The Exchange holds a variety of events and sessions across the year from bands and funk & soul nights to baby group & book club. One of our regular events held in the snug is Mindfulness with Caitlin. A weekly session of mindfulness, mediation and breathing every Tuesday at 7pm-8pm. Want to know more? Then read on we interviewed Caitlin about her practice, business and asked for some hints and tips.
Q1: Hello! First things first, what is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a form of meditation, focused on breathing techniques, originating from Buddhism, but backed up by science. It teaches you techniques to lead a more stress free life, live in the moment, and let things go.
Q2: Where are you based?
I’m based just outside Leicester city centre, but I’m lucky enough to travel all over the country with my work.
Q3: Tell us a bit more about yourself and your background?
I’m lucky, I’ve travelled around Asia, meditating along the way, and it was something we always did at home. I lived in California where I studied Mindfulness more in depth, its part of everyday life there, and used in Hospitals and schools. I then returned to the UK and was a Lecturer, I qualified formally as a Mindfulness practitioner and used this in my own life and my work, also seeing private clients outside of my day job
Q4: Do you run your business full or part-time?
I work within the field of mindfulness full time. I was really fortunate to be employed by a community interest company in Loughborough who teach Health based courses, Health is defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being your Social, Physical and Mental well being, that’s where I come in with Mindfulness, and we even add in some physical activities with Qi Gong (like a slower Tai Chi) and mindful movement. I work with all sorts of organisations from community groups to professionals, then I run groups and see private clients in the evenings and weekends.
Q5: What does an average day look like for you?
Well it always starts with me taking a mindful moment for me, before I rise, setting positive intentions for that day, then comes the nursery run, I’m a single mum, so mornings can be very busy. I then head off to my day job, which is different every single day, I love that variety, and teaching so many different people. In the evening there is always quality time with my daughter, who loves to meditate and do yoga with me, she’s a pro with my Tibetan singing bowl, and will tell you all about Buddha! I’ve been developing a lot of family ad children orientated meditations recently with her, she’s a great help. Then its either off to run a mindfulness class, maybe see some clients, or on a rare free evening I love to read, meditate just for me and experiment with different forms of yoga.
Q6:Do you prefer group or solo sessions?
They are both so different, during solo sessions we are working on particular areas of a client needs, tailoring it specifically for them, whereas group sessions are more general, but everyone shares their stories and experiences, its all completely confidential of course, but hearing their wonderful positive moments is a joy for us all.
Q7: What part of the process do you enjoy the most?
Seeing everyone’s faces after a mediation, their faces actually change, their expressions, the colour in their cheeks, you can literally see the relaxation in them all, and everyone always has the most beautiful smile. it’s a complete privilege to do that day in, day out, I wish I could capture that moment to show people, but its captured in my mind, I’m so fortunate to see that nearly every day of my life.
Q8: How long have you been running sessions at The Exchange?
Since January this year, the New Year was a great time to start, and the Venue is perfect, the staff always set it up beautifully
Q9: What can you expect from a session?
Well you can either come along each week, drop in whenever you are able, or even just as a one off. Each session has a different theme, we learn new techniques at each one, but always start with a Qi Gong exercise, a short meditation, and usually a longer ‘body scan meditation’ at the end, that’s most people’s favourite part, you really ‘switch off’ for 20 minutes, it leaves you b=feeling relaxed, but also refreshed.
Q10: Do you have any tips for practicing mindfulness at home?
Find the right place for you at home, somewhere you feel relaxed and comfortable, and pick the right time of day for you, everyone is different, take a moment just for you, sit upright in a dinging type chair if you can, and focus on your breath, In through your nose, and out through your mouth. And notice things around you, take time to enjoy your cup of tea, not just drink it on ‘auto pilot’ can you hear the birds singing? Are there spring bulbs bursting through the ground? What colour are the leaves on the trees? We all lead very busy lives, and all deserve to take a moment just for us, enjoy that moment.
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