Ekta Hattangady
MSW, RSW

About me

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Overview

I am a queer, South Asian therapist based in Mississauga, Ontario. I use she/they pronouns. My name, Ekta, means unity in several Indian languages with roots in Sanskrit. I am passionate about intersectional anti-oppressive mindfulness practices, rooted in ancient philosophy and ethical practices. In my experience, these offer solutions to the timeless maladies that ail human existence. I combine philosophy with psychotherapeutic approaches to meet the needs of a global secular audience.

I belong to a multicultural Indian family. I was born in a Gujarati Jain / Konkani Hindu family and I am married to a Malayali Christian. I have come to believe that all roads, when followed in their true spirit, can lead us to liberation. I draw on all of these cultures, faiths and their wisdom for my personal and professional work.

My personal practice is a melange of practices from the three Buddhist paths: Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana.

As a professional social worker, I have 16+ years of experience in the non-profit space across India, the US and Canada. I work with adults, 18 and over, irrespective of their ethnicity, caste, sexuality and gender identities, on a wide variety of issues.

I am currently writing a book on my spiritual path. I dabble with poetry and have recently discovered a penchant for writing haikus on mindfulness.

Background

As a teenager, I was the primary caregiver to my mom who lived and died with Young Onset Alzheimer's in her 40s. This excruciating phase has been central in shaping me as a human being and professional. I live at-risk for this condition. As a result, I had a great deal of baggage. I used mindfulness primarily, in combination with yoga and psychotherapy to heal and flourish.

My Vipassana practice transformed my perspective on living - the human experience of suffering, the concept of self, health and the physical body and death and dying. I went from living with fear to thriving with joy and contentment on a daily basis. 

I moved from goal-based to value-based living which allowed me great freedom on a daily basis to experience success and satisfaction, irrespective of meeting said goals.

I wish the same for everyone. To live with total freedom, moment to moment. All the services I offer are inspired by this wish. I am called to and want to make a difference to the lives of individuals and impact systemic change by working with organizations.

Looking Onward

In 2021, I look forward to building my profile as a keynote speaker and trainer in the mindfulness space. I see womxn*, especially South Asian womxn missing from the mindfulness realm across countries. I see myself as a bridge between the monks / nuns and professional mindfulness peddlers. There is an issue in the mindfulness space around cultural appropriation, erasure of lived experience of South Asians and exclusion of ethical practices, reducing mindfulness to a set of strategies meant to help people reduce stress or decrease anxiety. 

I am grieved by this. We are short-changing people. Mindfulness rooted in culture and ethics can become a way of life for people, offering liberation beyond our wildest, limited imaginations. 

As a first generation immigrant to the West, I am strategically placed to address these key issues based on my socio-cultural upbringing, lived experience and professional training in three countries.

If this appeals to you, let's work together. You can begin by setting up an initial consultation with me.

May all beings be happy, healthy and liberated.

Key Terms

Womxn: An alternative term suggested by intersectional feminism to include trans women and non-binary people. In this context, I have used it to emphasize the missing South Asian female, femme, trans and non-binary voices in the mindfulness space. I acknowledge that it is an imperfect term.