Tag Archives: education

Endings unfold into new beginnings

It has been a long time since I have sent some news about Holistic Education and my work teaching mindfulness, yoga and using holistic approaches.  As a result there is a lot of news to share.

Virgin Sport Hackney at Hackney Marshes, London, UK - 30 Apr 2017.

Doing a warm up with Richard Branson prior to the Hackney Half-Marathon

As something ends, something begins.  I have renewed my interest in running and on 30 April 2017, I ran the Hackney Half-Marathon with my daughter.  I also used this as an opportunity to fund raise for St Joseph’s Hospice who had been so kind and supportive to our family.

On 6 June 2017, an opportunity to teach mindfulness at work suddenly manifested.  There is a lot of evidence for the benefits of mindfulness in the workplace for mental health and wellbeing.  I welcomed this new beginning and so I began to teach a Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction course on Tuesdays for staff at Hackney Council.

Due to the additional course, I decided to let go of my Wednesday yoga class. I made a resolve and on Wednesday 12 July, I taught my last class, marking a pause in almost 19 years as a yoga teacher.  It was sad, but in the space that followed, I sensed light emerging in my heart, a gift to encourage me taking steps into the unknown.  Incidentally, I was recently reflecting on how I missed teaching yoga and tonight I am looking forward to covering my old yoga class as their current teacher is away.

2017-01-13 Last Mitra Study Session - Group

My Buddhist study group – our last session

The next day, on 13 July,  after nearly 6 1/2 years, my Mitra Study course  was coming to an end  That evening, we completed the presentations of our very last Year 4 module.  After a chant for ‘transferring merits’ together, I realised just how much studying Buddhism on a regular basis had been a key part of my life.  At the moment, I am looking to co-teach a study group and am optimistic that something will arise in 2018.

On Saturday 15 July, I had my last acupuncture session until September – the series of treatments has really supported the grieving process and helped me cope with the intensity of change.  It has rekindled my interest in promoting Shiatsu in schools.

On Friday 21 July the school holidays began and a week later, I went on a 9 day “Women’s Intensive Retreat” at Vajrasana.  As a mindfulness teacher following the UK Network of Mindfulness Teachers Good Practice Guidelines, it is important to participant in retreats regularly to deepen one’s practice of mindfulness meditation.  This retreat included a week of silence (with opportunities for a 10 minute ‘meditation review’ every other day).  It was a deeply healing process and I would like to share more about it in another post one day.

That’s the first part of the update for now.  So much has also happened since July, including traveling to Japan in August and then, in September, being involved in a BBC 1 documentary with Susan Bogels and Esther de Bruin who run the MyMind for ADHD in Amsterdam – I had done the MyMind training with them in 2014.

Thank you for sharing this update with me by reading this post.

Warmly,

Bernadette

My new children’s book: My Mindful Little One – Bedtime

Mindful Little one - coverMy first book on mindfulness is now available for pre-order on Amazon UK   It is called My Mindful Little One: Bedtime and is being  published by Scholastic and will be available in May 2016.  This  children’s picture book is for 3 to 6 years olds – and includes mindfulness practices for them and their parents and carers.  I enjoyed writing it and hope you enjoy reading it to your little loved ones. It has been beautifully illustrated by Paula Bowles too.

This is essentially a delightful way to peacefully connect to the breath and each other, savour the precious moments of the day and before hugging goodnight and gently fall asleep. Click to pre-order a copy.  Please spread the word.

Day Workshop on Mindfulness for Educational and Child Psychologists and those working in schools: an update

Work with children includes using drawings to help them to express their experiences of mindfulness.  Here a child drew how he felt relaxed and comfortable all over his body.

Work with children includes using drawings to help them to express their experiences of mindfulness. Here a child drew how he felt relaxed and comfortable all over his body.

Educational and Child Psychologists have an essential role in schools and work with school staff, families, children and young people.  They apply psychology in a range of educational contexts to help children and young people make progress with learning.

Difficulties with learning may be due to factors that cannot be changed, such as autism or medical needs.  However, they may be also due to factors can be changed – such as the ability to pay attention and regulate emotions. Substantial research evidence shows that mindfulness, a form of training in body-mind integration, can help improve attention, learning potential, working memory capacity and mental health and wellbeing.  Those working in schools can help children and young people become  better able to manage difficult feelings, such as anger, anxiety and low mood.

This workshop is an opportunity for educational and child psychologists and others working in schools to learn about mindfulness and how it can be used as an intervention in schools.  It provides a theoretical and practical overview of mindfulness, including the research evidence for its benefits.  It gives an insight into how mindfulness training may be adapted for those with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) and includes information on the Mindfulness-based Awareness Training (MBAT) intervention that was developed through doctoral research. Though training and support on how to integrate mindfulness into their lives, children and young people can enhance their potential to pay attention and learn.

To learn more about this and to attend a workshop, click here or contact me by email.

Best wishes, Bernadette

CARE for Teachers: 7th Annual Retreat, Garrison Institute, NY, August 2014

The Garrison Institute is situated on the banks of the Hudson River, an hour norht of New York City.  It is located in a beautifully renovated former Cupucian Monestery, surrounded by forests and fields.  Its focus is on using contemplative practices to support social and ecological change.

The Garrison Institute is located in a beautifully renovated former Capuchin Monestery, of over 7000 square metres, surrounded by forests and fields.

This summer, from 8 to 13 August, I had the privilege of being at the Garrison Institute, NY, for their 7th Annual retreat on Cultivating Awareness and Resilience in Education (CARE) for Teachers.

The Garrison Institute is a not-for-profit, non-sectarian organization siutated on the banks of the Hudson river, an hour north of New York City.  Its focus is on using contemplative practices to support social and ecological change.

CARE for Teachers is an innovative and well-researched programme that directly enhances teacher well-being and indirectly that of their students.

CARE for Teachers is an innovative and well-researched programme that directly enhances teacher well-being and indirectly that of their students.

CARE for Teachers was developed by a team of researchers and professionals working in education and contemplative practices, including mindfulness-based approaches.  The 5-day retreat included daily meditation and other mindfulness practices and explicit teaching of key prinicipals.  The goals were to develop skills to manage the demands of teaching, enhance the joy of teaching and student-teacher relationships and prevent burn-out.

On some days, the retreat began with an early morning  meditation at a nearby waterfall.  There was the option to swim in the waters too: a refreshing way to begin the day.

On some days, the retreat began with an early morning meditation at a nearby waterfall. There was the option to swim in the waters as a refreshing way to begin the day.

The course included consideration of the resources required to develop emotional awareness.  This included respecting emotions and being able to recognise and label them.  It also involved improving how we regulate emotions and respond to complex and challenging situations.   Overall, greater awareness, presence and compassion were developed for use in complex and demanding work contexts, which for most of us, included classrooms. For more information see the CARE for Teachers website.

Samurai Shiatsu Practitioner Training for the first time in the UK

Svenja Schaper and Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke, founder of Samurai Shiatsu. who both ran the training course 11-13th April 2014, London.

Svenja Schaper and Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke, founder of Samurai Shiatsu. They ran the first UK Samurai Shiatsu Practitioner training course for qualified Shiatsu practitioners, 11-13th April 2014, London.

Following three days of intensive training with other qualified Shiatsu therapists, I’ve become a Samurai Shiatsu Practitioner.   It was inspirationally led by Karin Kalbantner-Wernicke, founder of the Samurai Shiatsu Programme, and Svenja Schaper, translator and UK co-ordinator.  We left feeling confident to deliver the School Samurai Programme to children and older adults. This well-structured programme has been delivered extensively in Germany and Austria and is also available in France, Switzerland, Hungary and the Netherlands.  This training was offered for the first time in the UK and if you would like information see the Samurai Shiatsu website or contact me.