A fun, interactive workshop for children using Mindfulness & growing Emotional Intelligence. Mindfulness is essential in providing personal awareness, a base, for self-development and personal growth.
The awareness that practicing Mindfulness encourages provides a basis for developing Emotional Intelligence (E.Q).
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Phase two builds upon stage one when our awareness transcends to the belief that we have the ability to change. It is estimated that on any given day we have as many as 10,000 thoughts and images running through our minds.
Although the popularity of mindfulness is exploding, it is important to remember that mindfulness is not a new age metaphysical technology. If you love technology you can find many mindfulness and meditation apps, online videos, and classes designed to help cultivate a greater sense of presence and awareness. In a series of videos to come, I will share more about how to apply mindful techniques to everyday life. To attend Donte’s yoga classes and practice mindfulness, visit his yoga teaching schedule via the Yoga Panda app.
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The title of this post responds to a book about mindfulness written by vocal atheist Sam Harris: Spirituality without Religion. It seems clear that some practitioners believe ardently in the power and potential of mindfulness. We can ignore the second definition, but not the first, since we’ve already established that while mindfulness demands no belief in God, many people (including me) strongly believe in it.
Obviously, there is a difference between believing something about the nature of reality (like that it was designed by a patriarchal deity) and believing something about the effect of a practice (like that mindfulness will lead to ease of mind). The point is, we must rely on the reports of others to conclude anything about mindfulness (or religion) that we haven’t experienced for ourselves.
Our first few attempts at mindfulness practice will likely dredge up fears, desires, agitation, pains, fatigue, and many other states that feel unpleasant. People engage in mindfulness because of the ardor with which others speak of it, and this fact demonstrates at least one key quality common to both the mindfulness movement and religion. Nor should we dismiss religion—or reject any comparison between it and mindfulness—because it displays some negative aspects.
When mindfulness gets placed on a pedestal as a principle cloaked with scientific evidence and crowned with popularity, I feel queasy, as if hearing once again a familiar but doomed project: humans grasping for the ONE TRUE ANSWER. When a few promoters begin to act as if mindfulness holds all the answers and as if their approach is superior to every other, I can’t help but voice concern.
WillSpiritA former physician who endured childhood trauma uses meditative practice, scientific understanding, and mystical insight to nurture a more peaceful and loving relationship with Life. One of Kathryn Byrnes’ spring courses, Mindfulness in Education, tends to provoke curiosity in those who come across it in the Bowdoin catalog or who hear about it from students in the class.
On one such day recently, Byrnes opened the class’s lab component — when students practice mindfulness twice a week before they launch into the 90-minute classroom analysis and discussion section — with a ringing tap to a metal bowl.
After this exercise, Byrnes asked the class to follow their thoughts flitting through their minds.
The 30-minute lab of Byrnes’ biweekly class teaches students how to meditate, do yoga and practice mindfulness, by experiencing first-hand multiple techniques for embodying and employing mindfulness.
Byrnes wrote her PhD thesis at the University of Colorado at Boulder on contemplative teaching.
Students in Mindfulness in Education not only practice in class labs, but also develop a 21-day mindfulness practice and a weekly mindfulness practice. The students facilitate a 90-minute class session in small groups about one of several mindfulness-education models, such as those used in Waldorf, Montessori or Friends schools. Byrnes said that some Bowdoin students are skeptical at first, asking her for scientific research on the beneficial effects, or even possible downsides, of mindfulness. Lynne's workshops are lively, energetic, interactive and full of surprises, with quizzes, games, videos, music and art as well as individual reflective written exercise, to satisfy varied learning styles.What is Mindfulness? It is defined as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.How can this help our children?
A google search will reveal over 39,000,000 results and it has become a popular colloquial used by athletes, entertainers, politicians, yoga teachers, educators, physicians and even big corporations.

Although there is no codification that will satisfy everyone, most people describe it simply as an intentional and applied awareness to human experiences. Although mindfulness had not been popularized in the western world in 1946 when Victor Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, I think he captured the essence of it very well when he stated, “Between stimulus and response there is space.” Frankl went on to say that if we can access that sense of space (phase one) we have the ability to choose how we want to respond in any given situation (phase two). That would be fine if most of those 10,000 thoughts and images served our highest good, but unfortunately that is not the case. Yoga, meditation, qigong and countless other ancient and indigenous practices have always served as the anchors of human health and wellness.
If you prefer personal or more intimate experiences, Seattle has no shortage of studios that offer yoga and meditation classes.
I will also respond to questions from readers which can be submitted on the contact page on my website.
Along with teaching yoga, Donte teaches and mentor low income students during their internship with Year Up, a wonderful non-profit that seeks to close the opportunity divide. Harris and many others believe the practice will satisfy our desire for spiritual connection while avoiding religion’s dogmatism, hypocrisy, and intolerance.
But the passionate comments spurred by mindfulness critiques suggest we should be cautious about discarding the second. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with strongly advocating the technique, since it is indeed a potent tool for healing. Promoters of mindfulness cite abundant research that demonstrates how the practice improves objective measures of wellbeing. For one thing, notions of the latter type are easier to achieve consensus around than the former.
Mindfulness requires us to give up our habitual practice of evading, denying, and rationalizing such discomforts. Because we have faith that mindfulness will help us gain ease of mind, despite initial experiences to the contrary.
Let me be clear: that mindfulness shares some features with religion means it serves some of the same needs that keep religions in business. For now, let’s focus on how intolerance creeps into a movement that advances an otherwise healthy practice. It would be a shame if the mindfulness movement were to succumb to the temptations of overzealous promotion and intolerant defense. In this brave new world, those who believe in mythology or suggest that reality might have a purpose beyond human conception are discredited, imprisoned, tortured, or killed. We must remain on guard against our human tendency to make good ideas—even ones that advocate flexibility—into rigid doctrines. I can’t resist pointing out that these attitudes make mindfulness sound a lot like a religion.
To believe otherwise is to assert its immunity from problems that have plagued just about every popular project throughout history.
She asked the group to sit in silence for a few minutes, then led them on a short guided meditation to help them concentrate on their breathing. In the syllabus, Byrnes writes, “The class sessions will involve third-person philosophical and scientific seminar-style dialogue on course readings, videos or audios complemented by critical first-person experiences with mindfulness practices such as yoga, meditation, art and qigong.
She said that more educators are becoming aware of the benefits of bringing mindfulness into schools, and that more science is backing them up.
The weekly practice occurs in one of Bowdoin’s weekly yoga, tai chi or meditation classes, and the solo practice is designed by them and ranges from drawing to meditation, yoga and mindful eating. This project requires students to make site visits to local schools and interview teachers and students. They also wonder whether mindfulness, as a spiritual or religious tradition, really belongs in schools.
They are less likely to use alcohol or drugs, bully or be bullied, resort to anti-social behaviours, self-harm, or develop eating disorders. In this article, I will share my interpretation of what mindfulness means and advice on how you can do to start your journey towards living a more mindful life.
Phase one can be defined as the constant awareness of our thoughts, feelings, environment, and bodily sensations in the present moment.
Therefore, when we keep our attention in the present moment we find liberation from the thoughts and feelings that don’t serve our highest good.
We are learning more and more about how to apply mindfulness to all domains of modern life, including our lifestyle and livelihood, how we treat our bodies, our relationships, how we approach learning and creativity, and our spiritual life.
If communal practices don’t serve you, a private practice or an individually guided experience might be just what you need. Donte also teaches communication classes at Seattle Central College and is working on a schedule for the UW Mindfulness Project. Ardor seems appropriate, especially for those who have found salvation (such as peace of mind) through their practice.

Cardiovascular indices, patterns of brain activation, and responses to medical treatment have all been empirically demonstrated to benefit. Indeed, there is ample evidence for the subjective value of religious practice (as opposed to any objective veracity of religious beliefs).
In other words, we must abandon our defenses and open ourselves to displeasures we formerly pushed away. Harris believes that any positive benefit of religion is obtainable via a secular route using mindfulness, and that this route will avoid religion’s pitfalls. The plot could be developed plausibly: history is littered with examples of initially good ideas morphing into toxic, authoritarian dogmas. My intent isn’t to undermine the practice (how could I?) but to encourage clarity and caution. To satisfy those questioning minds, Byrnes encourages her students to invite a friend, teammate, professor or coach to sit in one class midway through the semester. She then pushed forward two cartons of eggs and instructed students to balance an egg on the shiny floor of the Buck Center’s yoga room, all the while staying aware of their responses as they attempted this delicate and frustrating task.
In a final project students share what they have learned and grappled with during the semester with a larger audience. In the end, many of them are won over as much by their own experiences with the practices as with the research presented in readings, videos and podcasts, Byrnes said. Constant awareness does not mean ‘holding on’ to our thoughts, feelings, environment, and bodily sensations.
Negative emotions, thoughts, and feelings have been attributed as the cause of poor physical health, poor mental health, and many other forms of illness. When we truly begin to live mindfully it becomes the fulcrum upon which the essence of our entire being is transformed.
Guided and intentional experiences of mindfulness are absolutely necessary, but it is important to remember that mindfulness should be cultivated as a constant state of awareness that is not solely reserved for a ten minute meditation or an hour long yoga class. And while studies suggest many people do feel better with mindfulness practice, it’s important to remember that such investigations depend—by necessity—on subjective report, not objective measurement. Partly from scientific research, perhaps, but mainly from the testimony of those more practiced in the technique, those who’ve found mindfulness helpful. Capitalist states have waged war (committed murder) in order to shield this delusion from contrary viewpoints like socialism. But this analysis overlooks both important positive aspects of religion that aren’t duplicated by mindfulness and the ways in which the mindfulness movement could become just another dogmatic force, another cure-all fad.
Others will find comfort within the community, mythology, and ritual of an established religion. Many of Byrnes’ students are currently working in elementary-, middle- and high-school classrooms, or they aspire to teach children after they graduate.
This year they will be implementing a “Mindfulness Matters” poster campaign, designing a Tumblr site, creating a “peace corner” and a mural for campus. Rather, when we are mindful we are aware but unattached to, non-resistant of, and non-judgmental about whatever is before us. Mindfulness is the greatest antidote to these illnesses, because it allows us to neutralize and change our negative cerebral associations. The intentional experiences are designed to heighten your state of awareness of the present moment and become a gateway to accessing mindfulness in all domains of your life.
We know people feel better after practicing mindfulness only because they tell us so (often by answering the questions of some psychological instrument, like the Hamilton Depression Scale). Suggesting the mindfulness movement might bear comparison with religion will only alarm those who view religion as purely negative, but such a stance is mere dogmatism and intolerance. In this phase we learn to become a witness to our own experience and we recognize every state of being as passing and fluid. If you are interested in learning more about the healing power of mindfulness, read The Biology of Belief. The bestselling book, Wherever You Go There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zin is another wonderful resource with many practical applications for everyday reality.
This is evidence, yes, but it isn’t the sort of proof that would satisfy a physicist, since how good someone feels is not directly measurable.
We find acceptance for the present moment without the need to wish our thoughts and feelings away or pretend as though they don’t exist. Lipton makes the compelling case that we have the ability to heal ourselves by retraining our thinking.

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