska went into hypnotherapy and took up meditation and yoga as a daily practice. Zen became her great love. In 1996, Ciska discovered Zen after which she desired to live in a real Zen monastery in Japan. Realizing this wish, she stayed in a Zen monastery in Japan for six years from 1999-2005. Upon her return to Amsterdam, with her mother Henriette, she dived deep into intensive Vipassana practice as well as many Zen retreats.
After her mother got ill, Ciska nursed her every day and joined the mindfulness eight week programme and soon after her mother’s death, she took up the teacher training, slowly changing the parental home into a small scale meditation center. Now, together with her wonderful partner Stef, they offer a small oasis of quiet in Amsterdam. Hundreds of people have come there to enjoy their silence and peace within.
Much to her delight, she could start teaching yin yoga and meditation at The Conscious Club in 2016. Besides the Club, Ciska can also be found part of the year at the wonderful ashram of her guru, Moojibaba.