#Inu8women / Dr Maria-Elena Lukeides


Connection means a lot to us, and we believe that lots of little stories create big connection. The #Inu8women series is how we share little stories about women who inspire us through their active lives. Learning from and sharing wisdom with like-minded women helps us to feel stronger, to feel supported and to be free to follow our joy. We are better together.    


We are thrilled to introduce Dr Maria-Elena Lukeides. Dr Maria-Elena is a clinical psychologist living and working in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and is dedicated to helping people live their most vibrant, engaged, committed and healthy lives by providing the most up to date scientific and holistic evidence-based wellness services.

Dr Maria-Elena is best known for living a wholehearted life and sharing love abundantly. She teaches mindfulness and meditation and hosts group meditation classes and retreats where she invites women to 'retreat into self.'

Firstly, can you use just a few words to describe how you live your life?  

Wholly, engaged, receptively. 

What is the word you do in the word? (Paid or unpaid) 

I sell love - it sounds a bit different, however everything I do is about healing not fixing. It is about loving in to wholeness. The work I do and the way I live my life is the same - it is from a place of wholeness and connectedness. 

I teach people how to love themselves. I bring a loving and compassionate presence. In my work as a clinical psychologist I step into a place where I care for people without judgement. For some people I may be the only person who is unconditionally supportive and loving. Whilst I maintain professional boundaries I see people in their rawness, their history and their experiences, and when I see people struggling it is impossible not to love completely. I give them a glimpse of what I see, which is the perfection and the wholeness of who they are. 



What does a typical day look like for you?

I will preface it by saying my life is full and vibrant, it is comfortable because it is like a giant jigsaw puzzle - when it is complete, no more pieces fit and I don't know if I can take any pieces out! 

I start at 4am and I love to start my day slowly. If I don't take this time everything goes a little wrong and I feel stressed and frustrated. Firstly, I will listen or watch a Dharma talk and then I will do a meditation practice which takes me to about 5.15am. Then I go with my dog to the local coffee shot before hitting the coast line for our morning walk. My favourite is to be on the coast before the sun rises - that time when the first light arrives, the colours are incredible. When I'm there I feel like I am in the glory of God - whatever sense of universal God that it. I jump in the water and then return home by 7am to help my daughter get ready for school.

I do any last minute admin and then start my working day. I see my patients in the morning and then take a long break in the middle of the day. I take 2 hours off and I go to the gym. I absolutely love doing weights which I haven't done for over a decade. I'm 46 this year and with a family lineage of Osteoperosis, I know nothing really beats weights. I'm still enjoying Pilates, Barre work, Yoga and Breathwork, however I'm really enjoying the weights. 

Then I do my afternoon sessions with my patients. I finish at 5pm and my daughter comes home and whilst I cook she does her homework and then we watch TV together. We have a couple of shows on high rotation and even though a lot of families are negative when it comes to watching TV, I grew up in quite a toxic family and I remember that the only thing we'd do well together was watch TV so I actually have fond memories of it. By 8.30pm I'm usually ready for bed! 

What is your favourite way to move your body?

Dancing! It's one of the ways I love to express myself. There is a sense of freedom and energy and power in dancing. I have always been a dancer. I have a Greek background and I love our history of dance. As a child I really didn't love traditional exercise but I loved to dance. 

Dance is an amazing way to move the energy in the body. There is a Professor of Psychology who uses dance to treat trauma in war ravaged communities. He uses dance as therapy, to move the trauma and sadness through the body before moving to more traditional psychotherapies.  

What is your favourite activewear piece/s? What do you currently own that you can't do without? 

I'm in activewear a lot as you can imagine! I actually have an auto-immune condition and some hormonal issues which means my weight can fluctuate so I need a lot of lymphatic support. I like tights that are high quality, that are supportive to my thighs and move with me. 

I also love Cashmere! I had a Cashmere throw that I literally wore thread bare. My mum is a seamstress and literally couldn't save it because there was nothing left to darn. 

Good quality activewear provides me with comfort - knowing that I'm held is really important. 

Is taking time for rest and rejuvenation important to you? What are your favourite activities to nurture your mind, body and soul? 

I love multi-sensory experiences so I love immersing myself in sunshine. I love diffusing essential oils and lighting a candle. I love my soft furnishings around me to create a nurturing sense of space. I love journalling, meditation and listening to a spiritual talk. I enjoy my yin yoga, being in nature and being in the ocean, especially at sunrise. I love cuddling with my daughter and being entertained by a show we both love. 

What words of wisdom do you have for women who are juggling it all and want to find more space for themselves? 

I think it's not that we have too much to do, often we are doing the wrong things. When we are doing what's right for us, we can do a lot. 

I do understand there are times during our lives when we do just have to make it through however it's not about the narrative of 'I don't have a choice' to continue beyond. I remember wondering how I was going to get through the first three years of being a Mother - I really didn't like my life at that time, however we must trust that certain stages will pass.

I also think it's not about putting more pressure on a woman who may already be overworked and overtired to find time for herself. Frankly, how about everyone around her lift and help? And sometimes we have to be courageous enough to ask.

What do you expect from a new brand taking a balanced approach to activewear?

I would expect sameness in certain places however I want a new brand to use recycled fabrics and maintain an ethical approach to fabrication. I want the pieces to be functional, stylish and built to last. 

What does simplicity mean to you? Is it important to you.

Yes absolutely it is important to me. Simplicity for me evokes a sense of something classic and elegant. There is an elegance in simplicity. When I was completing my PHD and I was working with a statistician, I learned that the best mathematics were elegant, meaning that to simplify was to find the most elegant solution. 

Last year my house succumbed to mould following all the rain and we had to throw away literally everything. Every piece of clothing I owned had to be disposed of. I have now embraced simplicity at another level and have a feeling that I really don't need much. We literally wear the same four things anyway don't we?! That's why I love your capsule collection so much. 

I believe there is a sense of freedom and abundance that comes from having less. 

What does feeling connected mean to you? 

Everything is about connection. For me, it is about remembering our true nature. Every breath we take is a reminder that we are all one and that we are in a co-dependent relationship with the earth. 

When we find ourselves in union - with ourselves, with others, with the universe, we release oxytocin and it is this oxytocin that allows us to feel warm and nurtured and full. 

I find exercise helps me to feel more connected as it helps me to ground myself and be more aware of my body. When I feel more in my body I experience a sense of wholeness. 



In general do you seek out products that are created sustainably?

Yes, I am aware of waste and I don't want to contribute to it. Things are so cheap now that they we have become a disposable economy. I appreciate the value exchange. The energy and the effort that goes in to making a product is important to me - from deriving the raw materials, to creating the end product. I truly value the human story as well as the impact on the earth. Sustainability to me is about valuing the complete life cycle of a product. 

What is exciting you at present?

I feel like I'm in the Chrysillus and I'm about to enter another butterfly stage. I've had a tough time recently with a painful break up but it has allowed me to pull back in to connect with myself even more deeply. I've also become a medicine woman and I'm now a qualified psychedelic therapist. I'm excited about the next chapter, where I get to combine all of my healing modalities. 

Is there a word or phrase you live by?

Learn to love yourself as if your life depends on it .. because it f*** does! 



Connect with Maria-Elena at Dr Maria-Elena Lukeides

And on Instagram at The Wellness Fountain