Honouring the traditions of both traditional and secular mindfulness training, one thing in this sector caught my eye …….just how little attention was given to difference. In the Body in Mind Training, we are committed to honouring difference. Different views, cognitive diversity, different approaches across multiple traditions and all the many and varied ways we can bring mindfulness to our life.
When we design mindfulness training with the brain in mind, new vistas for contextualising mindfulness open up. This improves accessibility and helps us be mindful about adaptations that can support EVERYONE to experience the benefits of mindfulness.
A huge part of this work has been done in collaboration with colleagues in Brazil. Working in this environments forced attention to different cultures, different language and phrasing, different realities and different orientations. Over six years working with Dr. Tiago Tatton and the team of highly skilled interdisciplinary practitioners (see our International Partners) we have developed what we believe is a mindfulness teacher training that can meet the needs of today’s world.
Our Neurocognitive Foundations for Mindfulness Teachers is a multi-modal deep embodiment experience that gives students the chance to really embed mindfulness in their daily life. It is the precursor to a two-module program in the Body in Mind Training protocol. From this, students are invited to either continue teaching the protocol, or, adapt, contextualise and/or use elements of the program in their own work.
“I don’t have to be perfect to be a mindfulness teacher, I am on a journey. My only responsibility is to be kind, and pay attention, and keep growing. This was the first course I have found where I am allowed to be me.“
The Neurocognitive Foundations for Mindfulness Teachers draws on five “brainwise” principles. These are explored through conceptual, embodied, enacted and creative methods. More information on this model and how to use it (for the general public) can be found in #whatismindfulness.
- The brain’s braking system (activated via the pause)
2. The four cognitive stages of a mindful moment (focusing, mind-wandering, noticing, getting back)
3. The three brain networks we work out as we move through a mindful moment (based on Wendy Hasenkamp’s work)
4. The brain’s emotional regulation systems (drawing on evolutionary psychology and Professor Paul Gilbert’s work)
5. The cognitive neuroscience of mindful movement (the work of Dr. Tamara Russell).
Today, our mindfulness needs to be functional in conditions of high anxiety and distress. Collective trauma and dissociation from reality (in various ways) require us to think differently about how we gently and kindly re-connect bodies and minds. Once size does not fit all, and we need to really meet people where they are at.
Out methods are trauma informed. We work with mindful movement, a proven method that supports body and mental awareness in individuals who have experienced trauma. Much of the teacher training draws on MCoE Director Tamara Russell’s book Mindfulness in Motion.
We work with creativity and theatre. These are ways to support people to go to their vulnerable place in a way that is not too exposing, but can be deeply healing. It is when we can share our experiences and be seen that healing can begin. Guided by actor and somatic educator Matheus Rhomero, these practices allow a different type of relationship to the body and mind and our fears to be enacted and explored.
We work with nature in mind. Recognizing that we are not separate with nature and the impact of environments on the mind/body system. Our deep embodiment practices in the natural environment (and the modifications we made when working on zoom) continue to amazing. Under the guidance of Clarissa Alaminhana (or deep ecology expert) we see that nature is our mirror and our guide.
We work with the whole system in mind. Daniela Araujo is a mindfulness teacher, mindful eating instructor and anthropologist. She helps us to hold in mind the cultural and systemic blind spots that are a natural part of our human experience. We examine our teaching through time and space and try to ensure we tread lightly as we mix and blend tradition and modern science.
Each time we run this training we continue to upgrade. We express huge gratitude to all our students over the years and the dedication of the Brazilian team to make this next generation of mindfulness teacher training a reality. There is also a huge support team behind us who have contributed in numerous ways, and we are grateful for their input.
Find out more about this training in Brazil via Casa do Horto.