Hello June! First off, apologies for my late Spring news, and although officially it's not the Summer season until the 21st June, we're getting very close! So lets welcome the transition from Spring to Summer this month and get out and about by making the most of the sunshine & vitamin D on offer.
The best bit about Spring for me so far has been noticing the blossom on the trees. I got quite obsessed with pausing to take photos at every opportunity, admiring the different shades of pink & white blossom on street corners and along the riverbank! Even on a trip to Kew Gardens to see the stunning glass exhibition there were plenty of beautiful trees to be found.
'Just as a gardener tends to her flowers care for your practice daily and watch it grow and blossom' - Tamara Levitt
And the most challenging and stressful bit about Spring so far? I like to keep things real in my household as life cannot be full of blossom everyday! My teen daughter is in the midst of her GCSE exams and so it's been a constant flow of revision, podcasts, exams and feeding the teen brain, whilst trying to keep her stress levels and boredom in check. Oh, and her 16th birthday to celebrate in between too!
My nutritionist friend Belinda Blake came to my rescue last weekend as she invited me to speak at her workshop; 'Feeding the Adolescence Brain & Body' at ION (The Institute of Nutrition). It was a practical day packed with delicious recipes and expert nutritional advice from Belinda for our teens. My favourite was her homemade Green Mango bubble tea recipe , a must try at home with my daughters and a much healthier version than the sugar filled drinks at a bubble tea cafe!
Today's mental health problems in young adults are at their highest levels. It's upsetting to know that 50% of mental health problems are established by the age of 14, and 70% by the age of 24. (These are stats from the Mental Health Foundation). Understanding how we can support the teen brain and body is so important, and as I found out it doesn't have to be expensive when it comes to nutrition!
Contact Belinda Blake DipION firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about her teen wellbeing courses, foods for moods workshops, recipes & advise for schools & private groups.
Teen Mindfulness Tips
Here's a mindful practice I shared at the workshop called the finger breathing exercise to calm down an anxious or exam stressed teen. It's something kinaesthetic to do with your hands but it works by focusing on counting and your breathing. It acts as a visual meditation if you focus on your hands in front of you but can also be practiced decretely with your hands in your lap under a school desk.
1. Hold one hand in front of you (or on your lap) palm facing towards you.
2. With the index finger of your other hand, trace up the outside length of your
thumb while you breathe in.
3. Pause at the top of your thumb and then trace it down the other side while
you breathe out. That’s one breath.
4. Repeat the process with each finger and count breaths so the second finger would be
breath two and so on.
5. When you get the end of the last finger, come back up that finger and do it in reverse.
Mindfulness helps relieve symptoms of stress and feeling overwhelmed. Ultimately, when we practice mindful meditation on a regular basis, it helps us to be more patient, connected & calm.
Teaching News - Autumn 2019 - 8 Week Mindfulness Course
'Sam’s course was an in depth exploration of what meditation and mindfulness is all about and a chance to practice new techniques in a group. I now have a solid foundation for my home practice and I’m continuing to meditate every day. I’m using more mindfulness in my daily life as well. The course gave me my first experience of a retreat and it was amazing! Thank you Sam for a great course'. (2019 Course participant)
Come along and find out how mindfulness can support your wellbeing. The course starts Tues evenings from 7.30-9.30pm from 1st Oct to 26th Nov 2019, with no classes in Oct Half term. Suitable for beginners and experienced meditators. Weekly evening classes include breathwork & mindful movement - culminating in a silent retreat day to deepen your meditation practice.
See www.sammantra.com for more details & costs.
Baby Mindful Returns
Baby Mindful returns to the awe inspiring beauty of the Octagon Room at Orleans House Gallery this June with an extra refresher class and picnic for past participants on Friday 9th August. For details & costs about the summer picnic or to book your place on the 4 week course starting Mon 24th June, visit Orleans House Gallery.
Note: This is a wellbeing course for new & expectant parents from new borns to pre crawlers.
' It gave me moments of calm away from my daily stresses & helped with being a new mum'
Sunday Refresher Classes
The Sunday refresher sessions are designed for those with a regular meditation/yoga practice and or have completed a mindfulness course before.
BOOK your space online for the next class on Sunday 9th of June at the Pilates Pavilion. This session will include some creative practices as we transition from Spring to Summer with a warm and open heart.
Photo take at Kew Gardens Glass Sculpture Exhibition, April 2019
One to One & Couple sessions -
Neuroscience research has shown that mindfulness can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and other health conditions, including physical pain.
Group meditation and classroom settings are not for everyone. If you would like to know more about mindfulness for beginners or couple sessions, please get in touch by email. These session take place at the wellbeing Complementary Health Partnership in Claygate.
A seven five minute introductory session including a health questionnaire with taster practices can be booked on Thursday evenings from 7.30pm. A course would normally include 6-8 sessions with access to audio resources & workbooks to use between sessions. For more info see www.sammantra.com
Finally, I was delighted to be back with colleagues teaching at the Mindful Living Show in London this March. This year I took my teen daughter with me to help out and watch Mum do her mindfulness thing! It's always a great day of making connections and sharing practices, but this year felt extra special spending quality time with my daughter by my side.
Teens don't get a easy ride today and as parents we overly worry and protect them. But remember we were teens once too! and they deserve to be listened too with mindful attention as to what they have to say.
'As a parent communication and listening, really attentive listening is key to a long lasting emotional connection with your child'
Children will forget what you tell them most of the time but they do not forget how you make them feel so easily.'
Dr Dan Siegel - 'Brainstorm- the power & purpose of the teen brain''
Go well all those beautiful young minds with the rest of your exams this June.
'Remember that the strengths & joys of our children really cannot be measured by a piece of academic paper alone'
May you all be Healthy,
& Happy & at Peace.
Photo:Mindful Living Show, Business Design Centre, London.
Wise words above from a fellow parent in the midst of teen exam fever.