Bringing mindfulness to the public in weird and wonderful ways is the intention of the Public Understanding of Mindfulness Activities (P.U.M.A.) strand of the work of the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence.

We find fun ways to communicate serious messages about mind, brain, well-being and impact of mental habits and conditioning on our well-being.


Taking it to the streets in Sao Paulo Brazil – August 19th 2018 between 12 – 2 pm.

#VamosPraPaulista a Brazil/UK collaboration exploring our shared journey.   Sylvia Affonso from Unifesp and in collaboration with Folha de Sao Paulo will be hosting a pop-up event with Dr. Tamara Russell from the Mindfulness Centre of Excellence, London. Bringing mindfulness to the masses in fun and creative ways. Let’s play together to learn quickly and deeply about our common connections and experiences.  We all have our unique journeys and the soles of the feet tell our stories. Let’s explore our unique commonality in this cross cultural collaboration.

Mindfulness of the Soles of the Feet is coming to one of the largest streets of Sao Paulo. Paulista Avenue is closed on Sundays for public activities and the PUMA team will be there under the viaduct by Consolação Metro station for a pop up.

We are inviting members of the public to PAUSE, drop into the soles of the feet and really connect with the here and now and each other. We work with this amazing practice in all sorts of creative ways to support mindfulness in everyday life.

Activities:   Try out some Tai Chi, Mindful Walking, Sensing the Soles of the Feet and Creative Exploration.   

A short soles of the feet practice (English)

We are inspired by the amazing Graffiti Artists of Sao Paulo. Here’s a short video of the graff in Villa Madalena. Come and join us on Sunday!


Tai Chi in the Viaduct of Av Paulista


Dr. Tamara Russell – Taking Tai Chi to the Streets on Av. Paulista, Sao Paulo. Brazil.

Mindfulness of the Soles of the Feet is one of the key applied mindfulness exercises (#nocushion). You can literally do it anywhere – on the bus, on the tube, waiting at the bus stop, waiting at the bank or in the supermarket queue. All you need to do is set your intention to pay attention to the soles of the feet.  This practice was developed in the clinical setting to help young people with anger management (the work of N. Singh – VERY AMAZING) but its useful to us all.  Simple, practical, accessible to all.


London Science Museum Lates 10th Anniversary

A Brazil/UK Creative Science Celebration. Move your body to move your mind: an embodied exploration of curiosity.  On 26 September 2018: Lates is 10 years old – Science of celebration

Join Dr. Tamara Russell and Sylvia Affonso for this engaging workshop exploring our most valuable human capacity – curiosity.

We often believe we are curious, but if we really check what our brain is up to, we discover that true curiosity and openness is much harder than we first think.

How can we harness our brain to maintain interest, curiosity and discernment? Especially when we are faced with things that are novel, uncertain or unappealing? In our modern times, this exploration is essential. We are being asked to look deeply at our behaviours and assumptions – and may find that some of them need rapid modification if we are to survive as a species with any type of quality of life.

Dr. Tamara Russell will share the brain science underpinning the following questions:

  • Why is it so hard to maintain the focused attention needed to really gather high quality data about our experiences?
  • How does the fast pace of the modern world stop us from really seeing what is going on?
  • How can we learn to be curious and interested even in those things that upset us?

Drawing on movement practices from martial arts (Tamara) and dance (Sylvia) we will use the moving body to illustrate and illuminate these questions. This enacted learning approach is shown to deepen the learning. It is particularly helpful to illuminate areas of “not knowing”. When we start to enact and embody learning, we find out much more quickly what we don’t know.

Sylvia is a Senior Biologist at The Federal University in Sao Paulo, Brazil (UNIFESP) with expertise in innovative science communication.   Ask her about Pint of Science in the UK and Brazil….

Sylvia at the Pint of Science event

Sylvia is a dance teacher, yoga practitioner and specialist in exercise physiology. Since 2016 she has  been a student of the Body in Mind Training Program developed by Dr. Tamara Russell.  This neurocognitively informed movement training is used to underpin her “Dance in Mind” work.

Dance in Mind has been offered as  a way to train both body and mind in a fun and engaging way to individuals with severe and enduring mental health conditions at the Dragon Café (London) and within UNIFESP’s program  for those suffering from schizophrenia. This innovative approach includes both physical and mental training to support well-being in whatever way is possible.




PUMA History and Previous Events

It began with a meditation Flash Mob outside The Ritzy cinema in Brixton, South London, where a hardy group of meditators participated in 25 minutes of mindfulness in public view while red London buses rumbled by and local police stopped by to see what was going on (and invited to join in).

More recent projects include mindfulness classes on the glass walkway of Tower Bridge (video here), mindful movement sessions at Wilderness Festival (2015, 2016), Deptford Festival (with Now Live Events) Latitude Festival (2015), Secret Garden Party (2015), Citidel Festival (2018) and several events at London’s Southbank (Why I Care festival, Changing Minds).

Mindfulness has been conducted at the National Gallery, London. Several live events have supported mindful or deep viewing experiences with particular pieces or exhibitions.

Mindful cooking and eating experiences with chef Anna Jones at Wilderness Festival helped festival-goers get a new appreciation of food, nutrition and the links between body and mind.

Tai chi safari’s and take-overs all over London. Inspired by the work of Dragon Cafe – taking mental health awareness and mindfulness to the streets of London for the benefit of all.



Brixton Flash Mob – Part of Make Brixton Mindful.

Public Understanding of Mindfulness (PUMA) Flash MobPublic Understanding of MindfulnessPublic Understanding of Mindfulness (PUMA) Flash Mob