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Marie-Amélie de Potter – Fusing the knowledge of east and west

How yoga, martial arts and human resources training became a shield against stress

For over two decades, Marie-Amélie de Potter has dedicated her professional career to helping professionals suffering from stress. 

A native of Ghent, Belgium, Marie-Amélie de Potter has always been fascinated by yoga and eastern martial arts. After reading Japanese studies at Leuven University, she travelled to Japan in the late 1980s to learn from the masters. 

Marie-Amélie spent the next three years immersed in Japanese culture. As her studies and research progressed, she started to notice a common thread running through both her yoga and martial arts activities. Marie-Amélie says, “The more I studied, the more I came to realise there was an underlying principle behind all aspects of my training. This is called “Ki-Do-Ma”, which roughly translates as “how to spend the right energy at the right time”.

Marie-Amélie returned to Europe in 1992 to work as an expert in Japanese culture. She compared her experience of yoga and martial arts to modern medical techniques and saw how they complemented each other. She became more and more convinced that Ki-Do-Ma could play a unique role in helping European professionals stay on top of the pressures of work. So she diversified into human resources, working extensively as a trainer and coach specialising in stress management and burnout prevention.

In 2006 she became involved in a PhD project at the University of Ghent researching to what extent alternative techniques help in skin conditions. Marie-Amélie put together a yoga course, which she taught to successive participants over the project’s five-year period. The yoga course was consistently voted as the most life changing and impactful part of the programme, which was extended and still runs today.