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It’s a warm, sunny April morning. Somewhere in Ibiza, away from the noise, the world stands still. The timeless beauty of cliffs, the sun reflections in the Mediterranean Sea, and the most surreal sounds play privately in your headphones, setting the scene to connect with yourself. Truly connect with yourself. We move our bodies in the most liberating way, following Luuk’s guidance, and feel how something shifts inside usin our mind, soul, our essence. It’s the winning formula of Sanctum, a transformative movement sequence to empower the body and expand the mind, designed to unlock human potential by reaching physical edge and mindful euphoria, all within a class.

After experiencing the profound impact of Sanctum at our own Intelligent Change Summit last year, we knew we had to share this transformative practice with our community. Today, we sit down with Gab Olszewski, co-founder of Sanctum, and talk about movement as a channel to connect the mind with the bodyand your inner, whole self.

Veronica: What was the inspiration behind starting Sanctum? Did any personal experiences play a part in that decision?
Gab: Together with Luuk Melisse, my partner in life, crime, and business, we founded Sanctum out of our shared passion for wellness and exploring new experiences. Luuk's background is in artistic performance, including ballet and acting, and he’s also worked in the fitness industry. And I’m coming from a corporate background with over 20 years in marketing and innovation for global brands like Johnnie Walker and L’Oreal. This blend of creativity, performance, and brand building forms the core of Sanctum, as we each bring unique qualities to this movement.

When COVID happened three years ago, it became clearer than ever for us that the world was suffering not only from a global pandemic but also from a pandemic of loneliness and disconnection. We wanted to drive more connection and created Sanctum as a space that can bring people together as communities.

Veronica: How would you define the philosophy and purpose of Sanctum?
Gab: There have been so many different ways of speaking about wellness and manifesting wellness in your life, and I think the angle that Sanctum takes is very much about communal wellness and shared experiences.

More scientific evidence in the world of longevity shows that, in order to live a good, healthy, fulfilling life, we need quality relationships. So, apart from being at peace with yourself, it's very important that you create sustainable, long-lasting, trustworthy relationships. And this is the primary goal of Sanctumto be able to create sustainable communities of like-minded people that come together for inner work but actually also connect with people around them.

So, Sanctum was never about a fitness class. The why is to bring back connection to the world, and the what is Sanctum's signature sequence, which is this incredible movement experience that we created to empower the body and to expand the mind.

Veronica: And how do you describe this transformative Sanctum experience, the sequence?
Gab: When designing Sanctum sequence, we looked at various disciplines that we, personally, found powerful: Kundalini yoga, elements of martial arts, Zen philosophy, somatic movements, shaking therapy. But for people like us, living in big cities, consuming life very fast, disciplines like Kundalini yoga might feel quite intimidating. You may think, ‘Oh my God, it's not for me, I'm not that person.’ But what Sanctum does is we bring these sacred, empowering disciplines into one unique sequence that feels both challenging, yet very accessible.

The idea of Sanctum is to use your physical body as a vessel, as a vehicle, as an antenna to take you into your state of consciousness, where you can separate your monkey mind from your consciousness. This way, you can create the cathartic sense of release, let go, emptiness, that is so difficult to achieve these days, when we are constantly bombarded by an overloading amount of information.

Sanctum sequence is designed to put you in the state of nothingness, where you can really face yourself, your fears, your darkness, and work through some unresolved conflicts and traumas. And there is nothing more powerful than using your physical body as a vehicle to take yourself into this state of ultimate release and mindful euphoria.

The ultimate benefit of Sanctum sequence would be creating more head space, experiencing emotional release, and also creating more self-worth. It’s about taking you to this place within, where you can accept things as they are and accept yourself as you are. And, once you accept yourself and start loving yourself, you’re much more prone to connect with your community.





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Veronica: In other words, connect with yourself in order to connect with others. That is so insightful. Music also plays a significant role in your sequence. Can you describe how music facilitates this cathartic experience?
Gab: Music is the icebreaker. Music can connect people, bring back your memories, loosen you upit can do anything. It can put you in a romantic mood, an energized mood, or even help you sleep. And that's why it's the most important component of Sanctum sequences.

We use diversity as the key word of our playlists, because we want to use the music as a vehicle to put you in a certain state of mind or mood. During our sequences, we can dive into the Amsterdam techno scene but then, right after, we go into a classical piece. We like to weave in spoken words that can inspire you. We work a lot with the spoken word of contemporary artists but also philosophers like Alan Watts. Again, it's this raw '70s sound combined with a techno track or electronic music that is very contrasting. And we aren’t afraid of music that is a bit more boundary-pushing, like shamanic sounds or healing frequencies.

We've certainly noted frequencies in music that have proven to calm down your nervous system, for instance, or put you into an elevated state of mind. But, also, we love to throw in Madonna, Michael Jackson, or other pop hits, from Britney Spears to anyone else, because it's fun.

Our keywords for Sanctum are joyful healing. Who said that we need to heal in a serious and sad way? We can also do it in a way that feels joyful, right?

There is so much seriousness in the world of spirituality and wellness, and I think that’s why we’re so well aligned with Intelligent Change, because you are also all about creating joyful, lighthearted experiences.

Veronica: Yes, we love that, and we love a good playlist. At Intelligent Change, we’re big advocates of mind and body connection. How do you achieve this connection through Sanctum experience?
Gab: I’d love to add one extra component into this, and that's the spirit connection. There is this beautiful triangle model that we work with at Sanctum, which operates on three levels: the physical, emotional, and spiritual. We are all, and I use these words very cautiously, ‘trapped’ or ‘locked’ in our physical body, right? But, essentially, our energy, our emotions, our spirit, is here, in this physical body, for as long as we live this life.

It’s so important that there is harmony between the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual worlds. Once those three bodies are aligned and healthy, then we are fully feeling well and aligned with ourselves.

We always start a Sanctum sequence with physical body exercise. It's important that the physical body is triggered first, because once, and it's scientifically proven, the physical body is tired, it's more prone to emotional signals. Why? Because you put yourself out of your comfort zone and then it's much easier to embrace your emotions, positive and negative ones.

This is the method that Buddhist monks have been using for thousands of years. They would go into yoga practice for hours before going into deep meditation, because when the physical body is tired, then it's easier to sit still and open your mind and heart. Actually, that was the primary goal why yoga was createdto help tire the body physically, prepare it for going into deep meditations and doing emotional inner work. And that’s the method we use at Sanctum.

Veronica: And how does the synergy of physical exercise and emotional release allow you to connect with your soul?
Gab: So, the first 20 minutes of our class is very much about the physical body. There are moments in the class when you’ll think, ‘Oh my God, I just want to leave this place,’ because it's physically hard, but we do it on purpose. We try to put you in a state of nothingness where you don't think about your grocery list, your outfit, or having a bad day. It's just you in this struggle.

And, once this moment happens, then we start working on your emotional body to bring in greater alignment. And this is the moment when you open up and process those limiting beliefs or insecurities that don't serve you anymore, or anything that is stored in you that doesn't align with your values and purpose. This is when the ultimate emotional release happens.

And once you’re aligned physically and emotionally, there is the third bodythe spiritwhich is the aura, the energy around you. If your body and mind are aligned, this is the energy you’ll radiate to other people. And this is how you’ll also attract the same energy into your life. If you radiate anger, you attract anger. If you radiate guilt, you attract guilt. If you radiate calmness, you attract calmness. If you radiate happiness, or if you radiate abundance, you also attract these energies into your life.

Veronica: Which takes us to Intelligent Change and the most recent Frequency Festival. How do our mindfulness tools integrate into the Sanctum events?
Gab: I think we’re so aligned because we believe in the same philosophy around energy. We all believe in a greater frequency out theregratitude, the law of attraction. I think what Intelligent Change does brilliantly is to make these complex mindfulness topics very accessible. So, with your very simple tools and daily routines, one can actually work on greater alignment with oneself, through emotions, energy, and spirit.

We start every Sanctum class with an intention, or an assignment as we call it. What do you want to dedicate this practice to? And I think what I love about collaboration with Intelligent Change is that your Mindful Affirmations cards work as a catalyst to inspire greater intentions in people and remind them about what truly matters while they practice Sanctum.

But, again, it comes back to reconnecting with other people. At our last Frequency Festival, we asked 1000 participants to take an affirmation card for the intention setting ritual. And then we asked them to find a partner, look into each other's eyes, and exchange the cards, getting connected and exchanging energies through that experience. We witnessed people sharing a tear and opening up. That was beautiful.

Sanctum brings this physical element of movement, and Intelligent Change brings a component of reflection. Exchanging affirmation cards is such a simple exercise, yet in the right context, with the right knowledge, and with the right intention, it becomes a very powerful tool to reconnect with yourself and others.





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Veronica: That is beautiful. Thank you, Gab. We love how our Mindful Affirmations enhance the holistic Sanctum experience. Now, let’s talk about wellness. Through the lens of Sanctum, how do you define wellness?
Gab: When we were creating Sanctum, we analyzed what was happening in the wellness industry. And very quickly I understood that there is a fitness industry and there is a wellness industry.

In the fitness industry, everything is about the physical body. It's a sculpting class, it's losing weight, it's burning calories, it's getting ready for the summer. And I was, like, ‘Wow, why is everything so functional?’

I believe that we can move our bodies and still burn calories, but there can be deeper emotional layers associated with that, where movement of your physical body can allow you to improve yourself, or can allow you to love yourself more, and can lead to emotional release.

From something that is very functional and very physical, Sanctum comes in as a provocateur. The way we see it, is that you can use your physical body and lead to emotional connection with yourself. And, yes, you still burn calories, you still work on your summer body, but maybe it's not so important, or it's the secondary benefit.

When doing my analysis, I also realized that the wellness industry today is very much focused on self-indulgence. It's taking a pampering bath. It's having a massage. So it's self-love with just yourself. But what about shared experiences? What about healing as a community? And this is the angle that Sanctum takeswe try to show and educate that there are different ways of practicing wellness.

Shared communal experiences are so powerful. It's so much more powerful to work on yourself when the intention is shared. Even though the inner work happens in your heart, you still work as a community on a shared goal. It's like individual sport and group sport. It's just a different angle.

Veronica: So, what would be a holistic approach to feeling and living well, in your opinion?
Gab: I’d like to think about wellness as inner work that comes from a place of understanding yourself and understanding what makes you happy. And looking at the inner wellness, rather than only outer wellness. It’s important to break the convention of thinking about wellness as the beauty industry or spa industry. For me, wellness is so important in terms of your inner beauty, mental health, and gut health. For me, wellness is a basis of feeling well and being well.

This is all about creating my daily routine that allows me to feel better on the mental level first. It can be my morning meditation, Buddhist chantings, or breathwork exercises. But then, of course, there is physical wellness. In order for the soul and the mind to feel good, the body needs to be healthy as well. I love to move my body, love to be on the go. I like to walk a lot, be in a Sanctum class, or any other sport class.

I think it also comes down to an important element of facing some discomfort. We like to see wellness as always pleasant or self-indulging but, in order to feel well, really deeply well, it's important to face your inner resistance.

We all have our traumas, and they are connected to our well-being. And if we don't do the inner work, if we don't resolve and release those negative emotions stored in us, or self-worth insecurities that we haven't dealt with, we will never fully be well on a holistic level.

We are very much inspired by the philosophy of Alan Watts. And, personally, this is one of my biggest gurus in philosophy and, also, an important ingredient of Sanctum philosophy. He used to say that, the white doesn't exist without black, that we can't fully understand the light, if we don't have the dark. That is what true wellness is aboutthere are some darker sides of us that we need to face in order to see the light.


The Quick Five Rituals with: Gab Olszewski

What is one ritual you consider absolutely essential in your routine?
It's meditation. It's finding the moment in which I can completely switch off from everything surrounding me and really go into my inner consciousness and be in the state of nothingness.

How do you build discipline and find motivation to engage in physical movement, especially on challenging days?
The way I deal with it is I remind myself daily of my purpose. If I want to be the best version of myself, for both my own sake and for the sake of others, and to fulfill my greater purpose with Sanctum, I need to be in the best possible state. This means having moments of meditation and physical workout. Instead of relying on the weather or my mood, I focus on the bigger picture, my daily commitment and routine, and tie everything back to my greater purpose.

Is there a specific quote, words, or piece of advice that you live by?
Yes, there is one quote that is very much in all my vision and mood boards, and it’s by Alan Watts. “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” It's about surrendering, not forcing things, and going with the flow. It's like natureconsider how a fish moves with the stream. It never goes against the current. While it's important to work on ourselves and our goals daily, we also need to allow things to happen and surrender to the flow.

How do you stay calm and grounded in the busyness of the everyday?
Given that I'm an Aries, which is a sign full of fire and energy, it's crucial for me to find moments to ground myself. I've learned to observe my thoughts and recognize when a less desirable version of myself that may seem unkind or arrogant is surfacing. Observing thoughts, finding moments when to speak up, and choosing to stay silent over being impulsive is a very powerful practice. Silence is the ultimate sophistication.

What is one habit that really made a difference in your life? How did it change your perspective or lifestyle?
One habit that has really changed my life is to not be constantly on my phone and find moments during the day that I can be off my screen. I dedicate an hour before bed and after waking up to be screen-free, to focus on myself and set a positive tone for my day, away from the distractions of my device. This habit has helped me break free from feeling like a prisoner to my phone.


Ready to transform your mind and body and connect deeply with yourself and others? For all our friends in London, we're excited to offer a special chance to experience the transformative power of Sanctum for yourself. Use the exclusive promo code EMPOWERUS for a 50% off your first London class. The offer is valid only for new users who do not have account with Sanctum and can be used once. You can choose any London class until June 30th of 2024.

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