Mindfulness misunderstood

What makes you feel truly loved?

A loving present awareness.

When my son was little and grouchy, it took me a while to realise that all he needed was my loving presence. By that I mean, utterly present, not thinking about anything else, but completely there for him. Its not easy, when they are two years old, I got bored. I wanted to do anything but sit with him, sometimes. I know I am not alone. But when I remembered to be present with him, accepting, and the moments I loved it, immediately the crying would stop and the smiles and the gurgling would start.

Mindfulness as taught by the high masters is this non-judgmental loving awareness towards our own emotions and thoughts and by default also towards others. This is how it works for me. This is what we offer as yoga teachers – a loving presence to anything that comes up, this is what we teach. However, it seems to me that some schools are taking to mindfulness from the opposite angle, not about emotional health and well being but back to the never ending cycle of better learning, better behaviour, easier discipline.

In fact, it seems that mindfulness has become yet another tool for control. Learning is always easier when we nurture and care for our kids appropriately, when we are interested in them and allow their chaotic emotions to find a safe landing pad. They can start learning, because then the children feel safe.

Teachers of mindfulness need to be practitioners first. Here are some easy tips:

1. Watch your breath for five minutes (sit comfortably)

2. Watch your thoughts, notice how many different thoughts you have, try not to push any away

3. Watch your emotions (try to be friendly towards them)

4. Do not become involved in the narrative of your thoughts or emotions, but just let them flow

If you want to read more about this topic, I recommend Thich Nhat Hanh as a wonderful author and expert in this field.

For more information on how to teach mindfulness to teens, please take our course (1,4 or 5 day courses available)

(Taken from the upcoming book by Charlotta on Yoga for teens)

 

 

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