Mindfulness starts with the body ……and the embodiment of mindfulness is a critical teacher competency.
How do you explore mindfulness of the body in your daily life and work?
The seminal research of Catherine Kerr provides neurophysiological evidence to support ancient Buddhist knowledge. Mindfulness starts with the body. Catherine Kerr’s work has shown that how we relate to the physical body (and in some of her studies, pain in the body) is the starting point at the neurological level for changing the way in which information is “gated”. As Kerr et al suggest
“with its somatic focus, mindfulness’ top-down alpha rhythm modulation in SI enhances gain control which, in turn, sensitizes practitioners to better detect and regulate when the mind wanders from its somatic focus. This enhanced regulation of somatic mind-wandering may be an important early stage of mindfulness training that leads to enhanced cognitive regulation and metacognition”
We also know that mindful movement is a really helpful way to train mindfulness, and especially so for those with busy minds and busy schedules.
For mindfulness teachers, the notion of embodiment of mindfulness seems to be really important, and yet there is still confusion around even the meaning of the word (as with so many things in this mindfulness work!). Therapists who practice just 5 minutes of mindfulness before seeing their clients
I came across this nice poster from a Bangor student. She talks about embodiment and authenticity in mindfulness teachers. How we can really bring ourselves into the relational space of the mindfulness teaching. This is something that comes with experience but we can all start right now to really notice ….how do I live and breathe my own mindfulness journey?
For teachers of any background interested in exploring this question, The Reflective Mindfulness Practitioner course may be of interest. More information can be found here.